I have a feature in my programme called “Scouser Abroad”. I’ve been doing it for nearly six years and we have been to the four corners of the earth.
Let’s face it, Scousers get everywhere. I love the feature because we find out why people left, how they compare their lives now to their old lives, medical facilities, cost of living, benefits, education, lifestyle, cost of homes – we cover the whole experience.
I want to tell two stories of people who have gone in different directions after leaving the shores of Liverpool. Diane Orrett, who is now Diane Kichijitsu – is a scouse girl from Fazakerley.
She has changed her name while living in Japan, as she has been a performer in the art of Rakugo, a traditional Japanese art-form of comedy storytelling, for 23 years.
It is very popular in Japan and has enchanted audiences for 400 years.
The storyteller takes listeners on a magical journey, giving an insight into Japanese culture, and our Scouse lady has mastered this art and the language.
I asked Diane when she was home last how she got into it? She told me she met a really famous storyteller who was looking for a stage assistant. He taught her everything. She told me: “Life is great in Japan, but at the beginning it was difficult, as I struggled to speak the language.” One thing all the Scousers abroad have got in common, they can’t believe how Liverpool has changed and they are so proud to have their roots here.
But, let’s face it, we are in the world’s top 10 destinations.
All the people I’ve contacted through the years seem to have three things in common. Apart from missing their family and friends, they miss football, humour and chocolate.
The world has changed so much. When you went to Australia years ago, it was like a death in the family, as there was no skype, mobiles, etc. Now the world is a very small place and flights are affordable.
The other Scouser abroad that I must tell you about went to America in 1997 with £2,000 and a suitcase he bought at a car boot sale.
Jon Ashton is now a TV chef in Chic-ago. Originally from Roby, in Huyton, his ambition was to get a green card and become famous. I asked him what made him leave? He said: “The final straw, I had a Ford Orion and it got broken into so I thought, I’m off. But it was hard to say goodbye.”
The dad of one has since appeared on 140 TV stations as a chef called Aunty Ruby Tips, a “Mrs Doubtfire” of the kitchen. He is also is involved with a magazine that has 22m readers and has millions of Twitter followers. He’s convinced his Scouse accent and personality got him where he is today, after starting on a cable TV show, and he is hoping to bring Aunty Ruby to British screens.
I’ve only touched on his story and Diane’s. If you want to find out more, have a listen to my show tonight on Radio City Talk. So many Scousers are proud of their roots.
If you have a friend or relative anywhere in the world, I would love to talk to them. Please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org