RANMAGAZINE.

COM July / August 2010 | ISSUE 6 |

S U M M E R I N T HECITY

Forward
初 め に

I

| By Adam Pasion |

n August of last year RAN Magazine took its maiden voyage into the sea of 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

features
cover art: EMMANUEL ANGELICAS table of contents photo: ACHIM RUNNEBAUM

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

15 10 Questions for Mike Bagley
Nagoya's local T-shirt man, Mike Bagley, shares his thoughts on this little town.

departments

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 Listen
Elvis

The Art of War Publisher: TD Houchen Chief Editor: Jason L. Gatewood Copy Editor: Larry Defelippi Photography: Achim Runnebaum Chief Designer: Adrien Sanborn Illustrator/Designer: Adam Pasion Send story ideas to: editor@ranmagazine.com Send photography and illustration to: submit@ranmagazine.com To advertise, contact: ad-sales@ranmagazine.com Promotional Events/Co-Promotion: tdhouchen@ranmagazine.com

18 The Pagoda Diaries 26 Go
Inuyama: Dog Mountain

31 32 Read 35

RAN Recommends

Comics Worth Reading: Tonoharu

34 Taste
Sarmale

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

www.

ranmagazine .com
|RAN| 3

環 境

The

G reen

SPOT

| Story and photo by Achim Runnebaum |

Still Waters
W
ater, the most abundant substance on the planet, but also the most misunderstood when it comes to drinking it. I think we all know that drinking water is good for us. We hear it from health experts every day. But just how important is water for us to have a healthy life? With the sweltering Nagoya summer approaching quicker than a herd of salarymen descending on a nomihodai, it's becoming more and more important to keep your body hydrated. So let's take a closer look at the big H2O. When you were a kid in school, you learned that each molecule of water is made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom - hence H2O. You may also have learned that it was great fun to fill up your squirt guns with water and unload

processes the body goes through regularly. If you do any kinds of sports of physical exercise, it's even more. The best way to replenish the lost water content is to drink more water, of course (as if you didn't know that already).... But drinking water not only replenishes your lost supply of water; it also has many other health benefits: *Weight loss - Not only does it replace high-calorie drinks like soda and juices, it is also a great appetite suppressant. Water has no fat, no calories, no carbs, no sugar....It's just water, and that's a good thing. *Healthy for your heart - Drinking lots of water significantly lowers your risk of heart disease and heart attacks. If you drink more than 5 glasses a day, you are 41% less likely to die from

Run Deep

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

http://imparo.wordpress.com/ 2007/08/27/tap-water-vs-bottled -water-and-the-environment/

6 |RAN|

When In Rome

F

| By TD Houchen |

E S T T I C S A O R P P T O T A

郷 に 入 れ ば

rom the inception of this column, I’ve intended to offer whatever bits of wisdom I might have accumulated over the course of my almost 7 years living on planet Japan, in the hopes that you don’t make the same mistakes I’ve made, or something like that. It’s supposed to be a sort of advice column given in the form of social commentary, Japan-style. I’ve discussed primarily Japan-esque topics such as tatemaehonne and isshin denshin, and I’ve gotten myself in deep dookie after having dished out and perpetuated stereotypes of both Japanese women as well as us nutty foreign dudes, essentially, I’ve been trying to make your stay here a bit less irritating, while trying to be vaguely entertaining, though I’m not sure what success I might have had. It’s still pretty irritating for me here, despite my best efforts, however, I do think I’ve had marginal success making my life slightly more entertaining, yours too I hope. Maybe I’m irritating to me, I’m trying to suss it. In this installment of WIR, I’d like to flip the script and offer up the advice to do your own thing at all cost, instead of trying to do as the Romans are doing. Sure, I’m going out on a limb here, telling you to buck whatever trend you see being forced upon you in favor of following your own pied piper, even if he leads to disaster, but that’s exactly what I’m telling you to do and here’s why. It’s a spiritual thing. See, once you’ve latched your boat to the next guy’s, you’ve also tied yourself to his karma, be it good bad or indifferent. Remember when you were a kid and somebody might take the Lord’s name in vain and you’d move a few feet away from that person, hoping that the coming lightning bolt didn’t accidentally scorch you while it torched your friend? Yeah, so, Karma is a bit like that, in that, if you’re following the next guy, or the next guy’s trends, you’ve increased the likelihood that you’ll reap what he has sown. You don’t want to do this. Unless you’ve got no ideas or mind of your own, which, as an avid and faithful reader of RAN, I’m sure you do. You need to carve the path, instead of just walking on it. You need to give those ideas that are swirling around your dome sustenance and feed your imagination. It causes you to

become like a sort of positive energy vibrational magnet, who doesn’t want to be a positive energy vibrational magnet? You’d do yourself a huge favor by becoming a PEVM, you could do much worse. Doing your own thing sets you up as an attractor of energy for which your projects can survive, and thrive. Playing follow the leader allows you to only see the guy directly in front of you, and chances are, there are several guys in front of the guy in front of you, when do you ever see The Front? You don’t. There’s that song about New York, Frankie sang, “..if I can make it there/I’ll make it anywhere..”, make it wherever you already are. Hell, think it’s easy making it in a country as homogenous and notoriously resistant to change and difference than Japan? No way man. If you’re able to strap up your boots here and carve your path, create your identity, and thrive as a missionary of independent thinking in a land where independent thinking has been all but banned, you’ve earned your stripes and given yourself the green light to succeed almost anywhere. We support you here at RAN. This piece is not a shameless plug or self-promotion, it’s a write-up letting you know you’ve got a friend, a potential business ally, a partner, a readymade-support-staff here at RAN magazine. Our creed is that we’re here as a bunch of people who want to bend the world to our path, not the other way around. We’ve all got ideas and dreams and RAN is the physical manifestation of lots of those dreams. If we can do it, so can you. I’m no military brat, however that axiom Be All That You Can Be repeats itself in my mind on a daily basis. While everyone else is going around complaining about the lack of whatever there is or isn’t to do, you be the one to do it. Plan that event, open that business, shoot that movie, build that school, there is no time like the present. Therefore, as my man Vinnie Vintage implores, do you/’cause I’ma do me….. Be All That You Can Be. Right About Now…..

illustration: ADRIEN SANBORN

|RAN| 7

Japanese School:

