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© Joseph Tame 2000~2009

Contact Joseph

<click here for the maps that accompanies my brief history>

In the summer of 2008 several significant events marked the biggest changes in my life for many years.

On a Tuesday in July, I graduated from the University of Sheffield with a BA in Japanese Studies. Three days later I married my darling *Twinkle*. Then, in September 2008, I moved to Japan to start a new life with my new family.

Here, I try to sum up in as few words as possible the path that has led to this exciting sequence of events.

I was born into the Tame familysometime in the late 1970s. I must admit to remembering virtually nothing of my early years, in fact my memories are almost entirely formulated from old family photos. There is an exception to this: my little plastic peddle police car to which I was strongly attatched and miss to this day.

When I was three our family of five children and two parents moved a few hundred kilometres north to Yorkshire, where the tea was strong and the local accent was completely incomprehensible. We spent the next few years moving house on an annual basis, before returning to the south - this time to the quiet farming county of Herefordshire. There, my family and I became very involved in the local Waldorf School, and until the age of 16 I had the most fantastic educational experience within the walls of that community.

Age 16: "You have ultimate contriol over your life Joseph!"

In September 1994 I moved on to the local Sixth Form College. There I chose to study English, Photography, Theatre Studies, Geography and Theology. I loved photography (as I do to this day), but unfortunately the college wasn't adequately equipped (i.e. we had no tutor!) - despite the experience that I gained, there was no possibility of achieving any recognised qualification. I chose English and Geography on the basis that I enjoyed the company of the tutors, and Theology as I had a dislike of organised religion and had an idea that this might help me to get over that. Unfortunately it didn't, although over the course of the year I learnt a lot about constructing large buildings - a window overlooking the site of the future library was positioned right beside my desk. My reason for choosing Theatre studies was that I'd been acting 24/7 for as long as I could remember - I thought I may as well add a touch of professionalism to the mask I'd adopted. Looking back I now recognise that I learnt one of the most important lessons of my life so far in Theatre Studies. It was the first session when our tutor (who had a reputation for being completely mad) put a simple question to us. He said Where would you like to be right now? The most common reply was either On a beach in Hawaii or In bed with my girl/boyfriend. Our tutor then said to us, Well, why aren't you? We replied, Because we have to be at college of course! Why do you have to be at college? he retorted. Because, because, because we have to! Our parents tell us to, we just have to! So the conversation went on, until it was made adequately clear to us that in fact that was all complete rubbish. After all, weren't we the ones who ultimately had control over our actions?

This struck me somewhat forcefully at the time, and has become a deep-rooted belief. If you want to be somewhere enough then you can be there. Do not grumble about your situation. If you don't like it, change it. Don't wait until you are 'ready' for that big change - you could wait forever! Live for today and be happy.

Age 17: Epilepsy changes the course of my life

Anyhow, halfway through college I was diagnosed as having epilepsy, resulting in the end of my formal education. Upon leaving college I signed a five-year contract as trainee manager of my local convenience store, but only lasted eight months as a two-week break on a Greek island kindled my passion for travel. The following winter I spent in Switzerland, before moving on to work in America for three contemplatative months. I learnt some valuable lessons there, with the aid of 150 individuals from 30 different countries.

It was whilst I was in America that I succumbed to my want to be wanted. I became very close to a fellow English counsellor on the summer camp, and six months later in a bid to help us believe that our relationship was working, we found ourselves back in England with a house, mortgage and leaking washing machine. We tried very hard to be "normal", settling down with good jobs and a nice new car, but at the age of 22/23 we just weren't ready for all that that entailed.

Age 22: I Sell half a house for £1.00

Having sold my half of the house to my (ex)girlfriend for one pound, March 2000 saw me pack my rucksack once again. It had been a few years since I'd been on the road and I found myself feeling excited, terrified and awfully upset to be leaving everything behind that I had held dear to my heart. However, two months shovelling cow manure on a Swiss farm did me no end of good, and so upon my return to Kleine Scheidegg I felt reborn and ready to live once again.

