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Ariana Miyamoto | Taj Review | Healthy Eating | Kagoshima



Fitting in, or Standing out?

nagazasshi Volume 7 Issue 6 May/June 2015

Editor-in-chief Andrew Massey

Editors Jennifer Edwards Rosie Fordham

Assistant Editors Conor Hughes Niel Thompson

Copy Editor Lorna Hanson

Treasurer Karl Po

Layout and Design Laurel Williams

Contributors Daniel Cohen Niel Thompson Jennifer Edwards Richard Railton Amy Gifford Katy Squicciarini Lorna Hanson Joy Tan Karl Po Laurel Williams

Founders Andrew Morris Matthew Nelson www.nagazasshi.com

Cover Photo Odd One Out - The Jellacotta Army flickr.com/matthewgriff


pril showers bring May flowers” is a well known phrase in many English-speaking countries. A more appropriate one for southern Japan could be “April flowers herald May showers…and June showers to boot.” Well, boots are on and umbrellas are out. The rainy season is here. While these wetter months can be watermarked by the constant smell of mold and laundry that never quite seems to dry, they do signal that summer is just around the corner. It won’t be long before we’re hitting the beach for a barbeque or picnicking under the lush canopy of a nearby park. In the meantime, you can use the rainy days to enjoy the great indoors. Tackle that spring cleaning that still needs doing, or maybe curl up with a nice magazine. The overarching theme for this issue is identity, with a particular focus on how that notion can be tied to appearance. Our feature (p. 10) is on being an ethnically Asian expat in Japan, and Nagasaki Notables (p. 14) is about Ariana Miyamoto, the mixed-race winner of Miss Universe Japan 2015. Of course, all our regular pieces are in place as well. On a final note, I would like to say thank you to our former editor Katy Squicciarini for all of her contributions. I would also like to welcome Conor Hughes as the newest addition to our editorial staff. Happy reading!

Andrew Massey, Editor-in-chief

photo see p. 16





My Two Yen


Welcome to Flavour Country


Looks Can Be Deceiving


Health Check


Nagasaki Notables: Ariana Miyamoto


Weekends with Karl


Kanji of the Month



Check out staff recs in drama and anime Discover a staff favorite for curry in Nagasaki City What life is like for non-Japanese Asians in Japan



Avoid the conbini with some tips for eating better

Po Karl

Learn about this Nagasaki-born and raised Miss Japan

Our travel series continues in Kagoshima



flickr .c




photo Karl Po


The Rose Festival Huis Ten Bosch, May 9 – June 2 Over 1,000 varieties of roses, specially selected by top-level breeders and experts, have been gathered from all over the world at Huis Ten Bosch. The festival features over one million individual roses, all of which can be viewed amidst a beautiful illumination display as part of the Night Rose Garden exhibit. An absolute must-see! Iki Cycle Festival Iki, June 7 Iki’s hugely popular annual bike race is held on public roads that trace the island’s


coast. There will be several races held on a number of different courses. There are 50km and 30km courses approved by the Japan Cycling Federation, as well as courses aimed at amateur riders. There’s even an 8km challenger course for junior cyclists. Baramon King International Triathlon Goto, June 14 The entry deadline has already passed, but you can go out to Goto and watch the competitors give it their all at this world-class event. More information is available from the official website: http://gototri.com/

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Event of the Month The 13th Goto Firefly Festival Shinkamigoto Late May to mid June An annual, enchanting evening event filled with fun, food stalls, and fireflies flickering throughout the forest. It’s easily one of the best times of the year to visit, and this summertime spectacle is certainly not one to be skipped! Though the fireflies are present all over the island, their main area of activity is at the Aiko River.

photo Daniel Cohen

Obama Onsen Jacaranda Festival Obama, Throughout June Obama in June is filled with illuminations that serve to highlight the beauty of the jacaranda trees in full bloom. The peak of this festival is on June 15, when there will be a jacaranda-themed fashion show and farmers market held at Obama Marine Park. Nagasaki “Otsuka” Hydrangea Festival Nagasaki City, Until mid June This historical festival is a tribute to the Dejima-based physician Philipp Franz von nagazasshi | May/June 2015

Siebold. Around 5,000 hydrangeas are in bloom throughout the city at locations including the Seibold Memorial Museum, Nakashimagawa Park, Dejima, and Glover Garden. Omura Flower Festival Omura Park, Until mid June 30,000 Japanese irises are in full bloom, from now right through to the middle of June. With the weather so warm and the gardens so bright, it behooves you to visit and see such a sight. So head up to Omura and see for yourself. A stroll through the park might be good for your health.


