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RANMAGAZINE.COM
October/November 2009
| ISSUE 2 |

punkartsexmusic

Forbidden Love
Deadly’s Tips Part 2

Are You an Angry Nerd ?


Adam Pasion on Nagoya’s Premier Punks

Gazing and Craving


Defelippi Shoots For Our Sins

Bounce, Rock, Skate, Roll


Achim Runnebaum Shreds

Toshincho: Sex On A Platter


Will Taylor Reads From The Menu

PLUS:
RAN Recommends,
The Green Spot,
Shopping,
Restaurants,
and introducing - RAN ZOO!
CONTENTS October/November 2009 - ISSUE NO. 2

20 Down and Out

Features
Achim takes us on a privileged trip into the
unpriveliged world of Nagoya’s homeless.

24 Nagoya Sk8!!
We go to Osu to find out how Nagoya gets
its Ollie McTwist on.

30 Held Down by Metal Bonds


Ghost stories with a side of bondage,
to go please.

32 Pinktown, Toshincho
Will takes us to the Red Light District
and finds Victoria ain’t the only one
keeping secrets.

34 Immigration 2010
New visa laws are coming,
Jason talks to someone on the forefront
to find out how screwed we are...

4 Foreword
18 Create
Departments

Larry’s Gazing and Craving,


we’re titillated.

6 Deadly’s Tips
If it don’t make dollars, 28 When In Rome
Tatemae and Honne,
it don’t make sense in an
or A Tale of Two Masks.
inter-cultural relationship.

8 The Green Spot


How to pimp your world,
36 RAN Recommends
If we eat it, see it, listen to it,
buy it, go to it, and we love it,
eco-style.
then we think you will too.

10 Profiles
Mike Walker gives us 37 RAN ZOO
We couldn’t get away
a curtain call.
with saying shit like this,
but animals can.
12 Should I Stay
or Should I Go
IMHO, GTFO. 38 Taste Leave the commuter pass
at home, but please bring

14 Listen
RAN shares a beer and a few
your appetite.

words with this Nagoya-based


PHOTO: YUKO KUROKAWA

punk band, Angry Nerd.

COVER PHOTO: ACHIM RUNNEBAUM


|RAN| 3
Foreword

A
bout two months ago we were positive; usually on the order of, “its hit our facebook page facebook.com/
holding our collective breaths about time”, “I can’t stop reading”, or ranmagazine and go to the discussions
as we released our creation into simply, “Finally.” Some compare us to tab, or simply email us at comments@
the wild. We really had no idea what the other English-language magazines ranmagazine.com with subject “RAN
to expect in the way of reaction from that can be had here in town-- and while mag name”.
the public; we didn’t even really think it does flatter us a bit, we aren’t really Again, thanks for reading and let
the public would acknowledge us at trying to compete with them, so much us know what we can do to improve
all sometimes! The few advertisers that as to fill a niche. We wanted to create YOUR magazine!
were onboard with our intial concept a magazine for the type of scene that --by the way; dude on the cover
however, gave us their blessing (and we are into, our friends are into, and ate it, in case you were wondering.
much needed funds) to produce a new our friend’s friends are into. We want
voice in this sometimes overwhelming to hang with both the “in” crowd, and
sea of sensory overload. the “out” crowd. We want to be close
It’s hard to predict how anything to everyone and far away at the same
new will fare in the court of public time. We want to be something you pick
opinion. Indeed, this would be a massive up for both a slight diversion from the
undertaking in our home countries norm, and also inform you at the same Publisher: TD Houchen
where English is spoken, read, and time. Quite simply, we want to be “the Chief Editor: Jason L. Gatewood
juggled. However we are putting out this People’s Magazine” here in Nagoya. Art Director: Adrien Sanborn
publication for a target audience that is Finally, we’ve been asked the Photography Editor:
a moving target all the way around; the question about 739 times since our Achim Runnebaum
mostly transient, mostly foreign English debut, “What the hell does RAN mean?” Illustrator/Writer: Adam Pasion
speaking population of Nagoya and The simple answer: There is no meaning.
the Chubuu region. Nagoya is an area None. At all. No fancy acronym, no Far Send story ideas to:
that has been historically resistiant and Eastern Mystical message. That being editor@ranmagazine.com
sometimes outgright defiant to change said, I tend to give a different fake answer Send photography and illustration
PHOTOS ACHIM RUNNEBAUM

and anything new, and that includes our to this question, when asked (read: I lie to: asanborn@ranmagazine.com
sometimes finnicky gaijin population through my teeth, with tongue firmly in To advertise, contact:
too. But to our pleasant surprise we cheek.) Some answers have been “Read ad-sales@ranmagazine.com
ran through 2 printings of the first issue About Nagoya, Randomly Accessing Promotional Events/Co-Promotion:
quick, fast, and in a hurry. Nagoya, etc.” Why not share your ideas trevlove1@ranmagazine.com
Some comments we recieved about on what our name should mean? Tweet
our new endeavor have been 99% us @ranmagazine with #ranmagname or www.ranmagazine.com

4 |RAN|
CAUTION!

is not for children.

W e want to expose  you to things that exist, even if


they aren’t so P.C.. We’re not trying to be politically
correct, we’re trying to be useful and informative,
even entertaining. Life isn’t perfect, neither are we. Not
everything is funny or cute, but some things are. We hope
we can show you some of both. And, we want you to let

HEY!
us know what you like, what you think, how you feel and
what’s on your mind. ************** **************
************** **************
We hope RAN will be a truly multicultural piece of work. ************** **************
We hope it will be a “bulletin board” of ideas, events,
We’re ONLINE!
***** *****
opinions, expressions, thoughts from a wide variety ***** *****
of people. The racial boundaries of yesterday are dissolving
before our eyes, but traditions die hard. You can find us at www.ranmagazine.com.
RAN hopes to shed light in dark places. We want to
connect people in order to build a society of people look- Our site has all the regular content of the magazine, plus
ing forward with hope and optimism—based on bits and pieces of stuff you won’t find in our hardcopy...
what we’ve learned, and are still learning—a true com-
munity of open-minded people. The Web is the portal into the entire world’s consciousness,
and www.ranmagazine.com will be home to voices from
We’re into music, food, sports, fashion, politics, humor, around the globe, giving us a truly international presence!
culture, spirituality, relationships, shopping, travel, lan-
guage, adventure, friendship, community, and more. We’re If you’re into Twitter, just follow @ranmagazine. You’ll
not into hate, but if you are a hater, send us your feelings
also be able to link to us soon on Facebook and tune in to
and comments. We’ll talk about them.
PHOTO: J.L. GATEWOOD; ILLUSTRATION: NANA UENO

our RSS feed as well.


RAN is about healing and progress. Let the dead bury the
dead. We’re into the future...
We aim to be a true voice of the
It’s about the society we’re building, not the one that’s global community, so we’d like to
falling apart. But we’ve got to learn about what we’ve done hear from YOU!
wrong to be able to do it better. Society is at stake. It’s our
“family” outside of our homes. Everything is connected. Write much? Hit us at
www.ranmagazine.com.
We want your comments and opinions. Is everybody in?

What are you thinking/doing/feeling/ The RAN Zoo.


saying/wanting?
Let us know.
|RAN| 5
Deadly’s Tips

Maintaining
an Inter-cultural
an
Relationship
| By Deadly D |

Deadly Bio: Case study: one of my best friend’s wives said to me


once at a barbecue, “Men are too stupid
Deadly has lived worked, dated, An Australian friend married a woman to know how to handle money. so I hide
married and divorced in Japan (and other from India. He had his own business that it from him.” Keep in mind that this is
Asian countries) for over 20 years.  He was doing smashingly well. They had a a man who runs his own English school
has also traveled extensively throughout nice house and enough money in the and seems to do just fine with most of
Asia and has encountered the various bank for future security. He decided they those finances.
peccadillo’s and pit falls of passion that could get by quite well if he only worked Exacerbating this problem (sorry, I
have presented themselves in liaisons three days a week and enjoyed a life of just couldn’t help using it just one more
with ladies from a variety of cultures.   more leisure. He went to his wife with a time) is the fact that most of the gaijin
Deadly has survived the sheaf of travel brochures, excited about who are in Japan are world travelers who

SKULL: Altered and reproduced under GNU Free Documentation License; COUPLE: Altered and reproduced under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License
consummation and dysfunctional making vacation plans. She met him tend to have a rather free-form approach
breakdown of more than one marriage with a schedule and business plan she to life in general. All the accountants
or long term relationship with women had drawn up that proposed that if he stayed at home. Along with this free
that come from cultures vastly different worked 12 to 14 hours a day, six and a form approach comes an attitude toward
than his own.  “Who was it that said half days a week, they would soon be money that says, “Eat drink and be
we learn by making mistakes?”  asks able to bring all her relatives, even the merry for tomorrow when the tax man
Deadly,  “If that’s true, than I am a cousins and aunties over from India and comes, we can skip the country.” This
f----g Einstein, because I’ve made ‘em give them all jobs. Last I heard they were way of thinking does not mix well with
all…”-he continues to date women still married, but hadn’t talked to each someone from a country that worships
from other countries to this day with other or had sex in a year and a half. money and status above all else. 
only a minimum of flinching and barely A partner from Japan poses unique

*
noticeable loss of motor skills and short problems when dealing with house
term memory. hold finance. Keep in mind that this is Relevant quote:
a country where, even though the men “The only important thing in life is
It’s All About look like top dogs in public, the women money.”  -- stated by over one third of
totally control the money and financial
the Money, Honey decisions at home. A traditional
my Japanese university students in a
answer to the question, “What is the
Before you fill out those wedding Japanese husband is supposed to hand most important thing in life?”
announcements, sit down and talk over his pay check on salary day and
about who’s going to handle the money then be handed a small allowance to
and what you’re going to do with it. IN go drinking and bar hostess chasing by Different cultural perceptions of life
DETAIL. Different people and different his wife.  This runs deep in the brain lie deep in the heart of it. Basically it’s
cultures have very different ideas on this. matter of a Japanese girl. I don’t care if the difference between someone who
The leading reason for divorce is money she speaks flawless English or studied for sees life as a great adventure to be
trouble. People kill, cheat, lie, sell their two years at Oxford, she will insist on enjoyed versus an outlook that sees life
bodies and souls for money.  If you don’t having total financial control.  This does as a dismal veil of tears held at bay only
agree about how to utilize the household not often sit well with men from cultures by hoarding up enough money to avoid
income, There Will Be Blood.  where the male usually makes the disaster when it comes. When I asked
Most common cause for converting decisions on what to do with the bucks, my Japanese students , “What would you
never-ending love into eternal vindictive euros or pesos. do if you won one billion yen? Fully half
hatred is MONEY. Exacerbating all of Japanese women are also famous for said, “Save it.” Scary. No trips to Rio, no
this (exacerbate is such a nasty sounding opening up secret accounts that they Mercedes in the garage. No celebration
word, don’t you think? I’ve always don’t tell their husbands about and then of the good things in life. This way of
wanted to use it in an article) are huge dumping loads of money in for their thinking is pretty Bizarro World to most
differences in cultural perception about own private plans.  No one knows for western people.
the proper use of finances.  sure what these sinister plans entail. But

6 |RAN|
The G reen SPOT
| By Achim Runnebaum |

PIMP MY WORLD
In this month’s edition we’re taking a look at the top 10 tips on how
you can help the environment right now in your local communities...  
So you’ve heard about the environmental crisis we’re all facing and you
want to do something to help, but don’t know where to start. 

Here are a couple of tips to get you on the right track.