I

| Story and photos by mzlove |
am a Canadian woman married to a Japanese man whom I met in Canada years ago and I have been living in Japan for over ten years. I also happen to be the proud owner…. uh…loving parent of three adorable kids aged six, ten and twelve. This article is about Japanese school. Why, you ask? Well, some people I’ve talked to with young kids in Japan, especially new parents, seem be living in god forsaking fear of their kids ever attending local school in Japan. I can’t say what’s right for everyone’s kids, but kids are kids, and if you live here, there is no reason to fear local public school. My kids all go to local Japanese elementary school. Shocked? Sadistic tendencies you say? Modern day torture for kids? Maybe, but Japanese school is not as bad as its reputation in Western countries makes it out to be, and since my husband is Japanese, his extended family is Japanese, and my kids also hold Japanese citizenship, is it so wrong to want them to learn about their own culture…and I mean, if you don’t learn those pesky kanji young, you never will! So now you have kids. That’s OK. Life stays all fine and dandy while the little tykes are still at home for the first few years anyway, giving you plenty of opportunity to genteelly exert your cultural influence over their little lives and psyches…down their throats is probably more like it but hey…it’s your language and culture, this stuff is important! The funny thing with kids though, is that they grow…and continue growing, till you realize they are about to start grade one, you are forced to buy scandalously overpriced randoseru and you can’t do a damn thing about it. Your kids are being high jacked into the Japanese school system, destined to be programmed into little non-individualistic, kanji regurgitating robots lacking in creativity who will NEVER be like you. Well, that may be true to some extent, but let’s focus on the positives! All is not lost. In the six years since my kids started at Japanese school, I have managed to stumble across some pretty kick-ass advantages and awesome rules you may not be aware of. My kids all still speak English to me (I am a diligent and stubborn person) and when we go back to Canada in the summer they fit in fine. In some ways, I am even glad that they go to Japanese school. Here are my reasons why…

Rule no. 1:

Janitor Duty

Kids clean the school in Japan. No janitors. I mean, kids do not just have to clean up their own stuff, but after lunch every day they have to sweep their classroom, all the hallways, the entrance and gym and then wipe the floors on their hands and knees with a rag! It’s true. I’ve seen them do it! They are also assigned weekly and monthly duties that range from feeding the school animals, watering the plants and pulling weeds, beating out all the carpets of dust and cleaning up the computer rooms and libraries. They don’t need janitors here; the kids do everything!!! The kids even have to do toilet duty with scrub brushes and everything. This particularly lovely duty doesn’t start till grade 3 at our school, I guess to spare the little kids the fine job of scrubbing out toilet bowls. Never too early to start I say! I’ve seen these kids cleaning up on school observation day and they actually seemed to be enjoying themselves! Maybe cause it was better than doing math, but still, this is an awesome rule.

Rule no. 2:

Cafeteria Duty

Everyone knows that public schools in Japan have had a state run school lunch program that started with the Allied Occupation after the war. Initially used by the US government as a smart way for America’s farmers to rid themselves of mountains of surplus flour and grains, it also served to ward off widespread starvation and malnutrition in post war Japan (so we won’t hold it against the US…this time). Japanese schools usually employ local women from the neighborhood to actually cook and prepare the food from scratch everyday in the kitchens located on the school premises. (No pre-

8 |RAN|

fried frozen chicken nuggets, greasy burgers or ketchup masquerading as a vegetable on school lunch menus in Japan, thank you very much Mr. Reagan!) Five kids are selected each week to take turns serving the class from huge serving pots brought up to the classrooms. They have to wear dorky white aprons and hats, serve everyone equally, so there is enough to go around and then, get this, the servers serve themselves and the teacher last, then go to sit down where everyone is still waiting for them to start eating! The whole class has to wait until everyone has been served and sitting down before the traditional itadakimasu can be communally chanted, and then they eat! Talk about lessons in patience, fairness and responsibility! At this rate, I won’t have to teach my kids anything at all! Kids get 500ml of milk everyday and a detailed menu is sent home each month with the exact nutritional breakdown of every item served on the menu. They even showcase a different countries’ cuisine every month. Last month the kids ate tacos and bean stew from Mexico…the diligence put into “Food education” here almost brings tears to my eyes. (School lunches cost 3,000 yen per month, the only cost of public elementary school).

Rule no. 3:

Respect Your Elders

I know this seems a small and insignificant point, but I was surprised during the first school observation day when kids had to start each lesson by getting out of their chairs, pushing them in and performing the little militaristic yasume!

(at ease), kiotsuke! (attention), rei! (bow). Then, to really drive some manners into these kids, at the end of the lessons, they have to do the same thing with the chair and then say arigatou gozaimashita! It seemed a bit strange and over the top at first, but the idea is definitely growing on me. Teachers deserve respect and despite whether the kids really mean it or not, having to go through the motions of courtesy must count for something, right? So, that is about it. Our local school is 5 min. walk away. Classmates regularly drop in to play as they all live within five minutes of each other (keeping neighborhoods safe). Most kids in Japan also have to participate in gym 3 times a week, most schools have a pool where they teach kids to swim…for free. They even have cold water showers kids have to take before and after entering the pool, aptly named jigoku no shawaa (hell shower). The teacher counts to 30 while they stand in the freezing cold water. Talk about character building activities! Who needs a mandatory year in the military when there is Japanese elementary school! The thing is, the kids complain about it, but they also sort of like bragging about the hardships they endured together. It seriously makes me wonder if we, as kids, especially in the West, weren’t just a little bit pampered growing up? Nah, I didn’t think so, either…So, is Japanese school that bad? You decide. Life is all about balance. If parents are happy where they are and accept life as it comes…including Japanese school, kids will follow suit. You don’t freak out. They won’t freak out. Everyone wins.

