I first learned that David Bowie had died while riding the Beetle jetfoil ferry from South Korea to Japan. Of the myriad thoughts that flooded through my mind during the crossing — for Bowie has been my lodestar, an absolutely determinant influence in my life as the musician Momus — was the bittersweet idea that I was returning to a land that provided a large part of Bowie’s inspiration.

Images of “Bowie’s Japan” rose in memory as the Kyushu coastline loomed closer. I pictured images taken by photographer Masayoshi Sukita, of course, including the glazed Expressionist-inspired pose on the cover of “Heroes,” later revived for his penultimate album “The Next Day.” I then recalled the costumes of Kansai Yamamoto, in particular an outfit depicting moon-dwelling woodland creatures first unveiled at a 1972 “Ziggy Stardust” show. And I remembered Bowie sipping milk during a 1978 interview for TV show Star Sen Ichiya while he explained that kabuki theater had taught him “the discipline of movement.”

I thought of the places in Kyoto — Bowie’s favorite city in Japan — he loved to return to: Tawaraya Ryokan, where he stayed with Iman on their honeymoon, and the now-vanished Cafe David on Sanjo-dori, just opposite the Museum of Kyoto. The “David” in that case was U.S. Sinologist David Kidd (who also died of cancer at the age of 69, back in 1996). Kidd had a house in Kyoto called Togendo, as well as a school dedicated to teaching traditional Japanese arts. Bowie stayed at Togendo in 1979 for some weeks, and even hinted to Western press that the city might become his permanent home.