1 3 6
Take your own mug whenever Use energy efficient light bulbs.  Plant some trees, or keep
you get coffee at Starbucks.  If By replacing your bulbs with trees/plants in or near your
you’re like me, Starbucks is as Energy Star Bulbs, you can save apartment or house.  Every tree
much part of your weekly routine, as about 30% electricity per annum.  has the potential to absorb about 48
the Friday Night out with friends....  If pounds of CO2 per year.  So keeping

4
you take your own (Starbucks) mug with If you drive a car, don’t leave plants or trees around will not only
you whenever you go there to enjoy the engine running if you’re improve your health, but will potentially
their delicious concoctions, you will parked somewhere while also contribute to cleaner air in the
significantly cut down on plastic cups waiting for someone outside a store for city...  And we all know how desperately
polluting the landfills.  Do the math: 1 example.  Idling contributes greatly to Nagoya needs more green areas... 
Cup per one person a week = 48 cups air pollution and thus global warming.  I

7
a year for just one person.  If you don’t wish someone brave enough would tell Stop buying stuff you don’t
have a starbucks mug yet, just ask for all these Taxi drivers who stand outside absolutely need, and make a
your drink in a mug cup at the counter...  stations, combinis, etc.  the whole day conscious effort to recycle the
Also, take your own bag when you with the car’s engine idling.....  stuff you have already.  Give old clothes
go grocery shopping, as this will signifi- to churches or to the homeless instead

5
cantly cut down on the number of plastic Smoking.  I know you don’t like of just throwing them out.  Find ways to
bags covering the landfills....  to hear this, but the Cigarette either sell or give away your old stuff, that
Industry has a huge negative way it stays in circulation and someone

2
Unplug all electronic devices impact on the environment.  Every year else gets a use out of it. Books for
PHOTOS: ACHIM RUNNEBAUM

when not in use.  Even if turned about 600 million trees are cut because example should never be thrown out... 
off, electronic devices leech of Tobacco growth. Also every single Give them to Libraries, bookstores, etc...  
power.  By unplugging unused devices, Butt takes about 12 years to completely

8
you can save a lot of electricity.  If disintegrate, leeching harmful chemicals Refuse plastic bags and/or
everyone did this, we could save enough into the ground water.......so make chopsticks in the combini or
electricity to power about 3 million an effort to quit.  More on that in supermarket when offered. 
homes per year (note: please do NOT a future issue. Many people apparently haven’t caught
unplug your fridge, heheh).  on to the fact that giving a plastic bag

8 |RAN|
for just one item (which itself is already doesn’t smack you on the head like a google and I’m sure you’ll agree that you
well wrapped) is total overkill.  These PET Bottle thrown out of a car window, don’t want too much of that in your body. 
days a lot of people carry bags with them and give you a hard wake-up call, Buy a good water filter for your faucet
most of the time.  If your’e not buying you’re either brain-dead, or completely instead and use multi-use canisters to
that much, there’s probably room for oblivious about what’s going on in the take the water with you.  Not only is this
your item in your bag.  The extra plastic world.  Stop reacting and start acting and a lot healthier, but it also cuts down on
is not necessary and only pollutes the thinking for yourself. the amount of plastic bottles on landfills
environment more.  Be prepared for significantly.  It’s a win-win situation. 

10
some strange looks from store clerks Try to avoid buying bottled
though when refusing plastic bags... water.  Not only is bottled So there we are....  Follow these
Even if you say that you don’t want one water more contaminated easy steps and educate yourself about
because it’s not necessary and thus bad than tap water (they don’t have to follow the environment and you’ll do your
for the environment, they look at you the same strict purity regulations than part in protecting this planet we all live
like you’re from another planet... treatment plants; more on that in a on and are part of.  Stop waiting for
future issue as well), but the amount of everyone else to start doing something,

9
Educate others about the waste produced by the manufacturing/ get off your butt and start helping
current environmental issues consumption process is astronomical.  now because we’re all in the same
and how to help.  One great Let’s imagine the average person buys glass house.  It’s time to stop throwing
resource is www.storyofstuff.com.  It’s 2 bottles of water per day: that’s 14 a stones and start helping Right Now. 
a 20min. video presentation on the week, that’s 56 bottles a month, that’s
mechanism of consumerism.....  It will 672 bottles a year for just one person.  The hour is already way
shock and educate you about what’s On top of that, each PET bottle
really happening to our planet because also leeches a chemical called
of consumerism....  So don’t stay in the Bisphenol A into the liquid, particularly
past midnight, but we can
dark; get educated now........ when it’s heated.  This chemical mimics
One of the most shocking facts is Estrogen in the body.  Estrogen, for those still make a difference if
that in the last 200 years we’ve used 2/3 of you who didn’t know, is a female
of our natural resources.........  If that hormone.  Look up the chemicals on we all do our part. 

|RAN| 9
Curtain Call
AN INTERVIEW WITH
Profiles

MIKE WALKER

| By Achim Runnebaum |

F
riday night in a smoky Karaoke Bar there, I was offered a job and ended up who came out for support,  and the
in Imaike.  Usually bad singing and staying there for a while.  I worked in a Australian Band called “Living End”
Karaoke go hand in hand, which youth hostel and got to meet all kinds played at the opening, so it was a great
is why all ears perked up when Mike of incredible people from all over the experience overall. 
grabbed the microphone and the whole world.  Through working at the Hostel R: Getting to meet Kylie is always a great
place erupted with incredible sound.  and being involved in their activities, I experience, I can imagine.  Speaking of
Nobody would have expected him to be got bitten by the acting bug and knew the beauty of Australia, why did you give
able to capture people’s attention like that’s what I wanted to do in my life.  up the wonderful beaches of Australia
that, but that’s Mike....... a multitalented, After a year, I came back to Australia, for the concrete jungle of Nagoya?
complex individual who has become a gave up cricket completely, and wanted M: (hahah) Well, I ended up in debt over
regular contributor to the Nagoya Art to become an actor, so I started acting a short film, and had to pay the money,
Scene with his plays. school.  so in desperation I looked through the
“Aren’t you the guy from the Nagoya R: It’s interesting how one little trip can paper one day and saw an ad for working
Players?”  That’s the question Mike change your life.  Who were some of in Japan.  Initially I wanted to come for
gets all the time, and even though your first acting idols: only one year, make some money, pay for
he’s worked with the Nagoya Players
before, Mike has established himself as
an independent director, actor, and all
I got bitten by the acting bug
around Theater Guru in Nagoya in the and knew that’s what
last couple of years.  He’s formed his
own Company, Maidenagoya and keeps I wanted to do in my life.
putting out very interesting and thought
provoking plays... We caught up with M: Oh, you know, the Ratt Pack: Emilio the film and then go back to Australia...
Michael in Sakae and sat down to get Estevez, Charlie Sheen, Demi Moore, That was about 10 years ago..
the whole story of his successful Theater and all the famous actors from the 80’s. R: So much for that one year. 
career.  R: What was the next step after acting M: yeah I met a girl here, we had a baby
  school for you? girl together and of course the original
RAN: Tell me how the whole acting/ M: After 3 years of acting school, I plan changed completely after that. 
directing thing got started for you.  worked little odd jobs here and there R: You’ve made quite a name for yourself
Michael: I grew up in a small town just trying to get experience.  I did here in Nagoya though.  What are your
PHOTO: ACHIM RUNNEBAUM

south of Sydney and was into all kinds commercials, and even one feature film.  thoughts about the art scene in our
of sports, especially cricket.  When I It was very low budget and shot in only beloved city?
was 21, I was living in London to play 16 days, but it got a nomination from M: Nagoya’s artistic community is still
cricket, and had the chance to meet a the AFI (Australian Film Association) and very small, so People who do things
friend in Edinburgh.  As fate would have was relatively successful.  It was called become known rather quickly here. 
it, the biggest arts festival in the world Occasional Coarse Language.  Through There’s still a lot of room for new talent. 
was held at that time.  During my stay that movie, I got to meet Kylie Minogue, R: In your opinion, how has the art

10 |RAN|
scene changed in Nagoya since you next play I wanted to do something a bit emotion from them, you start to wonder
came here?  bigger again. It’s called Cosi, which is if you’re doing something wrong.... 
The art scene in Nagoya has changed a actually short for Cosi fan tutte.  It’s an Here in Japan it’s a bit more difficult to
lot recently.  There are more and more Opera originally by Mozart. The play is read an audience as a performer.  You
small bands popping up all over the the first Australian play in Nagoya.  It’s can’t interpret things the same way as
place, and a lot of people doing their a comedy, which is another first for me.  you would back home. 
own thing, which is very good, I think.... R: Can you tell me a little about the R: I can imagine it must be quite difficult
R: Speaking of doing your own thing, story without giving away too much of to really convey the various types of
how did you get started with your own the plotline? emotions in plays.  Where do you find
theater company? M: It’s about a young guy who agrees your inspiration as a director and actor?
M: I did a couple of shows with The to direct patients in a mental institution.  M: Honestly, I find it in the people I work
Nagoya Players and directed a couple The Play is set in 1971, so the context is with.  It’s an amazing experience to have
of plays for them, which was a great the Vietnam war.  He took the job just to these creative people around who have
experience.  However, I really liked make some money.  their own view of the world, which you
the smaller, non-rigid couldn’t possibly have
independent theater
productions like back
I ended up in debt come up with on your
own.  Also I draw a lot of
home, where theatre is over a short film, inspiration from my life,
so much more diverse so if there’s a difficult
with little pockets and had to pay the money... issue or something very
of theater in bars or good happens to me, I
small venues, which is a fantastic way R: Sounds familiar. I think many people tend to use that as a base from which to
of seeing a show, I think, so wanted to here in Nagoya can relate to that, right perform from or direct from. 
try something different.  At first it was Mike? R: Ok last question.  You’ve been in
just going to be one play, Death and M: (laughs) I certainly know what that’s Japan on and off for about 10 years now. 
the Maiden.  We got this little place like.  After all, that’s why I first came to Where do you see yourself 10 years from
in Ikeshita called Theater moon, and Japan. Anyway, his goal is to try and get now?
we worked with just a skeleton crew the patients to come out of their comfort M: Mhmmm, I ask myself that question
of about 7 people.  At that time we zone a bit.  So he wants to do some kind all the time....I love Japan and I have a
didn’t even have a name yet.  The play of theater with them.  Of course one of daughter here,but I would hope that in
went reasonably well, and people the patients suggest they do this opera.  10 years time I’ve moved on and living
encouraged us we should continue to None of the patients can sing, or even in a place where I can do this full time
do theather. Sometime after that, a friend speak Italian, so the play follows them and have that connection with other
gave me a play called “Bent”, which I as they try to put this opera together.  It’s people who also see this as their sole
had never heard of before.  I read it and a comedy, but it also explores human livelihood, so I think it would be great
was enthralled by its power, its humor themes such as identity, belonging to have that connection in a professional
and its subject matter, which was just in the world, relationships, trust, etc. environment.  Where that is, whether
unbelievable.  I had no idea if and how I It has many different layers to it, which it’s in Australia or in England I don’t
could do it, but I had to try.  is what I like. know yet. 
  R: Very cool!  Looking forward to R: Great! Maybe we’ll see your name on
side note: that. Now, you’ve acted internation- Broadway or in London sometime in the
it was during the preparatory stage of ally in England, Australia, and in Japan.  near future.  Anything you’d like to add?
that play that I’d first met Michael since How do you think the audience is M: I think that what you guys are doing
he asked me to train his actors in using a different in Japan? with the magazine, creating your own
German accent for the play. M: That’s a good question... I think thing is great; you guys kicked ass with
During the preparations for Bent, we audiences here fall into 2 categories: the first issue and I hope you’re gonna
realized we needed a name for our 1) the kinds of people we bring along, keep going with it. 
company.  After a little thinking, we such as students, friends, etc.  who are R: (Laughs) We will, and thank you for
decided on “Maidenagoya”, because quite supportive, and then 2) the other the interview. (Damn right we will! --Ed.)
Maiden was our first play, and if you say group are more interested in English or M:No worries,  I’m glad I was a part of it. 
it fast, it sounds like “Made in Nagoya”... foreign theater.  When the audience is Thank you very much. 
predominantly filled with people whose
R: Oh yeah, I never thought of that English is not so strong, it can be a bit Check out Mike and the
before.  Nice play on words.  Now, your difficult.  I’ve never used subtitles in my Maidenagoya ensemble’s next bit
next play is coming up soon, right? plays because I think it takes away from of thesbian joy, Cosi, showing at
M: Yes, our 5th play is coming in the whole experience, so for them it can the Chikusa playhouse in Fukiage
November.  After Romeo and Juliet, be a bit challenging at times, but I hope from November 6, 7, and 8th. 
which was just so huge.....we took it they still have a good time in the end. You can get tickets at Red Rock
over to Tokyo, and there were about Also, in Japan it’s a bit more difficult to Bar, phoning 052-733-2025, or
50 people working on that play, so I read an audience.  When you’re an actor accessing their website at:
wanted to do something a bit smaller on stage and you get that energy from
scale again, and we did a small dinner the audience it’s one of the best feelings www.maidenagoya.com
theater show at Red Rock Bar.  So for this for us and when you don’t get that

|RAN| 11
Should I Stay or Should I Go?

| By TD Houchen
|

in it’s wake. Sometimes, I said, not all there’s something keeping you here,
the time. Some people are having a whatever it is.
“...and I wonderful experience here in The Pearl Can’t just up and split. What to do?
Of The Orient, and sometimes, I am one Here’s one solution: GTFO for a little
still haven’t of those people, but recently, I am not, while. Then come back and reassess. All
I’m trying to get it sorted. of us who aren’t from here came here
found what I’m I feel like Shlep-rock from The from somewhere else. Obvious right?
Flintstones. The dude who was always We left whatever we were doing before,
looking for...” down on himself, “..wowsy wowsy woo and came here. It can be done again. But
woo..”, woe is me, can’t get out of this it doesn’t have to be as drastic as leaving
rut i’m in. While I have managed to right this minute.. Take a vacation.
escape to Japan, lately all I can focus Travel. Go.

