RANMAGAZINE.COM April/May 2011 | ISSUE 10 |


► by tdhouchen
ccording to the Nagoya International Center, the number of international marriages in Japan has recently skyrocketed to almost forty thousand per year, unfortunately, the number of divorces among international marriages has also skyrocketed to almost fifteen thousand per year. Love Lost In Translation. Your marriage could be one of those. Divorce is never easy, international or not, it’s a messy process that involves much emotional bleeding, and when children are involved, it becomes even messier, with children often times being the victims. Let it be known unequivocly that no one wins in divorce. You may think you’re winning, but who’s losing? Take a better look. What if you’re a good dad? What if you’re a great dad, but your children’s mother won’t let you see your children, because she’s “too stressed,” pissed, angry, or whatever else? In family court, Japanese style, your ex-wife’s vague “stress” is enough reason for them to deny you your right to see your children. That’s it. No Law, just “stress”, and your children disappear -poof- just like that. Never mind your stress, never mind how much you’ve done for your children and your exeven though she doesn’t notice it, and the ‘court’ definitely doesn’t notice, especially if you’re not Japanese. Don’t kid yourself. What you think doesn’t matter in the mediation room - just her, her opinion, and the ‘mediators’ who mediate nothing, and side with her just because it’s easier, or she’s Japanese, or whatever. The dice were thrown long before you walked into the room. The current Japanese laws, or lack thereof, provide no visitation rights for divorced fathers.No such thing as dual custody in Japan, or legally enforceable visitation “rights”, per se. Why? Last month, ABC NEWS Nightline ran a three-part story on Japan’s refusal to ratify the Hague Convention. This treaty between countries allows for children who have been stolen from their country of residence to be legally returned once discovered. Japan doesn’t have this. On that ABC News program, there were 15 or 20 American fathers whose children had been stolen from them, literally, with no forewarning. Imagine going off to work one morning, and returning that evening to find that your wife or husband had taken all his/her belongings, and the children, and boarded a flight to another country. If that country were Japan, there would be nothing you could do


about it. Your wife would have no legal obligation to return your children to their country of residence. The Japanese government would do absolutely nothing, even though your spouse had just committed kidnap. They interviewed one Japanese woman, who said it was “easy” for her to get a passport from the Japanese embassy in the US for her to be able to kidnap her children back to Japan. Essentially, the Japanese system allows for and supports children being kidnapped and brought here. Seems unbelievable, but not much more unbelievable than a modern country having no legal provision for joint custody. On that same ABC program, a document was produced allegedly cooked up by the Japanese government, which had information in it which gave instructions to Japanese women on how to kidnap children from outside Japanese borders and bring them back to Japan. Children deserve the love, care, and attention of both parents, whenever possible. For one parent to deny another their right to be a parent is irresponsible. Last month hell froze over when revolt, revolution, and the voice of the people swept through Libya, Egypt, Tunisia—and other countries long held breathless by megalomaniac lunatic leaders. Out in the streets. Revolutionaries aiming to change the world, fighting warplanes and machine guns, for their rights to be heard. Unless someone does or says something, the powers that be never listen, the laws never change, and nothing goes forward. RAN is about FORWARD MOVEMENT, exactly like the name of the column says. I want to care for my kids, but the law here doesn’t recognize this. I think it should. Fight For Your Rights. RAN Magazine Issue10 April/May 2011

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cover photo: Ed Putman table of contents photo: Adam Pasion

Divorce Listen

DJ Scrying
The Pagoda Diaries

Certain Death

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The Green Spot

ABC's of "E-Waste"

You Thought Your Life Was Tough

One of Nagoya's Most "Colorful" Residents

Jesse Lang's Music Machines
Manaca in the Middle

Publisher: TD Houchen Layout Designer: Jennifer Rivera Editor: Adam Pasion Photography: Achim Runnebaum Web Manager: Jason L. Gatewood Send story ideas, art, photography, and advertising inquiries to: Promotional Events/Co-Promotion:

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Nagoya Public Trans Gets a Facelift
Read Tonoharu Part II and Charisma Man Taste

Vegetarian Options in Nagoya


ranmagazine .com

New Museums Open in Nagoya

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The green spot.

The ABC's of E-Waste. T
he letter ‘i’ is the 9th letter of the Alphabet, and in recent years has become synonymous with cool, state-of-the art gadgets. It should come as no surprise that the average modern person owns between 6-10 gadgets these days (with or without an i in front of the name). By now everyone you know probably has an iPod for music, an Android, Blackberry, or iPhone, at least one Computer at home, a Digital Dictionary, some kind of navigation device for getting around, an Electric toothbrush, and last but not least the various Gaming devices vying for our hard-earned yen. We are so addicted to and dependent on our gadgets that most people can’t imagine ever having lived without them. When I was a kid, the idea of a cool gadget was the Etch-a-sketch. We’ve certainly come a long way since those days, with various gadgets catering to all our (virtual) needs, but what happens with the older, outdated models we are so eager to trade in or upgrade for the latest and greatest?

1. Sell it. With the many online marketplace options such as craigslist, ebay, yahoo auctions, etc. these days, you’d be surprised at the number of people still interested in your slightly older models. 2. Trade it in. With certain gadgets, such as phones, you can usually trade it in for the newer model. This might cost you a couple of yen, but it’s a lot better than just chucking it out with the trash. 3. Bring it back to the store. A number of electronic giants such as Bic Camera, Yamada Denki, and others have an e-waste recycle program that not many people are aware of. There’s even a lottery style incentive program that could net you 50,000 yen for your old E-devices. More info under: 4. Let your creative juices flow and find some other use for your old devices. An old iPod, for example, makes an excellent on-the-go backup device since it’s small enough to carry anywhere, has lots of storage space (30gig or bigger), and can store all kinds of files. Search the Internet for plenty of ideas to re-purpose your old gadgets and breathe new life into them. 5. Go to a recycle shop. There are many recycle shops and recycle stations in Nagoya. You might even get a bit of money back if you bring them your old devices. Many phones have about 40mg of gold or silver, 10mg of copper, and 4mg of palladium - all rare metals which are important for the production of new gadgets. If everyone recycled their old gizmos properly, about 3.2 tons (about the equivalent of a small country’s gold reserves) of Gold could be salvaged. By recycling your E-or i devices properly, you can help not to let all those precious metal parts go to waste and do your part in helping with the E-waste problem. After all, wouldn’t you feel a lot better twitting about your newest i-gadget, after you’ve properly disposed of the old one?

Do they go to some great big gadget nirvana in the sky, living out the rest of their existence bringing joy and happiness to people who are not as fortunate as us? You wish! These old, outdated, and unwanted models usually end up in the trash, and on landfills somewhere in Asia, where they are dismantled by hand and the toxic waste is dumped in streams and fields. That’s right, exporting our E-waste from our backyards to developing countries has become big business, albeit a very dangerous business. Our desires for the new and improved whatchamacallits are causing huge problems for people in developing countries, where electronics are dismantled and handled in sub-human conditions without the use of protective clothing, and then burned in open fires or dumped in rivers. So what should you do if you get a severe case of G.A.S (gadget acquisition syndrome) and want to upgrade your once shiny gadget for the latest and greatest? Well, there are several options for you, all of which infinitely better than annihilating, burning, chucking, divesting, expelling, or fobbing off your old E-waste.

