TIH 550: Stephen J. Golds on Living in Japan, Writing Journey, and Early Life Lessons

TIH 550 Stephen J. Golds on Living in Japan, Writing Journey, and Early Life Lessons

In this podcast, Stephen J. Golds talks about living in Japan, his writing journey, early life lessons, and much more.

About Stephen J. Golds

Stephen J. Golds is the author of 3 novels: Say Goodbye When I’m Gone, I’ll Pray When I’m Dying, Always the Dead, one poetry collection and Poems for Ghosts in Empty Tenement Windows and one short story and poetry collection Love Like Bleeding Out With an Empty Gun in Your Hand.

Show notes

Click the timestamps to jump straight to the audio.

Thanks for Listening!

Help out the show:

Let us know how you enjoyed this episode:


Podcast Sponsors

House of Bad Memories by Michael David Wilson

From the author of The Girl in the Video comes a darkly comic thriller with an edge-of-your-seat climax.

Denny just wants to be the world’s best dad to his baby daughter, but things get messy when he starts hallucinating his estranged abusive stepfather, Frank. Then Frank winds up dead and Denny is held hostage by his junkie half-sister who demands he uncovers the cause of her father’s death.

Will Denny defeat his demons or be perpetually tortured for refusing to answer impossible questions?

House of Bad Memories is Funny Games meets This Is England with a Rosemary’s Baby under-taste.

Buy House of Bad Memories from Cemetery Gates Media

Buy the House of Bad Memories audiobook

The Girl in the Video by Michael David Wilson, narrated by RJ Bayley

Listen to The Girl in the Video on Audible in the US here and in the UK here.

[00:00:28] Michael David Wilson: Welcome to This Is Horror, a podcast for readers, writers, and creators. I'm Michael David Wilson, and every episode alongside my co-host, Bob Pastor, we chat with the world's best writers about writing life lessons, creativity, and much more. Today on this is Horror, I am talking to Steven J. Golds. He was born in North London in the uk, but has lived most of his adult life in Japan.

[00:01:06] He primarily writes in noir and dirty realism genres, and is the co-editor of Punk Noir Magazine. He's the author of Free Novels. Say Goodbye when I'm gone. I'll pray when I'm dying, and Always the Dead. Now, before we get into today's conversation, let us have a quick advert break,

[00:01:31] Bob Pastorella: house of Bad Memories.

[00:01:32] The debut novel from Michael David Wilson comes out on Friday the 13th this October via cemetery Gates Media. Denny just wants to be the world's best dad to his baby daughter, but things get messy when he starts hallucinating his estranged abusive stepfather, Frank. Then Frank winds up dead and Denny is held hostage by his junkie half sister, who demands he uncovers the cause of her father's death.

[00:01:54] Will Denny defeat his demons or be perpetually tortured for refusing to answer impossible questions? Clay McLeod Chapman says, house of Bad memories hit so hard. You'll spit teeth out once you're done reading it. Pre-Order, house of Bad Memories by Michael David Wilson and paperback at cemeterygatesmedia.com or an ebook via Amazon.

[00:02:17] From the host of This Is Horror Podcast comes a dark thriller of obsession, paranoia, and voyeurism. After relocating to a small coastal town, Brian discovers a hole that gazes into his neighbor's bedroom. Every night she dances and he peeps. Same song, same time, same wild and Mesmerizing dance. But soon Brian Suspects, he's not the only one watching, and she's not the only one being watched.

[00:02:41] Their watching is The Wickerman Meets Body Double with a Splash of Susperia. They're watching by Michael David Wilson and Bob Castella is available from, this is horror.co.uk, Amazon, and wherever good books are sold.

[00:02:59] Michael David Wilson: Steve, welcome to this is Horror podcast. Thank you,

[00:03:03] Stephen J. Golds: Michael. Cheers. Thank you very much. Good. Uh, good to be here. Yeah.

[00:03:08] Michael David Wilson: It's a little early for both of us here in Japan, but we are doing it as the schedule permits before 7:00 AM in fact. And so you've got your, uh, you've either got a Merry Christmas sign in the background or you're just celebrating someone called Chris.

[00:03:28] 'cause all I can see in the camera is Merry Chris. Yep.

[00:03:32] Stephen J. Golds: Merry Chris. My, my bad Christmas decorations in the background. Yeah.

[00:03:39] Michael David Wilson: So to begin with, I wanna know. What early life lessons you learned growing up, and they don't necessarily have to pertain to writing, just anything that you learned during those formative years.

[00:03:56] Stephen J. Golds: Wow, I've never been asked that before. Um, I think the most important one that's led me through my, kind of my personal life, my working life, and also my writing life. Twitter life is, uh, keep your nose clean, um, keep your head down, keep your nose clean, and just don't be a shitty person. Uh, is something that I try and I, I try and live by.

[00:04:23] So, um, I tend not to talk out school too much. I just keep myself to myself and, uh, try not to involve myself in things that could be volatile or I try, but it never really works out. I always get involved somehow, but, um. I think it's important to always just focus on yourself and, um, another life lesson that I've learned is, um, don't compete with other people, but concentrate on yourself.

[00:04:57] Uh, the only person that you should be competing with is, uh, your past self. So, um, rather than comparing myself to perhaps other writers, I compare my, I compare my, my aims to what I achieved before and then say, okay, how can I outdo that? How can I improve on that? Is something that I

[00:05:22] Michael David Wilson: try. Yeah. Do you think there was a moment when that lesson became reality for you?

[00:05:31] Or when it was imparted, perhaps a time where you didn't keep your nose clean and then you realized, okay, this is the way that it is, got to be. Um,

[00:05:43] Stephen J. Golds: I think there's been quite a few times as that's happened to me, but, um, I think within writing, I think within writing, for example, um, a good example of this is most of the novels that I've written have been about 60,000 words, but the novel that I'm writing now is actually at 65,000 words, and I'm about 50, 50% of the way through.

[00:06:12] So this is gonna be the longest thing I've written. Um, and also I've tried to outdo myself by, uh, writing something a little bit lighter. A lot of my stuff has been very dark, very relentless, and I've tried to, tried to push myself to write something a little bit lighter and less disturbing. I. For the novel that I'm writing now.

[00:06:38] Yeah. Is

[00:06:38] Michael David Wilson: this the novel that is set in Japan? It

[00:06:43] Stephen J. Golds: is, it is. It's um, it's actually set in Nagoya where, where I am and next to you. Yeah. Yeah. So, um, it's the first time I've actually even written properly about living in Japan, life in Japan. And this is something actually I want to talk to you about as well.

[00:06:59] Um, I kind of get sick and tired of, for example, I see a documentary on the BBC or I see something else on, on YouTube, and it's always kind of focused in on the quirky side of Japan, the kooky side of Japan. And then it kind of, I I, with the novel that I'm writing now, I wanted to show the normal everyday life side of Japan.

[00:07:24] There's no robots in this novel. There's no, no quirky, um. Animation style references too much. There's a few, but, um, yeah, there's, there's nothing like that. There's maybe a, a short reference to capsule hotels. Uh, I don't talk about, uh, using chopsticks, um, at all. Um, so I, I've tried to write a realistic portrayal of, uh, of everyday life in Japan.

[00:07:59] How about you? What do you think about that? Like, always you see something that's about robots or it's about, you know, something completely ridiculous. Like, uh, for example, cat hotels and not cat hotels. Cat Cafe, right. I've never been to a Cat Cafe yet. Whenever I talk to friends in London, they always ask me, oh, have you been to a cat cafe?