|RAN| 9

CHI LA PU SSE RINCE P
ION AN INTRODUCT

I

| By Akane Spring-Day |
n 2008, I finally published my own book, 6 years after I had come back to Japan from London. In 2000, thanks to a big typhoon as well as to losing a job, it was the right time for me to experience English, culture and life overseas. The book is fiction and the story is based on my overseas experiences, such as living in London, visiting Auschwitz, Singapore and Hong Kong, and teaching at junior high school in Japan. It is not just intended to be a thrilling and adventurous story but also a thought provoking, sensible and honest story. In each country, I met good people who taught me about life. Furthermore, there were a lot of opportunities to learn about history, including past mistakes. The main character Tomoe was to be a typical Japanese OL who one day got the chance to live life overseas. My book touches upon many different themes. For one, it is based on my experiences. It also references “Noah's Ark” by “Genesis” and some elements of “The Little Prince”. I preferred writing it like ‘The Little Prince". I was impressed with the unique philosophy of “The Little Prince”. It has a strong message. In each star the Prince visits, he tries finding what he really needs. In my story, Tomoe is also looking at her life through the journey. But it took a great deal of time to to have a content life, especially for the young. They desired designer bags, clothes, cars and all the material world had to offer. However, they seemed to feel empty all the time. It was because they had hardly ever thought of what real happiness was. In other words, real happiness is different from material happiness. Tomoe was typically materialistic, but she realised what happiness was through her journey. The message I intended was that “Truth is revealed through the experience of travel and the innocence of a child’s heart.” I had a feeling that students really wanted to know the truth and not just what could be found in textbooks. For example, most students do not know much about the history between Japan and its neighboring countries. The curriculum does not care to include it. Instead when it comes to say Singapore, the textbook places undue importance on the Merlion. Recalling the pure and passionate spirit of students when I had taught, I wanted to focus on such passion in my book. In doing so I dared to mentioned the history between Japan and Singapore. It is based on my memories of Singapore. Visiting Singapore in 2002, I came across the “Battle Box” in Fort Canning Park. The “Battle Box” is a kind of a shelter, which had been dug in the park and was used for British soldiers in the Second World War until the Japanese occupied Singapore in 1942. In my book, Tomoe visits there by accident and upon seeing this hidden history, she swears that she will insist on telling the entire history to the next generation. In my point of view, it should be the role of schools to teach the truth with sincerity and honesty. The world has been changing at an accelerated pace the past decade. Terrorists, several wars, global warming, natural disasters, bankruptcies, suicide and an ongoing list of tragedies. Looking back on only the glory days is hardly clever. If the current situation were in fact the worst in your life, then what could be worse than that. Seeing reality for what it is and endeavoring to positively view the current situation is more important. So, I would like to encourage people to see things with a positive attitude through reading my book. It is my hope to be able to continue writing about my thoughts on education in the future and to further spread my message of positivity.

...in the classroom where I taught, I still remember it being full of pure and passionate student spirit. So, I focused on such passion in my book...
contemplate how to introduce the numerous themes in just the one book. I had been struggling with that problem for a long time. I resolved the issues after I attended a lecture by a famous Japanese writer. At the beginning of his lecture, he was talking about the past and how it can never be relived. Looking back on your memories, you could remember certain details, but never fully comprehend the environment of the time. As I was listening to his speech, an idea suddenly came to mind. I decided that my character, Tomoe, should be 15 years old. And so Tomoe was written as a 15-year old teenage girl, full of energy during her travels. In the 1980's, the setting where Tomoe grows up, the Japanese economy was at its peak. It was not just a dream

10 |RAN|

http://akanespringday.blogspot.com/

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

行 く か 行 か な い か

digital art: ADRIEN SANBORN

reetings fellow Also-RANs. I'll save the lengthy introduction; you sho uld know me by now, or at least have read that one "Gaijin Superstar" volume of this tome, issue 3 if you need to refer back to it. In that one, I introduced myself as the staffer here who actually came under his own volition, with out the aid of psyched elic drugs, extortion, or other dark influences, to JapanLa nd. I started this journey physica lly in 2001, but really before that as a teen in 1991 grow ing up in the Nikkei infested sprawl that is Los Angeles. I'm penning this edition of SISS IG "Yardwork" because some of us need to maintain our lawns, our mental greenery . Specifically, living here in Japa n for certain lengths of time causes us to want to peer ove r our psychological fences and star e at our neighbor's seemingly lush gardens. Stare at their seemingly soft, carpet like turf, and HATE. Don't be decieved though. The grass is not as green over there as you think... Since being in and outta Japan for 10 years, people have started rega rding me as some sort of "Life In Japan SAGE" or som ething to that effect. Don't be fool ed though; I have been known to go days on end absolute ly HATING this place. Any mention of conversation about medical care, government, taxes (and payment thereof), grocery shop ping, traveling during Golden, Silver, and New Years wee k, or buying a plane ticket back to the States-- has the same mental effect on me as if Fred dy Kruger scratched his hand-knives across a chalkboard a mere 2cm away from my ears...  やだ。Guess what y'all, I'M HUMA N TOO! I get tired of being in a different environmen t...even though I CHOSE to be here under my own volition. The key here though is, I don't go raining on someone else 's parade about it every 5 seconds. Some of y'all out there are fed up with Japan for various reasons... Tha t's good. Healthy too. Maybe it's time for you to mov e on to something new. But God gave me two ears for a reason... I heard ya TWICE the first time, ya dig? So please spare me the re-run and don't keep spouting the same "GTFO Japan" spiel to me everytime you see me in Kanayama, in Sakae, and Mei-eki. Maybe I like it here man... Maybe I can put up with JapanLand's ideosyncrasies more than you... May be I like those things that you hate ... As for me being a sage on AllThing sJapan... Well, no. I don't pretend to even come close to that moniker; anyday you'll find me asking for advice from someon e as well. I can only tell you what works for me. Eve ryday is a struggle, but for the sadi st in me, this is why I love my experience here. Because its hard work. Not everyone can do this. Not everyone is able to pick a life up and set it dow n in a totally foreign spot on Earth and make like its the same thang, different longitude. The n again, not everyone can be an astro naut, basketballer, or hip-hop superstar. Just like drin king, you should know when you 've had enough and just say no. It's not giving up, or giving in; its moving on and finally letting you r lawn grow the way its supposed to grow. As for me-Well like my homie Adam P said in this same column in issue 4-- "JPN 4 LYFE BITCHES!" When I've had my fill of this join t, I'll save you the drama, and just push away from the bar, take my ball, and go home.

G

| By J L Gatewood |

|RAN| 11

DODGY3
V E N E R AT I O N , SUB L I M AT I ON

AND THE FEM AL E BODY

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

T

| By Max Pam |

photo by

LOZ Z L O
12 |RAN|

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 mindbody 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 body. 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 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 KarmaSutra inspired mind body understandings for the past 1000 years.

www.maxpam.com

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photo by

M A X PA M

Image from Max Pam's 'Atlas Monographs'. Winner of the coveted PhotoEspaña Best Photography Book Prize 2010.
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photo by

EMMANUEL ANG E L ICAS

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10estions ey l Qu
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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. 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 Nagoya. 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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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. Finish this quote; “Japan is a great country except for the-“ -rules and all the judgement from others. Relax people. Smile sometimes. How many bands have you played with in Nagoya? Just over 10 bands in 7 years.

