(April 2020) My name is Jim, and I’m a 15-year franchise owner at Smith’s School of English http://smithweb.co.jp in Sagamihara, Japan. (Rewind to October 1979) The US Army recruiter picked me up and took me away. I was 18 years old and in for the ride of my life. I enlisted as a musician- a trombone player with a guarantee of being assigned to an army band somewhere in the world.
New Jersey to Sagamihara, Japan
After finishing the initial training required, I was assigned to a band in New Jersey, USA. Traveling up and down the northeast coast of the USA and playing music for the people was great fun. But all good things end, and a few years later the army gave me a choice- get out or go to Japan. That was an easy decision. https://sse-franchise.com/why-japan/
US Army Band, Japan
Spending eight years with US Army Band Japan allowed me to experience much of the culture and country through my job. We travelled a lot. https://www.facebook.com/USARJBand/ The memories are wonderful, but the lifetime friendships that developed over those years are perhaps, the best reward.
Smith’s English Since 2005
Life took me back to Japan as a civilian, at which time I began teaching English, and finally settling into my Smith’s School of English in Sagamihara some 15 years ago. The job is rewarding, and I am able to adjust my schedule for a good work/life balance. Eventually the desire to play trombone returned, so I began practicing, with the goal of playing in a band again here in Japan. Consequently and to my delight, I found a local jazz band that needed a trombone player.
Back to Music in Japan
I was quite nervous going into my first rehearsal. The band members were very kind and welcoming. What I wasn’t prepared for though, was when an old trombone mate of mine walked through the door. Bob Lynch and I hadn’t seen each other in over 20 years. We looked at each other in disbelief, shook hands, and hugged while everyone watched us with interest. I guess we gave the band a quick lesson in “long time, no see” American style! What a pleasure it is to be a member of the Zama Big Band Jazz Orchestra, sit next to Bob again, and play with these fine musicians of Japan.
A Perfect Combination- Smith’s English, Music, Japan, Friends
Bob and I still talk about that surprising evening. Such a small world we live in. How lucky I am to reunite with an old friend, play in this band, work independently at Smith’s School of English, and live in Japan!
Thanks for reading! Please have a look and listen to the Zama Big Band Jazz Orchestra here- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVFIHku2op8