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Ganbatte Spirit

Martial Arts | Haruna Kawaguchi | Saraudon | Expat Life

nagazasshi Volume 7 Issue 3 November/December 2014

Editor-in-chief Andrew Massey


Rosie Fordham Katy Squicciarini

Assistant Editor Niel Thompson

Copy Editor Doug Bonham

Treasurer Karl Po

Layout and Design Laurel Williams

Contributors Doug Bonham Karl Po Jennifer Edwards Alexis Powell Rosie Fordham Niel Thompson Amy Gifford Katy Squicciarini Andrew Massey Priscilla Westra Will Morgan Laurel Williams


Andrew Morris Matthew Nelson www.nagazasshi.com Cover photo: Japanese Calligraphy By Priscilla Westra



he leaves of the trees have fallen, exposing branches to the elements, and most insects have gone into hibernation. Blankets have been fetched from closets and kotatsu have been dusted off. Get out your heat tech and wooly socks. Winter is coming.

Well, kind of. Depends on where you’re from. Hailing from Canada, a land lovingly referred to as The Great White North, I find myself adapting rather quickly to Nagasaki’s chillier months. It never seems to drop below the lower single digits here, which is downright balmy compared to the negative twenties of a typical Canadian winter. While everyone’s out in their mitts, scarves, and winter coats, I’m perfectly fine with a tuque and a windbreaker. It’s quite fascinating really; the extent to which our past experiences inform our perception. It’s part of what makes everydayness itself such an endlessly entertaining topic.


With this in mind, we’ve decided to focus on the theme of everyday lived experience with this issue. In addition to our regular sections like My Two Yen (p. 6), Japanese Martial Arts (p. 7), and Nagasaki Notables (p. 12), you’ll also find articles about the ubiquitous phrase “ganbatte!”(p. 10), expat life in Japan (p. 16), and the classic dish saraudon (p. 14). Finally, a big shout-out to our contributors, sponsors, and to the local community. Thank you. Without your unyielding support, we wouldn’t exist. Happy reading!

Andrew Massey, Editor-in-chief


Contents Events


My Two Yen


Japanese Martial Arts: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu


The Spirit of “Ganbatte”


Nagasaki Notables: Kawaguchi Haruna


Check out some staff recs in music and anime

Our series continues with its fifth installment

Delve into what fuels Japanese society to fight-o


Learn about this Goto-born actress and model

Shikairou’s Original Saraudon


The Quips7 and Quirks of Expat Life in Japan


Kanji of the Month


Discover where this Nagasaki dish got its start

ALTs share some interesting aspects of living in Japan

nagazasshi | November/December 2014



e Mo h t f o t n Eve

tival, Hana Fes a m u a y Maru Tenmang ri a w a ig M Umezono vember 9 - 10 No

This event brings to life the bygone days of Maruyama, formerly one of the three largest geisha districts (hanamachi) in Japan, with traditional dances and a procession of courtesans through the streets. The festival also features an onnamikoshi, a portable shrine carried strictly by women only.


November/December 2014 | nagazasshi

Events Kingdom of Lights, Huis Ten Bosch Early November – Early February With a display of over 10 million lightbulbs, making it the largest display of its kind in the world, Huis Ten Bosch welcomes you to the Kingdom of Light - crowned No.1 for three consecutive years by Yahoo! Japan’s Christmas special ranking, the “top 20 most-popular illuminations in Japan.” 99 Islands Oyster Festival, Kujukushima Pearl Sea Resort November 15 – December 7 Saturdays, Sundays, and Public Holidays in November 400 grills with seating for 1600 are set up on the open grassy area at the Saikai Pearl Sea Resort. The scent from the grills mixes with the salty sea breeze, creating a perfect atmosphere to enjoy this classic seasonal delicacy in the great outdoors. Church Week, Kamigoto December 3 – 8 Celebrate an early Christmas in Kamigoto. Church buildings, filled with the history of the hardships and sufferings of the hidden Christians, are lit up with glowing lights. This event also features

over six nights of classical music played by professional musicians. The illuminations are lit from early December to early January. Kira-kira Festival, Sasebo November 20 – December 25 If you’re craving some Christmas festivities, than this festival is for you. Shimanose Park’s buildings and trees will be decked in Christmas lights. Be sure to check out the charity party in the arcade as well! A Nagasaki Christmas, Nagasaki City November 23 – December 27 Parks and attractions throughout the city are decorated in dazzling Christmas illumination. You won’t have to walk far to be surrounded by lights, music and Christmas cheer. Glover Garden Winter Festival, Nagasaki City December 22 – 25 Enjoy a great view of Nagasaki city while surrounded by beautiful illumination. Gentle music, a fantastic view of the city, and the Candle Event make for a magical evening.

