My name is Tom Gibb and I have lived and worked in Japan on and off for more than a decade.
I was born and grew up in Devon in the southwest of England, moved to London when I entered university, and lived and worked there – as a sound recordist for TV, corporate videos, and so on – until 2004.
From 2004 to 2006 I lived in Tokyo and then Ibaraki Prefecture, working first as an English conversation school teacher and then as an ALT (assistant language teacher in state schools). It was in 2005 that I met my future wife, who came to live with me in the U.K. in 2007. We were married in 2008 and in 2011 (a little over a week after the Great East Japan Earthquake; our sense of timing was not the best), we returned to Japan. Since then we have had two children and now live in a detached house that is cheap to rent, not far from my wife’s childhood home, and in a small town that boasts a supermarket, drug store, hardware store, railway station on a local branch line, and pretty much nothing else of note.
At the time of writing – and after ten more years as an ALT – I am about to go freelance as a Japanese-to-English translator and proofreader. Also, thanks to John Ross of Camphor Press happening across this blog, in 2020 I became a published author, contributing two chapters to the collection Inaka: Portraits of Life in Rural Japan.
For the past two years, I have been completely re-writing a travel book about my first, six-week-long cycle tour of Japan, upon which I embarked in the summer of 2005. The book is due to be published by Camphor Press later this year (2021) with the provisional title Gaijin on a Charinko: 2,500 Kilometres Across Japan by Bicycle. (In case you were wondering, I completed the first draft in 2007 and recently calculated that in total, it has taken something like 1,500 hours to write and edit, which is the equivalent of working eight hours a day for about 200 days.)