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nagazasshi VOLUME 12, ISSUE 1



nagazasshi Hi everyone, this is Cassandra, your editorin-chief for this special issue of Nagazasshi. Fall is a season of changes, both visible and those felt in the air. In this issue, we want to celebrate the colors and pride of Nagasaki by exploring multitude ways in which we can experience a sense of pride. November is Kyushu’s annual Rainbow Pride Parade, which returns to Fukuoka on the 4th. To honor this, the Nagazasshi team brings you the pride of Nagasaki through sights, experiences of LGBTQ+ members, and Nagasaki-bred coffee, tea, and tops! On page 4, Abbie Philpott takes us around the prefecture to the beautiful places where you can see momiji (fall leaves) in all their glory. If you prefer to lay low and kick back, check out page 6, where Yeti Mallavi fills us in on the beautiful and serene i+Land resort on Iojima. If you’re more interested in a handson approach, check out page 8, where Victoria Lekve tells us all about Sasebo’s extraordinary spinning tops and where you can find them. On page 10, Jin Chang and Darsheka Ranchhod fill us in on the history of coffee in the prefecture and of the efforts being made to revitalize a community by producing its very own tea. Do you love to sing? Take pride in your voice and let Evan Hayden teach you about the history and culture of karaoke, on page 12. Finally, in our highlight of this issue, read about the very resonating and insightful experiences of LGBTQ+ members living in Nagasaki, on page 14. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community and someone who loves their partner very deeply, I am incredibly honored to present you with the fall issue of the Nagazasshi. Happy reading!





Witness the magestic fall colors of Nagasaki


Relax and take in the beauty of Iojima and its i+Land resort


Keep the good times spinning with Sasebo's unique tops


Chill out with a nice hot cup of your choice


History, info, and tips on Japan's musical gift to the world


Stories and experiences of foreign LGBTQ+ members in Japan

18 NIHONGO ON THE GO DIRECTOR: Emmanuel Feliciano PUBLISHING PARTNER Dominic Balasuriya EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Cassandra Fegert EDITORS: Abbie Philpott, J.S. COPY EDITORS: Flipi Poggenpoel, Darsheka Ranchhod DESIGNER: Evan Hayden SOCIAL MEDIA: Emmanuel Feliciano CONTRIBUTORS: Amanda Bishop, Dan Cohen, Kristen Clarke, Emmanuel Feliciano, Evan Hayden, Cassandra Fegert, Victoria Lekve, Yeti Mallavi, Will Morgan, Katelan Moye, Abbie Philpott, Darsheka Ranchhod, J.S., Tikira, Bob Willey, Kyle Yukawa FOUNDERS: Andrew Morris, Matthew Nelson COVER SOURCE PHOTO: Kristen Clarke COVER ILLUSTRATION: Evan Hayden COVER MODEL: Tikira INSIDE-COVER PHOTO: Evan Hayden

Cassandra Fegert Editor-in-Chief @nagazasshi

Momiji (autumn leaves) are a special sight during the fall season and come just before the approach of winter. Nagasaki, known for its slopes and hills, provides one of the most breathtaking areas to view autumn colors. In this segment, Abbie Philpott takes us around the beautiful mountainous region and introduces us to the best spots to see momiji. TEXT: Abbie Philpott PHOTO: Evan Hayden

Mt Unzen

Shimabara Peninsula

In fall, the whole of Mt Unzen becomes draped in a brilliant blaze of autumn leaves. There are over 120 species of trees. The volcano transforms into a kaleidoscope of colors from golden yellows and ruby reds to lush greens. The best places to view the fall colors are either while sailing over the trees on the ropeway or hiking up to enjoy a panoramic view from the Fugen Dake Summit. Best time to go: late October to early November Price: 100円 Access: about a 45-minute drive from Shimabara Station

Ohashi Kannon Temple


A beautiful temple that features an ethereal, natural, stone bridge that is perfect for taking photos with beautiful fall colors as the backdrop. Makino-Dake Park, right next to the temple, is also famous for fall leaves and is a pleasant place for a picnic. Best time to go: mid-November to early December Price: Free Access: about a 25-minute walk from Yoshii Station 4