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What do you do when you get the “I-wanna-GTFOof-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…

Listen
聴 く

"T

| By The Threat |

he Art Of War" is a famous manual on the strategies of conquest of self, and the means and methods towards total victory, written over 2 thousand years by Sun Tzu, a Chinese philosopher/warrior. The principles of the book, though thousands of years old, and intended to be used for military purposes, are still extremely popular among not only military enthusiasts, but also businesses, organizations, and individuals as well. It’s simple advice and sound strategy offer the reader insight into how to control his own self, and have influence in his surrounding environment towards victory 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. t.a.o.w, the band---is a ‘new’ group of cultural/social/ environmental and spiritually-minded musicians formed from the ashes of several different musical entities from right here in Nagoya. The band is ‘new’ in the sense that the collaboration between the five musical warriors is new, however, each 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 masses with their shakuhachi-based electronic music, as well as spinning the latest electro-based tunes at various events. ‘Tzuru’ has and continues to pierce the Nagoya air with her beautifully glazed jazz and R&B voice, like a Japanese Mary J. Blige. Chikayo’s classically-trained piano lends beauty and emotion to the music, while TD’s ragga rap cuts through the 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. t.a.o.w has plans for their first Nagoya show sometime in September. Taro says the live show, music and message all revolve around raising the consciousness of people, the band itself included. t.a.o.w is a multicultural mix of musicians, a sort of west meets east electronic Fleetwood Mac slash Massive Attack, “…we’re five people who love music, and

tHe aRT oF wAR

right now, the world is in a state where people need to be more aware, culturally, environmentally, socially, spirituallywe try to put those concepts into our music-we also try to make it so you can dance to it, vibe out to it, feel it, make love to it…whatever, the fact that we’re in Nagoya has nothing and everything to do with our sound-Nagoya is Japan’s design city, and we’re on the cusp of growth here, we’re trying to blaze a new path from right here…” t.a.o.w. is n.o.w. Know The Future.

You can check out t.a.o.w’s facebook page, under “the art of war” for details about the upcoming debut performance at RADIX in september, and you can hear the tunes on myspace.com/taowmusic. Have t.a.o.w.'s "The Way" find it's way onto your playlists and ipods by clicking the following link:

http://itunes.apple.com/jp/ album/the-way/id374176840
The Art Of War 「The Way」 - iTunes で「The Way」をダウン Also, t.a.o.w. is taking part in the new myspace music contest "Rock the Space 2" sponsored by Toyota.

http://www.myspace.com/ seedpage?sproutId=AwCXhtFiMe42-_ri
First off, click the link, listen to their demo tape, and click the vote button. After that, be sure to plaster their demo tape onto your facebook or myspace and pass the future forward.

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PAGODA DIARIES

THE

vis El

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| Story and pictures by EJP |
just an odd sort of tingling lingering in your two smaller toes. It’s a weird, bizarre feeling that echoes with every step. Jin jin, jin jin, jin jin. The Japanese have such cool ways of describing things like this. A stinging feeling, like you’ve stepped on a bee. You take a photo of the kushiyaki Elvis and continue on your way. At the Lion’s Hotel the two clerks behind the desk are wearing Hawaiian shirts too. They’re efficiently prepared for you. Your room is ready and waiting. But to get to it you have to walk down a short hallway and around a corner, take an elevator to the fourth floor, get out and turn left, walk down a longer hallway, then down a short ramp. You take a left turn at the next hallway and enter an elevator on your right. You go up to the seventh floor, exit the elevator, go right, and continue about 40 meters to the last room on the corner. You’re right next to the ice machine. Gara gara, gara gara, gara gara. More onomatopoetic Japanese. The sound of the ice machine spitting out ice cubes onto the pile. The language is full of this stuff. Pera pera, pera pera, pera pera. That’s the sound of a foreigner speaking Japanese. Most foreigners who have learned some of the language feel flattered when they are called pera pera here. They take huge pride in it. Many of them even refer to themselves as pera pera, for the love of god. You wish you had a dollar for every time you’ve heard some white guy

t takes you about two minutes to find where you’re going to have dinner tonight. Often when you travel you’ll walk the streets of a city for hours, sometimes even retracing your steps several times till you find just the right place to eat. Since you don’t eat much, especially for a guy your size, this is important because you don’t want to waste an empty stomach on a bad meal. That’s one reason for all the walking back and forth. Another reason is it familiarizes you with the area. Another is that you need the exercise. It also helps to work up an appetite when you don’t really have one. The main reason, though, is that you simply enjoy walking around and looking at things. It’s fun. And you can spend hours at it. Sometimes, though, a place just jumps out at you, and that’s what happens here in Miyazaki. The place is the Elvis kushiyaki shop right around the corner from the station. The sign-board outside has a hand painted portrait of Elvis in profile with a white rhinestone suit and his hair slicked back. He’s crooning and playing guitar. Except that the guitar isn’t a guitar at all. It’s a kushiyaki— sections of meat on a stick, like a shish-kebab but smaller. This is the coolest Elvis you’ve ever seen in your life, and like everybody, of course, you’ve seen lots of Elvises. You’ll definitely have your dinner here. How could you possibly not? But not yet. First you have to find your hotel and get settled in. So you take a quick photo and scurry on down the street. Your foot is feeling much better. It hardly hurts. There’s

