Transitioning from EFL teaching to Game Composition
Updated: Mar 21, 2022
Hey all. I'm Prince Morgan from the U.K. I'm a professional game composer in Tokyo Japan.
Getting to this point in my life has been quite the journey but, it's just beginning!
Coming to Japan
From pogs to yo-yos, nothing hit the UK when I was young like the influx of Japanese commerce.
Nintendo Gameboy, Pokemon cards/games, Dragonballz animation, Sony PlayStation to name a few, all had a huge impact.
Final Fantasy was probably the biggest one for me on the path to becoming a composer. To this day Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy), Yasunori Mitsuda (Chrono Trigger/Shadow Hearts) and Shoji Meguro (SMT:Nocturne/Avatar Tuner) remain my biggest influences.
After 4 years of studying contemporary music in London. I shot off to Japan and never looked back.
The Long Haul
For anyone with a English speaker in Japan with a bachelors degree (or not) teaching English is the easiest option to making a living here. I felt like Aladdin on the flying carpet, carefree and singing a whole new world for the first 2 years. Eating new foods, going to new places, traveling, learning the culture and perfecting my language ability was like living and progressing at the same time.
"The World ends with you" was another game I grew up playing where the game is set in Tokyo and it felt like I was in it.
Life was all just peachy! Going though a company, you can get an apartment, make a bank account and most of any hard work is done for you. Even the lesson plans are set out. In my case I was given a lot of freedom (and a slightly higher pay) because I could communicate freely in Japanese.
I had a gotten married to my long time girlfriend (Japanese), and a no intention of going back to the UK. But I wasn't going to be able to do this job forever.
After 2 years living in Tokyo, I actively decided I needed to find a way out of teaching.
Meeting Shimazaki san
One day I came home with my guitar in hand (I played guitar weekly at church, bars and occasionally at events) and a man was stood outside my apartment building with long grey hair dressed like an old school rocker, smoking outside my house and noticed my guitar.
I saw him a lot and I always make an effort to say hello as most Japanese people can sometimes find dark skinned foreigners intimidating at first sight.
Man: "Gitaa hikeru no?" (You play guitar?)
Me: "Hai, hikemasu, maishuu kyoukaide ensou shiteimasu (Yeah, I play every week at the church I go to)
It turned out he and his colleague owned the business on the first floor renting out hospital equipment, but they were also ex musicians/engineers.
His company also owned the building 2 seconds away which housed a large entertainment area and a recording studio with a sound proofed room.
He said that the studio was long since unused and that I could use it for free if I wanted to.
"WHAT!!" As you can imagine I was in shock, as studios cost hundreds of thousand's of dollars to build and maintain but, it turned out that the company he worked for invested approx $900,000, in the studio only to have it completely robbed by the engineer they hired to record there..... The guy stole expensive equipment, ripped out a lot of the wiring and stole over approx $10,000 dollars in cash....