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RANMAGAZINE.COM September / October 2010 | ISSUE 7 |
September / October 2010 - ISSUE NO. 7
cover photo: ANDY BOONE table of contents photo: ACHIM RUNNEBAUM
RAN tells the stories of four people who are makin' it in Japan.
14 What is the Japanese Dream?
Is there one? We asked people around Nagoya Station to find out.
15 Teachers Do it on the Web 22 The Pagoda Diaries
Check out the new series, English Teachers, coming this September!
An interview with the King of Nagoya
B.I.O Presents 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: email@example.com Send photography and illustration to: firstname.lastname@example.org To advertise, contact: email@example.com Promotional Events/Co-Promotion: firstname.lastname@example.org
16 The Green Spot
18 When In Rome
The Sound of Wa
19 Create 21 Go
DMO PPP's Vibrating Energy
Cultural Dos & Don'ts in Thailand
See what's happening in Nagoya this fall.
31 RAN Comics
Saturday, September 11th
The landscape of Nagoya's burgeoning music scene will undergo a seismic shift. Come check out art rockers, THE ART OF WAR and a host of other DJs and artists as they blow up the spot at Club Radix in Tsurumai.
9pm - 6am ¥2,000 in advance Club Radix: www.radix.to 052-332-0073
So Brigh t, I Gotta Wear Shades..” “The Future’s
Everyone wants it. e In som e form , som e sha pe, som or fee ling , or rec ogn iza ble thin g, all are mom ent, or ach ieve men t, we as validation of searching for success in the our efforts. Consciously or not, mak ing a new sma lles t act, suc h as It’s frie nd, we wan t to be suc cess ful. of our DNA; To imprinted in the strands Be Successful, we crave success. y Eve n if you ’re her e in Japa n onl plan s to stay, mom enta rily, with no e is still , you ’re hop ing the tim e her wan t to sim ply suc cess ful. You mig ht e coo l mak e som e frie nds , mee t som le experience, people, have a memorab some maybe learn some Japanese, see etc, but eve n in inte rest ing pla ces , essful those, you’re still hoping for a succ experience. s, At some point in most people’s live whe re we wan t we all get to a plac e create to achieve something of value, , leave a mark, get something worthwhile ever success or become successful, how you see it.
| By TD Houchen |
photo: ADRIEN SANBORN
Your success is most likely different ess. than mine, that’s the beauty of succ l as It isn’t always as gargantuan a goa ey’, ‘getting rich’ or ‘making tons of mon ign as it cou ld be som ethi ng as ben utes losi ng wei ght, wak ing up 30 min a new earlier in the mornings, learning king wor d of Japa nes e eve ryd ay, drin more more water, smiling more, being etc. hon est with you rsel f and othe rs, on of The re is no pre scri bed defi niti r you suc ces s, it is bas ical ly wha teve ably want it to be, but to get it, it’s prob way, best to be aware you want it, that a path you can set goa ls and crea te towards your success. Here in Nagoya, Japan, there’s talk man y aro und tow n that ther e aren ’t hing, opportunities outside English teac may and tho ugh at first glan ce, this nue s app ear true , ther e are oth er ave ther towards personal fulfillment, whe stic , that fulf illm ent is fina ncia l, arti rwise. personal, social, spiritual, or othe pays English teaching is the activity that t of most of our bills and sustains mos e to our live s here , but it doe sn’t hav
can be the only thing you do, and you you rsel f in oth er cre ate suc ces s for areas, right here, right now. e. Tha t’s the mes sag e of this issu we intended to pass That’s the message fact , alon g whe n we star ted RAN . In we’re successful just we’d like to think t now, because you’re reading this righ as an experiment, we started our mag the de now, we’re looking to become oya from the streets facto Voice of Nag ond. up through the classrooms and bey led here all pushed The people profi or are themselves a bit further, and have in Nagoya based on making a mark here selves, an idea they had, a belief in them eed. They’ve made and the desire to succ ugh Nagoya a better place to live thro to be successful, that’s their own desires ces s, ano ther grea t by-p rod uct of suc s not only your life, it usually improve ess but the lives of others as well, succ begets success. Do Your Thing. Right About Now~ tdh
SUCCESS STORY 1:
| By TD Houchen |
f making a long-standing contribution to a community is the mark of a man, Chris Zarodkeiwicz has plenty of marks. His restaurant/sports bar creation ‘Shooters’, located in Fushimi, smack-dab in the center of Nagoya, was the first of it’s kind in the area, is ‘famous’ by any standard, known by almost every foreigner in the region, and has far surpassed being just a good place to get great food, it’s an establishment, an icon, like Yankee Stadium or Mt. Fuji-it ain’t going anywhere anytime soon. But it doesn’t stop there. Chris’s real estate business ‘Interlink’ has helped scores of businesses and ‘regular’ people to find adequate living spaces here in Aichi. Cezars Kitchen, originally an offshoot of Shooters, continues to feed delicious food to thousands of international school children throughout Japan’s international schooling system. Recently, Chris has taken on a stake in the ‘AquaAlpine Hotel’, a posh boutique ski resort hotel located in Hakuba. You might think with all these accolades, Chris Z could be a bit untouchable, one of those frozen business guys with no time, no personality, no love. Wrong. Chris dispels the age-old notion that ‘nice guys finish last’ by being a decidedly nice guy, approachable, friendly and successful. He’s a family man, wife and two kids in tow, he’s in great shape, has a disarmingly genuine and some might say ‘goofy’ raucous laugh, and when you get to know him, you can feel his native New Jersey affable characteristics oozing off him, just don’t mention Bon Jovi. He’s down to earth, low key and chill, and takes great pride in his community. He’s the consummate all-around Success Story, but he’s also the kind of guy you’d drink a beer and talk sports with. We did just that and spoke with Chris to find out just what makes him tick… td: Let’s start with the locally-famous conversation greaser, ‘how long have you been here and why’d you come’? cz: I’ve been in Japan 16 years. Prior to coming I had always wanted to live and work abroad. I had a friend who was here and worked for a company that owned restaurants and he was in need of staff. I was living in Toronto at the time and hired 5 Canadians to come here and work. Then the same friend told me they were planning to open another restaurant and asked me to come and manage it. The place was called ‘Santa Barbara’ and I ran it for about a year and a half. At the time it was the biggest foreigner establishment in Nagoya with good food, two stories, an outdoor patio, and a great atmosphere. td: So, you had no ‘plan’ to come to Japan before you came… in other words, you didn’t spend your life dreaming of Japan, you weren’t heavily into anime or Geisha or sushi, the opportunity came and you just went with it…. cz: When I was working in New York for The Hilton Corporation I had requested an international transfer and hoped to be moved to some Spanish-speaking country, Spain, South America, etc. That was my dream. My language skills at the time were not sufficient to get me to any of the Latin countries but I did eventually get transferred to Canada. I think I was looking for something a little more exotic though. td: So, you’re from Jersey, I’m from Brooklyn, some similarities between the two, did you ever go to Seaside Heights when you lived in Jersey? (Seaside Heights is a sort of sleazy blue collar carnival-cum-amusement park located on the seashore, if you’ve seen the recent super cheesy yet somehow totally entertaining ‘Jersey Shore’ on TV, the show takes place in and around Seaside Heights. Pub. Note) cz: I loved it as a kid and have taken my kids there a few times on visits back to the states…I’m a Jersey guy through and through. td: Would you say you’re Nagoya’s Jon Bon Jovi? cz: (Half joking) Listen, don’t ever say that. It’s actually somewhat annoying. If you want to say anything about my musical tastes related to New Jersey you can mention Bruce Springsteen, okay? Ask anyone in Japan what they know about New Jersey and they mention Bon Jovi. Come on! td: I should know better. Gomen Nasai. So, you were working in NY at the Hilton, they offered you a transfer to…. cz: Nova Scotia. It was a great experience and I lived in Halifax, but when I was made the offer I didn’t actually know what or where Halifax was. I believe I thought it was in Greenland. td: So, eventually you make it to Nagoya and.. cz: So I was here for a year or so, managing Santa Barbara and got to know most of the foreign community. I joined the ACCJ, (American Chamber of Commerce Japan/at that time the ABCN)-developed a network of people here and started to put together a business plan. From there I met my partners.. td: What exactly is a ‘partner’? How do you meet your ‘partners’? I need a ‘partner’, how can I find a ‘partner’ Chris?
