Here you can follow my ramblings about a writer’s life in Tokyo. Producing trade advocacy documents in the daytime to earn a living and writing a thriller at night in one of the most exciting cities in the world make for an unbeatable life. Oddly, my characters spill out and interact while I drink coffee in cafes. They’re rarely so brash at my desk.
The cafe pictured at the top of this page and to the right of this paragraph was my favorite writers’ hangout, the former Café Zucca. Legend has it that Café Zucca in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan was also the favorite haunt of Giuseppe Verdi. He reportedly drank copious amounts of coffee while composing some of his greatest operatic scores between visits to La Scala, just a gazelle’s leap away. I stopped over in Milan on my way to meetings in Brussels a few years ago to seek out Café Zucca and spend some time there. The outcome–a new chapter of my novel. What an inspiring place. Perhaps that’s where Verdi hammered out Il Travatore’s rousing Anvil Chorus. Unfortunately is has now has a new name, Camparino in Galleria.
Another of my favorite writing hideaways is an Edo-period, traditional coffee shop in shitamachi or downtown Yanaka in Tokyo. It’s a pleasure to watch the owner grind the beans fresh for every cup and lovingly massage the brew through an elaborate filter.
And then there’s the plethora of Starbucks and doppelganger cafes. A core group of people stay all day, open computers guarding their owners’ hard-won seats. Conversations with regular customers show Starbucks to be the office of choice for writers, editors and freelancers. Translators too in Tokyo. Coffee seems to stimulate mental acuity. Without it, I write at the speed of wind in a fog with an even slower rate of inspirational bursts.
I’d be thrilled if you were to follow the journey I’m taking to embrace my inner writer. I hope my blog posts will help other aspiring newbie writers like me starting from zero with a burning yet suppressed desire to work as a full-time published writer. I decided to make it happen and took charge of the triangular tussle between aspirations, self-doubt, and lack of free time. I hope you do too.