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March / April 2010
| ISSUE 4 |

WhenTheWorldIsRunningDownYouMakeTheBestOf What’sStillAround
Your opportunity to help... Right About Now.
CONTENTS March / April 2010 - ISSUE NO. 4



Shagadelic. Yeah Baby!
What’s Fat and Blue and Almost Famous?
Shamisen on Speed
Bad to the Bone Zero
Michael Wade is a Schizo
Vinnie Vintage Spits Fire
Unsound Unraveled
and more...

Hope, Prayer and Love

18 Even though Japan is a country where
natural disaster is always right around the
corner, how do Japanese respond to disaster
when it strikes unfamiliar places?
J7 sat down with a local Haitian to guage
the response on the street here.

No Hope for Haiti?

Bleeding Pink
25 Pink Eiga in the afternoon

36 Nana Cafe
You want an underage girl with your coffee?

37 A Gathering of Penises

42 Crossword Puzzle
Check out this cultural crossword
from Power English.

22 The Green Spot 34 Taste


Trapped in a Plastic Bubble Casablanca

24 Deadly’s Tips 38 Should

Sound and Silence
I Stay
or Should I Go
JPN 4 LYFE bitches!!
26 When In Rome
Foreign Dudes Suck
40 Boost your Eye-Q
30 RAN Recommends
If we eat it, see it, listen to it,
buy it, go to it, and we love it,
then we think you will too. We couldn’t get away
with saying shit like this,
but animals can.


Publisher: TD Houchen
Chief Editor: Jason L. Gatewood
Editor: Achim Runnebaum
Cheif designer: Adrien Sanborn
Illustrator - designer:
Adam Pasion

Send story ideas to:
Send photography and illustration
To advertise, contact:
Promotional Events/Co-Promotion:

4 |RAN|
M u s t e

s i c !
n the cover of our second issue, we told you Nagoya bands, acoustic balladeers, soul-shakin’ RnB, emo, techno,
Rocks! –There was a reason behind this not-so-subtle dubstep, drumandbass, reggae, house, thrash, funked up rock,
proclamation--music is pouring out of the pavement whatever your pleasure musically, we’re telling you man,
in our fair city-everywhere you go you can hear it practically NAGOYA FRICKIN’ ROCKS.
coming from the sidewalks and trees and rocks in the parks.
On March 5th, at the Hard Rock Café, you can check
Whether it’s super-explosive Jet Shamisen notes ringing out some of Nag’s best gaijin superstar musicians in our
out in Sakae, golden guitar chords swirling around Kanayama benefit show for Haiti. It’s called ROCK THIS TOWN -and
Station at midnight, percussive hip-hop drum beats thumping that is exactly what will happen on that very same evening.
under the bridge at Wakamiya Dori, or dope bluesy rock You need to be there to support not only the musos here who
making you nod your head in Central Park, there is no doubt are digging in their souls for you, but also to help support the
that Nagoya is a musical city—and all that is just what’s going folks who are displaced and whose lives have been shattered
on in the street. by disaster and catastrophe in Haiti. It can happen anywhere,
anytime, and we all get by with a little help from our friends.
In our fourth issue out, we’re exploring the musician’s

soul here in Nagoya. We’ve got a sick-ass intro to some Support the scene. Support art. Support your friends.
of the folks here in the Nag who are making themselves Support RAN. Support each other. This is part of our
heard, word. Of course, there are tons more musos in the “message” at RAN, if we’ve got to have one…the streets of
area, we don’t claim to know them all, but these are a few. Nagoya are alive with the sound of Music.
My man Mike Wade is a screaming demon when you see
his alter ego ‘STONEY’ live..Vin spits fire every single time, Is everybody IN?
and if you’re a blues man, Takashi has your licks…DJs, rock tdh


The unbearable

of Elvis Tomo Shagger Band Examined

| By Larry Defelippi |

he Tomo Shagger Tribute Band hail from a tradition of he says.
bluesy riffs and ramshackle lyrics of 60’s British rock RAN: That was the piece you gave me. It said ‘ I’m a lonely
bringing to mind The Kinks, The Yardbirds and The old boy from Gifu’.
Stones.....or not. Tomo ,the lead singer of the band, has it that Tomo: Oh yeah..yeah...absolutely...I’m just a lonely man....
he is indeed channeling Elvis....his accent, his moves, his RAN: You’re a man now...
style et al... Not Jagger at all... But if indeed he is the Japanese Tomo: This old boy getting lonely...
personification of Elvis (and I thought that was Former PM Ben: I’m Ben from Australia and I believe in the healing
Junichiro Koizumi), then he is a boy, strike that-- man, from power of rock’n’roll.
Gifu channeling Elvis who in turn is channeling Mick Jagger RAN: Let’s jump into musical influences. What music has
with some James Brown thrown in for good measure...Testicles influenced you?
included. Enough there to give Kundera a moment’s pause of Tomo: I like Elvis a lot. I stole his accent..
thought. Behind our iconic lead singer Tomo are four gaijin RAN: Elvis Presley? He would’ve spoken with
whose playing is as tight as a 13-year-old Mandy Smith. To an American accent...
see them play is to know, to put it quite simply, that the Tomo Tomo: Yeah....he was an American
Shagger Tribute band are one of the best rock bands out there RAN: I kinda saw you as Jagger-esque...but actually Presely....
in Nags. like a slim Elvis Presely...before he got fat
Tomo: Absolutely.....Yeah....I like him...I like him a lot.
RAN: Let’s start with a round of band member intros. Sam: You channel Elvis...
James: I’m James...I’m from England...I’ve been in Japan for Mitch: We all like James Brown..
seven years...I’m eating a big fuck off salad...and I play bass. Tomo: I have his soul as well....I stole it after he died...
Mitch: Mitch from Texas..I’ve been in the band for James: You have his testicles as well.....In your cupboard...
about a year and a half another year I was in in a jar.
the band before...another incarnation of the...uh...I was RAN: I was hoping to segue into a Stones I’m
in the Marmites. going to do it anyway....even though....
James: I’ve been in the band longer than I’ve been in Japan... Mitch: It’s the elephant in the room.
longer than I’ve been alive. RAN: It is basically. I was going to put it out there that The
Mitch: You’ve been a Marmite...You’ve been a Shagger... Yard Birds are far more influential musically than The Stones....
James: I was created from Marmite.... not that there is any Stones influence going on here.

Mitch: So yeah...Mitch from Texas...I play guitar. Tomo: I agree.

Sam: I’m Sam from England...I play the drums. I met Tomo in RAN: You’re meant to disagree with me..
a bar on a night out. He recruited me into the Shagger band... Mitch: What would be your argument?
Tomo: This is Tomo. I’ve been in Japan a long time. I’ve spent RAN: Just saying we have Jimmy Page, Clapton...we have
all my life in Gifu and Nagoya. Beck...three of the greatest guitarists of all time that came out
RAN: Aren’t you a lonely old boy from Gifu? of The Yardbirds....The Stones gave us Bill Wyman....
From what I hear. James: The Stones made more money.
Tomo: Boy? Sam: Maybe they have more fun.
RAN: A lonely old boy. James: They have naked girls on the aeroplane.
Tomo: Boy? Tomo: Ever since they’ve been playing...they’ve been singing
James: Just agree with everything a song called don’t buy everything it’s true.....

|RAN| 7
they know it’s true...they are very down to earth. They are very RAN: That’s a very sexy image of you...
rich....yet they can’t be satisfied. Mitch: Whilst wearing lipstick...
James:’ve always said how you like how the Tomo: The night is fantastic.
Stones have stayed together for so long....and they’ve kept on RAN: You mostly write your own material
going....a lot of bands fall apart...they have disagreements.... Tomo: Yeah...
break ups...The Rolling Stones stayed together...They’re a RAN: But you refuse to do any Stones covers?
unit...It’s what Tomo preaches here as well. He keeps Mitch: We do some covers... but no Stones covers.
us together. Ben: We’ve probably done covers that they’ve done.
RAN: A lot of bands just broke up because they became shit Tomo: In a way we are covering satisfaction.
and no one wants to listen to them anymore. James: Rolling Stones step aside.....Tomo Shagger
James: I don’t know....they seem to rise above that....they rises above...
might realize that they are not the most cutting edge...they are RAN: If you had just one album and one only?
just having fun....they have the opportunity and they are going Mitch: For my one album It’d have to be Who’s Next... It’s
to enjoy it. one of those albums I always come back to... I was a huge fan
RAN: How do you feel about amateur archaeology as a band? when I was younger.

Everyone: (Silence) James: The four people I’ve listened to most and I’m sure I’ll
RAN: There is a good reason or perhaps not that I asked listen to forever more... are Gil Scott-Heron, Nick Drake, Tom
this....archaeology...Its probably unknown to many people.... Waits and James Brown.
but Bill Wyman has his own brand of signature metal Sam: I don’t know about the album but I’d have a CD full of
detectors. songs by The Meters...A funk band from New Orleans.
Mitch: That’s right...I knew that....He’s really into that. Ben: Swordfishtrombones by Tom Waits....always sticks in my
RAN: And he’s one of the top living sex legends of all time.... mind as the one.
number 4 after Tomo Shagger....So if the Tomo Shagger Tribute Tomo: I love all the great musicians from the fifties to the
Band were going to endorse a product...What would you like seventies... I particularly love the Junior Wells album Hoodoo
to see the Tomo Shagger name on? Man Blues... I just want to make that sound.
James: What would we brand? RAN: What is that you want as a band?
Mitch: Styling wax...We could endorse lipstick.... Tomo: Why can’t there be a Japanese rock’n’roller? ...I want
different shades... to see that. People know how to rock not how to roll... I
James: We could have a funeral parlor as well....A Tomo wanna bring this to the people.
Shagger Funeral parlor... Sam: Everyone to have a good time.
RAN: Shagged to death....that’s lovely...that’s where I want to James: People dancing like loons.
be interned after my death. Mitch: Just have fun.
Tomo: We would endorse rock n’ roll. Ben: To entertain.
RAN: How rock n’ roll is it being a ‘Shagger’? Tomo: I want me some donuts on the bed.
James: Very.
RAN: Yours is very rock n’ have that fuck
off chicken salad thing going on... We know you’d be up for a Shag--check
James: Yeah....I just don’t stop....
Tomo: I like to do my rock n’ rolling on my bed...
out their tunes on their Myspace page:
While I’m taking my socks off... That’s as rock n’ roll
as I get.
8 |RAN|
Nick Edges (stereophonic)

orn in the UK, Nick grew-up when the UK nightclubs and other events such as “Smash” with
underground scene reached a critical mass resident Dj/Producer Ogawa, to bring artists like
- raves were being shut down left right John Digweed, Jim Rivers and Hernan Cattaneo
and center and the club boom hit off. What was to the region.
underground now became mainstream and he Overseas has seen Nick on the white island
had tickets for it all, spending his misspent youth of Ibiza playing at the legendary Bar M, the
on a keen diet of clubbing and what was now Orange Corner and Koolwaters Pool Party in
illegal raving. San Antonio, before having the opportunity
On arrival to Japan Nick Edges spent his first 5 to DJ alongside UK’s Deepgroove and Marc
years running one of the top clubs in Hamamatsu, Vedo at the 5,000 capacity mega-club Eden in
Shizuoka. With his move to Nagoya, he met summer 2008.
Babur Mogul another keen-minded DJ/Promoter You can find Nick Edges playing in Nagoya
with an unstoppable desire to push something at Stereophonic parties held at Club JB’s which
new in Japan leading to the formation of the event was ranked in the top 100 clubs in the world by
and promotion group Stereophonic. Since its DJ Mag in 2009 or at other events and venues
creation the group continues to bring something around the region and beyond
new and fresh to the clubbers of central Japan
with their simple approach of good music and
unforgettable nights, be it show casing the local Facebook:
talent or flying in International artists such as
Danny Howells. pages/Nagoya-Japan/
The success and reputation of Stereophonic
has lead in the past to Nick and the team working
with reputable UK label Defected, Japan’s No.1 30554153542?ref=ts
online music store Wasabeat, support from in-
ternational companies like Zima & Chivas Bookings:
and producing the yearly renowned 3 venue stereophonicjapam
mega-party “The Absolute Halloween”. Edges
has also had the pleasure of working with many
|RAN| 9
i s e n S p e e d on
Sha m
’d like to lead an honorable life, to dam up the flow of
decline on our Japanese musical traditions. Sometimes
I think my weapon of choice, the Shamisen isn’t “cool”
enough... It’s a traditional instrument, but I’ve chosen it...
So I have to use what I’ve chosen.