photos: ANDY BOONE
I think if you start a business, you have to be totally focused cz: I really like this part. So I’m standing in Santa Barbara one and committed. There is no failure or alternative to making day and this young guy comes in and says he’s from Nanzan it work. That’s the philosophy I had at the time and I believe University. He tells me his professor is doing a research paper that’s what I still believe in. I can’t ever imagine failing. There on how to start a restaurant in Nagoya and I thought ‘wow” are a million excuses or reasons out there why a business that’s exactly what I want to do. So, I get the professor’s might fail. I think you just need to have your blinders on if you information and call him. We both had the same idea start thinking like that. regarding a new venture and discussed becoming partners. td: What do you think of the ...you have to be totally focused climate for business NOW This part didn’t really work out, but it got the process started. and committed. There is no failure in Nagoya? From there I made a business last or alternative to making it work. cz: Over thehave 6 months I plan, and started looking for think things definitely investors. Eventually we split, improved. Towards the end of he opened his own place, and I opened Shooters in Takaoka. last year it was a pretty challenging time for many businesses in Nagoya. As an entrepreneur I think if you have a great idea td: So a partner sounds very important to the process, how it is a good time and place to get something started. does a person who wants to start a business find this ‘partner’? td: Sounds like lots of what you’ve been able to achieve has cz: I think it all starts with a business plan or just an idea that come from relationships.. you are passionate about. Once you have that then it’s all about asking the right people. Finding people you can trust. cz: Yes, definitely. Nagoya has a reputation for being pretty In addition, the restaurant I had been working for at the time conservative. I think if you show commitment to living and (Santa Barbara) was busy every day so I had a proven track doing business in Nagoya then the relationships will come record and business experience. This definitely helps to find that help you achieve your goals. the right people. I currently have two great partners. td: Staying here long term? Definition of success? td: So tell me this, what exactly did your business plan cz: Long term… we’ll see?? I love New Jersey. Love the home consist of? state of Bon Jovi(joke). I also love Nagoya but when it comes to retiring and thinking long term I like to imagine myself cz:—A good plan includes what the concept is, who your target audience is, how much initial investment is required, somewhere that’s warm all year…. how long it will take for you to get a return on your My most successful moments are when I feel like I’m not investment, all financial forecasts, size, proposed location, chained to my business, when I feel ‘free’, and can choose the and any other specifics related to the business along with your things that I want to get involved in. I also think being able to resume and background information. balance work, family and personal is a very big key to really being successful. td: Did you know Shooters would be successful from Personally my greatest success is my two children. the beginning? td: If you could be Mayor of Nagoya for a week, what might cz: I was at the old Dragons stadium watching a game with you change about it? one of my old partners, and we were discussing what kind of restaurant we wanted to get involved in and we came up with cz: (Drums his fingers on table for an inordinately long the idea of a Sports Bar. It was like a big light went on over amount of time-then-) I like Nagoya. If I could make a few our heads. I knew that was the concept. There were no sports changes I would have more grass in the parks and more bars in Nagoya at the time except one place called “Balls”. benches on the streets. Other than that it’s a great place to They had “Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robot” sitting on the bar raise a family. My kids have gone to good schools, there is a counter and that was their “sports. Today there are sports bars great community spirit in the area and it’s a fantastic place to on every corner. If you go inside it’s usually a coffee shop with do business. I like it here. Nagoya’s cool. Not Bon Jovi cool, baseball on the TV. I had a pretty good feeling it would work. but cool…
| By TD Houchen | Prisca is a firebrand.
America my home, people ask me if I will stay here forever, my husband is Japanese, God has a plan. I’m still set on going to Italy, there was a lovely man there, Roberto… td: Tell me about Roberto.. pm: (Heavy sigh) Oh Roberto, do you know Roger Moore, the double ‘O’ seven agent, Roberto was like that, sexy, dashing, and he knew he was dashing. td: How did you meet him? pm: I had decided I wasn’t going to hang around any of the American students when I was in Italy, because, well, you know Americans, you know, those Americans…. td: Prisca, you know, I’m American, what’s wrong with Americans? pm: They’re clique-ish, I think Americans lack confidence, showing off and standing out is what Americans are more accustomed to doing, they don’t really want to blend in. You know, ‘they ugly American’… td: Sure. Sure. Enough. So, what else, you’re doing your masters in Nagoya, and.. pm: Well, I always knew I wanted to sing. When you know you know. I was on TV when I was a kid, when I was 14, I was selected to record a song for the Zambian president, but my parents gave me an ultimatum, they said if I wanted to sing, they wouldn’t pay for my education. So, when I came to Nagoya, I immediately started to prepare to sing. Jazz was big when I got here, so I put it into my mind that I would sing. My friends took me out to Jazz places, and I could see myself on stage. At that time, there were lots of beautiful Jazz clubs here in Nagoya. td: So back then, Nagoya had a different, more vibrant nightlife.. pm: When the bubble burst, the places started folding. Back then, there weren’t many ‘gaijin bars’, there weren’t many foreigners, if you saw a foreigner, you’d run up to them to say hello, ask them where they were from, now, foreigners don’t speak to each other. There are so many foreigners now, there’s no ‘group’ anymore. Nagoya has become much more cosmopolitan. You can count the jazz places now, but then, 20 years ago or so, there were all these glamourous, gorgeous jazz clubs. td: Tell me about more about your history here, and what’s allowed you to get the level of notoriety you have now. pm: I had a TV program, I was an MC on a Saturday TV program, a music show called ‘IKE IKE DJ BATTLE’, I was a personality on that show, I was on several other TV shows, this year I’ve been on TV four times, I love the cameras and the whole thing…you can’t separate who I am though, the singing, architecture, education, TV, it’s all me, the most important thing is my education though. People’s faces change when they realize my educational background, my family background. They look at me differently when they find out I’m not ‘just a singer’. I also go to Tokyo regularly as an ambassador, I meet very interesting people, Nelson Mandela, She exudes charm, charisma, confidence and character through her voice, her talent, her presence and her accomplishments. She’s a fixture on the Nagoya scene in various areas, teaching, performing, cultural activities and through her very existence. She takes on all comers and takes no shit from anyone. She’s unafraid to tackle challenges and exemplifies the idea of the self-made woman who has pushed herself beyond limits of any kind, environmental, racial, economic, selfimposed or otherwise. When I first saw Prisca, she was singing hot jazz at a local jazz club named Star Eyes in Kakuozan. I was mesmerized, and I’m not even that big a jazz fan.To say I was blown away is an understatement, she tore through her set as if she were a human cyclone, sexy, sassy, sensuous, blazing. Since then, I’ve come to learn more about this exotic, educated and personable woman, who’s energy is boundless. Whether singing, teaching, conducting Tae Bo classes or generally dispensing her effortless but dynamic chutzpah on all around her, Prisca is a force to be reckoned with. Prisca’s take no prisoners personality is a welcome hot blast of reality that stands apart from the controlled, packaged and cookiecutter personalities one is used to around these parts. One thing that becomes immediately obvious when speaking to Prisca is that she doesn’t bite her tongue, she lets her thoughts flow easily and sometimes, she stings. td: Where are you from Prisca? pm: My parents are from South Africa, they left during Apartheid and moved to Zambia, I was born in Zambia, but I consider myself to be a South African. td: How long in Nagoya? pm: 23 years. I went to Kent State in Ohio, I was studying architecture there, then, the UN headquarters asked me if I’d like to come and work for the UN as a research fellow here in Nagoya-I’d had a scholarship from the UN for the last two years or so…the (Nagoya) deal was originally for only 6 months, but that was extended a few times, then I decided to get a Masters in Development Economics at Nanzan University. td: Lots of folks seem to come here with a plan to stay a short while, but many folks end up staying much longer, why do you think that is? pm: Well, I can guess, people discover they want to make money, they either accomplish their goals or they don’t, or, maybe they fall in love. In my case, I had an apartment waiting for me in Italy, but, I decided I wanted to do my Masters here. People have different reasons. td: Have you ever wanted to go back home since staying here so long? pm: Well, where is home really for me? I never lived in South Africa, I don’t consider Zambia my home, I don’t consider
SISTAHS ARE DOING IT
SUCCESS STORY 2:
photos: ANDY BOONE
it’s all very much a part of me. td: What role do you think you play in the community here? pm: Well, we all know the role of a woman is not what it should be. I give people inspiration. My mantra is believe in yourself and whatever it is you are trying to achieve, you can achieve it. Success isn’t only money in the bank. I know I am not perfect. Success means if I have a dream and it becomes reality, and people enjoy what I’ve done, that’s success. I remember about 8 years ago, I was about 85 kilos, I had these ‘Billy’s BootCamp’ tapes, I put those tapes in, and I tried working out. I liked Billy’s spirit, and I told myself I’d meet him one day, and that I’d teach Tae Bo, even though I was not in the best shape. Now, lo and behold, here I am, just worked out with Billy this past summer, a certified instructor in Tae Bo, went to Billy’s wedding, and when I teach my classes and see my students are happy and sweating and they’re saying tanoshii!, isn’t that success? td: Nice. How would you recommend a foreigner carry through his or her idea towards success? pm: Well, you’ve got to remember that we are guests in this country. You can’t come here and think the world revolves around you. Japanese don’t like that attitude that some foreigners have that the world revolves around them. They can decide at any moment to kick all foreigners out, we’re not Japanese, don’t forget that. The first thing is that you’ve got to identify your target. Who are you targeting? The biggest group is Japanese. You can’t alienate them. You’ve got to be loved by them, and they will support you. Many people alienate them. If you really want to succeed, you’ve got to realize who you have to be on good terms with, and that is the Japanese. The second thing is, you’ve got to work on whatever your dream is. Small