You can find more info on recycle shops and stations in Nagoya through the NIC website:

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Ran is with you.
There are no preparedness drills that can adequately prepare for what happened in Japan on Friday, March 11th. I was laying on my couch getting my mind ready for our CHRISTCHURCH ROCK charity event, (kudos to all who came out to support, even while Japan itself was being rocked by it’s own quake)-to support the Christchurch earthquake that struck that city less than 3 weeks before the Japan quake. It was about 3pm, I felt my apartment start to sway slowly back and forth. I got up and thought it was the wind, but my apartment kept swaying for one, two, maybe three minutes. I knew it wasn’t just wind. A short time later, reports starting coming in that a giant earthquake had struck northern Japan. Numbers like 8.8, 8.9 rolled in. This thing is massive-I thought. Images started coming in of entire neighborhoods on fire, smoke, debris, destruction, and a giant wave washing deep inland, carrying boats, cars, ships, trucks, and anything in it’s path. Picked them up and swept them away like they were flotsam and jetsam. But they weren’t, those boats, cars, businesses and homes were people’s lives being washed away. The destructive force of the earthquake started to become apparent. Hell On Earth. The event has since take shape as one of Japan’s biggest natural disasters. As we go to print, hundreds of people are dead, hundreds more missing, and Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Reactor 1 has exploded, raising panic across the nation that the area will suffer radiation poisoning, which could render the area unlivable for a while to come. This alone is worthy of concern, add to it an incredible panorama of destruction, widespread calamity, and it all happened right on our back yard. Generated by a massive upheaval of the planet below. In minutes, everything changed. Ships and boats on top of buildings. Fires sweeping the countryside. Homes, buildings, and other structures being torn to bits and swept away by tsunami. People missing, drowned, gone, just a few hours to the north of us. In the aftermath, knowing we here in Nagoya could actually FEEL the earthquake happen lends an eerie, almost ominous aura to the event, it has no doubt affected everyone in Japan, and the world. That night at Christchurch Rock, a small but amazing group of people came out and witnessed a hastily thrown together but moving video montage –(thanks Stevie P.)-of images from the Christchurch quake. We saw what a beautiful city Christchurch had been, green, serene, historical. Reduced to a mass of rubble, bloody people consoling each other on the street, toppled edifices in the background. Dazed and Confused. At the same exact time, on televisions and computer screens worldwide, images were coming in of the same chaos happening right here in Japan. While we were out lending our hearts, hands, and time to our brothers in Christchurch, our fellow countrymen were experiencing their own disaster being played out in real time, just to the north of us. This is Our Home. Lots of us are passing through, but lots of us live here. This is where we call home. Our friends were suffering something tragic, lifechanging, as Adam Pasion said to me, “the end of days” came to Japan on March 11. We’re all hit by this feeling of what can I do? What should I do? How can I help? We want to reach out and help our friends in northern Japan. They are our families, our countrymen, our fellow humans who live just a train ride away. Talk Is Cheap. Achim’s idea for Christchurch was great, and now, right here at home, we’re faced with the same crisis. J7 rocked up a donation button on our website within hours of the quake, and Adam came up with the idea that we organize a squad of folks to actually GO TO the earthquake site and lend a helping hand. So we’re on it.. Right now, we’re working on organizing a bus load, car load, or truckload of folks willing to go up to Miyagi and help with clean up, or whatever we can do up there. We’re planning to go during Golden Week, when everyone has time off, to help out the people who lost something, everything, or somewhere in between. Get our hands dirty, so to speak. We’d like help here if the same thing happened locally, so we’re willing to go to where help is needed. If you’d like to join us, check our website,, it’ll have information regarding how to sign up, directions, dates, plans. Give something. Your time, your money, your effort, your condolences, your sympathy, give something. We’re all affected by what happened here on March 11th, it could happen anywhere anytime, and we’re all still on alert. We at RAN Magazine would like to send our sincerest and most heartfelt condolences, love, support, sympathy and energy to those up north who felt the earthquake, and those who have had anyone suffer from the event itself. We feel like we’re family. We’re here for you. Everything Matters. Right About Now.. tdh

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or iv rv u S

came to Japan the summer of 1990 seeking a new adventure. After getting settled into my apartment and my new teaching position at the college, I was ready to find a companion to share my newly established life. I had only been here three months, didn’t know the language and could use some help. I was out for dinner with a friend from the college, when a beautiful young Japanese girl came over and said, “Hi, I’m Yuri!” with the most beautiful smile. We had a short chat and she gave me her business card. She was a travel agent for a major Japanese Airline Company. We went out for our first date the following week. She came over to my place that evening after our night out on the town. It was late and she had missed her train home and asked if she could spend the night. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse. The next two weeks were bliss. I had a big apartment in Japanese terms and accepted her offer to move in with me. I could use her help with translating everything, she was a lot of fun and to top it off she was a great cook. We got married in the spring of 1992. It was a fantastic Nagoya style


wedding with numerous costume changes and a giant cake. We went on a two week honeymoon in Maui and Honolulu. On the last day of our honeymoon as we were entering the hotel, a guy came up offering to sell us some weed. I casually said, “No, thanks. I used to be a cop.” We smiled at each other and walked away. As we entered the hotel and headed for our room my new bride proceeded to pull my hair, kick me, shout and beat me with her purse for not buying the weed. I was shocked. I told my wife she was nuts and went for a walk hoping she would cool off. After I returned a couple hours later, she wasn’t in the room and I thought she went shopping. Suddenly the police came to the door and cuffed me! They escorted me down to the lobby and my wife was crying saying she was sorry and asking the police what they were doing. I went to the police station and explained what happened. They released me but told me I couldn’t stay at the hotel. I went to the airport and told her I would divorce her the moment we got back to Japan. I cooled down a bit by the time we got home. I was still a bit angry with her two weeks later but she informed me she was pregnant. I told her we could have the child if she promised never to go crazy like she did on our honeymoon.

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She promised and we were back to being passionately in love.Our first daughter was born in 1993 and our second daughter in 1995. In the spring of 1997, I got my break and was selected for a teaching position at a very prestigious Jr. and Sr. High School in Nagoya. We moved into a brand new 4LDK apartment in Nisshin. Our lives could not have been better. After dinner one evening, my wife told our children to go to their

to believe it. On September 20th, 2001, just 9 days after the terrorist attacks on the United States, I received two credit card calls at the school, along with a letter from a loan company. When I got home, my wife was out with my children in the little play area at our apartment complex. I walked up and calmly asked my wife about the calls I had been getting along with the letter. She looked angry and frightened, grabbed the girls and started for the 4WD van. She shouted, “If you tell my father about my financial problems, you will never see me

“In my worst nightmares, I never thought my wife would intentionally run-over her own husband and father of her children who are in the back seat.”
room and watch a video because she needed to talk to Daddy. “I saw a lawyer today,”She said. I asked why and out of the blue, she told me we needed to get a divorce. She explained that she had gotten herself into a lot of financial problems with credit cards and loan companies. She told me not to worry. The lawyer advised her that all I had to do was go to the Ward Office, hanko the paper, she would still live with me and the children just as if we are still married. She promised to cook, clean and take good care of me and the girls. Then, after she completed her bankruptcy she said we could get remarried. I got on the phone immediately and summoned my father-inlaw to get over to my house pronto. I was frightened and furious to say the least. I then took a walk to the store nearby. I needed a drink. After a short time they had arrived at my place. I had calmed down after a couple Chu Hi. They had a long discussion which I was too angry and naive to understand. It ended with my wife promising me and her father never to do what ever it was she did to cause such a disaster again. Her father took me fishing the next morning on a boat and assured me “Shinpai nai”- don’t worry. I found out last year that he had to cash in three insurance policies to bail her out. I tried my best to brush it off as best I could, as I now had that traumatic financial mess in addition to PTSD and my other issues to deal with. Life was getting tough. I was on a lot of medication and starting to drink a bit more on weekends and holidays, trying to drown the anxiety, pain and endless sleepless nights. I loved and trusted my wife very much so her past financial misdeeds weren’t really an issue anymore. During the month of September, I was getting calls almost daily at the school regarding my wife’s credit cards and loans. I didn’t want or the kids again!” She put the kids in the back seat of the van, started it up and drove towards me. She repeated what she had just yelled at me a moment earlier. I told her I wasn’t mad and that we should work it out. She backed the van up, got a running start and ran my little ass over! In my worst nightmares, I never thought my wife would intentionally run-over her own husband and father of her children who are in the back seat. I will never forget the look of terror on my beautiful young daughters’ faces when she hit me. She stopped the van, got out and shouted at me, “Your’e not hurt! get up!” and kicked me. She sped off, abducting my children in the process. My wife tried to kill me. She broke my shoulder in 4 places, I had a massive cut on my head and sprained my left foot. I called the police but they would not get involved as this was a domestic issue. I often wonder what the excuse would have been had she killed me as she intended. I checked the bank account 5 days later after I was paid. It was empty. The postal insurance company had called and visited me to cancel the children’s education insurance because she had been taking out large sums of money from the account. She forged my signature on my insurance and cashed it out. I found a stack of credit card and loan company bills she had hidden in the children’s room along with my IRS audit from The States. I didn’t know where she was staying with the children and her parents lied as to knowing her whereabouts. I was in a serious panic at this point. After months of not being able to work, I lost my job. I started to drink heavily along with all my medications. I was under a great deal of stress and not eating. My father was ill in The States. I went back for a couple months thinking my wife wouldn’t give a damn. I returned to Japan and the 4LDK was empty: 28 vintage guitars, computers,

