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January / February 2011
| ISSUE 9 |
Forward 初めに

o, I’m dead tired of hearing people complain about a city nightlife, some art and culture, an open-minded
Nagoya. It isn’t that I’m in love with this city, far from it, population, a few good restaurants, some decent bookstores,
but the same old complaints just create a really vicious and throw in some mountains, or a seaside, and I’m good.
cycle of that same stuff over and over again. That in mind, It might be said Nagoya has none of those, but what it does
there are some things I love about Nagoya: have, I’m adapting to, and still, I’m good…you live inside
Great Transportation, even if it stops running at 12am, your head mostly anyway, it’s up to you how you read your
the public subway system here rocks! It’s on time, fast, clean, environment, and the grass is always greener on the other
reliable and dare I say, comfortable? I mean, compared to side, never forget. We all came here for a reason, let’s explore
Tokyo’s sardine tubes and New York’s ‘come-whenever-we- what that/those reasons might be, and learn something,
damn-well-feel-like-it’ subway system, Nagoya’s lines seem contribute something, get something and give something
almost perfect by comparison. I’m on the Sakura Dori line, while we’re here. “You go through stages…”, my friend Yoko
catch me if you can… told me recently. Damn right. However you handle those
Parks. Come on, lots of folks say Nagoya could use lots stages is what decides how your daily life is going to be. Half
more green space, true, I’m one of those people, but Nagoya’s empty/half full, how do you see it?
park system is pretty good. All the major parks I go to,
Shirakawa, Meijo Koen, Tsurumai Koen, Heiwa Koen, Shonai I hope in 2011 here in Nagoya, more people will take
Ryokuchi Koen, Higashiyama Koen, even Central Park, these more chances on themselves, their ideas, their dreams, and

rabbit illustration: ADAM PASION; digital alteration: ADRIEN SANBORN
are great places to lounge, play, chill, sport it up, dance, eat, contribute more to the environment of art and culture here
relax, learn, meet, refresh and progress! Here’s to Nagoya’s in Nagoya. It’s a really fertile time, the soil seems ready to be
PARKS, see you in one this year! planted with some great ideas, concepts, innovations and
Ease of living. Lots of folks complain that Nagoya is dreams…why wait? Why wait for the perfect moment/time/
‘boring’, ‘uninteresting’, ‘not exciting’, etc, well, let’s turn that place/person? That time is Right About Now, make it happen,
around and say Nagoya is calm, peaceful, low stress, and I’m looking at the man in the mirror, are you?
relatively friendly. Sure, Nagoyans aren’t the cosmopolitan 2011 is the year of the rabbit, classy, sensitive, creative,
bunch Tokyo-ites like to think of themselves as, nor are optimistic, compassionate, this year is a year to PRODUCE, as
Nagoyans the loud and outspoken brash comedians Osakans the rabbit is so well known for. The rabbit is also expressive,
proclaim themselves to be, we’re somewhere in between. well-mannered and stylish, so 2011 looks to be something
We’re laid back but upbeat, we’re mellow but interested, we’re special! Reinvent yourself as how you see yourself in your
fun without being obnoxious. We’re down for the cause but mind, the voice in your head is right-.
we’d just as soon stay home and chill. Nagoya and Nagoyans
make for a low maintenance but lively combination, all in a Make it your best year ever,
safe and easily-commutable city, best of all worlds I’d say. City We plan to do the same thing.
life without city strife, heard? Word… BLESS UP!
I mean, let’s face it, where on earth is the absolute perfect We still love you Nagoya.
location? Sure, there are lots of spots “cooler than”, “bigger
than”, “more interesting than”, wherever you’re currently TDHOUCHEN
living, but it’s all relative, isn’t it? Me, give me a place with RAN MAGAZINE PUBLISHER

2 |RAN|

5 Ch-ch-ch-ch Changes
8 Walkathon for Life
International Charity Festival 2011

16 The Pagoda Diaries
Half Pagoda Nerd

4 The Green Spot

cover photo: ACHIM RUNNEBAUM
table of contents photo: YUKO SANBORN Arriving in "Eco" Style

6 Media
Nagoya Radio Rocks!

10 Success
Maki Means Business

12 Health
Yogini Sarah Speaks

Publisher: TD Houchen
Layout Designer: Adrien Sanborn
Editor: Adam Pasion 14 Listen
Ali Huggins
Photography: Achim Runnebaum
Web Manager: Jason L. Gatewood

Send story ideas, art, photography,
20 GoTaiheiyo! See Japan by Sea
and advertising inquiries to:

Promotional Events/Co-Promotion:
22 Read
Hagakure: The Code of the Samurai

www. 24 RAN Map & Club Guide
27 Comics
Art, comics, and other amusements

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

Arriving in "Eco" S tyle
uring my time living in America so many years ago, criticized hybrids for their larger and much more unwieldy
gasoline was 89 cents per gallon, and fast, powerful batteries, their lower resale value (battery is very costly to
cars were the holy Grail of the car industry. In a world replace), and higher repair costs. However, since hybrids
with abundant resources, seemingly endless kilometers of are still a relatively new technology many of the current
open road and clear skies, it made sense. Unfortunately maintenance hassles unique to hybrids will improve with
we no longer live in such a world. Now the buzz words future models.
are conservation, environmental protection, limited/ finite As mentioned above, another criticism certain people
resources, and cost cutting. Demands for clean air plus a have about hybrids, is about power output being lower than
need for reduced oil consumption have caused some car in regular gas-only cars. Well, that's kind of the whole point,
manufacturers, particularly in Japan, to look for a temporary isn't it? Gas is consumed much more quickly during hard
solution before we can switch to non-gasoline power sources. acceleration. If you spare the horses when the light turns
Thus was born the hybrid. green, you can save a significant amount of money, not to
The classic example of a hybrid is the mule- a cross mention cutting down on Eco-unfriendly emissions. According
between a donkey and a horse. In the automobile world, In to customer satisfaction surveys, a large number of people
simplest terms, a hybrid combines a gasoline engine and an who have switched to hybrids recently reported a change in
electric motor to provide adequate power with minimal fuel their driving habits, greater overall relaxation while driving,
usage and low emissions. They don't need to be plugged and significant savings at the pump. The most surprising part
into an electric outlet in order to be recharged. They charge is that these former self-proclaimed road warriors thought
themselves by using energy normally lost during coasting and they would miss having all that power at their fingertips, but
braking, and can also be charged by the car's gasoline engine. actually the opposite is true.
Critics consider hybrid vehicles to be the jackasses of the car Whatever you may think about hybrids, one thing is for
industry, but don't get suckered into that whole hybrids are certain: They do have a lot of potential to significantly cut
for wussies nonsense. Considering that at highway speeds down on harmful emissions and thus reduce the burden on
the average car requires only about 20 horsepower to keep it our already strained planet. So if you’re in the market for a
running, a large gasoline engine makes little sense except for new car in the new year, give hybrids a chance. Do a bit of
when pulling heavy loads, which is the whole idea behind research, and you too might be surprised to find out that many
hybrid cars - a small gas engine combined with an electric people who have recently switched are very satisfied with
motor. their new “green” wheels.
With dropping prices, more consumer options, and Conservation is the new name of the game, and if the
ever more efficient production techniques, hybrids, such hybrid technology keeps improving and catching on, it might
as the Toyota Prius, Honda Insight, or the Hyundai Sonata just be those stubborn mules in the automobile community for
are becoming more and more popular with "Eco-friendly" whom high performance is the Holy Grail, that may end up
consumers. And who could blame them? With better mileage looking like jackasses.
than even the best gasoline-only car, efficient performance
in just about all driving situations, whisper quiet operation,
and much lower emissions, hybrids are fast becoming a great
alternative to the gas guzzlers of old. how-does-a-hybrid-car-work.html
But its not all sunshine and butterflies. Some people have