family’s life. td: Tell me something you really like about Nagoya. pm: The people. When I go to the states, I really miss the politeness of the people here. I have many friends here who support me. I love Nagoya because if I have a dream I can make it a reality here. td: That’s a big one for me too, here, I can seem to DO what I think of, but if I’m in New York or LA, there are too many distractions for me to be able to actually DO what I think of. Here, if I have a good idea, I have been able to DO lots of things that in the states, I was only able to THINK about. pm: When I go back to South Africa, I see lots of my very intelligent friends, and they’re struggling..here, I can do what I think of. I’m not bitter because I’m able to do what I think of doing here. People will be negative around you. Success is being able to cut that off and know you can do what you say you can do. Negativity will creep into your subconscious, even if people don’t mean to be negative. td: I can attest to that, lots of people told me RAN would never work, LOTS of people, but I put it into my mind that it WOULD work, and here we are. I knew it was a good idea when it came to me, but I knew I couldn’t do it myself. I asked people for help, advice, etc, and several people flat-out told me “don’t do it, it’s too much work, it’ll never work”, some people seemed angry that I even had the idea, same with the festivals and stuff I’ve done, I’m glad I didn’t listen to them. pm: If you rely on other people to get your confidence, you can forget it. People often ask me, ‘why don’t you move to Tokyo, Tokyo is where it’s at..”, I don’t believe that, I think THIS is where it’s at, it’s ‘at’ wherever you ARE. People think if you are from the big city, then you’ve made it big. Lots of musicians will move to Tokyo and then do shows in Nagoya,
steps. But work hard on it. People want to dive in and do this and that, then they make enemies, etc. You’ve got to test the waters, I’ve had to pay lots of money, gone to court and things like that, be very careful, watch who you do business with. Separate business and friendship. Put things in writing. Take it seriously. I’ve gone to court, I’ve been burnt. Do things legally and professionally. Another thing is, make sure your legal standing as far as your visa is concerned is taken care of. People come here on a teaching visa, and think they can do anything, and they can’t. Watch that. But if you really have a good idea, you should believe in it, don’t listen to people who say it won’t work, because if you allow your subconscious to say it won’t work, you’re wasting your time. td: Great advice. Tell me about your future here, what’s in your plan for the next few years? pm: I’d like to do a real concert tour. I’d like to get my personal trainer license, I’m studying for that, it’s really hard, like being back in high school, all the muscles and stuff, I’ll have it by the end of the summer. My big dream is to have a South Africa-Japan NGO sort of organization to bring in artists and things like that. I want to take my musicians from Japan and bring them to South Africa, Zambia, let my people there see the musicians from here. Hugh Masakela produced my second album, I’d love to bring him here and work with him. I’d like to write a book. I’ve got volumes of stuff I’ve written. I’ve always wanted to write a memoir, about my life and my
but charge more money JUST BECAUSE they are ‘from’ Tokyo. It’s rubbish. That’s why these Nigerians here go around saying, (in a thick Nigerian accent)-‘Oh, I’m from LA mon’, but they’re not, they think they have to pretend to be from somewhere else. Be who you are. It’s important to remember and carry around who you are. Don’t be embarrassed about who you are and what you’ve done. It’s your portfolio. td: What would you consider to be your major accomplishments? pm: My three cds, one of which was produced by Hugh Masakela, meeting Nelson Mandela, getting my Masters in Japanese, just being here today is an accomplishment. Living in so many countries growing up, being a mom, bringing my son up, I don’t want my son to be put into a little box.. td: If you were president of Japan, what would you change or improve upon? pm: People should think for themselves, think outside the box. They always want to be the same, at Nanzan where I teach, they always ask me what my mantra is, I tell them to believe in themselves, it’s scary, but that’s the one thing they need to learn to do. No matter what it is, think outside the mold. I tell my students to question me, I make mistakes all the time, I tell them to challenge me. Don’t take what I say at face value, ask me questions. When people start to think for themselves, they can question their surroundings and the political system here, which is terrible, and then changes can be made.
YURAR M O B BAR IS Y
SU CC ESS STOR Y 3:
TA MARA MAEDA
| By TD Houchen |
heart lishment located in the y Bar is a friendly estab been from the TV Tower. It’s of Sakae, directly across ts, it’s and as the name sugges around for 6 plus years, the delicious walks of life stop in for ur bar. People from all yo and stylish the low-key but upbeat d, or the great drinks, foo friends, or, to friends, to make new osphere, to meet old atm nery. take in the gorgeous sce le staff, presided es a gorgeous all-fema That scenery includ e Argentinian. Tamara Maeda, nativ er by My Bar owner ov er Jason, ters and longtime partn ara, along with her sis Tam ment where g to create an establish nt into business hopin we ak e off the me , an d co uld als o sh est s wo uld fee l we lco gu e jungle like th living in a concret esses that go along wi str
Nagoya. ra an d he r go ya lan dm ark . Ta ma No w, My Ba r is a Na ose brand is ctive environment wh ff have created a distin sta ded thought, e has taken an idea, ad tantly recognizable. Sh ins cess story. Let ent, and now has a suc sire, and accomplishm de her tell it…
Nagoya.. r is doing really well in td: Hey Tamara, My Ba success. hard to make My Bar a tm: We’ve all worked Thank you. u been in Nagoya? td: How long have yo ya 10 years! tm: I’ve been in Nago ? to Nagoya 10 years ago td: Why did you come y came ily lives here. I originall my fam tm: I’m half Japanese, goya offered Na I saw the opportunities to visit my family, and west entina, Santa Fe is north Fe, Arg me. I came from Santa en I moved wh some good experiences of Buenos Aires. I had anese ly speak Spanish, no Jap uld on here. When I came, I co a few places at I met through working or English. The people people ese and English. Nagoya Japan taught me how to speak reason I in u’ll meet, that’s the ma are the nicest people yo ant I y to open My Bar, it me portunit decided to take the op . ryday and just have fun could talk to people eve e to open your bar? td: When did you decid und Nagoya. ious establishments aro tm: I had worked in var ce, so I took the se to open my own pla Then, the situation aro
opportunity! I had made some good contacts which helped me a lot. I love meeting new people and having fun, so having a bar was a good idea for me. td: How exactly did the opportunity come to you? tm: A friend introduced the opportunity to me. The bar had been designed for the owners of the building and they were looking for some people who wanted to buy the establishment. They knew Jason and I would be great owners because of our unique personalities. td: What do you think are some characteristics of a successful business owner? tm: Patience. To deal with all the things that having your own business throws at you. The ability to ask questions to everyone you do business with, you can’t learn unless you ask questions, and a laid back attitude that things will come around. Sometimes in this business, you have the good the bad and the ugly, but you have to know it will get better, hold on and know it will work itself out. td: How is it being a foreign woman doing business in Japan? tm: Well, being a woman in Japan itself is difficult. At first, people didn’t take me seriously. Now, when people see the result of how well My Bar is doing, they see I have good business sense. It’s all worked out well, finding sponsors, hiring a top chef, finding great staff. As the years have gone on, I’ve educated myself on the industry as well as the tastes of Nagoyans, and what they want, this has helped with my success. So maybe being a woman has helped, you know the saying, women love to talk but women are great listeners too. td: What are some great things about having your own place? tm: I enjoy having my own place, and being my own boss, and designing a bar how you think will be the best place for people to have social gatherings. I also like feeling at home in a foreign country, and it allows me flexibility as a business owner. I put in long hours and I have to care about every aspect of the place. I wouldn’t change or trade a thing I have been through, it has all helped me to become the business owner I am today. td: What are some goals you have for the future? tm: My goals seem to change as I grow with this industry. I’ve opened an upscale Japanese Lounge called ‘Diva’ in Nishiki. I’ll be opening a gourmet hot dog cart called ‘Mr. Frank’ soon. As for My Bar, I’d like to maybe open a location in Tokyo. I want to expand my business, and make My Bar a memorable name for Nagoya, a place for foreigners and Japanese to meet in Nagoya, and enjoy a cocktail and eat some delicious food together. Basically, I want what any business owner wants, to be able to let the business run itself and then have the freedom to do what I want. If that is to travel, learn kickboxing, or go back to school, whatever I choose. td: Tell me your thoughts on Nagoya as a place to open a business.. tm: Well, there are seasonal factors that play a role in our business, and certainly, the economy has affected everyone. We are seeing less foreigners coming to Nagoya for business,
but we are still a great hang-out spot for foreigners. We have to improve our Japanese clientele. td: What advice would you offer to someone thinking of opening their own business in Nagoya? tm: Hire great staff, they make your place. td: Your personal plans for the future? tm: Maybe I’ll become a roadie, tour with Bon Jovi, that would be great, to tour the world listening to great music…. td: For sure. What are some things you really enjoy about living in Nagoya? tm: Nagoya has a great ex-pat community. The other foreign business owners support each other, we are there for each other. Lots of support here. Even though we are in competition with each other, we stay friendly and help each other out. We interact on a regular basis. td: What has been the most memorable moment for you since opening your business? tm: I would have to say opening night, and since then, despite some ups and downs, it’s been a great time. td: What’s in the future for My Bar? tm: We have our anniversary coming up the weekend of September 9, 10, 11, plus, we’ve got the usual Halloween/ Christmas events. We’re working on a new menu, and we’re always looking for ways to get new customers in, while keeping the old ones happy.
