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Orange Spice|Language Partners|Ryu Murakami|Ishigaki Island

nagazasshi Volume 8 Issue 1 July/August 2015

Editor-in-chief Andrew Massey

Editors Jennifer Edwards Rosie Fordham

Layout and Design Laurel Williams

Assistant Editors Conor Hughes Niel Thompson

Copy Editor Lorna Hanson

Treasurer Karl Po

Contributors Dan Cohen Karl Po Jennifer Edwards Niel Thompson Max Epstein Richard Railton Rosie Fordham Katy Squicciarini Amy Gifford Joy Tan Laurel Williams

Founders Andrew Morris Matthew Nelson www.nagazasshi.com

Cover Photo Bananagrams® & Nagazasshi Laurel Williams


his August marks the end of my stint as Nagazasshi’s Editor-inChief. My thanks go out to our staff of past, present, and future, and to the community as well. My time in Japan has been many things. While I’ve raised an eyebrow or two at countless oddities over the years, there’s something quite remarkable about how it all weaves together. At times, Japan seems so delightfully bizarre, and yet, it all seems to fit. It’s almost as if there is a common thread woven throughout the cultural fabric of this country, keeping everything in check somehow. That kind of consistency can be comforting. It can be unnerving. The only thing it can’t be is easily explained, and that also goes for Japan in general. Magazines like this one do their best to dig up and display little pockets of culture, and they do a damn fine job of it too! Every year we get better, trying out new things and hoping for the best. It’s a never ending quest, really. Upon returning home, I will undoubtedly be asked by friends and family that one simple question that all expats here are bound to hear at some point. “How was Japan?” And you know, as impossibly loaded as that question may be, I feel my time at the Nagazasshi has left me fairly well equipped to answer it. Happy reading!

Andrew Massey, Editor-in-chief

Contents Events


My Two Yen


Café Caches


Partners in Parlance: Japanese with Friends


Multilingual, Multipersonality


Health Check


Nagasaki Notables: Ryu Murakami


Weekends with Karl


Kanji of the Month


14 8

Check out staff recs in TV and anime Get acquainted with an Isahaya favorite Discover the Language Partner phenomenon

This issue’s feature asks whether multilinguals have multipersonalities

Stay hydrated this summer with some helpful tips Learn about this prolific writer from Sasebo Our travel series continues in Ishigaki

7 13

16 Photo credits (counter-clockwise from top): Some of Ryu Murakami’s work Laurel Williams; Talk Over Beer flickr.com/stawarz; Orange Spice’s sign Joy Tan; Traditional Okinawan garments Karl Po; Water Drop (1) flickr.com/utnapistim

Event of the Month Sentoro “1000 Lanterns” Festival Aug 29-30, Emukae At 25 meters tall, Emukae boasts Japan’s tallest lantern tower, which consists of 10,000 individual lanterns. There is also a secondary festival where children carry portable shrines to honor Jizou, the god of children, and are subsequently drenched with water; the aptly named mizukakejizou festival.


Events 28th Hamagurihama Sand Art and Beach Day Festival July 18-19, Shin-Kami Goto A two-day beach party that’s fun for the whole family. The beautiful white sand, warm waters, and incredible sand sculptures are not to be missed! There’s even a beach volleyball tournament! Isahaya Lantern River Festival July 25, Isahaya This festival honors the victims of the 1957 flood in Isahaya. Over 10,000 candles are lit alongside the river in an almost ethereal display. Of course, festival staples such as food stands and fireworks are in no short supply. Overall, a fun and festive night out! Gion Yamakasa Festival July 25-26, Iki Iki’s rambunctious Gion festival certainly has a long history. Every July for nearly 300 years, a procession of men carrying portable shrines has made its way through the town. It’s exciting and certainly memorable.

photo Dan Cohen

Nagasaki Dragon Boat Races and Minato Festival July 25-26, Dejima Wharf Dragon boating is a centuries old tradition in Nagasaki. This annual festival celebrates that in a big way. The 26member teams can be seen racing each other throughout the day, and the festival concludes with a giant fireworks display accompanied by music at night. nagazasshi | July/August 2015

Shimabara Water Festival Aug 1-2 Shimabara City holds this annual festival to show appreciation for its natural spring water. The waterways and former samurai residences are lit up with lanterns and there are a number of illuminated art displays made from traditional bamboo umbrellas to be seen and admired. Nakashima River Summer Festival Aug 1-2, Nagasaki City For one weekend in August, Meganebashi and the banks of the Nakashima River are adorned with hundreds of colored paper lanterns. There are souvenir stands, succulent food stalls, and a wonderful, vibrant atmosphere. This festival, which celebrates Japan’s oldest stone bridge, really has something for everyone. Shoro Nagashi Obon Parade August 15, Nagasaki City Nagasaki City celebrates Obon like no one else and people travel from far and wide to witness this spectacle. Chances are that if you’ve never seen the famous Spirit Boat Procession, you’ve probably heard it. Though the festival is to send the souls of the year’s dead out to sea, it’s a lot more lively than one may think. Don’t forget your earplugs! Know of an upcoming event? Let us know at: Nagazasshi.submissions@gmail.com!


