He’s camped out – in a rainstorm – on the Great Wall of China. He’s climbed his way to the top of the world’s most perfect volcano. And later this month, Vancouver-based adventurer William Jans is thrilled to return to the Clova Cinema stage in Cloverdale, where he’ll regale fans with yet more anecdotes from his off-the-wall adventures in a multimedia performance.
A Man. A Plan. Japan! is his eighth show about absurd travels.
Jans, a professional photographer and globetrotter, has literally travelled the world, sampling some of its more off-beat and odd offerings yet he’s cool with Cloverdale, where – after putting on shows in the Vancouver area – two years ago he branched out to his Fraser Valley fans with an appearance at the former family-run movie house venue at 5732 176 Street, Surrey.
“I have been more flattered to see so many coming out that way,” he told the Reporter.
When he presented Off the Wall in China here in 2013, he was thrilled with the response.
“Such a great community,” he said. “The reason for [performing at] the Clova is that I loved the ‘Mom and Pop’ cinema kind-of-business.”
The cinema closed in 2014, but Jans’ family treasures its memories of patronizing that scale of business, and as an adult, he’s striven to support independent theatres.
“Mom and dad would often go from White Rock to the Clova,” he said, emphasizing the new owners – CrossRidge Church – have offered to allow him to return for a special evening his fans will enjoy.
“I am certainly grateful for that. I hope that we can have a magical night and I can transport people away to some different worlds,” he said.
His shows combine video, audio, costumes and audience participation. A Man. A Plan. Japan! includes an “array of nutty things” from navigating curvy mountain roads in China to the wonders of Sumo wrestling and the rockabilly panache of Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park, where, every weekend, the Kings of Rock n’ Roll relive the magic of the past, right down to the black leather jackets and slicked-over hairdos.
Jans’ commitment to the cutting edge of tourism knows no bounds; he broke his foot – badly– on April Fools Day in Tokyo, only to cheer on a 169-km running race around Mt. Fuji.
“A highlight for me was going through Buddha’s Nostril in Nara,” he says.
“Housed in the base of the largest wooden building in the world is the one particular post that has a hole in it that is reputed to be the exact size of Buddha’s nostril!” he added.
“I have great video of this. I don’t know if the stress conveys for when I had to stop breathing to try and get through.”
In other words, it’s a grand trip with great tales and feats of derring-do.
“I hope people come for the adventure.”
In leaping across the cultural divide, Jans believes his height (he’s tall), hair (lack thereof) and glasses allow him to play the goofy, out-of-place foreigner – an asset in exotic locales, where his gregarious nature disarms strangers.
[Fashion-forward Japanese, right – William Jans photo/WRJPhoto.com]
When traveling, he finds the more remote you go, the more welcoming people are. He hopes his shows will, in a small way, help make his home port a nicer place.
The premiere of A Man. A Plan. Japan! is Thursday, April 23 at the Clova. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., the show is at 8 p.m. Tickets ($21 online/$23 at the door) and info at www.wrjphoto.com.