My Two Yen... Movie Hi guys! Katy here, this time with a movie rec! Most of you have probably heard of Attack on Titan, or Shingeki no Kyojin (進撃の巨人), but you might not be aware that this well-known manga and anime series is being turned into a live action film, and you may even recognize parts of it! The first film’s release date is set for August 1st (with part two scheduled for September 19th). The film was actually shot on Nagasaki’s own Hashima, affectionately nicknamed “Gunkanjima,” or Battleship Island. The island sits on top of a now defunct undersea coal mine that was abandoned in the 1970s. Since then, the island has

slowly devolved into a more natural, ruined state. Its “creepy,” melancholic vibe makes the island perfect for this post-apocalyptic film. This promises to be the blockbuster of the summer, and is highly anticipated both in Japan and internationally. Even if you’re not interested in anime, or the battle of humans against giants, you should check out this film to see a bit of Nagasaki on the big screen! Image Credits: Haruma Miura as Eren in a poster for Shingeki no Kyojin: Zenpen Hajime Isayama and Kodansha Ltd. 8 www.shingeki-seyo.com

Anime Niel here. With the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron in April, it seemed like a good opportunity to revisit last year’s excellent Avengers anime Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers. In this series, Tony Stark has helped to create new devices called DISKs (Digital Identity Securement Kit), in which villains can be “stored.” The villainous Loki gets his hands on these DISKs, and uses them to trap heroes as well.

ability to use DISKs in order to fight Loki and his goons as they use their own DISKs to summon villains. If the villains are defeated, the heroes can store them in the blank DISKs that they are carrying. It’s a race against time as each group tries to get the most DISKs.

The Avengers must partner with a team of children who have the

Image Credits: Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers poster Walt Disney TV International Japan and Toei Animation Co., Ltd. 8 www.tv-tokyo.co.jp/anime/dw_ avengers

If you want to see a uniquely Japanese take on the iconic Avengers series, then this show is well worth watching!

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Jennifer Edwards introduces us to Taj, our staff pick for the best Indian curry in town.

Welcome to Flavour Country タージ Sumiyoshi

タージ Togitsu

Nagasaki City 〒 852-8155 ( TEL 0120-302-252 U 11:00 – 21:30

( TEL 0120-927-226 U 11:00 – 21:30

\ 6-18 Nakazonomachi

photos Joy Tan

photos Karl Po

\ 270-3 Urago, Togitsu

Nishisonogi 〒 851-2105

8 http://www.taj.ecnet.jp/index.html


ucked away in Sumiyoshi, at the north end of Nagasaki, lies one of the most rewarding culinary experiences one is likely to have anywhere in the city. If you’ve never heard of the Indian restaurant Taj (タージ), you’re in the lucky position of being able to try it for the first time. nagazasshi | May/June 2015

Open since 2010, the Taj in Sumiyoshi is the second of two branches, the first being in Togitsu. Both branches are overseen by Nagasaki-born Jiro Yoshioka. However, the Taj legacy finds its roots in Fukuoka. The franchise was originally owned by a family friend. Jiro’s father brought the


restaurant to Togitsu, Nagasaki in 2005 with the intention of running it as a side business. Taj became far more popular than anticipated, prompting the opening of the second branch.

ers in an enjoyable atmosphere. He helps cultivate this atmosphere by personally taking orders, chatting with, and offering recommendations to customers.

Curry is unquestionably popular in Japan. As an incentive for his son to live and In the form of “curry rice (カレーライ work in Nagasaki, Jiro’s father offered him ス)”, it’s eaten 78 times a year per person ownership of the restauon average, and is sold by rant. Today, Jiro oversees Taj became a number of popular fast both branches and emoutlets with thoufar more popular food ploys a staff of cooks who sands of stores nationwide. than anticipated, Curry rice is so loved are largely from Nepal. in Japan that you’d be prompting the Both restaurants boast forgiven for thinking the opening of the open kitchens, a move dish originated here– but second branch which demonstrates a everyone knows that curry great amount of concomes from India, right? fidence. The owner himself can often be seen in the back, helping out in the Actually, as far as Japan is concerned, kitchen or washing dishes. curry is very much yoshoku (western food), given that it was probably the AngloFor Jiro, Taj is not just about the food, it’s Indian officers of the British Royal Navy about creating good memories for custom- who introduced curry powder and dishes