Know of an upcoming event you’d like us to feature? Let us know at Nagazasshi.submissions@gmail.com!

photos flickr.com/shujimoriwaki

nagazasshi | November/December 2014


My Two Yen... Wondering what’s hot in Japanese pop culture? The Nagazasshi staff is here to give you some media recommendations! Music Hey what’s up?! This is Karl with a sonic suggestion for all of you. We all know that the Japanese music scene is flooded with the likes of AKB 48, Johnnys’ stars, pretty idols, and catchy verses, but why not try listening to something new for a change? I’ve been following the Japanese rock/punk scene since coming to Japan, and I would like to introduce you to a 3-person, Nagasaki-based Japanese punk band called “SHANK.”

of blink-182, Sum 41, and New Found Glory, this band is sure to be up on your alley. The band’s songs are entirely sung in English, so accents and pronunciations might be difficult to understand. But hey, each year they’re getting better at it. When you get the chance, YouTube “Wake me up when night falls again” and “Love&Hate.” Until next time, keep rockin’, Nagasaki!

If you like fast-paced guitar riffs, catchy lyrics, or you just want to relive the days

8 http://www.shankofficial.com

Anime Niel here. My next recommendation is Gundam Build Fighters. The Gundam series is usually very melodramatic and dark, but this show is more comical and upbeat. Sei and Reiji are friends trying to win the Gunpla Battle World Championship. People all over the world put together and customize their own Gunpla, or plastic Gundam model kits, which they then use to

fight in a computer-simulated environment. In order to win, a person has to build and control a strong Gunpla. Sei is a genius builder with terrible control skills, while Reiji has no idea how to build Gunpla but is very good at piloting them. Will Sei and Reiji be able to beat the intense competition and claim first place? If you like seeing giant robots blow each other up, but hate the usual melodrama, or if you’re a Gundam fan who likes to see unique variations to familiar mobile suits battle it out, then this show might just be for you.

Image Credits: SHANK band photo Yasumasa Handa, courtesy of twitter.com/ SHANK095/status/413211843961036800; Gundam Build Fighters Sunrise, Inc., courtesy of flickr.com/dannychoo


November/December 2014 | nagazasshi

Japanese Martial Arts:

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Will Morgan explains the complexities and history of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

photos Alexis Powell


he renowned Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu abroad, this martial art is finally gaining instructor Carlos Machado says, momentum in its country of origin. “The ground is my ocean, I am a shark, and most people don’t know BJJ is a combat sport and self-defense how to swim.” From the beginner’s side, system rooted in judo. Japanese judo author and BJJ practitioner Sam Harris experts Mitsuyo Maeda and Soshihiro writes that “the Satake brought the experience of grapart to Brazil in The experience of pling with an expert grappling with an expert the early 1900s, is akin to falling into where they opened is akin to falling into deep schools and spread deep water without water without knowing knowing how to their knowledge to swim.” many people. This how to swim included a young I have only studied Carlos Gracie and BJJ for a few months, so I can’t attest to his siblings. the first quote, but the second is most certainly accurate. BJJ experts can make Under the care of the Gracie family, even muscle-bound karate experts look BJJ evolved. In contrast to judo, BJJ helpless once the fight hits the ground. developed a focus on ground grappling After nearly a century of development over throwing. It’s said that this was to

nagazasshi | November/December 2014


accommodate fighters of smaller stature, like Carlos’ brother, Helio.

In a BJJ match, it is common to see a competitor rock back and pull their opponent on top of them, which would BJJ burst onto the world scene in the immediately disqualify the competitor in early 1990s when Royce Gracie won the judo. Counter-intuitive as it seems, getfirst, second, and fourth ever Ultimate ting your opponent on the ground is just Fighting Championship no-holds-barred the appetizer in BJJ. The struggle that mixed martial arts ensues to control (MMA) tournaBJJ experts can make your opponent is ments. More the main course, even muscle-bound karate and a successful recently, Taka Watanabe opened experts look helpless once choke or joint lock Japan’s first BJJ is the sweetest of the fight hits the ground. school in 1997. desserts.

In Maeda and Satake’s time, the terms “judo” and “jujutsu” were used interchangeably to describe the strike-less martial art of throwing and applying joint-locks and chokes to opponents. But aside from the competitors’ attire, today’s judo and BJJ matches look quite different.


