the technical stuff:
i have lived in japan for days (nifty script, yeah, shame it's never quite right...)
hi. i'm martine cotton. i teach english at a small english conversation school (juku) in fujiyoshida, at the foot of mt fuji (where i arrived on christmas eve 2002). i love my life here, mostly because it is almost completely stress free. which makes a nice change...
in another life i sweated blood and tears in the music industry back in australia. never had any money, but loved my life, working with people who made amazing music and trying to energise the domestic population with the wonder of local independent music. i was very very happy, and lived a very busy, diverse, active and social life (read: hazy booze soaked memories) although the lack of funds was a constant stress. anyway, one day my occupational dream came true and i got the contract to work full time with a very high profile australian act as a personal manager and tour manager. then everything changed and i realised how fucked the music industry is. in fact, any creative industry that has commercial boundaries, and any industry that deals with celebrity as a commodity. fucked in so many ways I can't even begin to express. maybe this topic should become one of my short stories...
so, in my misery (violins please), i dreamed of a better life. even though i was doing the fully glamourous fancy hotel / planes / tarago's / tv show circuit (got to meet Molly Meldrum and Rove McManus and Bert Newton - all aussie household names) and meeting and greeting some very cool people, and of course, lots of complete fuckheads, i felt incredibly empty and dead and waaayyyy-stressed. fame is a weird thing and i very quickly became disenchanted with the glamour and trappings and demands of/on the famous.
so, while i was dreaming of a better life, back in september 2002, i went to a good friends wedding (CC Rider and Cammy), where i had a lifechanging encounter with another old friend (Mia Kempel). she was teaching english in japan, and loving it, and making fine money. it got me thinking about all my other friends who had done the same, and loved it. and it hit me like a magnificent epiphany. why don't i become an english teacher and travel all over the world - starting in Japan where I can pay off all my debts and get ahead. what a wonderful way to immerse myself in foreign cultures. and so, it began.
i arrived in japan on christmas eve, 2002, to replace the very same friend - Mia - in her job here in fujiyoshida, a small town at the foot of Mt Fuji. I had shut down my little business, packed up my life into a little shed in West End, taken my 14 year old dog to the vet's to save her the stress of losing me (probably the most traumatic moment for me since Mum died) and said good bye to my family and friends, and felt quite shell shocked and delirious. But that first day, when I arrived in Shinjuku in the heart of Tokyo and wandered, dazed, around the alleyways of Kabuki-cho, you could not have wiped the smile off my face.
so here I am, living in Japan, teaching English at the not so tender age of 35. starting a whole new life and feeling virtually reborn. it's a joyous thing.
a few other facts: born in brisbane, queensland, australia. on a plane at age 2 weeks with my mum to join dad in nuigini, where we lived along with my brother David (who came along 2.5 yrs later) for about 5 years. we mostly lived on the islands around bouganville where dad was employed by the local governments to build roads. very exciting and dangerous indeed. cannibals with filed teeth, unexploded japanese bombs, crashed planes from WW2, booby-trapped tanks and armoured vehicles lost in the junge. my brother and I were mostly naked and ate bananas and coconuts for most of that time. mum was worried we were turning into totally uncivilised monkeys who could - and would - climb coconut trees on a whim. anyways, independance saw most of us whiteys return to the civilised environs of nearby queensland. the random swinging of machetes was a little too disturbing for anyone to bear.
7 years of glorious fun primary school were followed by 5 years of boarding school hell, and another 5 years of a mind altering film and media degree at griffith uni, during which time i became vegetarian - and still am, some 16 years later, and also found myself with a staffy-ridgeback-x dog who I named Jani. did some work experience on some hollywood features and got turned off the film industry forever, then had some much needed r'n'r in far north queensland where i lived for a few years - 4, to be precise - in the rainforest with hippies and ate fruit and spent a lot of time at mountain waterholes or on the beach naked. apon my return to civilisation i almost immediately started managing bands and touring around the country with them. as time passed, i climbed the ladder, as you do, and ended up managing and booking The Zoo, a cool live music venue in Brisbane.
during that time my mum gave in to her chronic lung disease (emphysema) caused by a lifetime of smoking and drinking and partying, and she died on Dec 9, 1998 (read the blog). I told dad i needed to go for a drive, threw my dog and a tent into the back of my new car and drove around australia for 2 months to get my head back together. I guess people grieve in different ways and driving around highway 1 in australia certainly gives one time to think. And I'm proud to be able to say that between this trip and various other big treks and band tours, I have now seen pretty much the entire length and breadth of my home country. (unlike most people back home...). I also made use of a rare period of guaranteed income (Zoo management income) and travelled to India (read the blog) on a trek with a Brisbane based Tibetan friend and his wife for 7 weeks. we checked out the kalachakra teachings at spiti valley, high in the himalayas near the tibetan border. the dalai lama in his home environment, teaching to about 20 000 displaced tibetans. it was incredible.
anyways, I eventually left the Zoo to start a booking and events and band management agency with some friends, which failed before 12 months had passed, despite the triumphant fanfare we received apon opening. brisbane simply could not support a 3 person booking agency - way too small a population and economy. broken hearted, i set out on my own, and surprisingly did quite well with only one person to feed. i was booking bands and festivals and events, and acted as the brisbane rep for a lot of interstate promotors with their international and major national tours. anyway.. here's where we go back to the beginning. my occupational dream came true...and my life went to shit. for a little while. don't get me wrong, i wouldn't trade the experience for anything, because it made me realise where my priorities lie. Substance, honesty, reality, creativity, travel, language. all those fulfilling things.
so this website is intended as both a means for friends and family to stay informed, and also as a creative tool for me. I can totally indulge my yearning to write and photograph, and at the same time, play with web design. Learning coding and design is so cool - i am bordering on obsession - , and being hooked up to broadband has given the web a whole new dimension that has so totally blown me away. the sheer size and diversity of the web is really quite phenomenal. there is this cool community of netgeeks who are constantly pushing boundaries and buttons and it's really exciting. the blogging phenomenon is also something I find really interesting. hearing about different peoples lives, in different countries and lifestyles.....
so, that was the about page.