Phelan files from Japan

A FEATURE on the Japanese town of Obama is expected to appear in this weekend’s Sunday Herald newspaper – written by a former staffer who has just moved to Japan, to work freelance for the next six-to-12 months.

Stephen Phelan left for Japan earlier this week and is planning to write a non-fiction book.

Specialising in arts and culture, he says this is the best time to embark on such a career change. He was a staff writer – assigned to the Seven Days supplement, which was later folded into the magazine – until December, when he went freelance.

He told “Budgets have been getting tighter and so getting commissions has been harder.

“It’s not that I think I can do better in Japan, but I am sure I won’t be doing much worse.

“So, I’ll be pitching as many news stories, travel pieces and features as I can from over here – and hopefully act as an occasional correspondent for my old colleagues at the Herald and Sunday Herald – while also working on something [the book] I’ve been promising to have a crack at for years. I’ve only been at it six days and already I feel a bit better.”

As well as The Herald and Sunday Herald, Phelan has also written for The Sunday Times, The Guardian, The Sunday Tribune (Ireland) and The Age (Australia).