4 |RAN|
- c h - c h
C h - c hCH A N G E S
m Runnebaum |
| Story and photos by Achi t it, and
t it, Tupac rapped abou

avid Bowie sang abou sai d:
, a no ted Au tho r on ce
No rm an Vin ce nt Pe ale world”.
and you change your
“Change your thoughts in a state of
rea lly thi nk ab ou t it, everything is always
If yo u life - change.
ge . Iro nic all y, tha t’s the only constant in
ch an different, every
ess en ce of ex istence. Every year is
It is the tha n the las t,
ter we ha ve wi th pe op le is dif fer en t
en co un apes change.
ange, and whole landsc
people change, lives ch really notice it
is slow and we don’t
Sometimes the change eone else. Other I wish we had
reminded of it by som
that much until being recognizable.
times the change is sud
den and immediately a Theme Park
many people
g conundrum; there are in Nagoya, so
It’s kind of an interestin than they are
more afraid of change people could
in the world who are every one of us
ry new year, each and
of death, but with eve r lives. For some enjoy their free
ys for a change in ou
secretly or openly pra ng year. Some time.
ght change in the comi
people relationships mi place, go back
s, or move into a new
people will start new job an old friend,
s, find new love, lose
home to their countrie ing completely
akthrough, start someth
strike it rich, make a bre ve direct power
me of the time we ha
new, etc, etc. etc. So don’t have any,
place. Sometimes we
over the changes taking about Nagoya,
r to change something
but if you had the powe some way, what
me; to make it better in
this city we all call ho
would it be?

I wish people wer
more open minde

i s h peop
I w d drive
woul arefully It would
more respect there we nice if
re more
and ules in tradition
cr al places
traffi goya. like in Ky ,
Na oto.

t i o n s for goo s
Op ool
l e m e n tary sch ow.
e ht n
ited rig
are lim open more Nagoya buildings
I would ry/middle should be more
elemen n Nagoya. fashionable/cool
schools Around Nagoya
Station it’s starting
to look nicer, but
lot of areas are st
ill |RAN| 5
very drab looking.
Media メディア

| By TDHouchen |

isen from the ashes of ‘terrestrial radio’ like a fiery really aggressive. Everybody heard when they went out of
phoenix of sound, is on the air, business on September 30th last year, but no one knew who
sort of, in Nagoya and all over the world, anywhere they were before that. I think they should have ‘gone out of
an internet signal can be received. Don’t quite know what business’ the first day. What a great publicity concept, you go
Nagoya is? Nagoya Radio is an online radio out of business on your first day, then come back the next day
station that promises to be everything Radio I should have after everyone has heard you’re going out of business, and you
been and more. You do remember Radio I 79.5FM don’t you? say ‘we’re baaaaaack’. But it was a shame, Radio I going out
After a 10 year stint as Nagoya’s one and only ‘international’ of business was a first in Japan for a radio station, and it’s a
radio station, RADIO I now sleeps with the fishes. After huge shame.
broadcasting it’s last signal on the last day of September last
year, they quietly faded into the ether. Enter NAGOYA RADIO. TD: Talk to me about Nagoya
com - born of the need for ‘real radio’, as general manager MB: Right now, Nagoya only has 3 stations. Nagoya is
Mark Bailey puts it. roughly about the same size as Atlanta in the US, which has
Question: What the hell is online radio and why does 34 stations. We think 3
Nagoya need it? stations isn’t enough.
Answer: Ask Mark Bailey.
TD: Why is radio so
TD: Mark - first, where are you from, how did you get here, overlooked in Japan?
and what are you up to? MB: I think radio is seen
MB: I’m from Brooklyn, New York. Been in Nagoya 20 years. as the little step brother to
I came here wanting to teach. I had taught radio in the US TV in Japan. If you’re on TV
but outgrew my need to teach within a year here. I missed here, you’re successful- if
radio but I couldn’t speak Japanese. This was 1990, and there you’re on the radio, you’re
was only one real FM station, that was FM Aichi. I went to just not on TV yet. Here in Japan, they don’t have the radio
them hoping to get on air but they told me to forget it since I history and culture that we do in the US. They don’t really
couldn’t speak Japanese. So I started learning Japanese. Then know what radio is good for here. Radio is something that you
in 1993, ZIP FM burst on the scene and they sounded like a do in your life, you get involved, it affects you. That’s what
real western-style FM station. I went there and they said my we want to do with Nagoya We see ourselves
Japanese still wasn’t good enough, so I started practicing with as an FM station that doesn’t happen to have a tower- we
phrases the Japanese DJs said. By 1995, I got on with ZIP as a happen to be online. We’re a real radio station, we live, eat,
news announcer/translator. In the meantime, I passed Level 1 work, sleep and breathe here, and we’re worldwide. We serve
Japanese, was with ZIP for about 2 years, then in about 2000 two communities- we want to be the ‘voice of Nagoya’, if
Radio I came on and I was with them from the beginning to something big happens here, you won’t hear about it on the
the end. regular broadcast stations, and you certainly won’t hear it
in English, so we want to fill that niche, but we also want to
TD: Tell me about Radio I. Why did they die? I really dug serve people with a general interest in Japan from all over the
listening to some of the shows… world.
MB: They didn’t have enough advertising. They were waiting
for advertisers to come to them, which is not the way a TD: Nice. Explain to me what ‘internet radio’ is all about.
business in this economy is going to thrive. KOWA was MB: Until now, internet radio has been the sound of an MP3
the parent company of Radio I, they are a pharmaceutical player playing music, and only that. There are thousands of
company, and they were doing very well outside of Radio internet radio stations online, but the majority of those have
I. I think they were using Radio I as a tax write-off. Radio no one actually communicating with you. You won’t hear
I was hemorrhaging lots of money every month. I used to anyone ever saying, ‘hey, it’s 4 o’clock, thanks for listening.’
see the sales staff everyday just sitting at their desks on their We want to change that. Internet radio has servers just like any
computers, and I’d ask them, ‘why aren’t you out selling or site online. Normally online, when you click on something
getting ads?’, and they’d tell me they were salaried employees. you see it and read it, with online radio, when you click on it
Give a salesman a salary and where is the incentive for him to you hear it.
TD: Do you think Nagoyans will be more receptive to
TD: Do you think Radio I did a good job at marketing NagoyaRadio than they were to Radio I?
themselves? MB: It’s not going to be easy, but we’re determined. Again,
MB: With a new station it takes about 10 years for people Japanese don’t have a radio culture and/or history. We have
to know you exist. Radio I did no promotion. You have to be to teach them what it’s all about. They’ve never had a culture

