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July / August 2010
| ISSUE 6 |

初 | By Adam Pasion |

n August of last year RAN Magazine took its maiden voyage into the sea of
に mass media. If my math is correct, then that would make this the one year
anniversary issue, and the 'little magazine that could' is still chugging along
thanks to the support of our community. In one year RAN has jumped from the
sperm of a thought into a social force able to gather hundreds of people at our
Rock This Town event. That means RAN is serving the purpose it was created for –
to build and support a better community in Nagoya. To that end, we want to invite
everyone to come out and party with us at Bang Bang Boogie, guaranteed to be
the best beach party this community has ever seen.
On a related note, some of our readers have expressed offense at our
promotional poster for this event. Thank you for having the courage to voice your
concerns, it is this sort of feedback that helps us to improve our craft and hone our
skills to better reach our readership, but this particular issue goes deeper than that.
Recently some of our advertisers have abandoned ship on account of what they
have deemed “objectionable content.” As a matter of fact some of our readers and
even a few or our own staff have voiced similar concerns, and a few locations
around town have even refused to let us leave copies. We continue to publish
what we think is relevant and important even though we are losing revenue and
readers, because we believe in what we are doing. Creating a magazine is a
time-consuming, labor-intensive and meticulous endeavor. Every graphic, every
photograph, every word of text and point and pica is a deliberate choice. Nothing
gets into our magazine by chance and that includes our more “objectionable
content.” RAN is the magazine that comes kicking and screaming off the printing
press with a kernel of wisdom tucked in its lip and both middle fingers blazing.
We have published some editorials that I felt were slanted, spiteful and a
bit vitriolic, but on second inspection they reflect the true opinions of people
in this community who feel displaced and misunderstood. RAN Magazine in its
inception was conceived as a sounding board for these types of voices, to remind
everyone that we are not alone. But lets talk turkey, “objectionable content” is not
about our writing, its about sex.
I am going to give people the benefit of the doubt and assume that the reason
for taking offense is that they see the sexual content as objectifying women
and using sex to push more products. Ostensibly these seem well intended,
but the end result is actually the opposite. This attitude reinforces traditional
stereotypes about gender and sexual repression. In our first issue we interviewed
a male host, and in the third issue we interviewed a sex worker. These were also
deliberate choices, attaching a human face to an industry that is misunderstood
and frowned-upon. The people stealing the dignity of men and women in the
sex industry are certainly not the patrons, but rather the twisted cultural attitudes
that attach a stigma to this type of work. Consider that a woman working at a sex
parlor can never have pride in her job. No matter her skill, no matter how hard
she works or how much money she makes she will always be expected to have a
certain amount of shame about her work. Sexuality is a raw energy that can be a
source of empowerment, not merely exploitation. This type of moralist judgment
is shameful and that is the reason we published our interview without changing
the words or blurring the face. Everyone deserves dignity and respect and the
ability to take pride in the sweat of their brow.
Sex can be one of the most important tools for building the deepest bonds
between humans, and not only between lovers. Men and women talking about
their sexual exploits, their crushes, failures and fantasies is one of the most
intimate ways we can communicate to each other. Exploring the powerful nature
of human sexuality through art, humor and editorial is essential for our society
to progress, and that is the fundamental principle behind our magazine. Each
issue is intended to push the envelope a little bit further, but not for the sake
of controversy, and certainly not to sell more magazines. Everything we do is
subjected to meticulous scruples, and although those are certain to step past
certain people's moral barrier, remember that the tide comes in to wash away
all lines drawn in the sand. See how I just brought it back to the idea of a beach
party? Pretty clever right?
Thanks for reading RAN and showing us love and support. It has made all the
difference. Please come out and show your support at our upcoming beach party
as well as RAN Unplugged, our second charity event partnering with the Hard
Rock Cafe.
CONTENTS July / August 2010 - ISSUE NO. 6

8 Japanese School:

Not as Bad as You Think?

10 La Puchi Princesse
An Introduction

12 Dodgy3 妖しい三
Veneration, Sublimation and the Female Body
- a photographic event
table of contents photo: ACHIM RUNNEBAUM
15 10 Questions for Mike Bagley
Nagoya's local T-shirt man, Mike Bagley,
shares his thoughts on this little town.

4 The Green Spot


Still Waters Run Deep 22 Tokai Beach Bummin'

There ARE Beaches in Japan

7 When In Rome
Opposite Attracts

11 Should I Stay or Should I Go

Yard Work

16 ListenThe Art of War

18 The Pagoda Diaries

Publisher: TD Houchen
Chief Editor: Jason L. Gatewood
Copy Editor: Larry Defelippi
Photography: Achim Runnebaum

26 Go Inuyama: Dog Mountain

Chief Designer: Adrien Sanborn
Illustrator/Designer: Adam Pasion

Send story ideas to:

31 RAN Recommends
Send photography

32 Read
and illustration to:
Comics Worth Reading: Tonoharu
To advertise, contact:

34 Taste Sarmale
Promotional Events/Co-Promotion:

We couldn't get away with saying shit like this,
but animals can.

|RAN| 3
The G reen SPOT
環 | Story and photo by Achim Runnebaum |

Still Waters Run Deep

ater, the most abundant substance on the planet, processes the body goes through regularly. If you do any kinds
but also the most misunderstood when it comes to of sports of physical exercise, it's even more.
drinking it. I think we all know that drinking water The best way to replenish the lost water content is to drink
is good for us. We hear it from health experts every day. But more water, of course (as if you didn't know that already)....
just how important is water for us to have a healthy life? But drinking water not only replenishes your lost supply of
With the sweltering Nagoya summer approaching quicker water; it also has many other health benefits:
than a herd of salarymen descending on a nomihodai, it's *Weight loss - Not only does it replace high-calorie drinks
becoming more and more important to keep your body like soda and juices, it is also a great appetite suppressant.
hydrated. So let's take a closer look at the big H2O. Water has no fat, no calories, no carbs, no sugar....It's just
When you were a kid in school, you learned that each water, and that's a good thing.
molecule of water is made up of two hydrogen atoms and one *Healthy for your heart - Drinking lots of water significantly
oxygen atom - hence H2O. You may also have learned that it lowers your risk of heart disease and heart attacks. If you drink
was great fun to fill up your squirt guns with water and unload more than 5 glasses a day, you are 41% less likely to die from

"If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water."

-Loran Eisely, 1957

it at your unsuspecting friends and school mates, at least until a heart attack, according to a six year study in the American
the principal caught you. What you may not have learned, Journal of Epidemology.
however, was how much water you need to drink in order to *Energy - If you're dehydrated, your energy levels drop
stay healthy. faster than a virgin's morals on prom night. Even mild
Your body is roughly around 60-70 percent water. Blood is dehydration (as little as 1-2 percent of your body weight) can
mostly water, and your muscles, lungs, and brain all contain lead to fatigue, muscle weakness and dizziness. Don't wait till
lots of water. So it should come as no surprise that we need you're thirsty since it's already too late at that point. Keep your
lots of water everyday in order to function properly. The body body hydrated throughout the day to have a steady supply of
needs water for regulating body temperature, to provide the energy.
means for nutrients to travel to all your vital organs. It also *Other benefits include: Cure for certain kinds of
transports oxygen to your cells in order to replenish them, headaches (a symptom of dehydration), healthy skin, good
remove waste (which will get dumped in your organs and digestive health, cleansing of the body, greatly reduced risk of
tissues if you don't get enough water to flush all that stuff out), colon cancer, and better athletic performance (fellas, I'm not
and protect your joints and organs from disease. just talking about going to the gym here...)
Every day we lose about 2-3 quarts (12 cups) of water So, how much water should you drink? Well, let's just say
through perspiration, urination, breathing, through pores that by the time you feel thirsty, you're already dehydrated. So
(especially the soles of your feet), and in the cleaning instead of sticking to the old: "drink 8-10 glasses of water per

4 |RAN|
day" mantra, I will simply say try to keep yourself from getting
thirsty in the first place.
NO...PUT THAT DOWN....don't even think about it! I saw
you salivating over that Triple Vitamin and Mineral Enhanced
Strawberry, Citrus, and Kiwi flavored water (bottle) from the
top shelf of a combini cooler. Popular culture would have you
believe that carrying a water bottle with you and taking little
haphazard swags from it looks cool, chic, in, hip or whatever
adjective you want to use. Hell, in Japan some people even
have cute little coats for their plastic bottles, but I know that
by now you know better than to buy plastic bottles. Not only
is the plastic quite bad for the environment, but the water out
of a plastic bottle actually has more impurities than tap water.
Think about it: tap water has movement, whereas bottled
water sits idly in the same plastic bottle for weeks, or perhaps
even months at a time. Also, tap water is highly regulated and
quite frequently checked (don't know for sure about Japan,
but it's 100 times a month minimum in the U.S) for E. coli and
other bacteria,. The same rules don't apply for bottled water,
which is only required to be tested once a week at the most.
Bottled water companies don't have to list the source, or
purification methods used on the bottle, so you really don't
know what you're drinking....
A little test I did last year really opened my eyes, when it
revealed that there were roughly 3-5 times as many impurities
in Evian bottled water, than in regular unfiltered tap water.
And not to forget the chemical leech of plastic bottles,
which we talked about in the Green Spot in a previous issue....
Of course, not using so many plastic bottles is tremendously
beneficial for the environment as well, as less bottles need to
be produced, packaged, filled, shipped, and eventually end
up on landfills, or in the incinerators.
So, the best thing you can do for your body, your health,
and the earth is to buy a good (read, not the cheapest one)
filter for your tap, and a good (preferably not plastic) reusable
bottle and take your water with you when you leave the house
in the morning. It's safer to drink (once filtered for metal
residue from the pipes, and other impurities), costs less in the
end, is better for the environment, and certainly beneficial for
our bodies.
It doesn't matter what your'e interested in in this life,
because it's not going to happen if you can't breathe the air
or drink clean water. Do something about the state of the
environment now, because it comes down to you, .....yes,
YOU. You are alive at an absolutely critical moment in the
history of mankind. Make your stand and protect the natural
resources we have available. Do your part and inspire others
to conserve rather than deplete, to make little changes in their
lives that, even though seemingly insignificant, can have a
huge impact for everyone.