My Two Yen... Special Hey all! Katy here, with this issue’s entertainment rec! As a slight departure, this time I’m recommending a variety special – NTV’s wildly popular yearly charity show “24 Hour TV”! The show covers 24 hours of variety specials, dramas, and other fun events leading up to the main event, a top Japanese star running over 100 km. This year, Japanese rock star and TV personality Daigo has been chosen to run. Two popular bands have been chosen as hosts. V6, who will likely appeal to the older generation of viewers, and for the younger watchers, Hey! Say! Jump.

The show has been running on and off since the 1970s and each year raises thousands of dollars for charity. It’s the talk of the summer, and definitely something to check out. For 2015, the 38th special is titled “Love Save the Earth” and is themed “to connect~ a smile beyond time.” You can watch it on August 22nd and 23rd on NTV. Image Credits: NTV’s “24 Hour TV” logo NTV Network Corp. 8 www.24hourtv.or.jp/index.html

Anime Niel here with my last article for “My Two Yen” as I prepare to leave Japan. So, this month, instead of recommending an anime, I want to talk about when anime leaves Japan, and the controversies this can cause. For example, Doraemon, a popular children’s anime about a robot cat who befriends human children, was aired in Bangladesh. However, it was dubbed in Hindi instead of the native Bengali. The show was an instant hit, but parents worried that the show being dubbed in Hindi would discourage

children from learning Bengali. As a result, the show was banned. Pokémon has also caused overseas controversy. After the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center in New York City, the episodes “Tentacool and Tentacruel” and “The Tower of Terror” were temporarily banned in America because some of the content was reminiscent of the terrorist attacks. Hope you’ve enjoyed the series! It was a pleasure writing for you and Nagazasshi. Take care, folks! Image Credits: Doraemon poster Fujiko F. Fujio and TV Asahi Corp. 8 http://www.tv-asahi.co.jp/doraemon

July/August 2015 | nagazasshi

café K

Joy Tan recommends café-cum-shoppingparadise Orange Spice.


Orange Spice * 162-4 Kuremomachi, Isahaya City 〒 854-0055 | ( TEL 0957-22-5151 | U 11:00 – 21:00

8 http://www.orange-spice.com

photos Joy Tan


his month’s Café Cache pick is a haven for both dessert junkies and shopaholics. Located in Isahaya City, on the edge of Joyama Park, Orange Spice is not only a beautiful café – it also sells a variety of products across its three floors. On the first floor, you will find traditional Japanese goods like porcelain tea sets and carved wooden bento (lunch) boxes, the perfect omiyage (souvenirs) if you’re planning on taking a trip home this summer. As you make your way up to the second floor, you’ll find gifts for every occasion. From baby apparel and accessories to unique kitchenware and plants, you’re sure to find the perfect present for any upcoming housewarming parties, baby showers or weddings. nagazasshi | July/August 2015

Upon reaching the third floor, you can finally take a well-deserved break in their sit-down café. Your options are not limited to only coffee, Orange Spice also serves simple western-style meals like sandwiches, soups, and salads as well as Japanese set meals with rice and various side dishes. However, the most popular items on the menu are Orange Spice’s desserts. Choices range between parfaits, cakes, and scones that are typical of bistro cafes. Of particular interest are the seasonal items that change up every month or so, such as strawberry parfait and matcha scones. You don’t want to miss out on these delicious treats! Need to buy a gift or just have a shopping itch? Whatever the occasion, you will have no problems finding something to suit your needs at Orange Spice. n


Max Epstein explains the Language Partner phenomenon and how it could help you improve your Japanese.

Partners in Parlance: Japanese with Friends


espite having years of experience studying Japanese in high school and college, when I came to Japan I still found ways to embarrass myself. I managed to make a fool of myself everywhere from the supermarket to a neighborhood festival, whilst riding the bus and in countless restaurants and bars. The sad truth, I soon realized, is that even if you have several years of practice and study under your belt, it will never compare to being tossed into the proverbial ‘deep end’ and gaining actual speaking experience.

five minutes, we would only speak English. No ettos, no uuns, and no wakaranais. Five minutes later, the tables would turn and we would only speak in Japanese. We played the game each time we ran into each other, and slowly but surely we were having conversations. I’m nowhere near fluent now, and neither is Kenta, but this minor interaction paved the way to a better understanding of the language I had studied, but never truly comprehended.