A typical BJJ lesson starts with solo actions led by the instructor. Next, the instructor will teach a technique: a choke, joint-lock, sweep, or pass. Sweeps get your opponent off of you, and passes get your opponent into a compromised position.

November/December 2014 | nagazasshi

After the move is understood, you partopponent, you must calm your mind and ner off and practice, otherwise known as focus your effort into controlling them. drilling. After drilling comes sparring, The personal reward for submitting called “rolling”. BJJ is unique in that an opponent increases with the effort when sparring, you can go as hard as required to do it. you choose to and still avoid injury. This would be impossible BJJ is lauded as a in boxing or karate highly effective sysBJJ is lauded as a since repetitive blows tem of self-defense highly effective system to the head add up as well as a necessary of self-defense as well and weigh on your weapon in any MMA ability to pronounce as a necessary weapon fighter’s arsenal. n things properly. in any MMA fighter’s

arsenal Though still a Japanese art, the western influence in BJJ is hard to miss. In tournaments, referees give orders in Portuguese. Sitting in seiza is not required, and the teacher/pupil dynamic is also less pronounced than one might expect compared with Japanese martial arts. In BJJ, the teachers are friendly, approachable, and eminently humble. Good teachers even compete in tournaments because competing can lead to losses, and losses check a runaway ego. It bears mentioning that practicing BJJ is also a lot of fun. It’s a fascinating combination of cerebral and physical prowess, like playing chess with your whole body. When facing a more experienced opponent, it seems like there’s danger behind every move, whereas fighting a beginner you can sometimes collect a win with a few quick moves. No matter the

Check back next issue for a peek into a different Japanese marital art.

ains Jennifer Edwards expl d how it what ganbatte is an lture. affects Japanese cu





art of the joy of living in a new country is understanding its culture and absorbing aspects of it into your personality. My first experience of this, a mere week or so after arriving in Japan from my native Britain, was catching myself muttering ganbatte whilst sorting my garbage. Given that ganbatte means something between “do your best” and “hang in there,” it’s unsurprising that this is the phrase that made such an impact on a new arrival to Japan so quickly.

It’s a phrase often uttered to me by Starbucks baristas after I explain that despite barely being able to order a latte in Japanese, I will be living in Japan for at least a year. It’s often shouted to me cheerily as I embark on my morning run to Dejima. There’s the current ubiquity of Ganbakun and Ranba-chan, the mascots for the 2014 National Sports Festival in Nagasaki (Ganbaranba, I’ve discovered, is Nagasaki dialect for ganbatte). But most of all, it’s an incredibly important part of the foundation of Japanese culture. I struggled to describe it to my loved ones back home until I attended my school’s taiikusai, or sports festival. This took place on a blazingly hot September Sunday with just enough Kyushu humidity to make breathing a challenge. In Britain, our equivalent is “sports day.” Its highlight is the egg and spoon race, in which small British children balance a hard-boiled egg on a spoon and race one another whilst


photo flickr.com/mattb_tv

photo Doug Bonham

trying to keep the egg atop the spoon.

ticing of dance routines before and after very long school hours, extra homework on the bus, and staying until the early hours of the evening to perfect their club activities.

photo Laurel Williams

So with that as my benchmark, I watched agog as the opening ceremony There are days when my frustration with commenced and, in remembering basic Part of the joy of Japanese verbs means unbearable heat, the students marched living in a new country I don’t want a cheery and danced en masse. ganbatte. I’m pretty sure is understanding its Students who fainted some of the students gamely returned later to culture and absorbing across Japan who are complete their events. aspects of it into your at the bottom of a The steely faces of the human pyramid may personality students confirmed also feel the same way. that it was ganbatte spirit driving them. But despite being in Japan just shy of two They were enduring hardship for the sake months, the ganbatte spirit is uniquely of putting on a show everyone could be comforting even for someone from outside proud of. of the culture, and I feel privileged to understand and be a part of it. n The ganbatte spirit only intensified throughout the day. Most striking to me was the human pyramid. In this event, the teachers surround the students in a protective circle and ushered them up layer upon layer until the pyramid has grown to ten layers tall. The look on the faces of the students at the bottom was a combination of pain, resolve and stoic resignation. I’m sure this image would have been a far more effective symbol for the Nagasaki sports festival than Ganba and Ranba.