For more information about water, head

over to the following website and be
prepared for some truly shocking insights:
6 |RAN|
When In Rome



| By TD Houchen |
rom the inception of this column, I’ve intended to offer become like a sort of positive energy vibrational magnet, who
whatever bits of wisdom I might have accumulated over doesn’t want to be a positive energy vibrational magnet? You’d
the course of my almost 7 years living on planet Japan, in do yourself a huge favor by becoming a PEVM, you could do
the hopes that you don’t make the same mistakes I’ve made, much worse.
or something like that. It’s supposed to be a sort of advice Doing your own thing sets you up as an attractor of energy
column given in the form of social commentary, Japan-style. for which your projects can survive, and thrive. Playing follow
I’ve discussed primarily Japan-esque topics such as tatemae- the leader allows you to only see the guy directly in front of
honne and isshin denshin, and I’ve gotten myself in deep you, and chances are, there are several guys in front of the
dookie after having dished out and perpetuated stereotypes guy in front of you, when do you ever see The Front?
of both Japanese women as well as us nutty foreign dudes, You don’t.
essentially, I’ve been trying to make your stay here a bit less There’s that song about New York, Frankie sang, “..if I
irritating, while trying to be vaguely entertaining, though can make it there/I’ll make it anywhere..”, make it wherever
I’m not sure what success I might have had. It’s still pretty you already are. Hell, think it’s easy making it in a country
irritating for me here, despite my best efforts, however, I do as homogenous and notoriously resistant to change and
think I’ve had marginal success making my life slightly more difference than Japan? No way man.
entertaining, yours too I hope. If you’re able to strap up your boots here and carve your
Maybe I’m irritating to me, I’m trying to suss it. path, create your identity, and thrive as a missionary of
In this installment of WIR, I’d like to flip the script and independent thinking in a land where independent thinking
offer up the advice to do your own thing at all cost, instead of has been all but banned, you’ve earned your stripes and given
trying to do as the Romans are doing. Sure, I’m going out on yourself the green light to succeed almost anywhere.
a limb here, telling you to buck whatever trend you see being We support you here at RAN. This piece is not a shameless
forced upon you in favor of following your own pied piper, plug or self-promotion, it’s a write-up letting you know you’ve
even if he leads to disaster, but that’s exactly what I’m telling got a friend, a potential business ally, a partner, a ready-
you to do and here’s why. made-support-staff here at RAN magazine. Our creed is that
It’s a spiritual thing. See, once you’ve latched your boat we’re here as a bunch of people who want to bend the world
to the next guy’s, you’ve also tied yourself to his karma, be it to our path, not the other way around. We’ve all got ideas
good bad or indifferent. Remember when you were a kid and and dreams and RAN is the physical manifestation of lots of
somebody might take the Lord’s name in vain and you’d move those dreams.
a few feet away from that person, hoping that the coming If we can do it, so can you. I’m no military brat, however
lightning bolt didn’t accidentally scorch you while it torched that axiom Be All That You Can Be repeats itself in my mind on
your friend? Yeah, so, Karma is a bit like that, in that, if a daily basis.
illustration: ADRIEN SANBORN

you’re following the next guy, or the next guy’s trends, you’ve While everyone else is going around complaining about
increased the likelihood that you’ll reap what he has sown. the lack of whatever there is or isn’t to do, you be the one to
You don’t want to do this. Unless you’ve got no ideas or mind do it. Plan that event, open that business, shoot that movie,
of your own, which, as an avid and faithful reader of RAN, I’m build that school, there is no time like the present.
sure you do. Therefore, as my man Vinnie Vintage implores, do
You need to carve the path, instead of just walking on it. you/’cause I’ma do me…..
You need to give those ideas that are swirling around your Be All That You Can Be.
dome sustenance and feed your imagination. It causes you to Right About Now…..

|RAN| 7
Japanese School:

| Story and photos by mzlove |

am a Canadian woman married to a Japanese man whom and stubborn person) and when we go back to Canada in the
I met in Canada years ago and I have been living in Japan summer they fit in fine. In some ways, I am even glad that
for over ten years. I also happen to be the proud owner…. they go to Japanese school. Here are my reasons why…
uh…loving parent of three adorable kids aged six, ten and
twelve. This article is about Japanese school. Why, you ask? Rule no. 1: Janitor Duty
Well, some people I’ve talked to with young kids in Japan,
especially new parents, seem be living in god forsaking fear Kids clean the school in Japan. No janitors. I mean, kids do
of their kids ever attending local school in Japan. I can’t say not just have to clean up their own stuff, but after lunch every
what’s right for everyone’s kids, but kids are kids, and if you day they have to sweep their classroom, all the hallways, the
live here, there is no reason to fear local public school. My entrance and gym and then wipe the floors on their hands
kids all go to local Japanese elementary school. Shocked? and knees with a rag! It’s true. I’ve seen them do it! They are
Sadistic tendencies you say? Modern day torture for kids? also assigned weekly and monthly duties that range from
Maybe, but Japanese school is not as bad as its reputation in feeding the school animals, watering the plants and pulling
Western countries makes it out to be, and since my husband weeds, beating out all the carpets of dust and cleaning up the
is Japanese, his extended family is Japanese, and my kids also computer rooms and libraries. They don’t need janitors here;
hold Japanese citizenship, is it so wrong to want them to learn the kids do everything!!! The kids even have to do toilet duty
about their own culture…and I mean, if you don’t learn those with scrub brushes and everything. This particularly lovely
pesky kanji young, you never will! duty doesn’t start till grade 3 at our school, I guess to spare the
So now you have kids. That’s OK. Life stays all fine and little kids the fine job of scrubbing out toilet bowls. Never too
dandy while the little tykes are still at home for the first few early to start I say! I’ve seen these kids cleaning up on school
years anyway, giving you plenty of opportunity to genteelly observation day and they actually seemed to be enjoying
exert your cultural influence over their little lives and themselves! Maybe cause it was better than doing math, but
psyches…down their throats is probably more like it but still, this is an awesome rule.
hey…it’s your language and culture, this stuff is important!
The funny thing with kids though, is that they grow…and Rule no. 2: Cafeteria Duty
continue growing, till you realize they are about to start grade
one, you are forced to buy scandalously overpriced randoseru Everyone knows that public schools in Japan have had a
and you can’t do a damn thing about it. Your kids are being state run school lunch program that started with the Allied
high jacked into the Japanese school system, destined to be Occupation after the war. Initially used by the US government
programmed into little non-individualistic, kanji regurgitating as a smart way for America’s farmers to rid themselves of
robots lacking in creativity who will NEVER be like you. mountains of surplus flour and grains, it also served to ward
Well, that may be true to some extent, but let’s focus on the off widespread starvation and malnutrition in post war Japan
positives! All is not lost. In the six years since my kids started (so we won’t hold it against the US…this time). Japanese
at Japanese school, I have managed to stumble across some schools usually employ local women from the neighborhood
pretty kick-ass advantages and awesome rules you may not be to actually cook and prepare the food from scratch everyday
aware of. My kids all still speak English to me (I am a diligent in the kitchens located on the school premises. (No pre-