SU C C ESS STORY 4:
THE GHET TO N
On Tuesday, October 19th, in Tokyo's Korakuyen Stadium, THE GHETTO CHAMPION will face Korean Champ Kimura Hayato (ranked #7 in the Ocean Pacific Boxing Federation). This fight is the MAIN EVENT! Come on down to Tokyo and REPRESENT for one of NAGOYA's FINEST.
CHTAMPIO R IN MUBIRU
Like A Champion. Like A Champion. Walk Talk
| By TD Houchen |
ome stories beg for a cinematic treatment. The rags-toriches tale of some young man or woman who rises from seemingly impossibly difficult surroundings to become world famous, wealthy, respected, admired, successful. Some people have fire in their hearts from the moment they enter this world, and in turn, the world makes way for them. Their stories inspire us to push forward, go further, dig deeper, keep going…. The word ‘champion’ is synonymous with the word ‘success’, have you ever heard of an unsuccessful champion? Unlikely. A champion personifies success, the lone warrior who rose above, conquered others as well as himself, and now stands at the summit of human achievement. This person can be rightfully recognized as a hero, one who leads by example, and one for whom success follows and awaits in his every endeavor. These folks reek inspiration and an aura of hope surrounds them. They are living, breathing, and walking incandescent sources of life, hope, and power, and meeting them can change your life. What do you get when you mix the raw passion, power, energy, and spirit of Africa, with the sustained, focused and deliberate perseverance of Japan? A successful champion of life-and that champion’s name is Martin Mubiru. Martin is a 25-year old Ugandan professional boxer living in Nagoya, dealing with all the adversities of being a foreigner in a homogenous society, trying to make ends meet, raising a family, while pursuing his goal of becoming a world boxing champion in his bantam weight class, having people trying to literally knock his head off—and you thought it was difficult riding the subways and teaching the abc’s. Martin doesn’t allow negatives to distract him, and his goal is well within reach, just ask him.. td: Where in Africa are you from Martin? mm: I’m from Uganda. I lived first in Fukuoka, then I came to Nagoya. I came to Nagoya two years ago, I reached Fukouka, and lived there for one year. My manager brought me from Africa, after I won a medal for boxing in the Commonwealth games in Melbourne. I am a bronze medalist.
td: How long have you been boxing? mm: I have been in the system for 15 years, boxing for that long. td: Why do you think Nagoya is a good place to continue your career as a boxer? mm: Well, in Nagoya, I’ve got many good people behind me, where I was in Fukuoka, I had no friends, could not get a good life, I was only with Japanese always, here, I can meet many good people, many different people, black people, foreigners, I couldn’t train well in Fukuoka, here, it’s good, I can meet many people, Nagoya supports me. td: Is there a lot of support for boxing in Nagoya? mm: Yes. I have a lot of support here. When I fight, my friends are there, they support me, in Fukuoka, I fought alone, here, I have my people who support me. td: What made you want to become a boxer? mm: Wow. I watched Iron Mike Tyson. From watching him, I felt I could be a boxer too. What he was doing was great, it made me feel I should be a boxer too. I give big respect to Iron Mike. td: What are your goals in boxing? mm: I want to be world champion. I want to get the WBC championship, when I get that goal, I will thank Jah, that is my goal and my dream. td: Are there any world champions that came from Nagoya in boxing? mm: I know one guy, a Mexican guy, who was world champion, boxing out of Nagoya, but I heard when he went back to his country, he died. I’m sorry for that. td: If you can accomplish your goal, how would you feel? mm: It would be great. It means I not only represent my country, but I also represent Nagoya city. I would be very proud. td: Tell me about your history boxing in Uganda.. mm: I used to train under Ayub Kalure, he was a great champion from Africa, he fought Marvin Hagler and was a hero in my country. I met him in Uganda, it’s a small country, the gym I trained at in Uganda was a famous gym though, many many people used to train there. Ayub was a trainer in
that gym, KBG, Kampala boxing gym. td: Where do you train here in Nagoya? mm: I train at Chunichi Boxing Gym. It’s in Ueda Koen. Boxing is a very painful game. When I don’t have a fight, I train two times a day, when I have a fight, I train three times a day. I wake up and go for a run very early, roadwork. Then, I do my small jobs. Then in the evening, I enter the gym and train more. I do skipping 5 rounds, shadowboxing 5 rounds, punching bag 5 rounds, sparring 6 rounds, and other things in the gym. It’s very hard. td: How do Japanese accept an African boxer in their country who is knocking their guys out? Your record is 8 wins and 1 loss right? mm: Well, they have to accept it. They have to face it man. They have to support me. This is how the game goes, I have to hit, and they have to hit me. What I do to the opponent, if it is not me first who does it, the opponent will do it to me. Even if they don’t like it, I have to do it. Japanese make strong fighters, they are strong, but I feel I am stronger. Japanese make champions, and I’m sorry for this, but they lose, the bantamweight belt was taken away from Japan, and I want to be the one who brings it back to Japan. I think Japanese fighters are strong, but they are not smart fighters. The trainers teach them to just go go go, don’t rest, don’t stop, just go, punch punch punch. Me, I train smart. I know when to rest, watch, punch, stop, I rely on my own skill. td: How do you get power to fight in a society that sometimes marginalizes you as a human? mm: It gives me power. We are all human beings, I see some
guidance of Jah who helps me. What I am doing is a very hard thing, I need blessings to make my dream come true. If you are reading this, please send me your blessings and your power, I need it. td: Tell me a little about your personal life here in Nagoya.. you’ve got something you’re very proud of besides your boxing career.. mm: Yes. I have a newborn baby. I’m happy that in Nagoya, I managed to get something. I have a family here now. I have a new son, his name is Eddie Rogers, he’s a boxer too, his mother is Japanese. He makes me fight harder, I have a boxer who is watching me, watching my moves, so, I want to get the belt to show it to him when he grows up, so he knows his father was a hero, so he can be a hero too. I gave him my father’s name. I plan to stay in Nagoya, because now I have a family, but I will return downtown, to Africa, to show my people. My people sent me here for a reason, they sent me here to be a champion, I have to get a belt and take it back to Africa, and show them. I started boxing in 1999, I was a school champion. I conquered all the Ugandan tournaments, so that makes me a Ugandan champion. I went to the Olympic qualifiers. I won a medal in Melbourne in 2006, after that, I made my plan to come to Japan and fight professionally. My amateur career was finished after I got the bronze medal. Now, I have 8 fights professionally, 4 knockouts, one loss. The loss was an African title fight, I didn’t think I lost that fight, I think the judges cheated me, I didn’t get knocked down, but the judges gave my points to the opponent. So, if you watch that fight on YouTube, you can see I didn’t lose that fight. It
who like me, some who don’t, but I do what I have to do. I am a fighter. td: Tell me your feelings about Nagoya.. mm: I like Nagoya, I can meet many foreigners here, staying here in Japan, it can be a hard life for foreigners. I lived in Fukuoka for one year, with only Japanese. Not talking to anyone, it was tough, just staying in the house. They didn’t talk to me much, some come and feel my body as if I am dirty or something, maybe because I am African, but here in Nagoya, I am happy. I meet different people, it makes me proud, I feel great here. td: What is success to you? mm: Success to me means I get what I have been dreaming of all the time. My dream is my success. As I told you, my dream is to get that belt, the WBC championship. My dream is to be a champion. td: Do you think it will be easier for you to get your success here, or in your country? mm: It’s easier here. All my weight fighters are here, they are around here. My country is very far. Here, I am very near to the champions, I can visit their gym and see them, it makes me see that I am very near to the champion. I am watching his movements, his steps. I can see him clearly. It shows me I can become the champion too. It isn’t so far away. It is the