Jufukuji Temple


This serene temple is nicknamed 逆さ紅葉, sakasa kouyou (inverted fall leaves) because during momiji season a special mirror is placed inside the temple to reflect the leaves outside— upside down! A unique way to enjoy the fall colors and perfect for getting that one of a kind Instagram photo. Best time to go: mid-November to early December Price: 500円 Access: about a 15-minute walk from Emukae-Shikamachi Station

Todoroki Gorge


Visit a refreshing water paradise surrounded by lush trees. Instead of looking up, enjoy the fall leaves reflected in the crystal clear waters while listening to the thundering of more than 30 waterfalls. Best time to go: mid-November to early December Price: Free but there are parking fees at peak times Access: about a 40-minute drive from Isahaya Station

Shindenan Garden

Nagasaki City

The best-kept secret in Nagasaki City, this historic Edo era building with a beautiful garden and teahouse is one of the best places to relax under the fall leaves. This hidden gem is only open to the public for a short time every year in spring and fall, so don’t miss your chance to experience this garden where time will feel as though it has stopped. Best time to go: mid-November to early December Price: 300円 Access: about a 10-minute walk from the Shindaikumachi streetcar stop

Mt Nakao


Nakao is a small village known for its many potter chimneys that give the area a rustic feel. While this quaint village is a great day out at any time of the year, visiting in fall when the autumn colors are at their best is recommended. Visit in late October and you can experience the ceramics festival at the same time. Best time to go: late October to mid-November. Price: Free Access: about a 20-minute drive from Arita Station *Information is correct at the time of writing.


TEXT: Yeti Mallavi PHOTOS: Jin Chang

When imagining beach resorts, we tend to think of the Caribbean or even Okinawa. However, did you know that you could go on a little island retreat without going far? Once a prosperous coal mining town, the island of Iojima has now become a place to get away and relax. Yeti Mallavi and Jin Chang met with the resort’s manager, Michal Serafin, to learn a little about the island.

Serafin first arrived in Japan in 2011 to study Japanese in Tokyo and has since started working at Nagasaki’s Iojima. Last year, the resort got a bit of a facelift; rebranding as an ‘entertainment island’, rather than just a simple hotel and spa getaway. With that came a new name; i+Land Nagasaki Resort.

A Resort for All What sets i+Land apart from others? For starters, there are several types of lodging carefully designed to accommodate all guests. If you prefer to be near the ocean, you can try Terrace Lodge, which offers ocean view rooms. If you are looking for something spacious, with glamping quality, try out the Nagi Cottages.

For those with children, there’s also Kids Lodging, rooms specifically meant for children with furniture and a kitchenette appropriate for kids. For a family-friendly activity that everyone can enjoy, order a meal that you can all cook together. Lastly, and the most unique of the four, the Bark Lodge, a room that caters specifically to dog owners and their furry companions, a rarity for hotels in Japan. Not only are the rooms caninefriendly, but there’s also a dog run for you and your pal during the day. For dinner, why not order some ingredients and prepare a delicious meal for you and your loyal companion in the barbeque area.

What’s There to Do? As an ‘entertainment resort’, i+Land tries to keep you active with a variety of outdoor and indoor activities. With one of Nagasaki’s best beaches, you can swim, go fishing, or try water sports such as kayaking or jet skis. If you prefer dry land, you can also rent and bike around town, and up to the observatory. To relax, try one of the lovely onsen spas at the hotels. If it’s a rainy day, you can also try indoor bouldering or play soft tennis.

Let’s not forget the most popular evening attraction open year-round, Island Lumina! Lumina is an interactive light show with its very own story that relates to the local area. For Island Lumina, Nagasaki’s ties with China and the Kunchi festival are showcased through dragons and an abandoned ship that is featured on the shores of Iojima island. Some other unique projects started this summer are the water relay course “Water Island,” and the outdoor movie nights.