8 |RAN|
fried frozen chicken nuggets, greasy burgers or ketchup (at ease), kiotsuke! (attention), rei! (bow). Then, to really drive
masquerading as a vegetable on school lunch menus in Japan, some manners into these kids, at the end of the lessons, they
thank you very much Mr. Reagan!) Five kids are selected have to do the same thing with the chair and then say arigatou
each week to take turns serving the class from huge serving gozaimashita! It seemed a bit strange and over the top at first,
pots brought up to the classrooms. They have to wear dorky but the idea is definitely growing on me. Teachers deserve
white aprons and hats, serve everyone equally, so there is respect and despite whether the kids really mean it or not,
enough to go around and then, get this, the servers serve having to go through the motions of courtesy must count for
themselves and the teacher last, then go to sit down where something, right?
everyone is still waiting for them to start eating! The whole So, that is about it. Our local school is 5 min. walk away.
class has to wait until everyone has been served and sitting Classmates regularly drop in to play as they all live within
down before the traditional itadakimasu can be communally five minutes of each other (keeping neighborhoods safe).
chanted, and then they eat! Talk about lessons in patience, Most kids in Japan also have to participate in gym 3 times
fairness and responsibility! At this rate, I won’t have to teach a week, most schools have a pool where they teach kids
my kids anything at all! Kids get 500ml of milk everyday and to swim…for free. They even have cold water showers kids
a detailed menu is sent home each month with the exact have to take before and after entering the pool, aptly named
nutritional breakdown of every item served on the menu. They jigoku no shawaa (hell shower). The teacher counts to 30
even showcase a different countries’ cuisine every month. Last while they stand in the freezing cold water. Talk about
month the kids ate tacos and bean stew from Mexico…the character building activities! Who needs a mandatory year
diligence put into “Food education” here almost brings tears in the military when there is Japanese elementary school!
to my eyes. (School lunches cost 3,000 yen per month, the The thing is, the kids complain about it, but they also sort of
only cost of public elementary school). like bragging about the hardships they endured together. It
seriously makes me wonder if we, as kids, especially in the
Rule no. 3: Respect Your Elders West, weren’t just a little bit pampered growing up? Nah, I
didn’t think so, either…So, is Japanese school that bad? You
I know this seems a small and insignificant point, but I decide. Life is all about balance. If parents are happy where
was surprised during the first school observation day when they are and accept life as it comes…including Japanese
kids had to start each lesson by getting out of their chairs, school, kids will follow suit. You don’t freak out. They won’t
pushing them in and performing the little militaristic yasume! freak out. Everyone wins.

|RAN| 9

| By Akane Spring-Day |

n 2008, I finally published my own book, 6 years after I had to have a content life, especially for the young. They desired
come back to Japan from London. In 2000, thanks to a big designer bags, clothes, cars and all the material world had to
typhoon as well as to losing a job, it was the right time for offer. However, they seemed to feel empty all the time. It was
me to experience English, culture and life overseas. The book because they had hardly ever thought of what real happiness
is fiction and the story is based on my overseas experiences, was. In other words, real happiness is different from material
such as living in London, visiting Auschwitz, Singapore and happiness. Tomoe was typically materialistic, but she realised
Hong Kong, and teaching at junior high school in Japan. It what happiness was through her journey.
is not just intended to be a thrilling and adventurous story The message I intended was that “Truth is revealed through
but also a thought provoking, sensible and honest story. In the experience of travel and the innocence of a child’s heart.”
each country, I met good people who taught me about life. I had a feeling that students really wanted to know the truth
Furthermore, there were a lot of opportunities to learn about and not just what could be found in textbooks. For example,
history, including past mistakes. The main character Tomoe most students do not know much about the history between
was to be a typical Japanese OL who one day got the chance Japan and its neighboring countries. The curriculum does not
to live life overseas. care to include it. Instead when it comes to say Singapore, the
My book touches upon many different themes. For one, textbook places undue importance on the Merlion. Recalling
it is based on my experiences. It also references “Noah's the pure and passionate spirit of students when I had taught,
Ark” by “Genesis” and some elements of “The Little Prince”. I wanted to focus on such passion in my book. In doing so I
I preferred writing it like ‘The Little Prince". I was impressed dared to mentioned the history between Japan and Singapore.
with the unique philosophy of “The Little Prince”. It has a It is based on my memories of Singapore. Visiting Singapore
strong message. In each star the Prince visits, he tries finding in 2002, I came across the “Battle Box” in Fort Canning Park.
what he really needs. In my story, Tomoe is also looking at The “Battle Box” is a kind of a shelter, which had been dug in
her life through the journey. But it took a great deal of time to the park and was used for British soldiers in the Second World
War until the Japanese
occupied Singapore in the classroom where I taught, I still remember 1942. In my book, Tomoe
visits there by accident and
it being full of pure and passionate student spirit. upon seeing this hidden
history, she swears that
So, I focused on such passion in my book... she will insist on telling
the entire history to the
contemplate how to introduce the numerous themes in just next generation. In my point of view, it should be the role of
the one book. I had been struggling with that problem for a schools to teach the truth with sincerity and honesty.
long time. The world has been changing at an accelerated pace
I resolved the issues after I attended a lecture by a famous the past decade. Terrorists, several wars, global warming,
Japanese writer. At the beginning of his lecture, he was talking natural disasters, bankruptcies, suicide and an ongoing list of
about the past and how it can never be relived. Looking back tragedies. Looking back on only the glory days is hardly clever.
on your memories, you could remember certain details, but If the current situation were in fact the worst in your life,
never fully comprehend the environment of the time. As I then what could be worse than that. Seeing reality for what
was listening to his speech, an idea suddenly came to mind. it is and endeavoring to positively view the current situation
I decided that my character, Tomoe, should be 15 years old. is more important. So, I would like to encourage people to
And so Tomoe was written as a 15-year old teenage girl, full of see things with a positive attitude through reading my book. It
energy during her travels. is my hope to be able to continue writing about my thoughts
In the 1980's, the setting where Tomoe grows up, the on education in the future and to further spread my message
Japanese economy was at its peak. It was not just a dream of positivity.

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

| By J L Gatewood |

reetings fellow Also-RANs. I'll save
the lengthy introduction; you sho
by now, or at least have read that uld know me
one "Gaijin Superstar" volume of
3 if you need to refer back to it. this tome, issue
In that one, I introduced myself as
who actually came under his own the staffer here
volition, with out the aid of psyched
or other dark influences, to JapanLa elic drugs, extortion,
nd. I started this journey physica
before that as a teen in 1991 grow lly in 2001, but really
ing up in the Nikkei infested sprawl
I'm penning this edition of SISS that is Los Angeles.
IG "Yardwork" because some of
our lawns, our mental greenery us need to maintain
. Specifically, living here in Japa
time causes us to want to peer ove n for certain lengths of
r our psychological fences and star
seemingly lush gardens. Stare at e at our neighbor's
their seemingly soft, carpet like turf,
decieved though. The grass is not and HATE. Don't be
as green over there as you think...
Since being in and outta Japan for
10 years, people have started rega
sort of "Life In Japan SAGE" or som rding me as some
ething to that effect. Don't be fool
known to go days on end absolute ed though; I have been
ly HATING this place. Any mention
medical care, government, taxes of conversation about
(and payment thereof), grocery shop
Golden, Silver, and New Years wee ping, traveling during
k, or buying a plane ticket back
same mental effect on me as if Fred to the States-- has the
dy Kruger scratched his hand-knives
a mere 2cm away from my ears... across a chalkboard
 やだ。Guess what y'all, I'M HUMA
of being in a different environmen N TOO! I get tired
t...even though I CHOSE to be
volition. The key here though is, here under my own
I don't go raining on someone else
5 seconds. 's parade about it every
Some of y'all out there are fed up
with Japan for various reasons... Tha
too. Maybe it's time for you to mov t's good. Healthy
e on to something new. But God
a reason... I heard ya TWICE the gave me two ears for
first time, ya dig? So please spare
keep spouting the same "GTFO me the re-run and don't
Japan" spiel to me everytime you
in Sakae, and Mei-eki. Maybe I see me in Kanayama,
like it here man... Maybe I can
ideosyncrasies more than you... May put up with JapanLand's
be I like those things that you hate
As for me being a sage on AllThing ...
sJapan... Well, no. I don't pretend
to that moniker; anyday you'll find to even come close
me asking for advice from someon
tell you what works for me. Eve e as well. I can only
ryday is a struggle, but for the sadi
love my experience here. Because st in me, this is why I
its hard work. Not everyone can do
able to pick a life up and set it dow this. Not everyone is
n in a totally foreign spot on Earth
same thang, different longitude. The and make like its the
n again, not everyone can be an astro
or hip-hop superstar. Just like drin naut, basketballer,
digital art: ADRIEN SANBORN

king, you should know when you

just say no. 've had enough and
It's not giving up, or giving in; its
moving on and finally letting you
its supposed to grow. As for me-- r lawn grow the way
Well like my homie Adam P said
issue 4-- "JPN 4 LYFE BITCHES!" in this same column in
When I've had my fill of this join
t, I'll save you the drama, and just
bar, take my ball, and go home. push away from the

|RAN| 11
A photographic exhibition presenting three Australian
photographers all working with a photographic visual
language under written by the omnipresence of desire

| By Max Pam |

oday, implicit in contemporary Asian culture, are traditions of
mind body relationships long established from periods when
humanistic currents flowed strongly under the guise of edifactory
or contemplative imagery. A figurative art inspired by and taking delight
in the life of this world. The predominantly sexualized image of the
female form depicted in this exhibition tells a narrative of male desire in a
sometimes intensely forensic power that is suggestive of worship.
In Asia bodies created by a 4ooo year old tradition of cultural encoding
co-exist today with modern consumer driven, media created bodies.
Occidental lifestyles have produced significant changes to ways of life
in metropolitan Asia. Rapid post World War Two modernisation has
oppressed these bodies both culturally and technologically to a degree yet
to be witnessed in the Occident.
Diet, clothing and modes of travel have altered muscles and body
structure. Witness the phenomenal disparity in the physical size of
Japanese born prior to and just after World War Two with the average
twenty five to thirty year old Tokyoite strolling down the Ginza today.
Modern concepts in metropolitan Asia consider the body as the slave
of the mind. Rural Asia has however a totally different culture of mind-
body relationship. Large pockets of non-metropolitan Asia are powerfully
feudal, traditional, metaphysical and intrinsically anti-colonial cultural
entities. These decentralised enclaves are a living and sometimes thriving
protest against the modern paradigms of nature, culture, the mind and the
Figurative descriptions of bodies in traditional Asian art were
commissioned as objects of worship, figures were created as divine
prototypes described in the respective and ancient religious cannon.
Over the centuries a body-centric understanding of cultural encoding has
evolved in Asia via the symbolism implicit in figurative iconography. These
understandings vary in accordance with the degree of initiation carried by
the knowledgeable spectator.
One of the sources of this humanist tradition may be found superbly
photo by preserved today at Khajuraho, an eleventh century temple complex in

