Tony Smyth graduated from Northumbria University in 1976 with a fine arts degree. During his time of study he developed an interest in Japanese and Japanese culture and art, particularly that influenced by Zen. After working in graphic design for two years, he traveled across America and arrived in Tokyo in 1980. He has lived in Japan for thirty seven years. He first studied Japanese language, before switching to shiatsu and acupuncture, receiving a diploma in shiatsu in Tokyo, and a master level acupuncture diploma in Beijing.
He has traveled extensively, particularly in Asia. Currently, he teaches English at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and at several schools, is a Christian wedding celebrant, and has a private practice doing Neuro Linguistic Programming and hypnotherapy for the foreign community in Tokyo. He has written articles for the Tokyo Journal and other Japan-based blogs .
Fukushima and the Coming Tokyo Earthquake is his first book. A sequel to this book will examine the key role of energy and depleting resources in a world economic system that is dependent on ever-increasing debt and exponential growth
What is your writing process?
I am basically a reader of non-fiction. As such I read and gather information every day. Once I have an outline of the book and each paragraph I try to gather the essence of my sources and put them in folders with descriptive names onto my desktop. To write well I need to be well rested and undisturbed for 5-6 hours. Then its bit like juggling and attempting to keep 15-30 balls airborne at once. Another way of thinking of it is like creating a sculpture - the first stage is just getting the initial shape in place - a head, two legs etc. That stage needs intense concentration.
After that, there is cut and paste, adding, and lots of polishing and diving into my thesaurus. That stage is very time consuming. Near the end I have to get ruthless and cut sentences and sometimes paragraphs, even if they took a long time to write, if they do not contribute to the story. I also pay a lot of attention to 'flow' making sure that the text carries the reader along. Finally, there is a "hunt the typo stage" which is drawn out and boring - I enlist friends to help out here. This last stage is also finessing over tiny details, and sometimes updating information.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Quite honestly I don't. I began buying books for myself when I started art school age 19 in York in the UK (Pierce Brosnan, former 007, was the assistant stage manager at the Theatre Royal just across the road from the art college. We must have passed each other in the street many times.
This book details the story of two earthquakes, one that happened in 2011 and one that is imminent, and their consequences, not only for Japan but also for the rest of the world.Themes include Japanese culture, Tokyo's centralised economic power, nuclear power and renewable usage in the context of climate change, and the importance of Japans hi-tech components in an interlinked global economy.