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clothes, everything was gone. I was left homeless, too ashamed to ask for help from my friends. I would get better, work and make good money, get depressed not knowing how my children were doing, where they were living or what to do about my life. I would call the parents’ house daily, they would lie every time. I had nothing and felt I was going crazy at times. This went on for several years. My wife thought I would just give up and leave Japan at some point. She was wrong! I contacted the US Embassy in Osaka and they did a welfare check on my children. Once I knew they were okay and where they were living, I contacted CRN Japan (The Children’s Rights Network). At long last, I started building my case against my wife. I had her on attempted vehicular homicide, forgery, abduction and a list of other charges. At first I was afraid to go to court. I didn’t have the money to afford an attorney. I represented myself at the first court hearing. It was me against her Japanese attorney who didn’t speak English. I was provided with a translator. After hearing both sides of the argument, the judge threw the case out and sent us back to mediation from scratch. When I arrived at the mediation hearing, my wife was not there to mediate. I knew then something was amiss. Her attorney and the two mediators slid a paper across the table wanting me to sign. It would have had me paying alimony, child support, give-up custody and only allow visitation for 1-2 hours per month. I said we start from scratch as the judge ruled. They said we start here. The paper was passed back and forth several times. They said if I don’t sign it I would be back to court. I slammed my fist on the table, sneered at her attorney and said, “I’ll see your ass in court!” Over the following months I met several free lawyers at Nagoya International Center. I was finally able to obtain the number of an English speaking lawyer. I met with him and he agreed to take my case. Not having any money, he helped me get legal aid which was very helpful. We worked together for a couple months on the case. I gave him photographs, bank statements, letters and other evidence. We went to court after answering all the vindictive lies she had presented in her deposition. Had I bought that weed for her on our honeymoon, she would have used it against me here for sure. Armed with documented proof of her lies and actions, the judge called a recess and asked that this case not go to court. As in most cases in Japan the wife gets custody. The judge asked me what I wanted. After several meetings with my attorney and shuffling demands from both sides, I was prepared to file suit against my wife and her family for a total of 30 million yen. I was later advised to drop that and the charges as my children would never want to see me again. Hence, we agreed to drop the charges against my wife and the 30 million yen demand. In return

I agreed to paying no alimony, I pay monthly child support and have unlimited visitation and access to my children. All I wanted is what was best for my children. For eight long years I was taking it out on myself. I never had the help I truly needed for the PTSD, insomnia, anxiety or depression except for a cocktail of medications and alcohol. I finalized my divorce on June 24th. I died on the morning of June 25th. I hadn’t been eating or sleeping well for months. They say I had a .55 blood alcohol level and collapsed. Lucky I was in a safe place rather then at home alone. They used an AED/ Defibrulator and CPR to revive me. I was told of my death when I awoke in the hospital with tubes in me. Luckily, one my friend’s was there with me at the hospital. She knew of my medication and alcohol consumption. I will never forget the look on her face when she explained that I had died and said I needed to get help. I got home that evening and started my search. I couldn’t find what I needed here in Japan. I had been on a cocktail of medications for years. I now feel that was just putting a band-aid over my issues. I needed therapy. I found a treatment facility in Dana Point , California. I was addicted to the medications and alcohol. If I did not have them with me and in my system, I had serious withdraw symptoms. I would drink to stop the shakes and take medication to stop the shakes when I couldn’t drink. It’s a never ending battle! Yes, the tragic events and forth coming addictions in my life were killing me and they finally did. It’s through the grace of God I am alive today. I died but I am alive today to fulfill a purpose. I can’t change the past. I had no control over it either. Now, I have my daughters back in my life. We are closer than ever. I won the court battle, lost my life and was given it back. I’m now on a new mission. I will succeed!

“I finalized my divorce on June 24th. I died on the morning of June 25th.”

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Green -Haired
► Interview and Photos by Achim Runnebaum



hat would you think if you saw a man with green hair and painted nails? Weird? Outlandish? Kind of crazy? Those were my exact thoughts when I met Ron for the first time two years ago. Little did I know at that time that this enigmatic man would teach me not only about acceptance, but also about nails and the new wave of masculine hygiene that’s sweeping the planet. Originally from Canada, he came to Nagoya about 25 years ago after meeting his wife on a golf course. Even at that time he was in the nail business – pretty much by accident. For those of you who don’t know Ron Doughty yet, he owns three very successful nail salons in Nagoya and teaches part time at a University. I have a feeling that he was never ordinary, but now he has become an icon in our city, and is certainly one of, if not THE most unique character in Nagoya. I had to find out more about this unique person, so I went to Hoshigaoka to interview him at his newest store. I thought I was going in for an interview but I got an education in nail care and male hygiene instead. After sitting down in a chair, I got the first surprise. He and his staff took a look at my nails and shocked me by telling me, “We’re gonna do your nails today!” You’re gonna do what? “You’ve never had your cuticles removed!” My what?! “Just relax and put your hands in this” (the female nailist put a small bowl with some kind of liquid in front of me). To say that I was reluctant would be an understatement, but for the sake of the article I eventually complied. RAN: I gotta’ ask man, why the green hair? RON: Haha, I like green because it’s bright and peaceful, it’s also the colour of money and Nature. RAN: Ok, that explains the hair, now tell me about the nails and the whole nail business gig you got going. Don’t take this the wrong way, but a man with painted nails owning Nail Salons... RON: That’s what I Love about Japan. People here are non-judgemental. Here I get commented on my nails and hair all the time - by men and women. At the gym, men are intrigued by the nails, and women love them. No one thinks I’m gay. Back in Canada, my best friends won’t even go to a bar with me. Only if I wear gloves and a hat. Judge not, lest ye be judged yourselves! I don’t find it a feminine thing at all. Its about hygiene. The better I can take care of myself, the better I feel. My nails are very clean and healthy, and green is my favourite colour. It’s also advertising for the salons. Most guys here think it looks cool. In America I wouldn’t last 10 seconds. If I went into a bar, Jim-Bob would come over and pound the shit out of me. There’s so much bigotry, but here people are very accepting. RAN: How did you get started with the whole Nail thing? RON: Through chance I acquired a nail salon in Canada, so I had to learn about the business. Actually, my girlfriend at the time was the manager of the store, and she taught me about the intricacies of nail care. RAN: I see. How did you come to Japan then? RON: because of my wife.

It is true that behind every successful man, there’s a successful woman. In Ron’s case, her name is Taeko, and she is the other side of this mystery. Originally from Nagoya, she studied international business, and spent a considerable amount of time in Canada. Now she’s not only his wife, but also his business partner. RON: When I came to Japan, at that time there weren’t any nail salons around in Nagoya. I mean girls weren’t even wearing that much makeup at the time, let alone getting their nails done. My wife and I looked at the change in fashion, and Japan being a very fashion conscious country, the wheels started turning and I saw an opening in the market. We opened our first store in Ikeshita, but for the first 3 months we didn’t have any customers. It was a tough market at that time. Now it’s booming and we just opened our 3rd store here in Hoshigaoka. We hired some girls at the time (about 10 years ago), and one of them is still with us. She’s one of the best nailists in the world, consistently placing in the top 3 in international competitions. Of the top nailists in the world, most are Japanese or were trained in Japan. RAN: Why Japanese/Japan? RON: It’s all about the Kanji. While you’re learning your ABCs, they’re learning intricate Kanji writing patterns. That’s why they are such a visual people. Ask any foreigner here what their image of Sakae is, and they’ll tell you either the TV tower, or another landmark. Ask a Japanese person, and they will imagine the kanji strokes for Sakae. RAN: You mentioned that one of your girls is an international nail champion. I never knew such a thing existed. RON: Yup, I send my girls to a bunch of different competitions all over. New York, Las Vegas, etc. They always come back with awards and trophies. RAN: What kinds of services do you provide for your customers here? RON: We do everything from pedicures to manicures for men and women, and everything in between. We also do wedding centers, and hotel room service nail care. We have a mobile unit that I send to various hotels we work with to do in room nail care for their guests. RAN: Do you have many male customers? RON: Oh yeah. Times are changing. Men are taking much better care of themselves now, including their nails, and most women appreciate it. RAN: Well, there can only be one Green-haired, green-nailed man in Nagoya. Successful, experienced in life, certainly adventurous, and very selfconfident, Ron is a true icon of the Nagoya scene. He’s been here doing his thing and being innovative since before most of us even knew of Nagoya’s existence, and is successful doing something 99% of men know nothing about. I went into the interview not knowing what to expect and came out of it not only with a lot of interesting information about the mystery of this enigmatic green-haired guy, but also with a less judgmental attitude towards people who look and act completely different from “the norm.” Never judge a book by its cover, especially if the cover is green.

