Born in Boston, raised in Florida, John Ahern has lived in Japan for over 24 years. In that time he has been an active member of the foreign community playing roles in a number of local theatrical productions. He is also active in HOPE and has his hair cut and beard trimmed in order to raise money to buy several cows. The list of activities is long and also includes enthusiastically supporting the Foreign Artists Exhibition and local musicians. He spends his spare time perfecting his freestyle haiku and indulging in interpretive dance. But his biggest secret is what he has in common with Alberto Fujimori. You may have noticed that the two have never been seen in the same room, interesting when you consider that Japan does not extradite to Peru.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Perfect happiness would be laughing, preferably with friends.
What is your greatest fear?
I am afraid of that Okamon character in Okazaki.
What historical figure do you most identify with?
Jerry Garcia or Kris Kringle.
Which living person do you most admire?
Off the top of my head I think the Dalai Lama. But I admire many small traits in many people more than everything about one person.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I am bad at mathematics.
What trait do you most deplore in gaijin?
None. Other than that they have not made me their master and shower me with money and praise.
What is your greatest extravagance?
In the winter when it is cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey I come home to my uninsulated piece of shit abode and go straight to the fridge where I open the door and feel the rush of cool air. Nothing is better!
On what occasion do you lie?
I sometimes use the white lie to get out of a question that has no good answer. Does this dress make me look fat? How old do I look?
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
I need to lose weight, or grow a meter!
What is your favorite journey?
This life is my favorite journey!
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Is beauty a virtue?
Which living person do you most despise?
Whoever is driving in front of me.
Which Japanese words or phrases do you most overuse?
I guess I’ll need to keep on studying until I get one.
What is your greatest regret?
My big regret is not having studied Japanese when I first arrived. I was thinking I would be here for only one year and did not consider that I would be here longer than that.
When and where were you happiest?
I was probably happiest when I was seven years old. I had a great childhood and family. I grew up near Boston. I would love to play outside with the neighborhood kids.
If you could change one thing about Nagoya, what would it be?
I would like to see a greener Nagoya. More solar on houses and buildings, more greenery on buildings. Insulation in homes and buildings.
If you could choose what or who to come back as, what would it be?
My mom’s dog! Any loved pet would be nice but my mom’s dog would be a good one.
What do your consider your greatest achievement?
My greatest achievement was earning my Eagle Scout award.
What is your most treasured possession?
The time I have is my most treasured possession.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Pain, hunger, ignorance, separation, isolation, violence, hatred, injustice.
What is your most marked characteristic?
I stay cool. I dig all jive. That is the reason I stay alive. My motto as I live and learn is to dig and be dug in return.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
Someone I enjoy being around.
What is the quality you most admire in a woman?
Someone I can talk to about anything.
Who are your favorite writers?
Matthew, Mark , Luke, and John.
Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
Who are your heroes in real life?
Farmers, teachers, and preachers. They provide food for the body, mind, and soul.
What are your favorite names?
Hokuriku, Moon Unit, Akuma.
What is it that you most dislike?
War, pain, suffering, ignorance, stupidity, brutality, prejudice, violence, hatred, injustice, waste, discrimination, intolerance, unused potential, and that Okamon thing from Okazaki.
How would you like to die?
I do not want to die, but suppose if I must , let it be a long time from now surrounded by family and friends.
What is your motto?
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Can you write a Haiku for us?
Pink petals pile
Beneath the now greening tree
Goodbye to winter