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who’s been here six long months saying “dai jo bu; ni hon go pe ra pe ra.” He thinks he’s saying “no problem; my Japanese is fluent.” Never mind that he’s probably saying the only thing he can actually say in the language. Never mind that he isn’t saying it correctly anyway. And never mind that he sounds like a bird asking for a cracker as he says it. The term isn’t nearly as complimentary as these gaijin like to believe. You never hear a Japanese person calling another Japanese person’s Japanese pera pera except possibly in parody or satire, or just to call somebody irritatingly noisy. Japanese aren’t pera pera. You are. And so is every other gaijin who can speak four words of the language. It has far less to do with what your Japanese sounds like than it does with what your face looks like. A foreigner who speaks any amount of Japanese, correctly or not, is pera pera in the Japanese mind. And in the Japanese mind, that is not a compliment. It’s more like a minor but measured cause for alarm. A similar word is hara hara. This is the butterflies. That feeling you get in your stomach when you wish you weren’t about to be doing what you know you’re about to be doing. Yes. That feeling. That’s the feeling you have now, as you’re about to go back to the front desk. You get that feeling every time you know you’re going to have to talk to Japanese people about anything the least bit unpleasant. The Japanese, sensibly, hate unpleasant human encounters, and will go to great lengths to avoid them. This is, of course, to their credit. The problem for you lies in the nature of the things many of them find unpleasant. Often those things include interacting with gaijin, especially gaijin who seem suspiciously pera pera. Not all Japanese have a problem with this. In fact, most probably don’t. But enough of them do that you have become sufficiently gun shy. Maybe it’s your own problem, but you approach Japanese people with trepidation. Almost anything could happen. You’re a gaijin. You don’t look like you could speak Japanese. And many Japanese people simply don’t want you to. But you can’t change the look of your face, for better or worse, and you certainly can’t change the color of it, so pera pera is exactly what you lay on the two guys working the front desk in Hawaiian shirts as soon as you manage to find your way back there—the sound of a foreigner speaking their language—because this ice machine just isn’t going to do. You have sleep issues and they’ve given you a room in the corner between the street and the ice machine, which you can’t help but notice in passing, is about as far away from the front desk as it can possibly be. But they’re very understanding. They’re also very polite. They move you two rooms down the hallway. You’re no longer on the corner. You no longer have the butterflies, either. And now there’s a whole other room between you and the ice machine. That’s good enough. You don’t want to be difficult; you just want to sleep. But not yet. You find your way through the labyrinth of elevators, hallways, and ramps again like a child playing shoots and ladders, to drop off your bags in the new room. All is well. And except that you don’t know how you’ll ever find your way back here in the middle of the night as drunk as a wino at a wine tasting, the universe is just as it should be. Miyazaki, like every city in Japan with the panache to call

itself a city, and many without it, has a long covered street lined with shops and stores. These covered streets are called arcades, for some reason. They are the 1960s versions of Japanese shopping malls. Many have been removed, especially in the larger cities, but still the country is littered with them. They were originally built with government money—a pet project of the all powerful Department of Industry and Commerce, or MITI, which everybody on the planet has heard of in connection with the infamous “Japan Inc.” of the 1980s. At least everybody on the planet who was old enough to read a newspaper in the 1980s has heard of MITI. Then everybody respected it, feared it, and viewed it with an almost mystic admixture of awe and contempt. Anyway, these arcades, most of them don’t allow cars, so except for the occasional delivery truck and the rare car with an asshole behind the wheel who considers himself above the rules, there is little to distract a guy from some serious people watching. You love these arcades. You’ve never seen one that you weren’t willing to walk down once or twice, and it just so happens that the one in Miyazaki leads directly from your hotel to the Elvis kushiyaki and with your small camera and a notebook in a waist-pouch you head out. The Elvis Kushiyaki is owned and operated by George W Bush’s Japanese half brother. The resemblance is so uncanny you’re taken back at first, and you start hoping the talk doesn’t turn to politics. You do know that George W Bush’s father, George H W Bush—what the hell is it with rich people anyway? Do they know something about initials that the rest of us don’t? Or is it just money that they know something about and the rest of us don’t? Or at least you don’t. Anyway, you do know that George H W Bush has been to Japan several times, including that time he blew his sushi all over the prime minister in Tokyo, so really, anything is possible. But you’re too polite to ask. So you order a beer and ask him about Elvis instead. He tells you he loves Elvis. “King Elvis” he calls him, not just “The King.” Never mind that the music he’s playing in the shop is about as far from Love Me Tender as music can get. It’s the rancid, maudlin whining of a genre called enka. This is the rough equivalent of Perry Como singing a medley of Captain and Tenile songs in one key, to the accompaniment of a dozen accordions doing Stairway to Heaven in a different key, and a three string samisen plucking out the Chinese national anthem in yet another key, not to mention a completely different count—and all of this seemingly recorded in the middle of an Arkansas chicken yard. Or more likely, a Miyazaki one. Older folks just love this crap here. So do some younger folks. So, even, do some gaijin. In fact, so do you. It’s kind of grown on you. You don’t really know the song, but they’re as easy as dirt to pick up, and you start singing along. Never mind that you can’t carry a tune to save your life. It doesn’t matter. Your singing inabilities suit the genre perfectly, and George W Bush’s Japanese half brother doesn’t miss a

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beat. Both he and the young waitress join in like it’s a birthday party—which in fact it turns out to be—and before the song’s over you’re all three wearing heartbreak on your countenances like pee on the floor in a public toilet. Oh the joys of music. You’re the only customer in sight, and you’ve already bonded with these two fine people. After the song, you all sit in refined silence for a moment, knowing full well that heartaches of the caliber lamented in enka simply don’t heal the instant the song ends. You’re all momentarily devastated. Then you ask him if he happens to have anything by The Doors. George W Bush’s half brother’s name is Nagie-san and the name of the Elvis kushiyaki is Genso. It means pioneer, or originator of something. The waitress’ name is Yoko. It means sun child, and today is her 20th birthday. This is a big day for her. It’s the day she officially becomes an adult. She can even start drinking now. Never mind that she has been a waitress in a tavern for a year and a half. Never mind that what’s she’s doing is perfectly legal. Never mind that anybody in Japan who wants to drink can drink, as long as they aren’t wearing a school uniform. Never mind that people often bring their children to taverns—even their very young children. And never mind that nobody here ever checks ID. In this case none of this matters anyway, because Yoko doesn’t drink. She doesn’t like it. Her face turns red at the first couple of sips. A lot of Japanese suffer this phenomenon, as a matter of fact. It has to do with allelic differences in certain enzymes. The name of the enzyme group is alcohol dehydrogenase, just in case somebody thinks you’re making this up, and there are at least six of these enzymes in most individuals. Allelic differences are known to have a high correspondence with place of origin. That means some groups of people are more likely to have trouble processing alcohol than others, and many Japanese people simply lack that ability for this sometimes dubious feat that you yourself have been so blessed with. But no problem. Those in Japan who do have the appropriate enzyme set up are always willing to take up the slack for those who don’t, and you and George W Bush’s half brother decide to drink Yoko’s share along with your own. By the time you’ve all listened to The Door’s Greatest Hits from beginning to end about three times through, dinner is over and you and George W Bush’s half brother are both dangerously close to being drunk. He doesn’t seem to care, though, and you know you don’t. You’ve been drunk before. You know you won’t turn red. You won’t pass out. You won’t get obnoxious or rude. You won’t start a fight. Your eyes won’t glass over. You won’t say ridiculous things, then repeat them about two minutes later. You won’t get sick. You won’t do anything to show that you’re not almost perfectly sober. Except, of course, flirt with the occasional girl. This is something you never do sober. You’re too shy. Also, you’re too sensitive. Also, you’re too old. But here you won’t do it anyway, old or not, shy or not, sober or not. There aren’t any girls here but Yoko, and you’ve already noticed that George Bush’s half brother and Yoko are deeply in love. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ve been making love. You know nothing about that. You’re not clairvoyant, you’re just observant. And what you’ve observed is that they love each other. Never mind that he’s 58 and just