[00:08:18] It's like, I've never even seen a Cat Cafe, let alone gone into one. And I've been here 17 years. Right? So those kind of things I've tried to avoid those kind of quirky little things. There is cosplay though. I've got cosplay in the novel, obviously.

[00:08:33] Michael David Wilson: Yeah, I mean I think it can be obvious when somebody is writing a story about Japan, but they blatantly don't live in Japan.

[00:08:44] And it seems like you've just got all of this off documentaries or maybe you had a trip once and like, I mean it's, I guess it's conceivable that, that there could be a cat cafe scene. I mean, I'm imagining maybe there's some sort of shootout and you run into the cat cafe. That could be quite funny. I like that.

[00:09:08] Then descended into it, but it's not gonna be like a part of everyday life and you know, like, I mean the, the girl in the video is set in Japan and some people really appreciated that. You know, it, it was realistic and it's like, well, yeah, I'm just writing about in, in, in kind of normal life. You're not gonna see like, oh, well let's visit the robot restaurant.

[00:09:38] What? No, you're not gonna do that every day. And if you've seen the prices of going there, you wouldn't be able to afford it anyway. Um, and I, I think too, there can be a misconception, e even actually sometimes with people that I meet in Japan that like, you know, I must be into anime because I decided to visit Japan.

[00:10:03] And I, I don't really care for anime at all. I mean, there's like, there's a few that I've watched and in, in all honesty, the only reason that I've watched. Anime before is to try and learn some Japanese, but it is not an interest of mine. Mm-Hmm. I don't have an extensive manga collection, so yeah. It, it, it's good to, to see that and re really, I mean, the, the more the realistic Japanese novels are written by Japanese people living in Japan, you know, like Haruki Murakami and Rio Murakami and like, um, Higa know Kago like Mm-Hmm.

[00:10:55] And you, you just, it's a story and it's in Japan. You don't need to have this tick box of, of robots and anime. Yeah. Yeah. That's partly,

[00:11:05] Stephen J. Golds: partly what I'm worried about. You know, like publishers are expecting that.

[00:11:09] Michael David Wilson: I mean, I'm glad you're going down that route. I'm, I'm also not surprised. I mean, having read your other fiction, it would be totally bizarre if you were like, I'm writing about Japan and now I'm, I'm doing the, the tourist tick box.

[00:11:24] It wouldn't fit with anything you've done before, but I mean, be before. You've pretty much set your novels in the past. I mean, that the forties to eighties seems to be the real sweet spot for you. But is, am I correct in thinking not only are you setting this in the Goya, but is it in modern day Japan?

[00:11:50] Yes. Yes.

[00:11:51] Stephen J. Golds: It's the first thing I've ever written that's actually, uh, set in, uh, now. So it's actually set in 2022, uh, just as the, the Covid is easing down here in Japan. It's actually set in that time. It's the first thing I've written. I think, uh, in this century, um, I'm really in love with the past. I, I think, uh, there's something bittersweet about the past where, uh, I think most of what I've written has been set in the forties, fifties, and sixties, which personally I'm interested in.

[00:12:30] Um, I'm interested in everything really to do with those kind of areas, you know, music, you know, I love the music of the sixties, uh, the soul, the soul scene in the sixties. Um, the fashions of the 1950s, 1960s. Yeah. It's just, uh, I think all of my work's really primarily focused towards that love, that love of, uh, prior generations.

[00:12:57] But, um, with the new novel, I just wanted to make it as much about life right now as I could. And it's been refreshing actually, because I haven't had to do, um, so I started in September, mid-September, and I'm now about 65,000 words in. Um, I've been a bit lazy recently. I haven't written as much as I wanted every day, about maybe 500 words a day or something, so it's gone down.

[00:13:27] But, um, I haven't had to do really as much research as I previously had to before. Whereas, uh, when I wrote Always a Dead, which is in the 1940s in California, I actually researched quite heavily the weather and the, the atmosphere, um, in weather records at that time. Uh, I spent a couple of months going through old photos of Palm Springs and whatnot, but with this, it's set in Nagoya, it's set now.

[00:14:02] Um, so I can just write about what I'm seeing directly. Um, if I go to an udon, an uon restaurant, I can just easily write about that. I don't have to research anything. So it's been really, it's been really quite refreshing and, um, easygoing,

[00:14:19] Michael David Wilson: I think. Yeah. And I wanna kind of go back to your early years because I wanna get a sense as to kinda how you arrived here, both literally in Japan, but also as a writer.

[00:14:36] So what were your first experiences with story? Have you always been interested stories? Were you reading them from a young

[00:14:47] Stephen J. Golds: age? No, no, I wasn't. I actually mentioned this on a, on a, on a previous podcast, but, um, I don't tell a lot of people this, but in elementary school I was in a special ed class. I didn't actually know my alphabet.

[00:15:04] You know, until the age of about 11. Uh, so I had, I had, uh, maybe a lot of learning, I wouldn't say learning difficulties, but I had learning problems. I was a kind of a, um, I wasn't a, a studious child, so uh, I kind of fell in love with reading at the age of, I think about 13. And, um, I was really interested in the alien movies, so I'd watch Alien Aliens and, um, I wanted to know more about that kind of universe.

[00:15:46] So I went to the library and I asked the librarian, you know, I want to read this alien book. I think it was Alien Free, the Novelization, the movie Novelization. And so I got it out from the library and I just. Really focused on it, and I read it, and it really, after that, I think I wrote, I wrote at the age of 11 or 12, I wrote, um, a story, a short story in English class.

[00:16:17] And, um, it was the best in the class, the teacher said, so it really catapulted my English learning alien free. Thank you. Thank you very much. But, um, yeah, after that I didn't actually read very much until the age, I think about 18. And I was in a, I was in a charity shop, a secondhand store, and there was, uh, a bookshelf I checked out and I picked up a, a book, it was called Post Office, by this guy called Charles Bakowski.

[00:16:48] And I turned it over. It was a guy about, it was about a guy that drank too much and delivered mail. And, um, I thought, well, that sounds interesting. And I, I bought it. I think it was about a quid. Pound or something, and I took it home and I, I just blew through it in a couple of hours. I was like, shit, this guy is amazing.

[00:17:07] Because it was the first time I'd read something that kind of spoke to my existence at the age of 18 where it was kind of a, a working class guy from a working class background who, you know, hated his job. And at the time I was, um, of course going to university. I was gonna start university, but I was working construction.

[00:17:29] Um, my dad's a foreman on a construction site, so he got me every summer. He would get me a job working construction. So I, I worked a job, but I didn't really like it all that much. It was kind of dull and boring manual labor. And, um, yeah, so Charles Kowski really spoke to me and then that lit the fuse. Uh, I read the rest of these novels blew through those, and I thought, wow, this guy can really, really tell a story.

[00:17:58] So I started, I started writing a little bit. I wrote a couple of short stories. Uh, I sent them off to this writer, Scottish writer called Laura Herd. Uh, she's a writer based in, um, in Scotland, Edinburgh. And she was originally published by, uh, started reading Rebel Rebel Ink's novels that introduced me to like Knut Hampton and, um, a lot of great authors that they had there.