Access Iojima is about a 40-minute drive from Nagasaki Station by both car and shuttle (operated by the island), or a 50-minute ferry ride from Nagasaki Port. 6

TEXT & PHOTOS: Victoria Lekve

Ten minutes from Sasebo Station, tucked among backstreets, a fascinating store awaits. Inside, shelves are lined with beautiful spinning tops. Outside, you can see enthusiasts launch them, yelling, “Let it rip!” or “Ikinaga shoumon shoukurabe!” (“Spin long. Spin fast. Let's see who wins!”), made popular by the anime Beyblade. This is Sasebo Koma Honpo. What exactly is koma? Koma are small wooden tops designed to spin on iron tips. Everything is handcrafted: from the block of wood to the handpainted finish. Traditional colors—black, red and yellow—represent the elements: earth, water, air. Some tops display traditional bands or decorative designs and engravings. A personal favorite is the “99 Islands” koma series because of the sunset view over the Sasebo Islands. Others have more modern themes from daruma faces, the Chinese zodiac, to Santa Claus. Koma were introduced to Japan from China during the Heian Period (794–1185) and later spun throughout the world as souvenir gifts. There are multiple sizes and 40 different styles based on the 99 Islands. Some museums feature koma tops as examples of traditional toys. 8

Now, let's meet the owners! Ms. Yamamoto's great grandfather, Uenosuke, was a supplier of wood but learned the art of manufacturing tops. His son, Sada Uemon I, focused solely on creating tops. Sada Uemon II expanded the business through the 20th century and passed it to the current, Sada Uemon III. Their daughter will be the first female successor as Sada Uemon IV. The wood used is from Matebashii beech-trees that grow primarily in Northern Nagasaki—they don't grow anywhere else in Japan. They originate from Hirado Island, where a warlord planted them for food during famine. Dying trees were removed to protect the forest, and Uenosuke proposed they should be used for toys and household items. Originally senpai taught kohai how to play. Currently, children don't play as often with students from different grades, so it's a dying game. Ms. Yamamoto however, firmly believes that if Japanese people see how much foreigners love them, then they will too. When schools make a request, she happily brings a wooden target for the kids to paint, and a variety of tops so they can learn. While koma can be competitive “fighting tops”, it’s a pastime that’s played anywhere.

My first visit to the shop was on a chilly March morning. My friend and I agreed that 30 minutes would be plenty of time. No sooner did we step into the warm shop were we welcomed by the kind owners, before being whisked outside to play. Ms. Yamamoto taught us to wrap the ropes, grip our tops, and launch our koma. In the beginning, we spent a lot of time chasing them as they threatened to roll away. As we got better, she let us try different tops. Some tops look one color when still and a different color when spinning. After all the laughing and practicing, we were surprised to see that we'd stayed there for almost four hours! Basking in the glow of fun times spent with new friends, we made our purchases, said goodbye, and played for another two hours. The practice tops were free to try because she wanted to share this fun piece of culture with us. She's elated seeing the children she taught 20 or 30 years ago now bringing their children to spin. If you want to support the shop, you can buy a unique top, and if nothing quite fits your fancy, you can make your own! Reservations to paint tops are just ÂĽ1900 per person. It makes a great gift. I painted the Alaskan mountain range and a torii gate connected through the Pacific

Ocean, connecting two places I love most. I think people from overseas can appreciate and enjoy Japan's heritage of beauty, art, and dedication through various traditional art forms. Learning from Ms. Yamamoto was an experience full of laughs. If you want to get spinning, head to the Sasebo Koma Honpo Shop. Remember, thumb down, iron tip up, swing and throw! Ikinaga shoumen shokurabe!

Address: 9-13 Shimanji-cho, Sasebo-shi, Nagasaki prefecture, 857-0879 Hours: 9:30 -- 19:00, irregular days, but almost every day.

Coffee in Nagasaki TEXT: Jin Chang

Coffee has over 130 years’ worth of history here in Japan, and since the first kissaten (coffee shop) in 1888, the coffee boom has only continued. From large coffee corporations like Starbucks to the popularity of import stores such as Kaldi, coffee is a commodity found and vied for all over. Just walk into any supermarket or konbini and you’ll get aisles of bottled, canned, instant, and drip coffee. Vending machines with all kinds of coffee blends are on every corner. It’s an obvious fact that Japan loves coffee. Where does this coffee addiction come from? How did a country whose traditions lie in the famous matcha get so obsessed with the bitter brew? Well, its history starts right here in Nagasaki. In the Edo Period, when Dejima was the only port open for international trade, the Dutch introduced coffee to Japan. While it was enjoyed by a few in that era, it wasn’t until the 1900s that the caffeinated beverage gained traction as a popular mainstream drink. With the rise of coffee shops, methods of brewing became an art. Since then, Japanese brands such as Hario, Kalita, and Bonmac have blossomed into the frontiers of the coffee industry. Hario, being sold at William Sonoma and seen in most artisan coffee shops, has even made a global name for itself. And none of it may have happened without Nagasaki’s willingness to associate itself with the foreign. Celebrate the pride of Nagasaki by going to some coffee shops today. We recommend Isozaki Coffee Shady, a coffee roaster in Hasami that brings harmony between the foreign Joe and traditional Hasami porcelain.