I started out 10 years ago in Kanayama, you know...

The south side of Kanayama station where a lot of
musicians play. I had no skill. zero. But I didn’t care, I
just played with reckless abandon. It really didn’t matter;
the professional shamisen players would show up there,
pack away ¥20,000 in tips each day, and I would be left
with scraps.

So I decided to head up to Tokyo--I may have played

every train station there! I crashed at my friend’s place
whenever I needed to sleep, but I played all the time--rain
or shine, cold or hot, to crowds, or nobody at all. I
just kept playing. I really had no plan. I just played to
increase my skill level... I couldn’t help myself.

One day a woman I was fooling around with says, “ I

can’t make love with you!”
“Why?”, I asked.
“Your shamisen is too strong... It makes your
love-making bad... You have to be gentle sometimes too.
Both with shamisen playing and love-making...”
I couldn’t understand what she was saying; I was still a
young man in attack mode! I’d make my shamisen scream
and cry out... We were both rough, and liked to make the
crowds jump and flinch. This became the basis for the
style I’m known for today.

One day I was invited by a friend to play at a club

known for techno. I took one listen, and was inspired; I
found myself prisoner in the digital music world, and I
liked it. I wanted to fuse the sound of the shamisen with
this type of music.

It was me freestyling; there hadn’t been anything like

this style before. But I also noticed that my skill hadn’t
increased. Sure I could play, but I couldn’t seem to follow
the music organically. I thought I was finished, nothing
worse than an almost-has-been in music. So I decided
to come back to Nagoya to see some old friends. One
friend heard my new sound and said it was really good,
that I should continue trying to refine this style. Then I
Check out remembered my old flame’s words, “be gentle.” So I did,
Jet Shamisen online: and became Electric Jet Shamisen.

I started playing back here in Nagoya, playing with no shirt on on the street. I was able to land a gig in a few TV
jet-shamisen ads, make some CDs. These days though, I play one day at
a time... If I come up with something better, then I’ll do it,
but for now I’m the Jet Shamisen.

10 |RAN|
Name: Takashi Terada
Age: 24
Birthplace: Nagoya
Style: Blues, Classic Rock
Influences: Jimi Hendrix, Chet Atkins,
Jimmy Page, Stevie Ray Vaughn, BB King,
Buddy Guy

Why did you pick up a guitar in the

first place?: “I thought the American band
KISS was cool, my friends played J Pop,
which was just chords, I wanted to play
notes and blues riffs, I wanted to feel the
music more…”
Why do you enjoy playing with
non-Japanese?: “Playing with gaijin
is really interesting and fun, the feeling
is different, they have more feeling,
[conversely] playing with Japanese is
quiet and polite..”
Where is your favorite place to
play in Nagoya?: “Hard Rock Café,
because it’s Rock-n-Roll.”
Dream Gig?:
“I want to play around the world.”
|RAN| 11
t h ep u r e
Government name: MR. K.P. ADU
Artist name: VINNY VINTAGE
How long in nagoya music?: about 1 1/2 yrs
Style: What is produced when hip hop has intercourse with other genre.
Music influences: A long list. But just to name a few: James
Brown,Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, The Beatles, Sade, Lucky Dube, Lau-
ryn Hill, Kool Moe Dee, Quincy Jones, Dr. Dre, Timbaland, etc...
Music goals: to express myself and send out messages to everyone
in the world until i am no more.
Upcoming gigs: there will be many as soon as i am done recording
my album.
Favorite artist/why?: In the hip hop category I’d say Biggie Smalls,
Tupac, Nas, Jay Z, Kool G Rap, Busta Rhymes, Eminem, Kanye West
and 50 cent. They wrote songs that have unique flows, great delivery
with many subliminal messages.
Best nagoya moment thus far: performing at the maddlovely
springfest 08 was one. becoming one of Japan’s most wanted and
surviving it was another.
If not nagoya, where and why?:
Toronto...cause there’s no place like home.
12 |RAN|
S C H I Z O!

Government name: Michael William Wade

Performer name: Michael William Wade,
Michael William
Place of Birth: Hollywood, California
How long you been in Nagoya?: 5 1/2 years
How long you plan to stay?: As long as I’m
Day job: School Teacher
Musical influences: Elvis, Aerosmith, Lynyrd
Skynyrd, Eric Clapton, Waylon Jennings, Rob
Thomas, Dave Wallace, David Crosby.
Musical goals: To keep playing live as long as
people enjoy my gigs.
Favorite artist(s): Linkin Park, Rob Thomas,
David Crosby, Garth Brooks
Best Nagoya moment: 8/4/04: The day I fell in
love unconditionally for the first time.
Worst: The first time I tried natto, even worse, the
second time.
If not Nagoya, where?: Living in the tropics.
e ( Stoney )”
Beach, sun, sand, beer, guitar…Heaven!
J o h n n y S t o n
Performer na
o f B ir t h uknown
P l a c e
b e e n in N a g o ya? 2 months
How long U
w l o n g u p l a n to stayb?reaks I’m gone.
Ho ow fever
When the yell
day joB? s
Day job What R o b e r t P l a n t, Elvis, JRaomsee, Bono,
Musical in FLuences n, Steven Tyler, Axl eznor,
Brown, JimRM orriso Lee Lewis, Trent R Redding,
h, Jerry y, Otis
David Lee koJtagger, Freddie Mercur
Ozzy, Micppa
Frank Za
ic a l g o a l s W orld Tour o s m it h , Van Halen
Mus k , A e r
v o r it e a r t is ts Linkin Par c o m in g Stoney .
F a hus f a r B e
Best Nagm oya momernetatlized I was a proper
At that inoem ent I age was mine.
r . T h e s t
hus far. u rather
Worst None t h e r e w o u l d
Nagoya, w
If u werehny’t? in L o s A n geles. in the morning Dodgering
be and in LA Snowboard
4 h o u r s n L a k e r s g a me in the even
2 fter noo
game in thneigaht surf session. |RAN| 13
and a m id
e A
A f
f r
r i
i c
c an
a n
T he
R o o t s m a n

Name: J. Fox
Birthplace: Kenya
Age: Unknown
Foxhole Entertainment,
Roots Vibes Reggae Bar
Role: Producer, Rapper,
Singer, Cultural Icon
Styles: Reggae, Hip Hop, Hybrid

J Fox is a mystery man, known

throughout Japan as a premier
producer/performer, ‘Fox’ is a staple
on the underground hip hop and
reggae scene here in Nagoya.
His label, Foxhole, has the lofty goal
of attaining international cultural
diversity in and outside of Africa,
through music.
When you are in the market for
dark, soulful, driving, percussion-
laden beats, seek out the Fox. When
you’re in the mood for real roots
reggae vibes, his joint, Roots Vibes
in Toshincho is open until sunrise.
Just pass on thru. Roots Vibes
Located in Toshincho, ROOTS VIBES bills itself as
an “All Reggae Muzik Space”. It’s got live reggae
musicians on any given night, food, plus DJs and a
great bar. If you’re into deep dub bass and crisp reggae
beats, ROOTS VIBES is for you. Say “HAIL UP” to JFox
when you fall in..

6Th Floor Ocean Bldg. 4-10-2 Sakae Naka-ku


14 |RAN|
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one Zero is something that just kind of happened, like a before moving to Japan. He’s calm. He’s Canadian. But
force of nature, a law of karma, like Over the Rainbow, there’s a fire hidden within. Beware of the calm before the
like having the best looking girl at the party hit on YOU storm… when he rips off a riff, it shakes the walls down.
for a change. But mostly Bone Zero came about because Stephane Vizio (bass) from Switzerland, land of chocolate
Nagoya needed a band that played rock and roll the way it and cheese. Stephane has many aliases, including “Jaco,”
was meant to be played. Four seasoned musicians from four “Chopper Sikorsky” and most mysterious of all, “Stephane.”
widely different backgrounds got together and clicked from No one knows why. The police have been informed and are on
day one through a shared love of classic Rock and Roll. the case as we speak. It’s Stephane’s skill at improvising on the
“Magnificent” Mike Bagely (drums and backing vocals). bass plus his encyclopedic knowledge of classic rock songs that
From California, the land of Disney and Hollywood. Mike is an integral element of the foot-stomping rhythm of the band.
was given his nickname by the women who come to see The name “Bone Zero” comes from the idea of basic,
the band. See when he plays, they leave their panties stripped down, lead guitar-driven rock and roll, that defined the
on the dance floor and throw THEMSELVES at the stage! genre from the start. It’s fun, it’s loud. it’s straight-ahead driving
Mike has had a long career with various bands both in music that gets you jumping up out of your seat and dancing.
the US and Japan, most notably when he was formerly the “I’m constantly surprised at how good a musician
drummer for Nagoya’s popular band, Sushi Cabaret Club. these guys are,” says Magic Tom. “We take Classic Rock
“Magic” Tom Bauerle (vocals and guitar) from Indiana songs and change them around, make them our own.
USA, the land of James Dean, Michael Jackson, the We write and play original music that sounds as good
Reverend Jim Jones and Bible-thumping snake handlers. or better than the classic stuff. But most of all, these guys
Tom has been a fixture on the Nagoya music scene for know how to IMPROVISE at the drop of a power chord.”
a long time-- singing jazz, soul, blues, folk and country He adds, “It’s in the same tradition as the great guitar bands
music in various combos. He was previously with the rock of the early days of Rock. There are some songs we never play the
and soul group the Screaming Hormones, but he is ecstatic same way twice. And while we’re playing, if one of us, say the
to be belting out raunchy Rock and Roll with this band. guitar player or the singer, goes off in a new direction, the others
“Jolly” Robert Hewer (lead guitar) from British are right there with him. If the drummer or bass player want
Columbia, Canada, the land of moose and maple. Robert to take a solo, off they go, and we create something new there
played professionally for a number of years in Canada in the moment, and it sounds great, and DAMN THIS IS FUN!”