[00:18:26] John Fante as well, I found who Rebel Ink, uh, the publisher. And then from there, that was the start. And then from the age of after that, from the age of like, after I finished university, um, joined university actually I took a creative writing course. My professor was called Moi McCrory. She's a another writer.

[00:18:50] And uh, she pulled me aside and she said, wow, you've got so much talent. You know, she was the first person in my whole life that I ever actually said, you know, you and talent together about me. So, wow. That really inspired me. And then I just, you know, worked a lot of crappy jobs. I was working, I worked at somewhere in a cardboard box factory, which doesn't even sound real, does it?

[00:19:16] A cardboard box factory. Um, I worked construction again, worked some other, uh, crappy jobs. I went back to, uh, university to do my PGCE to become a high school teacher. Um, I dropped out of that. I moved to Hong Kong. Um, things went bad in Hong Kong. Came back to London. I applied to many jobs in South America.

[00:19:41] I also tried Japan, but the dream was to live in South America. And then I got offered a job, uh, teaching business English. Out here in Japan. I took it, I only expected to be here a year. That was a plan one year or two years. And then, um, I met my ex-wife, had children. Of course, I wasn't writing at this time because, uh, I was trying to learn Japanese, you know, learning the alphabets, hiragana katana, trying to learn the kanji.

[00:20:14] So that took all of my time. And then, um, I think about nearly four years ago, I was going through a lot of problems mentally. And, um, I thought, well, I'll start writing again as a way of therapy. I started writing poetry, started writing short stories again, and then boom, I, I got onto the novels. I wrote three novels in the space of, I think a year.

[00:20:40] Something like a hundred short stories. Hundreds of poems. And then, you know, here I am years later. Still in Japan, still writing still. So yeah, that's, uh, that's my story. The brief

[00:20:55] Michael David Wilson: summary. Yeah. So remarkable one really, I mean, for you two have gone from not being able to read the alphabet to then kind of reading the novelization of Alien Free.

[00:21:13] That that is not a typical book that people start with. But I think it also highlights the importance like with, with teaching and with reading, like finding what is it that the person actually engages with. And in a way it's the same with with Japanese learning, because you, you need a motivation, you need a reason.

[00:21:40] If you're just given some basic kind of KY one and KY two text and it's like, well re read that, then that's not really going to light you up. But if there's like a certain book, if there's a certain mango or there's a purpose, then you're kind of away. So, I mean, it must have been remarkable and so liberating when, when you unlock this and you realize actually this is something that I enjoy.

[00:22:13] And then, you know, the, the other moment at 18 discovering Bukowski. 'cause I, I feel like a, you know, not many teachers say I'll pick up some Charles Bukowski, but, you know, then when you find him it, it's kind of liberating. It's this. Bizarre moment where you're like, what you, you can write like this, you can write about stuff like this.

[00:22:40] I mean, I kind of had a similar moment with the beat poets as well. You know, people like Alan Ginsburg and Jack Kerouac, William Burs, and finding this as a mode in which we can write and it, yeah, it's just so exciting when you find the right story and the right author.

[00:23:00] Stephen J. Golds: Yeah, definitely. I definitely think so.

[00:23:02] I think as well, like, uh, with learning, there's the introvert learner and there's the extrovert learner, and I think it's about, you know, I, I found that I'm an introvert learner, so actually my, my Japanese reading is better than my actual speaking. Um, so I think I'm, I'm just kind of made that way where I tend to learn, focus more on words or.

[00:23:28] Reading even in English. I think that my, uh, my reading and writing is much better than my actual speaking. Um, I think that's just how my brain works. But, um, yeah, so when I'm, when I'm teaching, when I'm teaching English, I try to, you know, try to figure out which of my students are introvert learners, which of my students are extrovert learners, and try to cater, uh, their learning towards what's best suited for them.

[00:23:58] Um, yeah, but it's not, it's not a great origin story, is it? You know, the alien free novelization. It's not even the best alien movie. But yeah, it helped. It definitely helped. You know. And then Stephen King, I discovered Stephen King as well. Um, ev when I was working construction, I always, I wore this massive fluorescent jacket and in the pocket of the fluorescent jacket, I always had a Stephen King.

[00:24:22] Novel. So what I'd do is I'd, when no one was around, I'd sneak around, you know, hide behind some boxes or something. I'd start, start reading and I'd just be completely engrossed. And then it kind of introduced this, this idea of, which I try and tell my daughters all the time, if you have a book, you can, you can time travel.

[00:24:45] If you have a book you can travel to anywhere in the world. And um, I think that's the best thing about reading really, is the idea of traveling or mentally exploring.

[00:25:00] Michael David Wilson: Yeah. Yeah. And I think if you have a book then, I mean, in many ways you're never truly alone, which kind of ties into, I mean, it can be quite isolating being in, you know, a country where you don't, I.

[00:25:20] Speak the main language or you at least don't natively speak it. It isn't your native tongue. And I mean, I think with Japan as well, it is not just about the language being different, but the culture at times, the mentality. So I mean, we can seek comfort and familiarity and adventure in books in so many situations.

[00:25:47] Stephen J. Golds: Yeah, definitely. I think, um, the whole thing with Japan is I think that when you come here, if you come here to live, I think you have to completely cut away, uh, cut away somewhat the idea that you are an Englishman or you are Canadian or you're American, I think you got somewhat cut off and try. Towards, you know, Japanese culture and Japanese life.

[00:26:18] So actually, uh, my tattooist, he always says to me, uh, Steve, you are, you are more Japanese than I am. And which, which I've heard quite a few times actually, um, from coworkers or Steve, you're really, you're really quite Japanese, you know? So hopefully after 17 years of, uh, of living in Japan, I kind of feel, I kind of feel like this is my home, 100%.

[00:26:46] And I feel, I kind of feel that I'm part of Japanese society again, uh, my Japanese is very good. I can talk fluently daily life. But for example, I had some medical problems with, um. I had, uh, pins and needles in my hands. I had muscle damage for a while, or nerve damage. I had nerve damage for a while. I've still got it quite, quite a bit.

[00:27:17] But, um, going to the doctors and trying, you know, I had to, I learned a whole bunch of new words about nerves and damage and whatnot. So, uh, you're always evolving, always developing and picking things up as you go culturally as well as linguistically. Um, so that's why I love living in Japan every day is every day is you're learning something new.

[00:27:44] Even 17 years later. I love walking around Japan, especially at night. 'cause even now, 17 years later, it's still, still blows me away. Japan at night, all the neon lit up, all of the illuminations from the, from the shops and stuff. It's got so much atmosphere here. I love

[00:28:01] Michael David Wilson: it. Yeah. Yeah. So before you were saying.

[00:28:07] How your Japanese is actually better in terms of your reading level as opposed to your speaking, or it certainly was to begin with. So you also said in fact that you took a number of years out where you weren't really writing, where you were purely studying and focusing on Japanese. So I think it would be quite interesting to know a little bit about your language learning strategy, what you did to get so good at Japanese, and what that looks like in terms of the timeframe and in terms of how long you were spending on Japanese study each day.

[00:28:52] So let's really dig into the minutia of that.

[00:28:56] Stephen J. Golds: Okay, so when I first arrived in Japan, I knew a handful of, uh, phrases like, uh, I'm sorry, excuse me. Um, of course, um, hello, that kind of stuff. So I knew some key phrases like a tourist, but, um, I just started really heavily trying to learn the alphabets again.