yesterday she was 19. And never mind that he has a wife and grown children. And never mind that she’s still a college student. All of these are reasons why they shouldn’t be in love, possibly, but they are. You know love when you see it. He dotes on her. His favorite word is Yoko-chan, and her every motion is in alignment with his. There’s little for her to do save pouring you a beer about once every 40 minutes, and once she’s finished washing the dishes you’ve dirtied, she just stands beside him. She moves in tandem with him. They look right together. They even feel right together, as if they are one. When he reaches to his left for something she leans that way too. When he puts his hands on the counter, so does she. He asks you what you think of her. “She’s single,” he says. “It’s about time she started looking for a boyfriend. Are you interested?” “Yoko ha ii ko da ne.” Yoko’s a good girl. What else can you say? You’ve had this very conversation a million times in Japan. When a Japanese guy tries to push a girl off on you it only means he knows for sure she won’t go. He’s bragging. He doesn’t know he’s bragging, maybe, but he’s bragging. “But Yoko’s way too young for me,” you continue. Never mind that you’re still younger than Nagie-san. It doesn’t matter. All of this is ridiculous talk. But it clears the air. You’re not going to flirt with the waitress, and now Nagie-san likes you even better. Here’s you and George W Bush’s half brother, both hiding out in Miyazaki, drunk as demons, thick as thieves. He breaks out a bottle of high quality Miyazaki liquor. These two southernmost Kyushu Prefectures, Kagoshima and Miyazaki, are known for the best rice liquor in Japan. Never mind that you don’t particularly care for rice liquor. You’re on your fourth shot by the time the Doors finish up for the third time. You’re stuffed, but Nagie-san puts some more food in front of you. This is a small plate of nanban chiken, the deep fried chicken and tarter sauce you mentioned earlier. It’s excellent. He asks you “What is your favorite home cooking from your childhood days?” Then he rephrases himself in English. He calls it “mom’s cook,” but this is another thing you’re used to here—absurd English. You can decipher almost anything. And besides, you understood him the first time. You answer “beans and ham” which is a dish completely unheard of here, and you have no idea why you chose that answer. In fact, there’s little that your mother cooked well enough to be called anybody’s favorite, though you don’t fault her effort. Bless her heart. Cooking just wasn’t her thing. But somehow beans and ham have come to mind. It takes a moment to describe exactly what you’re talking about while both he and Yoko say “ah, ah, ah” over and over again. But really, what surprises you more than your answer, is the question itself. Sure, it seems innocuous enough. And it is innocuous. It’s just that in the 20 years that you’ve been here, not a single Japanese person has asked you this. About a half a million of them have asked you if you like Japanese food—can you eat rice, and that kind of foolish thing—then they’ve asked you what Japanese food you like. None of these questions were about you, though. They were about Japan. At best they were about what you think of Japan. These are questions that you learned long ago not to even attempt to answer honestly.

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There’s absolutely no room for the truth in any discussion with a Japanese person about what you think of Japan. You know this, and so does every other gaijin who’s spent more than a minute here. Rarely do Japanese ask you anything whatsoever about yourself that isn’t connected to your presence here in Japan. It’s as if you had no life before you got here, and you don’t remember a single Japanese person asking you what American food you like even, much less what of your mother’s cooking you liked, and what of it you miss. Indeed, it seems rarely to occur to Japanese people that you could possibly miss anything about your own country. They just seem to take it for granted that you’re in paradise now, so how could you possibly miss anything about the hell hole you came from. When somebody asks you what Japanese food you like, you answer strawberries. This is a joke. What’s funny about it is that nobody even notices that you’re joking. They don’t stop to think that strawberries are not necessarily what anybody in his right mind would call Japanese cuisine. Nobody has yet mentioned this seemingly obvious fact. Maybe they’re just being polite. Probably they are, in fact. No, surely they are. They’re being politely quiet about the fact that they think you’re stupid, and you think that’s funny. So maybe you are stupid. It’s a crazy place. But then again, so is the hell hole you came from. Nagie-san is good, though. How can you not like a guy whose only two English words are mom and cook? You start to think he might not be related to Goerge W Bush after all. During the fifth go around with The Doors Greatest Hits he and Yoko begin to touch hands. Just barely. A less observant person might not even notice. Or a less drunk one might not. But they’re both on the other side of the small bar. They both have their hands resting flat upon the counter in front of you, and his left little finger is lined up right beside her right one. You notice this as you are singing along to Love her Madly. Just a coincidence, you’re sure. Don’t you love her Madly. Want to meet her daddy. Don’t you love here ways. Tell me what you say. Don’t you love her as she’s walking out the door? “Show him the bathroom,” Nagie says to her suddenly when he notices you looking at their hands. Now this is a new twist. You’ve never been taken to the bathroom by a waitress before. Not that you can recall anyway. Life is just full of new adventures. What a joy it is to be here. You follow this lovely 20 year-old—just barely 20— into a small bathroom crammed into a tight corner in the back of the room and there she proudly presents to you in all of its splendor, a brand new clean white writing wall. And as you stand shoulder to shoulder with her, admiring its pristine sheen, Nagie-san sticks his hand through the door to deliver a big red marking pen. You are going to be the first to write on their wall. You feel truly honored. You also feel flustered. First, with you and Yoko and most of Nagie-san’s arm in this tiny space, along with a toilet bowl, of course, there’s hardly room to breathe, much less think. You can’t pick your elbow up high enough to write anything without hitting Yoko on the side of the head anyway, and it’s just as well because you cannot think of a damn thing to

