Release date 28 April 2021
“Approaching 30 and disillusioned with life in an old mining town near Glasgow, I sold everything I had and left for a new life in a remote fishing village in Japan. I knew nothing of the language or the new land that I would call home for the next 7 years.”
An experimental memoir, written entirely on John's phone, Fish Town is a powerhouse of raw emotions. It reads like a book of poetry or perhaps a long text message. This gifted writer captures the experience of a Scottish man living in Japan — with humor, wit, honesty, and by all means without an ounce of political correctness.
"Fish Town is a must-read memoir. Beginning in a small Japanese fishing town, Fagan reels you in from the first page. One Scotsman’s culture shock feels like an unpredictable journey for the reader too. Periods of hopelessness and despair are perfectly blended with hilarity and hope, instantly giving off vibes of Post Office by Charles Bukowski. Fagan’s delivery is poignant and purposeful, with writing so crisp it’s easy to fly through the pages. Truly a book I will never forget."
— Aidan Martin, author of Euphoric Recall
25 March 2021 - Interview
John talks to Aidan Martin about why he moved to Japan, what it feels like to share such a personal story, and why he wrote the memoir on his phone.
"Most of us can’t imagine selling our belongings and buying a one-way ticket to a remote fishing port halfway around the world. Yet that is what John Gerard Fagan did in 2013, when he left Scotland to teach English in Japan. Through a series of free-verse snippets, Fagan takes us through his next six years—a time of loneliness, drunkenness, and screwed-upness, leavened by connections with students, other teachers, and (later) a Japanese actress and her cat. What keeps us reading is the way Fagan brings us into the essence of situations. We can smell the fish, feel the sting of miscommunication, suffer each hangover, and savor the successes of this young teacher and writer who finally gets to practice his craft in a professional setting. There aren’t many books I could not put down—this is one of them".
— Thaddeus Rutkowski, author of Tricks of Light
only the truly lost wash up on the shore of Yaizu
a fish town in a forgotten part of Japan
faded posters of its 1960s glory days still littering the streets
but that’s where I was
I took a walk to the sea
hoping for a beach to spend some time after work
but all that was there was a black water port and a tsunami wall that snaked around it
the Pacific waiting to devour
my flat was behind the destruction line
when the town was flooded I’d be safe
so said the extra 100 quid a month I was told to pay
safe and lost
29 years old
listening to the hum of an air conditioner to drown the silence
I thought I wouldn’t last a month
it was over six years before I made the long journey back home.
— Fish Town, John Gerard Fagan
John Gerard Fagan is a Scottish writer from Muirhead in the outskirts of Glasgow, who currently lives in Edinburgh.
He has published close to a hundred short stories, essays, and poems in Scots, Scottish Gaelic, and English. Fish Town is his first book, detailing his life in Japan from 2013 - 2019.
The Fish Town cover art is a painting called ‘Forever Lost’ from 2005, painted by John on an old record sleeve.
For more information visit: johngerardfagan.com
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