For me it was in a bar that I managed to have my first decent conversation. It began with the usual questions. Where I was from? Why I was visiting? What was my favorite food?

Recently, I began learning Nagasaki-ben and have been teaching Kenta my native ‘Hollywood’ slang. Kenta also taught our mutual friend, a fellow ALT, how to engage in simple conversations in Japanese, a feat thought to be impossible when said ALT had no knowledge of Japanese to begin with.

Shortly after, my new friend (who I will call Kenta) and I decided to play a game. For

Kenta, though friendly, is not a Japanese teacher, nor does he have any experience


July/August 2015 | nagazasshi

photo flickr.com/unlistedsightings

in language instruction. Nevertheless, he manages to teach us new and exciting things each time we meet, usually over dinner or a visit to the local karaoke place. The language partner phenomenon is not exclusive to Japan, but it is extremely popular. Two people, usually a foreigner and a native, use their knowledge of their first language to assist each other. There are entire websites (in English and Japanese) devoted to these arrangements including italki.com and My Language Exchange, but all you really need is a friend who speaks the language to get started. Unlike in the stiff atmosphere of a classroom, language can be practiced anywhere and anytime without the fear of grades and exams. With a language partner, you aren’t learning to get an A, you’re learning for a friend. Though results may vary, everyone can benefit from a language partnership. What better way is there to learn a language than by learning with someone you know? Who knows the language and the land better than a native speaker? What better reason is there to learn a language? If you’re a Japanese native, reach out! If you’re a foreign visitor, leave that comfort zone! Make friends, set goals for each other, and remember, you aren’t in a classroom anymore. n nagazasshi | July/August 2015


Jennifer Edwards investigates whether speaking another language can change your personality.

Multi I

f you’re reading this, chances are you’re either a) an English speaking expat or b) a Japanese native speaker with English as an additional language. So here’s a question, “When you speak different languages, do you feel like a different person?” If you answered “yes,” you’re in good company. Over two thirds of more than a thousand bilinguals surveyed by linguists Jean-Marc Dewaele and Aneta Pavlenko agree with you.

Rachel, who is fluent in Japanese in addition to having a basic level of French and German, disagrees with this notion. “I wouldn’t say that I feel like a different person when I speak Japanese,” she says. “But I do purposefully change the way I express myself in order to get along better with others.”

Even though I switch languages frequently depending on context, my style is my own and helps express who I am

We were curious to find out more about the notion of multilinguals having multiple personalities, so we posed this question to a group of mostly native English speakers who are bi/multilingual with interesting and surprising results.


-lingual, -personality?

Part of this is due to the “gender baggage” she feels women can encounter when speaking Japanese, something many of the other women we spoke to confirmed. They claimed to become more “demure” and “people pleasing” in personality and to adopt what is viewed as “feminine” language to conform to the gendered cultural norms they experience in Japan.

July/August 2015 | nagazasshi

photo flickr.com/juliejordanscott

Indeed, linguist François Grosjean argues that “what is seen as a change in personality is most probably simply a shift in attitudes and behaviors that correspond to a shift in situation or context, independent of language.” The cultural context is significant, as we have learned, but does the language itself really not factor in at all?

at his Canadian high school for seven years. He argues that language and culture are intertwined, and that this may explain why he feels different when he switches languages. “Certain aspects of language involve not only the transfer of ideas, but also the transfer of culture. For example, I find that in English, there is a culture of constant small talk to fill gaps. However, in Spanish these gaps are used more as a way to address the worries of everyday life.”


Ainan, who grew up speaking both English and Spanish and is now a fluent Japanese speaker, uses different languages depending on what he wants to express. “If I want to talk in a scholarly way it’s usually in English. If I’m feeling more artistic and emotionally expressive, it’s usually in Spanish, and if I feel like keeping things simple and less convoluted I will sometimes use Japanese.”

Despite this, he doesn’t feel like his personality changes when he speaks different languages, and considers languages to be “sort of like clothing.”

“Even though I switch languages frequently depending on context, my style is my own and helps express who I am,” he explains. Leo’s first languages are also Spanish and English, although he also studied French nagazasshi | July/August 2015

Dustin, a fluent Japanese speaker whose first languages are English and Chinese, agrees that it is the construction of both language and culture that may make him seem like a different person. Yet he is adamant that he is not.