16 |RAN|
f you have been in Nagoya for any amount of time, it’s very downloaded, and then going and buying it as well. Its kind
likely you have heard the name Fatblueman more than of like-- you can trust the good heart of your fans. You know,
once. The name Fatblueman might conjure up images of recorded music has existed for what-- 50 years or whatever.
Tobias Funke from the TV show Arrested Development, but Okay, so it was a big money getter for some big bands for a
the truth is there’s a reason you’ve heard that name so much. while, maybe those days are over and maybe that’s fine. I was
Fatblueman creates compelling and relateable music that sticks listening this week to Gene Simmons from KISS. Asshole. He
in your mind after one listen. The music is rooted in alternative said the sad fact of digital music is that there will never be
country, but it strays from its genre like all mature bands another mega band like KISS or The Rolling Stones. I say you
ought to, and the simple and straightforward lyrics betray a might be right and I say who cares? The only reason that you
richness of experience and insight. John, the central figure were a mega band is that we didn’t have any other options.
around which the fatblue world spins, accurately describes When I was a kid growing up in the mid-eighties, the music
the feelings of alienation and frustration of living in a foreign that was good was whatever you were told was good by
land without coming off like a bitter old expatriate and more the big companies. Now the quality of the music I want to
often than not, you’ll find yourself nodding in agreement to his listen to has gone so far up. I almost never listen to big artists
observations of life. What follows is a heavily edited transcript anymore. Actually sometimes I feel like I have a responsibil-
of a discussion about physics, God, copyright and Google. Oh, ity to steal their music. If its a big artist then download it, if
and there is a little bit about music thrown in for good measure its a small artist then pay for it. Its kind of like, you’re plainly
(pun intended). telling us what it’s really all about for you. Its about getting
rich, having lots of groupies, kinky sex, drugs.
RAN: For those who are uninitiated, what is Fatblueman RAN: Well if groupies and sex was your main goal then
all about? Fatblueman was probably not the best choice of names. How
John: It’s basically about me and whoever I can get to do did you choose that name?
music with me and has always been. So the first Fatblueman John: When I chose it as a screen name it was because I was
was four guys who are all gone now. That’s the problem really huge – I was like 113 kg sumo size, and really lonely
with doing music with foreigners, so then we said let’s not and blue. No friends, didn’t speak the language and we didn’t
get foreigners lets get Japanese guys. We did get Japanese have the internet like now. To be honest I don’t really like it,
guys, and we got a Japanese girl and then the foreigner starts but it’s the one that got known and once you’re known you
dating the girl which leads to all sorts of other problems. can’t switch it. The other thing is that it googles really well.
So what has become the “main period” of Fatblueman was RAN: How do you feel about the term gaijin superstar and
when we had five members, Hiroko on violin, Tom on bass, do you think it applies to you?
Eishi on drums, Hiro Hirashiki on lead guitar and me doing John: Anyone who ends up staying in Japan for a long time
stuff up front. When it was that format, that’s when we had probably has a bit of a celebrity complex. Some gaijin say
some Youtube videos get to the front page and get a bunch Oh I hate it when people notice you and stop and try to
of views, sold a bunch of CDs and got invited to the Youtube talk to you. I always liked that. I grew up in a town that was
Live event about a year and a half ago in Tokyo with BoA and nothing but white people and if a black guy came to town I
some major Japanese artists. Anyway, these days live music is would have been the one to be like hey what are you doing
a little more limited as far as what you can do and what you here? How are you? What’s your name? I am interested in
can draw so we are kind of focusing more on the interacting with someone who is different, but I understand
internet anyway. that for some people like my wife, she hates to be noticed,
RAN: So you think that embracing the internet is where you she hates to be the outsider. We have little white babies and
want to take the band? when you go out in public with little white babies you get
John: It fits our station of life right now, older guys with super noticed. I like that but she hates that. She is just like
kids and jobs and degree studies and stuff. We got the CD don’t touch them, don’t look at them, just treat me the same
on i-tunes and CD baby, and we put the album for free as everybody else. Whereas I think, you’re not the same as
on Jamendo which is a free download, creative commons everybody else your a gaijin superstar.
license site where we got all kinds of downloads and the RAN: So you think every gaijin is a superstar in a sense?
cool back story is sales went way up instead of way down. John: I didn’t say that! Well, famous or notorious. It has a
Obviously people were listening to it with that version they good side and a bad side, every gaijin stands out...

|RAN| 17
La voix d’un Hatian, de nombreux oreilles Japonais

Halfway around the world,

a daughter of Haiti sends
hope, prayer, and love.
| Pictures and words by Jason Gatewood |

n January 13th, I woke up and with Japan?’ and ultimately it influenced think the damage was as widespread and
downloaded the news podcasts my decision to become a JET once I complete.” I didn’t have the time to read,
like I do every weekday so I graduated.” since I had to go to work, but even my
could listen to them on my commute About three years ago, Dominique sister who is studying back in Canada
in to work. As I boarded the subway, became the JET representative for the emailed and said “what’s going on” and I
and hit play on the iPhone, CNN was city of Gero, in northern Gifu prefecture. said “I dunno”. It was too early.” It wasn’t
reporting that a massive earthquake had “My first year there was extremely hard. until she had gotten to the school she was
hit the island of Haiti in the Carribean. It was the first time for many of the teaching at for the day when a Japanese
Details were sketchy at that point; the locals to ever see a black person.” Most friend broke the full severity of the news
quake struck around 6:53am Japan Time people’s idea of someone from the West upon her. “My friend says ‘is your family
(4:53pm Haiti Time), so scarcely an hour still evokes images of “blue eyes, blonde ok’ and I say, ‘oh I don’t know’ but then
had passed since my podcast’s download. or brown hair, and fair skin--A straight again we don’t really have earthquakes.
But one thing gave me a chill down my up White person.” Dominique is the It took me two days to grasp the scale of
spine--the newscaster’s words “all com- very antithesis of this. She has skin the the event.” Due to the time differences,
munication has been cut, and we fear the shade of a dark chocolate, dark eyes, and a busy work schedule, and the lack of
worst.” The last time I heard those words high cheek bones. Less like even a girl real news coverage on the local stations
was during the aftermath of Hurricane you’d come across in the Canadian Great in her area, she didn’t have a complete
Katrina’s onslaught of the American Gulf White North; she brings to mind the scope of the event until 48 hours later.
Coast. Images of devastation and despair people you’d see from Liberia, Gambia, “Thank God for the internet, ya know?
filled my mind. or Sierra Leone. “even in the mega-cities Of course maybe to most Japanese, this
We all know what came next. In the of Japan, you’d have a hard time finding isn’t day-to-day news so it really wasn’t
days and now weeks that have passed a black woman there. So my first year in covered like it was, say in the States.”
since that great tragedy, some untold Gero was tough. I found it difficult to be When asked about her intial feelings
losses have mounted. So many people accepted.” She is also a very outspoken, once she could take in the full scale of
have lost everything, but eventually opinonated woman. “I had to fight just the devastation, she takes a moment...
houses, churches and buildings can to keep my [motor]bike. My position “We have no country. Our palace...
be re-built. Sadly there is no recovery as a civil worker was on the line, just The presidential palace is the symbol
plan for a human life lost. I have because of my hobby. The older people of government for Haitians. It’s like the
been priviledged to be aquainted with here believe a woman shouldn’t be riding White House to Americans, or Parliament
someone who calls Haiti her homeland, motorcycles.” House to Canadians. I saw a picture of
and she granted me permission to share However after getting to know her it toppled over like a house of cards. I
her story here on the pages of RAN in neighbors and vice-versa, things have couldn’t believe what my eyes were
order to put a local face on this tragedy. become different than that first year. “I seeing. We have no government. Its like
“I came to this land to discover was only going to spend a year--maybe waking up and seeing the White House
myself”, says Dominique Fevry. She’s two, in Gero. But I became close to is gone.”
a spunky, outspoken, very atypical Ca- the people here. I have found a deeper Haiti is the poorest country in the
nadian-Hatian from Montreal. “I came respect for Japan, and it’s people. western hemisphere by most statistics.
because I wanted to go someplace Especially after what happened in my But the Caribbean island nation is also
completely opposite of the spectrum motherland.” the only country in the world that was
from my own experiences.” She Of course she’s talking about the taken by former African slaves after they
explains,” when I was going to university, Haitan Earthquake that hit January 12. revolted and kicked their French colonial
we’d always have these case studies in “I wasn’t even aware of the quake at masters out in 1804. This also means
World Politics class. We’d often see what first. When I wake up in the morning, it was the first independent black-led
the opinions were of the residents of a my routine is to check the CBC news republic in the world. It has a past that
lot of ‘First-World’ countries, and more online. I remember seeing some pictures is sprinkled with years of dictatorships,
often than not a lot of those opinions of black children crying and there was wars, coup d’etat, and other huge natural
would end up being similar. However, some rubble, and the headline Haitian disasters, usually hurricanes. Haiti
the exception in a lot of cases would be Quake, so my thought was ‘Oh there is described by some as “A nation on
Japan. It made me wonder ‘what’s up was a quake back home’ and I didn’t the verge” and by others as “Trouble

