Ted Taylor

Nationality:  American
Time Living in Japan:  About 29 years (Since around 1994)
Employer: Self-Employed
Current Job Title: Freelance Writer and Travel Specialist
Areas of Expertise: Creative Non-fiction and Travel Writing, Tour Development, Guiding, Consultation
Education: BA in Creative Writing, University of Arizona
Language Ability: Proficient in Japanese and Basic French
Publications: Cultural pieces for Japan Times, travel pieces for Singapore Times, Lonely Planet Experience Japan, and many more.

Interests in Zen Buddhism and the martial arts of Japan, combined with his exploration of Japanese literature during his college years, led Ted to move to Japan in 1994. He settled into the countryside on the Sea of Japan coast for twelve years, supplementing his martial arts studies with the traditional arts of tea and calligraphy, as well as enhancing his Zen practice 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, and as an amateur musician gave performances throughout Japan.

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 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.

Alongside his martial pursuits, Ted has found another creative outlet through performing his writing with jazz bands. He also cherishes the simplicity of life, finding solace in coming home to cook a delicious meal and unwind while watching a movie. Ted’s heart truly finds its home in the countryside, where he feels most at ease.

A contributing editor to the Kyoto Journal, Ted is a frequently published writer, and is the co-editor of the Deep Kyoto Walks anthology. He is currently penning a series of books about his experiences walking Japan’s ancient highways.

Favorite Thing About Living in Japan: The culture of the countryside, traditional folklore and spirituality, relative simplicity of life.

Favorite Place to Visit in Japan: Exploring ancient sites in southern Nara prefecture; experiencing traditional life along the San-in coast, or the countryside in Kyushu.

What he has noticed has changed throughout his time living in Japan: Japan has embraced a significant influx of Western culture into its mainstream, particularly in the realms of food and coffee culture.

Favorite Place to Visit Outside Japan: Ted likes to spend summers in Europe, especially England, France, and Italy.

What has kept you in Japan: Even after living in Kyoto for 17 years, he continuously seeks new discoveries as he bikes around the city.