6 |RAN|
where DJs are rock stars. We’re going to have to teach the Case in point: for a long time I was drinking horrible coffee
community what FM radio is, but we’re also having to explain from lots of these mom and pop coffee joints when I first
how to operate an internet radio dial. It’s a lot of work, but came. I remember telling my wife, if a chain were to open
we’re up for it. here, it would do great business. A few years later Starbucks
came and now they’re all over the place. Same with Subway,
TD: When did Nagoya actually begin it’s first I’m a New York boy who was dying for a pastrami sandwich,
broadcasting? and now they’re here. So yes, I think Nagoya is a conservative
MB: October 9th last year, at the kick off to the COP 10 town, but things are changing, and people have to take
event. We wanted to connect with the foreigners who were chances.
here visiting for that event last year. Our main audience are
expats primarily in Nagoya, but also the rest of Japan, and as TD: What do you think Nagoya needs?
I said we’re online, so we can potentially have a worldwide MB: The UN has been saying Japan has to open up it’s
audience. Seems right now the people who like what we’re immigration. They’ve been saying this for 30 years. Right now,
playing are Japanese guys Japan is about 1 percent non-Japanese in it’s population. The
between 30 and 50- they UN says that number has to go up to 13 percent for Japan to
speak the language of rock. continue as it is now. That doesn’t mean growth, just for it to
stay at it’s current level. I’d like to walk down the street and
TD: What’s the format? see diversity. I think if Nagoya were more diverse it would
MB: It’s constant rock, and make life better for everybody, not just non-Japanese. I think
news when it breaks. If you a major media force and a few really super successful non-
listen to rock stations, they Japanese businessmen are necessary to push Nagoya in the
don’t have any news. If direction of being more diverse. I feel like if I can make
you listen to news stations, it in Nagoya, I can make it anywhere. I’ve put 20 years of
they don’t have any rock. So basically if you like Zeppelin or connections and business savvy into my life here. Plus, I’ve
Green Day, you can hear that with us, but you also know that got my family here. I stay here because I’ve put so much work
for example, if there’s an earthquake, we’re going to tell you into my life here.
about it. An MP3 player can’t do that. We play rock, and if
something happens in our community, we break in. No other TD: What else besides are you into Mark?
station around here does that. MB: We do, renting bikes to foreigners,
we do Minato Bridal, which is a wedding dispatch business,
TD: What’s the language ratio of English to Japanese on we’re doing Peace English which dispatches teachers, we also
Nagoya have in-house classes. We do Radio Results, we get orders for
MB: Right now were about 100 percent English. We don’t commercials and jingles from the US, people who outsource
have to explain to foreigners what radio is, all we have to native New York accents, but who can’t afford to pay the
do is direct people to the page. Eventually we plan to have prices that US agencies charge, they get it done with us.
a Japanese talk show, we’ll have some English lesson shows We import food, those are the main businesses that bring in
also. When we do our Japanese talk radio show, it’s going to money for us.
be talk radio with balls.
TD: What’s on tap for in 2011?
TD: By it’s nature, it seems internet radio is a medium where MB: Two Saturdays a month, we’re going to be promoting
one has to be essentially homebound to be able to listen. How the station out in the streets of Nagoya, giving gifts to people,
will you get around that? doing man on the street interviews, and basically just touching
MB: True. Especially in Japan. In most European countries Nagoya. We want Nagoya to know we’re here, so we’re
and the US, you can get a WiFi signal at Starbucks and lots going to introduce ourselves. We’re radio guys, and we’re
of places outside the home- here you can’t do that. You may Nagoya guys. We sound like a real station because we are a
have heard that Japan is a technologically advanced country, real station, we’re on all over the world, but we’re here for
so we’ve got confidence that the WiFi revolution will hit here Nagoya. Any questions, write us at
too. What we have to do now is figure out when people are
online. Seems that time is from 8 to 10pm at night. or,
TD: Your take on Nagoya. it’s very easy to get in touch with us.
MB: Nagoyans are slow to adapt to things other places have
been on for a long time, but basically I think if you give the Right on Mark.
Nagoya consumer a chance, he’s going to like what you like. We’re listening..

|RAN| 7
Walkathon for Life
| By Ebony Brown |

ast year over 2000 people gathered in Nagoya to perform work. For many of the residents and members of such charities
a simple task: walking. Yet, this seemingly minute action the centers and homes provide a rare chance to leave their
has had an incredible impact on the lives of many homes and interact with others. On a visit to the Seikatsu
throughout the Chubu region. Jointly created in 1991 by the Shien Center PIVOT, a daycare center for the mentally and
American Chamber of Commerce and Nagoya International physically challenged, a young man was seen enjoying
School the Nagoya Walkathon is all about unity and giving. A the music program, it was noted that under the care of his
foreign sponsored event, its purpose is to unite the foreign and elderly parents he had no prior opportunities to leave his
Japanese communities through a mutual desire to positively home. The Walkathon helped fund the construction of the
benefit charitable organizations. Every walker pays a 2000 Seikatsu Shien Center.
yen registration fee (or 1000 yen for students) and add that Another program that the Walkathon benefits is the Japan
to the sizable donations from corporate sponsors and we Service Dog Association. Anyone who has ever taken the
are talking about a whole s u b way i n Ja p a n k n ow s
lot of money. But rather t h a t t h e s u b w ay i s n o t
than focusing on change always the most accessible
on a global level, all the transportation system in
funds are funneled to local the world for those with
organizations. This means physical disabilities. The
that every yen goes to help relatively new concept of
those who need it most service dogs has completely
in the same areas that changed the lives of many
participants live and work. of the disabled by allowing
With over 8 million yen them to navigate on their
raised last year alone it is own, eliminating the need to
easy to wonder what types constantly ask for assistance.
of charities are benefitting While the dogs are a miracle
f r o m a l l t h i s ch a r i t a b l e for those they assist they
giving. The answer is many. do not come cheap. It cost
Th e wa l k a t h o n d o n a t e d 4,000,000 yen to feed, train,
money to 26 charities last and place just a single dog.
year alone with a multitude The overwhelming majority
of groups in need being addressed. A large community that of this money comes from donations, like the 200,000 yen
is being positively affected is the mentally and physically donated by the Walkathon in 2009.
disabled. Walkathon funds purchase everything from can- Finally the Walkathon supports several organizations
crushing machines and art supplies for expression therapy to aimed at helping children. They are involved in providing
the creation and renovation of various facilities. The theme funds for trips and accommodations for children with difficult
of most of these organizations is empowerment. By creating family circumstances. They help provide funds for programs
projects and work opportunities for the disabled, these that teach Japanese to Chinese children being raised in Japan.
programs allow those who society deems unable to contribute, They also help make dreams come true by making donations
a chance to assert their independence and showcase their to the Make a Wish foundation, allowing terminally ill
creativity. children a chance to go to Disneyland with their families.
Safuran Kai, for example, provides a communal home With so many people feeling the wave of hope and change
and workplace for the mentally disabled. Residents make because of the Nagoya walkathon. I think it’s time we all laced
cookies, postcards and engage in recycling as a means of up and took a walk around the park, don’t you?

8 |RAN|
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Success 成功

| By TDHouchen |

any people say the role of women in Japan needs as the first type.
to change before Japan itself can move towards TD: What type of business environment do you think is
becoming a successfully integrated international prevalent in Nagoya?
country. Like their Western female counterparts, many women MM: In manufacturing, Nagoya is very well known for
in Japan today are postponing or shunning marriage altogether automobile and aerospace manufacturing, heavy industry. On
after finding themselves in control of their own destinies, the other hand, the biggest semiconductor factory in Japan is
without the financial assistance historically provided by men. located in Yokkaichi, that’s Toshiba, it’s not far from Nagoya.
But this new position in society is uncharted territory in Japan Manufacturing is big in Nagoya.
for most women. TD: Do you think Nagoya’s economy is growing, contracting,
Maki Mizuhara embodies the characteristics of a successful or stagnating?
business woman, and does so with grace, charm, and beauty MM: Because of the economic crisis of last year and recently,
to spare. She is a wonderful example of a progressive minded it gradually became bad, but now, it’s gradually becoming
woman, who happens to be Japanese, carving a niche better. Gradually bad, gradually better is the Nagoya story.
for herself in a man’s world right here in Nagoya, while Things don’t suddenly happen here, it takes a while to happen
still holding down some of the traditional roles associated one way or the other.
with womanhood- marriage and children. It’s safe to
say she’s ‘got it all’- money, career, family, beauty, and a TD: What do you think is the basic character of the average
healthy dose of her own ideas about what womanhood Nagoya business person?
means. MM: Everybody says Nagoya is very closed. People wanting
As a recruiter for Wall Street Associates, an executive to start a new business, etc, maybe it’s hard here. It’s very well
recruitment firm established here in Nagoya, Maki has come known that Nagoya is a conservative town. For example my
across dozens of successful people and shares what she feels office, we do not hire people if they are not from this area.
is necessary to become successful here, or anywhere. First thing business people from here ask is ‘where are you
from?’ If you say you are from, for example, Tokyo, they put
TD: So Maki, tell me a bit about yourself. some distance between you and them. I guess Nagoya people
MM: I’m originally from Mie prefecture. I’m the are conservative naturally. But once you get to know them,
director of the Nagoya office for Wall Street Associates. once Nagoya people accept you, they accept you for life.
I’ve worked in Nagoya for 14 years. Our company focuses They (Nagoya people) want to make sure before they accept
on bilingual people, and finding them executive positions you. Once you earn the credibility, or trust from them, it lasts
with established firms. a long time. Even, for example, if someone comes along
and offers a better price or something, Nagoya people won’t
TD: What type of jobs does your company find for people? change because they want to keep relationships for a long
MM: When our company was formed, our president focused time. The door might open faster in a place like Tokyo, but it
on bankers. Gradually we changed our focus to accounting closes faster also. Here in Nagoya, it might take a while to get
and finance, people with those skills plus English. Now we the door open, but it will stay open longer.
also work with Human Resources people, and supply chain
management as well, purchasing, factory manager, like that. TD: What would you say is the best way a foreigner should
We also have sales and marketing for bilingual people. proceed here in Nagoya if he or she wants to start a small
TD: You meet many company presidents. How would you MM: I think a person who wants to open a business here
describe their personalities? should focus directly on who he wants to attract. There
MM: There are basically two types of company presidents probably isn’t much competition for certain businesses here,
that I’ve seen in Nagoya. There is the company president who so you can get success if you can find your market. If you
established a company from scratch. He is usually very open want your business to be huge, then maybe Nagoya isn’t such
minded, very aggressive hiring people. They’ll join meetings a great place. But Nagoya is a great city for smaller businesses,
and say exactly what kind of people they want. They’ll express and also for businesses that want to test market products
their philosophy, they are very hands on. The other type is or services. You can also tailor make your business to your
the second or third generation president who is the son of the audience here, but in a bigger city, you can’t quite do that.
former president, like that. They are more relaxed, they give
their authority to senior directors, they aren’t quite so dynamic TD: What do you personally like about Nagoya?