18 |RAN|
in Paradise.” For Dominique and I was all alone up there [in Gero] for the
others with Haitian heritage, it’s simply past 3 years. Now I see that in Japan-
home--the Motherland. -especially in the countryside--it takes
“This is a sad thing...”, she says with a while for people to open up to you,
tears welling. “But the beautiful thing but they’re not blind to you. They see
about it is seeing the Hatian diaspora everything.” When asked what changed
stand up. Hatians from Montreal, her mind, “I only talked to two people--
Toronto, New York, Miami, Paris, and My two friends since the beginning of my
all over helping our homeland. We’ve stay here, Junko and Yuko. We talk every
never had something like this to unite week so they were the first to respond.”
us, I think.” She goes on to tell me how Her friends then spread the news like
Second-generation Haitians are able to wildfire, and along the way, someone got
become connected now to the country the local Gero city elementary schools
that their parents talk about growing up involved. “Before I knew it, I was being
in, that they know only from summer trips told the school kids had raised ¥90,000
or grandparent’s visits. “In the sadness of in 1 yen coins... I couldn’t believe it.
it all, we can feel the connection and I still can’t”
the deep love for our country. It brings Sometimes it takes tragedy and great
hope, because we are very strong and in loss to make one appreciative of the
very hard situations, we’ve been able to things that make up our lives. “It’s sad
stand up before. We can do it again.” but true--and I feel more than a little
For over 200 years as an independent foolish for saying this, but my great loss is
nation, Haiti’s economy and standards actually a gain. Before I felt like a stranger
of living have been tumultuous at best; in a strange land. Maybe more than that,
perhaps this is the fire that the phoenix I was an alien on another planet. But
can be born from. now I feel so connected. These past few
Being here in Japan though, what weeks have erased 3 years of stigma I’d
can someone do? Being a whole 24 built up.” Dominique will be attending
hours away by plane, half a world away graduate school from this coming fall
literally... You might as well be on Mars back in Canada; but she wants to find
trying to do something to help your ways to help her Haitian brothers and
homeland. And its hard enough for this sisters from right here in Japan. “We
American to donate money and clothing each have something we can let go of; districts
to the Haitian relief efforts back home-- an old jacket, maybe forgo a trip to the in the Kobe
initially, the only way I could personally izakaya a few times a month, and you’ve seaside were
do anything, was by going on the internet got a few thousand yen to give, no pain” on fire or collapsed. This
and using my Paypal account to donate. True-- I’ve taken to walk past the Hub in could easily happen here
So what about the Japanese response? Sakae recently--walk past it a few blocks in Nagoya. Scientists are
What’s it like being up in Gero, and hit the Circle K and save ¥300 on calling for an M7 or greater
population 38,623 mostly Japanese, and beer in one go. The rest goes to Haiti. quake to hit the Tokai
1 Haitian-Canadian, when this type of And before you start groaning about region sometime before
tradgedy hits? Do they even care? giving up that catbird seat in the back 2025, and there’s a 10%
“It took something of this magnitude of OXO in Kanayama once a week, chance that it’ll top M8.
to get me to see the beauty of the people remember all this could easily happen Not good. The region hasn’t
here. Most of the Gero-ites have never here in good ol’ Nippon. I just know you had a large earthquake in a few hundred
met a Canadian or American, let alone didn’t forget that we sit atop one of the years, so there’s cause for concern, but
one of Haitian descent. This was the most active geological zones on Earth, unlike Haiti, Japan has a strict, uniform
biggest surprise of all, the response that right? Perhaps you’ve forgotten the rattler building code, along with lots of lessons
I got from my neighbors in Gero.” She we had just 7 months ago last August. learned from previous events. In other
lives in the naka-no-inaka or as I call That was a M5.1 quake that hit around words, the same M7 quake that hit Port-
it “waaaay the F up in Gifu.” Gero is 5:30am, centered in western Shizuoka/ au-Prince and left that town in shambles,
known for its hot springs and ryokan eastern Aichi prefectures. It was enough would scarcely be worth writing home
inns. There’s only one road winding to shut down a 3km section of the Tomei about here... We hope.
its way through the Hida River valley expressway due to a section of it sliding So while I’m on the subject,
and connects the various communities off into the Pacific! Hmm... Need more? break out your wallet twice. Once
in town. “It took this sad event though Go to Kobe and ask those folks about to make a donation for Haiti and pay
for me to see this community less as quakes, and if they were around during that karma bill. And once more to
a backwoods town, and see it as a 1994, you’ll get all kinds of sympathetic prepare an earthquake kit for when
close-knit community.” Dominique’s ears. The Great Hanshin Earthquake it’s our turn. As of this writing, the
friends in the town rallied around her the struck around 8am on a cold January death toll from the earthquake
second they heard the news and came morning, killing 8000, and leaving many has reached 212,000 with
up with various ways to support her and more homeless and injured. Half of 300,000 injured and over one
show they care. “I went with the idea that Sannomiya, Motomachi and surrounding million homeless.

|RAN| 19
| By MzLove |
Hope for
aiti, one of the poorest countries in the Caribbean, was when there wasn’t something to be gained from it. That would
struck by a magnitude 7.3 earthquake on January 12th just be lost opportunity! Haiti was also in fact occupied by the
2010. Who doesn’t know that? I am sure everyone of US from 1915-1934 (and we wonder why they are politically
us feels the same sympathy for the small country, where reports unstable….?) More recently, the UN was forced to station inter-
estimate that up to 200,000 people may have perished within a national peacekeepers in the country since 2004 under the UN
few minutes. That is bad. Really bad. How bad? In the operations name of MINUSTAH (US Stabilization Mission in
recorded natural disasters in the 20th and 21st centuries, only Haiti) This article will brighten considerably after a quick token
the Sumatra Tsunami of 2004 that took 246,000 lives and the mention of even more widespread misery-inducing and
1976 China earthquake that claimed 246,000 lives is larger in devastating tropical storms that struck Haiti in 2004 and 2008.
scale to Haiti. The Kashmir earthquake in 2005 killed more (severe flooding is reportedly partly to blame from widespread
than 75,000 people in India and Pakistan and another and rampant deforestation, so severe that you can see the
earthquake in China killed more than 69,000people in 2008. border clearly from space, the Dominican Republic side is
And who could forget Cyclone Nargis, that made landfall in green, the Haitian side is brown.) Ok, so Haiti has had a hard
Myanmar in 2008 and killed more than 138,000 people…OK, century and a half. How can you help? Any donations that you
so maybe you don’t remember that one and neither do I, but give will only be a drop in the ocean compared to Haiti’s
before we start to feel guilty about not remembering foreign problems. A grain of sand on a never-ending beach….the
catastrophes half way around the world (I saved that for the end money will never actually reach the needy, it’ll be snapped up
of this article….) these comparison DO show the severity and and thrown into government coffers…or offshore accounts…
huge scope of Haiti’s disaster. This one will go down in the they’ll never get their shit together anyway, why waste my
history books. Sure, some of you are thinking, Haiti’s population money on them? Ok, maybe we are not all that negative in our
was among one of the world’s poorest poor, they can’t have lost assessment of charitable donations to less fortunate nations. I
that much anyway, right? So, their corrugated iron shacks for one, really really wanted to donate something after the
collapsed, and maybe they lost what few measly possessions quake. (lame) I asked my husband last week, “So, don’t you
they had…maybe a few family members…they got big families, feel like making some kind of donation to the victims in Haiti?”.
right? Surely it won’t take too many US “No”. Oh. “Really? You don’t even
dollars to fix them right up again, right? want to give, like 5,000 yen to help
Lickety split. I mean, Haiti had it bad them?”. “My money won’t reach them
before they lost 200,000 people within a anyway….There are too many people on
few short minutes. With a Human the planet…I would much rather give
Development Index (HDI) rating by the my money to animal charities”. (lamer)
UN of 149 (out of 182 listed countries), Are we all really such apathetic
Haiti was considered pretty much the lameasses these days? Am I any better?
bottom of the barrel in developmental Enthusiastically pointing my righteous
terms, or a “low-development” country. finger at my pessimistic husband for his
They are far below even neighboring apathy to donate? I want to donate…but
Caribbean countries with Cuba rated at didn’t though. The point being that as of
no. 51, border-sharing Dominican Feb. 3rd, I never actually made a
Republic at no. 90 and Jamaica no. 100. donation. (lamest) Why not? Well, I
Most Western countries are in the top don’t want to use my credit card online,
20. Actually Japan is the only in case it gets illegally stolen by some

non-Western country in the top 20. hacker. I never use my card online
Though Haiti’s claim to fame has long anyway, if I can help it. Unless of course
been their reputation as being the only you count that time last month I bought
nation, historically, born of slave revolt, books on Amazon for my book club…or
their recent history has been marred by political and financial purchased movie tickets online….or bought some songs on
instability. They have seen 32 coups in their short 200 year itunes….but those are all really secure sites and, I mean, come
history with US, German, French and British forces often on, can we really trust the Japanese Red Cross online banking
helping things along by bankrolling and arming opposing system? A flaky NGO? And I really needed all those material
Haitian military factions. Nothing new here. When has the things, whereas I don’t really need to donate my hard earned
West ever kept out of 3rd world nations’ domestic problems cash to needy people that I have never met and can’t be sure

20 |RAN|
r Haiti ?
will ever even see any of it….right? Totally understandable. won’t watch telethons won’t make donations. What is wrong
It’s just logical. And completely lame. What is wrong with us? with us? Ok. Guilt trip is over. What was the point of this
Youtube showed that George Clooney’s comments for seriously downer inducing article? Opus Dei style self-flagella-
HOPEFORHAITI telethon concert generated 286,000 hits at the tion? Nietzsche-esque introspection of the worthless losers in
end of January. Beyonce’s performance, “Haiti I can see your all of us? If you did donate, then you deserve a pat on the back.
Halo…”, alone generated 80,753 views. Regular news updates Go ahead, do that right now. You deserve it. For the rest of us,
only showed half of those hits or much much less. No one must donations can be made online to the Japanese Red Cross at:
be interested in Haiti unless Taylor Swift and Shakira are ……..Ok, forget that. I just went to the site and it says you can
involved (involving very very tight pants I might add…). Are we make a bank furikomi donation until Feb. 12 through UFJ? Ya,
such a celebrity addicted and obsessed civilization that it takes right…. I know you are sooo doing that right now…..I could
Clooney’s skillfully assembled “recognizable bag of faces” only access the Emergency Relief Donation page in Japanese
answering phones while celebrities hog the spotlight to make (the English site hadn’t been updated since 2009…) and though
us donate our money to helpless victims of a nearly unprece- I could see Japanese people have donated the equivalent of
dented natural disaster? I mean, if even one percent of the net 292,000 US$ by 59,000 people, I could not for the life of me
worth of all those “recognizable-bag-of-faces” was donated to figure out where to click to actually pay anything…and my
Haiti, they wouldn’t have even needed to have the bloody Japanese is level 1! Forget that. Donations can additionally be
telethon. 61 million dollars raised? How much did George made to the Canadian Red Cross at where a
make on his last movie? How much did Conan O’Brien just get nice big red flashing “DONATE NOW” icon is waiting for you.
for being bumped out of his late night time slot? I saw the You can even donate in French if the fancy so takes you. Pick a
telethon on TV a few weeks ago live while I was channel surfing charity. Donate. Don’t be lame. Your money will help. You
and actually flicked past it. I saw Madonna belting out her 80’s will get into heaven for free. You will be beatified after your
hit “Like a Prayer”, (or was it 90’s?) in black leather pants and death by the Pope in Rome. You will feel good. You will help
wondered whether I could physically prolong a cringe for that someone. Just do it. Peace.
long while sitting on the couch. I figured it would actually be (At the time of printing MzLove still hadn’t donated a
detrimental to my health and moved on…eventually turning damn thing to Haiti, but is waiting to do so in person at the
the TV off as the Discovery channel was showing re-runs of that RanMagazine benefit concert of local, very non-celebrityish
medieval war re-enactment. I’d already seen that. The point is, artists at the Hard Rock Café, at 7:00pm on March 5th. It’s
is assembling mega rich celebrities to answer phone live in TV written in ink here…with witnesses present. She will then,
really the only way to coax our lackadaisical and lazy asses into officially, no longer be donationally-challenged or lame.
donating anything these days? Even lackadaisical asses who Join her!)

