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.
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!"
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?
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
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.
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
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
Scheidegg I felt reborn and ready to live once
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
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
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
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.
rest is still being written, so watch
Joseph Tame 2010