Y
ou’ve been wanting to leave for on is how to escape from Japan. How? Isn’t that what brought you here to
a while now. Japan isn’t as fun When? To where? And to do what there? begin with? You like travel, remember?
or interesting as it was when you I’ve built-up a dozen odd reasons in So go somewhere for a little while.
first arrived. You’re tired and confused my mind why it’s time for me to go, but Treat yourself to a little vacay. Korea,
and oppressed and you’re tired of being still, I can’t, or better, I haven’t been Taiwan, China, Malaysia, Vietnam, all
tired, confused and oppressed. You’re able to as yet. It’s sort of making me these countries are a stones throw away
wondering if you should stay or go, but crazy, this ambivalence. And before from Japan. And they’re all different
overwhelmed with the weight of the I continue, I would like to address the than Japan. I spent 8 glorious, beatific,
decision. What should you do? countless insensitive morons who can energizing days in Thailand this past
You should go. But realize, you don’t only offer, “..well GTFO if you’re not August. It didn’t cost me a fortune and
have to go right now, not today, not feeling it anymore…” It isn’t that easy I came back to Japan energized and
tomorrow, not next week, next month, or genius, not quite anyway. Lots of decent, rested. I could appreciate Japan for what
even next year. Even though you feel like hard working, honest and productive it is and what it isn’t much more and had
you’re losing your mind, you’re not, slow people aren’t quite satisfied with their dropped off loads of stress and frustration
down and breathe deeply, you’ll figure surroundings, but just telling people to at some beach-side bar in Phuket.
it out, nothing lasts forever, and this is GTFO isn’t cool. Really, it isn’t. Refrain. You stay here long enough and you
just one stop on The Journey. I tell myself All the psychic violence and lack start to lose it. You get tired of acting as
this all the time, with varying degrees of of hope and inexpressiveness and low the Romans do and you want to act like
success. Once that bug to GTFO comes ceilings of opportunity have me feeling.. your self. You live here and you’ve got
over you, your mind loses grip and you antsy. I feel like a department store-sized to adopt and adapt to the local customs
start freaking out, emotionally hyper- doofus walking around not knowing the and abide the rules and regs and pretend
ventilating, wondering how in the hell social lay of the land, unable to speak a whole lot more than you want to. You
you’ve stayed here this long, and feeling the language very well, socially sort can only visit Disneyland, you can’t live
like the walls are closing in and you can of retarded and desperately in need of there forever, you don’t have to, if you
hardly breathe anymore. Yikes. a Jamba Juice, or a slice of Two Boots live there, you start acting Goofy. Take a
Relax. Pump your brakes. Go easy Pizza. They’re nowhere to be found. Lots vacation from your escape, maybe you
on yourself. Chill. Sure, there are a lot of yakitori and natto though. Thanks, need it. Go somewhere, anywhere, if
of folks getting sucked into an emotional but no thanks. The peaks and valleys your resources allow. GTFO indeed, if
PHOTO: ADRIEN SANBORN

and psychological vortex here in Japan, of alternately wanting to stay and leave only for a short time. Whatever gets you
it ain’t an easy country, that’s for damn and stay and leave have me wanting to through the night is alright…and when
sure. Some parts of Japan can be like a just…leave. the world is runnin’ down you make
giant emotional energy vacuum cleaner, But just bouncing out isn’t really an the best of what’s still around…but I still
sucking up all the good energy and option. Not right now anyway. Got re- haven’t found what I’m looking for.
belching out some kind of foul, grey, sponsibilities. Job(s), apartment, bills,  
hazy and heavy dark cloud of confusion wife, social contracts, girlfriend(s), kids, Peace.

12 |RAN|
|RAN| 13
Listen

THE CRY OF ANGRY


F
orget the kid in the zipper-ankle several splits on Nodevan Records, based place and got so loaded. Its alright.
jeans and doc martens traipsing out of Tokyo. Exhausted from a six hour Gutcha: And the police aren’t like, “that
around the Osu shopping arcade practice, RAN Magazine busted in on guy is doing drugs!”?
with two-foot liberty spikes, and pay this Nagoya based band with a six-pack RAN: If it really came to court, that
no attention to the girl with the pink in one hand and a tape recorder in the wouldn’t be enough evidence. Its just
mohawk and a frayed Ramones t-shirt. other to discuss drug-using celebrities, some comment in a magazine.
These fashion zombies could scarcely indecent exposure and of course that Gutcha: What a question to drop out
tell you more about Nagoya punk than all-essential conduit of international of the blue. I was expecting something
the old lady at the takoyaki stand could. fraternity, punk rock. about music.
To get a real glimpse at the grimy, crusty   RAN: What was is the best live house
underbelly of the Nagoya music scene RAN: Okay let’s start with something you have played in Nagoya?
look no further than the parcel delivery really light. If pop idol Noriko Sakai Everyone: Huck Finn
boy, or a waiter at a ramen shop. That asked you to do drugs with her, what RAN: Okay, then what club would you
is to say, true Nagoya punks are an in- would you do? never go back to?
conspicuous lot and all together difficult Gutcha: Nori Pi! Everyone: Your really asking that?
to spot outside of noisy clubs and live Mishina: I would do it Yago: Its fine, just a little trash-talking.
houses. And yet Nagoya is not just Gutcha: I guess I would do it too. For me its Zion.
Japan’s geographic center, but is also Mishina: But only leaves, if it was only Gutcha: That was your own fault
an indispensable cog of the Japanese leaves I would do it. Mishina: Yeah you can’t talk trash when
music machine. For Japanese touring Gutcha: I don’t know if I would really its your own fault.
bands, Nagoya clubs such as Huck Finn, do it, but just for her I would probably Gutcha: When we played at Zion in the
Diamond Hall and Club Rock n’ Roll pretend. And while she was watching I middle of our set we got a little out of
are some of the mainstays on the “must would pretend to do way more than her. tune...
play” list. Likewise for foreign punk Yago: I would drive away with her. Yago: Really out of tune...
bands, a Nagoya stop is seldom skipped. Mishina: Like a couple of fugitives, Gutcha: Okay, really out of tune, so we
Even indie bands as big as Weezer have hiding out at the onsen. Sounds like stopped the song and carefully tuned
chosen Nagoya to kick-off their tour- heaven. again, but when we played again it was
de-Nihon. The question is, why the hell Gutcha: Your girlfriend will get mad still completely off. It was completely
haven’t you found out about this yet? Yago: Its alright. This is an English this guys fault, but he blamed it all on
Here to elucidate the state of Nagoya magazine so she won’t understand. me. It became a big fight within the
punk (and how you can get involved) Gutcha: If I say I would do drugs with band.
are some of Nagoya’s best and brightest her in this magazine, you think I will get Yago: But at that time nobody in the
young punks, collectively known as busted? They might say something like, band tried to save me.
Angry Nerd. With one hell of a name, and “See, he’s a user!” Mishina: There was no way to save you.
having played shows all over the country RAN: Don’t worry about it. American For me the only thing I can think of is
along side many popular bands such as magazines always have that sort of thing. recently at Club Rock n’ Roll.
The Queers and Hawaiian 6, Angry Nerd Some celebrity will say “the other day me Gutcha: Let’s not talk bad about Club
has also had time to release an EP and and so-and-so went to such-and-such a Rock n’ Roll

14 |RAN|
NERD!
Mishina:
will understand.
I told you nobody
| By Adam Pasion |

Yago: I want to create a certain image. If


it’s in Japanese the words are too direct.
Gutcha: Hey! Be careful! We always ask
everyone to rate us 1-10, but out of the
Gutcha: No no no, they might! That’s why if a band like Angry Nerd three of us I am always number one, and
Yago: But basically there aren’t any sings in Japanese we can never look out of the two of them nobody can ever
places where the people are bad. If cool. It will all come out like [singing say anything!
anything they have been too good to us. in a nasal voice]“lets hold hands” or “I Mishina: Of course, you are singing the
Gutcha: Yeah, we can play anywhere. really like you.” If we sing in Japanese songs so you stand out.
Yago: Out of all the clubs, Huck Finn is it just feels really light like a J-pop song. RAN: What are your thoughts on the
special. Gutcha: We are also really influenced Nagoya punk scene?
Mishina: The service there is over and by Japanese bands that sing in English. Yago: I am not even sure if we are part
above. Bands like Hi-Standard, maybe their of the punk scene. If you drew a map of
Yago: They take care of you all day, all English was actually really bad, but we the Nagoya music scene I am not sure
the way up until the after party. That’s all thought they were really cool. I guess where we would stand.
why Huck Finn is the best. that way it still seems Japanese to us in a Mishina: Recently music has been
Gutcha: The clubs that basically raised way. I have thought about it before, “why divided into so many precise genres I
us were Club Rock n’ Roll and Huck don’t we sing in Japanese.” don’t know where you would find us.
Finn. Mishina: Yeah, I wondered the Yago: But if you think of it that way, we
RAN: Why do you sing in English? same thing. are close with Ego Trunks and Super USA
Gutcha: I knew you were going to ask Yago: In my old band, nobody spoke Mishina: If you were to look at the
that. anything but Japanese so of course we whole of the punk scene then you have
Mishina: I want to know too. sang in Japanese, but you just can’t do to think about the guys with hair like this
Gutcha: That one is all me, huh? When pop-punk in Japanese. The music that [making shape of a long mohawk]
people ask me why I sing in English, in I liked in the beginning was English Yago: It’s not something we are
matter and mind the music that I was so of course when I decided to play I conscious about, we just want to play
listening to when I decided I wanted to wanted to do it in English. The singer in with anyone.
play music was all in English. That was my old band liked Japanese music from Mishina: But for the audience it sort of
all I was listening to so singing in English the beginning so he wanted to sing in sucks if some completely different band
was easier than singing in Japanese, Japanese, which is why I came to Angry comes on stage.
and easier to match to the melody too. Nerd, even if they played like shit. Yago: But that doesn’t really matter.  In
Also when I sing about really personal Yago: Also if you don’t use difficult Shibuya you watch the bands you want
or embarrassing things, if I sing about words it doesn’t sound cool, words that to see, the bands you don’t want to see,
them in English... people don’t normally use. Also if you you don’t watch.
Mishina: Yeah the audience is all aren’t good looking... Mishina: Lets say four bands are playing
Japanese so nobody can understand. Gutcha: Coming from you?! a show: two bands you want to see and
Gutcha: I figured I can sing about my Yago: Look at you with your two you don’t want to see. Then as soon
feelings straight. Yago also said that he weird haircut! as the bands you want to see are done
doesn’t want to sing in Japanese. What’s Mishina: Yeah that’s no good for playing everyone leaves. Then there
it about for you Yago? a front man! will be more shows with only the bands

|RAN| 15
Gutcha: When I go as a fan to see a no good then it’s no good, but I didn’t feel
show I watch their performance and feel bad about it at all. Playing with a missing
like I have to do as good as them. Of string was an awesome performance!
course if I think about it too much then Mishina: Nah, it was terrible!
its not really me up there anymore. RAN: Any funny stories involving fans or
Yago: At our next concert I am a rowdy audience?
just gonna play with a completely Yago: Nagoya’s number one punk girl.
blank stare. I really like that girl. When I met her I
Mishina: Don’t do that or else I will be really liked her. During our concert she
laughing the whole time. dove from the stage four times!
Yago: The number of bands is decreasing Gutcha: When the audience is dead she
though. All the live houses say they’re gets up and dives off the stage just to raise
under-booked. they have too much free my spirits. And she is always there all the
time. Blame it on CDs and MP3s maybe. way to the after-party, guzzling liquor.
RAN: What are the craziest stage But if she isn’t drinking she doesn’t talk
antics you have ever done during a at all.
performance? Yago: She always comes to the show
Yago: Whenever I take off my clothes completely sober, and I look at her and
Gutcha kicks me in the balls. Usually it say, “you’re not drinking yet?” and she
doesn’t really hurt so I can laugh about says, “not yet.” So I give her a beer and
it, but sometimes I can’t laugh. soon enough she’s stumbling around.
people want to see. Gutcha: I kick him as hard as I can. Gutcha: When she didn’t have a
Gutcha: There are bands in Nagoya Mishina: Sometimes you get a direct hit boyfriend and really wanted one, one
playing music that I like, but there though... time before an Angry Nerd show she
aren’t really any bands like us playing in Gutcha: Getting naked . . . stopped by a convenient store and was
Nagoya. Outside this area though, there Yago: For me its not so much stripping hit on by some really good looking guy.
are a lot of bands like ours, so we try off my clothes as having my clothes He said something like, “do you have
to invite them to Nagoya. Maybe we just stripped off me. any plans right now?” So she was getting
don’t really worry about the scene. Gutcha: Ah! Sometimes I don’t care hit-on by this really cool looking guy, but
Gutcha: The ideal scene would be even if we go out of tune. she said “Angry Nerd, my beloved Angry
everyone drinking together, everyone Mishina: If a string breaks and we know Nerd is playing a show tonight so I can’t
singing together and that day ends with we can’t play without that string, he go with you.” So Angry Nerd won even
everyone having fun. Getting those sorts continues to play anyway. But in the end against some really cool, good-looking
of bands together, whether you call that it’s really terrible! guy. Wouldn’t you be happy about that?
a punk scene or not doesn’t really matter Gutcha: It isn’t terrible! If I feel like it’s Yago: Out of all the girls who come to
as long as you have that day, everyone our shows, I am most happy when she
getting excited, singing and drinking is there. Even when the shows are far
together. away she comes by herself. She took a
RAN: Do you wish there were more bus by herself to Yokohama to go to one
bands playing in Nagoya? of our shows. It wasn’t just us, she liked
Everyone: It would be nice if there the band that went on before us too, but
were more... that is so cool.
Yago: I wish there were more people (Why the hell didn’t we try to interview
who felt the same way about just getting her? --Editor)
together and drinking and having fun. RAN: What is the origin of the name
People who fit with our style, you know, Angry Nerd?
who don’t mind some strange story or Gutcha: The band name was decided by
conversation. But everyone wants to all the original members. We really liked
create a different image and a different The Ataris, and on their first album there
look. A three piece band in t-shirts and is a song called “Angry Nerd Rock.” So
jeans is gonna have a different sort of the name comes from that song.
three piece sound, even though we all Yago: Why did you leave out the
just want to play and have a place to “Rock” part?
play. If you work and at the same time Gutcha: Somehow we aren’t “Angry
you are in a band it takes a lot of time, so Nerd Rock.” That name seems like a pro
you want to make sure you’re having fun. wrestler or something. But Americans
But we have to make sure the audience always laugh at the name so I have
is satisfied with our concert too. thought about changing it.
Mishina: You actually think about that? RAN: I think its a good name.
Yago: I really think about it. Somebody Mishina: Even if its a joke at least they
is coming to see me do what I can laugh about it.
enjoy doing so I want to make sure RAN: Recently the image of nerds has
they enjoy it. become pretty popular. Skinny boys

