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Rookie on the Mic

Rookie on the Mic

People dream of reinventing themselves. People watch or listen to inspirational speakers and even sometimes empty their savings for a second chance. A chance to shine in a realm that they never thought was possible. Hope can be a powerful motivator especially when times get tough. Even the most optimistic humans of this world can get knocked down hard enough that they will never get up. Some think we live in an unforgiving world where people are so selfish that they would do anything to “make it”. For as long we live there will always be people like this. Well past I’m gone narcissistic people will exist. That doesn’t mean that we should let go of relentless positive thought, ambitious dreaming and keeping an open mind that there are indeed incredible people all around us. Finding them doesn’t have to be that hard, it just needs to be on your radar. Easier said than done, I know.

How did I meet Joey Slick of J1Japan?

Joey Slick in the Zone

Joey Slick in the Zone

In 2018, I started a Facebook Group called Yokohama Expat Network (YEN). My rough plan was to connect with other foreigners in Japan. More specifically, I wanted to help people in the Yokohama area that were having difficulty in their lives. Since Japan is not conducive for people that struggle with learning a second language, I thought maybe a local facebook group could help. For more on that, see this post. Anyhow, I reached out to a friend that I knew once lived in Yokohama to see if he knew anyone that might be interested in joining YEN. For some reason that I will likely never understand, Uchiymama (friends name) set up a time for me to go down to Totsuka 83.7 FM Radio in Yokohama. His plan was for me to simply meet DJ Joey Slick. Nothing more, than less. Just a simple meet and great. I agreed and so did Slick so that very week I went to the radio show. What unfolded from there is hard to demystify. At least at this moment.

The time for me to meet was set, 7:00pm. Exactly one hour before Joey Slick was to go live. To date, Joey has done well over 500 Radio Shows at this station alone. But this day was different. It was the day that a legendary DJ from LA, who has been living in Japan for 18 years insisted that I get on the mic with him. When I nervously told him that I had no experience on live radio he replied with, “it’s ok Dan, just relax, be yourself” (or something like that). And so I did, only 1 hour after meeting Slick I found myself rocking Joint One Radio (Joey’s famous US Brand) studio headphones with studio microphones and all. He rapidly gave me a run down on the equipment and then, Beep Beep Beep, the Live light was illuminated. I remember it like it was yesterday.

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Pro skaters give props to other pro skaters that inspired them to better at the art of skateboarding. Athletes, no matter the sport, had people in their lives that insisted that they don’t give up and persevere to get over that hump. More often than not, scholars that excel have a teachers or mentors in their corner to make sure they get to where they need to be academically. This year, for me, I had Joey Slick and J1Japan. Joey and Kyu had my back. The Joint One Fam!

We wrapped our first show together at 9pm that night. My thinking immediately went to appreciation for the opportunity to be on live radio. I also thought it was one time thing. But when Joey Slick invited me back the following week, a seed started to grow inside me that ‘maybe I can do this radio thing’. It was still just a seed of an idea that needed nourishing soil. Our schedules lined up nicely so I hesitantly agreed. My reluctance wasn’t because I didn’t have a good time. For me, it was wonderful. It was because I couldn’t understand why he wanted me to make a second appearance. Either way, his kindness was appreciated and so I agreed.

I counted the days up until my second appearance on J1Japan’s Live show. My inaugural appearance was a flop. Well, that’s how I saw it anyways. Regardless, Joey was encouraging and supportive to the point where I started to think again, ‘I can do this radio thing”’. There it was again, that idea coming up to the surface. Gradually the confidence to excel on live radio was penetrating. Exactly 7 days after our initial introduction I found myself once again sitting across from the Legend from LA. The strange thing is this time I was more nervous because I felt that I needed to perform well to be accepted into the internship of being a performer on live radio. I was wrong, dead wrong. I was accepted regardless of what I brought to the table. That’s rare in this world.

Joey Slick gave my kids a chance too. Bobo and Zuchan killed it.

Joey Slick gave my kids a chance too. Bobo and Zuchan killed it.

Gradually I got better with the support of my this new mentor in my life. I graciously volunteered my time for the chance to learn from the master. Sometimes people that have phenomenal skills like Slick can be egotistical, impatient and even unkind to people that have no experience like I did. Yet every show, one week at time (sometimes twice a week) Mr. Slick taught me how to be better not only behind the mic, but in life.

Before meeting Joey I had just come off of some major disappointments making me quite bitter about life in general. I took the victim road which was unusual for me. I had immediate family in Japan and “friends” but it had been a solid 5 year stretch that I hadn’t depended on anyone for guidance. From experience, when times got dark I knew the cloud would lift eventually but having a less reliable support team made my life in Japan darker than it actually was. Social media addicts rely on texting and posting to get by. Human interaction is a million fold more powerful than any post that gets a thousand likes or any video that goes viral. Since I was in Japan and over 90% of my loved ones were across the ocean, I unknowingly went down the rabbit hole that is social media. It creeped into my psyche just like a lot of people. I’m no different than you but for me It was time for change.

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Back to J1Japan, Kyu Chah and Joey Slick. I really looked forward to my Radio Show appearance once a week because I knew that J1Japan had my back. My loyalty to J1 didn’t start off like that but as I got more FaceTime with the crew, I became more comfortable with letting go of behaviours and thoughts that I already knew was toxic. How I knew this was regardless of my performance, regardless of my mistakes and regardless of what was going on in their lives they still had my back. That’s true friendship and that it was why I will forever miss my Friday Night Live Show.

Listen to Joey and I talk with Natasha Watts

These past 6 months I’ve accepted with more humility than I knew I had that we can always be better. Wecan always improve and we can always find room in our lives to help others. Even after reading dozens of self help books, serial entrepreneur tactics and watching literally thousands of YouTube Shows to be a better person for people in my life, it was my performing with Joey Slick that catapulted me to have a clearer understanding of where I want to channel my energy going forward.

In closing, I want to thank all the members of and the Joint One Radio Crew. Especially my supporters from the shadows, Kyu Chah & Joey Slick.

Great things are on the horizon but unlike before, we’re gonna let them unfold with patience and acceptance that not all things can be controlled. That is the biggest lesson I learned from my man, my brother, my true friend, Joey Slick.

If you missed the last show Joey Slick’s last live show in Yokohama, don’t worry, I shot it all. Please send me a message HERE if you want to see it and I’ll get down to editing it.

Update : The Colabo Show is now LIVE. Check it out HERE

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Dan Pape