10 |RAN|
MM: This city has most of what you need for city life. It’s easy event. I did flower events also- I used to promote Australian
to get around and get along here. The people are friendly, flowers because Australia has very unique flowers and people
it’s easy to live here. Because of the medium size of Nagoya, who didn’t really care about Australia came.They wanted to
networking is easy here, people support each other a lot. I see the flowers but they’d never been to Australia. It’s always
really like that. the theme and the contents that are more important than just
TD: If a foreign businessman wanted to tap into the Japanese
market, how might he go about doing that? TD: What qualities do you think are necessary for a person to
MM: Difficult. If you mean the Japanese person who isn’t be successful?
naturally interested in international things, it’s difficult. I MM: Energetic. Passionate. Genki. Successful people are
think your product or event should have some theme, not sugoi genki. They usually have a dream. Often they are very
necessarily international. For example fashion, flowers, nice people. I mean usually entrepreneurs are humble people-
whatever the event is should focus first on the theme aside they are very polite, kind, and they look you directly in the
from the international aspect of it. The topic is important eye. Also, they are very strong, they believe something very
rather than the international part of it. It depends on how you strongly.
promote the event, how you put it, how you make it. If you
make an event, for example a rock event, if I’m interested TD: How would you improve Nagoya if you could?
in rock and I’m Japanese, I’ll go whether or not there are MM: Personally, I’d like to see more ethnic restaurants. I like
foreigners there. Even if I don’t speak English, I’m there for going to places where I feel like I am in a foreign country. I
the rock, right? I used to organize a lot of events, and they like that a lot. Also, there needs to be more places for women
were international events, but the subject of the event itself like me to go out and feel comfortable to network, have a
wasn’t necessarily international. I used to do wine events glass of wine, talk, meet people, like that. Nagoya needs more
photos: EJP

with Canadian wine importers, and I’d get the entertainment of that.
and people would come because of the wine. Or the
entertainment. Not because of the international-ness of the Working on it Maki.

|RAN| 11
Health 健康

“Health”, you know…the well-being of your
| By Yogini Sarah |

with bad energy may seem selfish, but you have the right
mind, body and spirit? to be happy and, you can be happy now. Don`t go through
As an Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga instructor with a background that checkout with the cashier who is seeping bad energy. If
in humanistic and developmental psychology, I am always you do, be ready to amp-up your good energy and hope it
hoping to promote health and wellness among my yoga transmits to and transforms your “un-genki” target! Of course
students. Whether it is teaching correct Asana (yoga poses) people who are close to us go through bad times and as a
alignment, encouraging regular water consumption, or friend or partner you should be supportive, but being with
facilitating relaxation through Pranayama (breathing someone who is perpetually cynical and/or nihilistic is no
exercises), one must consider that the mind, body and spirit good for the chi! Friendships and relationships should be fun!
are a dynamic interconnected system and each component If a relationship does not improve the quality of your life and
has an effect on the other. Achieving overall health is a great happiness, than perhaps it`s no longer worth having. Change
balance of this system. There are the obvious ways to improve that bluesy track, turn up that roots positive music and dance
one’s health that you are well aware of, like quitting smoking, it solo!
exercising and eating your greens, but there are ways that
perhaps you have never considered. Without trying to sound Food choices
like your mother nagging “Eat your broccoli!” I would like As a yogini, I must say something about the yogic diet.
to offer you a few insights on how to live healthier. These It’s kind of ridiculous, some of the things that are actually
things, and I speak from experience, will have a major impact considered to be food these days. I’ve got to agree with the
on your health and overall well-being if you try them. If you co-authors Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin of Skinny
really, actually want to be healthy, I`ll tell you now, it`s not Bitch (excuse the language) when they say “Avoid processed
just a 2 week diet or a sporadic exercise regime. It`s a lifestyle foods!” Yes, that is printed in bold for a reason. The villains
that takes perseverance and commitment. What’s worth more are: processed white sugar, artificial sweeteners, processed
than your health anyway, seeing as your life depends on it? flour and hydrogenated guck full of preservatives! I am sorry
to break it to you, basically most conbini foods (convenience
Smiling and Creating Good Energy store, for those of you who are new here) are processed. Just
Think about it. Energy is everywhere and runs at various read the packages. Even conbini onigiri contains preservatives.
frequencies. As Rhonda Byrne, author of the fascinating book All of the energy bars in the “healthy section” of any
The Secret points out, when you decide to smile and be convenience store are also highly processed. Also beware of
happy, you are sending your energy out into the world and hormone, pesticide and anti-biotic laden foods such as meats,
matching energies will be transmitted back to you along your dairy products, and eggs. The list goes on... My favourite quote
chosen wavelength. When you feel great and everything is from Rory and Kim’s no-nonsense book that makes me crack
going your way, when you maintain and emit that “genki” up every time I think about it is, “Candy bars, potato chips,
energy, it just keeps on coming back to you like a boomerang! and ice cream taste like heaven, of course. But they will pitch
What goes around, actually does come around. So, maybe a tent on your hips and camp out all year.”
you woke up on the wrong side of the futon and your angsty Give your body and taste buds a chance to heal and learn
teenage self has been resurrected from your Degrassi days- to enjoy wholesome foods whose chemical structures are
don’t fester in this chosen bad mood state. While you may naturally processed by the body. You’re in Japan! Here’s a
feel dark inside and you think that smiling is just for pleasing chance to try a whole new world of food that is actually good
others, when you begin to smile you are releasing endorphins, for you. There are so many seasonal delicacies to tantalize
the body`s natural opiates. Your smile will eventually become the adventurous palate. Study and learn to read packages in
real. You are also passing your energy onto everyone you Japanese. The benefit to you is two-fold! There are healthy
associate with, so chose a good energy frequency! I love the alternatives if you look, such as organic soy products, organic
way Roald Dahl expresses this in my favourite childhood book free-range eggs, organic fruits and veggies, brown rice,
The Twits “…if you have good thoughts they will shine out quinoa, oats, wholegrain noodles, soba, nuts, seeds, legumes,
of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” pulses, seaweed, miso, konnyaku, red bean paste and so
Remember that even laughing and smiling when you`re alone many more healthy foods in great abundance here. Truly a
is not crazy, it`s healthy! cornucopia of versatile and delicious foods! So for the love
of natto, try it! Though they are small, there are a handful
Good relationships of health food shops in Nagoya that will help you subsist
Part of creating and maintaining good energy in your naturally. Ever heard of macrobiotic? Japan’s Zen diet- Check
life can be heavily influenced by those you associate with. out Nagoya’s macrobiotic selection of eating establishments
Consider the expression that’s a little cliché for a good reason: and know that everything that you’re consuming at
“Surround yourself with people that inspire you.” Saying that moment is wholesome beyond anything you’ve probably
sayonara to friendships and relationships that drag you down ever eaten.