16 |RAN|
wearing glasses with a backpack slung Finn so I doubt it would be a problem with me.
on their shoulder, that indie image is playing there. A lot of bands come over RAN: If you did break-up whose fault
become hip. with no translators. would it be?
Gutcha: And those guys are popular, I Gutcha: If a foreign band plays Huck Mishina: Either this guy or this guy.
mean they can get girls? Even more than Finn for example, they will treat them [pointing at the other two members]
big macho men? really kindly and fairly and try to create Gutcha: Me
RAN: Yeah that macho man image has a really comfortable atmosphere so it’s Yago: If it was me I would just quit the
really fallen recently. easy for them to play. They are so kind, band. Gutcha is an original member so
Yago: Yeah but do those sorts of dudes there is no reason to worry. he would have to decide if the band
have small dicks too? Yago: If foreigners really think its hard to continues or breaks-up.
RAN: I don’t know that much about play in Japan then we want to step in so Gutcha: But I will never quit this band.
it, but I doubt they are the type to take they don’t feel that way. For me there is no end.
their clothes off in the middle of a Gutcha: Yeah its not about whether you Yago: But if it didn’t suit me anymore
performance. are foreign or not. I mean for example I would quit.
Gutcha: Okay, so Angry Nerd has a when some band that we have played Gutcha: This would never happen, but
cool sound to it. with in Tokyo comes to do a show in even if Yago quit, I would still do like
Nagoya it’s kind of the same thing. As I said. Put out an album once every
long as we can all have fun playing. five years and each one with
RAN:  Which bands are comparable to completely different members. Even if
Angry Nerd, so we could say “if you it came to that.
like _______, you’ll love Angry Nerd?” Mishina: When I think about it I
Mishina: The ones we hear most often can’t imagine a reason big enough to
are Jawbreaker and Fifteen break-up over.
Gutcha: Yeah. If you like that sort of Gutcha: Yeah even if one of us really
band, then when you listen to us you’re hurt the other person.
gonna cum in your pants! Mishina: If we broke-up I don’t think
RAN: So are Jawbreaker and Fifteen big we would have another chance to play.
influences for you as a band? Gutcha: Besides Angry Nerd is
Mishina: In actuality Fifteen wasn’t an good! Haha.
influence at all. Everyone thinks so, and Yago: If you were the only person left,
people come up to us and say, “ah, you what would you do?
like Fifteen don’t you,” but none of us Gutcha: Then I would do it by myself.
knew them at all! Parasites were like that, The Queers are
Gutcha: Bands that influenced Angry like that. If you couldn’t do it anymore I
Nerd would be like The Ataris. If I think would just continue and maybe 20 years
about it of course bands like Mineral, later we would get back together.
Capn’ Jazz, or Blade. I really started Yago: You expect to be around that long?
listening to that sort of music when I RAN: What if the opposite happened
Mishina: Well we chose that name ten was in university so the bands that were and you became really famous?
years ago. playing around that time in America. Yago: Impossible. Completely
Gutcha: Has it already been ten years! Mishina: For me it would be impossible.
Well, congratulations to us! The Get-up Kids. Gutcha: The way to get famous is to
RAN: What sort of advice would you Gutcha: Yago really likes pop-punk like really push the music. Touring non-stop,
give to foreigners or foreign bands that Lookout Records. putting out album after album and
want to join the scene here in Nagoya? Yago: If you’re talking about Japanese working yourself to death. If that was
Gutcha: A band made-up of foreigners bands then it would have to be Four the only way to become famous then I
is just the same as us in the beginning, Tomorrow. wouldn’t want to do it.
going to clubs and asking them to let us RAN: If the band broke-up, would it RAN: Do you have any upcoming
play, finally you get a show. We were that be because a member OD’d  like The shows where RAN readers can go
way at first too, we weren’t a big name... Germs, a suicide like The Sex Pistols check you out?
not like our name means anything now or would you be like The Ramones and Mishina: October 20th at Huck Finn.
either, but that is one way you can go start hating each other and stealing each We are gonna try to record an album
about getting involved. We can come other’s girlfriends? in the next couple of months so our
play together too. Gutcha: Before you ask these two, as far schedule is really light.
Mishina: Even if nobody comes it as I am concerned this band will never
doesn’t really matter, as long you break-up. For Japanese bands, I mean if If you are interested in
get to play. you don’t play for a year then maybe that hearing some of Angry Nerd’s
Gutcha: On the other hand we could go is called “broken-up,” but the bands I like music or checking out their
to watch more foreign shows. The truth is never break-up. Maybe every five years concert schedule please check
we would really love to play with more of so they drop an album, or when they out their Myspace page at
foreign bands. can get together they are like “I guess its
Mishina: Yeah, call-up Misfits right about time to get together again” sort of www.myspace.com/
now! A lot of foreign bands play Huck thing. Even if we end up like that, its fine angrynerd01
|RAN| 17
Create

and
By Larry Defelippi
G A Z I NG C R AV I NG
I
n Céline’s ‘Voyage au bout de la nuit’,
the main protagonist doubts there exists
any genuine realizations of our deepest
character except war and illness. I submit a
third. Sexual desire. We all have an appetite
for seeing-- the Lacanian ‘Appétit de l´oeil’.
I’m struck by the darker side of desire,
gazing and craving and it’s consequences.
This is what I’m currently engaged in.

These images come from two works.

The first, ‘Heterotopia By The Hour’


investigates the Foucauldian space and
sexual behaviour. Spaces that have more
layers of meaning or relationships to
other places than immediately meet
the eye. Spaces  both real and imagined,
some of which seem to possess pure
and simple  openings, but generally hide
curious exclusions. This can be evidenced
in the proliferate ‘love hotels’ of Japan. A
place where sex is kept isolated, sheltered
and hidden. The subject of a young woman
wearing a ‘seifuku’, or sailor uniform
in one  of these indeterminate spaces
is representative of ‘The girl fetish’ that
predominates Japanese culture.

The second, an exploration of the gaze


and the female body in Pink Eiga. A fusion of
sex, revenge and violence. Not the willing
female body of the stereotypical Western
adult movie, but a more intellectual,
sinister and sadomasochistic representa-
tion of the female body. The repressed
and the violated. A respite from the cult
of ‘kawaii’. Note the absence of flirtatious
fourth looks constituting an imagined par-
ticipation from the viewer. In it’s place lies
a cool gaze; vengeance embraced and
all inclinations towards submissiveness
discarded like a blood soaked rag...
PHOTOS: LARRY DEFELIPPI
um |
otos by Achim Runneba
| Story and ph

“ A whiskey bottle comforts me and tells me not to cry,


while a full moon says a prayer for me
while I try to close my eyes...
-J.Bon Jovi ”
U
pon your initial arrival in homeless every day. Poverty remains us only “honne”, not “tatemae”, which
Nagoya, you immediately notice the largest contributor to homelessness, is very rare in Japanese Society these
the inherent friendliness of although domestic violence, family days. They really spoke to us from their
people here. When asking for directions disputes and unemployment are other hearts, and we all communicated as
they sometimes even walk with you for reasons that a person can end up living equals. After some initial introductions
a while to make sure you’re going the on the streets. Often, homeless persons about us, the magazine and this story,
right way. It’s not just smiles and laughs become addicted to alcohol once they they immediately invited us to come
here though. There’s also a darker, more find themselves on the streets. They start into their tent, and even offered us some
ominous side hidden, or intentionally to loose hope, and alcohol is useful for fresh cooked food (they had bought at
ignored by most people. dulling pain and making harsh realities the supermarket earlier) and beer. We
...imagine yourself living on the seem less dim. tried to say no to their offer, feeling bad
street. Are people still as friendly if you “It’s important for a person on the about taking their food, but they kept
switch your Armani suit for old rags? street to find something beneficial to insisting, and we quickly became almost
What happens when your very survival pass the time”. One of the first people like friends after that.
depends on people’s kindness? How I interviewed, who has been living on One of them has been living on the
would you live when you’ve been the streets for 6 months now, explained streets for about less than 2 years now.
stripped of all your possessions, creature that he reads books to keep his mind He used to have a very good job with a
comforts, and dignity? off his unfortunate situation. “It’s easy high position in a well known company,
I tried to find out the real story of what to go crazy out there,” he said. “Little but was laid off due to the economy.
goes on behind the glitz and glamour we by little, you start to lose some of your He was in this job for a long time, paid
perceive as life and went to places few senses unless you do something to pass all his dues, did a great job, but just
dare to tread. the time”. like that, the company tries to pretend
Most homeless in Nagoya gather This man was homeless, but held he doesn’t exist and gives no support
under the various overpasses, in Subway a part time job working for a train whatsoever. “To these companies, you’re
Stations, or in the (few) parks around company. He has a daughter, but was not a person......you’re only a number”
town. These people have very little, too ashamed to ask for her help.... He’s not the youngest anymore, so
or no money, no house or family who it was difficult for him to find another
care for them, or even regular meals in Ran: So you have a part time job; what job. Eventually he lost his wife, and his
some cases. Most would say they are do you spend most of the money on? family. Now, even his brothers don’t
homeless, but I’ve found out there’s Guy: Most money goes towards Tobacco help him out...
a big difference between homeless or Booze to dull the pain. He’s very, very, very positive though
and houseless. Being houseless is a Ran: Do you consider yourself an and firmly believes that this is just a
(temporary) condition, whereas being addict? short, unfortunate hiccup in his life. He
homeless is a state of mind including Guy: Yes I do. I’m not denying it.... currently has a job in a hotel as a cook
feelings of despair, hopelessness, (pauses and looks sad) .....I wish I could and tries to save some money so that he
and shame... stop, but I can’t. can see his family again some day to
Homelessness is more about the apologize and live together like it used
shame associated with the lifestyle and I tried to offer him and others around to be.
the feeling of having failed at something him some special food I had bought “No matter what happens, I will
than it is about not having shelter. There’s for everyone to share, but they denied, never give up the hope to see my family
plenty of shelter in a city this big, and saying, “we don’t want your pity; just again”. When asked why he doesn’t go
you can usually find somewhere to stay treat us like equals”.... I left the food near see them now, he responded with “I’m
for the night, but you can’t get away from the stairs for them. Hopefully they all too ashamed...”
the feelings of desolation, shame, and shared and could enjoy something they While living in the park, he met
being cut off from society.... particularly probably haven’t had for a long time. “Papa-san”, a super genki over 60 yr. old
in Japan, where there’s virtually no help But not all hope is lost for some man, who left home when he was young
from the government for people in need. people on the streets. I found these two to move to Tokyo and pursue his dream
“...My stomach was growling, and I men who turned out to be some of the of becoming an entertainer, had his own
felt faint from the heat of the sun. A plate most positive thinking, intelligent, and company, had lots of money, was married
of any type of food and a drop of water most of all truly humanitarian people I several times, owned 5 bars in Nagoya
would’ve been a great treat, but what I have ever met in my life. It was a true at one point, and never thought he’d be
really wanted was a smile or a friendly delight to hang out with them. What living in a park with just a blue tarp as a
greeting from one of the clean, normal initially was going to be just a quick roof to cover him.... For someone in this
people. Instead, they gave me stares interview turned into a 4 hour amazing situation, he had incredible energy and
and frowns, which hurt more than the experience for me and my assistant. They warmth as a person.....
thought of having no food or money. It really opened up about their lives and According to him, he used to have
was as if I were a leper, who had broken how they ended up living in the park. a lot of money, and was married to his
the rules by daring to be seen in public.” When it comes to homeless (or rather last wife, a much younger woman, for
A lot of people tend to think that in their case, houseless) living, these about 9 years. Something happened
homeless people are just lazy and don’t guys had a mansion..... A huge tent in and she ended up taking pretty much all
want to get a job. That’s just a big mis- the park near a pond and far away from his money.......now, instead of living in a
conception... In these fast changing the rough streets of Sakae. From the very nice mansion near Higashiyama Zoo, he
economic times, there are more and more first moment we met them, they gave lives in the park (Not Higashiyama).

