Japan X8: N.E.R.D – A Creative review


, , , , , , ,

Greetings all!

A few months back, I decided to buy N.E.R.D’s latest album: No one – Ever – Really – Dies. For those who don’t know, the band consists of genius minds: Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo and Shay. Without a doubt my favorite group in the universe, I have been a fan ever since their first album (In search of), way back in 2001. Towards the end of 2017, they released their 5th album, much to my delight. However, after the underwhelming 4th album “Nothing”, I was a tad cautious whether their newest album would really be a return to form. Thankfully (at least for the most part) my worries were wiped away. Here are the tracks that I feel truly make the album great!


Lemon” gifts the listener with power and confidence. Rihanna, a strong woman in her own right, raps to the catchy melody with ease. Mette Towley, part of Pharrell’s dance squad owns the music video – performing an array of moves that have resonated in the dance community, all over the globe. The beat itself, in true N.E.R.D fashion is catchy and shamelessly addictive.

Deep Down Body Thurst” Is a rebellious and bold warning to misguided corporations, leaders and elites – “you won’t get away”! Much of N.E.R.D’s original audience (myself included) are people who have rejected the manipulation of world leaders who have attempted to pit ourselves against one another. It’s great to see the trio have stayed true to one of their main messages of being for the people.

Voila” for me is an empowering and magical song for the creative person. Lyrics such as “You are the magician. You can make it happen…” inspires the ambitious person – reminding them that they can do anything they put their mind to. Each time I play this track, I feel as though I am energized – ready to create something new!

“Don’t Don’t Do It!” By far my favorite track on the entire album – this song is about the constant police brutality and no matter what many of us do, we still end up being unjustly killed. “They tell you: pull over, tell you: get out the car, something says: don’t do it.” I almost cried when listening to this piece – as I recollected the many victims of police brutality, over the last few years. Kendrick Lamar was the cherry on top of this amazing track! Lastly, the beat and melody itself is reminiscent of N.E.R.D’s original style and vibe, which many fans will immediately realize.

“ESP” – although it isn’t the most melodic track, possesses inspiring lyrics by Pharrell. “You have an extra eye, but you ain’t trying to use it” is just one of the things mentioned in this track. I get the feeling that the band really wanted to drill into our minds, how powerful we are as human beings.

As for the rest of the album (especially the second half), I didn’t quite get the same message. Tracks such as Secret Life of Tigers and Lifting You, didn’t sit well with me. Secret Life of Tigers sounded too mindless and jarring. Lifting You, came across as a poor man’s reggae song, which I would have preferred the trio strayed away from. It also had no relevant message for me – however I am sure that it resonates with many other people.

To sum it up, this is an album of empowerment and realization – expressed in a way that only N.E.R.D know to how do.

Well done N.E.R.D!

Nerd old

Ricky Baxter



Japan X7: Why we go it alone


, , , , , ,

I am a proud self-published author. I’ve been one, for the past four years. It’s been good, bad, and a little ugly at times. I said to myself that I would give the self -publishing thing a try, before approaching the big guns this year (Publishers, for those that don’t know). However, already 2 months into submitting my work, I am already asking myself: WHY?

For those who have never submitted to agents or publishers before, allow me to give you a little insight into just how tricky the submission route is. 1) Finish your novel to a good standard (This is a no brainer, for anything you do). 2) Write up a good synopsis of one or two pages. It really depends on the agent (Because that’s the way it is. Don’t ask why). 3) Put together a query and a cover letter. Yes there’s a very big difference between the two. Depending on the sources, you may get the right or the wrong advice (Because Fake news and all).

There is nothing quite like the feeling of a reader, leaving a beautiful and honest review – many authors can attest to that.

Once that’s done, you’re ready to submit to the horde of agents, ready to read your material. Oh, what’s this? Agent “A” wants just the first three chapters of your work, in the body of the email… no attachments? “Ok… sure”. Agent “B” would like just the first chapter only, but would prefer you have knowledge of their preferred books? “Uh… ok” (Because I am really supposed to know about the thousands of agents that I am expected to submit my work to?) Agent “C” Prefers the first fifty pages of your novel, but you’re expected to wait a good twelve weeks for a response  – if you’re successful that is (Because… we love waiting.)