North India covered with sexually explicit figurative works of carnal
engagement. This huge work of public-religious art, a primer of Karma-
Sutra inspired mind body understandings for the past 1000 years.
12 |RAN|
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Image from Max Pam's 'Atlas Monographs'.
Winner of the coveted PhotoEspaña
Best Photography Book Prize 2010.

|RAN| 13
photo by


14 |RAN|
10u e s t i o n s
Q e B a gl ey
f or M i
1 How long have you lived in Nagoya?
I’ve been in Nagoya 7 years, I lived in Chita Handa my
first 8 months in Japan.

2 What brought you here?

I lived in Hawaii and I met a cute Japanese girl who
asked me to move to Japan with her. What brought me to
Nagoya was that I needed to be around more people, I was
in a band (Sushi Cabaret Club) and all the members lived in

3 Nagoya likes and dislikes?

I like that Nagoya is a big city with a small city vibe, it’s
easy to make friends and the city is easy to get around, but I
also don’t like that it’s a big city with a small city vibe. People
don’t want to change and when change happens it’s a big
deal. I also wish there were more music venues, just more
places to go to enjoy live music.

4 Nagoya Dreams?
I’ve gone from the drummer to the t-shirt guy, but I still
play drums and hope to play shows in front of as many people
as possible. But now if you ask me, “What’s up Mike”, I’ll
probably answer, “I’m busy printing t-shirts man”. My biggest
goal last year was to quit teaching, I needed to be my own
boss, now I’ve done that and hopefully I can continue to make
my business grow.

5 Best Nagoya moment so far?

Every day when I wake up and know I want to work
on my business and enjoy the freedom and the chains that
come with running my own business, those are my best
moments so far.

6 Worst?
Quitting Sushi Cabaret Club was hard-but it had to be
done. To quit something you truly love and worked so hard to
make happen, it wasn’t a good time for me, but if I didn’t quit,
I wouldn’t be here talking about T-shirt printing.

7 You’re King Of Nagoya, Gaijin SuperStar Deluxe, how

do you improve Nagoya?
Simple. I’m waiting for the day they ban smoking in all public
places in Japan.

8 Finish this quote; “Japan is a great country

except for the-“
-rules and all the judgement from others. Relax people.
Smile sometimes.

9 How many bands have you played with in Nagoya?

Just over 10 bands in 7 years.

10 What do you do when you get the “I-wanna-GTFO-

of-Japan” blues?
Call home. Talk with my mom. Realize that in Japan, I have a
few good things going, and to start all over again in the States
would give me the same blues. Maybe…
tHe aRT oF wAR

| By The Threat |

he Art Of War" is a famous manual on the strategies right now, the world is in a state where people need to be
of conquest of self, and the means and methods more aware, culturally, environmentally, socially, spiritually-
towards total victory, written over 2 thousand years by we try to put those concepts into our music-we also try to
Sun Tzu, a Chinese philosopher/warrior. The principles of the make it so you can dance to it, vibe out to it, feel it, make love
book, though thousands of years old, and intended to be used to it…whatever, the fact that we’re in Nagoya has nothing and
for military purposes, are still extremely popular among not everything to do with our sound-Nagoya is Japan’s design city,
only military enthusiasts, but also businesses, organizations, and we’re on the cusp of growth here, we’re trying to blaze a
and individuals as well. It’s simple advice and sound strategy new path from right here…”
offer the reader insight into how to control his own self, and t.a.o.w. is n.o.w.
have influence in his surrounding environment towards victory Know The Future.
not only on the battlefield, but in one’s personal life as well. It
can be said that a person’s daily dealings with life in general
are a sort of battlefield in miniature. You can check out t.a.o.w’s facebook page, under
t.a.o.w, the band---is a ‘new’ group of cultural/social/ “the art of war” for details about the upcoming debut
environmental and spiritually-minded musicians formed from performance at RADIX in september, and you can hear
the ashes of several different musical entities from right here in the tunes on Have t.a.o.w.'s
Nagoya. The band is ‘new’ in the sense that the collaboration "The Way" find it's way onto your playlists and ipods by
between the five musical warriors is new, however, each clicking the following link:
individual member has made his/her own contribution to the
scene here in Nagoya variously. Taro and Danny Sonoir have
been performing and recording as SOLSKYE, elevating the album/the-way/id374176840
masses with their shakuhachi-based electronic music, as well
as spinning the latest electro-based tunes at various events. The Art Of War「The Way」
‘Tzuru’ has and continues to pierce the Nagoya air with her - iTunes で「The Way」をダウン
beautifully glazed jazz and R&B voice, like a Japanese Mary
J. Blige. Chikayo’s classically-trained piano lends beauty and Also, t.a.o.w. is taking part in the new myspace music
emotion to the music, while TD’s ragga rap cuts through the contest "Rock the Space 2" sponsored by Toyota.
air like a sharp samurai sword. The combination is like no
other you’ve ever heard, and definitely like nothing else on the
scene in Nagoya, perhaps the world. The blend is refreshing,
enlightening, colourful, powerful and uplifting. A musical
accompaniment to the Sun Tzu classic.
First off, click the link, listen to their demo tape, and
t.a.o.w has plans for their first Nagoya show sometime in
click the vote button.
September. Taro says the live show, music and message all
revolve around raising the consciousness of people, the band
After that, be sure to plaster their demo tape onto your
itself included. t.a.o.w is a multicultural mix of musicians,
facebook or myspace and pass the future forward.
a sort of west meets east electronic Fleetwood Mac slash
Massive Attack, “…we’re five people who love music, and

16 |RAN|
El v i s
| Story and pictures by EJP |

t takes you about two minutes to find where you’re going to just an odd sort of tingling lingering in your two smaller
have dinner tonight. Often when you travel you’ll walk the toes. It’s a weird, bizarre feeling that echoes with every step.
streets of a city for hours, sometimes even retracing your Jin jin, jin jin, jin jin. The Japanese have such cool ways of
steps several times till you find just the right place to eat. Since describing things like this. A stinging feeling, like you’ve
you don’t eat much, especially for a guy your size, this is stepped on a bee.
important because you don’t want to waste an empty stomach You take a photo of the kushiyaki Elvis and continue on
on a bad meal. That’s one reason for all the walking back your way.
and forth. Another reason is it familiarizes you with the area. At the Lion’s Hotel the two clerks behind the desk are
Another is that you need the exercise. It also helps to work up wearing Hawaiian shirts too. They’re efficiently prepared for
an appetite when you don’t really have one. The main reason, you. Your room is ready and waiting. But to get to it you have
though, is that you simply enjoy walking around and looking to walk down a short hallway and around a corner, take an
at things. It’s fun. And you can spend hours at it. Sometimes, elevator to the fourth floor, get out and turn left, walk down
though, a place just jumps out at you, and that’s what happens a longer hallway, then down a short ramp. You take a left
here in Miyazaki. turn at the next hallway and enter an elevator on your right.
The place is the Elvis kushiyaki shop right around the You go up to the seventh floor, exit the elevator, go right, and
corner from the station. The sign-board outside has a hand continue about 40 meters to the last room on the corner.
painted portrait of Elvis in profile with a white rhinestone suit You’re right next to the ice machine. Gara gara, gara gara,
and his hair slicked back. He’s crooning and playing guitar. gara gara. More onomatopoetic Japanese. The sound of the ice
Except that the guitar isn’t a guitar at all. It’s a kushiyaki— machine spitting out ice cubes onto the pile. The language is
sections of meat on a stick, like a shish-kebab but smaller. full of this stuff.
This is the coolest Elvis you’ve ever seen in your life, and Pera pera, pera pera, pera pera. That’s the sound of a
like everybody, of course, you’ve seen lots of Elvises. You’ll foreigner speaking Japanese. Most foreigners who have learned
definitely have your dinner here. How could you possibly some of the language feel flattered when they are called pera
not? But not yet. First you have to find your hotel and get pera here. They take huge pride in it. Many of them even
settled in. So you take a quick photo and scurry on down the refer to themselves as pera pera, for the love of god. You wish
street. Your foot is feeling much better. It hardly hurts. There’s you had a dollar for every time you’ve heard some white guy