|RAN| 21
“We loved each other very much...... RAN: (shocked) Wow!!! That’s horrible. understand us and couldn’t trust them
she wrote in her diary every day about Papa: These “kids” have no respect not to write lies.
us. We lived together and worked for other people. It’s sad, that Japanese I feel confident to talk to you because
together......but then she changed.....” Society has changed so much since I was you have kind eyes and a good heart.
RAN: Do you have any kids or family? a kid..... What happened to that good RAN (Achim): (speechless...................)
Papa: Yes, I have a daughter from Samurai Spirit? Thank you very much for your kindness
another marriage, but she doesn’t know I These days people are too greedy and hospitality today.
live here. Can’t bear to tell her.... for money, become very selfish, and are Papa: It was my pleasure. Thank you
Someday, when I’m back on my feet, starting to forget about treating other for doing this interview, talking to us,
I will tell her. Until then it’s important not people as human beings. and for giving us a chance to get our
to lose hope. When you’ve lost all your voices heard.
money, your house, and your dignity, it’s --This whole time he was talking in
important not to lose hope. a very friendly, well-meaning and intel-
RAN: Does it ever get dangerous out ligently thought out way. He offers us
here? Do you ever feel scared living another beer, and again we try to refuse,
in the park? but his heart and willingness to give
Papa: Yes, we feel scared every night. and share the little they have with us,
RAN: Why? Do the police chase because we showed interest in them and
you off, or are there any dangerous their story, wins us over and we accept
animals around? another round....
Papa: (laughs), no, the police give us
a lot of pressure, but they mostly leave RAN: Is there any message you would
us alone. They don’t really care what like to tell the people of Nagoya?
happens to us, but they haven’t chased Papa: Just because of the economy
us off yet. going down, people changed. There’s
I’m more scared of younger people. no support for homeless from the
government, even though before we
were homeless, we payed our taxes,
our pensions, etc. But just because we
got laid off, or lost our businesses, the
government doesn’t support anything....
....even if we lose our house and our
job, we are still human, the same as you.
We’re trying to come back to society.
Don’t treat us badly because we are less
fortunate than you at the moment; don’t At this point he made me promise
think this can’t happen to you as well... him that in one year we would try to get
Out here, you realize what’s really in touch again (I gave him my number,
important in life.... because when you and he gave me his) (yeah I was very
come to the end of your life, it doesn’t surprised that he had a cell phone, but
matter how much money you’ve had, or then again this is Japan....), because
how many cars, or houses you’ve had, or he wants to show me that he’s made it
what position you held in your company. back to society successfully within one
What really matters is how many people year......
truly cried at your funeral...how many It was difficult to see what Papa, and
lives you’ve really touched and what others like him have to go through every
difference you’ve made. What really day. When we left after the interview,
matters is what’s inside of your heart. we felt we were leaving new friends to
Treat other people, even the less the mercy of the night.... To us it was
fortunate, equally, because those people, suffering, but to them it was just another
RAN: Really? What do they do? just like you, are trying to survive every night in Nagoya.....
Papa: The park is very close to day, they too want to feel warmth and While there is a lot of despair and
the University, so sometimes younger kindness, they too are trying to get to the negativity on the streets, you can also
stupid guys come here and try to hit next level in life. It’s just that we have to find hope and more true humanity than
us with stones. start at the very bottom, but that does not in some of the finest homes or offices.......
Although this hasn’t happened here make us lesser people, just less fortunate I for one can’t wait to go back to visit
yet, but I know some (homeless) people in some cases. I’ve learned to tell Papa and others, bring them some good
who met the wrong end of a metal pipe people’s kindness from their eyes. (looks food, beer, and clothes, and hear more
swung by young guys.... at me) You have very kind eyes, which is about their life stories.
The worst situation was that some of why I wanted to let you do an interview.
these younger guys tried to set fire to a We were approached by News-teams, ---Thanks to Tomomi Yamazaki, and
tent and burn it down. There was also an but I didn’t want to talk to them Saori Kobayashi for helping out with
attack using fireworks... because I doubted they would really the interviews.

22 |RAN|
Homeless By Krista E.

My home can be everywhere


or nowhere.
My daily meals consist of anything
or nothing.
My knick-knacks and baubles
are the clothes I wear.
My money is only what
others give me.
I am a being.
I am human.
I am homeless.
If only people could see
where I stand.
and help me
through this all.
Will this loneliness
ever end?
Will I begin a new life?
Does anyone care?
Because I am here.
I am real.
I cannot be ignored.
I am a person.
I am alive.
And...
I am homeless.
Sk8 R Die it h p r on a l s k
of e ss i | Story and photos
i n N a g o ya
at erbsy Achim Runnebaum |
w
Ro l li n g
W
hen I was a kid, I had a big in Nagoya. “If you’re a top skater in barrier, we can communicate through
dream of being a skater - Maui, you’re just average here because our skateboarding.
flying through the air, doing we have a much better environment R: It’s always great to have something in
all kinds of cool tricks and chilling every for skating out here”. There are many common even though you don’t speak
day, so I went out day after day to practice amazingly good skaters out here.. Seeing the same language. In most countries,
on my crappy little board. It was a lot of them just motivates you to practice more skateboarding kind of has a bad name.
fun until I tried to learn some tricks. I got and become better. When you’re just by I guess the image is that skateboarders
more bloody knees and sprained ankles yourself, you’re your own motivation, always get into trouble with the police,
than admiration, so in the end I gave up. but out here, it’s a whole other world...” etc. Have you ever had any problems
When experienced skaters pick up He mentioned that the boarders in here?
a board, it’s like art the way they can Nagoya are some of the friendliest he’s J: Oh yeah, we get that all the time, but
manipulate the board to do all kinds of met. They take you in, invite you to hang that’s part of the lifestyle. You can build
crazy tricks without killing themselves in out, accept you, no matter where you’re 100 skateparks, but street-skating will
the process; I on the other hand, not so from (if you know the unwritten rules). never die. We’ll still go out to Parco or
much... It’s easy to get into the scene. He met Mitsukoshi and skate the ledges.... it’s
I’m sure when most people think of all his professional riders from Nagoya fun and thrilling. That’s our spot, you
Osu, skating is the last thing on their in the scene here... know... It’s like a cat and mouse game.
minds, but that’s exactly where the You can’t expect Tom and Jerry to get
best skaters in Nagoya hang out during RAN: “How long does it take someone along. That’s just the way it is, man. They
the day to practice their newest moves to really get good?“ don’t like us, we don’t like them, though
before leading the police on a cat Jesse: “It depends on the person. If you every once in a while we get some cops
and mouse chase in front of Mitsukoshi got two left feet it’s gonna take you a lot who are cool and they don’t really care,
at night. longer, of course, but on average about they’re down, you know....and treat us
Walking into the skatepark across 6-10years, unless you’re a natural. When like regular human beings. What I don’t
the street from the Osu Post Office is you start out, you should practice in understand is why you can ride a bike on
a bit like walking onto what would front of your house first, but eventually the street and not get hassled, but when
be the Japanese version of the movie everybody finds their way here.” you ride a skateboard on the street, the
“Lords of Dogtown”; skaters from all R: What kind of support is there for cops are all over you...
races and backgrounds hanging out, skaters? Are there many skate shops or R: Well I don’t know about you, but I get
smoking, drinking beer, and practicing events in Nagoya? stopped on my bike a lot by the Police.
their newest tricks together right in J: There were a couple of skate shops If I had a penny for every time that’s
the heart of the city. It’s a haven for that took care of the skaters, but unfor- happened, I’d be dating a supermodel
people who don’t want to put up with tunately they went out of business; that’s now and driving an Italian Sports car...
the suppressive conservative salaryman kind of why we’re here.... J: (laughing) I know what you mean.
lifestyle. Although usually a thorn in the R: You have your own shop, right? R: So if you’re not here at the skatepark,
eyes of the police, here they can practice J: Yeah, we’re setting it up now. I think where can people find you? Don’t
without being hauled off to jail just for Nagoya has a lot of potential for skaters, worry, I won’t tell the Police.
wanting to show off their unique styles and someone has to take care of the J: (Laughs) Even if I told you, the cops
and tricks. growing community here... My company, would find us eventually anyways, so it
At first I was a bit nervous walking Common Motive Skateboarding doesn’t matter. Late night I can guarantee
into the skatepark, because it quickly (http://www. someone will be in front of Mitsukoshi
became obvious that I wasn’t a skater... cmskateboards.com ) skating the ledges. Or we’ll be in front
It was almost like walking into an all works together with guys who promote of the Mitsubishi Bank. It’s funny, with
Japanese Izakaya, curious looks followed skateboarding and related events in skateboarding there’s a sort of call sign
me everywhere and people started to nightclubs, and on the streets. These that tells others we’ve been here. If you
point and talk in hushed voices. As soon guys are pretty much the raw dogs look at the ledges, and you can see wax,
as they saw the camera though, they of skateboarding. They’re promoting it means we’ve been there or continue to
warmed up and were eager to pose and skateboarding through their lifestyle.... skate there...
perform tricks. I met a young, laid-back they live, breathe, eat, and sleep skate- R: Ah...Now we know what to look for.
skater named Jesse, who runs his own boarding. One of our guys is promoting Do you have any tips for people who
skating outfit in Nagoya. He’s the entre- skating in the reggae scene, for example. want to get started in the scene?
preneurial genius in Nagoya’s boarding Come out and party with us and support J: When you start boarding, I don’t think
scene, so if you’re looking for a board, us. There’s a lot of different aspects, a you should start at the Skatepark. When
gear, or just some advice, he can hook lot of different cultures mixed together, you’re starting out, you’re dangerous
you up. Originally from Maui, Hawaii, that’s why nagoya is so different from to others, you don’t know what you’re
he came out here a couple of times a everywhere else, because there’s so doing, you don’t know which areas
year at first and now lives here full time much culture mixed in with everything. in the park you shouldn’t stand in, or
with his family. From the first time he R: Are most skaters here in don’t know about waiting your turn, so
picked up a board after recieving it as Nagoya Japanese? practice on the street in front of your
a Christmas gift one year, the freedom J: The culture is really mixed: there’s a house first, or in a parking lot. That’s
and camaraderie sucked him deeper and lot of Brazilians who skate, also a lot how WE started, so... You gotta learn the
deeper into the lifestyle of Americans who come by once in a rules before playing the game.
The skill level is completely different while.... Even though there’s a language R: Good tips, so practice your basics

|RAN| 25
first before heading
down here, folks.
Where can people find
out about local skating
events, or info about
skating?
J: There’s a website
called GATE (http://gate.
commotion.tv/), a friend
of mine called SHINOSK8,
is basically the guy who
promotes skateboarding
contests. He’s the man of
skate-contests.... Check the site
for more info.
R: I just gotta ask, man.
What’s the worst injury you got
from skating?
J: I dislocated my right elbow,
broke my ankle, but didn’t find out
about it till later. You twist your ankle
all the time skating. Your ankles and
your knees are the first to go out...
If you have weak ankles or can’t get
through the pain of having bruises and
light injuries, you shouldn’t be skating...
R: Your insurance must love you...
Between periods of recovery, how do
you learn new tricks?
J: To be honest, new tricks are made
every day by normal skateboarders.
You find inspiration through just riding
with your friends... You motivate each
other... One guy is doing a trick, and you
want to learn how to do it, so you ask
how it’s done and train together... The
reason why a lot of people start skating
is because there are no rules, you know,
it’s so free. Anything’s possible if you just
put your mind to it.
R: True, true. I wish I would’ve stuck
with it back in the day.
J: It’s never too late to start again...
R: Anything you want to add?
J: If I can give some shoutouts to my
friends and team riders who’ve been
helping me out all these years: The
Common Motive Team, Masa, Hiroma,
I wouldn’t be here without you guys
for sure. Another shout-out to my
homeboys over at central for doing your
thing, keep it up. Also my family, God,
my wife, my sons, and all my friends
out here, and thanks to you for letting
me do this interview and promote
the scene. Come check out the shop.
(052NGY) for life.....