Throughout this interesting experience, I reminded myself of my own accomplishments, pushing my novels to reach that one special reader, who appreciated my work.

This probably sounds like a rant, but in fact it’s not. It’s an unfortunate reality, which leads many of us to go it alone. The reason? Why should we wait six to twelve weeks, hoping for a response that may or may never come? Why should we subject ourselves to stalk an agent’s likes and dislikes, in hopes they will notice our work, when thousands of other writers are most likely doing the same? Throughout this interesting experience, I reminded myself of my own accomplishments, pushing my novels to reach that one special reader, who appreciates my work.

There is nothing quite like the feeling of a reader, leaving a beautiful and honest review – many authors can attest to that. Granted, the power of a publisher allows for stronger marketing to reach more readers, but what is a writer to do, when expected to wait for weeks and months for that “lucky break?”

Personally, I am not yet ready to give up on submitting to the big agents. In fact, many of my rejection letters have been very encouraging and supportive. However I can honestly and truly see: why we decide to go it alone. Yes, we may not have the backing and support a publisher brings, but we retain a certain dignity and pride of being in control of our work. If you decide to go the traditional route, good luck and do your best. If you decide to go the self-publishing route, then that’s fine too.

Whatever you decide to do, always be proud of your work.

Till next time

Ricky Baxter

Check out my books on Amazon! (Here)

(Image by Jamestaylor.me

Japan X6: The First Love


, , , , , ,

From the beginning of our species, the world has always been blessed with human creatives. Everything from: Painters, singers, composers and writers – these people (and many more) have observed the world and all that is within it, through their craft. It is through this craft that we have learned about our world and each other. However, what is this bond that we as creatives have, with the bizarre and beautiful force we call art and creativity – incarnated time and time again, via each person’s experiences and personality? What is this bond that no matter how many times we fulfill its requests, over decades, nations and countries, still continues to require our attention?

It’s a relationship, a marriage if you will. Don’t ask a creative when or where the vows were made. We know not ourselves when such a pact began. Perhaps it began before we entered this world? Of course, like any relationship, it has its highs and lows. The same way a couple will question their marriage of many years, the writer or painter does the same also – doubting whether his or her work was worth the blood sweat and tears. Some of us cheat and look elsewhere, while others stay true to our original promise – seeing it through to the end. The bond us creatives have with our creativity is truly like that of an actual being – hence the reason many of our human partners often feel neglected, as though a third person were in the relationship. They couldn’t be anymore correct.

To love an active creative is to accept their first love: The bizarre and beautiful force we call art and creativity.

Thanks for reading

Ricky Baxter

If you’re interested in my of my work, please be sure to follow and check out my books on Amazon


Japan X5: Gizmo


, , , , , ,

Greetings again all!

I am back again, this time with a special guest! I’ve been keeping up with his creative guy for some time – mainly following his useful vlogs about Japanese life. It is a great honor to introduce such a creative individual to this blog. My name is Ricky Baxter, and this is my interview with Gizmo!


Who are you and what do you do?

I’m a Trini American bboy, rapper, actor and creator of things dope. Some people call me by my government name, some call me sensei and others call me by my nickname Gizmo.

Interesting! It seems that you’ve been living in Japan for some time. When did you first move there and why Japan in the first place?

Yea! I’ve been living in Japan for 6 years now (time flies!) I moved here in 2011 and I’m very much surprised that I’m actually still here. The plan was to live here for only one year and then go back to the US but whoops…6 years later! lol Truth be told.. I’ve always a fascination with Japan and Japanese culture from a very very young age. It all started with ninjas and samurai, but then I found the history and language very interesting. On top of all that, Japanese girls are fiiirrreeee! So, yea. Japan rocks! lol

Cool. It seems that many people I speak to (that have lived here for many years) say the same thing, regarding their original intention of staying in Japan for only one year. There must be a reason, right? What are your thoughts on the living standards in Japan, verses where you lived in the west? Is it better?