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to Japan in the 19th century. Like the other “western dishes” developed during the Meiji period, curry rice has a distinctly Japanese taste. It’s more like a rich stew served over steaming mounds of Japanese rice. Certainly comfort food, but distinctly unIndian. Taj serves a giant version of the ubiquitous katsu curry, but the taste is slightly different from what you might experience at a place like Coco Ichibanya. Jiro’s personal favourite from Taj is #21, the pork curry, as he feels it’s closest in taste to Japanese style curry. However, the keema and lamb curries more closely resemble the Indian cuisine you might find in an East London curry house. What’s more, with a choice of spice level running up to 50, you can recreate that post pub mouth scorching vindaloo experience should you wish. Sets, which come highly recommended, start from 1100 yen in the evening, but if you go during lunchtime hours (11:00 – 15:00) on weekdays, you can score a full meal for under 1000 yen. As for the future of Taj, there are plans to open another, more central branch in Nagasaki within the next five years. Until then, it’s definitely worth trekking up to the north end of the city to experience this mingling of cultures for yourself. n

nagazasshi | May/June 2015

Joy Tan describes the contradictions of being ethnically Asian in Japan.


s that your water bottle?” My Japanese co-worker asked, gesturing towards the turquoise David’s Tea tumbler on the table, at which I nodded. The exchange seemed normal enough untill I found out that it is not customary for teachers to drink water during their classes. I guess it’s another one of those things to add to my “Only in Japan” list, a mental list that many foreigners start when they come to Japan. Some people’s lists bear striking resemblances, others differ greatly. For example, I am a Canadian with a Chinese ethnic background, and I’ve had conversations with my non-Asian friends about experiences foreign to me. I have never had someone stare at me as I walked down the street. I don’t feel like I’m an unidentified alien when I walk to the grocery store. Nor do I get surprised looks when I greet people with simple Japanese phrases. In that respect, some might be tempted to think that Asians have it easy in Japan. However, like any issue that has to do with identity and appearance, that is only one side of the coin. When I first applied for a position with the JET Programme to teach

English in Japan, I did so with initial trepidation due to my Asian heritage. Would I be what the teachers and students in Japan were looking for?

Looks can be.

photo flickr.com/jaako

judging others by their appearances. Thus, it comes as no surprise to me that members of the Japanese public assume I must be Japanese, since I look it. When I first started teaching, students greeted me in Japanese and continued to do so even after I had been introduced to the school as an ALT. Teachers at my school told me they first thought I was a new Japanese Teacher. Every single person I’ve met in Japan has immediately assumed that I am Japanese.

In spite of my living in a diverse city like Vancouver and working with students from varied backgrounds at the University of British Columbia, I still find myself

Yet, without a doubt, I betray my ‘gaijinness’ with more than just my broken Japanese. There’s a Uniqlo right in my neighborhood that I frequent. The first time I tried on a dress, I did what any Canadian would do, step into the changing room. On

. . Deceiving

a whim, I peeped out of the changing room before closing the curtains. My eyes went from the horrified look on the sales representative’s face to the pairs of shoes that were outside other cubicles. Who would’ve guessed that Japanese do not wear their shoes into fitting rooms? I may look like I’m Japanese, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t feel like the foreigner I am. Don’t get me wrong, I fully embrace looking and being Asian. I appreciate the chameleon-like ability it gives me to blend in. However, there is a danger in believing in how others perceive you. Sure, I look Japanese. People might even believe I am Japanese. In time, I could come to see myself as Japanese. The reality, however, is that I am not. If you have chosen to be in Japan for long-term work or studies, you likely relish the opportunity to immerse yourself in a culture foreign to your own. Ideally, you would interact with it on your own terms. Realistically, you will be faced with situations you’d have never dreamed you would encounter. However, amongst difficult things like homesickness, fatigue, and stress, you may find yourself looking to become a part of the community that at first seemed so foreign. Things that you’ve added to the ‘only in Japan’ list start to become commonplace, possibly even habitual traits of your own. Sometimes, these changes shape and strengthen you. Sometimes, they split you in half.


The countless surprised looks and remarks about my not being Japanese eventually took their toll on me. At one point, not being able to speak or understand Japanese made me feel highly inadequate as a person. Only when a friend remarked, “But, you speak English…” did I realize the need to consciously remind myself to put things into perspective. So, whether you find yourself adapting easily or struggling to adjust to the new culture we are surrounded by, be careful to never, ever let it diminish who you are. No matter what your experience is in Japan, stay true to yourself and take pride in your international background. n

Richard Railton relays some quick and healthy eating tips.

HealthdCheck photo flickr.com/nancydregan


t’s very easy to never, ever cook.