12 |RAN|
My favourite topic: Cross-training
If you don’t have a workout already, I suggest you get
crackin’ before the osteoporosis sets in! I love yoga and I love
the gym! Once you get past the first few weeks of feeling like
you’re dragging your tush to get active, you will soon realize
how amazing you feel after every workout. Make it social,
change it up with lots variety, pump iron, feel the burn, ride
the runner’s high, dance till sunrise, and get “yoga stoned” as
I like to joke! Realize the real human in you! Whatever you’ve
got to do to get moving, do it. You won’t be sorry…well maybe
only for the first week when you discover all the muscles you
actually do have as you limp down the stairs. Just warning you,
nothing worth anything comes easily.
Yoga! What can be better than a workout with a nap at
the end? Well, technically you’re not actually supposed to fall
asleep in “Savasana” (the resting period at the end of an intense
yoga routine) but I just chuckle to myself when one of my yoga
students is off in their sleepy happy place and still laying there
after everyone else is up because they missed the cue. Yoga is
amazing because it does truly have a positive effect on all body
functions and there’s literally a pose for every health problem
imaginable! As an aspiring yoga therapist, I have been studying
that yoga can be used in helping to treat everything from injury
and digestive issues to cancer and depression! Though I enjoy
weight training and can’t deny the benefits of it, yoga also
builds nice muscle without the lactic acid build up resulting
from regular weight bearing exercise. Yoga: give it a go and go
with the flow!
If you’re still moaning and groaning thinking, “Naw…I’ll
work out tomorrow,” think about how great you’ll feel after you
do your workout as compared to how you would feel sprawling
out on the couch after another guilty encounter with makudo and
the indigestible “McBrick,” watching TV “talent” who discover
that it’s fun to bounce ping pong balls off their foreheads. Well,
perhaps bouncing ping pong balls off your forehead isn`t such
a bad idea after all. Just maintain it for at least 30 minutes to
work up a sweat. Oh, you’ll be happy to hear this next bit. Did
you know that shagging is also considered to be exercise and
conversely exercise makes you a better shag? Sex, according to
Jose Temporao, Brazil’s minister of health (bless the Brazilians)
will help reduce the incidence of chronic disease. He even
goes on to prescribe sex at least five times a week for best
results! Though it provides only a modest workout not quite
on par with a moderate 30 minute cardio routine, it does have
the effect of lowering blood pressure and releasing hormones
such as dopamine and cortisol. These hormones in turn reduce
depression, giving you more energy, and GOOD energy! Just
remember, and I know you know this so you have no excuse…
use condoms! You can buy them at pretty much every conbini.
So, yes, exercise, sexercise…whatever. You are meant to move,
so tear out of that couch potato costume and get going!
Oh my, I really could write a whole novel about health,
but man, it’s hard sitting here typing…when you`re fantasizing
about your date with the stair master at Gold`s Gym and all the
hot musclebound guys you get to check out! For now, I’ll leave
you to digest all this information. Oh, oh, oh…and eat slowly
and chew well! Sending out smiles and good energy vibes to
you! ^^

For more tips and links, check out:
| By TDHouchen |

his month’s LISTEN is a performer/producer who promote myself here in my home town.
performs as a working musician in clubs and at events TD: How would someone who wants to do music
scattered around Japan. He’s also performed in Europe professionally in Japan go about doing that?
and the US. His style is multi-ethnic, crossing all kinds of Ali: Okay, first make sure you are pro level. Have your
musical boundaries. Ali Huggins will sing pop, ballads, upbeat promo kit ready: professional pics, one to three professionally
dance music, switch into classic rock, reggae, and blazing recorded songs, a performance video. Some nihongo is
hip hop, then segue into a series of blistering originals all in helpful. The more Japanese you speak and understand the
one 40 minute show. He’s a one man radio dial. Colourful, better. You should have a decent amount of contacts amassed
smooth, professional, fun-Ali gets the job done. so find a booking agent with a good rep who gets their artists
As well as multi tasking as a producer, performer, writer, steady work. You don’t need a manager until you have a
and essential musical svengali, Ali is also a family man. career to manage. Get some work first and keep your day
This Trini funkster gets the party jumping from start to finish. job too. You can’t do anything without money. I came here
He’s about half a degree separated from the leaders in the originally as a musician but I double-up when I can. Teach in
music game here in Japan and abroad, and that half a degree the day, sing at night. It’s tough but paychecks are nice. Nail
decreases daily. auditions, do a great job on all gigs that you book. This is a
Feel Ali’s vibe. business. Professional image and attitude are a must. I dress-
up. I believe in looking the part. When people see me they
TD: where are you from originally? know it’s showtime! No drugs, use your best judgement with
Ali: I’m originally from New York. I moved to Cali in the late alcohol. Many deals are made at the bar. If you are trying to
90'S as part of a band on Capitol Records. My parents are get a record deal as an original artist here in Japan, sing in
West Indian. My Father is from Trinidad & Tobago and my Japanese. Do all of the above and record great songs. I won’t
mother is from Antigua. I’m of African, Indian, and British say anything negative about it. Everybody loves a great song.
heritage. You have great songs and anybody, anywhere will love you.
TD: How long have you been in Nagoya? It’s all about the song! Call me! I get asked for referrals all the
Ali: I first came to Nagoya seven years ago. Moved back to time. I would love to collaborate and/ or produce your music
Cali since then, but been calling Nagoya home for the last too!
three years. TD: What role does your agent play in your career?
TD: What brought you here to begin with? Ali: My agents get me 70% of my work here. I have a few
Ali: First came to Nagoya on a music contract as a singing- personal contacts and I get gigs by word of mouth referrals
drummer in the “XChange Band,” working at Gary’s Motown also.
Club here. I worked at Gary’s again in 2005 as leader and TD: What types of venues do you usually play?
singing drummer in “Common Culture” band. The World Expo Ali: Night clubs, concert halls, hotel ballrooms and piano
was going on then so there were loads of people here. We bars. The biggest show I’ve done was a festival in Sweden
did many great shows and also performed at the Australian in 1998. Five thousand people. I was nominated for a Euro-
pavilion at the Expo main site. dance music Grammy that year too. I didn’t win though. Eagle
TD: Had you had any interest in Japan before coming here? Eye Cherry won. The biggest in Japan so far was an event in
Ali: Japanese gigs popped up occasionally over the years and Osaka with a little over one thousand people, televised etc.
I was always intrigued about Japan. I toured everywhere else, TD: Do you make a good living doing what you do?
just about, so when my agent told me about the Nagoya gig, I Ali: Yes, I make a pretty good living. I have a new car, nice
auditioned and got it. apartment, support a family. Moderately comfortable doing
TD: What is your current profession? what I love, but like everyone I would like to make a lot more
Ali: I’m a working pro singer/ musician/ entertainer. I sing money. So I work hard daily with God’s blessings.
and perform at clubs, events, weddings and I perform and TD: What are the crowds like at your shows?
produce music for TV and film. I’m also a music producer for Ali: I get an occasional audience member that won’t shake my
hire and I have my own new CD of original music that I will hand when I offer it, occasional racist and or foreigner-haters
be promoting this summer. Also I’m working with many great but 99.9% of the time, great, supportive, fun loving people.
artists such as you(Trevor Houchen), Two-J (Hoodsounds/EMI), TD: Do you have groupies? Any crazy backstage stories you'd
Vinny Vintage, Dejavu from Tokyo, Akane and many others. like to share?
TD: How did you get involved in music originally? Ali: Yes I have fans, groupies etc. They just want a piece of
Ali: I started in junior high as a band geek I guess. Later you. Autographed CD, body part etc. They sometimes want a
became a Michael Jackson/ Prince imitator. That lead to band souvenir from you, from your body. They give you gifts, send
auditions and paid shows since I really sang the songs, I you fanmail etc. Most of the accessories I wear onstage are
wasn’t lip-syncing. Gigs got bigger and better, which lead to gifts from fans from around the world. Sorry, I can’t really
getting a booking agent, recording deals etc. share any backstage stories. You’ve been on the road with me,
TD: how did you get involved in music here in japan? you know how I do! But seriously, I know this is a family mag
Ali: Aside from Top 40 scene here, just really been so all I can say is that groupies are alive and kicking.
networking. Back singers for BOA, Koda Kumi, Exile, Ai etc are TD: What are your plans or goals for this year?
all my friends, so I just gave people my demo and the phone Ali: I’m on tour now, I will be returning to Nag in May. I plan
started ringing and I started getting emails. I may get into the to do more great shows at your events and really build my
back singer scene also. I also have you to thank for booking name and brand in Nagoya and Japan. I am going to start the
me in your events, etc. I do a lot of traveling throughout Japan next wave of gaijin artists to make it big here. Look out Jero,
so I am eternally grateful when I have a chance to effectively Monkey Majik, Def Tech etc.