26 |RAN|
When In Rome

Tatemae
Honne
| By TD Houchen |

Revealed
I
get the feeling there’s something these Japanese folks aren’t telling me.
They seem to be hiding something, or everything. They’re dodging
my questions and deflecting all my attempts to ‘keep it real’. They’d
MUCH rather keep it fake, it’s more comfortable for them. They say ‘yes’  to
everything and look all polite and friendly, but they mean ‘no’ and I’m more
than a little confused, perplexed even. I feel like that girl Yoshimi in that
song by The Flaming Lips “Attack of the Pink Robots” where all these scary
robots are trying to get Yoshimi to accept their weird way of life, but Yoshimi
can’t/won’t do it because she has somehow developed a mind of her own.
They’re all out to get me and they seem to enjoy my confusion. It appears that
they’re working way too hard to avoid hurting my feelings, but they’re lying to
my face and it hurts anyway. They’re practicing some ancient form of emotional


martial arts, psychological karate, mental aikido, and it’s kicking my ass- ‘help,
I’ve fallen and I can’t get up…’ They’re chop suey-ing me with their social
ninja tactics and silent emotional strategic warfare, “silent violence”, and it’s
maddening. I can’t find anyone who will just tell me what they really think or

They
feel about anything. I’m paranoid because I don’t know who meant what and
if I should believe what they told me, or if I should think the opposite of what
they said. I’m being taught how to lie my way through situations, slip and slide
my way around the truth and I’m betraying myself in the process. My sanity
seems to be under constant, subtle, silent attack. I’m not at all afraid of someone
telling me how they really feel about me; I just don’t have time to try to “figure
it out”, or “read between the lines”, the lines themselves are too damn blurry.

smile
They can never just “be honest and direct” about either what they want or don’t
want, I’m just supposed to figure it all out for myself, but I’m not quite in on the
rules and how can you play the game if you don’t know the rules? No one wants
to give it to me straight, they’d rather play word games and say “gomen” over
and over and expect that to make everything alright. Whether social, romantic,
or a simple friendship, relations in Japan are like going in with mental and
emotional swords drawn. Every move is strategized, executed with precision,
no room for something as arcane as honesty. Is everyone wearing a Mask? Am I

in your
becoming like them? What’s my mask look like? They’re all extremely gracious,
polite and gentle I suppose, but what do they really think? How do they really
ILLUSTRATION: ADAM PASION

feel? What kind of society accepts, supports, and encourages people to be vague
and unclear, and asks people to NOT speak their real feelings, and instead to
just say or do anything in order that no one knows how anyone else really feels

face
about anything? What happened here to make just saying what you feel such an
act of rebellion?
Am I the only one? Does anyone else feel like they’re not being leveled
with? Like there’s some crazy rule here that says “whenever presented with

28 |RAN|
an opportunity to speak directly and say subtle hint that it is time to go home.” the way you present your ideas, thoughts
what you feel, don’t.” Well, there IS such Wait. Come again? You mean, instead and actions should have some direct
a rule, it’s called tatemae-honne, and all of just saying, ‘hey, it’s been nice having relationship to what you are thinking
the Japanese are following it everyday, all you over, but I think my family and I are or feeling. Japanese however, have
day, everywhere, so you better get used going to eat dinner now, do you mind if absolutely no problem telling you one
to it, it could allow you to understand we catch up another time?’, they’d rather thing, but thinking the exact opposite
what isn’t being said, and therefore, it invite you to stay when they really want thing. We’d call this hypocrisy of the
could end up saving you your job, your you to get the hell out?  What if I don’t highest order back home, but here, it’s
relationship, your friendship, your status, know the rules, and I decide, “…sure, I’d a necessary and even virtuous aspect of
maybe even your freedom. love to stay! Thanks, I was feeling kind society, this ability to have dual person-
In the excellent book “The Japanese of hungry anyway, what’s for dinner… alities and come off on the exterior in
Mind”, written by Roger J. Davies and ?”-then what? They hate me? Poison the exact opposite manner as compared
Osamu Ikeno, tatemae-honne is defined my food? Curse me under their breath to how you feel on the inside. Japanese
as:  because they asked me to stay and I have this bent desire that everything
Honne is one’s deep motive or
intention, while tatemae refers to
“... the Japanese have taken this
intentions
or motives that are socially tuned, social lubricant and made it a
those that are shaped, encouraged, or standard part of their society.”
suppressed by majority norms.
In other words, honne is what accepted? Whose fault is this situation? in life be perpetually Happy! Cute!
you really think, although it may be Sound familiar? Fresh!-and they’ll straight lie to your face
“suppressed by majority norms”, and How many times have you found in order to preserve those images.
tatemae is what you think people are yourself on the confused end of the It’s all pretty clever actually. You
expecting of you, which you can never situation here in Japan just because no never have to tell anyone how you
be sure of. What you think people are one could or would tell you exactly what really feel about them, let them suss it
expecting of you at any given moment out while you smile and say nice things.
was going on? I get it, but I swear, I just
could be way off, so you’d do best to act don’t get it. What is so wrong with the The language itself is more or less a code
according to your inner truth. Japanese designed to cover up or make apologies
truth, even if it isn’t the nicest thing in
don’t agree with showing truth in most the world? for your existence. Smile and be coy and
situations, and tatemae-honne is their It’s your fault for not somehow imprecise and you’ve done your job. In
version of How-To-Play-The-Game-Of- ‘reading the air’, as they say here, but a relationship? Find yourself a little put
Life. We’ve got a word for tatemae in doesn’t at least some responsibility fall off by your partner’s ambiguous “dual
English, we call it bullshit.  on their shoulders too for not being able nature”? (We might call this schizophre-
Another Japanese writer dude, Takeo to just say what they feel? No, it doesn’tnia, but that’s just a word, right?)-don’t
Doi, M.D., in his fascinating book “The actually, and they’re happy this way. You worry/be happy! Smile a lot and pretend
Anatomy of Self”, states as follows:  should know, ‘happy’ is very important what you feel isn’t really what you feel
...tatemae is essential..it is impossible and maybe your partner will get the
to Japanese, even if it isn’t really happy. 
to believe that it is unimportant… picture and she’ll start pretending not
it is a type of principles or rules that Bizarre. to feel what she feels either and then
have been established as natural   you both can live in the ultimate fantasy
and proper. It refers to conventions The book goes on to say that the world of not really feeling your own real
created by people on the basis of concept of tatemae-honne preserves feelings!
consensus.  “cultural harmony” and “keeps the Sounds fun huh? Like a trip to an
While it is true that most every society peace” in social situations. Yeah, har- psychologically and emotionally twisted
on earth allows for a certain discretion mony-schmarmony, I want to know Disneyland,  where none of the rides do
or “wiggle room” where telling the truth what’s in your mind so I can know what what they look like they’re supposed to
or expressing one’s real emotions are to think and how to guard myself. Your do, and some of the guests are not being
concerned, the Japanese have taken actions are only one level of being,  honest with you most of the time, and all
this social lubricant and made it a your thoughts are another entirely, and of the guests are not being honest with
standard part of their society. No wonder it’s your thoughts that dictate how you you some of the time, and none of the
they can’t just come out with it; being act and what you DO in most cases guests are ever being completely honest
two-faced is encouraged, supported and anyway. But in this place, the axiom ‘I with you any of the time. Oh, and all the
expected.  Think Therefore I Am’ might as well be, guests think YOU are a guest, and so they
Davies and Ikeno go on to say that, ‘I Think Therefore I May Or May Not treat you strangely, and never want to
“…the Japanese do not like to express Be.’ Wishy-washy is the norm. They are really get to know you, and never want
themselves in a straightforward manner confusing as hell and for them, that’s you to really get to know them either.
for fear that it might hurt others feelings. how it is supposed to be. Know the rules, Welcome to Japan
For example, when a person is visiting play the game.  Happy! Cute! Fresh!
someone’s house in Japan, and it Social situations could suddenly Not.
becomes time for supper, the host will unravel because you aren’t understand- Tatemae-Honne is working on
often say, ‘won’t you dine with us?’-but ing properly. Westerners by and large you right now, can you see it?
this is not really an invitation, it is a are brought up with the understanding Peace.

|RAN| 29
Held Down by Metal Bonds:
The Kanashibari experience in Japan. | By Thomas Bauerle |
Thomas
Bauerle is currently writing while
a book of “true” stories you are sleeping and
collected from his university holds you down so that you are unable
students about their personal experiences
to move, speak or cry out until it with the supernatural I
encounters with ghosts and decides to leave.  An informal survey I
strange phenomena.  collected, by far the most
conducted among students and friends common story was about
A kanashibari is a type showed that about 32% of Japanese
of ghost seldom encountered meeting a kanashibari.
women and only about 5% of Japanese A kanashibari usually
outside Japan which seems to men have experienced a kanashibari
manifest itself mostly to Japanese happens to its victim when she is
at some time in their lives.  In fact it sleeping.  Suddenly she wakes up
women.  The term kanashibari is is so common a phenomena in Japan
derived from the Japanese words and finds that, although her mind
that virtually every time the subject has seems to be fully awake, her body
kana which means “metal” or come up in conversation there has been
“hardware,” and shibari which is unable to move.  This condition
at least one or two women present that can continue for anywhere from a few
comes from the verb meaning “to tie have experienced one, and very often
down.”  Literally it means “something minutes to a half hour or hour
some of them have felt it several times and it
that ties you down with unbreakable or more.  Out of all the tales of
metal bonds.”  A kanashibari is a
ghost that comes upon you
can be an experience that creates an acute ‘kanashibari’ isn’t supernatural.”  But grabbed my hand.  The moaning woman
sense of panic and terror.  In addition, one day in high school, I experienced disappeared.  I couldn’t sleep very well
many victims also claim to actually see horror.  That day, I finished practicing at for a long time after I saw her.
ghosts, hear voices or are visited by dead my sports club and I went back home Later I told my mother about it and
family members whispering in their with my body exhausted.  I took a bath she said there was a local legend of a
ears instructing them to do things that and went to bed, but because I had gone spiteful woman who burned the face of
will release their wandering souls from to bed early, I woke up in the night.  I am a young girl because she was jealous of
earth-bound torment. her beauty, but she didn’t
There have been know if it was true or not.
several theories put -- Tomoki Fukumoto
forth to explain this
phenomena: one is that I was rooted to the spot by terror.  M y mother told

I couldn’t move.
the person isn’t mentally me about her
awake at all, but dreams experience.  When my
the whole experience.  mother was a little girl,
Almost every person she was held down in
who has experienced the bed every night for a
one, however, insists that week.  she tried to think
the experience was very of  the reason why it was
real and that they were happening and she sensed
fully awake and cognizant of what was really a coward and afraid of the dark, that it must be her grand father doing
going on.  Some theorists are ready to so I wanted to get up and turn on the it.  He had recently died and she was
point out that, in a culture like Japan’s light.  But my body couldn’t move!  I felt now sleeping in his bed.  So, the next
where people normally work 16 hour terrified and my  body felt so much so night, when she was rooted to the spot,
days seven days a week, it is only natural heavy!  Then I smelled the odor of a man she said, “Grandfather, you died, you
that some times people would find standing next to me!  I was terrified until died . . . “  After that the “kanashibari”
themselves so exhausted that it would be he went away.  In the morning my arm went away and it never happened again.
difficult for their weary bodies to move had a bruise on it in the shape of a hand! -- Yuka Ishizaki
upon first awakening, but this doesn’t -- Hiromi Ito
explain the visions and sounds that
occur with many of these experiences.
Yet another explanation is that these O ne night I was sleeping in the same
room with my father and mother. 
W hen I was a junior high school
student, for two or three weeks,
every night I was inhibited from moving. 
people are experiencing a condition I seldom wake up at night, but I felt At that time, I was really really scared
known as a hypnagogic dream in which unusually cold and woke up.  to go to bed.  The first time this scary
the mind wakes up several minutes “Did someone open the window?” thing happened, I went to bed and I had
before the body itself does.  Again, this I thought.  But I felt colder and colder.  nearly fallen asleep when I suddenly
does not explain the other aspects of “It’s unusual.  It’s so strange,” I thought.  opened my eyes.  I wanted to roll over,
the episode-- the sights and sounds-- or Then I was rooted to the spot by terror.  however I couldn’t move.  I tried harder
why it happens primarily to Japanese I couldn’t move.  I was stopped by to move, but I couldn’t.  Then, although,
women.  This article reports some something.  Then I felt as if someone’s before I went to bed, I had closed all
first-hand encounters with kanashibari, awful eyes were staring at me.  the windows, the curtains were moving
the explanation of which is and probably “Don’t open your eyes!”  I thought. furiously back and forth. 
will always remain a mystery.  Whatever I remembered that my grandma The next night, when I was sleeping,
it is, it is very real to the people it happens always said, “If you meet a ghost, don’t I woke up because I felt there was
to, and it happens very often in Japan. open your eyes and don’t speak.”  something lying on top of my body. 
I closed my eyes, but I heard a Then to my horror, I opened my eyes and

O ne night I was sleeping on my bed.