was an African WBA title fight, and my opponent was a big man, but I don’t think I lost the fight. So, in my heart, I have no losses, I am not a loser. td: So, you call yourself ‘The Ghetto Champion’, why that name? What does it mean to you? mm: I grew up in Africa, the safari, the ghetto. The people wanted me to box, I had my ghetto people behind me, maybe 4 thousand people, life there was very hard…but they grew me up to be a champion, they told me I would one day be a champion since I was young. So, whatever I am doing, I am doing for those people, I am their champion, The Ghetto Champion. I am working hard to make them happy. “….The Ghetto Champion goes in, left, right, left, and his opponent is DOWN FOR THE COUNT, 7-8-9-10.. THAT’S IT! IT’S OVER! THE GHETTO CHAMPION IS THE NEW BANTAMWEIGHT CHAMPION OF THE WORLD!!!! He has taken on all comers, including FEAR, ALIENATION, PROCRASTINATION, CONFUSION, and LONELINESS to emerge a TRUE CHAMPION…” I’d like my story to read somewhat like this, wouldn’t you? tdh
| Story and photos by JL Gatewood |
fed the American in the USA, I was forceBeing born and raised cars, beautiful wife, 2 u know, “Nice home, Dream since birth-- yo ery su mm er an d r wi th a va ca tio n ev su cc ess ful ca ree this is what 2.5 kid s, t that, a dream... But package.” And it’s jus are possible retirement lieving; that all things erican kids grow up be more. We most Am t, doctor, president, or ne can be an astronau Japanese and anyo there a such thing for N wanted to know, is to achieve here at RA people of Japan hope re in Japan? What do the mera and people he n, notepad, and my ca es? Well I grabbed a pe a gaijin in their liv I could think of where to the one public place ps ge ttin g hustled off an ese wi tho ut the co qu est ion s in ba d Jap co uld ask tion during rush hour. suspicious... Nagoya Sta
Katea (27) Job: None My Dream: want to have choices for my professional life. What’s the Japanese Dream?: I think Japanese only think about work, work, and work and need to start making their dream about their families and children’s future. S. Suzuki (37) Job: Company Worker My Dream: I’m single, so I want to find a good girl and start a family. What’s the Japanese Dream?: People are worried about a lot of things in the world these days. More Japanese are understanding that we live in a big complex world. So I think most people want to understand that world and live peacefully.
Miko Ikemura (19) Job: Massuist My Dream: Own a clothing shop What’s the Japanese Dream?: Japanese seem to be worrying more about protecting the country and their livelihood; so maybe the dream should be making a good future for yourself.
Haruko Inoue (48) Job: College Professor My Dream: I want to make sure my research is completed before I retire. What’s the Japanese Dream?: Does it really exist? Do Japanese people collectively have a dream? With this economy, maybe it’s time to stop dreaming and start doing! Akito Inoue (12) Job: 6th grade elementary school student My Dream: Not sure yet... I’m a kid, remember?! What’s the Japanese Dream?: Everyone should do whatever possible to make their life happy.
Hajime Goto (35) Job: Tradesman My Dream: I want to make sure my children have a safe, happy future. What’s the Japanese Dream?: We have limited resources and must depend on others for energy. Finding a clean source of power that doesn’t affect the environment should be our dream.
Teache rs Do It
on the Net
ach year, hundreds of people come from the around the world to teach English in Japan. Some do it for the experience, others for the money, and then there are those who come because they simply want to be teachers. In the fall of 2010, Nameless Media and Productions will do it on the net, exploring the billion-dollar industry of overseas English education with their new “dramedy” web series, English Teachers. Set in a bustling Japanese city, English Teachers tells the story of Tom Kellerman, a young teacher who left his home in Topeka, Kansas and set out on a soul-searching journey that leads him across the globe to the
| Story and photos by Anthony Gilmore |
interest. Rounding out the cast is Michael Kruse as the aging slacker Mark, Michael Walker as the wanna be ninja Neville, and Gaetano Totaro as the training tornado known simply as Roberto. With the web series genre quickly becoming a mainstay in popular media, it is an exciting time to be bringing the world of English teachers to the laptop audience. A web series allows the viewer to experience a variety of unique comedy and dramas rarely seen on the sometimes stale television dial. With impressive talent
BeYes! School of English. Making his search more difficult is his rag-tag group of colleagues whose questionable teaching skills seem to be even worse than their social skills. With English being a competitive business, Tom and his BeYes! cohorts struggle to find their way through language barriers, cultural challenges, and the everyday obstacles of being an English teacher. Anthony Gilmore, the creator/director of the series and president of Nameless Media and Productions, is proud to be bringing this first-of-its-kind story to the booming web series genre. “This is an idea that I’ve had for awhile,” says Gilmore, “But the timing has never been right to move forward with production. After months and months of hard work, we’re finally going to be able see that idea on the screen. There is still a lot of work to be done, but we’re all very excited.” The production will be brought to life with the help of an international cast and crew. The talented cast of English Teachers is made up of both new and familiar faces from television and film. Jonathan Sherr, who recently starred opposite Mao Inoue in My Darling is a Foreigner, plays the role of Tom. Actress, singer, and model Ananda Jacobs plays the role of Jodi, a fellow teacher and Tom’s potential love
both in front of and behind the camera, the highly anticipated English Teachers production will be just as much fun to make as it will be to watch. “I’ve been able to work with such a great team,” comments Gilmore. “The writing staff have delivered great scripts and have been quite entertaining to work with. The art department is really working hard to make the BeYes! world come to life, and the production manager, producers, and interns are working around the clock to make this show happen. We’ll be shooting on a pair of Canon 5Ds and working with a topnotch local DP, lighting technician, and sound technician.”
English Teachers will post their first episode towards the end of September at:
www. englishteachersseries .com
So tune in and take notes. There will be a short quiz afterwards.
uring the early part of this year, like I do almost every year, I went home to visit my parents in Jamaica. My trips there are pretty much the same really – spend the first few days thawing out from the bitter Japanese winters, catch up on some much-needed sleep, go to the beach, and of course, enjoy some good home cooking. Over the years, however, the home cooking has changed a lot, compared to when I was a child. Back in the day, it was barbecued chicken or spare ribs, fried fish, curry goat, ackee and saltfish, rice and peas, and of course, manish water, which is a soup cooked with goat intestines and vegetables - a favourite at any gathering. Some of you might not be familiar with these dishes, and might even be a bit put off by the manish water, but believe me when I say this, these meals are out of this world. Just writing about them now makes my mouth water.
venge? als' Re Anim
| Photos and story by Mark H. Campbell |
family member’s house to get my regular Jamaican cooking, if needs be. Anyway, this time round, my mum insisted that I watch a DVD called EATING, produced by The Rave Diet & Lifestyle. “Here we go again”, I thought, “More stuff from mum about the virtues of a vegetarian diet.” Hadn’t I done enough? A year earlier I had given up dairy when I finally had to admit (despite my mum telling me for years) that my lifetime of sinusitis was due to my consumption of dairy. I drank milk (liquid meat) like it was water, and I snacked on cheese all the time. Since giving up dairy I have not had a cold. No lie. She was right all along. So after reluctantly agreeing to watch the EATING documentary, I can honestly say that I was blown away. I’m known for being impulsive at times (How do you think I got to Japan?), and I decided in that instance,
They call these diseases the animal’s revenge their way of killing us for killing them.