18 |RAN|
who’s been here six long months saying “dai jo bu; ni hon go itself a city, and many without it, has a long covered street
pe ra pe ra.” He thinks he’s saying “no problem; my Japanese lined with shops and stores. These covered
is fluent.” Never mind that he’s probably saying the only thing streets are called arcades, for
he can actually say in the language. Never mind that he isn’t some reason. They are the
saying it correctly anyway. And never mind that he sounds like 1960s versions of Japanese
a bird asking for a cracker as he says it. shopping malls. Many have
The term isn’t nearly as complimentary as these gaijin like been removed, especially in
to believe. You never hear a Japanese person calling another the larger cities, but still the
Japanese person’s Japanese pera pera except possibly in country is littered with them.
parody or satire, or just to call somebody irritatingly noisy. They were originally built
Japanese aren’t pera pera. You are. And so is every other gaijin with government money—a
who can speak four words of the language. It has far less to do pet project of the all powerful
with what your Japanese sounds like than it does with what Department of Industry and
your face looks like. A foreigner who speaks any amount of Commerce, or MITI, which everybody on the planet has heard
Japanese, correctly or not, is pera pera in the Japanese mind. of in connection with the infamous “Japan Inc.” of the 1980s.
And in the Japanese mind, that is not a compliment. It’s more At least everybody on the planet who was old enough to read
like a minor but measured cause for alarm. a newspaper in the 1980s has heard of MITI. Then everybody
A similar word is hara hara. This is the butterflies. That respected it, feared it, and viewed it with an almost mystic
feeling you get in your stomach when you wish you weren’t admixture of awe and contempt.
about to be doing what you know you’re about to be doing. Anyway, these arcades, most of them don’t allow cars, so
Yes. That feeling. That’s the feeling you have now, as you’re except for the occasional delivery truck and the rare car with
about to go back to the front desk. You get that feeling every an asshole behind the wheel who considers himself above the
time you know you’re going to have to talk to Japanese rules, there is little to distract a guy from some serious people
people about anything the least bit unpleasant. The Japanese, watching. You love these arcades. You’ve never seen one that
sensibly, hate unpleasant human encounters, and will go to you weren’t willing to walk down once or twice, and it just
great lengths to avoid them. This is, of course, to their credit. so happens that the one in Miyazaki leads directly from your
The problem for you lies in the nature of the things many of hotel to the Elvis kushiyaki and with your small camera and a
them find unpleasant. Often those things include interacting notebook in a waist-pouch you head out.
with gaijin, especially gaijin who seem suspiciously pera The Elvis Kushiyaki is owned and operated by George W
pera. Not all Japanese have a problem with this. In fact, most Bush’s Japanese half brother. The resemblance is so uncanny
probably don’t. But enough of them do that you have become you’re taken back at first, and you start hoping the talk doesn’t
sufficiently gun shy. Maybe it’s your own problem, but you turn to politics. You do know that George W Bush’s father,
approach Japanese people with trepidation. Almost anything George H W Bush—what the hell is it with rich people
could happen. You’re a gaijin. You don’t look like you could anyway? Do they know something about initials that the rest
speak Japanese. And many Japanese people simply don’t want of us don’t? Or is it just money that they know something
you to. about and the rest of us don’t? Or at least you don’t. Anyway,
But you can’t change the look of your face, for better or you do know that George H W Bush has been to Japan several
worse, and you certainly can’t change the color of it, so pera times, including that time he blew his sushi all over the prime
pera is exactly what you lay on the two guys working the minister in Tokyo, so really, anything is possible. But you’re
front desk in Hawaiian shirts as soon as you manage to find too polite to ask. So you order a beer and ask him about Elvis
your way back there—the sound of a foreigner speaking their instead. He tells you he loves Elvis. “King Elvis” he calls him,
language—because this ice machine just isn’t going to do. You not just “The King.” Never mind that the music he’s playing
have sleep issues and they’ve given you a room in the corner in the shop is about as far from Love Me Tender as music can
between the street and the ice machine, which you can’t get. It’s the rancid, maudlin whining of a genre called enka.
help but notice in passing, is about as far away from the front This is the rough equivalent of Perry Como singing a medley
desk as it can possibly be. But they’re very understanding. of Captain and Tenile songs in one key, to the accompaniment
They’re also very polite. They move you two rooms down the of a dozen accordions doing Stairway to Heaven in a
hallway. You’re no longer on the corner. You no longer have different key, and a three string samisen plucking out the
the butterflies, either. And now there’s a whole other room Chinese national anthem in yet another key, not to mention a
between you and the ice machine. That’s good enough. You completely different count—and all of this seemingly recorded
don’t want to be difficult; you just want to sleep. But not yet. in the middle of an Arkansas chicken yard. Or more likely, a
You find your way through the labyrinth of elevators, hallways, Miyazaki one. Older folks just love this crap here. So do some
and ramps again like a child playing shoots and ladders, to younger folks. So, even, do some gaijin. In fact, so do you.
drop off your bags in the new room. All is well. And except It’s kind of grown on you. You don’t really know the song, but
that you don’t know how you’ll ever find your way back here they’re as easy as dirt to pick up, and you start singing along.
in the middle of the night as drunk as a wino at a wine tasting, Never mind that you can’t carry a tune to save your life. It
the universe is just as it should be. doesn’t matter. Your singing inabilities suit the genre perfectly,
Miyazaki, like every city in Japan with the panache to call and George W Bush’s Japanese half brother doesn’t miss a

|RAN| 19
beat. Both he and the young waitress join in like it’s a birthday yesterday she was 19. And never mind that he has a wife
party—which in fact it turns out to be—and before the song’s and grown children. And never mind that she’s still a college
over you’re all three wearing heartbreak on your countenances student. All of these are reasons why they shouldn’t be in love,
like pee on the floor in a public toilet. Oh the joys of music. possibly, but they are. You know love when you see it. He
You’re the only customer in sight, and you’ve already bonded dotes on her. His favorite word is Yoko-chan, and her every
with these two fine people. After the song, you all sit in refined motion is in alignment with his. There’s little for her to do
silence for a moment, knowing full well that heartaches of save pouring you a beer about once every 40 minutes, and
the caliber lamented in enka simply don’t heal the instant the once she’s finished washing the dishes you’ve dirtied, she just
song ends. You’re all momentarily devastated. stands beside him. She moves in tandem with him. They look
Then you ask him if he happens to have anything right together. They even feel right together, as if they are one.
by The Doors. When he reaches to his left for something she leans that way
George W Bush’s half brother’s name is Nagie-san and too. When he puts his hands on the counter, so does she.
the name of the Elvis kushiyaki is Genso. It means pioneer, or He asks you what you think of her. “She’s single,” he
originator of something. The waitress’ name is Yoko. It means says. “It’s about time she started looking for a boyfriend.
sun child, and today is her 20th birthday. This is a big day for Are you interested?”
her. It’s the day she officially becomes an adult. She can even “Yoko ha ii ko da ne.” Yoko’s a good girl. What else can
start drinking now. Never mind that she has been a waitress you say? You’ve had this very conversation a million times in
in a tavern for a year and a half. Never mind that what’s she’s Japan. When a Japanese guy tries to push a girl off on you it
doing is perfectly legal. Never mind that anybody in Japan only means he knows for sure she won’t go. He’s bragging.
who wants to drink can drink, as long as they aren’t wearing He doesn’t know he’s bragging, maybe, but he’s bragging.
a school uniform. Never mind that people often bring their “But Yoko’s way too young for me,” you continue. Never mind
children to taverns—even their very young children. And never that you’re still younger than Nagie-san. It doesn’t matter. All
mind that nobody here ever checks ID. In this case none of of this is ridiculous talk. But it clears the air. You’re not going
this matters anyway, because Yoko doesn’t drink. She doesn’t to flirt with the waitress, and now Nagie-san likes you even
like it. Her face turns red at the first couple of sips. A lot of better. Here’s you and George W Bush’s half brother, both
Japanese suffer this phenomenon, as a matter of fact. It has hiding out in Miyazaki, drunk as demons, thick as thieves.
to do with allelic differences in certain enzymes. The name He breaks out a bottle of high quality Miyazaki liquor.
of the enzyme group is alcohol dehydrogenase, just in case These two southernmost Kyushu Prefectures, Kagoshima
somebody thinks you’re making this up, and there are at least and Miyazaki, are known for the best rice liquor in Japan.
six of these enzymes in most individuals. Allelic differences Never mind that you don’t particularly care for rice liquor.
are known to have a high correspondence with place of You’re on your fourth shot by the time the Doors finish up for
origin. That means some groups of people are more likely the third time.
to have trouble processing alcohol than others, and many You’re stuffed, but Nagie-san puts some more food in front
Japanese people simply lack that ability for this sometimes of you. This is a small plate of nanban chiken, the deep fried
dubious feat that you yourself have been so blessed with. chicken and tarter sauce you mentioned earlier. It’s excellent.
But no problem. Those in Japan who do have the appropriate He asks you “What is your favorite home cooking from your
enzyme set up are always willing to take up the slack for childhood days?” Then he rephrases himself in English. He
those who don’t, and you and George W Bush’s half brother calls it “mom’s cook,” but this is another thing you’re used
decide to drink Yoko’s share along with your own. By the time to here—absurd English. You can decipher almost anything.
you’ve all listened to The Door’s Greatest Hits from beginning And besides, you understood him the first time. You answer
to end about three times through, dinner is over and you and “beans and ham” which is a dish completely unheard of here,
George W Bush’s half brother are both dangerously close to and you have no idea why you chose that answer. In fact,
being drunk. He doesn’t seem to care, though, and you know there’s little that your mother cooked well enough to be called
you don’t. You’ve been drunk before. You know you won’t turn anybody’s favorite, though you don’t fault her effort. Bless
red. You won’t pass out. You won’t get obnoxious or rude. You her heart. Cooking just wasn’t her thing. But somehow beans
won’t start a fight. Your eyes won’t glass over. You won’t say and ham have come to mind. It takes a moment to describe
ridiculous things, then repeat them about two minutes later. exactly what you’re talking about while both he and Yoko say
You won’t get sick. You won’t do anything to show that you’re “ah, ah, ah” over and over again.
not almost perfectly sober. Except, of course, flirt with the But really, what surprises you more than your answer, is
occasional girl. This is something you never do sober. You’re the question itself. Sure, it seems innocuous enough. And it is
too shy. Also, you’re too sensitive. Also, you’re too old. innocuous. It’s just that in the 20 years that you’ve been here,
But here you won’t do it anyway, old or not, shy or not, not a single Japanese person has asked you this. About a half a
sober or not. There aren’t any girls here but Yoko, and you’ve million of them have asked you if you like Japanese food—can
already noticed that George Bush’s half brother and Yoko are you eat rice, and that kind of foolish thing—then they’ve asked
deeply in love. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ve you what Japanese food you like. None of these questions
been making love. You know nothing about that. You’re not were about you, though. They were about Japan. At best they
clairvoyant, you’re just observant. And what you’ve observed were about what you think of Japan. These are questions that
is that they love each other. Never mind that he’s 58 and just you learned long ago not to even attempt to answer honestly.