A daily necessity for many people’s very existence is the consumption of tea and coffee. Depending on the choice, for those who have been caught in the addiction, in the very joy of the act of it, it’s really hard to get through a day without one cup. In this article, learn about the history of coffee in Japan, and marvel at one of Nagasaki’s very own specially grown tea leaves!

The T about Tea TEXT: Darsheka Ranchhod

Definition: “Spilling the T” – A phrase inspired by The Lady Chablis, who was an American actress, author, and transgender club performer, known for using “T” to mean hidden “truth.” As homage to her and the wider black drag community’s wording, “spilling the T”, refers to sharing the truth about something. Nothing brings people together like drinking and spilling the tea. We’re here this month to tell you the T about Goto Tsubaki-Cha. Tsubaki, the famous camellia flower, can be found around the Goto Islands and has historically been used for oil, soy sauce, and beauty products. Nagasaki Prefectural University, Nagasaki University, the Kamigoto Island Development Public Corporation, and the Goto City Tourism Association created Goto Tsubaki-Cha thanks to six years of co-operative research.. This tea was made to celebrate and revitalize the local community that continues to feel the effects of depopulation. The difference between green teas and other teas is that after harvest, the leaves are applied with steam then twisted to release moisture. Goto Tsubaki-Cha leaves are steamed similarly, but during the twisting process, more moisture is retained, resulting in a lighter flavor. The resulting light yellow, mellow tea is loved for its taste and aesthetics, gaining a spot on Japan’s Cuisine Kingdom Magazine’s 2016 Top 100 Beverage and Alcohol selection. Not only is the tea tasty, but it will also have you feeling great too, as a study conducted in 2015 found that it lowers cholesterol and blood sugar. Next time you opt for green tea to complement your spilling of thy T, why not try some smooth tasting Goto Tsubaki-Cha and support revitalizing the local Goto community, a pride of Nagasaki. 11

TEXT: Evan Hayden PHOTOS: Evan Hayden & Bob Willey

Karaoke is everywhere, and people love it! Modern karaoke was invented in the late 1960s in Tokyo, and has gone on to grace every corner of the world, across parties, bars, weddings, and karaoke "boxes". The word itself comes from 空 (empty) and オーケストラ (orchestra). Join karaoke maniac Evan Hayden and learn some fun tidbits and tips about this musical sensation. ♪


ORIGINS The very earliest form of karaoke appeared as sing-a-longs on TV, notably “Sing Along With Mitch”, hosted by Mitch Miller Lyrics would be displayed at the bottom of the screen while Mitch and his chorus sang along. Viewers at home were encouraged to join in. Around this same time, in Japan, prototypes of karaoke machines were in development by different inventors, most notably Shigeichi Negishi in 1967 and Toshiharu Yamashita in 1970. Musician Daisuke Inoue perfected the system, and it was soon mass-produced by Clarion. TYPES OF KARAOKE If you are from a predominantly English-speaking country, you may be used to seeing karaoke in a bar setting, or perhaps at a wedding. Usually, one person or a small group of people, will sing in front of a larger group, and one song is played at a time. In Japan, things are often done differently, karaoke “box” style. Places like JoySound and Shidax offer private rooms you can rent and sing your heart out with friends. Other places, like OneKara in Tokyo, specialize in solo karaoke. You rent a little booth with a karaoke machine, a mixing board, and a fancy microphone, and practice your singing skills. It’s great for musicians and karaoke junkies alike. HOW DOES IT WORK? Modern systems have a touch screen tablet that you use to enter songs into the playlist. This connects with the TV that either grabs melodies from the internet or stores them on a hard drive. Older places have systems where you look through a book and enter a code via remote control. In some bar settings, there may be a “KJ” (karaoke jockey) to whom you request songs. TIPS & ETIQUETTE Firstly, put your heart into it! It’s hard to get over the initial challenge that is singing in front of others. That said, if you throw caution to the wind, you may be surprised by how good you sound. Alternately, if your singing voice sounds like a stepped-on cat, your friends should at least admire your efforts and cheer you on.