“At the end of the day,” he says “the same thoughts are expressed.” However, if language and culture can change the way you act, surely they may also influence your very thoughts and interpretations? “Language influences our emotion,” Jamie claims. “I’m often asked, “How do you say, ‘Otsukare sama deshita’ in English?” My first response is that ‘We don’t say anything,’ to which people reply, ‘Then how do you express that feeling?’ I think


by ‘that feeling’ they mean the gratitude or empathy felt towards someone who has worked hard. Yet this empathy or gratitude is felt because everyone uses that phrase.” “My character doesn’t change,” he adds. “ I am who I am, but my personality (the way I express myself) changes and so do my feelings.” And, of course, there is a tension attached to adopting a new language. Melanie, a fluent French speaker who currently lives and works in France, describes how this affects her. “Everything I say in French feels fake due to the fact I’m pretending to be a French person with a French accent and French mannerisms. Your whole body language changes when you emulate another person’s culture. Each language has its own mannerisms and facial expressions which you have to learn to understand context and be accepted into the conversation.” Reconciling any new thoughts or emotions experienced while using a new language with your existing perception of yourself may prove challenging. However, our multilinguals felt, and I hope you agree, that the expanded world view and potential that comes from speaking another language makes these inconveniences worthwhile. n


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Richard Railton gives readers tips on how to stay hydrated during the summer.

photo flickr.com/24520837@N05


ater, water everywhere – so let’s all have a drink.

There’s a lot of confusion over the “right” amount of water you should drink in a day. There is, however, a pretty simple fact about keeping hydrated. If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Thirst is a symptom of dehydration and drinking water is the best way to prevent that. Your body is really good at adjusting to the way you treat it but why not try and make its job as easy as possible? Drinking ample amounts of water is the best way to keep your body at peak performance. Simply drinking more water can help you to increase your energy, consume fewer calories, get rid of toxins, improve your skin, maintain regularity, boost your immune system, and prevent headaches. Conversely, a 1-2% reduction in body mass due to dehydration can negatively alter your mood, impair cognitive function, and nagazasshi | July/August 2015

decrease your capacity to perform physical exercise. Here are a few simple ideas to help you stay hydrated: S Drink a big glass of water first thing in the morning and a small glass of water before you go to bed. S Drink water before meals, as opposed to after when you’re already full. S Buy a reusable water bottle and take it with you everywhere. S Drink herbal teas such as Peppermint, Chamomile, Mugi, or Soba. S Add a slice of lemon or orange to your water. S If you need some additional motivation you can create and track habits with apps such as HabitBull (Android) or Momentum (iOS). On a final note, there are huge ethical and environmental costs to buying bottled water. Try to do so only as a last resort. Tap into taps! n


Rosie Fordham talks about the prolific Nagasaki writer, Ryu Murakami.

{Nagasaki Notables}

Ryu Murakami Author (left) discussing mock-ups with an editor flickr.com/joi


riter, director, talk show written numerous short stories and essays, host, and Nagasaki native, op-ed pieces, and even a series of satirical Ryu Murakami (not to be picture books. confused with the similarly lauded Haruki Born and raised in My generation Murakami) is one of Sasebo, Murakami Japanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most celebrated had parts of American is an author who is influence we liked contemporary writers. undeniably influenced by his birthplace, and and parts we hated Ryu Murakami is the particularly by its author of more than intersection of cultures. forty novels, including 69, Coin Locker Babies, and Audition, the latter of which Murakami burst onto the Japanese literary was adapted into a cult film. He has also scene in 1976 with the novel Almost




July/August 2015 | nagazasshi

Transparent Blue, which quickly won the coveted Akutagawa Prize. The novel deals with drug addicts living in a town outside Tokyo which, much like Sasebo, is home to an American military base. This would not be the first work by Murakami to feature characters living on the outskirts of Japanese society, nor the first to feature an American presence.

These contradictions are well illustrated in some of his other works. In the Miso Soup, for example, features a negative view of the American psyche in the form of a terrifying American serial killer, while the much lighter novel Kyoko deals with a heartwarming friendship between a young Japanese woman and a former American serviceman dying of AIDs.