Then an unusual thing happened on
a usual night.  Suddenly I felt something
woman’s voice that voice that kept
moaning and complaining.  I could
make out a few words, such as, “Hot,
I was shocked!  There was an old woman
looking down at me!  It was the scariest
thing I have ever seen.  I didn’t know
getting on top of me.  I was so surprised hot!  Too hot!  I’m burning up!  So sad, who that old woman was.  She didn’t do
that I tried to get out of my bed.  Then so sad. . . “ anything.  She just looked down at me.  I
I felt something pressing down on my Then I  heard it say a strange thing: was sooooo scared!  I wanted to hide from
head, so I couldn’t get out.  I couldn’t “I am taking your mother with me!”  her, but I couldn’t move, so I closed my
open my eyes for fear.  After I while I felt This so surprised me  that I opened my eyes tight.  A while later when I opened
it crawl away and disappear.  But I still eyes and saw a woman standing there, my eyes, she was gone and I could move.
don’t know what it was.   College student wearing a kimono.  She was about thirty -- Ayumi Kawai
ILLUSTRATION: ADAM PASION

Miki Matsui or thirty-five years old and her face was


I have always been predisposed to badly burned.  She was standing there These are just a few of the hundreds
be rooted to the spot at night.  It has looking at me as I lay on the floor on of stories collected by Mr.  Bauerle.  If
happened to me many times, but I don’t my futon.  I struggled to shout for help, you have a similar story, or have had a
have any extrasensory perception and I but because I couldn’t move, I could personal encounter with the truly weird
persuaded myself to think, “kanashibari not ask anybody for help.  Then my in Japan, let the editors here at Ran
is when only my brain is awake, so a mother noticed my struggling and she magazine know about it.

|RAN| 31
| By Will Taylor |

R
each into your pocket right now, fair share of ladies in glamour gear that drinks available being whisky, shochu,
and take out a coin. Even the most costs more than I make in a month (or beer, and soft drinks) without incurring
desperately 99 yen shop-ramen five). While I am green-eyed to the gills, any other costs at all. The hostess, on the
sucking of you should have at least a I can’t seriously fault anyone for making other hand, is on the clock. Her salary
single yen coin floating around your fore a buck when they need to, however is dependent upon three things, getting
or hindquarters now...take a look at one they can. you to buy her drinks, getting you to stay
of them. I can wait, it’s not like I’m going Toshincho, however, brings us to longer, and getting you to sing karaoke.
anywhere while you rummage. Got one? the other side of the coin. The…err, Obviously, each of these things costs
Good. Now examine it. slightly more used district. The area has more money.
Conventionally speaking, heads or something for everyone, if you’re willing Simple flattery and charm is the
tails is dictated by opposite sides of the to look hard enough. There’s a vibrant most common tactic, though with a
coin you have in your hand now. There club scene, an industrious bar scene, high turnover rate and increasingly
is no…important difference between several markets where one can obtain cutthroat competition, several bars
the two sides. Both contain roughly the particularly harder to find groceries and have recently gone topless as well
same amount of metal (or faux metal, seasonings (particularly from Southeast (with a very carefully danced-upon line
depending on the coin), but simply Asia), and a number of hostess clubs governing the “look, but don’t touch
different designs. The surfaces are as well. All in all, the only difference rule” depending on how much cash is
different. I’m willing to wager that one between Nishiki and Toshincho is one flowing). In the slightly more traditional
side is a bit smoother, has seen more little thing: the sheer volume of sex. sense, a good hostess can work a client
wear and tear. Been palmed around Every large urban neighborhood in like Miles Davis worked a trumpet.
a few times, let’s say. The other, a bit Japan has its share of “health” places; Dresses are short, conversations are
sharper, a little flashier, perhaps the side that can be a topic for another article coy, and the hostess subtly insistent on
that is more likely to be photographed if all together.  Toshincho has one or two obtaining at least two out of the three
one took a snapshot image. “fashion health” locations, but what is aforementioned things from you before
Welcome to the game as it is played, sold here, directly and indirectly, by the she is rotated away from you to another
here in fair Nagoya. Recent stories (even metric crapload, is sex. customer, or is specifically called upon
appearing in the Grey Lady herself, the Let’s look at the indirect marketing of by a preferred client. The population
New York Times) have remarked on a sex. A walk through the area is an exercise here is overwhelmingly Philippine, from
recent boom trend in hostess positions. in visual and aural titillation. Places the men who direct you to the bar, to the
While the hours may be long, many advertise cabaret singers and performers, “mama-san” watching over the action,
young Japanese women are pulling down young men aggressively pursue anyone to the young lady flirting with you.
the kind of cash that some of us here walking through the area offering them Legal status and educational
only dream of. Sure, the hours may be the chance to enter their clubs, each backgrounds can vary. Some are on
long, but you’re drinking for free, having rich with the standard promises of young entertainer visas, allowing them legally
ridiculously expensive gifts bought for women there to provide companionship to work in such places. Some are on
you fairly regularly, and who knows, and conversation while drinking for the spouse visas, which have enough
PHOTOS: ACHIM RUNNEBAUM

there’s always the chance that you might allotted time frame. A brief explanation loopholes to allow most types of work
strike out of the box and hit the big time of the standard hostess club in the area; as well. It is not unusual, however,
like Eri Momoka, current sainted mother an entry charge covers all that a person for these spouse visas to merely be a
of the profession (article cit). Nagoya’s can drink for roughly 60 minutes, and convenient manner for obtaining entry
“higher-end” hostess district known as guarantees the accompaniment of a into, or remaining in, the country. More
Nishiki-cho (on the Sunshine Sakae side young lady. In theory, one could drink for on that in a moment. Some women have
of Hisaya-Odori Park) definitely has its the entire 60 minutes (the most common never graduated high school; some have

32 |RAN|
2 or 4 year university degrees ranging massage can run from 5 to 6000 yen for fraudulently intentioned student visas
from nursing to Computer Science.  For 30 to 45 minutes, but other services are are also another common tactic. Ties to
those of you who may have just turned listed. Hand jobs, oral, and full sex are organized crime are often considered
your head away at the notion of a on the table at this point. Full on sex key to these occurrences, but with so
CompSci grad working as a hostess, let will set you back 15000 to 20000 yen, few prosecutions and such stunning
me know how that Art History degree is and condoms are a must (the workers inaction on the part of the government,
working out for you. The money some put them on themselves to ensure no it appears that this trillion yen industry
of these ladies make from these places “accidents”). Both “client” and provider will continue to march on.
far outweighs working at a call center are required to shower before any So why write about it? I originally
telling some yokel from North Dakota activities (including standard massages), considered writing this as a sort of campy
that their DVD drive is not a sandwich and then it’s off to the proverbial races. homage to the chaos that is Toshincho,
caddy. Most people do what is best for Generally speaking there’s a time limit after all, it does have a number of things
their families, and a number of these on how long one is allowed to stay, going for it that make it more than worth
workers’ remittances bear the financial though some institutions do allow its your time and money. Some of the best
responsibilities for extended families at customers to take brief rests afterwards, late night ramen I’ve ever had in Japan
home ($1.5 billion dollars worldwide, particularly those who opted for the full is down there, as well as two of my 5
up to $400 million from Japan, in June plan and are arriving particularly late in favorite club atmospheres in Japan. It
alone to the Philippines, and that is only the evening/early morning). can be a fun, somewhat funky, little slice
counting official bank transfers). “Follow Who are the workers? While there of town. But in researching this piece
the money,” indeed. are a number of Japanese people I’ve drawn on conversations with both
The quest for cash, unfortunately, involved in the so-called “pink” trade customers and workers from both sides
leads to the seedier side as well; the in Japan, the majority of the workers of the coin, the legitimate, and the illicit
direct marketing of sex. In the middle in Toshincho are from Southeast Asia, (I can’t refer to these people by name,
of Toshincho is a small green area, a especially Thailand and the Philippines.  but I thank you immensely for your help
mini-park, with a couple of interesting The legal status of these women skews and patience)...it forced me to look at it
sculptures and a police box. Within much more towards the illicit side of all a little differently. I hope, at the very
walking distance of this police box are immigration. Japan has frequently been least, that you think a bit about what you
no fewer than 4 underground massage cited by organizations such as the see the next time you’re in the area. That
parlors. While the area does abound United Nations and humantrafficking. you think even for a minute about doing
in with several institutions, offering a org for its failure to ratify international something, be it giving of your time or
variety of styles from Shiatsu to Thai, treaties, or even adopt a clear plan to money. The Polaris Project, a group with
the typical underground parlor does deal with exploitation. Under the current offices in Tokyo and across the US, has
not have a sign outside. Recruiters are criminal code, traffickers face only up to been a valuable resource, and would

typically female (unlike the Japanese 7 years imprisonment. In 2006, out of 78 be a fine place to start if you want to
“fashion health” or soapland areas), suspects, 17 cases and 15 convictions help. The Nagoya International Center
and the locations themselves are often stemmed from human trafficking arrests.  also was extremely helpful in providing
small, nestled in the bowels of buildings In 2007, 12 convictions, and in 2008, information (thank you, Ms. Kohara),
with several hostess clubs above them, 13. Workers are often lured with offers and I would strongly urge people who
concealing the activities within. of jobs in other industries, then forced haven’t been there to drop in and check
What activities are these? On the into sex work when hit with debts of 30 it out at some point, even if it isn’t related
surface (and the only thing the women to 50,000 USD for “expenses” related to anything in this piece.
on the street will actually mention), to getting them into the country. One I’ve read a number of the human
these facilities serve as massage parlors, common scam involves use of the trafficking reports, and frankly there’s
offering what all other places of the spouse visa, in which a Japanese citizen enough there to make you want to move
sort offer, oil massages by attractive “marries” or is listed as the spouse of to a monastery or convent to escape the
women. Once inside, however, the story record for a worker in order to get her sheer…horror that is being continually
becomes different. Menus are provided into the country, then plugging them visited upon some of these people. All
(available often in multiple languages, so into the system once they’ve cleared I ask you to do, in the end, is to look,
that no confusion is possible). A standard immigration. Tourist visa overstays and and to think.

|RAN| 33
IMMIGRATION 2010
VISAS, HEALTHCARE AND
YOUR EMPLOYER
| By J. L. Gatewood |

I
f you’ve been under a rock, conditions. However, there is the weeks later to get the stamp, but no one
then perhaps you don’t know General Union, a legal union in Japan, asked to see anything insurance related.
that starting from April 2010, organized to fight for the rights of all But it’s coming soon, since they gave
a slew of changes to Japan’s visa and foreign workers, the majority of which me a warning, right? So when you say
immigration laws will start to go into are Language teachers in public, private, an “approved” insurance scheme, what
effect. In order to create a more and conversational schools. The union exactly do you mean?
centralized control over immigration, has been spearheading the crusade T: Under Japanese law residents must
the Misistry of Justice will be enacting to make more of these businesses and be enrolled in either Shakai Hoken
such laws as the creation of an organizations conform to the same (Employees’ Health and Pension
Immgration Card standards as most employers must hold Insurance) or Kokumin Kenko Hoken
with an IC chip when employing Japanese (National Health Insurance). Until
embedded inside citizens. I had a chance recently, the government has mostly
to replace to sit down with the turned a blind eye to this when it comes
the “Gaijin General Union’s to foreign residents.
C a r d s ” General Secretary, R: There are a lot of foreign residents
handed out Dennis Tesolat, in an enrolled in private insurance schemes.
by your local attempt to get some clearer Will that still be acceptable?
government answers on this issue. T: No it won’t be. Immigration officials
offices. This new card were quite firm on this point. The law
will hold data such as passport RAN: Can you confirm that health only allows these insurances to be sold
validity, visa status, current residence insurance will be mandatory for as a supplement to either Kokumin
and current employer. Also starting v i s a renewal? Kenko Hoken or Shakai Hoken.
at the same time, visa renewal will Tesolat: That is correct. The General R: I know more than a few people will
dependent on payment of all residency Union (GU) held talks with immigration be very surprised to hear that; many of us
taxes and also enrollment in one of officials this summer and they confirmed are told that private insurance is cheaper
Japan’s national health insurance that to have a visa renewed it will be and still just as accepted. But now, no
programs. This one requirement is a necessary to present proof of enrollment more right?
point of contention as a lot of foreign in an “approved” insurance scheme. T: There has been much debate in the
workers here in Nagoya and elsewhere And in fact, there is anecdotal evidence foreign community regarding the benefits
across Japan aren’t either properly that in some regions, immigration of Shakai Hoken versus Kokumin Kenko
informed of the requirement to enroll is not waiting until April. We have Hoken versus private insurance. The new
in national healthcare, are unable heard a number of direct reports of immigration guideline ends this debate.
to enroll due to their employer’s people needing to show proof of R: So what will happen if someone goes
unwillingness to enroll them, or their enrollment already. down to Immigration with only a private
employer flat out misinforming them. R: I’ve heard the same thing-- I went insurance scheme? Will they end up at
Rumors abound, and sometimes it to the immigration office to renew my Centrair on a plane back to their home
seems there is no one in the corner of a visa recently, and I was told that I “may” country 6 hours later?
stranger in a strange land working under have to show my insurance card when T: Immigration assured us that they are
different, sometimes strange working I pick up the new visa. I went back 2 not looking to use this as an excuse to

