Reaching For The Stars With John Rachel

Commaful is supported by readers. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This does not affect who we choose to review or what we recommend. Learn more

About John Rachel

Spent my first year in an orphanage, was adopted, my new parents died when I was 14, worked in a factory until I went to college and got a degree in Philosophy (what else?), spent decades trying to resolve the intrinsic clash between the metaphysical purity of Buddhism and the overwhelming appeal of narcissism. Now I’m married to a lovely, extremely brilliant Japanese lady and living in a traditional rural community 1 1/2 northwest of Osaka. I ride my bike daily through the rice fields to go into town. I wave at people and they wave back, speaking in Japanese. I just found out what they’re saying: “Get out of the street. You’re about to get hit by a bus!” (Just kidding!) Actually, people here are very friendly, kind, extremely community-minded, considerate of others, unbelievably honest. It’s like living in a fairy tale!

See their work:


How And When Did You Get Started Writing?

I wrote my first story in oatmeal on the tray of my high chair when I was 2 1/2. Before I could get it to an editor, my mom consigned it to the kitchen drain. In high school, I vented a lot of adolescent rage and confusion about the “facts of life” by writing on bathroom walls. After college, I wrote a few bad checks. No one seemed impressed by my “creative” economics and the bank closed my account. Actually, I loved writing papers both in high school and college! It was my way of showing off, getting the best of the brainless bullies who used me for third base during baseball games, just because I had the athletic prowess of a bag of cement. I finally got serious about writing in 2008. This was when I first arrived in Japan and had a lot of time on my hands. Since then, I’ve written 14 books, over 300 magazine articles, and 11 poems. Unfortunately, they only have electronic cash transfers in Japan, so kiting checks isn’t even an option here. I’ve become an honest man!

What Does Literary Success Look Like To You?

Promoting my next book, “50 Shades of Pubic Hair”, to millions of adoring TV watchers on the Jerry Springer Show!

What Actionable Tips And Tricks Do You Have For New Writers That They Can Apply Now On Their Journey As Budding Writers?

Reach for the stars and stay out of bars.

What Are Common Traps For Aspiring Writers?

Missing manhole covers, using commas instead of semi-colons, marrying too young (anytime before turning 85), emails from Nigeria promising $20 million, leaving the house when you have outstanding warrants for your arrest, taking yourself too seriously, not taking yourself seriously enough, kiting checks to make child support payments.

If You Could Tell Your Younger Writing Self Anything, What Would It Be?

Never hide your only copy of a manuscript in a washing machine.

What Are Your Favorite Books? Fiction And/ Or Non-Fiction?

Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” by William L. Shirer, Slaughterhouse-Five” by Kurt Vonnegut, Sputnik Sweetheart” by Haruki Murakami

Anything you’d like to plug?

New book coming out February 14 (Valentine’s Day)


450+ photos

63 anecdotes about my life here as an expat

“It’s like living in a fairy tale.”

Recommended Posts:

Join the Commaful Storytelling Community

Commaful takes everything you love about stories and makes it a bite-sized, on-the-go experience. Fanfiction? Poetry? Short stories? You’ll find it all!