Nicholas hails from Sydney, where he was born to a Japanese mother and Australian father. Although Nicholas’ childhood was spent in Australia, it was the family’s frequent trips to visit Japanese relatives and friends that initially spurred his keen interest in the country and its culture.
Art and Japanese language studies at high school eventually led Nicholas to the University of Canberra, where he graduated in Landscape Architecture studies and took a diploma in the Japanese language. In 2010, during these studies, he was sent to west Japan for 18 months as an exchange student in Art Education at Yamaguchi University. A trombonist and pianist from school days, while in Yamaguchi Nicholas developed a passion for Japanese traditional music taking up the shakuhachi flute and joining a hogakubu musical ensemble. He relates how he relished time playing with his Japanese music teachers and student friends and talking with them about Japanese music, art and history.
After returning to Australia, Nicholas found work in the prop and set industry for TV and film productions, assisting Japanese artists participating in a major art exhibition in Sydney, and leading tours climbing across Sydney Harbour Bridge. Nicholas also found time to pursue his interest in Japanese music by joining Taikoz, a Sydney-based taiko drumming group, which took him on a series of concerts playing professionally around Australia, New Zealand and Abu Dhabi.
During his time with Taikoz Nicholas was introduced to a unique style of traditional drumming found on Miyake-jima, an island in the Izu archipelago, and realised for the first time how Japan’s regional diversity is reflected in its musical traditions. Intrigued, Nicholas decided to return to Japan in 2015 and learn more about the music of Miyake-jima and traditional Japanese music together with its relationship to the nation’s culture in general. On return he was privileged to be accepted as a student by Kaoru Kakizakai, a world-renowned shakuhachi performer.
Nicholas currently lives in Chiba, adjacent to Tokyo. He enjoys the mix of the great metropolis and nature on the Boso Peninisula. Besides his interest in music, Nicholas is a keen hiker and has undertaken trips for pleasure throughout Australia including in the Blue Mountains, New South Wales’s Royal National Park and the Snowy Mountains.
Nicholas joined Walk Japan as a tour leader in 2016. He is known to take his shakuhachi along with him on tour and provide impromptu performances for his customers en route.