34 |RAN|
revoke visas.They tell us the process talks they told us they expect many more offers 66% salary protection if you
will be much like when you a missing teachers to choose this option with the cannot work because of injury or illness.
a document for the renewal process; impending changes in April. Most people fresh of the plane don’t
you’ll be given a short period – maybe Another nationwide chain eventually think insurance is important but every
10 days – to produce evidence of proper implemented a contract with all teachers year we deal with a number of people
enrollment before the visa is issued. being enrolled. They also increased who end up sick or injured and without
R: So where does that leave those monthly salaries by about 20,000 yen to insurance. These private insurances
without Kokumin Kenko Hoken or cover some of the costs. aren’t sufficient and there are many cases
Shakai Hoken? You get of people being denied
the shaft? To have a visa renewed it will be necessary coverage once their
T: Just like Japanese
citizens, foreign
to present proof of enrollment private insurance runs
out. They can’t pay their
residents have no in an “approved” insurance scheme. hospital bills and they
other option. don’t have an income.
R: OK so how do people get enrolled? R: What is the union doing about R: Speaking of which, I know we
Is it going to be the same kind of companies that don’t offer Shakai agreed to include your own story in the
run-around like getting the “gaijin card”, Hoken? Isn’t that against the law since interview but I have been hesitant to
or a driver’s license? all companies must offer it? raise it. Can you explain to the readers
T: For Kokumin Kenko Hoken it is just a T: There are a lot of companies that why the interview is taking place here in
trip to the local city office (ward office, blatantly break the law and others that this hospital?
city hall, town hall) but there is a danger skirt around it. ALT dispatch companies, T: It’s ironic that after fighting for shakai
in that. Depending on your period of especially in Tokai, are a prime example hoken for more than 5 years I may well
residence, you could be hit with a back of this. But I won’t name names as we become the new poster boy for our
bill of up to 2 years premiums. And there want to give them time to fix the problem campaign and I thank my lucky stars that
is an added danger. It is also law that before the April deadline. my own company obeyed the law and
you be enrolled in the National Pension. One of the measures we are taking is enrolled me.
Enforcement is still in its infancy but we talking to the Boards of Educations and To cut a long story short, I had a
hear credible stories of people getting demanding that they take responsibil- few hours of intense back pain and
back-bills for the pension too. ity for seeing that teachers are enrolled. then suddenly I couldn’t move below
R: Wait... So even though people were We are receiving some very positive the waist. I was rushed to hospital and
told that it was perfectly OK to tote private responses and some negative responses. had spinal surgery that day. It’s a rare
insurance, just to get on the correct Our union members want enrollment condition and seems to be congenital.
system, you’d face a penalty of paying and if it doesn’t happen soon we will The final prognosis isn’t known at this
BACK BILLS? That makes no sense. If you be taking legal action against some point but I am slowly starting to recover
didn’t wind up in the hospital, why’d you companies and also naming the Boards feeling and a small amount of movement.
have pay it backward? I have heard that of Education in the complaints. I am receiving intensive rehabilitation
Shakai Hoken is a better scheme. How R: What about the pension question I and my intention is to be able to walk
do people get enrolled on that? had earlier? Since a lot of foreign workers out of here.
T: You’re right. Shakai Hoken is a much aren’t going to retire here in Japan, is I have a young family to care
better scheme and is usually cheaper as there a possible refund on this part of the for, so the salary protection is a life
the company has to pay at least half the hoken system? What are the breakdowns saver. Without it I might end up losing
premiums. But it is up to your employer of the refund, if any at all? everything. And if I had had private
to enroll you. You cannot enroll yourself. T: First let me point out that employers’ insurance, most likely they’d withdraw
RAN: How do you qualify for it and often don’t tell employees that the coverage after 6 months. And like I said
how do you get your employer to pension refund under the Shakai Hoken before, we see this all the time – I’m just
enroll you? If it’s compulsory, it should system is significantly better that that one of many.
be automatic right? under the Kokumin Nenkin pension. R: You’ve put a personal face on the
T: Basically the law says that barring a R: I would say they neglect to talk about story for me Dennis. Let’s hope for
few exceptions, all employees have to the pension refund aspect of the entire a speedy recovery. I hope we
be enrolled. But again, up until now, system at all, but please continue... can talk again, because there are a
this law hasn’t been enforced much. T: One other aspect employers fail to lot more questions my readers are
The General Union recognized the mention is the Shakai Hoken system sure to raise.
problem a number of years back and
began a campaign for a voluntary, Learn more about you and your employer’s obligations.
gradual enrollment of all foreigner The General Union Nagoya is holding an open seminar on
language teachers into the scheme. We Sunday, 1 November from 5:00pm to 6:30pm at their office,
were successful at two of the larger a short 10 minute walk southeast of Nagoya station.
language school chains and a number
of the smaller ones. One national chain
Please see:
rolled out a system where teachers could
choose from two different contracts, with http://www.generalunion.org/tokaimap
one offering shakai hoken for slightly for a map and details.
increased hours and salary. In recent

|RAN| 35
* Event Calander coming soon!

| Compiled by RAN staff |

recommends
RAN ’s staff and readers like these places. You might, too...

Anna Purna (Indian Food) women), look no further than this store. isn’t another izakaya more worthy of a
Best part, you can do it all in English. favorable review in all of Nagoya. As a
Seems like there are more and more Usually it’s very difficult to find eng- matter of fact it may very well be my
Indian Restaurants popping up all over lish-speaking antique stores in Japan, favorite restaurant in Japan. Admittedly
the city recently. You can find one of but you’re in luck, the owner, Shingo the range of alcoholic drinks is limited
the best Indian/Nepali restaurants in (shingoahead1977@gmail.com), speaks mostly to beer and shochu, what they
Chikusa, next to the JR Station. They have fluent English and will be more than lack in drinks they make up for with
a kick-ass and reasonable priced lunch happy to talk to you (09056272698). If a wide assortment of gastronomi-
set, and their dinner sets are equally you can’t make it to their storefront in cal delights. Menu highlights include
good. Good food, good atmosphere Gifu, you can shop online at their E-bay scrumptuous crab-cream croquettes, full
with Indian movies playing on their large store: buckets of tebasaki chicken wings, and
screen TV, and friendly staff make this http://stores.shop.ebay.com/ an ever-changing seasonal menu of fresh
one of the best “insider” tips in Nagoya. antique-chacha seafood. For those with an adventurous
or their Yahoo Auctions store: palette, Nabeya also serves-up many
Cafe Parlwr http://openuser.auctions.yahoo. exotic dishes such as live octopus, or a
co.jp/jp/user/mixfamilyjp?alocale platter of horse sashimi(including mane).
Part Comic/Manga reading place, =0jp&mode=1&u=mixfamilyjp The prices are incredibly reasonable and
part Cafe, this place with the unpro- portions are generous. Stop by for a 550
nounceable moniker is a hidden gem in yen lunch that will make you forget
Shinsakae. They have delicous set menu about fast food. You’ll probably see a
items, very friendly staff, and a chilled lonely gaijin eating there as well – that’d
out atmosphere. Just kick back in their be me.
comfy seats, order your food and relax nabeya-dining.com
with one of their numerous magazines
or books. Bring your Japanese though, Sky Garden Preschool
cause there’s only basic English spoken
here. But for the the people who’ve If you work in the public education
mastered the basics, this is a true gem in system then its only natural for you
Shinsakae. Internet Resource to have reservations about sending
your own child into that maelstrom.
Layers Burger Do you need to get somewhere in Choosing a preschool is a daunting
Japan but can’t get the correct reading task for any parent, especially outside
Attention all burger lovers!! You Kanji to input into Yahoo or Google of your home country. For those who
can get one of the best burgers in Maps, or even read Japanese maps for don’t know where to start, consider Sky
Nagoya just a little off the beaten path that matter? Try http://diddlefinger.com/. Garden International Preschool. Created
in Marunuouchi. Try their delicious, but There you can locate most addresses in by a father inspired by the creativity of
hearty original burger, or delve into the Japan IN ENGLISH and see an English children he met abroad, Sky Garden
tried and true classics....you and your labelling of the surrounding area. Other stands in stark contrast to the rest of the
stomach won’t be disappointed. The features include finding Japanese postal Japanese education system. Their goal
staff can speak a bit of English as well, so code areas, train and bus routing, and is to teach children that every problem
it’s like a small slice of heaven in town also the ability to SAVE your maps if has 100 answers instead of one. Students
for the burger lovers... you register on their site. They also are encouraged to read books forward or
Address: 3-8-26 Marunouchi, have a mobile site that works with your backward, paint with a brush or their
Nakaku, Nagoya. From Exit 1 Hisaya keitai-- http://diddlefinger.mobi/ for most fingers, and true to its name, Sky Garden
Odori (subway Meijo-line), walk 2 phones, or http://iphone.diddlefinger. preschool has a large rooftop garden
blocks west and then 4 blocks north com/ if your using Softbank’s exclusive where children can raise their own
Tel: 052-961-0121 machine from California... vegetables and eat them. It also happens
to be in a very eco-conscious building,
Antique Store Nabeya that is covered with vines. While the kids
are having fun, parents can relax at the
古民芸「茶々」 (Antique-chacha) I hesitate to review this place organic cafe or take some holistic yoga
For some true Japanese antiques and because it has been my private local classes next door.
authentic Kimono/Yukata (for men and joint for years, but in all honesty there skygarden.hirotaka.co.jp

36 |RAN|
ILLUSTRATION: ADAM PASION
Taste

Get
on the
BUS | By J. L. Gatewood |

L
ike all good things in life, this was the coach to allow for a kitchen, and apparently for this foreigner; the locals
something unplanned, and done on every other row of seats faces the other are also rightly facinated by Ramen
a whim. I found myself out one night with a table in the middle so that the bus Rapid Transit as well, due to watching
with a few friends in the Mei-Eki branch can seat 14 comfortably. If there’s no no less than 5 people walk up just to
of the bastion of Nagoya’s (and most more seats on the bus, then you don’t take a photo of the bus and its owners.
of Japan’s) local gaijin pub scene, The become a standee; they’ve provided Why a bus though? “look at the people
Hub, when the latest episode of Attack sidewalk seating bistro-style next to the stopping—they could’ve gone to that
of the Munchies occurred, starring my bus in the form of a few picnic tables. ramen place 2 blocks away, but this is not
stomach. I had already been through the The menu boasts no less than 6 the same.” Apparently not, since stickers
roster of vittles served by the bar several different types of ramen, and all the usual on the bus indicate its various television
times, and wanted something a little supects are included-- miso, shoyuu, appearances, including a recent feature
heartier and less expensive... But I really chashuumen, etc. And no ramen joint on Chukyo TV’s “Zoom In”. “I had a
don’t get down too often around Nagoya would be worth it’s salt if it didn’t have Kei-Van for 8 years, but whenever the
station, so I had no idea what could be sides like gyoza, karaage, edamame, etc. weather was bad, the people wouldn’t
had in the way of cheap eats. Then I Ramen is served piping-hot in a bowl eat. The bus is bigger and people can eat
spotted something across the street that that doubles as a football stadium on here even if it snows!” He’s had the bus
had “Hells Yeah” written all over it. The Sundays. I had a hard time getting to the for the last 4 years.
Ramen Bus. soup at first, because they jam-packed Like any bus, this one has a route
Wait... Ramen... Bus?! I know it thick cuts of pork, along with green and schedule, and like all Japanese
sounds weird, but remember where onion, mushrooms and 2 slices of boiled transit, there is no fudging the
we are for a second. Japan-- where egg in there and this was before I could schedule. Get your eat on Monday-
food is to be eaten, played with, and even see the noodles hiding underneath. Saturday nights from 9pm until 2am in
experimented on. With this very thought I was truly in ramen heaven... Or would front of the Mei-Eki Hub, behind the
in mind, the owners of The Ramen Bus that be more like heaven’s bus stop? Dai-Nagoya Bldg. Then the bus rolls
decided no one location was good The real fun is looking out of the big on to the center of Nishiki 3-chome
enough for them, so they bought a de- bus windows while slurping noodley- about 2 blocks north of the Hub
commissioned bus and took their show goodness and watching the streetlife in Sakae, 3 blocks due east of
on the road—literally. watching you. Its not just a novelty the TV tower.
The blue and white bus was parked
just across the street from where I was
sitting and except for the portable Food - Healty Tofu Salad
benches outside on the sidewalk next
to it, you’d think that it was just there
picking up passengers on the way to Ingredients Yield : 2 servings
Meitetsu Bus Center... until I noticed the 150g tofu, cut into 1/2-inch-cubes. Nutrition info:
wild purple and blue neon all around 1 tomato, cut into 1/2-inch-cubes. Per serving
it along with the head sign displaying 1 cucumber, cut into round slices. Calories : 186kcal
“MARUOKA RAMEN” instead of some 1 avocado, cut into 1/2-inch-cubes. Salt : 1.2g
destination... I dashed across the 1 tablespoon yogurt. Fat : 13.6g
street and was intercepted by a spry 2 teaspoons soy sauce.
2 teaspoons mayonnaise.
PHOTO: J. L. GATEWOOD

middle-aged woman informing me that


I could sit either on the benches outside A pinch of salt and pepper.
or step aboard the bus and dine inside.
I opted for the latter. The interior is just Cooking directions
what you’d expect-- a bus, but the seats Blend yogurt, mayonnaise, soy sauce in a large bowl. Adjust
have been removed in the very back of seasoning with salt and pepper. Add tofu tomato, cucumber,
avocado to the bowl and toss.
38 |RAN|