It’s easy to see how this foundation can become the ganbatte spirit seen in adult life in Japan, where it is less ten-layer human pyramids and more salarymen working long hours. For students, it’s in their relentless prac-

{Nagasaki N otables}

Kawaguchi Harun a Katy Squicciarin i talks about on e of Japan’s most fa mous actresse s and models, Kawa guchi Haruna.


hen I first arrived in Japan, I was stoutly told by multiple locals that if I wanted to find really attractive Japanese people, I had to make the long trek out to Goto. “There’s something in the water there,” my colleague nodded sagely. “Just look, even actresses and models become famous if they’re from Goto.”

even displaying her cutely dimpled smile to sell Pocari Sweat from vending machines, Haruna is almost everywhere you turn. However, she has a special place in the hearts of Nagasaki residents, and it’s easy to see why.

Haruna, born in 1995, truly represents the characteristics that Nagasaki people are so proud of. She She, of course, was There’s something is famous for being referencing Kawanatural. Disliking in the water there guchi Haruna, the makeup and boldly model and actress admitting multiple born and raised on the beautiful shores times that she’s not good with fashion, of Goto. If you live in Nagasaki, there’s her true charm is in that wholesomea 90 percent chance you recognize this ness which sets her apart from so many girl, even if you’re not a self-proclaimed others in the pop industry today. Her pop aficionado like myself. Why? Bedown-to-earth attitude and no-nonsense cause in recent years she’s become the charm has appealed to Tokyoites, who face for multiple different companies. are used to idols being glitzed and glammed until you can barely see their Plastered across barbershop windows, faces under their makeup and fake looking sporty in local bike stores, and eyelashes.


November/December 2014 | nagazasshi

At the age of only 19, her filmography is already very impressive

It was, in fact, this charm that shot her to stardom when she first moved to Tokyo. At the age of only 13, her good looks landed her modeling gigs. However, despite her young age, she was steadfast in pursuing her dreams of becoming an actress, and only two years later she landed her first role in the popular Japanese drama, Tokyo Dogs. It was only a minor role, but that didn’t discourage her. In fact, it inspired her to work harder. For two years, she continued working small acting and modeling jobs when she could. However, it wasn’t until she was 15 years old that she got her real big break: the role of Fujioka Haruhi, the protagonist in the popular manga turned TV show Ouran High School Host Club. Playing a girl who disguises her gender in a school full of exceedingly rich and powerful students, her natural tomboyish charms were allowed to shine through. She held her own in a cast full of boys with strong personalities, and it was the perfect role to first thrust her into stardom. Since then, Haruna has landed a number of well-loved roles, from the mysterious Aizawa in the 2012 remake

of Great Teacher Onizuka, to her hilarious role as a ghostbuster in Tenma-san ga Yuka. Most recently she can be found acting alongside Hey! Say! JUMP member Yamada Ryosuke in the popular Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo N. At the age of only 19, her filmography is already very impressive, so we can be sure to see more great things from this Nagasaki native. Haruna… FIGHTING! Photo credits (counter-clockwise): Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo N NTV Network Corp. (2014); Madame Marmalade no Ijo na Nazo: Shutsudai Hen TV Tokyo Corp. (2013); Ouran High School Host Club TBS Television Network, Inc. (2011); GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka Fuji Television Network, Inc. (2012)



s ’ O u o r r i i g a in k i




4-5 Matsugaemachi Nagasaki-shi, Nagasaki 〒850-0921 ( TEL 095-822-1296 8 http://www.shikairou.com

Rosie Fordham and Andrew Massey recommend a must-try signature Nagasaki dish: saraudon.


November/December 2014 | nagazasshi

photo flickr.com/suzukis


ot far from Nagasaki Harbor stands the massive Chinese restaurant Shikairou. Founded in 1899 by Chinese immigrant Chen Ping Shun, the restaurant is well known as the birthplace of the Nagasaki staple, champon. However, it also is the home of another one of the prefecture’s signature dishes, saraudon. According to the restaurant’s website, saraudon was inspired by chaanishimen (炒肉絲麺), a yakisoba-like dish from China. The story goes that the restaurant’s founder created it as a variation on the already popular champon. The dish was named saraudon, or “plate udon,” because at the time it was more common to eat noodles from a bowl.

tures. Bits of pink and green poke out through the glossy white sauce, which is both viscous and hearty, while remaining velvety smooth through some culinary miracle. This is in striking contrast to the audibly crisp goldenrod noodles that soften over time as the elements of the dish mingle on the plate. Each mouthful provides a gratifying blend of both crispiness and chew, which is sure to satisfy even the hungriest of tourists. Next time you’re in the area, do yourself a favor and give Shikairou’s saraudon a try. Chances are there’ll be a bit of a line, but it’s definitely worth the wait. n

While the dish quickly spawned many imitations and variations, the saraudon at Shikairou is still made as it always was: by frying seafood and pork with lard and a little bit of champon broth. This gives the sauce a full-bodied richness visible in the dish’s opacity and creamy texture, masking any overt fishiness the ingredients may carry. The sauce is then poured over a freshly fried thicket of thin, crispy noodles and served piping hot. Once on the table, a dash of Japanese Worchester sauce can be added to complete this orchestra of flavors. The dish is a visual feast, featuring an impressive medley of colors and texphoto flickr.com/morygonzalez

nagazasshi | November/December 2014


Expat Life

Jennifer Edwards describes the culture shock that many expats go through when they first arrive in Japan.