So how has that good home cooking changed? Well, the food still tastes great, but the ingredients have certainly changed. About 15 years ago, my mum became a member of the Seventh Day Adventist church, and during the course of her studies, she became a vegan. Besides not eating pork, which is frowned upon in that denomination, members are encouraged to be vegetarian. I suppose, it’s part of the whole health and temperance philosophy to further enlightenment. So now, when I go home, it’s tofu this and veggie that. I never minded the changes, because the food is always so good, and I always seem to lose weight after a trip home, and besides that, I was never far away from a restaurant or that I was going to become a vegan. It was as simple as that. I was convinced. The research was too compelling to deny. In addition to watching EATING, I also watched Fast Food Nation and Our Daily Bread. They were the final few nails in the coffin, regarding animal-based diets. I just want to clarify what I mean when I say vegan. A vegan is like having a black belt in vegetarianism. I’m not one of those people who says, “I’m a vegetarian, but I eat chicken and fish”. I’m a vegetarian, and I also don’t eat any byproducts of animals or fish. That excludes cow’s milk, cheese, butter, eggs, and caviar (or Ikura) from my diet. EATING showed the connection between the major
diseases (heart disease, cancer and diabetes) and an animalbased diet, these are credible doctors talking about their research, as well as their own experiences with ill health, and sharing how they cured themselves by converting to a plantbased diet. Before this DVD, I was ignorant to a lot of things. I always heard about high cholesterol, and saw NO CHOLESTEROL written on the packaging of many foods I bought back in my second home, London. But what was it really? I discovered that cholesterol is basically the build up of sludge in our arteries, formed from animal-based foods, which eventually restricts the flow of blood and oxygen, and will most likely lead to heart attacks, or strokes, if not addressed. Heart disease, a disease that was almost non-existent at the start of the 20th century, is the highest killer in America and the UK, and the second highest killer in Japan. I also discovered that chicken and fish having much less cholesterol than red meat is a huge myth. It’s only marginally less. And would it surprise you to know that shrimp has six times more cholesterol than beef? The thing that drove it home for me with regard to cholesterol was when I heard that it causes erectile dysfunction in men. What!? If you think about it though, it makes perfect sense really. Cholesterol leads to poor blood flow, which means that my nearest and dearest friend, whom I’ve known all my life, could have been put out of commission, simply because I was partial to a two piece and fries at KFC. Hell no! I don’t want him dying before me. But seriously, the whole thing of cholesterol is no joke. Did you know that one cancer cell is produced in EVERY SINGLE HUMAN’S BODY EVERY DAY? We can’t stop it. It’s Mother Nature. The only way to fight the production of cancer cells is to have a strong immune system. A plantbased diet gives our immune system the armour to go to war with cancer. An animal-based diet provides no defence whatsoever. Cancer, the second highest killer in the UK and US, and the highest killer in Japan is spiralling out of control. In Japan, there is the obvious lung cancer (they love them some cigarettes over here boy), but stomach, colon, liver, and pancreatic cancer are also wiping people out at alarming rates. They call these diseases the animal’s revenge- their way of killing us for killing them. Research shows that a lot of meat people are buying in their local supermarkets already has cancer in it. Cancer develops in these animals because they are pumped with steroids to fatten them up, they are forced to eat things that their bodies are not designed to cope with, including themselves (cannibalism), and these diseases are passed on to us. I’m no doctor, but I’m no fool either. My diet might come up in conversation at times, and people ask me if I feel any better with the change. It’s hard to say really, but I suppose I don’t feel any worse. “Have you found religion”, some people jokingly ask. It’s impossible to grow up in Jamaica and not have some religion in you. I have energy. I work out. My clothes fit better, and my love handles are disappearing. Getting older and having a slowing
metabolism is no surprise, so becoming a vegan came in the nick of time. The sceptics are always quick to tell me that I need meat for protein, but I can get protein from nuts; beans; soya milk; even broccoli. It’s always funny to me that the sceptics, who are always quick to put me down for my lifestyle change, are often overweight. Do I miss eating meat, fish, and all their by-products? Of course I do. Do you think recovering alcoholics never have cravings for a drink? It takes self-control, and those who know me personally, know that I’m a control-freak. I have to watch what I eat. Three of my grandparents died from leukaemia, heart disease, and diabetes. I have diabetes on both sides of the family, so I’m all about prevention. Not cure. By default, I’ve even become an environmentalist to some degree. It turns out that more land is cleared to grow food for animals than for humans, so by me cutting out meat, I have saved a few acres along the way. It’s all about the eco baby! The biggest challenge for me is eating out, in and around Nagoya. I’ll go to some places and the so-called vegetable soup has ham floating around in it, or is made with fish or meat stock. Salads come with ham as standard, and almost always have a big dollop of mayonnaise. It was difficult enough telling restaurants before that I’m allergic to shellfish, now I have to whip out my iPhone 4, use the kotoba dictionary to tell people in restaurants that I’m a zettaisaishokushugisha. After the initial eeeeehhhhhhh, they calm down, and try to accommodate me, as best they can. Many restaurants are probably not open to the idea of including vegetarian or vegan dishes on their menus, because they assume that there just isn’t enough demand for these alternatives, but if more people ask, things will change. There just aren’t many choices available for someone with strict dietary requirements, but I have managed to find a few: Casa Blanca (Moroccan) in Takaoka. Sarmale (Romanian) in Shin Sakae. Yagya (Japanese/ Asian Izakaya) near Nagoya Station will customize some dishes. I even get food in Hard Rock Café. They do a lovely veggie burger that still tastes great without the cheese and lemon mayonnaise. This may come as a surprise, but even Outback (that famous steak restaurant) did a tomato sauce vegetable pasta that was excellent. Polan no Hiroba, an organic restaurant in Issha, has some tasty food for vegans. Their portions are a bit too small for a growing lad like me, but they do some excellent muffins made with no milk or eggs. Freshness Burger located in Yaba-Cho, Fujigaoka, and Centrair. Is also very good, and they do three vegetarian burgers. ....my favourite is the 3-bean burger. Out in Nagakute, my mate Tsuyoshi runs Skillet Diner, serving up an array of American dishes. Most dishes are not suitable for vegans, but he will make excellent tomato sauce vegetable pasta on request. Finally, if you want to make the change, do it gradually and expect some opposition from friends, families and restaurant staff. As in any recovery program, keeping a strong will and not swaying from your convictions under adversity, should keep you from falling off the “wagon”.
郷 に 入 れ ば
When In Rome
the of UND SO
| By Achim Runnebaum |
he term "wa" ( 和 ) literally means peace or harmony, and is the fundamental building block of Japanese society. It is elusive, ethereal, and almost always hidden behind insincere smiles, nods of affirmation, the often uttered "chigaimasu", and promises never intended to be kept. What is Harmony? According to the dictionary, it is compatibility in opinion and action, and is the mantra of Japanese society. Preserving the harmony is the one and only goal in Just about every interaction in Japan. Don't be fooled, it is easier to define the sound of one hand clapping than to fully understand this concept, but hopefully this article will shine a little light on what Wa means. You might have passed level 1 of the JLPT, have the lyrical enka stylings of Jero (He's the first and so far only black enka singer) when you go to Karaoke, can quote entire passages from Genji no Monogatari (The Tales of Genji), and can even catch flies with your chopsticks, but when it comes to interacting with the Japanese, most people have the grace of an elephant let loose in a porcelain store. Even for the Japanese, Wa is sometimes difficult to grasp, but fear not, we will try to lift some of the mystery for you. Keep reading..... At some point during your stay in Japan you might have noticed that people here tend to talk around a problem, whether it's in the office, in a relationship, or even at the bar after work. They do this to preserve the harmony between people, especially in their immediate surroundings and their in-group. Why do they do this? It's all about not losing face or bringing shame or discomfort upon another person, especially in ones in-group. This concept is so deeply ingrained in the Japanese psyche that it's very natural, almost subconscious for the Japanese, but as unnatural as daikon ice-cream for anyone who wasn’t raised in Japan. For example, you might be invited to a party in the following way: "I know you're probably very busy with your life, but if it's not too much trouble (and the moon is a shade of blue) could you possibly stop by a little party after work? But I understand if you can't make it because you're too busy or too tired to come." This situation doesn't appear all that important at the moment but if you responded with something along the lines of: "Maybe I'll stop by if I'm feeling up to it," you have just confirmed your attendance to that party and are expected by the Japanese code of conduct to make it there, lest you take the full brunt of your Japanese friends' or coworkers' displeasure at your inconsiderate rudeness for standing them up. Your interactions with Japanese women will also be peppered with "Wa" since Japanese women are generally very indirect about their true feelings. To uncover what they are really saying
• listen carefully to the exact words they are using • try to read between the lines of those words • ask simple questions to get specific information out • most of all, look at her body language for subtle clues about her intended meaning. Got it? Ok, let's do a quick test to see if you really understood the gist of it. Imagine an interaction between you and a girl (or guy) you're seeing. You might ask her: "Are we exclusive, or are you seeing other people?" Most likely, she will not look at you directly and give you the typical "shy eyes." Does this mean: A) "I like you, so I'm not seeing other men (but I'm embarrassed to say I like you)"... or B) "I really want to see other guys (but I don't want to hurt your feelings by telling you)." In either case, she will probably avoid direct eye contact with you. So what's your choice? If you answered “A”.....Good job, you did pay attention! Her slight smile will reveal that she's really just shy. In the case of option B), she will probably not smile at all. Very slight difference, but a huge difference in meaning. These subtle differences can be a source of endless frustration for nonJapanese so you have to develop mystical, Uri Geller like mind-reading abilities in order to really understand the inner mysteries of Japanese social interactions, which for most of us is a goal just as unattainable as finding the Holy Grail. If there is any message to be taken away from this it's that in Japan, not only do you have to understand the language well enough to know what they're saying, but you have to also read between the lines and look for very subtle clues of behaviour to get to the true intended meaning. I will leave you with a little bit of parting advice: In your interactions with Japanese people, keep in mind that you're not in Kansas anymore, and try to do as the Romans would do. Or, you could just unleash your inner elephant......but be prepared for the consequences.