14 |RAN|
Listen 聴く
Ha l f P
| Story and pictures by EJP |

o the governor is the big attraction here in Miyazaki storied pagodas and 75—very soon to be 76—five storied
these days, but that’s not why you’re here. Even you have pagodas here, not to mention a six storied pagoda, two seven
a more meaningful life than that. You don’t go traipsing storied pagodas, a nine storied pagoda, a 13 storied pagoda,
around after famous people and you certainly don’t need and a much larger number of one or two storied pagodas
any photos of your ugly mug lined up cheek to jowl with a known as tahoto, which roughly translates to “treasure tower,”
cardboard cut out of a bald guy in a hapi coat. No. You’re here at least 21 miniature five storied pagodas of which 11 are
on far more important business. inside other buildings, and a hotel in Hokkaido built in the
Well, okay, you’re exaggerating again. It’s not necessarily absurd shape of a five storied pagoda—absurd for a hotel, that
important business. But it’s important to you, if only because is—and if the ridiculous pain in your foot doesn’t stop you, it’s
you’re a goofy weirdo. You are what the Japanese call an your intention on this trip to visit 108 of these, starting here in
otaku. This word translates loosely to nerd, like in computer southern Kyushu and ending in Hokkaido.
nerd. Etymologically it simply means house or home— This has been your dream, really. This is what you’ve been
somebody else’s house or home. The connection is that dedicating all of your time, energy and spirit to for the past
otaku—nerds—tend to stay home, or at least they give that several years. Now suddenly it feels like a very big project.
impression because they don’t tend to socialize. Or rather, Maybe for you, in fact, it’s too big, and you’re starting to think
they don’t do it well. The story’s the same all over the world, you probably should have just stuck with your old hobby,
you suppose. And what otaku really means in this context is which was drinking beer and chasing women. At least with
a person with a hobby. And he’s in too deep. The impression that hobby there was an almost certain chance of success in
is that otaku tend to stay at home with their hobbies, and that either one endeavor or the other—maybe you couldn’t get any
generally everybody’s better off when they do. You’ve become girls, but you could always get another beer.
a certifiable otaku. You’re a nerd. So earlier, when you said Success here, though, is far from assured. It’s not just that
you’re an asshole, that was only half right. You’re a half- anything could go wrong, though anything could, but what
asshole. You’re also a half nerd. A half-pagoda-nerd. The only strikes you so poignantly all of a sudden is that even now,
problem is you don’t stay home. You travel. You meet people. after so much study and research, you still know so little about

Just abou t anybod y can get laid
ove r he r e . No t y o u , o f c o u r s e ,
but j us t a bou t an y bod y e l se .
You bore them to tears with pagoda talk. these pagodas, and empirical observation aside, you know
In Miyazaki there’s a five-storied pagoda. It’s a gorgeous very little about Japan as well.
white 1971 concrete hulk flanked by palm trees and greenery. Or maybe it’s not that you know so little, but rather
You’ve seen it before. You’ve talked to the priest there. On that there’s just so much to know. You’ve planned this trip
the temple grounds there is a nursery school and you played to celebrate your 20th year here, and it occurs to you now
with the kids. You took some lovely photos of them. It was that you would have been wiser to do something like this in
the new-year and you helped the men there pound rice celebration of your first year here. You simply didn’t know shit
into mochi. This is a gooey blob of rice that tastes great and about the place. And you really were better off here when
every season chokes a dozen or so old people to death when you didn’t know anything at all about Japan. This whole thing
it gets stuck in their throats. It’s made by pounding boiled would have been so much easier. Just thinking about it makes
rice with big wooden mallets till no individual grains of rice your head start to hurt. Not to mention your foot.
remain but all have been beat into one pasty blob like bread After 220 years of near isolation Japan was forcefully
dough. Generally two or three people pound on this blob in opened to the outside world by Commodore Mathew
rhythm together—one, two, three, one, two, three—and you Calbraith Perry with his Black Ships in 1854, as everybody
remember feeling like John Henry with his hammer in the knows. Perry was sent to Japan against his own will,
John R Cash song. It felt good. You remember feeling happy. by President Millard Fillmore, just prior to the American
There are hundreds of pagodas in Japan, and you’ve Civil War.
already been to a lot of them. There are at least 125 three Had President Fillmore ever actually been elected

16 |RAN|
Pa go da Ner d
president that feat—the feat of being elected—may have gone traveler’s shoes.
down in history as his second greatest achievement, but it Never mind that in The Clash LaFeber refers to the late
never happened. He was elected vice president and only Speaker of the House of Representatives, Wilbur Mills as a
became president when his predecessor died. Then he ran congressman from Ohio. Talk about your congressman caught
for a term of his own, but lost, and was never elected to the in a cat-house! Wilbur Mills was exactly that. He was one of
office of President. So instead, a voracious reader, his second the most powerful men in Washington when you were a child,
greatest feat turned out to be opening the White House and he blew it all on a hooker, though maybe that’s not the
Library. His greatest feat, of course, was opening Japan. right expression, because there is some question about what
When Fillmore ordered Perry to sail to Japan, the was being blown by whom, after all.
Commodore gathered all the reading material about Japan Anyway, Wilbur Mills was not from Ohio. He was from
that he could. It turned out to be about 15 books, most of Arkansas, just like Bill Clinton, whom everybody knows got
them translated from Dutch, Spanish or Portuguese. That himself into hot water for smoking a cigar with a college intern
was in 1852. Now there are dozens of titles published about in the Oval Office. Of course, smoking a cigar with a college
Japan each year in English alone. A simple search for “Japan” student doesn’t sound all that scandalous—nothing compared
on Google Books will turn up about 10,200,000 results. In to soliciting sex with a 16 year old, as the current governor
preparing for this trip you read some 200 of these, many of of Miyazaki has done, for example—and the whole sordid
which turned out to be completely worthless. Many others affair may have just blown over, so to speak, had the college
proved to be only mostly worthless, but nonetheless say student not been down on her knees with her dress hiked up
something valuable, if only to an otaku like you. Few of them, around her waist and her panties hooked down around her
however, would you recommend to the normal reader—the ankles when it happened. All this makes you wonder what in
average guy with something meaningful to do with his time the world’s going on down there in Arkansas. Also, it makes
and his life, unless he’s unusually interested in Japan, will you jealous. You after all are from Oregon, and Oregon’s idea
probably not want to read any of these tomes. You’re hoping of a scandalous politician is former Senator Bob Packwood,
he will want to read this, however—The Pagoda Diaries. accused of sexually harassing an uninterested secretary.
You’re hoping to write something worth reading. But then What a pathetic way
again, so did all these other people, you suppose. to ruin a good state’s
Generally, there are three types of books being published reputation—a Senator
about Japan. The first are deep academic treatises on who couldn’t even get a
narrow academic pinpoints, most of which are replete with paid employee to smoke
fascinating information, though often overwritten, redundant, a cigar with him, much
poorly organized, and difficult to read for anybody without less a college intern.
a previous understanding of the subject—an understanding Yo u ’ v e m e t B o b
which, unfortunately, can only be obtained by reading a Packwood. You’ve met
whole truck load of these very same books. Some brilliant him twice. You’re not
exceptions, though, in terms of accessibility, are offerings by surprised his secretary didn’t want anything to do with him.
the late George Sansom, the late John Toland, John Dower, He was a dweeb. But nonetheless, it’s a shameful way to have
Walter LaFeber, Stephen Turnbull, Ian Buruma, and Donald your state disgraced. And now you’re thinking of settling down
Keene, Professor Emeritus at Columbia University and half in Arkansas when you return to America. Yes. Arkansas, where
time resident of Japan. Keene has been involved here since it looks like just about anybody can get laid. That’s if you do
he served as an interpreter and translator during the war, and return to the US at all.
by now he’s met almost everybody who’s anybody in Japan, You may not.
especially in Japanese letters. He’s your hero. You love this country.
Unlike you, Donald Keene and all of these men, in fact, And this country, in fact, happens to be full of gaijin who
are serious researchers. There’s not an ounce of fun among have come here precisely because they’ve heard that over
them, but never mind that. There is immense knowledge, as here just about anybody can get laid too. And they’ve heard
well as sincerity, honesty, integrity and respect that one cannot right. Just about anybody can get laid over here. Not you, of
help but admire. There is even awe in some cases. And these course, but just about anybody else. Especially anybody who
men you list here have each been a great pleasure for you to doesn’t know the first thing about Japan. And most of those
read. Indeed, you think Walter LaFeber’s The Clash should gaijin don’t. They don’t know and they don’t care. Or maybe
be required reading for every American who ever gets on a they’re just smart enough not to learn. Ignorance, again, is
plane for Japan, if even for a weekend trip. Maybe they should bliss. But come to think of it, if there is one single state from
give it out at the security check, right after they ex-ray the which you’ve never met a single gaijin here it’s Arkansas. And

