On December 31st, 2000, we managed to catch up to Peter Hoflich and drill him with some questions for the site.
is your name, age, other information.
Peter Hofilch: My name is Peter Hoflich, I live in Japan but I was born in Canada. I have O blood type, I like all kinds of food, I like travelling and all kinds of music. I am an English teacher and I write fiction, criticism, and other stuff. I was born in the spring before the Summer of Love, 1969, and I have a pet cat. Zorro.
I: That's very interesting. What brought you to Japan.
PH: Ha ha. (Scratches his head) My wife Naoko, a.k.a. Miki, brought me to Japan, I guess. I met her in Taiwan, where I lived for 3 years. I was studying Chinese there and having a nice time being away from frosty Canada and just being a young and adventurous. New food, new people, new language, new culture. I met Naoko, we both needed a place to go to after our sojourn in Taiwan, and Japan seemed more interesting to me than Canada. Interesting, since I knew nothing about it. Interesting also since we get all these images of Japan from the media but none of us really have first hand knowledge of it. I mean, there is a Chinatown in every major North American city, but as North Americans our relevant knowledge of Japanese people is limited to tales of Japanese internment in the 1940s. Now that I am in Japan, I'm glad that I'm here. Great food, great music, great film, all the amenities of North American living, proximity to the rest of Asia... and Hawaii. My in-laws are great. I learn something new every day. I have a nice life here. So many positive things, so few complaints...
I: It's really that good?
PH: Well, life anywhere has it's ups and downs, but I'm having a good time and accomplishing things.
I: Good. Tell me about your homepage.
PH: Well, this is my homepage. I started it this year thinking that I wanted to put some of my creative writing out on the net for people to look at if they were so inclined. I also wanted to have a forum to describe my experiences in Japan. At first I thought that would be travel, but nowadays it's turning more into the music and film angle. I watch a video every night at dinnertime. I do this instead of watching TV, since I don't understand Japanese TV and am not in any way interested in it, and I am glad that I don't have the distraction of English-language TV since catching up on film history and broadening my knowledge of film is more important to me than seeing something trendy. So I put the film reviews of the videos I see on the web. With the music, I have access to a lot of great Japanese underground music, both in terms of CDs and live performances. So I report and review about that and people who want to know about obscure Japanese bands can find information on my site. Some of these people have contacted me, so I know I'm helping out in a small way...
I: What about the creative writing angle?
PH: Well, the ironic thing is that while I created the site in part to showcase my creative writing, the truth is that I now have less time for the writing itself. The page has become a bit of an obssession. The way I look at it, though, is that no matter what I am writing, it's someting. I remember some story I heard once where some famous writer gets paid a lot to speak to a group of creative writing students at a seminar somewhere. He comes out and says "Do you want to be writers? Then go out there and write." End of speech, he walks offstage, goes home, and continues his novel. It might be an urban myth, but it seems like it could have happened. Anyway, with the writing, I did finish up some projects this year, and I have whittled down my unfinished stories down to a mere handful. I'll get those done soon and embark on something new. I have some ideas for novels, so I have to think about how I am going to approach that in the new year, new millenium, whatever...
I: What are some good movies you've seen this year?
PH: I don't want to talk about that, it's all on my website. This year I did make some great film discoveries as well as some musical discoveries. I saw the Sopranos first season, which was great, and I also watched whoe Twin Peaks again, which was fantastic.
I: Speaking of music, why do you like Henry Rollins so much?
PH: Wow, that was from left field! Well, I like his attitude, I like his music, I like his style, I like his lyrice... well, most of his good lyrics anyway. He's a smart guy. He has branched out into spoken word and the written word, he has published or distributed books by worthy authors that he likes whose books are not readily available, he has a mission. He's sharp and has a way with words.
I: Do you know anybody who's famous?
PH: A guy I went to school with always wanted to be an actor. When we were kids, we used to read comic books and watch Gilligan's Island together. I think I knew him best in late primary school. He later went off to Hollywood. He was in a few B-movies. Recently he has become a screenwriter. He wrote the screenplay to the X-Men. He's probably the most famous person I know, but you wouldn't recognize him on the street. I don't think I'll ever see that guy again...
I: Well, it's getting late, you probably want to close up the shop. Maybe we can continue this interview some time later?
PH: Sure any time. Let me know
I: Yeah, OK. Take it easy, and have a happy new year.
PH: Yeah, you too. Here's to 2001, the year we discover the monolith on the moon!
email: Peter Höflich