In Japan especially, where readymade meals chock full of salt, bad fats and unhealthy additives have become all too common. Health wise, regular consumption is a ticking time bomb. Food isn’t the only contributing factor to our health, but eating right can make a huge difference. Most people just want something fast and tasty, hence the popularity of convenience foods. Achieving this with healthier options will make you feel better in mind and body. This doesn’t have to be a burden, and springtime in Japan offers a wide range of local produce that you can take advantage of. With some simple cooking knowledge, you can quickly create some deliciously healthy meals.

sautéed with olive oil is a tasty alternative to boiling or steaming. Grilled pumpkin can add both sweetness and texture. Buy a blender for soups – If you don’t own a hand blender, consider buying one. Making a batch of soup at the start of the week is a great time saver. Making soup is as simple as boiling vegetables in a pan, blending, and seasoning to taste. Who has time for recipes?

Here are some tips on how to prepare healthy meals faster:

Slow cook meals with your rice cooker – Set it in the morning, throw in your ingredients and by the time you arrive home in the evening your meal will be ready. You can toss some other grains into the mix. Quinoa is great if you can find it. Otherwise, just see what your supermarket has available. Amaranth and millet are both solid options. If you’re craving noodles, soba (made from buckwheat) makes a very healthy alternative.

Make a salad – Salads are flexible and delicious, and it only takes two seconds to make a basic dressing. Olive oil and balsamic vinegar is a classic. For those with richer tastes, using vegetables grilled or

Finally, feel free to experiment. It might take a little extra time in the beginning, but once you’ve figured out the combinations that work and learn what you like, you’ll be whipping up tasty, healthy meals in no time.

nagazasshi | May/June 2015



{Nagasaki Notables}








Lorna Hanson profiles Nagasaki’s own Miss Universe trailblazer, Ariana Miyamoto.


he’s beauty and she’s grace, she’s Miss…Japan?

What does a Japanese person look like? Ask anyone around the globe and two answers will be paramount: straight black hair and pale skin. They may even fall further into racist stereotypes and mention geishas with almond eyes and blood-red lips, or teenagers dressed to the nines in imaginative Harajuku fashions. However, the fact remains that none of these answers tell the whole story. The paradigm of Japanese beauty has been selected as Ariana Miyamoto, the first ever mixed-


race winner of Miss Universe Japan, and yes, she is Japanese. At 1.73 meters, Miyamoto stands tall, and proud, to represent her country in the 2015 Miss Universe pageant. On March 12th, 2015, Miyamoto went from being a virtual unknown, to a household name, to a person confronting conventional notions of Japanese identity, all while planted in the limelight. She carries herself with a dauntless smile—one she’s sure to need at the upcoming Miss Universe pageant.

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Miyamoto grew up in Sasebo with a “I thought ‘I wonder if a hafu like me Japanese mother and a black American would be okay’ and had insecurities,” she father. All the way through school, Miysays in a promotional video on the Miss amoto endured bullying from classmates. Universe Japan Youtube channel. True, Being called racist and many of Japan’s netixenophobic slurs, the zens expressed confuRace or being message was clear from half doesn’t matter. sion, doubt, and blunt some that she didn’t racism at her win. “Is it I want to become a belong. This would be okay to choose a hafu to woman with courage represent Japan?” said enough to break anyone’s spirits, let alone a and confidence one. “That big mouth, child’s. Miyamoto perthat gaudy face. This is severed for many years before eventually Miss Japan?” commented another. Sentimoving to America to live with her father ments such as these are not unusual and and complete high school. have followed Miyamoto all her life.

nagazasshi | May/June 2015


Ariana Miyamoto has not forgotten where she came from, and shows it with pride

However, she looks to people such as Mariah Carey, a biracial superstar who has also faced similar kinds of discrimination in her career, for inspiration. Carey overcame many trials to get to where she is today, and Miyamoto strives to do the same. In the Youtube promo video, Miyamoto wears a wide, sparkling smile as she responds to the criticism. “Race or being half doesn’t matter. I want to become a woman with courage and confidence,” she explains. Miyamoto certainly demonstrates both of these traits. She holds a license for large two-wheeled vehicles and spends her spare time working with motorcycles. That she does her own maintenance work defies the stereotypes that some might hold about Miss Universe contestants. She appeared on Fuji Television’s Mezamashi TV morning show to discuss her hobby, although she explains that she’s “stopped riding since becoming Miss Universe [Japan] because [she] could get injured.” She’s serious, but doesn’t forget to charm the show’s hosts by speaking her native Sasebo dialect on request. Everyone on set bursts out laughing. “It’s definitely an atmosphere. What an adorable presence!” exclaims one of the hosts.


