Japan Travel Explorations - Writing, Wandering and Diving into Japanese Traditions - Ted Taylor


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Ted Taylor is a writer and travel guide who loves long wanders around Japan and sharing insights about culture, tradition, history and folklore he learns along the way with his audience and visitors. Here we talk about his philosophy to enjoy life and travel in Japan as well as some of his writing projects and explorations.

Edward J. Taylor is a musician, writer and explorer who has lived and traveled wide & far across Japan. Born in New York city and raised on the American east coast, Ted moved to a small town in rural New Mexico at age 14. After degrees in Creative Writing, Music, and Film at the University of Arizona, he began a Masters in Anthropology at UC Santa Barbara. But his attention was pulled East.

Interests in Zen Buddhism and Aikido, an original martial art of Japan, led Ted to first visit Japan in 1994. He settled into the countryside of Tottori, a remote prefecture on Japan’s Sea of Japan coast and for the following eleven years Ted set about his studies. His interest in martial arts expanded to Iaido, swordsmanship, and Kyudo, archery, while his Zen practice was supplemented with training in Shugendo, an esoteric religion associated with itinerant monks. Originally a drummer and percussionist, Ted also pursued his musical interests by taking up Taiko drumming and the Shakuhachi flute. As an occasional itinerant musician Ted gave drumming and percussion performances throughout Japan.

During his time in Tottori, Ted also learnt how to grow rice using traditional rice farming methods and this led him to become curious about how the physical environment and its conditions shape local culture. This interest has subsequently blossomed into a passion and to this day Ted likes nothing better than escaping into rural Japan and its traditional society.

An invitation to train in the 16th Century martial art of Takeuchi-ryu Bujutsu was the impetus for Ted moving to Kyoto in 2005. Despite living in the city, Ted spent much of his time out of it walking many of Japan's old roads, including the entire Nakasendo post road as well as completing the pilgrimages of the Shikoku 88 temple trail and the Kumano Kodo.

Edward is the co-editor of the Deep Kyoto Walks anthology, and is currently at work on a series of books about walking Japan's ancient highways.


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84 episodes