[00:29:22] So there's three alphabets as you know, hiragana, katana, and then the more advanced, uh, kanji. So, um, I just started learning hiragana and, um, I just, it's basically like relearning the alphabet. I, I taught myself the alphabets again, and then from there, um, I, I began to. Able to read, very similar to English language development.

[00:29:47] And then I also, uh, used to take classes. I used to go to a Japanese class, uh, maybe once or twice a week. Um, there was a, an old lady that used to teach me, um, I actually had free, actually free teachers over, over the first, I think five years, one hour a week. So I got my Japanese level up to conversation, conversation level.

[00:30:15] And then I studied for the JLPT, which is a Japanese language proficiency test. And there's 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 1 being the highest. And, um, I didn't bother with five 'cause I thought that was too easy. And then I, I passed four and I studied really hard and I passed a third. So you,

[00:30:37] Michael David Wilson: you've got, you've got yourself to N three, but clearly.

[00:30:42] The journey didn't end at that point.

[00:30:45] Stephen J. Golds: It, it kind of did. It kind of did because, um, so for those years I studied Japanese and then my first marriage, uh, and raising my children, I wanted my children to speak English, of course. Mm. And then mixed, mixed race. And, um, so I started, instead of using, uh, Japanese at home to practice my Japanese, I, I strictly started using just English.

[00:31:13] And even until today, I just speak English with my daughters. And for that reason, my daughters are bilingual because the only way they hear English is, you know, from me, only from me. So, um, and of course they've got a couple of English classes a week. So my English speaking time with my children is really important and has taken priority, um, over perhaps.

[00:31:42] Speaking Japanese and kind of it got to the point where my level is, I guess, an intermediate level. It's not advanced. So I can live, um, I can live extremely comfortably. Um, now, um, using my Japanese, it, it can be difficult when, you know, for example, I've gotta go to the hospital. I've got a, a serious problem or, you know, something to do with law or really high-end vocabulary.

[00:32:13] But my, my Japanese is, is good enough. So my wife now, um, she can't speak English at all. So we communicate using, uh, Japanese or, um, a mixture. A mixture of Japanese and English, which I sometimes use with my daughters as well. Uh, a mix of Japanese and English. Um, nowadays. So I don't know, like of course after, I guess after that I started reading.

[00:32:46] But what I wanted to do is I got Raymond Carver, for example, someone who uses very simple, uh, but very, how do I say, daily English useful kind. And I bought the same edition in Japanese. And then I'd read the books together. So I'd read one page English and then one page in Japanese. So I got the understanding from it.

[00:33:12] And then I guess I also watch, uh, TV shows like, um, the Sopranos or True Detective or something. But I watch them with Japanese subtitles and then I'll be reading the subtitles and learning like that. A lot of the translation is way off, but. It could have been. So I think it teaches me, uh, I think it teaches me kind of useful, useful, um, useful Japanese because for the, the first couple of years I learned with the old ladies, they would teach me really polite.

[00:33:53] So there's a Japanese is honorific, right? So there's for example, Tabo eat and then tab mass. Mm-hmm. And then there's, uh, cago, which is the extreme honorific, which is, what's that? I can't even remember now. Tab or something like that. And uh, tab or something. But it's something very polite. I, and they taught me the honors, which I obviously didn't learn very well, and they taught me the very polite way tab.

[00:34:26] But no one talks like that when you are hanging out with Japanese people. And then my Japanese friends at the time were always like, why are you speaking so polite? So I said to my Japanese teacher, you know, I, I, I don't wanna learn too polite. And then she was like, well, what do you mean? Why wouldn't you want to speak politely?

[00:34:45] And I said, well, I want to just speak like everyone else is speaking. And um, so she taught me a little bit, but I could see it was really going against the grain. She just wanted to teach me, you know, the really polite Japanese. So yeah, basically my Japanese is, uh, for the last few years, just self-taught and just immersion, I guess.

[00:35:06] Immersion in, you know, living in Japan for 17 years. I a stuff.

[00:35:17] If I was to, if people were to see me speaking, like, uh, for example, you know, my family from back home or my friends from back home, when they come out to Japan, they're like, wow, you are fluent. You're really fluent in Japanese. And it's like, even though I'm at the level now where I am able to have the conversation, I'm still quite insecure about it.

[00:35:42] I think I, I sound a lot like Borat. Hello. I like this of food. It's a nice, you know, I think maybe I sound a little bit like that. So that can be worrying sometimes. And you gotta have a lot of confidence. Uh, one of my friends, for the first three years that I lived in Japan, um, I thought he was amazingly fluent.

[00:36:05] But after actually becoming fluent myself or semi fluent, I realized, wow, he's actually not talking about anything at all. You know, he would just, he was just, uh, falling with style, you know? Mm-Hmm. So he would,

[00:36:28] so he would make these conjunction noises, which are, um, how do I say? You know what I'm saying? He would say those things a lot. Yeah. And he would use those so much so like, anyway, and you know, so, you know what I mean? And he would use these in the thing, but he wasn't actually talking about anything. He was, so, you know what I mean?

[00:36:52] It's, it's like, how do I say it's really hot today, you know, and then that it's hot today would be a small part, but the rest of it would just be kind of gibberish. That sounded really cool. Yeah. Mm-Hmm. So I guess my, my Japanese is, uh, maybe quite similar to that now, but, uh. Again, I teach at university and, um, I, I tend to teach, you know, it's got to the point now where I can easily teach a whole class in, in Japanese.

[00:37:21] Um, but I, I try not to, of course, I think, uh, it's important for my students to listen to English and interact in English, so I try not to use it, but there's been times where I have been able to teach whole classes, uh, in Japanese. Yeah.

[00:37:40] Michael David Wilson: So, yeah. Yeah.

[00:37:44] And, and it is funny too, how, not knowing a lot, but like, you know, if I go to a cafe and I order a coffee and I'm with people who don't speak Japanese, they're like, whoa, what a magic trick. And it's like, I, I literally just form the most basic sentence possible. So yeah, you, you can kind of trick people into thinking, you know, you are fluent or near fluent.

[00:38:13] Um, but I, I guess it, it doesn't take too much to be able to, to function. Mm-Hmm. I mean, not, you know, not, not to have any deep or meaningful conversations, but to just get by. Yeah. Yeah. So, I mean, that, that is, that, that is at least useful, but I, I mean, I, I wonder. You know, when, when you were learning and things, so you, you said about watching the Sopranos and having the subtitles.

[00:38:47] Were you watching the dub or were you watching it in English and then at the same time, like reading the Japanese and looking at in real time. Okay. How have they translated that?

[00:38:59] Stephen J. Golds: Yeah, I can't really be doing with, uh, dubs. I, I don't really watch any dubs. So if, if I watch a foreign language film, I always watch it with the subtitles and, um, you know, when the, hey you, what are you doing?

[00:39:15] You know, like the, the old, yeah, the old briefly movies. But, um, yeah, I just read, I read, um, I listen to the English, of course James Gold is talking and then I'm listening or I'm reading the, uh, the subtitles in Japanese. And like I said, a lot of the time it doesn't really quite match up. Can we swear on your podcast?

[00:39:40] Michael David Wilson: You certainly can. Yeah.

[00:39:41] Stephen J. Golds: So for example, there's, in Japan, they don't really, as you know, they don't really have curse words the same way we do. Yeah. So there's the word, so, which is like, shit. Mm-Hmm. But you could also use it for, you know, fuck if you, if you're in trouble, or for example, um, it's fucking cold would be, so they add this word cusso, which means shit to everything.

