I’m a Japan-based writer, teacher and tour guide from Italy. Tokyo Calling is my personal newsletter; a way to keep in touch and share my writing with people who are interested in Japan, culture, travel, walking, urban exploration, and the joys of slow life.

This is the place where you are going to find:

・articles and interviews I wrote for newspapers, magazines and websites

・original content I wrote exclusively for Tokyo Calling

・lots of pictures

・personal musings on my life in Japan

・recommendations about some of my favorite books, films and music

Sample my archive here.


Some of the things you will find here

From politics to sports, travels and culture in all its forms, I regularly cover every aspect of Japanese society. I also blog about otaku culture at Otaku Tokyo.

I’m also an enthusiastic walker and I like to explore both my urban surroundings - Tokyo and Yokohama - the countryside near my house, and the rest of Japan. So travel and walk reports are definitely going to be a feature of this newsletter.

But it’s not only about Japan: my roots as a writer actually go back to when I used to make zines and was an active member of the international mail art network. So in this newsletter you can also expect to find some of my stories and projects related to DIY and underground culture.


Why this?

Good question. After all, I already have a personal blog. However, Tokyo Calling is going to be a very different beast. My blog is the place where I post short pieces and quick notes.

However, in Tokyo Calling you are going to find different content:

・many of the stories I wrote for The Japan Times are now hidden under a paywall which means only subscribers can read them. I have nothing against that (after all, media outlets need money to survive) but I want interested readers to be able to access my writing for as long as possible. In Tokyo Calling you can do that.

・another publication to which I contribute is Zoom Japan, a magazine based in Paris, France, that is published in four languages. As some of my articles and interviews only come out in French or Italian, here you will be able to read them in English.

・when I write a travel piece for newspapers and magazines, I usually take tons of photos, most of which remain unpublished. Tokyo Calling is the perfect place to show them, offering an added visual angle to my stories.

・Last but not least - and, in a sense, the main reason for starting Tokyo Calling - I’m also working on bigger book-sized projects. However, in the constantly changing publishing climate, where books are treated more than ever like merchandise and originality is sacrificed to sales, it’s getting increasingly difficult to find publishers eager to bet on interesting but not hugely popular ideas. I hope to find that audience here, and to be able to pursue those projects in a truly independent way.


Okay, but who are you?

As I jokingly like to say (well, only half-jokingly), I escaped from Italy in 1992 and have called Japan home since. As for what happened before and after that fateful year, you may want to check out my bio.

And if you are really really curious, please read these interviews:

by Wandering Educators about otaku culture and why and how my Tokyo Geek's Guide was born.
・by Asia Art Tours about my writing and career in journalism.

・two recent ones for the DK Where to Go Podcast and by Comics + BD Universes


How you can support this newsletter

・For the time being, all the content featured in Tokyo Calling is completely free, and you are welcome to remain on the free list. However, if you feel like showing your appreciation by buying me a nice cup of digital tea, in any currency you like: paypal.me/giannisimone64 

・Tell your family and friends and whoever might be interested about this rad newsletter, and ask them to sign up at giannisimone.substack.com Writing is a passion and I do this first and foremost for my personal pleasure, but the more people I can share my passion with the better!

・Write a line or paragraph of recommendation for this newsletter – and I’ll add them to my page. It always feels good to get your ego stroked.


Other FAQ

How often will I receive your newsletter?

My dispatches go out to your inboxes once a month, at the minimum.

I’m not receiving your newsletter!

Please check your spam or Promotions folder, and when you find it, mark it as important. That should fix the issue, but if it doesn’t, email me and we’ll figure it out.

Can I share these newsletters?

Please do disseminate free posts as often as you like! An honest recommendation means a lot when seeking readers. Thanks in advance.

Let me hear your voice!

I love hearing from readers, so please don’t hesitate to reach out, either in the comments section or by directly replying to a newsletter – even if you just want to say hello.


Hey, you’re still reading!

I hope this means I’ve tickled your interest and you want to join me in this new adventure. As I always think – sharing my interests with kindred spirits make life taste even better.

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Gianni Simone
I write about reading, music, the joys of slow life, and all things Japan, of course.