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was born and raised in Massachusetts, then spent about 16-17 years or so in the state of Maine. I’ve been in Japan just a little while - been here six times actually, this most recent time for about four and a half years so far. I came to Japan for a number of reasons, the most important of which is my daughter. However, I’ve also come here to learn a bit more of the instruments native to this area, such as the Shakuhachi flute, which I started making back in the States in 1999, and the Kikyou and Shamisen, which are well known stringed instruments here in Japan. I’ve been making musical instruments and selling them since I was 13 years old. I’ve recently started teaching people how to make various types of musical instruments through my site online. When I came to Japan there were two or three instrument shops, or cafe-and-curiosities shops in and around Aichi, and I sold my instruments through those places while also selling them online. Particularly with Native American flutes, I started to get a little popular among some circles. Even though there are many who play and even make the Native American flute here, I’m apparently the only maker of these instruments in Japan who is actually-factually Native American. What I like to do with them the most is to show them off and get people interested in how they were made and how they can make some of their own. I even try to teach how to make instruments of various types, as I mentioned earlier, online at - that’s my big project, I’m pretty much a teacher - I’ve taught English, I’ve taught Alchemy, and now I teach how to make musical instruments. There is something called “CLIL” - that’s “Content/Language Integrated Learning”. Basically, you teach a language by teaching how to do *something else*, and in the process, the language is learned more quickly and efficiently, and with a stronger staying power. Picture this; I’m teaching someone how to do a handycraft - like, making hand-made musical instruments, for example - while using English to interact with the student, to explain the pieces and parts, why this and that works, etc. - while the person is learning the craft, they are using and learning the language in the background of it all. So I guess my goal is to spread English language learning and learning how to make instruments and making music, in a hand-in-hand way. I’m getting there - perhaps my website might be a catalyst in it all, but I’m unsure if it would be a viable tool as it stands at the moment. I started it up to be a resource for school teachers, homeschoolers and DIY musicians, but if it can help people learn English, then that would be cool.


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Manaca in the Middle:
A new way to commute
o doubt by now you’ve seen and perhaps even used Manaca, Nagoya’s new fare card in use on the city’s subways and buses along with Meitetsu buses and trains. Manaca was introduced on February 11th to replace the Yurika and Transpass fare cards, and serves the same basic purpose as a stored value farecard making it easy to speed through the turnstiles at the station. Because Manaca is an IC or integrated circuit based card, there is no need to insert the card into the wicket or fare box. Just tap the blue rectangle and go. If that were not enough, this card works two ways like your cash card, opening many other doors as well. counts to frequent riders of the system. Depending on how much you use the system per month, you can recieve up to a 15% discount in fares in the next month. This is to replace the Yurika system whereby buying more fare added extra trips on the top (i.e. the ¥2000 card actually had ¥2200 in fares, ¥5000 had ¥5600 and so on). The other aspect of Manaca is its use as an e-money card. JR East in Tokyo pioneered this several years ago, when they decided to place card readers on all the vending machines located in their stations. This makes it easy for patrons to buy a drink without searching their pockets for change. Manaca continues this concept and takes it further with the inclusion of points. When you purchase items using your Manaca card, you will collect points that are then good for discounts on your transit fares. So go ahead and get that bento from Circle K, or Pon De Ringu from Mr. Donut - they take Manaca now too, and more are added all the time. For now, all Circle K stores in Aichi prefecture along with all in-station stores and restaurants and some located just outside the station entrances are accepting the card; just look for the manaca logo somewhere on the door of the business. Perhaps most importantly, Manaca is safe - if lost, it can be re-issued with the monies and passes still intact - but you MUST REGISTER IT FIRST. If you don’t have your name printed on your card, it hasn’t been registered. You can register your manaca at any ticket machine or station office. This way if your card comes up missing, you can have the value transferred to a new card. One other thing you may have noticed - Unlike many places in Japan, the new TVMs (ticket vending machines) have a proper English menu. All information is presented in its entirety in both languages. Also of note, it is now possible to get a receipt and a list of the last 20 fares printed out from the TVMs as well - great if you need to turn something in to be reimbursed on travel expenses. In the future, It will be possible to use Manaca on JR lines and other trains and buses in Japan as well as all the e-money functions. Remember to look out for promotional tie-ins with Manaca that will earn you points so you can save on train fare too!

Of course the world of the IC cards here in Nagoya is not entirely new, as JR Central introduced the Toica card about two years ago for use on their lines. However, many more people take the subway, bus, and meitetsu networks than anything else in Aichi and Gifu prefectures, thus opening up more potential. If you’ve been to Tokyo or Osaka and used a Suica, Passmo, ICOCA, or Pitapa card, then you’ll understand the concept. The Manaca card can be used as a pay-as-you-go card, a commuter pass, and electronic money. As a commuter pass, Manaca shines. Under the old system, commuters regularly had to visit a station that had a pass office like Fushimi or Sakae in order to purchase monthly passes. Now any ticket machine can apply and update the commuter pass to the Manaca cards. A side benefit to manaca commuter passes is the ability to store money on the card as well. This way you can travel outside your route and just tap the exiting station like normal, and the card will calculate the fare and discounts accordingly. The other benefit is that now it’s possible to have one commuter pass that covers your trip on both the city subway and Meitetsu trains. Also because it’s a smart card, Manaca can offer the better discount automatically for certain point-to-point routes. A good example of this would be Inuyama to Sakae station. It has always been cheaper to take the Meitetsu line to Nagoya station and use the Higashiyama line, however even if you take the Komaki line and change to the Meijo line, you will now pay the same price - as long as you use a Manaca card. Also Manaca will soon start using points and mileage to issue dis-

For more information see the following websites: City of Nagoya Transport Bureau Meitetsu

|RAN| 15

The Nagoya Walkathon

he Nagoya Walkathon celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Last year, 250 volunteers, 2000 participants, and one service dog braved the pouring rain to raise 7 million yen for local charities. To celebrate 20 years of service to the community, this year we plan to triple the number attendees, and raise 10 million yen. It sounds ambitious, but we are taking advantage of an exciting opportunity; moving the event to Morikoro Park (the site of the Expo) in Nagakute, where the Toyota Automobile Museum Classic Car Show will also be held. This classic car show brings in as many as 10,000 people from all over Japan, and introducing them to our event furthers our goals of helping people by raising money, and inspiring a greater sense of volunteerism and charity in our local communities. This will be an excellent opportunity to reach out to the Japanese community.

20th Anniversary


Besides helping introduce the Walkathon to the Japanese community, the classic cars will be a great addition to our usual lineup of bands, acts, charity booths, and food vendors. Over 100 classic cars, including old race cars, classics from the early days of automotive history, and even a limousine used by US President Teddy Roosevelt will be on display. This is like two events in one; because it is! On top of this, our International Food Festival will feature delicious fare from Nagoya’s community of excellent foreign restaurants. This year’s event is going to be spectacular, and well worth the trip out Nagakute. This Walkathon is going to be something special; you will not want to miss it! See the website for the latest details, or find us on youtube, twitter, or facebook!