[00:40:11] It can be used as shit or as fuck. Um, and it's added to everything. So for example, uh, let's say for example, um, I'm trying to think of some really bad words, but yeah, that's the, the difficult translation. 'cause you can have, for example, one word, which isn't. Um, quite strong for English people, which is very strong for American people.

[00:40:40] The, the C word, uh, in, in Japanese that's really just translated as a shitty guy or shitty girl. Yeah. Or shitty person. There's, there's not really a translation for curse words so much. Um, so that's always interesting when I'm watching something like The Sopranos, you know, when I see Tony Soprano, uh, Sopranos says the worst kind of stuff, and it's just translate as shitty.

[00:41:13] So even now, the book that I'm writing now is a, a Japanese thriller, and I'm trying to, I'm trying to write the language as though it's in translation already. So in English I'm trying to use, you know, but in the Japanese sense of using it, um, yeah. So. I think, uh, the Japanese language is very innocent. I think.

[00:41:40] Somewhat.

[00:41:41] Michael David Wilson: Yeah. Mm-Hmm. Yeah. Well, no, well, not, not just with swearing, but with any kind of word. I mean, if you had the word super rashi or that can be brilliant. Magnificent, excellent, wonderful. Like there, there's just so many more words in English, and I suppose like, it, it, as a Japanese language learner, it it, or, or as a Japanese speaker, it is good and it's bad.

[00:42:11] I mean, it, it's good in terms of learning because there's less words you technically have to learn, but then when you're trying to speak Japanese, it is like, you, you, you don't, you can't quite get it as exact as you want. But I mean, I know quite early on when I started taking. My Japanese studies seriously that, you know, a classic beginner mistake, which I definitely did do to begin with, is you try and think what you want to say in English and then translate it into your mind into Japanese Mm-Hmm.

[00:42:49] But what you have to do is, it's like, no, just say what you can with the language available, even if it is not exact at all, even if it is vaguely in the direction as to what you want to say. And, and maybe for people like us who are writers, that might be even harder because it's like, well, our words are our power.

[00:43:14] We don't want to say something vague. We want to say exactly what we want, but it, it, it's just not possible, you know? And until you've got all of that vocabulary and actually even when. You have, there just might be limits, you know, that, that there's times where I'll, I'll ask my girlfriend, how do I say this really nuanced sentence?

[00:43:41] And it's like, you, you couldn't quite say it like that. Mm-Hmm. You just have to say this, which is a, a, a much simpler thing and Mm-Hmm. I suppose that might kind of return to the, the idea that actually yes, in Japan and communication there is the language, but there's also what isn't said. There are things that are implied.

[00:44:07] Ky

[00:44:08] Stephen J. Golds: Ky, right.

[00:44:09] Michael David Wilson: Q Right. So I, I, I wanted to ask, in fact, so you, you did say that when you were talking to your tattooist in Japan Mm-Hmm. That he actually said that you are more Japanese than a lot of Japanese people that he knows. So I wanna return to that. What? Mm-Hmm. Was meant by that. What are some of the things that you do or that other people have said that you do that are very Japanese in nature?

[00:44:40] Stephen J. Golds: Wow. I think, um, so shout out to Bhawan. Bhawan has been my tattooist, uh, since the day or since the first week I arrived, um, until today. So I already had a few tattoos when I arrived, but really I went full out here in Japan and it was bad choan. I've stayed loyal the whole time just getting tattoos by the same person.

[00:45:05] And, uh, I remember when I got my first tattoo, I think I'd been in Japan for about six months, and, um, after I bowed, I bowed deeply after he did the tattoo. And I said like, thank you, thank you very much, master, you know, like, uh, like that. And then he kind of cringed like, what the hell are you doing? Bowing?

[00:45:24] You know, but, um, he's really. It's weird 'cause he's really old school Japanese, but at the same time, he considers himself outside of society, which is a whole, a whole other show that we could go into this whole idea of the outsiders within Japan. Um, but I guess Japan is a country where you have to 100% you have to engross and totally immerse yourself in the culture.

[00:46:01] Uh, not so much that you, um, how do I say? I've never won to kimono, for example. Um, that's something I wanna save, you know, for my official wedding ceremony is I, I hope to wear kimono at that time, but it's something that you have to give up the way things are done in your home country. And just completely take on the Japanese way of doing things, I guess.

[00:46:31] So for example, um, I haven't taken a day off work, for example, in I think about 15 years, a very, very, very long time. I haven't taken a day off. So if you're sick in England, I would call up, say, look, I've got a cold, I've got the flu. I'm gonna take day off work in Japan is you put a mask on and you go to work.

[00:46:56] You know, it's, um, and you, you try to avoid other people while you're at work. I guess that's one example of, uh, ways, but I guess a few people, you know, my wife now says that my, my body language has become quite Japanese. Or, you know, I don't even know what that means to, I can't really define it, but, um.

[00:47:20] Maybe it's like an atmosphere, like so much of, like you said, in Japan, a lot of it is atmosphere and reading the air and uh, I think we're English or we're British, so we kind of had that somewhat in England reading the air. We don't like to say things too directly, so a lot of stuff is done through body language and through indirect language.

[00:47:45] Um, so that, that took me a long time to get used to it. And the, the Japanese will say Ky Ky. So for example, he is Ky it means K, he can't read the air. So that was really important. Um, but just I, I managed when I first, my first job in Japan was extremely corporate and very business style. So, um, it was a crash course really in Japanese business, et and.

[00:48:18] Stuff like that. So it really helped. That helped me a whole lot. And, um, yeah, I've just tried to, tried to engross myself somewhat in the, in the culture, um, or daily, daily life culture. So I, I never, I never planned to come to Japan originally. It just kind of happened. So I didn't have any preconceived notions of Japan.

[00:48:44] I didn't have any preconceived ideas of what I liked about Japan. I'd never watched anime or, or red manga and stuff like that. I still haven't, I don't know anyone that does really watch anime or Reid Manger. Um, so I don't know. Everyone has a different experience, so,

[00:49:02] Michael David Wilson: yeah. Yeah, and I mean, it, it's an interesting rabbit hole.

[00:49:09] The idea of the, the tattooist being an outsider and, you know, tattoo culture and. Kind of conceptions and misconceptions within Japan, as you say, that is an entire podcast in and of itself. But I mean, it it, it's interesting too that, I mean, at the point where you have one tattoo, you might as well get many because at at, at that point, it's like you, you, you've already got some restrictions.

[00:49:45] So it can be difficult to go to some onsens, some public baths, for example, or there can be yeah, a kind of perception as to, as to who you might be. But I mean, I would say on those two points, I mean fir first of all, like that, I have definitely noticed within the last few years that there are more. Ens that are accepting people with tattoos.

[00:50:13] So I think it is getting better in that respect. Another point, I, I find that this is totally, it's totally unfair. It's totally hypocritical, but it is the way that it is. But it, if you are a foreigner in Japan and you have a tattoo, you do not get the, the pressure or the assumption that a Japanese person with a tattoo would have.

[00:50:39] So I, I do find sometimes that like, you know, even though you can try to conform, you can try to, uh, kind of, I guess, fit into Japanese culture, that there will be times where you are given a pass. Um, yeah, yeah, yeah. I think so. Just through the nature of being a gagen in Japan. Mm-Hmm. I

[00:51:07] Stephen J. Golds: think. There's two types of tattoo.