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Secondly, when doing karaoke with friends, try not to dominate the playlist. Get a feel for the group and start off entering songs now and then. If everyone wants to sing, it’s good to go around and let people do their songs, with some group sing-a-longs mixed in. Inevitably, there will be some folks who are super shy and don’t want to sing much, so you’ll have more chances as the evening goes on. Also, it’s probably not wise to pick an incredibly long song or one with a very long instrumental section (unless you’re cool with people taking their pee breaks during your epic air guitar solo.)

Thirdly, to get the most out of your vocals, try to relax your throat and bring the sound up from your chest. Also, standing up while singing helps, as your guts are less compressed. Try drinking water for a clearer voice.

And, the most important tip of all - Have fun!


Being a foreigner in Japan is already a challenging experience for some, but being a member of the LGBTQ+ community can be an added struggle, given Japan’s conservative culture, a general lack of knowledge, and an absence of conversations about LGBTQ+ rights. Despite Japanese society’s tolerance, its fear of shame has discouraged LGBTQ+ people from being out. Faced with these challenges, some people have sought to maintain authenticity and find some silver lining. In this issue, four amazing and talented individuals have generously shared their experiences to shed more light on being LGBTQ+ expats living in Nagasaki. COMPILED BY: Abbie Philpott, Jin Chang, Emmanuel Feliciano

Being queer in Japan doesn’t feel different than being queer in the US. People will have their opinions, depending on the location. Attitudes toward homosexuality here are similar to how people feel at home, but the matter of legality is the real difference. I am not out at work because no one asks. When I first moved here and a colleague saw photos of my girlfriend and I, at first I was worried, but no one asked any questions. I am comfortable sharing if it was brought up in conversation, but it’s not something I’ll put in my selfintroduction.



For those who are coming to live and work here: We came here to exchange cultures, so if being out and educating students about it is your jam, then by all means. There’s no shame in being out or just chilling in the closet. Remember, being a foreigner means that you will always be stared at for several reasons: tattoos, being tall, being dark, etc. At the end of the day, do what feels right for you. Be the educator or the observer, but have no shame in wanting to join any pride parades.

Growing up and learning to accept ourselves is a problem we all face. We all have insecurities that dwell in our minds, eating away at our confidence every so often. Sometimes these feelings come from our appearances or lack of things. Growing up on the rolling mountains of West Virginia, being gay was a huge source of anxiety for me. Moving to Japan matured me in many ways. One thing I’ve learned from Japanese culture is maintaining awareness for those around you, and to understand and be thoughtful of other people’s feelings and backgrounds. This has affected the way I live as a gay man in Japan. While I’m not out to everyone I know in Japan, I don’t feel the need to tell everyone and be accepted as gay here, like I did when I lived in the US. I think this is because I feel accepted as a person regardless of any labels I identify with. Japan isn’t perfect and there are still situations that make me feel uncomfortable. With that being said, educating others about our community and remaining positive can go a long way.



Coming from the Caribbean, being gay is not something I’ve ever been used to flaunting. Now, living in Japan, it’s no different. I wouldn’t walk about handing out Skittles, not only because being discrete is a way of life here, but rather, because I am employed by this way of life. If I were merely a tourist, I wouldn’t hesitate to show my colors, to expose Japan to what is “normal” in the outside world (even if normalization is still in progress there too). So I lay low, for the most part. This was easy until my budding relationship blossomed into something I wanted to shout about from the top of Fuji-san. It became frustrating, trying to build substantial relationships with the people around me, without talking about the most major thing happening in my life.

about my relationship with a woman were very respectful. One of my classes thought I was cool when they found out and exclaimed how neat it was that in other countries my relationship could be considered “normal.” While my school life as a member of the LGBTQ+ community was positive and quite similar to my experiences in the US, a doctor’s visit in Japan put me slightly on edge. When I insisted there was no feasible way for me to be pregnant, the doctor gave me an ultrasound and insisted that “[I] should quickly become pregnant as soon as [I] find a boyfriend.” I found the blatant disregard of my orientation troubling, as I had never had such an experience in the US.