As for standard of living. I think it was relatively cheaper to live in the U.S. (I’m from Arizona.) Things like rent, food and entertainment were way cheaper than it is here. But one thing that Japan has is safety. I’ve never felt safer anywhere else. Even with impending earthquakes and tsunamis. Feels good to know I can walk home at wee hours in the morning and not worry about being robbed or something. I can also go out and get that REAL sushi and style on everybody worldwide! I love it! lol

True dat! Although I’ve only been here for a few months, there’s real sense of safety here. Although, I am not much of a fan of sushi myself (I never understand cold food lol). You seem to be involved in a lot of interesting things, so far. Everything from Vlogs, music and music videos. Please tell me about your current ventures?

Haha.. yea. I kind of have my hands in different things at the moment. I do vlogs, comedy sketches and music at the moment. I really like creating and I really like comedy. There are other things I have planned for the future but I wont divulge that info just yet (Secret secret!) My current goal at the moment is making dope creations in everything that I’m doing. I’d like to transition from doing what I love doing as just a hobby to making it my primary source of income. That’s the current goal!

I am sure at this rate, you’ll definitely real your goal. Regarding your recent music video, it’s great btw! Can you tell me a little bit about it, and why you decided to shoot it in Osaka?

Glad you enjoyed the music video! Thanks! Osaka is amazing! It’s one of my favorite places in Japan. I prefer it more than Tokyo as the people aren’t as cold, the food is great and kansai ben sounds mad slick. It’s really a great city and shooting it there just worked out well as I have friends there that were able to help me find good places to shoot (Big up Yana!)

That makes now! It seems like everybody has something great to say about Osaka. Makes me wish I moved there instead of Tokyo hahaha! Do you have an overall message? Perhaps an underlying theme to your creative works? If so, how does this tie into your personal journey with Japan?

Hmmm.. that’s a good question. I think the thing that connects everything I do is.. it’s me! My music, the various characters I portray and the things I talk about.. they’re all me. Some may be extremes of particular character traits I exhibit, but they’re all me and they’re real. So, if anything my overall message would be to just do your thing, be true to yourself and believe in your own greatness.

Spoken like a true creative. So far, myself and your followers have seen much from you in 2017. What can we expect in 2018?

You can expect more! More videos, more music, more dopeness. On top of that you can expect it to be better than it was in 2017! I have a ton of ideas and a lot of things that I’m putting in place for the future. 2018 will be great!

Thank you for time Gizmo! Do you have final message, for anybody aspiring creatives that would like to take their work to another country, like you did?

My message to any aspiring creatives is to.. DO IT! Make a plan, give yourself deadlines and MAKE IT HAPPEN. The reason I’m here doing what I do now is because the phrase “I tried my best and gave it my all” sounds much sweeter to my ears than “What if…” Shoot your shot! Do what you love. Life is short, do what makes you happy!

Thank you Gizmo!

To see more of Gizmo’s work, you can follow him on Youtube (click the link)

Ricky Baxter


Japan X4: Uryu Iwako


, , , ,

Greetings all!

Right – so I’ve been living in Japan for about a month now, and so far I am having a blast. Naturally, I am still finding my feet and exploring what Tokyo has to offer. Just recently, I was recommended to go to Asakusa: A well known area, home to a popular shrine. Of course I went, and I loved it!


Senso-ji Temple. Apparently Japan’s oldest Temple, associated with Tendai Buddhism


The Five-storied Pagoda was founded in 942 and rebuilt in 1648 by Tokugawa Iemitsu. Apparently a bone relic of the Buddha, presented by Sri Lanka is placed on the topmost part of the Pagoda!



A copper statue of the 9th Danjuro Ichikawa, the famous Kabuki actor


Asakusa was truly remarkable. However there was one thing that stood out – something that led me to research further, even after my visit to Asakusa. As I browsed the temple grounds, I was led to a small area that contained a handful of stone tablets. There I found the most striking statue of a woman long gone. Her name was called: Uryu Iwako.

