Matsuo Jones was born the third son of a Baron in the rural county of Shropshire, in the middle of England. Raised from an early age by a domineering nanny who taught him to speak properly and use the correct knives for each course, Matsuo was brought up to be seen but not heard – and usually, as a result, he could be found reading. As he would never inherit the estate, his parents decided not to keep him lollygagging about the house, and he was sent off to live in the kind of private boarding school you read about in Harry Potter… just without all that magic. He learnt Japanese and tennis in order to further a flirtation with a gorgeous Japanese girl in his class… although both only to the point where he could keep a convincing rally going.
Though the girl rejected him, his interest in Japanese continued, and he would read history books and old Shinto tales through school and university. His love of the culture grew and inevitably absorbed anime and manga, which he claimed was “so he could practice listening to the language” – an excuse that worked perfectly on his parents in his weekly letters home.
After university, he qualified as an English teacher with the intention of travelling to Japan. When he finally got there, it was all the things he expected and a whole lot more. He lived and worked in universities in Fukushima Prefecture (before the tsunami), and Fujisawa, and quickly learnt to bow to cars that let him cross the road, apologize to security guards about leaving work before them, and eat ramen without getting more than maybe two stains on his tie. Between classes and terms, he explored many of the tourist hotspots of Honshu Island. His favorite place in Japan is Hiroshima, for the food, the friendly atmosphere, and the stunning Miyajima island. The country still holds an endless fascination for him – the often baffling customs and behavior, a country that constantly looks to the future while still holding onto and preserving so much of its past.
Now living in Barcelona, Spain, Matsuo continues to devour all things Japanese he can find (including the food). Finally, all that reading and all those classes in grammar and etiquette can be put to good use, writing articles for BaDoink.
Matsuo Jones is a pen name. Matsuo is taken from Matsuo Basho, the famous haiku poet. Though this pen name is therefore two surnames stuck together, he’s still pretty fond of it.