|RAN| 21
The G reen SPOT
環 | Story and photo by Achim Runnebaum |

s you do your usual grocery store burden for the environment all the way * Obesity
run, you suddenly notice that you from the production stage to the the * Schizophrenia
forgot to bring your backpack or waste management and disposal stage.
grocery bag with you. No problem! In Does all this contact with plastic have The problem with plastics in
Japan, they wrap everything two or three any effects on our bodies? - Yup, afraid regard to this potential is their relative
times for you and (unlike most European so. One of the building blocks of any instability. Plastics break down over
countries) you get a free plastic bag plastic is a chemical called Bisphenol A time, releasing toxins. This process is
to boot. Not anymore! The days of (BPA). Plastic will leech this chemical sped up in the presence of heat. When
free plastic bags are numbered, and and others into whatever food or liquid these toxins leak into the environment,
that’s a good thing. We all know how it’s wrapped around. Also the amount of they tend to contaminate our food,
convenient plastic is. If you visit any Bisphenol A that is leeched into the food cosmetics, commonly used products,
conbini or supermarket these days you’ll or liquid drastically increases as heat, and toys, or are spread into the air
notice about 90% or more of the goods pressure, or time breaks down some of where we then inhale them. Almost all
are wrapped in some kind of plastic the chemical bonds. Now how many of toxins released from plastics make their
container. Without giving it a second those combini bentos do you see being way to humans in one form or another.
thought, we buy plastic drink bottles, carelessly shoved into the microwave
ready-made bento in styrofoam, and each and every day? And who doesn’t Still think plastic is not harmful?
don’t even notice that bananas come appreciate a hot (BPA infected) drink Well, these next few statements should
wrapped in plastic as well. It almost from a vending machine on a cold really give you a good wake up call:
seems like there’s more plastic here than day? Think about all those chemicals
even in Hollywood. that end up in the food or liquid and “BPA shows negative effects in brain
While I can’t explain the necessity for a thus in your bodies any given day. tissue “at surprisingly low doses.”
Hello-Kitty plastic wrapped banana, why * How does it actually affect the -Scott Belcher, PhD.
don’t we take a look at what all that plastic body? -- Well, that’s really tough to
does to our bodies and the environment. say with any kind of certainty because “BPA has often been implicated in
Is plastic biodegradable? - for the everyone’s body reacts differently, but disease or developmental problems.”
most part, no, so it ends up in a landfill, one particularly popular “C” word -University of Cincinnati Research
or worse..... in a burning facility, thus comes to mind - Cancer! But that’s not Team headed by Scott Belcher
releasing one of the most toxic substance all plastic contamination has to offer you:
known to man into the air - dioxin. Since it mimics Estrogen in the body,
Is plastic harmful for the environment? * Premature Puberty it has also been linked to changing
- It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to * Hyperactivity sexual orientation in Lab Mice. In
figure out that plastic is a horrendous * Low-Sperm count another series of tests, it has been

22 |RAN|
shown to alter the brains of baby boys, making them
more feminine. Males exposed to high doses in the
womb went on to be less likely to play with boys’ toys
like cars, or to join in ‘rough’ and tumble games, say
US Researchers. The study group was still very young,
but it was concluded that reduced masculine (testoster-
one-fueled) male play at an early stage of development
might lead to other ‘feminized’ developments later in life.
Heard enough? Scared yet? If reading these facts
(and there are many, many more) has finally woken
you up from your deep slumber enough to notice that
especially in Japan, we are surrounded by plastics, and
you’re wondering what to do about it, think no further
and join me in trying to boycott or at least significant-
ly reduce the use of plastics from our everyday lives.
Instead of buying bottled water, buy a good filter for your
tap water and use a reusable bottle or container to bring the
water with you instead of buying 3-5 plastic bottles a day.
If it can be avoided, don’t microwave any food that is
covered by plastic, whether its a bento box, or an onigiri, etc.
Heat releases more BPA into the food you’re about to eat.
By the same token, resist the urge to get those hot drinks
from vending machines if they come in a plastic bottle.
The bottles have been sitting in the machine for who knows
how long, while being kept at a certain temperature. The
amount of BPA and other harmful chemicals released
into the liquid throughout the day must be staggering.
Don’t use and/or reuse plastic eating utensils.
I know it’s tough trying not to rely on plastics so
much. Try this little experiment: The next time you go
shopping, notice all the plastic things that end up in
your shopping cart. Think for a second if there are
alternatives available and if that’s the case, get those
instead. Let’s stop the widespread usage of plastics
to improve our health and improve the environment
around us. Everyone can do their part. It’s time to stop
living in a bubble, open your eyes and realize what’s
really affecting your lives, and how you can contribute
to the global environmental change in a positive way.

Fo r m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n , c h e c k o u t
the following links about plastic:

“Because we don’t think about future

generations, they will never forget us.”
-- Henrik Tikkanen
Deadly’s Tips

and Silence

| By Deadly D |

he way in which one’s personal intuitive) and men (who tend to be more
worries, fears, anger, emotions logical) when trying deal with daily life.
and feelings are shared is strongly An oft-repeated scenario goes something
dictated by the culture one was brought like this:
up in. Some cultures stress the stiff upper
lip while others pull knives and threaten Male: Why are you mad at me?
each other on a daily basis. If you are
from a so-called “open” culture like Female: You didn’t do A.
Australia or the US where people are
urged to “talk it out” and “communicate” M: You never told me you wanted me to
with their partners, you’re not going to do A! about appropriate behavior during a
fit harmoniously together with a culture crisis are vast and various from one
like Japan where real heart-felt emotions F: You should have known I wanted you another. Japanese see many foreigners
are never, NEVER displayed except to do A! as too uncontrolled and rude because
under extreme circumstances. they can’t help expressing their emotions
The Japanese have two terms for their A: How the hell could I know that? I’m even when it is not deemed appropriate
emotions: tatemai and honne. Tatemai not a mind reader? in Japanese society. Many foreigners see
are the feelings you express in public and Japanese as being emotionally immature
to people you know. In essence, you say F: Well, you should have known! because they can’t express themselves
and feel what you are supposed to. You emotionally except in two modes: either
are expected to react just like everyone Now multiply this effect a thousand stoic silence or in screaming about in-
else in the same situation. Honne are times when you factor in the vast consequential things.
your true feelings, your true heart, which differences in background experience
you are obliged to keep to yourself so and expectations between two different Case study #1: One friend’s Japanese
it doesn’t bother anybody. This takes cultures: wife began yelling uncontrollably at
a great toll on them as human beings. him one day for no reason that he could
All that anger kept bottled up inside can M: Now what? Why are you angry? fathom. After everyone had calmed
over flow and explode at what seems to down it came out that she had been
be rather absurd times. It’s obvious to F: You should have done A! angry at him for years because of the
see the difficulties that would arise when way he ripped open the plastic bags
someone who wants to “talk it out” gets M: How was I to know that? You never inside cereal and cracker boxes instead

said to do A! of cutting them open neatly with a pair
of scissors. “The cereal always falls out
Japanese see F: How can you be so stupid? Everybody through the broken top and is messy,”
does A! How can you not know that? she said. “Why didn’t you tell me?” he
many foreigners as And you didn’t do A the last time six asked. “I was too shy,” she replied.
too uncontrolled months ago, either!
and rude... Case study #2: One friend’s Japanese
M: Why didn’t you say something six wife actually ran him over with the
Many foreigners months ago? Nobody does A where I family car during what he thought was a
see Japanese as come from! routine argument over mundane things.
being emotionally Obviously they weren’t so mundane to
F: This is Japan! her! [Whatever the problem was, it was
immature. quickly forgotten by us due to the gravity
M: But I’m not Japanese. Why do we of the ensuing outcome --Ed.]
need to do A that way anyhow?
involved with someone who has been An international couple needs to
taught to stonewall any unpleasant F: Because that’s how everyone does it. figure out a way to communicate their
emotions as a matter of good manners. Everyone knows that! feelings somehow before internal
Enough problems arise naturally frustration poisons the water for
between women (who tend to be more So it is inevitable that judgments everyone.

24 |RAN|
l o s t g e nre
E ulogizin
| By Larry Defelippi |

exploitation, thinly masked social
critiques or allegories for left
wing political themes? Whatever
the consensus, Pink Eiga marches to
it’s own drum.
The elemental and explicit imagery
present in Western erotica are absent,
Japanese ero-productions had been
infused with their own particular style
primarily because of what couldn’t be
shown. Though with plenty of gratuitous
displays of bare breasts, asses and
simulated sex, no working parts were
to be seen. The genre ironically lost it’s
popularity because of it’s lack of explicit
pussy shots and fucking favored by the
at-home, VHS watching, wanking male.
It seems video killed more than just
the radio star.
It is the roles of the women in these
narratives that are the main attraction
here; the stereotypical subservient,
cute Japanese women that predominate
Japanese pop culture are not to be found.
Instead were tough, not-to-be-fucked-
with women who after surviving no end
of degradations and humiliations; rape,
cat-fights, sukebe, torture, sword-fights,
proved that the fastest road to female
empowerment was at the end of a
bloody katana.

|RAN| 25
When In Rome

| By TD Houchen |

“...why am I such a misfit?”

-as sung by “Charlie In The Box” on the Island
of Misfit Toys/Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Look. We’re all a bunch of misfits, ne’er do wells, social
outcasts, adventure seekers, and maladjusted perpetual
adolescents, that’s why we’re here, on this lonely little
island off the coast of nowhere. We’ve come to reinvent
ourselves and some of us are doing almost too good a job.

Lost your marbles yet?

Last issue, we looked at stereotypes of Japanese women,

for which I received a lot of flak, but what the hell is so
great about us? Check these stereotypical foreign dude
personality types and see which best describes you.
Come on, you’re in there somewhere..

The-Uber-Idiot-Supernerd- The Over-Ambitious-Deluded-Wanker

Who-Has-Somehow-Trans- Everytime you see this guy, he’s got some new scheme
formed-Himself-Into-The- that’s either going to make him rich, make him famous,
Coolest-Guy-You-Know or allow him to never have to work again. He’s full of
Back home, this is the guy who ideas on how he can capitalize on being here in Japan,
everyone in high school took turns yet nothing seems to quite work out like he planned.
punching in his arm. Here, he’s the Right now, he’s working on becoming a world-famous
classic example of “zero-to-hero” gangsta rapper, straight out of Ichinomiya. Put down the
in 60 seconds flat, give or take. He pipe homie.
still doesn’t look quite cool, overbite
and grey crew-neck wool sweater
and all, but tell that to his smoking
hot Japanese medical-student
girlfriend. He speaks fluent Japanese,
has a black belt in Aikido, a great
apartment, and a million yen in the
bank. This is the guy we all aspire to
be here, but somehow, the Nerd wins
the prize.

The Bitter Guy


This guy is a walking dark cloud of discontent. He complains

about everything and everyone and wonders why people are
dropping him like a bad habit. He’s a negative force always trying
to bring everyone down and/or destroy everyone else’s good time.
He’s a killjoy in every sense of the word, and blames Japan and
Japanese for his bad fortune. He’s about as fun as diarrhea.

26 |RAN|
The Japanophile Otaku
This guy presumes to know everything there is to know about Japan, it’s people,
it’s culture, history, language, everything. He spends his time reading Japanese
history books, watching anime movies, and trying to memorize every Kanji
symbol that exists. He’s constantly trying to school and impress anyone within
earshot of his boundless knowledge of Japan, while he deludes himself into
thinking one day they’ll accept me as one of them, not realizing he’s the one
they’re making the most fun of. He’s wearing pajamas outside now.

The Pathetic Loser

Woe is him. This guy has no money, no job, no place
to live, no plan and no clean clothes. How did all this
happen? He doesn’t quite remember, but wants you to
spare him 300\ for some coffee. You want to help him
out, but first, he’s gotta want to help himself. He lives
in a park near you. He’s always down on his luck, no
matter where he is.

