Unearth the Curious Gaijin Chronicles: A European-Australian immigrant journey, roller-coaster adventures, and ‘Blue Zone’ living in Japan. A tale like the birth of a phoenix, but with way more coffee and far fewer flames!
- Mixed Bag Gaijin: From the European Low Countries to the Land Downunder
- Gen-Xers Created Their Universe: Mine Included a DIY Radio Station and Bike Courier Business!
- Living Large in Japan: My Homemade ‘Blue Zone’ Where the Journey Continues
Being an Angelino: The Upside of a Name That Draws Luck and Blessings
If this is the first time we’re meeting – let me introduce myself: My name is Angelino, which means Little Angel in Italian – and, quite obviously, why I have wings! This is first post in the Curious Gaijin Chronicles – a series of writings blending autobiographical elements and social observations.
People who know about these things tell me my name is one that, apparently, brings good luck and blessings to those of us who bear the name. And yes, there have been many good times, full of luck and blessings, throughout my life. There have also been plenty of times when things have turned to shit!
Anyway, in Italian culture, the name Angelino is often given to boys as a way to express the hope that they’ll grow up to be kind, compassionate, and spiritually grounded individuals. Well, at least they got that part right!
These days I’m a Japan-based creative entrepreneur: writer, media content creator, mentor, and occasionally I climb the podium to speak, or perform some sort of entertainment – when someone thinks I might have something useful share.
As for the blood that courses through my veins, I’m a bit of a mixed bag really. I’m Italian, as you now know – well half of me is. The other half is Dutch.
Mixed Bag Gaijin: From the European Low Countries to the Land Downunder
The Curious Gaijin Chronicles were still a very far-distant future event when I was born in Amsterdam at 03:15 on a cold October morning.
Apparently, I took my time making my entrance into the world. I’m told the hours labouring to make my appearance ran into the double digits, but when I finally did – it was into the hands of a midwife in my parents’ semi-double bed. I’m told the doctor couldn’t drag his ass out of his bed in time, so he missed the main event in mine.
He did give me the quick once-over though, to confirm the various bits were correct in number and located exactly where they should be. I understand comments were exchanged about what a sizeable “slug” there was for a new-born infant. Well, I guess we know which the Italian half is!
From the age of 5, I grew up in Australia, where the next chapter of the Curious Gaijin Chronicles begins. If you’re listening to the audio version of this blog post, you’ve probably already worked that out from my Aussie accent. Yes, we were one of those immigrant families that arrived in the “lucky country” at the back end of the 60s.
Well, it eventually became the ‘lucky country’ – for a while – (I don’t think it’s anywhere near as lucky now).
The Lucky Country, built on the sweat of immigrant workers, who toiled over the infrastructure of a growing nation.
Our new Aussie adventure started, as it did for so many European families, in the rounded Nissen huts of Australia’s quarantine detention centres – I believe the government’s preferred term is migrant hostels.
My 70s Show: Growing Up as a Gen-Xer
The 1970s was awesome! Well, some of it was. Gough Whitlam was the Prime Minister and there was free education and health services for all. I still remember being one of the class monitors, sent out to the undercover area each day with another boy to collect a crate of tiny milk bottles for all my fellow “latch-key” classmates.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t going to last – Whitlam and the free milk. They fired his ass in 75 (Whitlam – not my class monitor mate), aided by Voldemort – the pompous Malcom Frazer who took over – looking down his nose as he told us life wasn’t meant to be easy. In the 80s, Bob Hawke was a breath of fresh air, a good bloke, loved his Cricket, and was probably the most transformative Prime Minister in our history.
Gen-Xers Created Their Own Universe: Mine Included a DIY Radio Station & Bike Courier Business!
Over the last 40 years – I got my start at a very young age – I’ve worked in many countries around the world as a broadcast journalist, media presenter, and variously across a range of performance disciplines.
That’s right people, I’m from that cohort of humans who grew up solving problems and figuring out how to make things work – Generation X!
We invented thinking outside the box to come up with time-effective solutions to getting things done, unafraid to roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty.
At the age of 12, I set up my own commercial radio station – on the front porch at our place and sometimes my mates’ places.
People from the neighbourhood, friends, and relatives would come to visit, eat cookies, drink cola (the grannies would drink tea, of course). Meanwhile, everyone would listen to my analysis of world events, news of the rich and famous, and my carefully curated top 40 hits playlist.
All Play and No Work Makes Jack a Useless Boy!
My number of years on the planet had not long been in the double digits when I decided I needed to get a part-time Job. I had two of them: Arnold’s Pharmacy, from where I would zip around the neighbourhood on my dragster bicycle delivering medicines to the elderly, immobile, and infirm.
The second was a newspaper round, which I really just did for the money. I despised getting up early on cold winter mornings for that. However, if I wanted to buy stuff – I had to work for it!
I have such fond memories of old Mr. Arnold and I did try to find some images of him and the pharmacy. Unfortunately, I was only able to find the one (above) on the Mount Lawley Society website.
Thankfully, there’re still some historical images of where I grew up – a place real estate agents these days like to describe to potential homebuyers as a “leafy suburb”!
All About the Fringe Benefits: Delivering the Drugs = Tax-Free Perks Aplenty!
That image is of the corner of Beaufort and Walcott Streets back in the days when trams used to run out that way from Perth City.
The gig at Arnold’s pharmacy has – to this day – been my favourite. It was all about the milk and cookies, from a different granny each afternoon of the week.
Wednesdays would always be sweet old’ Mrs. Gingerbread men. But Fridays was best – dearest Aunty Chocolate Cake to die for!
As with everyone, my life has had its share of ups and downs, near-death experiences, life-saving surgeries, and award-winning triumphs. I’ll fill in the details, as we journey through time and space, with more of the Curious Gaijin Chronicles here on this site and on my various social media channels.
Done With the Peaks and Valleys: Still Living Large in the Land of the Rising Sun
At the moment I live and work in Japan. I’m “doing life” with my bestie – the most amazing woman I’ve ever known – and our family: three dogs and a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (two of the dogs and the cocky are rescue pets). Pretty sure my wife describes me to others as a “rescue” too…
I’m not a professional chef but I love to cook. High up on my list of favourite things in the kitchen is my Chinese wok. And I travel for great food experiences when I can.
Oh! And I’m told I have an epic beard.
So, thanks for finding me. And welcome to the Curious Gaijin Chronicles!
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