write. Fuck a Duck. You’re a writer for the love of god. You’re writing a book. It’s a travel book. You’re traveling. You’re not even a full day in. You’ve got about a million kilometers to go. You’ve got thousands and thousands of sentences to write. And you can’t even manage two lines of graffito on a shithouse wall. Suddenly this whole pagoda adventure appears to have failure written all over it. What are you going to do? When’s the next flight back to Nagoya? What are you going to tell your friends? You’re an idiot. There. You could tell them that. Like they don’t already know. “Give me a second to think about this,” you say to Nagie-san and Yoko. “I’ll call you when I’m done.” Then you step aside, or rather you kind of wiggle aside, and let Yoko out of the tiny room. Nagie-san, as sort of an afterthought says, “You don’t have to cover the whole wall with words, just a couple of lines will do.” That’s a relief. You sit down on the toilet for a moment to ponder this. You want to choose your words carefully. Yet somehow the only thing you can conjure up is “beans and ham.” Beans and ham? Good lord! Is that all you got? You want to climb out a window. But there is no window. Be patient, you tell yourself. Something will come to mind. You’re an English teacher. You have a degree in literature. And if nothing else, there’s always Shakespeare. Except that the only Shakespeare lines you have ever actually learned are “Romeo, Romeo” and “Hoist with his own petard,” the latter of which seems almost appropriate to the situation even. But the fact is you don’t even know how to spell petard, much less how to explain to Nagie-san and Yoko what the hell one is. You don’t even know what a petard is, for sure. So that leaves you with “Romeo, Romeo.” Oh well, you say to yourself, if it was good enough for Shakespeare it should be good enough for you. You stand up and face the wall. Then you sit back down on the toilet. You can’t write “Romeo, Romeo” on a bathroom wall. They’ll think you’re a queer. Fuck a Duck. That’s it! “Fuck a Duck.” No. You can’t write that either. Not on a perfectly clean virgin white wall. And you’ll have to explain it to Yoko-chan? On her 20th birthday? No way. You have some morals, after all. Not many but . . . Hell with it. You stand up again and start out in big red letters: “Life is a bitch. But I love the bitch and the bitch loves me!” There. You sit back down and admire your work. Sort of. It’s actually somebody else’s work. You stole it from the door of a bar along one of Shinjuku’s back streets where you first saw it a few years ago. You have, however, corrected the grammar. The original didn’t include any of the three articles, “a” “the” or “the.” So you figure you deserve at least a little credit. So you sheepishly stand up and sign your name to it. Then, with a heart full of apologies, you date it. But what the fuck? Life is a bitch. Everybody knows that. Even the guy you stole this quote from. Especially him, in fact, you think it’s safe to say.

PAGODA DIARIES
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THE

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

For info, visit: http://RAN4.us/ bangbangboogie2010

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Go
行 き や

, YAMAn INU tai
| By Iain Maloney |

Dog Moun

M

y elation at getting a job in Japan was tempered by a piece of information halfway down the page. Location: Inuyama. Daydreams of Kyoto temples and Tokyo live houses evaporated. Where the hell is Inuyama? The internet wasn’t much help, neither were my Japanese friends in Scotland. Near Nagoya was the best we could come up with. Inuyama is indeed near Nagoya. 30 minutes away on the Meitetsu line, standing at the northern end of Aichi prefecture, peering over the Kiso River into Gifu prefecture. At first glance Inuyama is an uninspiring commuter town, feeding Nagoya with workers and shoppers. A touch more digging exposes Inuyama’s gems. In reality it is a popular tourist destination for Japanese holidaymakers and a worthwhile daytrip for the Aichi urban dweller. The primary focus for visitors is Inuyama castle. Built in 1537, one of only four castles designated a national treasure and the oldest original castle still standing in Japan, this is a must for castle junkies and history buffs. It’s easily reached from Inuyama-yuen station (one stop beyond Inuyama) but walking from Inuyama station, while being the longer option, is more rewarding, since the route takes you through the wellpreserved old town and along the festival route. Inuyama has two popular festivals. The Spring Matsuri is held on the first weekend of April and follows the same pattern as the unjustly more famous Takayama – floats, puppets, dancers and food. The second is the Kiso river fireworks festival in August, a spectacular and dramatic show culminating in the stunning “Niagara Falls” display, a cascade of gold stretching across the river below the castle. These are the best and also the busiest times to visit Inuyama, but it is a joy all year round. In spring and autumn, when the cherry blossom or the red leaves are on show, the view from the top level of the castle is simply stunning. On the peak opposite Inuyama castle stands Naritasan, the main temple for the area and a focal point of the New Year celebrations. The modern red and green building is not to everyone’s taste, but the delightful pools and the various Buddhist statues leading to the big Buddha are exquisite, as is the teahouse and its manicured garden. Naritasan used to be serviced by a monorail from Inuyamayuen station, but it recently closed down. It’s not much of a hike from the station though, so don’t be downcast. The monorail likewise used to take visitors to Nihon Monkey Park; half research center and zoo, half theme park. It’s popular with children but not really to be recommended. If they took my advice and allowed the monkeys into the theme park, it would surely enliven this third rate venue. Chimpanzees on the Ferris wheel and baboons on the rollercoaster – What

more could you ask for? Also within walking distance of Inuyama-yuen station – though only open during the warmer months – is the Ukai. Ukai is a quasi-traditional form of fishing using cormorants with wire noosed around their necks. Not for the animal rights activist, but drifting on the river below the castle, lit only by a log fire dangling from the prow and the optional onboard dinner make it an enjoyable experience. Bring insect repellent. A short bus ride from Inuyama station can get you to either Meiji-mura or Little World. The former is an outdoor museum, a village created from original Meiji era (1868 – 1912) buildings rescued and relocated to a beautiful lakeside location. Highlights include Frank Lloyd Wright’s main entrance and lobby from the Tokyo Imperial Hotel, one of the first foreign residences from Nagasaki and fully functioning steam trains and streetcars. It’s a daytrip all in itself although if you have little interest in architecture, history or walking long distances, this probably isn’t for you. Little World is also an outdoor museum, though with less to recommend it than Meiji-mura. It is dedicated to introducing the world to people who have no wish to leave Japan. Each zone is a village from a different part of the world and many have displays, shops or restaurants showcasing the products of that area – German beer in the German house, curry in the Indian village, Korean kimonos you can try on. Little World makes for a pleasant walk but has limited appeal as an educational establishment. A globe and half an hour on Wikipedia would probably leave you as informed about our ‘little world’ as half a day wandering round here. Inuyama is surrounded by a multitude of hiking trails leading up and over the many hills that line both banks of the Kiso. Very quickly you can be out of the urban sprawl and into nature – a nature made all the more atmospheric by the screeches emanating from Monkey Park. There are numerous shrines and temples hidden in the hills and routes for both serious walkers and those who just fancy a bit of green and quiet can be found. There is little in the way of entertainment, limited shopping and no nightlife, another reason to make Inuyama a daytrip rather than a weekend break. The one retail experience worth mentioning is La Calavera, a fantastic tattoo studio near the station run by English-fluent Kei. So, Inuyama has enough on offer to fill a couple of weekend trips from Nagoya and whether you are interested in history, nature, monkeys or body art, you’ll find something that meets your needs in this town. Inuyama is a mere 30 minute express ride from Nagoya station via the Meitetsu Inuyama line. Tourist information can be found at the tourist info window inside Inuyama Sta., or via the city website, www.city.inuyama.aichi.jp