illustration: ADAM PASION
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ING BRAT RGY VI VIB NE E
| By Derrick W
Life is so simple, but complicated. History repeats itself.
"One small ripple years ago initiated the plans for DMO PPP infinity."
Sawa, D'Mojah and their art were introduced to Nagoya via Ran magazine's first issue. Though just introduced to Nagoya, their cycle started a long timeago. Seven years ago, on Sawa 's first trip to New York she was amazed and inspired by the street art (graffiti murals). She felt its "vibrating energy". D'Mojah having the image of being bold and stylish since young ( I guess from being a skateboarder) wore custom made artistic shirts from his mother’s collection which he wore to school and got many compliments. "Back then I experienced the idea of marketing wearable art." Mid April this year these two moments from the past came together into fruition when D'Mo took a few of Sawa's designs to a screen printer and started the DMO PPP brand (D'Mo's Pamojah Projects Presents). That is the art they produce that now brands shirts and shoes. " We a r e n ow b u s i n e s s a n d a r t a n d w e collaborate to promote you" "Pamojah means the coming together of two or more groups.
DOS DON’TS THAI LAND P
art of the pleasure of international travel is discovering different cultures, and Thailand is no exception. Ignorance is no excuse for causing offence, so here’s the low-down on some important dos and don’ts for visitors to this lovely country. Respect Royalty The king of Thailand is highly respected, and showing any sign of disrespect can lead to jail. This includes the obvious, like standing when the Royal anthem is played at the cinema, to respecting all images of the king, including his face on currency. If you drop a coin, do not stamp on it to stop it rolling, and avoid controversial questions about the king, however well intentioned. Using Body Language Western society thinks nothing of patting a child on the head, pointing with the foot or kissing and hugging in public. These are highly offensive gestures in Thailand. The head is seen as the highest part of the body and should not be touched, and pointing with the foot, the lowest and dirtiest part of the body, is rude. If you sit on the floor, make sure you curl your legs under you.
CULT UR AL & IN
| By Aaron Christie |
Modest dress is required, particularly when sightseeing. This does not just mean avoiding low-cut tops and short shorts, but also covering the upper arms and avoiding open-toed shoes. It goes without saying that topless sunbathing on the beaches will not be tolerated. Buddhist Temples As well as covering up for temple visits, shoes must be left outside to show respect for the Buddhas. Buddhist monks cannot have any contact with women, so any gifts must be handed to a man who can pass it to the monk. Respect “Losing face” is an integral part of Asian culture. Showing displays of anger or raising your voice will mean you get nowhere fast in Thailand. Whether you are haggling a price, disciplining your children or taking issue with a tuk-tuk driver, keep your cool, maintain a respectful tone and smile throughout. Finally, show respect by learning a few words of Thai, such as thank you and the local “wai” greeting. You will be rewarding with a beaming smile, adding to the pleasure of your wonderful experience in Thailand.
| Story and pictures by EJP |
our foot feels better. Whatever it was, you’ve walked it off at the Meiji Restoration Museum. So you forgo the streetcar and hike back to the station. It takes about 20 minutes. You know right where the Starbucks is, and you point yourself in that direction, as if on autopilot. Since they arrived in Japan in 1996 you’ve been single handedly keeping the entire chain of coffee shops afloat. Never mind that you don’t even like coffee. You go to Starbucks because you don’t like cigarette smoke, and before Starbucks began operating here there wasn’t a single no-smoking restaurant in Japan. Well, none that you knew of. And certainly none that permeated the entire culture like Starbucks does now. In fact, when you first arrived in Japan, it led the world in per capita tobacco consumption. This is something the Japanese even appeared to take pride in. If you had a dollar for every time somebody told you this back then, you could afford to take up smoking yourself. Not that you would. Cigarettes were cheap here then—they still are. Japan Tobacco Inc. was largely owned by the state and had a near monopoly on the product. Smoking was state sponsored and state encouraged. Everybody smoked. All men, that is. Very few women did. This has changed rapidly over the past ten years, on both counts—fewer Japanese are smoking, but of those who do smoke, more are women—but Starbucks was the first place in Japan where a guy could sit down for a rest, and rest assured that he wouldn’t be smoked on. So it still has your business. Never mind that now there are plenty of nonsmoking establishments and even more establishments with non-smoking sections. In fact, the Japanese are only fourth in the world right now in terms of cigarettes consumed per adult. They trail Greece, Hungary, and Kuwait, three places you’ll probably never go. And speaking of that, tobacco is yet another product that first arrived in Japan with the Portuguese at Kagoshima, though historians are not sure exactly when. It was possibly on the ship that brought Saint Francis Xavier on July 27, 1549. It’s known that the people of Kagoshima didn’t know what it was when they first saw the sailors on that ship smoking it. And it’s also known that tobacco was in fairly wide use in Japan soon thereafter. So there’s quite possibly a connection. It’s the first product of the Americas to receive wide acceptance in Japan. Others that would arrive soon afterwards include watermelon, corn, pumpkins, red peppers, peanuts, beans, peppermint, potatoes and lemons. Also spinach. You have to wonder why anybody would go to all the trouble of carrying a spinach plant half way around the world. But somebody did. All of these came a few decades later, though, during the Edo period, when Japan was supposedly closed off to the outside world. Another presumably American import of the early years was syphilis. It’s first historical reference in Japan, though, dates from 1512. This is several years before any European traders are known to have set foot here. Its arrival is a mystery. What is known, though, is that the disease didn’t occur here before 1500. The reason this is known is that a man named Takao Suzuki published a book in 1998 called Looking at the Japanese Through their Bones. Well, that’s your translation of it. It was really called hone kara mita nihonjin, but how boring does that title sound for something this fascinating? He studied skeletal remains from archaeological sites around Japan and observed no signs of syphilis caused pathologies prior to that date. He also found that, within a couple of centuries, half the adults in Edo had the disease. It seems syphilis caught on here almost as fast and as furiously as smoking did. It’s late afternoon and there’s a music ensemble setting up to play in the square in front of the store. About thirty college age kids in red shirts are preparing to sing. You want to ask somebody what’s going on, but you never do. You hate to say anything to anybody. You’re afraid of Japanese people. You’re afraid of what they’ll say back to you. So you walk around them and head for Starbucks. White shirts, green aprons, beige walls, black coffee, or green tea latte. You feel like a cliché. But you’re addicted. Not to the product. To the place. What a business plan. You’re 1100 kilometers from home. You’re on your own. There’s nobody even watching you. You can do anything you want. And you’re going to Starbucks. Never mind that this is something you could do anytime anywhere, including a little spot a mere 500 meters from your home in Nagoya! You remind your self to buy stock in this company when you get home. Maybe you can get back some of that 520 yen you spend here every day. And just then somebody taps on your shoulder. It’s an old man. No wait. You shouldn’t say that. It’s an elderly fellow. It’s a retiree. So apparently you were wrong when you believed nobody was even watching you. He was. “Where are you from?” he asks. Fuck a duck! You wish you had a dollar for every time you’ve been asked where you’re from. But at least his grammar is correct. Usually this question comes out, “Where from?” or worse yet, “Are you from?” How in the world does a guy answer that question and keep a straight face—“Are you from?” “Yes, I am.” “No I’m not, are you?” Maybe this inadequacy with the English language here wouldn’t be so exasperating if it wasn’t for what you do to earn a living. You teach English. And this old fellow does too, or at least he did. He was a jr. high school English teacher in Kagoshima for forty years, which you think should have bored the life out of him a long time ago, but oh no. He wants to tell you all about it. Of course, he’s a sweet man who got up and went to work every day of his life. He raised kids. Now they’re raising kids. He takes care of his wife. He wants to tell you all about the time