[00:51:10] There's what they consider Japanese gang tattoos and in yeah, foreign, foreign fashion tattoos. So, um, a lot of them will say, oh, these are just fashion tattoos. But lots of the Japanese people still do have a very strong stigma towards tattoo. They find tattoos quite repulsive and they have the idea that only bad people get tattoos, you know, no matter what, uh, country or culture you're from.

[00:51:37] Um, yeah, so like you said, when I first came to Japan, I had a few dotted everywhere and, uh, I always wanted to just go full out and get the whole lot done, all joined together, sleeves and whatnot. And, um, in summertime I was already having to cover up long sleeves all the time, so I thought, oh, to hell with it, I'm just gonna go, go all out and get it all done because I'm already suffering in the summertime.

[00:52:03] So, yeah. But, um. It's slowly changing, slowly changing. And um, you know, my tattoo has told me the amount of, uh, salary man, uh, or businessman or businesswomen, that his tattooing has increased. You know, so a lot of people do have tattoos. They're just not showing as for on and bathhouses and stuff like that.

[00:52:25] It really depends on the area. Uh, I was surprised at my hotel in Okinawa there were no, no tattoos allowed, which is annoying when you've paid extra to go to an SEN hotel. And, um, you can't actually use the SEN facilities. And the same, I just, uh, got back from Edo. We stayed at Anson Hotel there and couldn't, couldn't use the facilities either.

[00:52:51] Even when I go swimming at the local pool, I have to wear full, uh, you know, wetsuit top. Um. Yeah, so they just, uh, they don't wanna see tattoos because I think once they, if for example, if they opened up the onsen and they said tattoos are okay, then you know, they're gonna have gang members coming. But the thing is with the Yakuza is most Yakuza nowadays serious, or how do I say, mobsters or gang affiliate people are Ewing tattoos.

[00:53:23] They don't want to get tattoos because they know, why would I identify myself like that? So why would, why do I want to draw attention to myself? So the younger generation are actually not getting tattoos done. It's, you know, the older generation or maybe people who, who kind of wanna live up to that image, but very serious ones are, are not, are not doing that I've heard.

[00:53:49] Michael David Wilson: Yeah. Yeah. And I mean it, I, I think that, that there is like slowly more acceptance. Anyway, and there are more like young Japanese people deciding, you know, what I, I want a fashion tattoo for, for want of better phrasing. And so I think particularly if we're seeing a trend in which a lot of like yaku are, uh, then not having tattoos that we may see like a further decline in those restrictions.

[00:54:26] Stephen J. Golds: See, for the listeners, I think we have to explain as well, um, even today in Japanese society, for a woman to perhaps color her hair blonde is no way. You know, so talked about this before, but my wife put highlights in her hair and she got a disciplinary warning about that, you know, and it's completely mind boggling even for me after, you know, 17 years that.

[00:54:55] Is still such a, it's still really frowned upon it. Same as earrings, right? You'll see the businessmen, they have a, an earring on the weekends, but when it's work time that that earrings packed away, it's gone. And then, uh, when it's a weekend again, the earring goes back in. So yeah, it's, uh, the corporate environment is quite, can be quite rigid I guess, but, you know, there's positive points and negative points to everything.

[00:55:23] Yeah.

[00:55:25] Michael David Wilson: Yeah. I mean, and, and even though we perhaps don't like to admit it, but it, it, it is the same in the West, not to that level, but that, you know, I mean, as somebody who, like I grew up listening to a lot of heavy metal and. Dressing in like a kind of golf way for, again, want of better phrasing. Like I had a lot of facial piercings and like ear piercings and, and stuff, and like that there would unfortunately be judgments in, in the workplace.

[00:56:02] And like, I, I think anyone like that, you have to kind of make a decision. It's like, well, am I going to conform even though I don't want to, even though in a way it's not quite true to my identity, but am I gonna do it to try and, you know, climb that ladder or am I going to not do it? But then the consequence could be that there are judgements and that there's no, there's no easy answer to that.

[00:56:34] Mm-Hmm. But it's. It, it is something that I think is getting better, but there's, there's a lot of room for improvement. Mm-Hmm. But I wanna jump back in to the writing, and one of the things that you said is, you know, when, when you decided, okay, you're really going to concentrate on your writing, I believe you said there was one year where you wrote a hundred short stories in that year?

[00:57:05] Yeah,

[00:57:06] Stephen J. Golds: yeah. A lot of them were, um, how do I say, flash, flash fiction. So you are looking at short stories or flash fiction of about 500 words. But yeah, I, I wrote a huge, huge amount. So I've released one collection of short stories a couple years ago, and then I've got, I've already. Enough short stories for one more, uh, one more collection of short stories that I haven't put together yet.

[00:57:37] Yeah, so I just wrote, I wrote like a demon. Um, when, when I'm on, I'm really on, so I've written like 65,000 words of the newest novel, but I've been beating myself up this week because I've only written, you know, 3000 words or something in the last five days. That bothers me. I've only written 5,000 words, but I've been doing redrafting as I've gone as well, which I, I don't, I don't really ever count redrafts, but, um, just overall word counts.

[00:58:09] I try to reach, I try to do at least a thousand words a day if I can. Um, I haven't been writing poetry for a long time. I'm not concentrating on short stories anymore. Um, just focusing on the, on the novel. And then as soon as I finish this one, I'm gonna go back and finish another novel that was halfway through and then start working on the sequel to the novel that I'm working on now.

[00:58:31] So, just always trying to stay busy, you know, if you, if you want to be a writer, I think it's important to actually do writing. A lot of people just talk about writing, but they're not actually doing it. And I think it's a good idea to stay away from Twitter, because Twitter can just be a rabbit hole. You know, you, you can end up, it's the same as YouTube nowadays.

[00:58:51] You can end up watching like. Of those ten second videos. So I'm trying to just not use social media or YouTube or anything like that and just concentrate on the writing as much as

[00:59:05] Michael David Wilson: possible. Yeah, I used to be quite obsessed with metrics and looking at how many thousand words I'd done each day, and I think that was quite a useful tool for starting out.

[00:59:19] And when I was initially getting into things and taking the writing seriously, but these days I don't really obsess over it. I mean, I'll have an idea as to how much I've written, but I write every day or I do something with the writing every day. So that could include redrafting. As long as I'm working on it every day, as long as I'm making progress, I don't obsess over the numbers because I mean, I found, I did find that if I obsessed too much, actually whilst the quantity was improving, the quality was diminishing.

[01:00:04] So I'd rather just Mm-Hmm. Take the time to get it right and to, to look over it and not look at that word count. And the thing is, anyway, if you obsess over the word count, it's, it's like a false victory because the rougher those words, the more you're just gonna have to redraft and edit it anyway. So, Mm-Hmm.

[01:00:27] Yeah. I found if I can get it nearer to right the first time, then even better. But I mean, I, I think about, there's this idea that a lot of us, we overestimate. What we can do in the short term, but we underestimate what it is we can do in the long term. And if you are just like doing a little bit every day, you are going to write at least a novel a year, you're probably going to write a lot more than that.

[01:00:59] And you know that, that is with the right sales, that is a career. Mm-Hmm.

[01:01:07] Stephen J. Golds: That's a dream. Right. One or two novels a year, being able to that, you know, write full time. Yeah. But, um, I think I, I, for a long time I've felt under pressure from myself. I always feel like a sense of impending doom. Like I have to hurry up and write as much as I can.

