I met with TK Entertainer for a cup of tea and listened to what he had to say about tea, life and his mission to put a smile on everyone’s face.
TK: My name is TK Entertainer and I am a street performer. I play bucket drums as a busker and I travel all over the world.
Andrew: Which countries have you performed in?
TK: I busked in Sydney, Toronto, and NYC
Andrew: Today we are having Sencha tea.
TK: Oh Sencha! A Japanese tea.
Andrew: I think it’s one of the best teas. You can have a try…
TK: I haven’t had Sencha for 2 or 3 years. Thank you so much
Andrew: What kind of tea do you normally drink?
TK: Green tea. I drink green tea a lot. I think most of the Japanese people drink green tea every day.
Andrew: Yeah, I think it’s very popular.
TK: Cheers! (TK and I sip on a cup of tea) Ah, It takes me back to Japan!
Andrew: Do you often drink tea?
TK: Yeah I drink green tea. I have green tea in the morning as well.
Andrew: What do you love about tea?
TK: It’s very relaxing. I drink tea before something important. That’s why I drank green tea this morning. Otherwise, I like English tea, like English Breakfast. But if want to do something very important I drink green tea. I get anxious and nervous easily. I don’t know if I look nervous looking like this. I get anxious before something important like a meeting, an interview like this, so I drink green tea.
Andrew: How did you get into drinking tea?
TK: Ok, like, we drink tea since we are very little, instead of just water. Like when I went to a sushi restaurant or something in Japan, every time I went there, sushi came with green tea. It never came with water. Which is weird for English speakers, like people who come from countries where English is spoken. And so when I came here, I didn’t get green tea with sushi, so I felt weird. Because it has taste right? people don’t like tasting something both at the same time. Let’s say you have hamburger or something, and you drink green tea. It doesn’t match. But we drink a lot. The same with Miso soup, we drink green tea as well as Sencha and houjicha. I like houjicha as well
Andrew: Yeah, Houjicha is good too.
TK: It’s interesting that, really, Starbucks coffee has been trying to use Japanese tea, like houjicha latte. It doesn’t really taste amazing, it doesn’t taste like houjicha. But it tastes a little bit like houjicha. I think Starbucks coffee because it’s an American company right? It has been a little bit interested in Japanese culture. I love it.
Andrew: I also like matcha and genmaicha.
TK: I love matcha so much! I can drink matcha, like, every single day.
Andrew: I also like to put matcha in smoothies. I also saw that you can make baked goods with it.
TK: Oh yeah? I love it. like Matcha cakes and soft creams.
Andrew: What’s a typical day for you?
TK: I wake up at 6am and eat breakfast. I study psychology and English. I also film and edit YouTube videos. Then I eat lunch and go busking.
Andrew: Where can people find you busking?
TK: I busk at the Eaton’s Centre. It’s the busiest spot. I tried several spots and the Eaton’s Centre is better. But it’s crazy sometimes, people get really intense. A lot of people fight there. I’ve seen a gunshot there as well when I was busking. Like I heard BANG, BANG and I turned over and a guy just fell over. It’s crazy.
Andrew: What do you think of Toronto? Do you think that happens often or is it safe?
TK: People say it has been dangerous, but I feel safer than anywhere. Like Toronto people are so nice, Canadian people are so nice here and very kind and friendly. Not as open-minded as Americans. People care about boundaries a lot here, like physically and mentally. If you seem very upset, people don’t come and ask you “Hey! What’s wrong with you? You seem upset. Tell me!” Like it’s not going to be like that. Canadians are going to be “Are you okayyy?” If you feel like talking to me, you can. But if you don’t, I don’t mind it. I just want you to be happy. It’s a very nice way. Very soft and soothing. I love that.
Andrew: That’s a good attitude to have.
TK: It’s so much like Japan. It’s like Japanese people. It reminds me of Japan a lot.
Andrew: What do you usually do after busking?
TK: I play the guitar and I make songs as well. Like my own songs. And I practice magic and I practice juggling as well. Like in my spare time I usually practice something for my skills, like making people laugh and happy in different ways. That’s all I do. Oh, wait! I watch anime. That’s my hobby if I may say.
Andrew: Which is your favourite?
TK: My recent favourite is My Hero Academia and I love it.
Andrew: I’ll have to watch it. I’ve heard good things about it. I really like the theme song. I heard it a lot.
TK: The opening song? *sings in Japanese*
TK: Yeah I like that.
Andrew: Who is your music idol?