20 |RAN|
There’s absolutely no room for the truth in any discussion with write. Fuck a Duck.
a Japanese person about what you think of Japan. You know You’re a writer for the love of god. You’re writing a book.
this, and so does every other gaijin who’s spent more than a It’s a travel book. You’re traveling. You’re not even a full day
minute here. Rarely do Japanese ask you anything whatsoever in. You’ve got about a million kilometers to go. You’ve got
about yourself that isn’t connected to your presence here in thousands and thousands of sentences to write. And you can’t
Japan. It’s as if you had no life before you got here, and you even manage two lines of graffito on a shithouse wall.
don’t remember a single Japanese person asking you what Suddenly this whole pagoda adventure appears to have
American food you like even, much less what of your mother’s failure written all over it. What are you going to do? When’s
cooking you liked, and what of it you miss. Indeed, it seems the next flight back to Nagoya? What are you going to tell
rarely to occur to Japanese people that you could possibly your friends? You’re an idiot. There. You could tell them that.
miss anything about your own country. They just seem to take Like they don’t already know. “Give me a second to think
it for granted that you’re in paradise now, so how could you about this,” you say to Nagie-san and Yoko. “I’ll call you when
possibly miss anything about the hell hole you came from. I’m done.” Then you step aside, or rather you kind of wiggle
When somebody asks you what Japanese food you like, you aside, and let Yoko out of the tiny room. Nagie-san, as sort of
answer strawberries. This is a joke. What’s funny about it is an afterthought says, “You don’t have to cover the whole wall
that nobody even notices that you’re joking. They don’t stop with words, just a couple of lines will do.”
to think that strawberries are not necessarily what anybody That’s a relief.
in his right mind would call Japanese cuisine. Nobody has You sit down on the toilet for a moment to ponder this. You
yet mentioned this seemingly obvious fact. Maybe they’re want to choose your words carefully. Yet somehow the only
just being polite. Probably they are, in fact. No, surely they thing you can conjure up is “beans and ham.”
are. They’re being politely quiet about the fact that they think Beans and ham? Good lord! Is that all you got? You want to
you’re stupid, and you think that’s funny. climb out a window. But there is no window. Be patient, you
So maybe you are stupid. tell yourself. Something will come to mind. You’re an English
It’s a crazy place. teacher. You have a degree in literature. And if nothing else,
But then again, so is the hell hole you came from. there’s always Shakespeare. Except that the only Shakespeare
Nagie-san is good, though. How can you not like a guy lines you have ever actually learned are “Romeo, Romeo” and
whose only two English words are mom and cook? You start “Hoist with his own petard,” the latter of which seems almost
to think he might not be related to Goerge W Bush after all. appropriate to the situation even. But the fact is you don’t
During the fifth go around with The Doors Greatest Hits he even know how to spell petard, much less how to explain to
and Yoko begin to touch hands. Just barely. A less observant Nagie-san and Yoko what the hell one is. You don’t even know
person might not even notice. Or a less drunk one might not. what a petard is, for sure. So that leaves you with “Romeo,
But they’re both on the other side of the small bar. They both Romeo.”
have their hands resting flat upon the counter in front of you, Oh well, you say to yourself, if it was good enough for
and his left little finger is lined up right beside her right one. Shakespeare it should be good enough for you. You stand up
You notice this as you are singing along to Love her Madly. and face the wall.
Just a coincidence, you’re sure. Don’t you love her Madly. Then you sit back down on the toilet. You can’t write
Want to meet her daddy. Don’t you love here ways. Tell me “Romeo, Romeo” on a bathroom wall. They’ll think you’re a
what you say. Don’t you love her as she’s walking out the queer.
door? Fuck a Duck.
“Show him the bathroom,” Nagie says to her suddenly That’s it! “Fuck a Duck.”
when he notices you looking at their hands. No. You can’t write that either. Not on a perfectly clean
Now this is a new twist. You’ve never been taken to virgin white wall. And you’ll have to explain it to Yoko-chan?
the bathroom by a waitress before. Not that you can recall On her 20th birthday? No way. You have some morals, after
anyway. Life is just full of new adventures. What a joy it is to all. Not many but . . .
be here. You follow this lovely 20 year-old—just barely 20— Hell with it. You stand up again and start out in big red
into a small bathroom crammed into a tight corner in the letters: “Life is a bitch. But I love the bitch and the bitch loves
back of the room and there she proudly presents to you in all me!”
of its splendor, a brand new clean white writing wall. And as There. You sit back down and admire your work. Sort of.
you stand shoulder to shoulder with her, admiring its pristine It’s actually somebody else’s work. You stole it from the door of
sheen, Nagie-san sticks his hand through the door to deliver a a bar along one of Shinjuku’s back streets where you first saw
big red marking pen. You are going to be the first to write on it a few years ago. You have, however, corrected the grammar.
their wall. You feel truly honored. The original didn’t include any of the three articles, “a” “the”
You also feel flustered. First, with you and Yoko and most or “the.” So you figure you deserve at least a little credit. So
of Nagie-san’s arm in this tiny space, along with a toilet bowl, you sheepishly stand up and sign your name to it.
of course, there’s hardly room to breathe, much less think. Then, with a heart full of apologies, you date it. But what
You can’t pick your elbow up high enough to write anything the fuck? Life is a bitch. Everybody knows that. Even the guy
without hitting Yoko on the side of the head anyway, and you stole this quote from. Especially him, in fact, you think it’s
it’s just as well because you cannot think of a damn thing to safe to say.


|RAN| 21
Tokaic h
e a
B mmin'
| Story and pictures by J L Gatewood |

had a conversation the other day Miami, the beach for me has always Nagoya by Meitetsu express, this beach
with another ex-pat from the States been the place to see and be seen. has it all-- no need to pack a lunch,
about going to the beach in Nippon. Good food, fun times, and flirtatious food is plentiful from Mos Burger to the
Simply put, he thinks there are no moments are what beach-going is all beachfront food stalls. Conbinis are also
beaches worth going to in Japan. In about. So of course I love living here in around too, in case you forgot essentials
the words of the late Gary Coleman, Japan, where you're never more than 2 like tan lotion.
"What'chu talkin' 'bout Willis?" I found hours away from the ocean. Did ya know that RAN will be
the whole idea more than slightly off Shonan Beach: This is the spot most having our own party at the beach this
base; Japan is a country roughly the in the Kanto go to for their beach fun. year? BangBangBoogie 2010 set to be
size and shape of the state of California, Located in Kanagawa-ken about 2 the beach party of the year for us in the
and is surrounded by water. Japan is #5 hours by Kaisoku train southwest of the Tokai/Chukyo area. What happens when
in longest coastlines in the world with Metropolis. you add one part nomi-kai, one part
18,486 miles of shore (that's 29,750km Shirohama Beach: This spot is tabehoudai BBQ, one part live music/DJ
for you metric system folks). Surely in located about 2 hours south of Osaka in event together, then pour it out over the
all that, there's gotta be some beaches Wakayama Prefecture. Its beaches are sands and surf of a secluded beach in
worth going to, right? white sand, imported from Australia. Fukui on a hot July Sunday? I'm not sure
I spent most of my life living within Shirahama is also known for its hot either, but whatever happens, its sure to
at least a half-day drive from the ocean. springs. If you're looking for a romantic be fun!
Whether splashing around Sandy Hook spot to take your special someone
Beach in New Jersey, skateboarding
in Venice Beach in Los Angeles, or
without leaving Japan, this is it.
Utsumi Beach: Our very own version
For info, visit:
pretending to be a 21st century Tubbs of Venice Beach, right here in Tokai.
from Miami Vice in South Beach in Conveniently located an hour south of bangbangboogie2010