Safety first For many, Japan feels safer than their home country. Some expats claim never to lock their houses, with one claiming not to have locked his car in years. One Brit was surprised to see elderly ladies walking up what he described as “suspicious alleys.” He assures us that this would result in a mugging in England.

Wildlife Bugs are a common source of vexation to the expat community – particularly the dreaded mukade, which is unique to Japan. While unlikely to kill you






Quips & Quirks

In contrast, strangers in Japan are generally nice, rather than “neutral or menacing,” adding to this overall feeling of safety.

with its bite, it will make you feel pretty miserable. Many have reported mukade encounters of varying degrees of horror, from discovering one crawling under a trouser leg to another working its way through the seam of a tatami mat and into someone’s lap. The apparent nonchalance of Japanese friends and co-workers to indoor critter attacks only adds to the indignity. November/December 2014 | nagazasshi

Food woes Food is a central part of life and socializing in many cultures, including Japan’s,

At home The cultural differences continue into the home, with expats confounded by everything from light switches being sideways to hang-drying clothing (some of our American readers in particular miss hot fluffy towels direct from

Politeness General politeness and excellent customer service were praised as positive differences from many of our readers. One Londoner describes feeling like a minor Lord walking into the local convenience store compared to back home – where you are lucky if the shopkeeper will get off the phone to serve you. Others note their surprise and delight at unexpected service gifts and of course all of this nagazasshi | November/December 2014

so unsurprisingly many of the expats had food woes. These ranged from crustless bread to a lack of spice or excess of sugar in food. One bemoaned the fact that it’s impossible to buy anything that’s not in ten layers of packaging, another that not finishing food is perceived as rude. Those from big cities in particular miss having access to authentic food from all over the world. However, the wide availability of vending machines is one common plus point – especially being able to buy hot drinks in winter.

the dryer). The complex garbage separation system continues to confuse both new arrivals to Japan and those who have been here for a while. Washing your hands from a tap on the top of the toilet bemuses several – as does using a hand crank to warm up their showers.

with no tip expected (and, if given, it will often be returned to you by a waiter or waitress who has run down the street after you to do so).


The workplace Lack of tolerance for being even a few minutes late also seems to be another uniquely Japanese trait – although the high frequency and quantity of omiyage from co-workers sweetens the pill. One reader describes

Personal relationships It is commonly reported that Japanese people do not have as much physical contact as people from their home countries – greetings with handshakes and hugs are not the norm. One bemoans that a

how she showed up at work after a night on the town and by lunchtime had four hangover cures on her desk. Many of our readers are assistant language teachers (ALTs), who are surprised to still see blackboards and chalk in Japanese classrooms (many weren’t even taught using these when they were at school).

simple friendship with a member of the opposite sex is often wildly misconstrued as something more in Japan, compared to back home in Canada. Another person mentions that, unlike in other countries where it may be a sensitive issue, body weight is publicly discussed among adults. Others note oddities of conversational style – such as not having to finish sentences, instead letting a drawn out が do all the work, or describing your experiences out loud in a single adjective, using any of the following: hot, cold, spacious, nostalgic, tired, etc. This may sound unusual if mentioned to folks back home, but after a few months in Japan it makes perfect sense. n Photo credits (p. 16 - 18): Elderly woman in alley flickr.com/ mdesjardin; Mukade in gutter flickr.com/mattb_tv; Line of vending machines flickr.com/jeffkole; Recycling flickr.com/nihonbunka; Tea server flickr.com/jonwick; Classroom flickr.com/ogwrnsk; Handshake flickr.com/blondinrikard

Profile for Nagazasshi

Nagazasshi 7.3  

Discover what drives the Japanese people with our feature on the spirit of "ganbatte." Additional articles include My Two Yen reviews, Brazi...

Nagazasshi 7.3  

Discover what drives the Japanese people with our feature on the spirit of "ganbatte." Additional articles include My Two Yen reviews, Brazi...