Lady Japanese

Uryu Iwako: The great social worker

While most of the tourists and visitors were glued to the various other sights, this particular sight seemed to be overlooked. Nobody was marveling at her, or stopping for a moment to read the plaque. However, I was drawn to the statue and everything about it. She was seated, so warm and peacefully – giving off a sense she must have been a very giving and loving person. The statue portrayed a happy, confident, gentle yet driven individual. However, what made this statue so special? I am sure there were many notable people throughout Japan’s history, so why this seemingly common and friendly looking woman?

Upon reading the plaque, I found that the woman was a driving force in educating the girls of her clan (Aizu Clan). She also established the Fukushima relief facility, for the poor and orphans. She also founded the Midwifery research institute and Saisei Hospital – essentially promoting social work.

I guess that explains why she was immortalized. She was a great contributor to Japanese society. It also explains why the sculptor carved her image in such a respectable way. She seemed like someone I would have loved to meet. She also seemed like someone that was greatly needed, during the time of the Meiji restoration.

I wonder what kind of amazing things Uryu Iwako would contribute to today, if she were still alive? Either way, her efforts were not in vain, and will be remembered forever.

Thank you for reading!

Ricky Baxter


Japan X3: HUMAN


, , , , , , , ,

Hello and thank you for stopping by my blog, about my life and observations, living in Tokyo Japan!

So, I’ve been in Tokyo for a little under a month – working as an English teacher by day, writing by night and exploring the city, during my days off. Because of this cycle, I can see a glimpse into how the Japanese people operate within this society, and much of their feelings, which I must say: is no different from any other human being around the world.

When making assumptions about a particular race, it really is beneficial to see for yourself.

At work my classes are full of jokes and banter – sharing stories of travel, food and music (to name but a few). Some students are workers by day and singers by night. Others are looking to broaden their horizons by travelling, while others are just stay at home parents. What I find remarkable about this, is that although our languages, culture and societal norms are different, our human traits are very much the same. Our humor, opinions and feelings are no different, regardless of being from a different country altogether. For some reason, I assumed the mindset of such a people from the other side of the globe would be alien to me – however I was mistaken. I’ve learnt that it’s important to not judge a book by it’s cover (or a people, based on news and word of mouth). When making assumptions about a particular race, it really is beneficial to see for yourself. No amount of speculation can compare to that. And if you find distasteful elements to a certain race, perhaps you can find a reason for why such an element exists.

The people I’ve met are driven, ambitious, respectful, creative and hard working – like anywhere else in this world. The result will be different, depending on the country and the customs – however strip it all away, and that basic human trait can always be found. In my opinion, this holds true to all places this world.

We really are not that different after all. Who would have guessed, haha!

Thanks for reading!

Ricky Baxter

P.S if you enjoyed my post, please feel free to see my books, available on the My Books Section and Amazon!


Japan X2: Friends


, , , , ,

Greetings again, and thank you for following my journey, living in Japan!

It’s been 2 weeks since arriving to Tokyo Japan, and I’ve finally gotten used to my surroundings (I only get lost once a day, instead of 5 times a day), I can finally ask for what I want in a shop, without playing a game of charades each time, and I’ve started my teaching day job!

This is all good and well, however one thing that I wondered, was how does a non-speaking foreigner like myself make actual friends here? To be honest I wasn’t concerned with this initially, as I had hoped to buy a kitten. However, my landlord forbids it. As such I am left with no choice but to forge bonds with actual humans (Bah).

In many ways, making fellow Gaijin friends in Japan is easier than in our own western countries, as we don’t have the luxury of having both family and friends around us.

Regarding making friends: Are there spots to go? Bars? Clubs? Online groups? These things went through my mind during my flight. I joined a few groups on Facebook, which to be perfectly honest was a waste of time. In my opinion, they’re basically guises where females produce the most cringe and raunchy, low quality pics of themselves for guys to say how sexy they are. Thankfully I made a nice handful of fellow teachers through my work (Yaaaay!). They too are foreigners that have journeyed thousands of miles across the ocean to be here, which is kind of nice to know that others are in similar positions.