|RAN| 17
this Arkansas resettlement program is starting to sound more in many of those 2000, as Ritchie’s the type who might have
and more like a good idea. What are land prices in Little Rock rather enjoyed kissing a Dutchman in front of the Shogun.
these days you wonder? He’s gay. Bisexual, is how he describes it. To each his own, of
And what are you supposed to call those people from course, but you’re a completely different type of fellow. What
Arkansas, besides horny bastards you mean? Arkansans? you admire about Donald Ritchie, though, is his extensive
Arkansassers? Arkansawyers? Maybe you better look into this knowledge, vast experience, and down to earth insights about
before you move there. You could get yourself in trouble if this country where he has spent most of his life. You expect to
you’re not careful. refer to him often in this diary, and especially to his own travel
Anyway, a second type of book about Japan is the type book, The Inland Sea.
you yourself might have written had you done this trip twenty Another man you expect to refer to often is Patrick Smith
years ago, like you should have—written by the type of person who published Japan: A Reinterpretation in 1998. He was
who doesn’t know a damn thing about the place, but refuses a journalist here, and the Japan he writes about is the over
to let that stop him. Now, that’s not to say that none of these analyzed, over criticized and way over defended Japan
people have managed to write entertaining books. In fact, that you moved to in 1988. In fact, one of the things he
many of them have. A few that come to mind are Hokkaido writes about in too much detail is otaku—nerds like you.
Highway Blues by Will Ferguson, The Secrets of Mariko by He says “To be an otaku is merely the final word in private
Elisabeth Bumiller, and especially the lovely Japanland by individuality. It is to reject anyone who would diminish the
Karin Muller. Few people who have lived here very long will protected ego and to acknowledge an inability to achieve the
likely learn very much from these books, but they are quite intimacy of authentic human contact. The otaku draws a circle
often entertaining. And such books go way back to the 1860s around himself—that fundamentally Japanese impulse—and
when English speakers first began with some regularity to withdraws within . . . This is the purest imaginable display of
spend time in Japan. The very best of these, over the years, the narcissism inherent in Japanese society. The otaku desires
may be the one written by a supposedly sickly English woman both an idealized union and an impregnable independence—
who appeared to be anything but sickly. Indeed she was strong the classic drives of the narcissist.”
as a mule and just as stubborn. She came here specifically to Is this you? The classic drives of a narcissist? You’re not so
travel where no Western woman and precious few Western sure. In fact, you’re not even sure what Smith is talking about
men ever had. Her name was Isabella Bird, she didn’t know here. But a lot of what he says, you are sure about, and he is
the first thing about Japan, and now, a hundred years after her one of the writers you will rely upon a lot. Though, of course,
death, her book is still in print. Also, it’s still a good read. Even there will be several others.
the Japanese enjoy it. Everyday experiences for the men you mention here have
The third is the type of book you hope this one will be. varied extensively, as they do for all individuals. They were
You have set your sights high. Having already missed your doctors, diplomats, scientists, educators, journalists, authors
chance to contribute to the fast growing genre of books and critics, but the thing these gentlemen all hold in common
written by those high spirited optimists who know absolutely is the plain fact that they wrote about Japan as they knew it
nothing about the Japan of which they write, you’re hoping personally, as they knew it intimately, as they knew it daily.
to join the ranks of those far more guarded optimists—part It’s not that these men didn’t study Japan. Indeed, each of
time optimists; part time cynics like you—who do know what them did study it. James Michener, another writer who knew
they’re talking about, the ranks of those who have spent every Japan well, said of the late Oliver Statler who also began his
day here for year upon year, the ranks of those who have life in Japan as a member of the occupation army, in fact, that
written, with experience and compassion, as much as with he “knows more about Japan than any other living American
knowledge and astute observation, about everyday things. and can write about it with great skill, as proved by his
Books of this kind date back as far as the 16th century when international success Japanese Inn…” But also, each of them
Portuguese and Spanish missionaries wrote detailed accounts lived here for extended periods of time. They made lives here.
of their experiences here. Dutch and English traders in the Japan was or is a huge part of all of their lives. It has been a
17th century wrote about Japan as well. One of the most huge part of yours. It’s been a twenty-year part of it as a matter
interesting of those writers was Engelbert Kaempfer, a doctor of fact. May 25, 2008 was your 20th anniversary.
with the Dutch mission who traveled overland twice with Now this trip, as well as this diary, is in celebration of that
the local Daimyo from the tiny Dutch enclave in Nagasaki anniversary. Why not? It’s worth celebrating. Twenty years of
Harbor to the capitol in Edo, danced before the Shogun and anything is worth celebrating, if only for surviving it. But with
his advisors, then demonstrated the western way of kissing. so much already in print about Japan—those 10,200,000 hits
Unhappily for Engelbert though, no doubt, his kissing partner you found on Google Books—you’re perfectly aware of what
was another Dutchman. you’re doing here. You’re pissing in the ocean. But so what?
The more modern ranks have included Philipp Franz von Sometimes a guy just needs to take a good long piss, and what
Siebold, Sir Earnest Satow, Basil Hall Chamberlain, Lafcardio better place for it than the ocean. The water is cool. The air is
Hearn, Edward S. Morse, Oliver Statler, Alex Kerr, Edward fresh and mostly clean. The feeling is good.
Seidensticker and above all, Donald Ritchie, whom you Sure there’s more to read. There’s more to learn. There
admire greatly. He claims to have had sex with over 2000 always will be. But you’re here now. You’re on your way. Your
people, though that’s not necessarily what you admire about Journey’s begun. So go ahead. Piss in the ocean. Let it fly. Just
him. In fact, you don’t suppose you’d have had much interest make sure you’re pissing downwind.