[01:01:31] I always feel like I don't have much time. Um, I, I don't know why I feel that way. Just, um. I just feel like I wanna write as much as possible, as soon as possible and build up a, a library of work. But I honestly, I, I don't know why I feel that way. I think it's, um, maybe a holdover from, you know, from my more depressive days, I guess.

[01:01:59] Yeah.

[01:02:00] Michael David Wilson: Yeah. I mean, I, I, I get that as well. I think there have been times where my obsession over writing has been to the detriment of other aspects of my life and, mm-Hmm. I, I think I've got a pretty good balance at the moment. And I mean, one, one thing I kind of make sure as well is that like, I've got time each day for my relationship and I, I know that to some people it might sound odd to be like, what, what am I, am I kind of scheduling it in?

[01:02:35] In, in a way, in my mind, yes, because that is kind of how I work. If I don't spend an hour or so where it's like, right, this is the time with my girlfriend. If I get to feel that, you know, just do do whatever. Then, you know, there, there have been times in my life, particularly if I, I look back at things like with my, you know, with, with my previous marriage where it, it is like I, I was just obsessively working all the time.

[01:03:12] Mm-Hmm. And I don't, I don't think that's healthy. I don't think that is, you know, fair to that relationship.

[01:03:19] Stephen J. Golds: Mm-Hmm. I, I, I completely feel the same way. I'm extremely hungry, you know, I feel like. I'm hungry for the success, but again, like you said, there's other priorities in life. So what I try to do is, this is my advice for anyone that's looking for time to write, is try to write five o'clock until six o'clock or six o'clock into seven o'clock in the morning.

[01:03:44] Try to do an hour early in the morning, maybe after you've had breakfast, after you've had your coffee. Um, there's nighttime as well. Late at night is a good time to write. Maybe one o'clock in the morning or something is sometimes a good time. But as well, I also have, uh, the word app on my cell phone. So if I'm waiting for a train, this is my right in time, you know, or if there's always times where people pick up instead of picking up and using.

[01:04:18] Log onto the word app and do write something is something that's the reason why I could write as much as I did, you know, a couple of years ago, is because I was strictly writing on my phone. I didn't have an iPad. I didn't have a computer. Everything at that time was written on my phone. And it was mostly written in places like subway stations and, you know, uh, a couple of bars or you know, the Ramen restaurant.

[01:04:45] There's always places to write, I think where especially when you're walking around and then you'll get an idea. It's a great idea. Just quickly sit down and write something out. So yeah, it's.

[01:05:01] Major, I think for writing is having it on my phone and trying to write instead of using social media, because I actually am only on Twitter and I only joined Twitter to meet other writers. I'm not really interested in the whole social media scene as a whole.

[01:05:18] Michael David Wilson: Oh yeah. I mean there's been numerous, this is our podcast where we've spoken about social media and how it's a force for good and a force for bad Mm-Hmm.

[01:05:28] And we don't need to retread that ground now. Mm-Hmm. I think it is something that many people are familiar with, but I mean, you know, an example as to how it is a force for good is actually how we connected is how we met. Yeah. I, I, I can't remember exactly, but I, I wonder and I will carver if it was Yeah.

[01:05:53] If I will carver and. I perhaps we'd put out ais Horror podcast with him, and then you, you chimed into the conversation. It's like, wait, you, you're in Japan. And then I look up, you know, where, where you are, and we get talking and it's like, hang on, we're basically next to each other. It's like, that's how close in, in Japan.

[01:06:20] And like we've, we a a lot of people when you meet someone who's in Japan or you hear of someone who's in Japan, they're in Tokyo, or they're very close to Tokyo. So for you to be, you know, kind of right here and not in Tokyo, that that was a, a good moment.

[01:06:42] Stephen J. Golds: Yeah. Yeah. It's kind of a, I was kind of shocked as well that you, you were where you are because, uh, your, your county or your prefecture is right next door to mine and, um, yeah.

[01:06:54] Like you said, there's not, not a lot of people around around our parts, I think. Yeah. Or there's a lot more in mine, but definitely less in yours. But it's a shame that, you know, it's um, I think you should move out of your, come to mind even though mine's a little bit more expensive, probably more conservative maybe.

[01:07:17] Mm-Hmm. But I went to Hokkaido the other day. That was, uh, really awesome. Really excellent. And have you ever been

[01:07:25] Michael David Wilson: to Hokkaido? I haven't. It is very near the top, if not the top of the places that I want to go that I've yet to go. Everyone

[01:07:35] Stephen J. Golds: there is really friendly as well. Really, really friendly. Um, I think maybe it's because it's so damn cold there.

[01:07:43] It's a bit like the Alaska, the Alaska of Japan. Um, so it was really cool. Went down to the market and was eating fresh crab. Straight from the Shell, fresh sushi. And that is really nice. So I'm thinking, uh, me and my wife are actually thinking the dream is Okinawa to live in Okinawa, which is Yeah, yeah.

[01:08:04] Which is the tropical paradise or to live in the Alaska of Japan. Uh, so at the moment, I'm staying where I'm, because my daughters are still quite young, so maybe when, once they reach high high school, I reckon I'm gonna perhaps relocate.

[01:08:21] Michael David Wilson: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, the good thing with, you know, but both of us, we, we are writers and we are teachers, and those are jobs.

[01:08:32] You can have them anywhere. Mm-Hmm. So, I mean, we do have the freedom to essentially live wherever we want now. Yes. Both of us. I mean, but I think the, the amazing thing when we. First connected and, and to this day is just how many parallels there are between our lives. 'cause both of us, you know, you have daughters, I have a daughter from previous relationships, so like, navigating kind of how that works as well.

[01:09:05] And yeah, so you do have to factor in, okay, where, where are your children? But as, as you say, there will come a point where they're old enough, where it, you know, that that doesn't factor in so heavily and they, they might relocate somewhere.

[01:09:23] Stephen J. Golds: Hmm. I think it's, um, the, my, my daughter's actually the only reason perhaps I'm still in Japan.

[01:09:34] I, I think, um, and I'm, I'm in the city that I'm in strictly because of my daughters. Otherwise I'd be maybe. Mm, I'd, I've always had itchy feet my whole life, right. So I, I've traveled quite extensively. There's a, I've always wanted to live in Argentina. That's been the dream as well. Argentina or Mexico, somewhere like that.

[01:10:01] I think Taiwan, Taiwan is a fantastic country. Um, I love visiting there, or I'd like to live there for a bit, so I always get itchy feet. So my daughters are the, the two people I think really keeping me grounded at the moment. The only two people in my whole life who've been able to keep me grounded in the same place for longer than, you know, five years or 10 years.

[01:10:26] Michael David Wilson: Right. Yeah. Yeah. And I think you said before though, that, you know, you, you feel that Japan is home far more than anywhere else, more than the uk. So, I mean, I wonder if you are in a position. To relocate, would you like to live somewhere else? And if you were, would you see that more as a kind of temporary relocation or like a kind of like, right.

[01:10:57] We'll try a year in Argentina, but Japan is home. Japan is the base.

[01:11:03] Stephen J. Golds: Yeah. I do think it's, I do think it's probably home now. I think that I couldn't, I probably couldn't adapt to, I don't think, for example, one of my friends went back to England and all he did was, uh, complain about it and wanna come back to Japan.