In many ways, making fellow Gaijin friends in Japan is easier than in our own western countries, as we don’t have the luxury of having both family and friends around us. In Japan it’s just you, which forces you to not be complacent. In London, if there was a show or expo around, which could potentially bring forth new friends and acquaintances, I would more than likely not go – as I already had a circle of friends and family. Naturally I don’t have that here, which in many ways is a good thing, as this forces me to make more of an effort.

In a nutshell, there is no one way to make friends abroad, just like there is no one way to make friends at home. All you need is to put yourself out there, more than you used to.


Btw, if you’re thinking of making native Japanese friends however, and you don’t speak Japanese yourself… forget it (which shouldn’t be too surprising to hear). Without knowing how to have a conversation in Japanese, you’ll only make Gaijin friends. This is fine of course – however if you hope to make at least one Japanese pal, you’d better crack open that text book and learn some Japanese!

Thank you for reading and see you next time!

Ricky Baxter



Japan X 1: Arrival


, , , , , ,

Greetings all, and apologies for being MIA.

For those new here, my name is Ricky Baxter, writer and self-published author of a slew of amazing novels, on Amazon.

Born and raised in London UK,  I recently took up a teaching role in Tokyo Japan, and have been living here for the past week. Over the coming months I’ll be posting my experiences, once a week under the title Japan X (Sounds amazing right?). Let’s get started shall we?

In Akihabara

“Why on earth Japan?” you may say? Well… I have always had a certain attachment to Japanese culture, ever since watching my first anime and playing my first console game. Over the years, such content would inspire me to create my own work, such as writing and music. In the back of my mind I always wondered what Japan really was like. What sort of lives do such a people lead? What about their life brings them to create such profound and passionate stories, told through the medium of their many forms of entertainment?

Of course moving past the bright lights, there are more deeper things to see, such as museums, parks, temples and landmarks.

 I had to know, which was why I took up a teaching role to explore the culture that granted so much inspiration to me. Perhaps being so close would heighten my creative juices even more as a writer?

My farewell post leaving the UK. Awww😢

Fast forward after a ridiculously long and uncomfortable flight and here I am, with 2 overley packed suitcases. So far I’ve seen Shinjuku and Akihabara, which had the well expected glitz and glamour. Of course moving past the bright lights, there are more deeper things to see, such as museums, parks, temples and landmarks.

A Buddhist temple in Shinjuku. I can’t explain it, but a feeling of awe and wonder overcomes me when I see these temples, more than the modern skyscrapers so far🤔

So far, the various shinto and Buddhist temples have resonated with me, more than anything else, which is surprising – for I expected to be more impressed by the glitz and glamour. In fact, the area where I am staying: Tabata, a residential place has caught my eye more. Perhaps it’s because this reveals the real day to day living of the Japanese, and not the flashy sights that can be found anywhere else? Time will tell, and I’ll be sure to update you, every step of the way.


Thanks for reading!

Feel free to connect to my insta and Facebook!

And if you would like to know more about my work, check out My books section or head to Amazon 

Ricky Baxter

Bounce DanceFit Creator


, , ,

About a year ago, I wrote a great piece on Franco Conquista, the man behind the great workout dance craze called Bounce. Recently I came across a post that sums up who his creation is all about!

Bounce DanceFit Fitness Program 

“Fitness must not involve strenuous exercises in the gym. There’s more to staying fit other than gyming or dieting. Fitness is all about having fun with your body and staying fit by losing extra calories in a simple way. The best thing about dance is that, it’s suitable for all ages and doesn’t cause muscle pains and joint aches. It strengthens tones and improves both flexibility and posture. Most fans say dancing helps them build stamina and relax especially after a tiresome day.