The best summer of my life was followed by the best six weeks of my life so far - I'd chosen to take a holiday in Japan. My time in Asia was followed by two horrendously dull months working in the Alps, which thankfully were brought to a close the day I broke my collarbone in a skiing accident. February and March 2001 saw me use my sick leave to visit friends in France, England, Germany, and Italy. This was followed by a mad few days in the craziest of cities, Istanbul. My time there marked the end of my travels that spring - I then returned to the mountain retreat of Kleine Scheidegg where I spent many lonely hours building this website, before returning to Japan in October 2001, one-year working holiday visa in hand. There, I got a job teaching English from an office in central Tokyo. The company I worked for operated a correspondance course, so my 300 students would phone from all over Japan to experience a conversation with a real live native English speaker.

Late April 2002 saw me returning by boat to the northern island of Hokkaido to escape the summer typhoons and high-humidity that the rest of Japan enjoys. In Hokkaido I worked near Niseko at Country Inn Milky House, a family run pension (a sort of western-style guesthouse with entertainment provided).

August, September, October and November 2002 saw huge changes sweeping through my life, most of which were centred upon a relationship. Those were very difficult times, but necessary. I spent most of that time in Milan, Italy, with a three week break in the UK for my sister Jessie's wedding.

In November 2002 I returned to Tokyo, where I attempted to make a living despite visa restrictions that prevented me from working. Having fought the Japanese immigration authorities (in vain) for 6 months (which even involved a trip to Korea), I eventually had to return to the UK with £17,800 of debt, which led to my bankruptcy and a complete reasessment of my path in life. I concluded that it was time to lay my fear of university to one side and apply for an access-to-higher-education course in Bristol, England, which I succesfully completed in one year with top marks (For more on the reasons behind my decision to commit to five years of higher education, click here).

September 2004 saw me embark upon a 4-year BA degree in Japanese Studies at the University of Sheffield; during that time I spent two months doing voluntary work in Japan in the summer of 2005, and a further year in Tokyo on my 'year abroad' at Rikkyo University. During this time I also recorded the podcast A Year in Japan, and took part in Oxfam Japan's first ever Trailwalker. On August the 14th 2007, I had to return to the UK for a year (taking a 9000 mile overland route), in order to complete my degree program.

It was whilst carrying out my duties as secretary of Sheffield University Japan Society that I met *Twinkle* as she has come to be known on TameGoesWild. I couldn't quite believe my fortune, and still can't even now. On the 25th of July 2008 we married; following this happy event I embarked upon an intensive CELTA course (a 1-year Cambridge TEFL course, crammed into 4 weeks), passing with a grade B.

September 2008 saw me return to Japan, spouse visa in hand, ready to start a new life with my wife. Whilst I had already been offered a job from outside of Japan with a well-known English Conversation School, I was not keen to take it - poorly paid, and with little job satisfaction. I blogged about my search for a job, and was fortunate to have one of my ex-colleagues (from when I worked in Japan in 2001) read that post, and then go about securing me a job with my former employer. At that company I started out teaching English over the telephone, although it wasn't long before I was moved into an admin position, working as the middleman between a Japanese sales team and about 50 English instructors.

It was a very Japanese company, and I was able to learn a lot about how business is done here. After a little over a year however I could stand the ridiculous rules and power games no more, and so started to look elsewhere. Meanwhile, a concerted effort to make myself known in the Tokyo expat tech community was starting to pay off - not only did I now have a lot of friends, but I also had a network whom I could call on in my search for work. It was through this network that I met the owner of White Rabbit Press, where I am now happily working as Production and Marketing Director. It's a job that I enjoy a great deal. I have the opportunity to use the skills I've aquired so far, whilst developing new skills on an ongoing basis.

The rest is still being written, so watch this space...

Joseph Tame 2010