As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I would describe my experience in Japan as being almost entirely positive, with some minor hiccups along the way. Teachers and students who knew

It may sound like I’m exaggerating a little (I’m not; my relationship is amazing). Either way, perhaps I felt a bit of pressure to let my whole self be known. If you’ve ever been madly in love, you’d know that feeling of wanting to tell everyone about it. I feel as though I’m betraying myself, allowing people to assume my orientation; to tease lightly, for instance, about finding a husband in Japan. So, I talk about it. I started with other ALTs in my area, then a JTE who I knew had previously worked with a gay ALT. All responses were positive and even a tad anticlimactic. It was only when I told a woman from the BOE, with whom I’d become good friends, that I felt as though I had made it into a bigger deal than it was. She was completely unphased, maybe

My word of advice to LGBTQ+ persons seeking a life in Japan is to do whatever makes you most comfortable. I can’t say every person will be respectful, but in my experience, most people I have interacted with gladly acknowledged that we are all human, no matter whom we love or with how we identify.

just a little excited for this new level of sharing in our friendship, and simply launched into telling me about a boy she liked. This one confession seemed to quench my desire to scream. I haven’t told anyone since. The weight has simply lifted for the moment. I would say, to someone in that position, that allowing it to happen organically is when it is the smoothest - don’t force or overthink it. You’ll know the moment for action (or nonaction) that feels most authentic to you when it comes.



TEXT: Will Morgan, Dan Cohen

There are many ways to say “pride” in Japanese. For example, pride in the LGBTQ+ context is プライド (puraido), a more general term for pride is 誇り(hokori), and a more personal sense of pride that can border on boastful is 自慢 (jiman). This issue we’d like to introduce 長崎の自慢 (Nagasaki no jiman - the best of [lit. pride] of Nagasaki).

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First, here are some of our favorite 名物 (meibutsu - famous dishes). ちゃんぽん (champon) - A hearty seafood soup with springy Chinese

noodles, invented in Nagasaki’s own Chinatown. Find this dish in Ringer Huts all over Japan. 皿うどん (sara udon) - A plate of crispy noodles topped with veggies and meat in a savory sauce. トルコライス (toruko raisu) - “Turkish Rice” combines the best of the East and West as a plate of spaghetti accompanied by rice pilaf and fried pork cutlet. 卓袱料理 (shippoku ryōri) - Nagasaki’s own traditional banquet meal, served in big bowls on a round table, similar to some Chinese styles of eating. The full shippoku experience is pricey, but an unforgettable treat. Next are a few 名所 (meisho - famous places). 平和公園 (heiwa kōen) - Peace Park was Ground Zero of the infamous

Atomic Bombing. The park and nearby peace museum are dedicated to world peace and the elimination of all nuclear weapons. 出島 (dejima) - During most of the Edo period, this Dutch trading post was the only place of direct exchange between Japan and the outside world. 眼鏡橋 (megane bashi) - Spectacles Bridge over the Nakashima River provides tourists and locals alike with an amazing backdrop for photos. Search for the heart-shaped stone nearby! 軍艦島 (gunkanjima) - A spooky abandoned coal mining island used as a setting in the James Bond movie Skyfall. ハウステンボス (hausu ten bosu) - A Dutch-themed amusement park famous for its illuminations and flowers.

You may have noticed that the kanji 名 is included in both of the section headings. It can be pronounced na, mei, and less commonly myō. This common and useful kanji is tested at JLPT level N5, so everyone studying Japanese needs to know it. It appears in many crucial words like “name” (名前 - namae), “famous” (有名 - yūmei), and Daimyo (大名 - daimyō). Once you can talk about our local specialties you can consider yourself a 名誉長崎人 (meiyo Nagasaki-jin - an honorary citizen of Nagasaki). Good luck!

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Nagazasshi 12.2  

In this special issue, we will talk about Pride in Nagasaki! Our highlight is an article on the experiences of LGBTQ+ expats living in Nagas...

Nagazasshi 12.2  

In this special issue, we will talk about Pride in Nagasaki! Our highlight is an article on the experiences of LGBTQ+ expats living in Nagas...