Bounce Dance Fit is a fitness brand program that was created By Franco Conquista due to high demand in the UK. He identified the gap that existed in the market and decided to launch it as a group exercise class and as the group became popular, he acquired licensed instructors to teach the program. Bounce DanceFit is a choreographed Dance Fitness class whose main objective is to ensure you stay fit while you dance to different street dance styles such as waacking, hip hop, vogue and House. You get to enjoy these in a fun environment in the company of people who make the work out experience captivating.

About the pioneer

Franco Conquista is a professional dance presenter who graduated from one of the best dance schools in Europe, Rambert School and has launched the Bounce DanceFit program in over 20 countries in a span of 18 months only. In addition to that, he won the award for “Best Presenter” in England which proves how committed he is to the fitness program. Recently, he launched a Kids’ version of the fitness program called, “Bounce DanceFit Juniors” which is also doing incredibly well. This year, he has been nominated for the second consecutive time as the Best Presenter of the Year, plus Bounce DanceFit has also been nominated in the Best Brand of the Year category in the “National Community Awards” which are scheduled for November this year.

In England, they refer to him as “The man on Fire” due to the energy he has while on stage and when he’s teaching classes. He’s very passionate and ambitious about the fitness program no wonder he keeps getting nominated. His main aim is to work hard until the whole world starts bouncing to street dance styles and in the process, people stay fit. Now you don’t have an excuse for not losing some extra pounds or maintaining general body fitness when there’s a cool fitness program like Bounce DanceFit. All the choreographies are easy and fun to follow, making it the ideal workout plan for everyone who loves dancing. Lastly, the 45 min dance class offers a constant energetic cardio workout that gets you sweaty in an amazing way.”

Well done Francesco! Keep filling the world with Bounce!

Ricky Baxter

In Search of Real Truth


, , , , , ,

We live in a time of great change and vast improvements. We can communicate with one another, in ways never thought of before, and we also have many platforms via social media to find things that affirm or test our opinions and trail of thought.

However, one can’t help but notice the effect these social media platforms have on us and our search for an objective truth.


Image provided by Buzzle

A good example of this is the ever popular Youtube. Back when it was first released, the type of data it ran on was basic, compared to now. Simply put, if you watched a cooking video, the next suggestion would have no bearing on what you previously watched. The same would go for if you watched a particular debate. The next video suggestion would have almost nothing to do with what you saw beforehand.

What this does is essentially create an online bubble, where you are the centre of it all.

Fast forward to today, and what you have are subjective suggestions that cater to you and your trail of thought. Of course for the individual, this feels like a rather good thing – which saves you the hassle of picking out your desired content. However on a larger scale, what this does is essentially create an online bubble, where you are the centre of it all.

We’ve not only become a post-fact people, but a post truth-people also. Not because the truth doesn’t exist, but because we’ve made the truth our own.

The problem with this, is that it gives us a false sense of objective truth. Because these many social media platforms cater to your mindset, we’re led to believe that the content must indeed be true. However when a diverging view is encountered, we feel threatened and lash out with online abuse – as though our world has come crashing down. Try searching for reasons why gay marriage is a good thing, and you’ll find hundreds of sources that back-up your view. Equally – search for reasons why gay marriage is a bad thing, and you’ll find sources to affirm your opinion. Of course your opinion has now become a fact – because you searched the web to find people who think like you do. So how do you respond to others who critique your view? That’s right… bring out the keyboard and let the insults begin!


Source: Red Pill nation

We call each other stupid and degrade one another, just for someone offering a different opinion. We react like predictable children – rarely offering room to absorb someone else’s point of view.

Essentially – we’ve not only become a post-fact people, but a post truth-people also. Not because the truth doesn’t exist, but because we’ve made the truth our own. It’s “My” truth, not “our” truth. Then again, perhaps we’ve always been this way inside, and social media is merely reflecting on how we operate? Nevertheless, I am quite intrigued (and slightly worried) as to where this will lead us, as a society in the future.

“Truth does not pay homage to any society, ancient or modern. Society has to pay homage to the Truth or die.” – Swami Vivekananda 

Ricky Baxter