The Loud Mouth The-Guy-Who-Thinks-You-

This guy is always talking a-
mile-a-minute, about nothing
of any particular interest to
anyone besides himself. He’s The song that best describes this
practically begging someone to dude is Radiohead’s ‘Creep’-“..
chop him in his adam’s apple. and I wish I was special/you’re so
He’s been everywhere, met fucking special..”-this guy wants
everyone, and always has a friendship by default, the only
story to top whatever anyone commonality between you two
else is saying. He might be is that you’re both non-Japanese.
telling the truth, but who Usually, the first thing out of this
cares? You just want him to winner’s mouth is, “ know
shut the hell up for a minute.. what I hate about Japanese…?”,
he says this not considering
that maybe you’re married to a
Japanese, or maybe you’ve learned
a thing or two about Japanese
since arriving here. He’s a bit like
an earache, this guy, you just want
him to go away.

The Shady Guy

No one really knows much about this guy. Where he lives, where he works, IF he works, where he’s
from, it’s all a mystery. He goes by initials only, “DB”, “JR”, “ET”, something like that. He’s always
around and makes everyone a little nervous. He could be a serial killer on the lam, or a spy, or a
terrorist, or all three. He speaks in hushed tones and then suddenly, he’s gone. Last I heard, he was in a
Vietnamese jail, I don’t know really, no one does.

|RAN| 27
The Liar The Perpetual-Culture-
Nothing this guy says regarding
his present or past life remotely This guy has been here 7 years and
resembles reality. He “used to” do still can’t get over the fact that he
and be everything under the sun. Of lives here now. He hasn’t learned a
course, you can’t prove or disprove word of Japanese, hasn’t adopted to
anything he says, all the better for this the social customs, and he sticks out
former shark-wrestler/stock broker/ like a giant purple squid. He’s about
professional stunt man/news anchor/ as flexible as a lightpole and the first
NASA Scientist/Pulitzer prize winning words out of his mouth are almost
journalist/Formula 1 Race car driver/ always, “ my country”-he doesn’t
best selling author/lawyer/gangster/ yet realize no one gives a shit about
cop/doctor/drug-dealer/hitman/ his country. Thing is, he’s not going
male stripper/gynecologist-to-the- anywhere fast, and everyone knows
stars/DJ-come on man, are you on this but him. People tiptoe around
qualuudes or do you think everyone him where it isn’t necessary and he’s
else is? Get a clue Pinocchio. a bit like a big baby.

The Parasite
As the name implies, this cretin sucks you dry of
everything, offering nothing in return. He wants
your friends, your contacts, your style, your
dreams, your ideas, wants to know your places of The Wanna-Be-Japanese
interest and wants to go everywhere you’ve been Not to be confused with the Japanophile, who
invited, not to mention he’s tailing your girl-but actually knows something about Japanese culture, this
he never thinks to return the favor of what you’ve guy wants to be Japanese so bad he can taste it. He
done for him. Friendship is hard to come by in bends over backwards trying to “fit in” every chance
Japan, or anywhere for that matter, and this guy is he gets, saying “sumimasen” to anyone within earshot
just sucking your blood. and over-doing every little gesture to make sure the
Japanese within view don’t mistake him for being
a foreigner. He bows so low his nose scrapes the
concrete. Yeah, sure buddy, keep it up, one day you’ll
wake up and actually be Japanese. Enjoy that.
The Lifer
This guy has been here since the Edo period.
He hasn’t been back to his home country in 3
decades. He’s neither “foreigner” nor “Japanese”,
but something else entirely. He’s a man with no
country, as it were. This guy could be either the
coolest guy to hang out with, or the most bizarre
prick you’ll ever come across. Or both.

Are you one of these guys, or something altogether different? We

can all use a makeover, no one’s perfect, but don’t make yourself
over into one of these guys…next time you’re complaining about
anything or anyone, first, check yourself mate, what’s so great
about you?

Like my man Robert Nesta Marley said, “...who the cap fit/ let
them wear it.” Sometimes, I’m all of these guys. The thing is to
notice who we are in the moment, become concious of it, and
learn and grow from that point forward. Carry on.


28 |RAN|
|RAN| 29
RAN ’s staff and readers like these places / this stuff. You might, too...

CLUBS - LOUNGES - BARS techno, and trance events make their home here. Cover
is usually in the 2000yen range, really nice party space,
Plastic Factory if you don’t mind the trains clamoring overhead every
Located in Imaike, PF is a great event/art/music space few minutes..
housing some of the best electro/house/techno parties
in town. It’s also home to HARMONIUM PARLOUR, 4-7-38 Chiyoda Naka-ku
Nagoya’s best open-mic event-the last Sunday of every 052-332-0073・
month. Plastic Factory has an eclectic mix of events and
music, call ahead. Samba Brazil
This large Brazilian nightclub/restaurant/live house
Cover at PF is usually around 1500yen, drinks are decent. is famous for all night parties with lovely Brazilian
Say what’s up to HEINZ behind the bar. Good man. ladies, sexy Samba, delicious food and tropical drinks.
An evening at Samba is going to set you back at least
32-13 Kando-Cho Chikusa-Ku 3000yen, but the party goes until dawn and this place
090-9894-9242・ definitely has it’s own flavor. Wild nights here. Carnivale
in Nagoya all-year round.
Roots Vibes
Located in Toshincho, ROOTS VIBES bills itself as an 4-15-21 Kanko Bldg. No. 2 Sakae Naka-ku
“All Reggae Muzik Space”. It’s got live reggae musicians 052-251-1051
on any given night, food, plus DJs and a great bar.
If you’re into deep dub bass and crisp reggae beats,
ROOTS VIBES is for you. Say “HAIL UP” to JFox when
you fall in..
6Th Floor Ocean Bldg. 4-10-2 Sakae Naka-ku
052-263-3181 Huck Finn
Located in Imaike, HF is a Nagoya fave. Two floors,
ID Café downstairs usually features punk, thrashcore,
This place is infamous on the Nagoya nightclub scene, rockabilly, hardcore, speed metal, etc, acts from as
and for good reason. This space has 6 floors of music, far away as NY, Australia and San Fran regularly make
each floor a different theme. Saturday nights are their way onto the HF stage. Upstairs is a hodge-podge
rammed and the party is not for the faint of heart. For mixture of acoustic stuff…was there recently and was
pure balls-out drunken juvenile beat-laden fun, ID is serenaded by the sounds of a very cute J-girl singing
the place. Right in the center of Sakae, walking distance Christmas songs accompanied by a ukulele. Odd, but
from seemingly everywhere. Cover runs about ¥3000 nice. Great food and drinks on hand as well. Down By
w/4 drinks, hip hop/techno/80’s/reggae, ID covers all Law. 2000yen range.
bases. If you make this a regular spot, cop yourself a
discount card, to get that cover charge nixed. B1 Ishii Bldg. 5-19-7 Imaike, Chikusa-Ku
3-1-15 Mitsukoshi Bldg. Sakae Naka-ku.
052-251-0382・ Gary’s Motown
Gary’s is known throughout Japan as a hot jumpoff
SoulGround spot for partying, drinking, dancing and mingling. It’s
I almost don’t want to give this one away. It’s a small, walking distance from anywhere in Sakae, and it’s
cozy, very cool bar upstairs from JB’s in Toshincho. The a Nagoya institution. The bands who cruise through
DJs play vintage soul music accompanied by a large Gary’s are some of the best R-n-B/Hip Hop/Jazz
video screen. It’s romantic, but laid back, sexy and musicians you’ll ever see anywhere. They know how
mellow…and the music, classic man. Bring your girl. to get the party going and KEEP it going until the wee
Or your girl’s girl. Or both..No cover. hours. Usually around 2000yen.

3F Marumikanko Bldg. 4-3-15 Sakae Naka-ku B2F Koasha Bldg. 4-2-10 Sakae Naka-Ku
052-241-7366・ 052-263-4710・

RADIX Misfits
Located sorta close to TSURUMAI, Radix is a You know the place, but what you don’t know is that
late-night club-space made for dancing the night away recently Monday Night Open Mic has been blasting
underneath thumping beats and a dope light show. off. With some really talented musicians rolling
Radix usually houses reggae events, but also hip hop, through, Michael Wade serving up the booze, and

30 |RAN|
Stevie P. cooking up his gourmet specialties, MISFITS prices most certainly please the tightest of budgets--Can
MONDAY NIGHT is suddenly all the rage. No cover. you say ‘One Coin Beer?’ Suzuki-san and his sons keep
the place humming, and there’s a crowd of regulars
Bee House Bldg 3F 4-10-16 Imaike Chikusa-Ku that will make you think you just walked on the set of
052-733-7352・ Cheers.

Club Quattro 1-12-28 Hi-Home Bldg 1F

Club Quattro is a gem of a live-house located in the 052-751-8058
Parco Building in the middle of Sakae. It regularly
features famous acts who are either on their way up
or down, but who rock out none-the-less. The space
holds upwards of 4 or 5 hundred people. Prices vary EVENTS
according to acts, but the sound is excellent and the
vibe is right. For Those About To Rock. ROCK THIS TOWN
RAN/ROCK/RELIEF - Haiti Earthquake Benefit
Parco Building 3-29-1 Sakae Naka-ku March 5th・7pm - until ?
Live Music featuring some of Nagoya’s best bands.

RESTAURANTS - CAFES Cost: Free, but asking at least ¥500 cash,

clothing or durable food donation.

Golden Child Café Where?: HARD ROCK CAFÉ, Fushimi, Nagoya.

This is a sweet little café located underneath the train
(Subway Fushimi Sta)
tracks on the Tsurumai line near Kanayama St. Nice
food stuffs, attractive clientele, massage chairs and
low prices keep the customers coming back. Don’t tell
everyone though, it’s our little secret.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade
March 6th・12pm
4-26-1 Chiyoda Naka-Ku (Kanayama Sta)
Everyone’s Irish on March 6th! Every year we have
hundreds of people join us in the celebrations at Osu
Pa’INA Aloha Table Kannon. The opening ceremony starts at 12:30 and
Pa’Ina means ‘party’ or ‘dinner’ in native Hawaiian
the parade begins at 2pm. After the parade there’s an
language. Aloha offers a delectable variety of food that
Irish music concert at the Osu Engelijo Theater. The
you can’t quite get anywhere else. The atmosphere is
celebration continues at Shooters at Fushimi from 6pm.
low key and the music is soft and enchanting, sorta
I wonder if they’ll have some green beer like
like Hawaii. There are two of these in the Nag area,
back home?
by Nagoya Station and one in Asunal at Kanayama
Station. Really nice date spot, and the Kanayama joint
Where?: Osu Shopping Streets and Park
is poppin’ when the weather gets warmer.
(Subway Osu Kannon Sta or Kamimaezu Sta)
3-17-19 Meieki Nakamura-ku Nagoya
(Nagoya or Kanayama Stns)
Nagoya Walkathon
May 23rd・9am-4pm
Outback Steakhouse
Meat done Aussie style, blooming onions and delish
The 19th annual ACCJ / NIS Walkathon and Interna-
sweet bread, bet you forgot Nagoya has an Outback
tional Charity Festival is coming soon, so its time to start
didn’t you. Located in the heart of Sakae, Outback
signing up to walk! They’re building bridges between
is your spot if you’re craving a thick steak and great
the Japanese and international communities to raise
money in support of vital work being conducted by
local non profit and charitable organizations in the
3-24-22 Kowa Bldg. B1F Nishiki Naka-ku
Chubu region. Last year they garnered ¥5.5 million,
052-968-7800 (Subway Sakae Sta) www.outbacksteak-
and this year the goal is ¥8 million in donations.
Go get your walk on, then enjoy the bands and foods
in the rest pavillions afterwards. Sign ups can be done
Le Bersey on their website.
Trust me, the only thing French is the name. Just up the
street from Ikeshita station, this has become my “dive”
Where?: Tsurumai Park
over the past year. I say that with toungue in cheek; the
(JR & Subway Tsurumai Sta)
decor, drinks, and eats are far from dive quality, but the