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24 |RAN|

A ,

Dog Moun
| By Iain Maloney |

y elation at getting a job in Japan was tempered more could you ask for?
by a piece of information halfway down the page. Also within walking distance of Inuyama-yuen station –
Location: Inuyama. Daydreams of Kyoto temples and though only open during the warmer months – is the Ukai.
Tokyo live houses evaporated. Where the hell is Inuyama? The Ukai is a quasi-traditional form of fishing using cormorants
internet wasn’t much help, neither were my Japanese friends with wire noosed around their necks. Not for the animal
in Scotland. Near Nagoya was the best we could come up rights activist, but drifting on the river below the castle, lit
with. only by a log fire dangling from the prow and the optional
Inuyama is indeed near Nagoya. 30 minutes away on the onboard dinner make it an enjoyable experience. Bring insect
Meitetsu line, standing at the northern end of Aichi repellent.
prefecture, peering over the Kiso River into Gifu prefecture. At A short bus ride from Inuyama station can get you to
first glance Inuyama is an uninspiring commuter town, feeding either Meiji-mura or Little World. The former is an outdoor
Nagoya with workers and shoppers. A touch more digging museum, a village created from original Meiji era (1868 –
exposes Inuyama’s gems. In reality it is a popular tourist 1912) buildings rescued and relocated to a beautiful lakeside
destination for Japanese holidaymakers and a worthwhile location. Highlights include Frank Lloyd Wright’s main
daytrip for the Aichi urban dweller. entrance and lobby from the Tokyo Imperial Hotel, one of the
The primary focus for visitors is Inuyama castle. Built in first foreign residences from Nagasaki and fully functioning
1537, one of only four castles designated a national steam trains and streetcars. It’s a daytrip all in itself although if
treasure and the oldest original castle still standing in Japan, you have little interest in architecture, history or walking long
this is a must for castle junkies and history buffs. It’s easily distances, this probably isn’t for you.
reached from Little World is also an outdoor museum, though with
Inuyama-yuen station (one stop beyond Inuyama) but less to recommend it than Meiji-mura. It is dedicated to
walking from Inuyama station, while being the longer option, introducing the world to people who have no wish to leave
is more rewarding, since the route takes you through the well- Japan. Each zone is a village from a different part of the world
preserved old town and along the festival route. and many have displays, shops or restaurants showcasing the
Inuyama has two popular festivals. The Spring Matsuri products of that area – German beer in the German house,
is held on the first weekend of April and follows the same curry in the Indian village, Korean kimonos you can try on.
pattern as the unjustly more famous Takayama – floats, Little World makes for a pleasant walk but has limited appeal
puppets, dancers and food. The second is the Kiso river as an educational establishment. A globe and half an hour on
fireworks festival in August, a spectacular and dramatic show Wikipedia would probably leave you as informed about our
culminating in the stunning “Niagara Falls” display, a cascade ‘little world’ as half a day wandering round here.
of gold stretching across the river below the castle. Inuyama is surrounded by a multitude of hiking trails
These are the best and also the busiest times to visit leading up and over the many hills that line both banks of the
Inuyama, but it is a joy all year round. In spring and Kiso. Very quickly you can be out of the urban sprawl and
autumn, when the cherry blossom or the red leaves are on into nature – a nature made all the more atmospheric by the
show, the view from the top level of the castle is simply screeches emanating from Monkey Park. There are numerous
stunning. shrines and temples hidden in the hills and routes for both
On the peak opposite Inuyama castle stands Naritasan, serious walkers and those who just fancy a bit of green and
the main temple for the area and a focal point of the New quiet can be found.
Year celebrations. The modern red and green building is not There is little in the way of entertainment, limited shopping
to everyone’s taste, but the delightful pools and the various and no nightlife, another reason to make Inuyama a daytrip
Buddhist statues leading to the big Buddha are exquisite, as is rather than a weekend break. The one retail experience worth
the teahouse and its manicured garden. mentioning is La Calavera, a fantastic tattoo studio near the
Naritasan used to be serviced by a monorail from Inuyama- station run by English-fluent Kei.
yuen station, but it recently closed down. It’s not much of So, Inuyama has enough on offer to fill a couple of
a hike from the station though, so don’t be downcast. The weekend trips from Nagoya and whether you are interested
photos: J L GATEWOOD

monorail likewise used to take visitors to Nihon Monkey Park; in history, nature, monkeys or body art, you’ll find something
half research center and zoo, half theme park. It’s popular that meets your needs in this town.
with children but not really to be recommended. If they took Inuyama is a mere 30 minute express ride from Nagoya
my advice and allowed the monkeys into the theme park, it station via the Meitetsu Inuyama line. Tourist information can
would surely enliven this third rate venue. Chimpanzees on be found at the tourist info window inside Inuyama Sta., or via
the Ferris wheel and baboons on the rollercoaster – What the city website,

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

Bars & Restaurants shochus including Jamaica’s own Red Stripe. I heard they
recently added tacos to their menu so don’t waste anytime
Restaurant.Bar.Club.Lounge. checking out this cozy bar just behind the Imaike Piago.
WTF is it already?
It's all those things and MORE, and, it's the ONLY PLACE Cars
open until sun-up 7 days a week.
Car Service in English
Come by and check out your boy Maddlove on the 1's Attention car owners - Have you got a car and Shaken
and 2's on any given Monday/Tuesday, you'd swear it is running out? Don't know where to go or how to get it
was a Friday or Saturday night by the people, vibes, and renewed? Take the hassle out of car ownership in Japan.
excitement? Pretty bartenders and easy access and cool Maintenance & repairs, used car inspections, Shaken
low-key atmosphere make STEPS a great place to chill. service and more.
Sakae, near ID Bar.
UK mechanic in Nagoya
Los Novios Mexican Restaurant Call/Mail Adam: 09050329628
Authentic Mexican food is hard to find anywhere in the
world, but especially in Nagoya. For those people to Work / Jobs
whom tex-mex nachos and a shot of Cuervo just won't
cut it anymore, Los Novios is waiting to satiate your
Nagoya Employment Service
palate. Throw everything you have come to expect from
For Foreigners
A public employment security office which provides
Japanese Mexican cuisine out the window - they will
foreign nationals with assistance locating employment.
never put mayonnaise on your tacos here. Try the rich
An English interpreter is available.
moles, traditional southern Mexican style sauces made
with unsweetened chocolate and chilis, or the ceviche, Need Work? All kinds of jobs, factory,
mixed seafood cured with lemon and onions. The restaurant, teaching, service, etc.
kitchen makes full use of many traditional Mexican 9:30-4:30 Monday-Friday
ingredients such as calabazas mexican gourds, nopales 052 264 1901
cactus and a wide variety of Mexican chilis. Los Novios
also boasts an impressive tequila selection, or for true
connoisseurs they also carry a nice assortment of earthy Books / Literature
Mezcal. pruébalo guey!
Infinity Books
Le Bersey Bookworms and literati, some things are meant to be
Trust me, the only thing French is the name. Just up the shared, and others to be hoarded - this site is a little of
street from Ikeshita station, this has become my “dive” both. Imagine being able to buy English language books in
over the past year. I say that with tongue in cheek; the Japan and not have to pay an arm and a leg for shipping.
decor, drinks, and eats are far from dive quality, but the Of course there are already shops such as Amazon which
prices most certainly please the tightest of budgets--Can provide this sort of service, but the advantage to this shop
you say ‘One Coin Beer?’ Suzuki-san and his sons keep is that the prices are generally better, the customer service
the place humming, and there’s a crowd of regulars that is in clear, non-babelfish English, and my personal favorite
will make you think you just walked on the set of Cheers. point - accepts Paypal, unlike most websites in Japan.
There is an impressive collection of books in dozens of
Jerk Chicken genres and categories and the prices can't be beat. Hurry
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Jamaica – and check this site out before it gets picked clean by the
consider yourself flattered. Imaike is not the most likely book vultures.
location for taste of that island spirit, but just try to
resist walk by this place without sticking your head in.
background image: ACHIM RUNNEBAUM