TK: Ok, I didn’t get inspired by anyone when I started busking. I wanted to do something different. So like when I was in Australia I just came up the idea of busking. I just wanted to be busking. I didn’t want to, it’s not like I want to play drums. I just wanted to be busking and showing up in front of people and saying “Hey, I’m here.” I just saw a bunch of buckets so I grabbed a bunch of buckets from the street. If I just play bucket drums, it seems like homeless. So, yeah I wanted to be like more, make it like a show, a music show or an entertainment show, whatever. I wanted to wear this, Duckman. I was calling myself Chickenman at first. Because it’s a chicken right? Kids told me a lot “Did you know that you are a chicken, Duckman?” But I knew, hehe.
So I made as a Chickenman because I’m a chicken without the costume. I get anxious and nervous just going out on the street and performing. It’s very nervous. It takes over. I wanted to do something interesting. So I wear this and it feels like I’m going into another character. I decided to wear this and people call me Duckman the first day. It sounds better than, probably, um how do you say? familiar? To Duckman. So I decided to call myself Duckman.
Andrew: Oh nice!
TK: I don’t know if I should talk about myself, but when I was born, my father ran away from our family and my mother left me at the hospital. So I grew up, at first, alone until the age of three. And I was growing up with no family, no parents, and doctors and nurses were taking care of me. That was really lonely. And after awhile they picked me up, my parents picked me up there. We went to Tokyo. Tokyo is the biggest city. At three I went to Tokyo.
I lost my two sisters. One of them passed away from a car accident and the other passed away from HIV.
Andrew: Sorry to hear that.
TK: It’s okay. And my father committed suicide as well. He was in debt and I was growing up in an orphanage. I was one of the orphans and I couldn’t stop crying. I was just one of them. Like everyone was crying at the corner. Everyone liked being in the dark. If the teachers, like the doctors, turned on the light, everyone was like “ah! Don’t turn on the light!” Like people seem like they got traumatized by something, by their parents or something. But I was like that as well. I was one of them. I didn’t want to talk with anyone. I was just being very pessimistic.
I wanted to become a happy person when I was six years old. I fell out of my chair, and I got covered in milk. Everything was falling over and my pencils were flying with the milk. It was miserable, very embarrassing. But people were watching me and staring and laughing at me. So at the time I felt very alive. That was my first time to feel alive. I was like “This is it! This is what I want to do. Oh my gosh!” I was six years old and I decided to be a happy person. I didn’t want to see anyone that was disappointed of depressed any more.
So I need a lot of attention and affection. So when I started Duckman I get a lot of attention on the street. A lot of about like dozens of (people’s) attention. I need it to survive.
Andrew: How is your life different since people started discovering you?
Like Duckman? It’s different because people support me and encourage me a lot. I really didn’t think what I was doing was amazing. I just wanted to make my classmates laugh and happy in the first place. I decided to go on the street when i went to Australia. People appreciated my performance a lot there. And people were like “Come to Canada! Come to Ireland! Come to England!” or something. “Does this actually work like that?” And I can make a living traveling the world? Like I don’t like traveling the world much because it’s to troublesome. I’m not a very (big) backpacker person. But if I can busk around the world and just make people happy that would be awesome for me. It’s giving me a reason to be alive.
So like whatever I do I want to make people laugh and happy. I want people to remember me. I want to inspire people. I know life is really hard to manage, hard to deal with. So like I want to be stronger first and I want you to get stronger next.
Andrew: That’s very noble.
TK: I like this… job? I don’t think this is a job job. I don’t know if I’m going to do it in 30 years or something. But for now I like this job because I can inspire people.
Andrew: It’s a good job!
Andrew: what is your plan for the future?
TK: I am going on tour of Europe later and I don’t really know when I’m going to leave Toronto. I’m going to Germany, France, Italy, Amsterdam. Where is that? Netherlands. And England. I hope England is going to be my last destination. Then I’m going back to Japan. It’s going to take 2 years. I’ll still travel if people need me and I still do things to make people laugh. If I can do something better, but if there is nothing to do better , I’m going to keep being Duckman I guess.
Like I was invited to do a famous tv show here. Like Master Chef. That was weird because they were like “I want you to be a judge as Duckman, as a Japanese person. And I was like “ooh okay. This is interesting, Ill take it but I don’t have (citizenship). I have a work visa, but it expires in one year. They thought I was a citizen so that’s why they invited me. But they asked for my visa status and I don’t have citizenship. So I got denied.
Andrew: Ah, that’s too bad.
TK: Yeah, that’s too bad. I missed a chance to be on tv. It could be really interesting.
Andrew: I am sure another opportunity will come up.
TK: Thank you. So I don’t really mind like which shape something comes to me if I can make people happy. It doesn’t really matter what I do.
If you want to contact or follow TK Entertainer you can find him here:
GoFundMe (I wrote about myself here)