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| By TDHouchen |

f you’re looking for an excellent, interesting, scenic and the essence here and that’s part of the beauty of Taiheiyo Ferry.
FUN way to see Japan, you should be very interested in In a country notoriously governed by seconds and minutes,
TAIHEIYO FERRY. ‘Taiheiyo’ means the Pacific Ocean in TF gives you a chance to stretch out and cruise. Each ship has
Japanese, and that’s what you’ll be floating on aboard one restaurants, theatres where you can catch films and/or live
of the massive and luxurious ships Taiheiyo operates from entertainment, shops, and more. The ships float remarkably
Nagoya Port. motionless over the Pacific, skimming the waves at a blistering
The preferred way to get around Japan RAPIDLY AND average top speed of 21 knots per hour, which is about 40
EFFICIENTLY is without doubt the Shinkansen. It is fast, kilometers by hour. Again, not so fast- the accent is on the
however if the blur of the Japanese countryside you see enjoyment.
outside your window isn’t exactly satisfying, ‘the Shink’ might There’s also an afternoon lunch cruise around Nagoya
not be for you. Japan’s other railway options are also fast as which takes about 3 hours and allows you to float unhurriedly
well as being ubiquitous, but transferring from one line to around Nagoya while everyone else is landlocked into their
another, one train to another, can wear you down before grinding time schedules. This afternoon getaway is packed
you’ve seen much of anything. Busses are a drag: too many with fun stuff to do, or again, just relax, get some fresh air, and
weirdos, not enough space, too many stops and not fast let the ship and it’s crew work for you. For entertainment you
enough. Flying doesn’t allow you to see anything at all besides can catch clowns, have your fortune read, play bingo and win
your cabin and the countryside thousands of meters below, prizes, go to the game room, shop, eat, etc, all while floating
but there is another option. TAIHEIYO FERRY makes use of the around Nagoya’s Ise Bay. It’s a wonderful and inexpensive way
Pacific Ocean in allowing you to travel Japan in a unique and to treat yourself.
relaxing way. Not many people are aware Taiheiyo exists, but A seriously unique experience, with Taiheiyo Ferry you can
you can see Japan by sea, take a hot bath while overlooking relax on the deck, or in your spacious cabin bed and move
the Pacific Ocean, be entertained by musicians or just relax in about the ship at your leisure. You can’t beat Taiheiyo for a
your room, all while floating languidly aboard the ‘Kitakami’, unique and fun way to see Japan. Get On Board!
the ‘Kiso’, or the brand spanking new ‘Ishikari’ (starts
operating in March, 2011) in style. Best thing is, TAIHEIYO For details, you can check out:
TF has three ports of call: Nagoya, Sendai, and Starting this month, there will also be
Tomakomai, Hokkaido. The trip to Hokkaido takes around an ENGLISH website.
forty hours, to Sendai it’s about fifteen hours, but time isn’t of

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Read 文学

e o f t h e S a m u ra i
The Co d

| By Adam Pasion |

here are safes in Las Vegas that are easier to crack into prepared to explain it.”
than the world of professional manga in Japan. The The title Hagakure should be familiar to many readers-
more than four hundred billion yen industry is by far the original book is a collection of proverbs and bushido
the largest in the world and yet the number of non-Japanese discourses written by former samurai Yamamoto Tsunetomo
creators can probably be counted on one hand, maybe even and translated by William Scott Wilson, lauded as the foremost
one finger. That finger points to one busy Scotsman whose expert on bushido philsophy, or as Sean Wilson jokingly refers
work has been quickly taking the manga world by storm: meet to him, “uncle bill.” Pop culture has also drawn heavily from
Sean Michael Wilson. Not content merely to make ripples, Hagakure, including Jim Jarmusch’s film Ghost Dog, in which
Wilson has been been changing tides industry wide with a mafia hitman uses the book of samurai wisdom as a model
his compelling and carefully crafted stories. In the last year for his life. Although the stories contained in Hagakure date
alone he has released several titles around the world, all to back almost 300 years, they still resonate in modern Japanese
critical acclaim. Last month ‘The Story of Lee’ was published culture today and fans around the world feel drawn to them.
by NBM Publishing, the second largest publisher of indie “most people want to have a guide for living life,” explains
comics in the world. Wilson also painstakingly edited and Wilson, “and Hagakure and other such samurai books...
compiled ‘AX Anthology,’ which he describes as “a collection are one strand of that. The other is its macho and dramatic
of indie/ mature manga, the kind of manga that has not been side, which attracts people, especially male students of the
seen much in English so far.” AX was released by Top Shelf martial arts.”
Productions in July and was recently selected as one of the Hagakure has been translated and adapted many times
best books of 2010 by the prestigious ‘Publisher’s Weekly.’ “it but throughout its various incarnations, never has it been so
is the biggest and best collection yet made of alternative style relatable and yet consistent to the integrity of the original
Japanese manga translated in English” claims Wilson. Critics work as Wilson’s manga version. Artist Chie Kutsuwada’s
seem to agree. meticulous attention to detail from the architecture of the
On the steam of such brilliant publicity Sean’s next book buildings to the clothing and hairstyles, creates a portrait of
Hagakure was published by Kodansha International, the Edo era Japan which allows readers to engage the text in a
largest publisher in Japan. Talk about a David and Goliath whole new way. Even those familiar with the original will
story. While the Japanese manga machine may be quite find a fresh perspective as they are immersed in the ancient
intimidating even to Japanese creators, Wilson’s approach was Japanese society that the stories are rooted in.
simple: “I just went for it.” Perhaps having the courage is the Through interacting with these ancient texts, Wilson
key to success and also the reason why so few non-Japanese himself has gained a certain new insight into Japanese culture
creators can find work in the industry. “It's a case of having as well. “I often think I can see strands that still exist in the
the balls to go to the publishers, and having some good ideas Japanese way of life. And I need all the help I can get, because
to show them” says Wilson, “Actually it is not so difficult to my own culture of the Celtic parts of Britain are, I think, quite
meet with editors at even the big Japanese publishers, just call the opposite of Japan...There is a myth that Britain and Japan
their offices (speaking in Japanese), and ask if you can get an are similar, because they are both insular islands. I think that's
appointment. Then bring along your stuff to show them and be largely incorrect. Perhaps the upper class, white, English of

22 |RAN|
the empire period shared some similarities with the Japanese
way of behaving, but I think it never applied to the working
class, or the Celtic parts of Scotland, Wales and Northern
Ireland.” Nevertheless Wilson and Kutsuwada beautifully
recreate ancient Japan with remarkable accuracy. Perhaps that
is due in part to having one more heavyweight in their corner-
the original translator William Scott Wilson. In addition to
writing a very insightful afterword to the book, “he advises me
on various points of behaviour and appearance.” says Wilson.
“It was good to have his weight of reputation and insightful
comment involved. A key point is that he indicated that some
of the philosophy in Hagakure should not be taken at face
value. Like the idea of ‘the way of the samurai is found in
death’ being concerned with more than just physical death.”
For fans of manga, Japanese culture, Japanese history and
students of the martial arts, Hagakure will likely whet your
literary appetite and leave you clamoring for more. Luckily
this new year looks to be as productive as the last, with
another installment of mature manga for Top Shelf edited by
Wilson titled “Cigarette Girl” by the notable gekiga creator
Masahiko Matsumoto, as well as another book for Kodansha
called “Yakuza Moon” slated for a February release. Also on
the burner are two projects that are still in search of publishers
including an autobiographical book about Wilson’s childhood.
Wilson explains his sudden explosion by means of a popular
British saying, “you wait ages for a bus, and then three come
along at once!’ My book situation is a bit like that”

Hagakure: The Code of the Samurai
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Kodansha International (January 3, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN: 978-4770031204

|RAN| 23
24 |RAN|
~~~~~ HIP HOP ~~~~~ Club Quattro
CREAM BAR No phone number available. Located in the Parco Building in Sakae.
Located In Sakae. Diamond Hall
Open until 6am.
The Underground Located between Hirokoji Dori and Sakae.
The Underground is actually a three-club conglomeration Heartland
located on three floors in Toshincho.
Lush/052-242-1388 No number available.
Cypher/052-264-9603 Located underneath The former Hard Rock Café
Huck Finn
STEPS 052-733-8347
052-242-7544 Located on Imaike’s backstreets.
Located in Sakae.
Open until 6am, 7 nights a week. The Bottom Line
ID Café 052-741-1620 Legendary big hall in Imaike.
Located in Sakae.

ABIME 2030
052-951-4155 Mago
Large modern space near Sunshine Sakae.
Club Shelter Located in Shinsakae.
052-242-8030 About
Off in the cut behind the Chunichi Building.
3rd floor, same building as Arena. 052-243-5077
Located in Toshincho.
Ozon/Spiral Emporium
Located in Sakae near Wakamiya Park.
Upstairs, Spiral 052-262-7027
Downstairs, OZON Located in Sakae.

052-261-1173 052-241-2234
Located in Sakae. Located in the Toshincho club cluster
Open late.
052 264 3134
~~~~~~ Rock ~~~~~~ Right around the corner from JB’s.

Electric Ladyland Plastic Factory
052-201-5004 090-2346-1682
Located in Osu. Located on the backstreets of Imaike.