Keep Trying

“There’s a voice inside of you telling you what you have to do with your life. A lot of people, when they’re young, they have something they like or some inclination to do something. Maybe it’s drawing or music. But as time goes on, their parents will be like, ‘Oh you can’t make a living off that so stop it. Go get a job.’ And I think that’s the worst possible thing you could do if you’re abandoning your dreams. I really don’t like having a boss. I’ve never done a normal job in my life. Even when I was younger, I knew that if I had a family, I definitely didn’t want to always be at the office. So I worked freelance, teaching Japanese in England. I also did some translation. Now I live in Tokyo and I compose music for video games. Indie games for now. I find companies on Kickstarter and send them samples of my music to get projects. Anything you do has value. It’s just like banging your head against the wall—as long as you keep at it, even if it’s not going to be rewarded for a long time, I’m sure you can capitalize on it somehow. Especially now with the internet. If you have some sort of ability, you can definitely do something with it. You just have to be persistent.

“When I was about 10 years old I knew I wanted to be a composer. I had no musical skill, no knowledge, no anything. I was playing Final Fantasy 7 and thought the music was like magic. I wondered, ‘How did these sounds go together? What were the instruments?’ From then on I was always listening and analyzing. Then, when I was 14 years old, my parents divorced. I lost the sound of my dad playing the guitar. He left his acoustic guitar and I picked that up. I was kind of filling in one of his roles. I’d spend 12 hours a day just playing the guitar. Here, in Tokyo, I started a band called Autocoders. The first song I wrote, my main message is: Don’t sell yourself. I mean, sell yourself if you have to, but do it for something you actually want to do. Don’t do something you don’t want, or waste your precious life just for the money.

“But I’ll have to admit there’s still luck involved. My mom and dad let me study music and I didn’t even know what I was doing. So my mom said, ‘OK study at this music studio,’ and she got me in. And I have to be thankful for that chance. You’re going to keep making those chances happen if you have passion and keep trying. So for me, it’s not luck that chance comes. If you can’t make music, for example, then you’re still not going to be able to make anything even if luck comes.”

(Sam is from Sheffield, England. He composes music for video games and offers translation services. To see his work visit:

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Finding diversity and inclusion. Breaking down barriers one post at a time. Stories and snapshots of foreigners making their way in Japan.

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