he took her to Oklahoma. You try to excuse yourself. “Yes, Oklahoma’s a great place. Take care.” He tells you they went to Texas too. They saw the Grand Canyon. You tell him you were just on your way to have a coffee, but . . . He tells you he loves America. His daughter went to school in Wisconsin. She married a guy from New York. He’s an English teacher too. You’re already standing in line to order, and there he is. He’s followed you into the shop. He’s still talking to you. What can you do? “Would you like to join me for a coffee?” you ask him. It’s either that or just be rude. But he’s too sweet to be rude to. Never mind that he’s boring you to distraction. “No thank you,” he says. Then as soon as you get your coffee he sits down at your table with you. He’s been to seventeen states. But he’s never been to the South. He wants to go to Disney World with his wife. He wants to see an alligator. He wants to see a swamp. Yet somehow you get the feeling he really doesn’t. Rather, these are just words he has recently studied, alligator and swamp. But you know how he feels. He’s studied English all his life, and now he rarely gets the opportunity to speak it. And come to think of it, you haven’t seen another gaijin since you got to Kagoshima. For him, you’re a rare commodity and this is a rare opportunity to use English. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t driving you crazy. This is about as far away from the big population centers of Osaka, Nagoya, Yokohama, and Tokyo as a guy can get and still be in traditional Japan. There aren’t as many opportunities to speak English here. So he’s practicing. This used to happen to you all the time. Not so much anymore. Not in Nagoya. These days, in Nagoya you can’t throw a rock without hitting a gaijin, not that anybody in Nagoya would ever throw a rock anyway. He’d have trouble even finding one. Every Japanese person in Nagoya already knows more than enough gaijin. You’re all old hat. You’re stale bread. All you’re good for is English. Even this old fellow knows that much. And he’s taking advantage of it. You’ve had a thousand experiences like this. It’s just part of being a gaijin. But you know how to stop it if you want to—just speak a couple of sentences to him in Japanese. That would chase him away in a heartbeat. In Japan, for people who pride themselves on their English ability, and for a lot of other people too, it’s a loss of face to speak to a white person in Japanese. But at the end of the day, you’re too polite to do that. You have too much respect for your elders. And besides, you’ve kind of started to like the fellow. The sun is just setting over the city. It’s beautiful and you want to watch it. You ask if he’s ever been up in the Ferris wheel, just above you on top of the building. He says no. “Well, I’m going to ride it. Would you like to join me?” “No.” With a running dialogue through his entire family, then your entire country, he’s kept you company through one tall coffee, a chocolate chunk cookie, and the distinct impression that your lack of sleep is sneaking up on you. And in that whole time he hasn’t asked one single question about you. In fact, you might as well not even be there. You have hardly got a word in edgewise. And that’s probably just as well, because
you don’t really know what to say. The only things you could think of to ask him are “How old are you, anyway?” and “Where were you during the war?” From the Ferris wheel you look out over the city. The view is gorgeous. The sky is orange, purple and gold behind big gray clouds still lingering after the earlier rain. In the other direction, the light is dancing on Sakurajima, Kagoshima’s active volcano, smoking, even now, in the middle of Kagoshima Bay. Actually, all of Kagoshima bay is the caldera of an ancient volcano. Looking at a map, this is easy to see. The caldera is 20 km across, and the south end of it opens to the sea. It was formed by a huge eruption some 22,000 years ago. It blew ash as far as far away as Aomori prefecture on the northern tip of Honshu, where you intend to be in a couple of months, and it’s been active on and off ever since. The ongoing record of volcanic ash makes it easy for scientists to approximate the age of things around here. This particular eruption spread a 22,000 year-old layer of ash over the entire country that Japanese archeologists can use to age things they find in the midst of it. And there are many other layers from many other eruptions. This is one of the world’s most volcanic countries, after all. And isn’t it amazing, the things scientists can do! Reflecting on this makes you wish you had a real job and did real work, meaningful work, scientific work. But then again . . . Sakurajima is the modern active vent of that ancient volcano. It used to be an island in the middle of the bay, but it was connected to the mainland by a lava flow in the eruption of 1914. That was the most recent plinian eruption here. There have been others of course. There was a big one in 1779 and one in 1471. The first one in recorded history was in 963. Most recently the vent has been spewing ash pretty regularly since 1955. When cross country hiker Alan Booth arrived here in the 80s he reported that there was ash covering the city, especially around the area of Saigo Takamori’s last stand, his shrine, and his grave. The ash supposedly made the earth on the island of Sakarajima exceptionally fertile, and thousands of farmers lived there in earlier times. Those farmers grew many of the area’s famous mandarin oranges, which supposedly grew well in the ashen soil. The 1779 explosion threw up a volcanic cloud of ash and smoke more than ten kilometers into the air and turned the ocean around it “a brilliant purple”. It killed 130 people, destroyed over 500 homes, and wiped out over 21,000 mandarin orange trees. The destruction was so bad that the Shimazu clan were unable to make their regular year-end gift of oranges to the shogun. You tell all of this to the old fellow. Yes, he’s still there, sitting across from you. He’s the type who won’t take no for an answer, even when the no comes from him. You’re sure he hasn’t understood a single word you’ve said, though he probably knows it all anyway. It doesn’t matter. He seems to be enjoying the ride, so never mind. He’s been to the Petrified Forest in Arizona. It rained the whole time he was in San Francisco. He saw the Golden Gate Bridge. It turns out he’s 73 years old. During the war he was right here in Kagoshima. He was a child. He remembers watching the bombs fall on the city. “It doesn’t matter,” he says. He loves America anyway.
| By Ami Pasion |
Y P S E
| Interview and photos by Adam Pasion |
core member of the Evil Dots Crew, a prolific street artist, and owner and operator of 8Gallery in Sakae, ESPY (imagine a spy like James Bond) is a founding father of Nagoya's burgeoning graffiti scene. Armed with a spray can as his weapon of choice, ESPY assaults the walls of the city from one end to the other and when he isn't out wall bombing he you can find him the same way I found him, behind the counter at his own art gallery near Yabacho. RAN: So what sort of things do you get your inspiration from? ESPY: My style is heavily inspired by manga and horror movies. That's probably the main influence, but there is a lot of inspiration from skateboard culture as well. In the 80s with the big skateboard boom I got a lot of inspiration from that. I draw more on the influence of tattoo artists and other art forms than I do from other graffiti writers. RAN: I can sense that. You use pictures a lot more than words. ESPY: Yeah, originally graffiti is all about “lettering” but as far as Japanese culture goes, the alphabet is not our culture. The thing that has spread from Japan all over the world is anime, so I thought that was a good place for me to start. RAN: What do you think about the Nagoya art scene, especially related to graffiti? ESPY: The amount of kids doing tags is always going up and down. I think there are a lot of younger guys out there who are really good though. As far as our crew EDC, we got guys together with really different styles so I think we have a really good balance. RAN: What is it like compared to other places? ESPY: Out in Osaka there is a crew called CMK and we are really close with them, practically like the same crew. Besides them though I think Osaka is really tight knit and solid. Tokyo also has a lot of great artists and a lot going on. For me one of the big influences from Tokyo, he does graffiti and skateboards and everything is ESOW. He was a big influence for me. RAN: Do you have any message for the foreigners living in Nagoya? ESPY: Nagoya has a lot of different things to offer, like food culture and whatnot. I imagine there are a lot of people out there who like this sort of art too and I would be happy to have them come and check out the shop.
BANG BANG BOOGIE 2010
photos: ADAM PASION
for ming! co
Lars Martinson is the author of the graphic novel Tonoharu: Part One, which is available from amazon.co.jp .
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