Justin’s 2018 Year in Review

I won’t bury the lede: I got married in 2018. This is my second marriage. I didn’t think I’d do this again. But I saw this beautiful, joyful woman playing some weird washing-machine-looking arcade game and I had to talk to her. That turned into a 7-hour date. A week later, I asked her to be my girlfriend. A week later, I dipped to the US – my first trip back since moving to Japan March 2016. I hung out with Dan and Kristen and my folks, and even had a political argument with my uncle. Emptied my storage unit (meaning I took out about 10% and left the rest for the employees to pick through) and drove my worldlies across country to my parental’s – bringing select items back home to Tokyo. 


Yeah, that’s all fitting in the SUV I rented…

Anyway, this summer Tomoko moved in with me. This proved even more life-changing than anticipated. I embraced her clean lifestyle, as well as kept closer to her schedule (early-ish to bed, early to rise). I want to spend as much time with her as possible – maybe give her a good start to her day. And any chores I do aren’t a “chore” because I was doing them for her.

We got engaged Halloween night (romanticreepy, right?!), and decided to forgo the long engagement to make things official on December 8 – our 8-month dating anniversary. A photo wedding and an LA honeymoon await us in 2019. 


Halloween filter!

People who have me on their social-media radar are likely sick of me putting over my wife, so I’ll keep this brief: Tonco is an amazing combination of beauty, cuteness and sex appeal; she is whip-smart and an expert at play; her energy is addictive and I’ve never been happier. 

On the work front, I feasted some months and famined others. Early in 2018, I was blessed with 2 steady video-game performance-capture gigs: One, a hotly anticipated blockbuster I did motion- and facial-capture for that allowed me to truly consider myself an actor; the other, simple mocap for a title which licenses one of the world’s biggest properties. 


Given beard/makeup without warning, commercial cancelled before airing. Yep…

In July, I played a Dragon Quest inn patron for a McDonald’s ad, a knockoff Jason for a noodle spot, and a damn werewolf in a car commercial. That was all amazing and fulfilling, but was followed by lean months. And to be honest: Those 3 gigs paid only a fraction what they would have in the US, and far less than even you would think. So even when I feasted, it was more Shakey’s pizza buffet than Brazilian steakhouse. 

Fall brought a small role in a stage play called Mother. Surrounded by a small group of fellow foreigners and a large group of kind Japanese performers, we had a run in Tokyo in September then a 3-stop tour in November. Live theater has its advantages, and it was nice to be on stage again. Additionally, it was cool to be outside Tokyo. 

In between, I did other work travel as well: 4 days in Shimane and Tottori for a tourism commercial that turned out amazing. I’d worked with the director and producer in 2017 on a spot where I had the (only) camera strapped to my forehead. That they wanted me back meant a lot – especially because they were such pros. I even got to do narration. 


Crab at 7am tee-hee!

I don’t know how sustainable this foreigner-actor thing is. Neither I nor my buds are doing much better than living paycheck to paycheck. I either need a side gig or need to create my own content that helps my brand blow up. The former pretty much requires a spouse visa, which is my next focus (my 3-year entertainer visa expires in March anyway). The latter is something I’m slowly working on, as I outline a script to get me and my homies some shine. I’m also pondering stepping back in the ring – as much for the connections and exposure as my love of combat-based storytelling – as well as continuing to formulate a live-performance character/act I may be able to do at variety shows and underground lives. 

And because I’m a consumer, here are some year-end things:

Favorite 2018 movie: カメラを止めるな

Favorite 2018 song: “This is America” by Childish Gambino

Favorite 2018 album: Sick Idol Sick by Melon Batake a-go-go

Favorite 2018 TV show: Maniac (Netflix)

Favorite 2018 book: Beastie Boys Book

Favorite 2018 game I played: [There is, shockingly, not a single significant 2018 title I played. I may own a few – like God of War – but haven’t fired them up]

Most played games: Angry Birds Match (mobile), Super Mario Maker (console)

2018 Interests: Intermittent fasting (though I think I’m done with it), knockoff Chinese retro handhelds/consoles, cooking.


I’m wearing guyliner!

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