16 |RAN|

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|RAN| 09

T onoharu Part T - Lars Martinson wo
The long anticipated follow-up to Tonoharu Part One doesn’t disappoint. Like its predecessor, the design and production quality more than justify the cover price and then some. The juxtaposition of simple and whispily drawn characters against meticulously rendered backgrounds works wonderfully, and Martinson’s characteristic style of intricate cross-hatching and painstaking attention to detail create a portrait of Japan that any expat is sure to find familiar. It’s not only the artwork that expatriates will relate to, but the all-too-familiar situations the characters find themselves in. Martinson poignantly captures those experiences of awkward work parties, miscommunication, unexpected romances, and those moments of ‘Just what the hell am I doing here?’ This time around readers get a closer peek into the lives of the other foreigners taking up residence in the sleepy little town – archetypes that should be familiar to everyone, including the bizarre, pseudo-bohemian Europeans, and the sleazy, sexaholic who is both repulsive and fascinating. This book and the first installment are necessary for any expat’s bookshelf. Copies of Tonoharu Volumes I and II can be purchased from Amazon. com or directly from the author at
Tonoharu Part Two Lars Martinson Pliant Press, Distributed by Top Shelf Production ISBN 978-0-9801023-3-8 $19.95


Charisma Man

- Neil Garscadden (editor)

Welcome back one of Nagoya’s finest – Charisma Man, a sort of superman in reverse. This book collects all of the strips that ran in Nagoya based magazine ‘The Alien’ which would later become ‘Japanzine.’ Just for added measure, this edition includes some all new material just to show you that the passage of time can’t keep Charisma Man down. Admittedly Charisma Man is a bit of a one-trick pony, but luckily it’s the sort of trick you don’t mind seeing more than once. One strip stands-out as an incredibly poignant example of the underlying message of Charisma man, in which the story is told in reverse. That is, a Japanese man goes to the West and finds himself surrounded by Western women asking things like “can you use a fork?” while Japanese women sneer, claiming “they just want to practice their Japanese.” By turning the gag on its ear, Charisma Man shows just how ignorant and silly those pigeonholed stereotypes really are. While it may seem like simple repetition of a tired gag, Charisma Man actually betrays a hidden depth. Treat yourself to a fun little read and get a copy today. Charisma Man can be purchased at Maruzen and other major bookstore chains, or online at

Charisma Man: The Even More Complete Collection Larry Rodney, Neil Garscadden, Wayne Wilson & Glen Schroeder Treasure Productions ISBN 978-0-9807933-0-7 ¥1000 JPY / $11.00 USD

18 |RAN|


I am a DJoholic.
My first time was on top of a couple of tables in a bar. Somewhat clumsy, but fun, and oh so definitely satisfying, though brief (first times always are, amirite?). Subsequent encounters were at beaches (where you really do get sand everywhere), in the rain, under a bridge, and on film. I’ve gladly done it with groups of guys, though generally I prefer men and women, so that everyone has their tastes tickled. I’ll do it for free in the right circumstances, though I’ve never been one to turn down a spot of cash either. I’ve always preferred doing it in front of groups, though admittedly I derive a fair bit of pleasure from just soloing at home while figuring out kinks in my style. I love using my hands as much as possible. My name is Scrying, and I am a DJ-oholic. I got hooked on dance music in the late 90’s, particularly hardcore raves. Most of the weekends were spent at 140 bpm or bust (Simon Apex, Valarie Sparks, basically any of the San Francisco area legends). I’ve sampled most things under the sun, and the rush, the feel of one beat to another, the look on a person’s face when a crowd is properly whipped up is magical. I never thought I’d be able to actually do it before coming to Japan. One night a friend who was still new to the decks himself (known about town as dij) let me toy around with his vinyl decks, and virtually had to crowbar me back off them by the end of the evening. It’s addictive. Unlike many of the vices in which I’ve found myself stumbling through, this is one that can bring genuine enjoyment to others. There’s a symbiotic relationship between the DJ and the dance floor that is separate from that of a singer, MC, or musician. You have to use the words and sounds of others to get your point across (and no matter how much you remix something, ultimately you are still using someone else’s words). To do so skillfully, to bring people of multiple colors and creeds together for the purpose of joyous movement, is all one can ask for. Dance brings release, and while admittedly I’ve been pounding the innuendo here, there is a certain sensuality to it that other things can’t match. I want to thank Matty d’M of Metro for giving me a chance to fulfill one of my biggest wishes in playing at the most fabulous party in town every month, and really encourage folks to drop in. It’s in Shinsakae, at Club Lover:z, second Saturday, and I really can’t plug the staff or patrons enough. Awesome, awesome people. Also the aforementioned dij and The Obvious Circus crew for inviting me into their lil’ collective, I hope my contributions completely fail to suck. As it stands now, I need to go hunting for more earworms, so I’ll see you on the dance floors...

|RAN| 19


Meat-Free Nagoya
► by Christina Owens
When I first came to Japan 10 years ago, I, like many other foreigners I have met since, assumed that I would meet few, if any, local homegrown vegetarians here. Japanese Buddhist tradition offers us the tasty vegan culinary style known as shojin ryori, served at many temples and tourist sites, but common everyday food fare in contemporary Japan is anything but vegetarian friendly. Back in 2001 I found myself in a rural town in Shikoku explaining to new friends and colleagues that little chunks of ham do indeed count as meat. So, ‘apologies for being so rude, but no, I can’t eat this dish.’ I actually credited my expanding Japanese skills at least partially to the desire to more fully and clearly explain my dietary habits. I soon learned, however, that even native speakers have problems with being understood by omnivores here. Through a network of foreign friends who frequented Japan’s hippie festivals, I was lucky enough to meet one of Ehime prefecture’s local vegetarians, Ryoko. She accompanied me to a birthday party once and tried valiantly to explain to the waitress what we could and could not eat. By the end of the night, we had sent two dishes back, one that was topped with those dancing fish flakes (katsuobushi) and another with some ever-confusing pork bits. That was 7 years ago in one of the most rural and conservative prefectures in the country. Fortunately, over the years things have changed, especially in urban Japan. When I came to Nagoya in the fall of 2009, I sent Ryoko an e-mail and happily learned two things: 1. there are a few more Japanese vegetarians in Ehime these days, so she no longer travels alone to the meat-free events that take place on the mainland. And 2. through this networking, she knew of a local Japanese group for me to join, the Nagoya Vegetarian Circle. Often referred to by its members as simply the Nagoya Veggie Bu (bu meaning ‘club’), every few months this group organizes shokujikai, big eating events, which are open to anyone interested in meat-free food. After making reservations through e-mails to the organizers, people converge on a local veggie(-friendly) restaurant that lays out an extensive vegan selection for the evening. Attendees chow down while chatting about what kind of vegetarian they are, what brought them to their decision to change their eating lifestyle (their shoku seikatsu), and what difficulties they’ve faced in the process. Aside from these kinds of events, many of the local veggie restaurants are frighteningly underutilized and, in many cases, have barely enough clientele to stay afloat. Here’s one that I would like to see more of you English-speakers out there frequenting: Nanami Shojin Ryori Honten is a Taiwanese-style fake meat restaurant that opened last summer in Shinsakae, conveniently near Toshincho. Don’t be fooled by the menu—even though you’ll see kanji for meat in the names of many of the dishes, everything is fully vegan, with soy products, coconut slices, and other tastiness substituted for the “meat.” Set meals are a steal at 680Y during lunch or 780Y for dinner and include your choice of main dish with sides of salad, pickles, mango pudding, and rice or soup. A variety of dishes are sold separately as well, from Peppered “Beef” Teppan Yaki (980Y) to Assorted “Shashimi” (1280Y) and Steamed Buns stuffed with cabbage, fake ham, and rice noodles (200Y). In the evening, a 980Y set comes with two food dishes plus your choice of beer or sweet Chinese chokoshu. Bottom line: this place offers delicious, healthy food at prices that veggies and ominvores alike can appreciate. For more information on local restaurants, upcoming shokujikai, and other veggie-friendly events join the newly formed ‘Nagoya Vegetarians’ Facebook Group. Nanami Shojin Ryori Honten Shinsakae 1-11-15, Itosan Biru 1F 052-251-6033 Lunch: 11-3 Dinner: 6-10:30

20 |RAN|


SCMAGLEV and Railway Park
You don’t have to be a trainspotter to feel that tingling sensation when a train goes roaring by. There is something special about railways that even a century of automobile addiction cannot replace. Especially true here, Japan has become synonymous with efficient rail travel, and sleek, sexy trains. That legacy will only continue with the introduction of the new maglev linear motorcar. JR Central’s new SCMaglev and Railway park at Nagoya Port is a celebration of the innovative spirit that has earned Japan such an outstanding reputation. Not just for railway buffs, this new museum has something for the densha otaku in all of us. Visitors can simulate the experience of steering several thousand tons of speeding steel in the various driving simulators. The museum also boasts the country’s largest model train diorama with dozens of tiny trains zipping around on miniature tracks. Guests are encouraged to explore the stockroom with many full scale trains on display, three of which achieved world speed records for their time. The JR Central SCMaglev and Railway park opens to the public on March 14th so be sure and plan your visit soon.