[01:11:21] So I think, I don't think I could, I don't think I could integrate into maybe Western culture again. I think I've been, you know, 17 years is a long time. 17 years is a, is a very long time. Down the barrel of 20 years. Um, it's a long time and I worked really hard to get situated. So I think, um, probably I will relocate at some point, but I do think it'll probably be to haw or Okinawa, somewhere like that.

[01:11:52] Michael David Wilson: Yeah. Yeah. So not relocating out of Japan, but relocating within Japan. If,

[01:11:59] Stephen J. Golds: if I, let's say for example, if I became very rich where I didn't have to worry about money, the dream would be to buy a house in London, a house in Okinawa, and a house in Hokkaido. So that way I could just travel in between. And then maybe this month I'm gonna live in London.

[01:12:19] This month I'm gonna live in, in Japan. But another important thing to mention is I actually have my Japanese green card. Uh, I'm not, I'm not a full Japanese citizen because I don't want to give up my English passport. Um. And I, uh, I'd rather not lose my surname. If I'd become a Japanese national. I'd have to change my surname into a Japanese name.

[01:12:45] I'd have to give up my passport. I'd have to give up my English national, uh, nationality. I couldn't have a dual nationality. Uh, Japan don't allow that. So, um, what I have is the next best thing, which is, um, you know, the, the Japanese green card. It's, uh, I, I'm a permanent Japanese citizen, which means I can vote, I can vote in elections, I can get a credit card, which, which I haven't done, but, you know, so it can allow me to function in society a lot more.

[01:13:21] I can get a loan from the bank and whatnot. Whereas when you're just on an usual spousal visa or a working visa, you, you don't have those types of, um, opportunities or rights. Yeah. So I wouldn't wanna give that up. Took me long enough to

[01:13:39] Michael David Wilson: get it. Yeah. Right. I think it's very frustrating for a lot of people that they don't have dual nationality, dual citizenship, but it, but it is, it is what it is.

[01:13:52] I think the permanent resident probably is the sweet spot because I mean, you've, you've got the vast majority of advantages that you would have anyway, but you're not giving up that British citizenship. So I, I think it is as close as, did your nationality, your citizenship as you are going to get without actually having it.

[01:14:17] Mm-Hmm. Well, we have come up to the time that we have together today, and for people listening or watching. This is the first show with Steven. So we are going to be putting out another podcast in which Bob will join me and we're going to go deep into his books. As with a lot of these things, this is the first part, the getting to know Steve, the origin story, if you will.

[01:14:50] But I know that recently you have rereleased your books, so I just want you to let people know a little bit about that and where they can get them. Right. So

[01:15:05] Stephen J. Golds: we just re-released, uh, my trilogy of books. It's a series, uh, and it's free books. Say Goodbye when I'm gone, always dead and I'll pray when I'm dying.

[01:15:16] They're three separate stories, but they're interlinking by characters. They're set in the 19. London all the way to the 1960s Hawaii, um, era. And, um, they're just really brutal crime stories. Um, but they've got a lot of heart as well. And, um, we've rereleased them at Punk NA magazine. They're originally with Red Dog Press, but Red Dog Press, uh, went, went under it collapsed.

[01:15:45] And um, you can currently get them on Amazon and we are just now putting together the, the print, the print option now. Um, but we've just started the press and it's, um, luckily we've got a genius working, working behind the scenes who does that kind of stuff for a job. So they're excellent at doing that.

[01:16:10] But, uh, for me, myself, it's been, uh, a whole learning experience, but yeah, available, available on Amazon for the time being.

[01:16:21] Michael David Wilson: All right, well, where can our listeners connect with you? Uh,

[01:16:27] Stephen J. Golds: like I previously said, I'm only on Twitter. Um, I'm not anywhere else, so if you wanna find me, I'm Steve Gonen, 58 on Twitter.

[01:16:37] All

[01:16:37] Michael David Wilson: right. Thank you very much for joining me.

[01:16:40] Stephen J. Golds: Thank you. Thank you very much, and thank you for listening everyone.

[01:16:47] Michael David Wilson: Thank you so much for listening to this horror podcast with Stephen j Golds. Next time Bob Castella is back with me, and we'll be chatting with Gwendolyn Heist, who will soon be releasing a brand new novel, the Haunting of Vel Wood. Now, we are almost 11 years into this as horror podcast. And to tell you the truth, we need your support.

[01:17:14] There are two ways that you can support the podcast. The first is to leave us a review on Apple Podcasts and we haven't had a review on Apple Podcast UK or Apple Podcast USA in quite frankly, an embarrassingly long time. Now, these reviews, they help keep us relevant. It feeds the algorithm and shows that hungry soulless machine that this is horror podcast is important.

[01:17:48] So if you can, please do leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. Let us know what you like about the show. Maybe let us know one of your favorite episodes, what has it been for you. You can even let us know what you don't like about the show 'cause we are always looking to improve. But if you do have the time, please do leave us a review.

[01:18:18] On Apple Podcast. Now, the second way that you can support us is on Patreon. This is a paid service, but membership starts at just $3. It really helps to keep the, this is horror podcast lights on, and you are more than rewarded for your patronage in terms of early episodes, the ability to submit questions to interviewees, the writer's forum on Discord, and a slew of other benefits.

[01:18:51] So if you can, please do support us, uh, patreon.com/this is horror. Okay, now it is time for a quick advert break

[01:19:06] Bob Pastorella: from the host of This Is Horror Podcast. Comes a dark thriller of obsession, paranoia, and voyeurism. After relocating to a small coastal town, Brian discovers a hole that gazes into his neighbor's bedroom.

[01:19:19] Every night she dances and he peeps. Same song, same time, same wild and mesmerizing dance. But soon, Brian suspects, he's not the only one watching. If she's not the only one being watched. They're watching is the Wickerman Meets Body Double With a Splash of Susperia. They're watching by Michael David Wilson and Bob Castella is available from This is horror.co.uk, Amazon, and wherever good books are sold, house of Bad Memories.

[01:19:46] The debut novel from Michael David Wilson comes out on Friday the 13th this October via cemetery Gates Media. Denny just wants to be the world's best dad to his baby daughter, but things get messy when he starts hallucinating his estranged abusive stepfather, Frank. Then Frank winds up dead and Denny is held hostage by his junkie hemp sister, who demands he uncovers the cause of her father's death.

[01:20:09] Will Denny defeat his demons or be perpetually tortured for refusing to answer impossible questions? Clay McLeod Chapman says, house of Bad memories hits so hard, you'll spit teeth out once you're done reading it. Pre-Order, house of Bad Memories by Michael David Wilson and paperback at cemeterygatesmedia.com or in ebook via Amazon.

[01:20:29] Michael David Wilson: Well, that about does it for another episode next time. We are talking to Gwendolyn Heist for the first time in well over a year. She's always such a smart and insightful guest as well as a wonderful writer. So I am absolutely sure that this is a conversation that you are not only gonna want to listen to, but I think you're gonna end up loving it.

[01:20:55] I think it could be one of the best of the year. So do stay tuned for that one. But until next time, as always, take care of yourself. Be good to one another. Read horror, keep on writing. Do something new this week. Maybe outta your comfort zone and have a great, great day.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.thisishorror.co.uk/tih-550-stephen-j-golds-on-living-in-japan-writing-journey-and-early-life-lessons/

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.