|RAN| 31
Y I N K ?
| Story and photos by Achim Runnebaum |

our body is a temple, but how

long can you live in the same
house before you redecorate?
Pop Quiz; what do David Beckam,
Johnny Depp, and Amy Winehouse
have in common other than being
instantly recognized anywhere? They all
would probably be denied entrance to
an Onsen in Japan...... Why, you may
tatoos, because of the strong, negative
connotations this art has in Japan.
Several people I interviewed even stated
that they would feel uncomfortable
dating someone who has a tattoo. But
the times are changing fast, and more
and more people are getting inked for
various reasons. There’s a growing
community of Tattoo lovers emerging
a tattoo artist on the streets in Brazil. As
fate would have it, he got his first tattoo,
which was done in a very simple way
(on the streets of Brazil with self-made
equipment), and was hooked after that....
Eventually he would meet none other
than Ed Hardy who gave him another
Tattoo and inspired him to become a
Tattoo artist himself. According to him,
ask.... simply because they have Tattoos. all over Japan, even in our somewhat when getting a tattoo, one of the most
Having a Tattoo is almost becoming conservative Nagoya. “To be tattooed important things is who did the tattoo,
the norm in other countries; it’s a different in Japan is to suggest that you have after that comes the design. It’s not just
story, at least on the surface, in Japan.... abandoned society and turned your back about the design, but also about building
I got inked recently to remember on the rules” said one heavily Tattoo a relationship with the artist, because
a certain period in my life of which I artist I had the chance to interview. the personality of the artist comes out
wanted to have a permanent memory. Historically, The Meiji Restoration in the designs. And his personality
While totally accepted in most of the of 1868 marked the start of Japan’s certainly comes out in the designs...
western world (even my mother, who advent into the “modern” world. Japan’s They were some of the most vivid, clean
is nearly 70 years old got a tattoo goal was to become the “equal” of and professional designs I’ve ever seen.
about 5 yrs ago), here in Japan, it’s still the Americans and British. Feudal He only does original work though, so
somewhat of a rarity.... or so I thought. systems were abolished and Japan don’t even think about asking him to put
In the past, tattoos here were attempted to absorb western culture, your partner’s name on your body, or
associated first and foremost with the with the Japanese adopting western getting a tramp stamp....he won’t have it.
Yakuza, who display full body tattoos clothing, manners and education. As Another main player in the Tattoo
done the traditional Japanese way part of this “restoration,” in 1872 the World in Nagoya are BoobiesTattoo
(Tebori)....or at least, that’s the common government banned tattooing which and Black Rebel in Osu. When the
belief we’re all told, but actually it’s a far was regarded as a sign of barbarism. gang from Motley Crue came through
older tradition in Japan than that. It all While most people get tattoos just Nagoya, this is the place they choose
started with the Ainu people, who lived in for fashion, or in a drunken haze, there to get a tattoo. Boobies/Black Rebel
what is currently Hokkaido, and tattooed are far more meaningful reasons. Some are one of the biggest Tattoo parlors in
the lips and mouths of their single women people get tattoos because they want to Nagoya, and the Staff there are great!
with broad blue bands that looked much remember a certain time in their life, There are 8 Tattoo artists, including
like mustaches. This ceremony was some get tattoos as a mark or insignia (ex: Ta’co (seen in the pictures), who will
called “Nuye” or “Sinuye”, the Ainu prison tattoos), some get their partner’s help you with your design, or come
synonym for tattooing. According to names tattooed, while others get tattoos up with something truly original...
legend, a deity descended from heaven as symbols of protection or right of If you’re in the market for a Tattoo,
and explained to all the women that passage. A small minority even let you can’t go wrong with either of these
every woman without a tattoo, who themselves get tattoos simply for adver- places. Best part is both Sabado and
married a man, is committing a big sin tisement purposes for big corporations. the people at Boobies speak English!
and she won’t find salvation after death. Microsoft Zune anyone......So the Tattoos have served in many
From that time tattoos were indis- reasons for getting them are as various various and diverse cultures as rites
pensable and vital for Ainu women. The as the designs, but for me, a genuine of passage, marks of status and rank,
tattooing is conducted by specialists over tattoo.... tells a story. I like stories and symbols of religious and spiritual
years, by rubbing charcoal dust in the with tattoos, no matter how well done, and devotion, decorations for bravery,
sharp little knives which carves the skin, if they don’t tell a story that involves sexual lures and marks of fertility,
giving young girls a black-blue looking, you emotionally, then they’re just there pledges of love, punishment, amulets
sideways pointed line called “Anci-Pini”. for decoration; then they’re not a valid and talisman, protection and as
Ainu women also believe that tattoo tattoo. There has to be some emotional the marks of outcasts and convicts.
marks lets them assume the appearance appeal or they’re not, in my way of
of their goddess, so that the several thinking, a real tattoo. It tells people
Now it’s your turn. We wanna
evil demons of disease will mistake what you are and what you believe in.
hear from you. Shoot us a picture
them for the goddess, and flee away. One of the purveyors of the Tattoo
of your Mark and the story behind
This is a far cry from the sometimes scene in Nagoya is Sabado of Panda
it for a follow up in a future issue....
still frowned upon practice of tattooing Cafe/Eccentric Super Tatoo in Osu. This
in Japan today. While it is certainly guy is a legend in the Tattoo Art world,
becoming more and more accepted, frequently traveling all over the world to editor@
there are still many people here who show his designs. As a young man, he was
frown upon anyone displaying their traveling through South America and met

32 |RAN|
? Boobies Tattoo Studio

Aichi-ken, Nagoya Shi

Nakaku, Osu 3-17-1
Akamon Brother Building 4F

Phone: 052-262-4649

Ink to paper is thoughtful

Ink to flesh, hard-core.

If Shakespeare were a tattooist

We’d appreciate body art more - Anonymous

*Special Thanks to Ta’co of Boobies/Black Rebel

for letting me sit in and document
one of her Tattooing Sessions.


3-5-49 OSU, NAKA-KU

Aichi Prefecture
Nagoya 460-0011

Phone/fax: +81-(0)52-262-3246

|RAN| 33

Casablanca | Review and photos by Adam Pasion |

“of all the gin joints in all the towns

in all the world...” - Humphrey Bogart
ar beyond the novelty of eating The main platter had kebabs which is I find myself slightly disappointed by the
food from such a remote area as a deceptive word because nearly every wines; perhaps they are not to my taste.
Morocco, the charm of Casablanca country from the Nile to the Ganges has The South African white wine I found too
becomes evident even before the spoon their own version of the kebab, and no sweet, the Lebanese red wine I found to
hits your mouth. The warm light of two kebabs are even slightly similar. be a bit dry and lacking a full flavor. The
Moorish lamps, ornate Berber rugs and Comparing Turkish kebabs to Moroccan Moroccan beer, also called Casablanca,
Arabian tapestries draped over the walls kebabs is like comparing pasta to is a touch more flavorful than the typical
creates an ambiance that is unmatched ramen; distant cousins but not distant flavorless lagers like Asahi or Sapporo,
anywhere in the city. On weeknights enough that it’s okay to fuck them. but is still quite run of the mill, lacking any
the soothing Moroccan music creates That said, the kebabs at Casablanca real character or aroma. The best drink
an intimate and romantic dining are exceptional. They can be had in the on the menu is included in the course:
experience, but with the arrival of the form of roasted lamb, beef, chicken or Moroccan mint tea. This refreshingly
weekend, Casablanca transforms into a fish. Far removed from the salty, oily sweet tea serves to cleanse the palate in
high-spirited and boisterous atmosphere (and irresistible) kebabs that call your a very subdued way without shocking
with live belly dancing. name from the Turkish food carts after your mouth the way ginger does. Its an
To sample a wide variety of dishes, the pubs are closed, these are kebabs excellent way to calm your stomach after
I opted for the Casablanca set course, a you can eat and not feel bad afterward. overindulging and it leaves a nice sweet
wise choice for first-timers. The first dish Of course the Pièce de résistance is the aftertaste on the tip of your tongue.
to arrive was a flavorful bean soup called tajine, a sort of conical earthenware pot If Humphrey Bogart was eating
Harrira. The soup is seasoned herbs and that funnels steam and concentrates it chow like this every day, its no wonder
spices as well as meat, but like almost to stew vegetables with no extra water. he sent Ingrid Bergman off on that
everything on the menu, there are Necessity is the mother of invention airplane alone. He wanted it all to
vegetarian substitutes. The next to arrive and the harsh desert is the mother of the himself. Casablanca is open every day
was couscous and steamed vegetables tajine which cooks the most delectable from 5:30 to 11:00pm. Its a 4 minute
with a gravy like sauce, sprinkled with stewed meats and veggies to perfection walk from Takaoka station, near the
chickpeas. The sensation on the tongue every time. Casablanca’s tajines include Denny’s. Don’t take me and Humphrey’s
is a rich, almost buttery taste and yet its hearty portions of beef, lamb, chicken word for it, go check it out yourself!
subtle and sophisticated. Immediately or fish along with thick and succulent
following this was the briwat, a sort of slices of carrots, potatoes, okra and
meat pastry. I will be the first to admit squash. One can easily imagine sitting
the words meat and pastry do not sound inside a nomadic Berber’s tent, gathered Higashi-ku, Izumi,
good together, but the briwat largely around a steaming tajine, mouth
succeeds. The crust is crisp and flaky, watering like a Pavlovian dog. Slurp. 1-9-14, Takaoka
almost like baklava and slightly sweet,
while the inside is made of ground beef.
But what is the point of all this
exquisite food without something to
Residence 1F
The vegetarian course included a briwat wash it down with? Casablanca boasts an 052-953-7774
made of fish which was a bit spicier assortment of Middle Eastern and African
and more to my liking, but there is also wines and various international beers as
Map link:
the option of cheese briwat as well. well. Every time I’ve tried this restaurant
34 |RAN|
|RAN| 35
Ca f e
Na t a n u n d e
i t
i r
o u r c o f f e e ?