Operating hours: Everyday except Tuesdays from 10am – 5:30pm Admission: 1000 yen for Adults, 500 yen for students, and 200 yen for small children. Directions: Just a two minute walk from Kinjo Futo station on the Aonami line.

Get our your markers, it’s time to update your guidebooks. This month the Nagoya City Science Museum will unveil its most ambitious project to date, with the new Zeiss IV Planetarium, the largest planetarium in the world. Using a combination of cutting edge video projectors, static slide projectors and a state of the art sound system, patrons are whisped away to the center of the galaxy with thousands of shooting stars, planets and other celestial bodies passing by. The projections reflect real time data such as seasonal positions of constellations, the motion of planets, even the waxing and waning phases of the moon. This means that the lectures given by the curators change with each visit depending on what celestial phenomena are expected that day, the position and brightness of stars and even the orbit of the planets. Sick of looking into that Nagoya sky and seeing nothing but ambient street light reflected against smog cover? Let the new planetarium show you what you’ve been missing, opening March 19th.

Operating hours: 9:30am – 5:00pm, Closed Mondays, and every 3rd Friday. Admission: 600 yen for Adults, Children in junior high school or below are free Directions: Just a 5 minute walk from Fushimi Station on the Higashiyama and Tsurumai lines.

|RAN| 21

Lea Lea Hale
If you dig Hawaiian restaurants, delicious Hawaiian food, and the atmosphere that goes with Hawaii, Lea Lea Hale is your new favorite restaurant. Located conveniently between Nagoya Station and Sakae, Lea Lea Hale overlooks Nagoya’s Horikawa River, if you don’t know which river that is, it’s the one enclosed by concrete that runs north-south through downtown Nagoya. Chances are good you’ve seen Lea Lea Hale’s bright blue and green ocean motif sign shining brightly at night. Lea Lea is fast becoming Nagoya’s hot spot not only for delicious Hawaiian fusion food and refreshing drinks, but Lea Lea has been hosting some excellent dance parties inside their cavernous upstairs dining room. Move a few tables and chairs, and this space becomes a happening lounge with a large enough dance floor to hold 100 people. Lea Lea’s back story is as interesting as the place itself. Lore has it that in Waikiki, there was once an apartment hotel named Lea Lea. Keiko, Lea Lea Hale’s current owner, spent some time in that apartment and learned a thing or two about Hawaiian hospitality, food, and the spirit of Hawaii from the apartment’s owner. Apparently he taught Keiko, among other things, “Ho’oponopono”, which is the ancient Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness. After the apartment owner died, Keiko never forgot his kind spirit, and vowed to bring some of his good energy back to Japan-this is how Lea Lea Hale was born. Lea Lea Hale literally means “very fun house”, and it is, a very delicious house as well. Lea Lea Hale serves a mouth-watering breakfast that can’t be found anywhere else in Nagoya, and the prices are very very reasonable. I don’t want to sound cheap, so I won’t say cheap, but, well, you get the picture. Lea Lea Hale also features an eclectic rotation of live acts, dancers, musicians, etc, and the easy vibe, great location, yummy food and tropical atmosphere make Lea Lea a great date spot, I almost don’t want to let the secret out, but that’s what we’re here to do, right?

Four Floors: the first floor has a casual bar with tables set up outside under the stars along the riverside. Hula shows and aloha drinks, barbecue parties and music. Second floor is a café style space with a few tables, third floor is a large lounge-style dimly lit restaurant space, fourth floor is a rental space providing room for anything from yoga classes to mediation to..whatever you can think of. If you’re looking for somewhere new in Nagoya to hang out, Lea Lea Hale is a very fun house indeed. Check it out. Soon.

22 |RAN|

ow is now ndo Books is n o Books Mo nd Mo

! oks Lounge Mondo Bo
ました。 新しくなり ルを得て、 s ラウンジで ーア Book s はリニュ 問答 Book ット、問答 できるスポ リラックス ませんか。 時を過ごし 楽しいひと


4,000+ new and used books in En glish huge seating spac e, WiFi access, ta , drink corner, ble games! 4000 冊 +、コー ヒ

ーや紅茶のサー ビス、wi-fi アク セスのパソコ ブルでゲームも できる空間にな りました。

March 26th, 5 p.m. 3 月26日 5 時∼)   (

Launch Party リニューアルオープンパーティー

Free food and drinks. Come and win a new Apple iPod Nano!

フリードリンク(カクテル、 ビール、 ジュース)とスナック。 アップルの iPod ナノが当たるチャンス !

New location just minutes from the previous Mondo Books, 40 seconds walk from Kamimaezu Sta. Just nd exit #2, cross the street and look for Nagoya Bank on the east. Next door from Nagoya Bank, second oor.
場所は昔の問答 Books の近く、上前津駅二番出口から東へすぐ、 通りの反対側の名古屋銀行の隣、 2階。

Ask details/ お問い合わせ:  080-5166-6318

Kamimaezu St.

2 3

NakaÊHealthÊ Center


|RAN| 23

fold-out map together, talking about places you’d been and places you still wanted to go, your favorite places, like the sublime temple number 45 of Shikoku’s 88 temple pilgrimage in the mountains between Matsuyama and Kochi, and places you’d just as soon never go again—places like Nagoya, for example, where like it or not you’ll probably die and be buried. Not soon, you hope. And you continued like this all the way to the Museum at Chiran. You walked together to the shrine beside it. You took a photo of Shigeo praying there. You took a photo of him beside the small airplane that rests in front of the museum like a car wreck on a gravel road. You took a photo of him entering the museum, his reflection in the dark glass of the entrance filling more of the frame than Shigeo himself. The Chiran Peace Museum for Kamikaze Pilots was established in 1975 on the site of the former Chiran Air Base. It attracts half a million visitors a year, and according to its English language introductory pamphlet it was “built to commemorate the pilots and expose the tragic loss of their lives so that we may understand the need for everlasting peace and ensure such incidents are never repeated.” It contains the largest collection of Imperial Japanese Army Special Attack Forces memorabilia in the world, and barely even recognizes the even greater role—if such wording can be used in this sad context—that the Imperial Japanese Navy played in this tragic national drama. Over sixty percent of all Kamikaze pilots, after all, were from the Imperial Navy. It was the Navy, even, that introduced the practice of suicide attacks. It’s not certain when the first kamikaze style suicide attack took place. It may have been as early as December 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor. A pilot had said before the attack that if his plane were to be hopelessly damaged he would crash it into a “worthy enemy target.” His plane was damaged. It was losing fuel rapidly. And he did crash it into Kaneohe Naval Air Station. Nobody will ever know for sure how carefully this pilot was able to select or control where he crashed, but there are other documented instances of Japanese pilots crashing into Allied ships, or trying to, at least several months before the first Special Attack Forces were officially dispatched. All of these appear to be either individual acts of heroism or simple accidents of war, rather than organized suicide attacks carried out under orders. The first successful sortie of the Special Attack Forces set out from a base in the Philippines on October 25th, 1944, during the battle of Leyte Gulf. It consisted of five planes commanded by Lt. Seki Yukio. The order to instigate the attack was given by Admiral Onishi Takijiro. Whose bright idea it was, nobody seems to be sure. Onishi generally gets credit for it. And blame. And indeed he’s the one who took ultimate responsibility for it in the long honored Japanese manner of ritual suicide. On August 16, upon the unconditional surrender of the Empire of Japan, at his home, in an upstairs office, he stuck a knife in his belly, pulled it to the right, then pulled it up. Certain death. But it took him 15 hours to die. One source says 16. One says 18. He wouldn’t accept medical attention. He wouldn’t see his wife. In his suicide note he had written: “I wish to express my deep appreciation to the souls of the brave special attackers. They fought and died valiantly with faith in our ultimate victory. In death I wish to atone for my part in the failure to achieve that victory and I apologize to the souls of those dead