You’ll be lured in by the sound of reggae music and the

aroma of rotissery chicken which more than makes up
for the unimaginative shop name. I am not enough of an
authority to vouch for the authenticity but I will say the Others
lunch menu can’t be beat. Fresh handmade salsa and RAN also recommends:
succulent chicken roasted to perfection, accompanied by Be Kind And Generous.
rice, coleslaw and soup all for a very reasonable price. It'll come back to you.
The shop also boasts a full menu of beers, wines and We Promise.

|RAN| 31
|RAN| 31

o r
r t
t h
h R
R e
e a
a d
d iinngg::
C o
o m
m iiccss W
W o
| By Adam Pasion |

or expats, good reading material is like a desert oasis, story like Tonoharu.
when you find something good you devour it. Every time RAN: You were an assistant English teacher on the JET program
I am lucky enough to find an English bookstore I take a for a few years,how much of *Tonoharu* is based on that?
gander at the Japan section even though I already know what I Are the characters, such as the eccentric Europeans or the shy
am going to find there: a beat-up copy of the Lonely Planet, a protagonist based on any people you metduring your stay?
few dated books about modern Japan published 30 years ago, Martinson: Tonoharu isn't autobiographical in the strictest
and some book explaining the importance of manga. It's a let- sense, but I borrowedheavily from my own experience. Most
down every time, but I still check it out without fail, hoping of the Japanese teachers in the bookwere at least partially
for that rare gem. It's fair to say Tonoharu by Lars Martinson is based on people I worked with. The scene in which a teacher
the book I have been looking for all these years. talks about how she doesn't like to go out because she's afraid
Tonoharu is for all intents and purposes a fictional world of running into her students was adapted almost verbatim
representing rural Japan in general, and it's newest resident is from an actual conversation I had with a teacher once.
Dan, a shy, weak-willed, milquetoast sort of everyman whose I made up the eccentric Europeans, but the inspiration for
hobbies include sleeping and watching TV. In this sleepy them came from experience as well. I lived in a small town
little village in the middle of nowhere Dan is practically that had no expat community, but there was one other
the only foreigner in town and the nearest English speaking foreigner who lived there that I'd see from time to time. It was
friend is more than a half-hour train ride and several towns weirdly awkward running into him. It felt odd to ignore him,
away. Its sink or swim for Dan as he gets adjusted to a life but it would've been just as unnatural to greet him, since
completely foreign to him, even ordering a coffee is a chore. we were complete strangers. I always wondered why he was
Sound familiar? living out in the middle of nowhere. That guy was the impetus
The artwork is deceptively simple, and yet incredibly for my decision to add in mysterious foreigners that inhabit
rich. The character design harkens back to the golden the edge of Tonoharu's story. The protagonist is based on a
age of cartooning in the 20s and 30s and is set against number of people, but he's probably mostly a shyer, more
intricately crosshatched backgrounds rendered with an helpless version of myself.
incredible eye for detail. The book is beautifully bound in two-
color hardback as well, which makes it even harder to believe RAN: Do you feel like living in a rural area inspired you to
the book was self-published with the help of a Xeric Grant, a create more or would you have preferred to live in a bigger
publishing grant awarded by Peter Laird, co-creator of Teenage city like Tokyo?
Mutant Ninja Turtles. Martinson: I'm a city slicker at heart, but living out in the
Martinson succeeds in crafting a tale about life in Japan sticks had its advantages. It forced me to learn Japanese and
that is both relevant and relatable without taking the all-too- integrate myself into Japanese society. If I had been living
common “Japan is whacky” approach. He treats the Japanese in Tokyo or someplace like that, I probably would've spent
and foreign characters equally and presents situations most of my time with other foreigners, but out in the country
unembellished and as matter-of-fact. And yet when you read it I didn't have that crutch. It was lonely and frustrating at times,
you will find yourself laughing with the character and feeling but all-in-all was a positive experience.
sympathetic at the same time. Martinson was kind enough to RAN: Your choice to leave the Japanese as is with no
answer a few questions for us about how he came to create a subtitles is a great storytelling device. Especially how you use

32 |RAN|
*katakana* for mid-level Japanese and *kanji*
for fluent Japanese. But it leaves a large
portion of your book unintelligible to English-
only audiences. Can you talk a little
about why you made the choice to
do that?
Martinson: Originally I planned to include
English translations next to the Japanese text,
but after I finished the script and looked it
over, I decided that the book was better off
without them. One of my goals in creating
Tonoharu was to simulate the experience
of living in a foreign country, and I figured
that I could best communicate the sense of
isolation that every expat feels by leaving
translations out. As for the use of romaji,
katakana and kanji, I always got a kick
out of how on Japanese shows, whenever
a foreigner speaks Japanese, they would
always subtitle it in katakana, as if the
foreigner is just a trained parrot that has
been taught to speak phonetically. So I
tried to reproduce that stylistically in my
use of Japanese, as an Easter egg of sorts
for those who can read it.
RAN: Your artwork seems influenced
more by classical Japanese art than
manga. As a cartoonist living in Japan
what were your impressions of the
manga scene? How does it compare to
comics in America?
Martinson: American cartoonist Art
Spiegelman once said, "The Future of
Comics is in the Past", and I agree
with that sentiment wholeheartedly.
A lot of my inspiration comes from
the past; American newspaper comics
from the 1930s, 19th century book
illustration, and traditional Japanese
art, as you said.
My most recent stay in Japan was a two-
year stint studying East Asian calligraphy at Shikoku University. Martinson:
To my mind, Chinese/Japanese calligraphy is the world's most You know, I'm not sure if I've ever showed Tonoharu to
sophisticated inking tradition, and cartoonists could learn A a Japanese person whose English was good enough to read it!
LOT by studying it; I know I did. Not by design or anything, it's just worked out that way.
I probably won't make any friends by admitting this, but I'm RAN: Tell us a little bit about what projects you have coming
not the biggest fan of manga. Some of it is great (such as the up next?
Phoenix series, Sazae-san, Doraemon, and Norakuro), but a Martinson: Tonoharu: Part Two is almost done and will be
lot of it is pretty ho-hum to me. The comics I gravitate towards out sometime later this year.
are of the "alternative/literary" variety (or whatever you want to Other than that, a French translation of Tonoharu will be
call them). From what I've seen, America has a lot more work coming out next year. But no Japanese translation in the works
of this sort, which is weird when you consider how minuscule yet, I'm sad to say. Maybe some day!
the American comics market is compared to Japan. I've
looked, but I've never been able to find a Japanese equivalent Tonoharu – Lars Martinson
of Chris Ware, Jim Woodring, Dan Clowes or any of the other
American alternative cartoonists I admire.
If any of your readers know of any great Japanese comics of Pliant Press
this sort that I'm missing, please let me know! ISBN: 978-0-9801023-2-1
RAN: What kind of reaction do you get from Japanese readers hardcover; Graphic Novel/Fiction, 128 pp., 2-color
to your work? $19.95

|RAN| 33


Little Romania

| By Restaurant With Pride |

armale, located in a very easy to find location in Shin garden at the front of the restaurant giving a Mediterranean feel.
Sakae, has just celebrated its 1st year anniversary and is This entrance is definitely the only one of its kind in Nagoya,
powering into its second year with its very special style and possibly the whole of Japan. The relaxed European
of traditional Romanian cuisine. style terrace will be an excellent spot to enjoy your warm
Romanian food shares influences from neighboring summer nights.
countries Greece and Hungary. The most famous dish on the A unique selling point of the restaurant is their Romanian
menu, and the origin of the restaurant's name, is sarmale, Bento, which costs just 500 yen and changes daily. These
which consists of tender rolled cabbage stuffed with rice bentos are now available for delivery in the Shinsakae area,
and mince. Other items on the menu include homemade with the future possibility of extending the service to Sakae.
sausage, Ciorba de burta, a tripe and vegetable soup and a Melinda told us proudly that “Romania is a completely
variety of salads. For those with a love of desserts there is Latin country, with all the food, passion, language, culture and
Papanasi, Romania's most famous dessert, deep fried donuts music to be found in any other Latin country”.
smothered in jam. With it's vibrant menu, warm atmosphere and Papa Feri's
Wine lovers will be interested to discover that Romania welcoming terrace, Sarmale is a great place for summer dining
has one of the oldest wine making traditions in the world, or just a relaxing drink.
dating as far back as the 16th century. Today Romania is the
one of the world's largest wine producers, try the delightful 名古屋市東区葵 1-16-28 日吉 1F
summer wines from the Cotnari region and the robust variety Nagoya, Higashi-Ku, Aoi 1-16-28 Nichi Yoshi Bldg 1F
of reds on the menu. 052-935-8877
For the next year or so Melinda, the owner of Sarmale, 2 min walk from Shin-Sakae Machi Sta,
is being helped in the restaurant by her father ‘Papa Feri'. Higashiyama line
Together, as hosts of Sarmale, they infuse the restaurant with a
traditional Romanian atmosphere. In addition to the classical
culinary tradition of Romanian food, they also have live
Romanian music and gypsy dances. Papa Feri has brought
his own individual touch, adding a Romanian beer and wine

34 |RAN|
HE R E !
RAN Magazine is now considering
new comics to include in future
issues of RAN. If you would like to
have your work considered, please
send digital submissions to
and get your comics published.