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I have lived, taught and written in Tokyo for fifteen years. I work as a professor at Meiji Gakuin University teaching American literature, culture, film, music, and art. Fielding questions from my students about Jackson Pollock or Kurt Vonnegut and then wandering through Shinjuku’s neon mayhem always puts ideas for writing into my head. Teaching keeps me searching for the heart of life in the world’s biggest city.
I have written for many publications in Japan: The Japan Times for a dozen years, the once-great Tokyo Q, a learner-oriented weekly ST Shukan, Winds magazine, Jazz Colo[u]rs (in Italian!), and Artscape Japan. I have run my own website Jazz in Japan (jazzinjapan.com) for almost a decade. I also helped found Japan’s first bilingual jazz magazine, Jazznin and continue to publish academic articles and run a conference on teaching literature.
I was born in Kansas City, also a very different world from Tokyo. After traveling around the world and popping in and out of graduate school, I lived in Beijing, China for three years. Now, I live in Tokyo with my wife, Lisa Yinghong Li, who also teaches and writes.