ou walk towards Kagoshima Station. On the way you stop at an old bathhouse. This one uses geothermal heat, which makes it an onsen. This is a traditional Japanese hot-spring bath. It’s just a bit more run down than most. Kagoshima, situated on the edge of that huge volcanic crater, is famous for its onsen baths. Saigo Takamori too was a big fan of them. He was known to spend months at a time at one or another onsen resort resting his weary feet. He especially liked Ibusuki Onsen where you were yesterday. You’d gone to the Kamikaze Peace Museum in Chiran then spent an hour at Ibusuki buried for 20 minutes of that time in hot sand. This was your second time there. It’s one of the best feeling things you’ve ever done. You love the sand bath. It’s hot and damp and relaxing. The weight of the sand on your body feels like a lover. You sweat profusely. It cleans your skin. It clears your lungs. It empties your head. You can feel the throb of your heartbeat throughout your entire system. It echoes and rings. Ba-boom. Ba-boom. Ba-boom. Ba-boom. The constant rhythm of it nearly puts you to sleep. You would go there everyday if you didn’t live some 2000 kilometers away, and maybe Saigo liked the sand baths there as much as you do. Like everybody, he had health problems. Like everybody, he liked to take it easy. Like you, apparently, his feet hurt. So did his nuts. During his final retreat from Nobeoka to Kagoshima his testicles were swollen so that at times he couldn’t even walk. His retainers had to carry him in a palanquin. You’re hungover. You’ve hardly slept. You’re a mess. And what you need is some retainers to carry you in a palanquin. That’s what you’re thinking as you rest in the bath waters at this concrete junk heap of a place—that and goddamn this water’s hot! At the bus stop in front of Kagoshima Station yesterday you met another lone traveler like yourself. He approached you without embarrassment or pause and asked if you were going to Chiran. He asked if he was at the right bus-stop. Never mind that he could have discerned this information by reading the signboard the way you had. He just wanted to talk. He was 66, retired, married, the father of two and the grandfather of four. His name was Shigeo. He lived in Osaka and traveling was his hobby. He was polite, he was kind, he was unselfconscious, he was normal. It seems odd, maybe, that you would say something like this—he was normal. That’s the essence of what it means to be Japanese—to be normal—the nail that sticks up gets beat back down here, they say. This is a proverb that every Japanese person knows as well as he knows the bright red circle in the center of the pure white flag, and everybody here must behave, in many ways, just like everybody else. To do otherwise is to be other than Japanese. It’s to be other than normal. So of course, he was normal. What you really mean is that he treated you like you are normal too, and in Japan, that isn’t normal at all. But normal or not, he was pleasant, gentle, and easy to visit with. He was perfectly willing to tell you all about his unexceptional life. In fact, he managed to make you feel envious of it. A wife whom he still liked, children who talked to him, grandchildren he loved, and the freedom, the money, the energy, and the will to go traipsing about by himself two or three times a year as he pleased. He seemed to have it all. All the benefits that 40 years of working for the same company like a bee making honey in a hive can bring. Shigeo, except for his uncommon willingness to visit with you in his native language, was Japan personified. He was everything you like about the Japanese. He was at the bus stop on time. He sat across from you on the bus to Chiran. He said something unobtrusive to you, and soon the two of you were pouring over your


| Story and pictures by EJP |

24 |RAN|


fliers and their bereaved families.” “I wish the young people of Japan to find a moral in my death. To be reckless is only to aid the enemy. You must abide by the spirit of the Emperor’s decision with utmost perseverance. Do not forget your rightful pride in being Japanese.” “You are the treasure of the nation. With all the fervor of spirit of the special attackers, strive for the welfare of Japan and for peace throughout the world.” But in truth, Onishi is not the one who initiated suicide as a military tactic. The plan was already in place and the Special Attack Force already instituted when he took command in the Philippines. He had initially been opposed to the notion, calling it “heresy.” In fact, as a member of the high command during the planning of the attack on Pearl Harbor, he expressed reservations about that too. He didn’t want war with America. But he got it. And on October 19th or 20th, 1944, he gave the order. He even addressed Lt. Seki Yukio’s fiveman command, telling them their nobility of spirit would keep the homeland from ruin even in defeat. How odd, that logic. He had promised to report the feats of each suicide pilot to the throne, and apparently he kept that promise. He was criticized by the Emperor who would ask, “Was it necessary to go to this extreme?” Onishi responded to this criticism by redoubling his efforts, and by writing a poem to the pilots under his command. In blossom today, then scattered Life is so like a delicate flower. How can one expect the fragrance to last forever. This man who would send thousands of fliers to certain death had a deep interest in psychology, especially the psychology of fighting men under extreme conditions. In 1938 he wrote a book on the subject. It’s titled War Ethics of the Imperial Navy. At the end of the war Onishi would be Vice Chief of the Imperial Japanese Navy General Staff. And he’d be a day away from bleeding to death on his clean tatami floor. Inside the museum yesterday you and Shigeo went slightly different ways. He was interested in reading the final letters the fighters had sent to their families. You know how touching those letters are. You’ve read some. Everybody in Japan has read some. They’ve possibly even heard one in a rap song. A band called Arei Raise released its first album in 2007. It included a rap version of “Kimigayo,” the Japanese national anthem, as well as a song called “Kudan,” which contains these words taken from the last letter one of these kamikaze pilots sent home to his family: “Dearest Father, Dearest Mother, the only regret I leave on this day is that I was unable to show you sufficient filial piety. I can’t thank you enough for giving birth to me and allowing me to live a fruitful 20 plus years.” This is typical of the letters. So are passages like “The happy dream has vanished, and tomorrow I make an attack on an enemy ship. I will cross the River Styx to the next world along with some Americans.” And passages like “Protecting always our country from the despicable enemy.” These

last two quotes are from a letter written by Haruo Araki who flew from Chiran Air Base to certain death on May 10, 1945. The letter was written to Shigeko, who had been his wife for a month and his stepsister for most of his life. Her mother had married his father when they were children and they’d grown up together. They got married during an overnight leave on April 9th and spent roughly 4 hours together as man and wife before he had to return to his base. She gave birth to his son on Christmas Day in 1945. She named his son using the same kanji that made up the name of Haruo’s squadron. Ikuhisa. It means “eternity.” But the boy didn’t live a single year. He died on November 5, 1946. “Kudan” is the name of the neighborhood in Tokyo where Yasukuni Shrine sits. This is where Japan honors Japanese soldiers who have died in her many modern wars. Every kamikaze pilot who died in the war is supposedly enshrined there, maybe even the eleven Koreans who flew out from Chiran to certain death during the four months the suicide missions continued from there, and the song is dedicated to those pilots. Indeed, the rap band got its start when a couple of kids decided to enter a song in a competition put on by Yasukuni Shrine in 2006 calling for entries on the theme “Songs that make you love Japan.” This was part of an event to commemorate “the end of the Great East Asian War.” Never mind that the war had ended 61 years earlier. Two hundred and thirty one songs were submitted. Arei Raise’s “Kyoji” was one of six winners in the competition, and the new rap band’s first song was recorded and released by Yasukuni Shrine, the heart that beats at the center of Japan’s Imperialistic, reactionary, jingoistic and still militaristic political right. Also its liver, its spleen and its prostate gland. The album, you believe, is still on sale there. These are the lyrics to the song: Even with those two atomic bombs You could not burn down our nation, Sir We overcame that disaster Japan is great, after all With few natural resources With many descendants of talented people Who overcame the human experiment with nuclear weapons Let’s learn from the wisdom of our ancestors With the full experience of the Sino-Japanese, Russo-Japanese, and Great East Asian Holy Wars The experience of Edo, Meiji, Taisho, Showa and Heisei This spirit of progress cannot be replaced by anything else That is our unauthorized intangible cultural asset Japan’s counterattack will soon be launched First we must arm our hearts with nuclear arms People always survive, thanks to the sacrifice of others But the important thing is what we do with that sacrifice It has been sixty years since the war ended It’s time to respect the spirits of war heroes and the end of the war Japan’s war was noble and grand, whether it was right or wrong To fight the enemy, knowing you would be defeated To fight to win from time to time at the risk of your own life Our ancestors were not wrong We just love Japan We are neither right nor left, we are simply bald headed We like Japan and the Japanese a lot Don’t forget our hopes and pride For a start, raise your voices, you Japanese boys and girls The spirit of Kamikaze is always with us