ou wa n
| Story and photos by Achim Runnebaum |

issues, tissues everywhere and all snacks), and drinks. The patrons are in where they can get free food, free drinks,
the guys did drool (over the Nana a special lowered viewing area behind free use of beauty accessories, etc, get to
girls). Whether you frequent the a one-way mirror, where their eyes read all the magazines they want, and get
bustling streets of Sakae, or hang around are about waist level on the girls. This paid to talk to guys; or go to Starbuck’s
Nagoya Station area, you’ll never have way, they can view the action up close and pay. Yeah, which one would you
to buy tissues for yourself. As a matter and personal. (The drinks, of course choose? How else do you think so
of fact, I can’t remember the last time I ain’t free) If a guy fancies a certain many girlies can afford those expensive
paid for tissues since coming to Japan. girl he can let her know through the designer clothes and the ubiquitous Luis
The advertisements on them range staff, and if she agrees, they can meet Vuitton Bags? Is that all that separates
from language school offers to beauty in a private cubicle in a “couples these girls from designer clothing bliss?
products, all the way to “companion” room” to talk for 10min (1,000 yen). Do sexual activities happen at these
services. From here it gets interesting. If the places? Are these girls even legal?
I’m sure you’ve accepted the guy passes all of the “tests” (vague Yes and no. Because it’s not a “health
occasional tissue handed to you by conversation guided by the girl to gauge club”, the sex-industry laws don’t
a very young girl, dressed a little too job, income level, what car he drives, apply at these places since there are
provocative for her age, or wearing a etc.) then the two “lovebirds” can agree no ‘professional’ hostesses there. These
yellow coat with comic characters on the to meet outside the cafe for a “date” shops are legally seen just as coffee
back. Chances are, she works for Nana all for an extra fee of course, which is shops, so there are no regulations that
Cafe. You’ve probably wondered just “negotiated” between the girl and her prevent people under 18 yrs old from
what goes on in these “encounter cafe’s”. customer. This naturally entails him taking entering them. The Cafes say that it’s
Are they just a systemized way to have a her to fancy places, taking her shopping, none of their concern what happens
“konpa”? Do they serve young girls with etc. What happens on these dates is outside their doors. In other words,
your coffee? Sit back, relax, strap in, and entirely up to the girls (and how much there’s the potential for very young girls,
put your tray tables in the upright and she was offered) They have no obligation some of whom are still in high school,
locked position because you’re about to do anything. If the girl agrees, the guy to meet men who are old enough to
to embark on a journey to a place that has to fork over 3,000 yen to the Cafe for be their fathers, or even grandfathers
not many gaijin have been allowed the priledge of taking his new friend out. easily, and enter into an enjo kosai
to explore. This one’s on the house... So let’s recap, the guys have to pay agreement. In Japanese, enjo kosai
Outside it’s cute and fuzzy characters, for just getting into the place, have means compensated dating and is a
but inside its systematic perversion at its to pay extra to get a chance to talk to major social phenomenon in Japan.
best. Imagine a cross between a peep a girl they fancy, and are expected to This is voyeuristic materialism taken
show, a maid cafe and a soapland style take said girl out to expensive places if to the next level. Is having a new Prada
“health club”. Nana Cafe and places she agrees to go on a date, for which Bag really worth selling your soul,
like it cater to the tastes of men who he has to pay again. And if a sufficient so to speak? Most of the girls being
like their girls young, fresh, and (mostly) amount of money is forked over to the targeted for this kind of job are still
underage. It’s a haven for sugar daddies girl, and she’s so inclined, she might (or very young, barely (if at all) legal, and
and guys who pop Viagra like candy. might not) offer sexual favours in return. easily sucked into that kind of lifestyle,
Usually, these kinds of places These guys are getting screwed in thinking it’s the quickest way to get good
aren’t really my thing, but journalistic every sense of the word. It’s almost money, which is why most girls who
curiosity drove me to take a peek for our like future hostess training camp. work there don’t seem to mind the job.
readers (...the things I do for you guys...) Talk about lifetime employment: Of course, these places are busted
The patrons pay an entrance fee to Start in an Encounter Cafe, and work from time to time, but another one
get in, and it quickly becomes apparent, your way “up” to a Hostess Club. will just take its place eventually.
that this place is a “cafe” by name only. The reason why so many young girls Currently there are about 100 of
Once inside, there are separate rooms: work there (or rather hang out, as the these kinds of places in Japan.
girls hang around in a special “social” Cafe puts it), is that they basically get So, Should you want to visit Nana
room, doing their makeup, gossiping, paid just for talking with their friends, Cafe, or its counterparts, bring your
giggling up a storm, and generally just and meeting guys. It sounds enticing to Japanese skills, definitely your wallet, and
being young and careless, and having young easily impressed minds... Hmm, leave your soul at the door, cause it’s not
fun. They also get free food (mostly let’s see, hang out after school in a place just hot, steamy coffee you’ll find inside...

36 |RAN|
A Gathering of
| By J.L. Gatewood |

n Japan, there’s a fesitval for everything,
right? There’s the naked man festival,
several virgin teenage nubile girl festivals,
and even one that celebrates the invention
of nihon-shuu. Well we’ve got one that
brings all the dogs to our yard, right here in
Aichi prefecture. This one celebrates... err....
manhood... Specifically, the one thing men
have and women don’t... The dangling part.

Honen matusuri or Harvest festival is a is

a fertility festival celebrated in and around
Tagata shrine in Komaki every year on March
15th. Like any festival, you have a large
number of Shinto priests, traditional Edo-era
music, yattai food stalls serving kara-age,
kishiyaki and more, and of course spectators
like me who turn up with conbini-bought
adult beverages, and a good buzz going
already. But this is like no other matsuri
you’ve ever been to... This is Phallus Phest.

The walk from the train station to the

shrine grounds is... Interesting. You’ll notice
stands selling all sorts of shlong-inspired
wares. A wind up cock with feet. A soft
sponge looking peter. There’s one guy who
seems to have a hobby by taking driftwood
and carving some very realistic renditions
of the male appendage. It’s like an outdoor
AV shop. The food items even give it a go...
Chocolate-covered BANANAS made even
more realistic looking with the help of icing...
(Why did I see elementary school kids eating
them too? Why did I see elementary school
kids AT ALL there??)

Then it’s time for the main “attraction”-

- The largest pecker you’ve ever seen not
attached to a whale. The HUGE shaft is
lovingly and carefully crafted in one of
two area shrines and makes its way to
Tagata Shrine starting at 2pm. It’s carried
on a large palanquin and the accomanying
entourage passes out plenty of free sake for
WHEN: March 15th・10am~4pm
the spectators. On arrival at Tagata shrine, the
huge wooden erection is placed somewhere
WHERE: Tagata Shrine,
so women can touch it--this is because it
Komaki City, Aichi
is supposed to help make them fertile...

Everyone then gathers in the square outside

ACCESS: Take Meitetsu Kami-Iida line
the shrine and waits for the mochi nage, at
to Tagata Jinja Mae Sta. Once you exit,
which time the crowd is showered with small
just follow the crowds. Plenty of staff
rice cakes which are thrown down by the
on hand to help.
officials from raised platforms. The festival
concludes at about 4:30 p.m.

|RAN| 37
Should I Stay or Should I Go?

か | By Adam Pasion |

t’s fair to say Colin didn’t know what he was getting into when side. When you are watching the Olympics on TV and you can’t
he came to Japan. He didn’t watch anime, he had no interest find out who received the gold medal because the Japanese
in judo or karate, and he was far from a connoisseur of Kobe athletes didn’t place, you have nobody to vent to. When your
beef. The only reason he chose Japan over any other country partner’s elderly grandmother insists that sleeping with the fan
to spend his vacation was because Japan was hosting the FIFA on will kill you and no amount of medical facts will assuage her,
World Cup that year. He came to watch soccer. Somewhere nobody else sees the humor. Any attack on anything Japanese is
between the first kick and the airport he met somebody and interpreted as an attack on your partner’s heritage. And before
that month-long stay turned into a life commitment that now you point the accusing finger consider for a moment how angry
includes a wife, children and car payments. Maybe Colin had it makes you when your husband or wife complains, “all western
no reason to come, but he certainly has a reason to stay. food is oily and disgusting.” Even though you may happen to
The (quite wonderful) fact of the matter is every person on agree, you don’t want to be told this by somebody who puts
this island chain has their own reason for coming and their mayonnaise on their pizza or makes spaghetti with ketchup. If
own reason for staying. For some people, living in Japan is the the couple were in a country mutually alien to both parties, they
fulfillment of their lifelong dreams. For others its the constant might have a grand time of nitpicking every little difference.
reminder of why you ought to practice safe-sex. But the matter We all get frustrated and grumble about trivialities, but things
of coming and the matter of staying are two very different things can ease-up considerably by a simple change in perspective.
and realizing that is perhaps the most crucial point in not only Do you still remember that feeling when you first stepped
braving the rough waters of daily life, but enjoying the surf. off that plane. For some it requires a trip in the way-way-back
The difference between flourishing here and just surviving all machine, but try to recall those first few months when
comes down to the fundamental issue of intent: that is whether everything was new and novel. When you still took pictures
you intend to try living in Japan, or you intend to try Japanese of the Sakura every spring instead of making fun of the locals
life. This will almost surely seem like a semantic triviality but it’s for doing it. When you thought the way young girls flirt was
so much more than that. There are far too many people in this naïve and coquettish instead of a form of mental retardation.
city alone who are trying to live as if they just transplanted their Before the new car smell faded away and everyone sunk into
life at home into a new context, but their new life is rejecting the mundane routine of it all, life was so exciting and fresh

C e rta i n d e l i c at e s o c i a l g r a c e s t h at a n at i v e J a pa n e s e m i g h t
take for granted will be completely misunderstood or misin-
t e r p r e t e d by a f or e i g n e r , b u t t h at d oe s n ’ t m a k e i t a b a d t h i n g .

the donor. Daily life in Japan is different than life in any other here in Japan. Keep this much in mind, in the months, years
country, and the frustrating thing is that it seems like its not. or decades that you have been here, Japan didn’t change as
Certain things will inevitably rub you the wrong way, not much as you did. That eager attitude of not only accepting the
because they are inherently bad, but because they are different things that are different or new but actually looking forward to
than what you may be used to. Certain delicate social graces them is the secret ingredient to a more fulfilling experience.
that a native Japanese might take for granted will be completely Last week my wife put on a germ mask before she went into
misunderstood or misinterpreted by a foreigner, but that doesn’t a veterinarian clinic. I could have called her an obsessive-com-
make it a bad thing. This problem is not unique to Japan at pulsive germophobe but I just smiled and remembered where I
all. Living in another place is difficult. Just changing states or live. This is Japan and you came here for a reason. Even if you
provinces in your own country can be surprisingly difficult. don’t remember what it was, there are always reasons to stay.
For people with Japanese spouses or families this problem Every time I see Buddhist priest on a moped I remember why I
becomes infinitely more frustrating because the native and the like it here. When I see a high school student with an eye-patch
foreigner are not on equal footing. The pressures of living in a carefully applying eye-liner to her one good eye, I smile and
land where the customs and culture is unfamiliar is very taxing accept it. Sometimes the only reaction you have left is laughter,
on the nerves, but now the people you turn to are not on your so smile and enjoy the rare adventure you get to experience.

38 |RAN|
|RAN| 39

Boost your Eye-Q

While it seems like most people

understand what sunglasses
are, the application seems to
elude some.
Let’s be honest here, there are
only three people who can get
away with wearing sunglasses
at night: The blind, Corey Hart
fans, and Jack Nicholson.

| Text and photos by Achim Runnebaum |

40 |RAN|
42 |RAN|
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