As anyone can see, Ariana Miyamoto has not forgotten where she came from, and shows it with pride. As many Japanese will say when asked, people from Kyushu are laid-back. Expats living in Kyushu will say the same thing. Airy, friendly, full-on smiles; Miyamoto exudes it all. The criticisms will surely roll off her back. “I am Japanese, 100 percent,” she says, and the rest of the world will have to deal with that. Miyamoto is here to stay. All of us at Nagazasshi are rooting for you, Ariana-san! n

8 missuniversejapan2.com Photo credits: Page 14-15: photos facebook.com/ pages/Ariana-Miyamoto-Miss-UniverseJapan-2015/459949720820044

Weekends with


Karl Po continues his weekend adventures with a trip down south to Kagoshima.


ey, what’s up everyone!

Continuing on from the previous issue, let’s drive past Miyazaki and visit the southernmost prefecture in Kyushu, Kagoshima. Driving to Kagoshima from Nagasaki takes about four and a half hours along the Kyushu Expressway, a highway that links three of the seven prefectures in Kyushu. It’s quite a long drive but Kagoshima has many worthy sights to be seen. Sakurajima is probably the prefecture’s most frequently visited sightseeing spot. A tall active volcano that can be seen in nearly any part of the city, it every so often spouts out volcanic ash that spreads across the area. The volcano itself is situated on an island that’s easily reached by ferry. Yunohira Lookout, a 15 minute drive from the harbor, is one of the better spots from which to see the volcano in action. If you have some time to spare, check out the dinosaur park with its many dino-statues. nagazasshi | May/June 2015

Before riding the ferry back to the city, why not take a rest at the visitor center and soak your weary feet in the footbath? Kagoshima is renowned for its black sand onsen, or sunamushi. Ibusuki City, about an hour and a half drive from the city center, is home to many of them. At the sunamushi, you wear a thin yukata, lay down on the beach, and are slowly buried neck deep in steaming black sand. There you lay for up to twenty minutes, sweating out all your body’s impurities. After rising up from the sand, you can sit back and relax in a more conventional onsen. The idea of getting buried in sand may not be for everyone, but it is definitely an unforgettable experience. Lastly, the Animal Life and Botanical Garden, also known as Nagasaki-bana Parking Garden, at the very south tip of the island, is worth checking out if you’re looking for a tropical getaway. It houses many species of birds such as parrots, pelicans, and flamingos. Animal shows are quite popular. The park even showcased a rat show that was really interesting. I’d never seen anything like it before!


" Projected Travel Costs:

Saturday afternoon/evening

R Rental car: 9,180 yen

P Take the ferry over to Sakurajima.

Saturday 8 a.m. − Monday 11 a.m. 8 http://www.ones-rent.com/ reservation/index.php?location_ no=0084-001)

. Road tolls: 15,880 yen (round trip)

K Gas: 10,000 yen (rough estimate)

" Explore the island. M Check out Yunohira Observatory, and dinosaur park. P Back to the mainland, night out in town.

Z Accommodation: Green Guesthouse 1,500 yen/night (3,000 yen for 2 nights) 8 www.green-guesthouse.com

Sunday evening

Z Total: 36,560 yen


Other costs (per person):

I Black sand onsen

Split between 4 people: 9,140 yen

( Guesthouse parking spot (space lim-

ited): 500 yen/night P Ferry to Sakurajima (with car): 1150 yen/one way

" Drive south-bound towards Ibusuki

U 1 hour and 20 minutes

8 http://goo.gl/maps/is0Kp Visit Nagasaki-bana Parking Garden ¥ 1,200 yen

¥ 900 yen

8 http://sa-raku.sakura.ne.jp/ Monday

C Tsurumaru Castle


# Kagoshima Museum of Culture

Saturday morning

N Chiran (time permitting)

" Drive from Nagasaki g Kagoshima

U 4 hours and 25 minutes

8 http://goo.gl/maps/XHE3L y Check into hostel. Secure parking spot.



Photo credits – Page 17 (clockwise from

left): Sakurajima Karl Po, Black sand onsen Karl Po, and Footbath Karl Po; Page 18 (top): Kurokami buried torii gate from the 1914 eruption Laurel Williams

May/June 2015 | nagazasshi

Profile for Nagazasshi

Nagazasshi 7.6  

Volume 7 concludes with a focus on identity, such as what it means to walk a thin line between fitting in and standing out as a non-Japanese...

Nagazasshi 7.6  

Volume 7 concludes with a focus on identity, such as what it means to walk a thin line between fitting in and standing out as a non-Japanese...