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Let’s change the way people see “the typical Japanese” With hip hop scenes We really love this country So we want to keep our hearts as gold as our nation is We Japanese are strong minded, training ourselves day after day Let’s make our song everlasting We can get together here whenever we like Our feelings echo each other And become a rainbow under the sky of Yasukuni There are things that we cannot do Yet there are things that only we can do Things that even we can do Let’s keep singing until our voices grow hoarse Don’t forget what we inherited from our ancestors Keep them in mind all the time And pass them on to the next generation Let’s walk together towards our future Nippon, A beautiful country Nippon, The country where the sun rises Nippon, A magnificent country Nippon, The country where gods live Nippon, The country that we love so much Nippon, Our country (words and music by Arei Raise; translator unknown) Yes it is on youtube. So is “Kudan.” But back to the letters. It’s important to keep in mind that, with few exceptions, the first person to read any of these letters was the Imperial Army officer who censored it. And what drew you in and overwhelmed you at the museum yesterday was not the letters but the photographs. Were everything else taken away from this museum, it would still retain the greatest single collection of photos you’ve ever seen. There is a portrait of each of the 1036 Army airmen who died in suicide attacks around Okinawa. There are also hundreds of group and unit photos. There is the famous photo of high school girls lined up, waving cherry branches full of blossoms to cheer the attackers on to certain deaths. In fact, “Certain death” is the entire substance of one of the 26 essays written by doomed pilots that are on display there. Two simple kanji. They say it all. Lt. Seki’s five-man command took off and returned four times between receiving their orders and actually finding their target on October 25th, 1944. A war correspondent named Masashi Onoda interviewed Lt. Seki during this interim and quoted him as saying, “Japan’s future is bleak if it is forced to kill one of its best pilots.” And “I am not going on this mission for the Emperor or for the Empire. I’m going for my wife. If Japan is crushed she may be raped by the Americans. I’m giving my life to protect her. I am going because I was ordered to! Isn’t that grand?” Onoda was told to rewrite the article. Lt. Seki’s command finally found a target and attacked the escort carriers, USS White Plains, USS Kalinin Bay, USS Kitkun Bay, and USS St. Lo. The last of these they sunk. At the museum there is a famous photo of five kamikaze pilots in flight gear, gathered happily around a small puppy. The fliers all look like high school students. And in fact, they are very near that age. The youngest was 17 on May 26, 1945 when the photo was taken. He’s the one in the middle cuddling the puppy. His name was

Yukio Araki. He was a corporal. He would die in a suicide attack the next day. He would be one of the youngest suicide pilots of the war. Most of the suicide pilots who flew out of Chiran were 18 to 22. Their photos are too heartbreaking for words, and in fact, the museum is almost completely silent. Not even small children are speaking. And nobody is moving fast enough to make any noise. All you can hear is the sound of tears, and these are your own. These pilots were so young. They were so beautiful. Yes, they were brainwashed fanatics. And yes, these attacks were not mere suicides—the desperate and lonely acts of sad human beings taking their lives in anger, in fear, in despair, in absence of hope, and alone. They were intentional acts of war. These young people were flying out of Chiran and other airfields with the purpose, not of only of killing themselves, but of killing others. “When you eliminate all thoughts about life and death, you will be able to totally disregard your earthly life. This will also enable you to concentrate your attention on eradicating the enemy with unwavering determination, meanwhile reinforcing your excellence in flight skills.” This is an excerpt from the kamikaze pilot’s manual. Of course they had a manual. It was the military. Everybody had a manual, even kamikaze pilots. How to kill yourself or die trying. It advised them to keep their health “in the very best condition,” and to “attain a high level of spiritual training.” It not only told them how to go about their attack, but even what they should scream as they crashed into the American ships. It also explained that a pilot may turn back if unable to find a target, as Lt. Seki’s command had done four times. It said a pilot “should not waste his life lightly.” One pilot in fact returned to base nine times. They took him out and shot him. You crawl out of the bath feeling slightly better than you had when you crawled in. You dry off with a towel the size of a piece of typing paper and put on your clothes—one pair of walking shorts, one silly shirt, and two goofy shoes. You look ridiculous. You look worse than you feel even. You walk down the street towards the station. Towards Starbucks. Towards a cup of coffee. And there is Shigeo almost exactly where you first met him yesterday morning. It turns out you and he stayed in the same hotel last night. Now you haven’t seen him since yesterday afternoon. After leaving the museum you had lunch together. Then you walked out to the street and waited at the bus stop, each of you eating a soft vanilla ice-cream cone. You were going to catch the bus for Ibusuki and the sand baths. He was going to walk to another museum nearby. You had about ten minutes to wait. He sat with you at the bus stop till your bus came—a quiet little man with white hair and a giant gaijin in a loud, ugly outfit. Neither of you said much. You hadn’t said much at lunch either. Now he says “Edo-san! How was Ibusuki?” “Ibusuki was great. I love the sand baths. It’s like sex but quieter. Well, grittier too. How was Hotaru Museum?” “Ohhh,” he sighs, and scratches his chest. “I should have gone to Ibusuki.” “There’s another sand bath in Beppu,” you tell him because you know he’s going there tomorrow. “I’ll find it,” he says. “I’ll find it.” And he runs to catch his train. He has one little bag. It’s a black travel bag not much larger than your camera case. It hangs over his shoulder and bangs against his back as he runs.


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CREAM BAR 052-261-1766 Located In Sakae. Open until 6am. The Underground The Underground is actually a three-club conglomeration located on three floors in Toshincho. Lush/052-242-1388 Cypher/052-264-9603 SoulGround/052-241-7366 STEPS 052-242-7544 Located in Sakae. Open until 6am, 7 nights a week. ID Café 052-251-0382 Located in Sakae. ABIME 2030 052-951-4155 Large modern space near Sunshine Sakae. Club Shelter 052-242-8030 Off in the cut behind the Chunichi Building. 3rd floor, same building as Arena. Ozon/Spiral Located in Sakae near Wakamiya Park. Upstairs, Spiral Downstairs, OZON PLUS PARK 052-261-1173 Located in Sakae. Open late. Club Quattro No phone number available. Located in the Parco Building in Sakae. Diamond Hall 052-265-2665 Located between Hirokoji Dori and Sakae. Heartland No number available. Located underneath The former Hard Rock Café Huck Finn 052-733-8347 Located on Imaike’s backstreets. The Bottom Line 052-741-1620 Legendary big hall in Imaike.

Mago 052-243-1818 Located in Shinsakae. About 052-243-5077 Located in Toshincho. Emporium 052-262-7027 Located in Sakae. Club JB’s 052-241-2234 Located in the Toshincho club cluster Domina 052 264 3134 Right around the corner from JB’s. Plastic Factory 090-2346-1682 Located on the backstreets of Imaike.

Electric Ladyland 052-201-5004 Located in Osu.

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Fried Sushi - Liam Akin

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April 24 April 24
th th
Easter Lunch
Lunch will be available from 11:30 am
Glazed Ham, Roast Turkey, Assorted Side Dishes, Soft Drinks.

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ay f r kids, Eas ay for kids, Eas

ter Lun h, Kids ter Lunch, Kids

Egg Hunt Egg Hunt

Reservation Only Kids Egg Hunt
Starts from 1:30 pm
We will leave from Shooters with the kids and walk to Shirakawa Park for the Easter Egg Hunt.



Mon - Thu : 5:00PM -1:00AM Friday : 5:00PM -3:00AM Saturday : 11:30PM -3:00AM Sunday : 11:30PM -1:00AM





★an Easter Basket & the Easter Egg Hunt★

Includes :

FREE Wi-Fi Tel.(052) 202-7077

Pola Nagoya Building 2F 2-9-26 Sakae, Naka-ku, Nagoya