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photos: J L GATEWOOD

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recommends
Bars & Restaurants
STEPS
Restaurant.Bar.Club.Lounge. WTF is it already? It's all those things and MORE, and, it's the ONLY PLACE open until sun-up 7 days a week. Come by and check out your boy Maddlove on the 1's and 2's on any given Monday/Tuesday, you'd swear it was a Friday or Saturday night by the people, vibes, and excitement? Pretty bartenders and easy access and cool low-key atmosphere make STEPS a great place to chill. Sakae, near ID Bar.

RAN ’s staff and readers like these places / this stuff. You might, too...
shochus including Jamaica’s own Red Stripe. I heard they recently added tacos to their menu so don’t waste anytime checking out this cozy bar just behind the Imaike Piago.

Cars
Car Service in English
Attention car owners - Have you got a car and Shaken is running out? Don't know where to go or how to get it renewed? Take the hassle out of car ownership in Japan. Maintenance & repairs, used car inspections, Shaken service and more. UK mechanic in Nagoya Call/Mail Adam: 09050329628 hubbub71@docomo.ne.jp

Los Novios Mexican Restaurant

http://www.los-novios.com/ Authentic Mexican food is hard to find anywhere in the world, but especially in Nagoya. For those people to whom tex-mex nachos and a shot of Cuervo just won't cut it anymore, Los Novios is waiting to satiate your palate. Throw everything you have come to expect from Japanese Mexican cuisine out the window - they will never put mayonnaise on your tacos here. Try the rich moles, traditional southern Mexican style sauces made with unsweetened chocolate and chilis, or the ceviche, mixed seafood cured with lemon and onions. The kitchen makes full use of many traditional Mexican ingredients such as calabazas mexican gourds, nopales 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 Mezcal. pruébalo guey!

Work / Jobs
Nagoya Employment Service For Foreigners
A public employment security office which provides foreign nationals with assistance locating employment. An English interpreter is available. Need Work? All kinds of jobs, factory, restaurant, teaching, service, etc. 9:30-4:30 Monday-Friday 052 264 1901 http://www2.aichi-fodo.go.jp/gaikokujin

Books / Literature
Infinity Books
www.infinitybooksjapan.com Bookworms and literati, some things are meant to be shared, and others to be hoarded - this site is a little of both. Imagine being able to buy English language books in Japan and not have to pay an arm and a leg for shipping. Of course there are already shops such as Amazon which provide this sort of service, but the advantage to this shop is that the prices are generally better, the customer service is in clear, non-babelfish English, and my personal favorite point - accepts Paypal, unlike most websites in Japan. There is an impressive collection of books in dozens of genres and categories and the prices can't be beat. Hurry and check this site out before it gets picked clean by the book vultures.

Le Bersey

Trust me, the only thing French is the name. Just up the street from Ikeshita station, this has become my “dive” over the past year. I say that with tongue in cheek; the decor, drinks, and eats are far from dive quality, but the prices most certainly please the tightest of budgets--Can you say ‘One Coin Beer?’ Suzuki-san and his sons keep the place humming, and there’s a crowd of regulars that will make you think you just walked on the set of Cheers.

Jerk Chicken

background image: ACHIM RUNNEBAUM

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Jamaica – consider yourself flattered. Imaike is not the most likely location for taste of that island spirit, but just try to resist walk by this place without sticking your head in. 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 lunch menu can’t be beat. Fresh handmade salsa and succulent chicken roasted to perfection, accompanied by rice, coleslaw and soup all for a very reasonable price. The shop also boasts a full menu of beers, wines and

Others
RAN also recommends:
Be Kind And Generous. It'll come back to you. We Promise.

|RAN| 31 |RAN| 31

Read
文 学

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

A RU NO H TO
F

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*katakana* for mid-level Japanese and *kanji* for fluent Japanese. But it leaves a large portion of your book unintelligible to Englishonly 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 twoyear stint studying East Asian calligraphy at Shikoku University. To my mind, Chinese/Japanese calligraphy is the world's most sophisticated inking tradition, and cartoonists could learn A LOT by studying it; I know I did. I probably won't make any friends by admitting this, but I'm not the biggest fan of manga. Some of it is great (such as the Phoenix series, Sazae-san, Doraemon, and Norakuro), but a lot of it is pretty ho-hum to me. The comics I gravitate towards are of the "alternative/literary" variety (or whatever you want to call them). From what I've seen, America has a lot more work of this sort, which is weird when you consider how minuscule the American comics market is compared to Japan. I've looked, but I've never been able to find a Japanese equivalent 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 this sort that I'm missing, please let me know! RAN: What kind of reaction do you get from Japanese readers to your work?

Martinson: You know, I'm not sure if I've ever showed Tonoharu to a Japanese person whose English was good enough to read it! Not by design or anything, it's just worked out that way. RAN: Tell us a little bit about what projects you have coming up next? Martinson: Tonoharu: Part Two is almost done and will be out sometime later this year. Other than that, a French translation of Tonoharu will be coming out next year. But no Japanese translation in the works yet, I'm sad to say. Maybe some day! Tonoharu – Lars Martinson http://larsmartinson.com/ Pliant Press ISBN: 978-0-9801023-2-1 hardcover; Graphic Novel/Fiction, 128 pp., 2-color $19.95

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味 わ う

Taste

SARMALE
Little Romania

ROMANIAN RESTAURANT

S

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

http://www.casa-nagoya.com/ sar_english/index.html

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OMICS OUR C Y
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

RE! HE

submit@ ranmagazine.com
and get your comics published.