06 Jun How stand-up comedy helped one Japanese man find his place in Australia
Takashi Waka came to Australia six years ago as an exchange student from Japan. He struggled initially, finding it difficult to catch-up with his fellow Australian university students and a new way of life.
However, on one fateful day, Takashi saw a poster for a comedy night in Sydney, which led to him to form a love for watching English stand-up comedy, before deciding he would give it a go himself.
Today, Takashi continues to pursue his love of comedy in Sydney, sharing with his audiences a hilarious take on everything Japanese.
“In my comedy, I talk about Japan, the cultural differences, language barriers, and how Japan is crazy about Australia, and how Australia is crazy for Japan, and a lot of my jokes are also about me being tired of being Japanese,” Takashi said.
“Japan is a very unique country and culture, and it’s an island with only Japanese people, so when I came to Australia, there were so many Western ideas that I didn’t know or understand.
“Being unique is great, but it’s also very tough because you don’t know other general things that other people know.”
Using his transition to Australia as a basis of his comedy, Takashi has started to gain momentum in the industry, and he was recently featured as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s Comedy Zone Asia segment.
Takashi said it has been through experiences like this that has helped him settle into Australia and form friendships with fellow comedians. He also said he often frequents the Sydney comedy scene, watching and learning about the art of stand-up through what other people say during their time on the stage.
“I do comedy but I am from Japan, and people still listen to me and it’s very easy for me to get on the stage in Australia,” he said.
“In Australia, you can say whatever you want and you can share your opinions, but in Japan, being quiet is more important and you don’t get to speak your opinions, you just listen to other people and agree with what they say.”
This isn’t to say the move for Takashi has been entirely easy, though.
“Sometimes, when I go out with my friends, I find it hard to catch up with the conversation, and it’s times like that when I wish I could speak Japanese because it would help me to talk more and be more funny with them.
“But, with stand-up comedy, if you’re on a stage, you can say whatever you want and people will listen, and everyone is equal, which is one of the reasons why I love it,” Takashi explains.
Keep up to date with Takashi by liking his Facebook page HERE.