It is common for his works to contain harsh These influences are essocial commentary It’s really difficult on Japanese society, pecially evident in Murakami’s sixth to force people to get and modern society novel, 69, which in general. Murakami angry, so… what I’m is also perhaps his explains to FT Magazine doing with my novels that he hopes to inspire most accessible work. is just showing people people, particularly Set in Sasebo, it is a fictionalized account of Japanese people, to that it’s possible the author’s experiences question why society is in his final year of high school, when he the way it is through his novels. constructed a barricade on the roof of his school in an act of rebellion influenced by “The duty of the novelist,” he explains, American counterculture. “is to target a single reader, one person reading alone… it’s really difficult to force In an interview with Vice, Murakami people to get angry, so… what I’m doing explains that his view of the American with my novels is just showing people that influence on Japan is complicated, “It’s it’s possible.” not absolutely negative… My generation had parts of American influence we liked Murakami fully embraces both the and parts we hated. We also understood contradictions present in his work and in the complexities and diversities of his hometown of Sasebo and in doing so, American culture better than the previous reflects on the increasingly diverse country generation.” that is Japan. n

A small collection of his books Laurel Williams


Weekends with


Karl Po introduces us to Okinawa’s Ishigaki Island.


elcome! Or, as Ishigaki Island natives say, oori toori! Karl here, with another travel itinerary just right for a 3-day tropical getaway! Part of Okinawa’s Southern Yaeyama Island chain, Ishigaki is around 1,000 kilometers from Kagoshima. Given that it’s so far from mainland Japan, traveling there cheaply means multiple flight transfers. However, this beautiful island has so much to offer – you’ll soon realize that it’s worth the effort! For example, neighboring Taketomi Island is a very popular spot for tourists, known for its well preserved traditional Okinawan houses and beautiful beaches. Both Kondoi Beach and Kaiji Beach are fantastic for snorkeling, and if you don’t have your own gear, don’t fear! You can rent some in the island’s main town. One of Taketomi’s most popular attractions is a tour of the island in a water buffalodrawn cart. While these tours are predominately Japanese-language, everyone can enjoy the traditional Okinawan songs sung by the shamisen-playing guides.


However, if you don’t fancy transport by water buffalo the island can easily be covered on foot, although renting a bicycle is recommended if you want to cover ground more quickly. Upon returning to Ishigaki, why not make the most of the beautiful water by going for a dive? No prior experience is necessary. I recommend ABC Dive, which boasts friendly staff who speak a bit of English. The staff teaches you the basics, then you’re free for an hour or so to explore underwater. If you’d rather just relax, visit Kabira Bay (about an hour’s drive up north) which is famed for its white sands and turquoise waters. Yaimura Village is also worth checking out to experience old-time life in Ishigaki. Like on Taketomi Island, you can explore many old-style Okinawan houses. You can also try on traditional Okinawan garments for only 500 yen – which makes for a great photo opportunity! n

July/August 2015 | nagazasshi

Projected Travel Costs: a Fukuoka to Ishigaki (round trip) Booked thru Peach/ANA/Skymark 31,100 yen* *cheapest if booked 2 − 3 mos. in advance R Rental car: 5-seater Mazda Demio w/ GPS monitor 12,600 yen (4,200 yen/person) Sat 09:00 − Mon 16:00 8 http://www.j-ishigaki.jp/choice/ ishigaki_news

K Gas: 5,000 − 7,000 yen (roughly) Z Accommodation: Churayado Cocochan

7,500 yen (3 nights) 3,000 yen (2 nights) 8 http://cocochan2007ishigaki.web. fc2.com/english/inde.html G Food, souvenirs, tours, etc.:

13,000 − 15,000 yen

Z Total: 50,000 − 60,000 yen/person

Itinerary Friday a Fukuoka to Naha (20:15-21:55) Peach Airlines [MM 289] 8,800 ~ 15,000 yen

N Explore downtown Naha (Kokusai Doori) and have a nice dinner.

Then either have an all-night karaoke session (around 4,000 yen) or plan ahead and stay at a hostel.

Saturday a Naha to Ishigaki (07:45-08:45) All Nippon Airways [ANA 1761] 5,000 ~ 18,000 yen " Pick up rental car. Drive from Rental Car place to Ishigaki Port. U 22 minutes 8 https://goo.gl/maps/N5qoL Saturday morning/afternoon P Day trip to Taketomi Island

Ferry round trip fare 1,330 yen U 10 − 15 minutes (one-way) Ferry schedules: 8 http://www.yaeyama.co.jp/ foreignen.html nagazasshi | July/August 2015


Taketomi Island Bike Rentals 300 yen/hr or 1,500 yen/day


Water Buffalo Cart Tour 1,200 yen

Saturday evening \ Day Delicious Ishigaki-beef dinner at Kitauchi Yakiniku 8 http://krs-beef.jp/company_ restaurants/hamasaki M Emerald Sea Observatory For the night view Sunday morning I Diving/Snorkeling with ABC Dive* *no prior experience necessary 8,800 yen half-day morning course U 08:30 − 12:30 8 http://www.abc-dive.net Sunday afternoon I Kabira Bay P Glass bottom boat ride

1,000 yen


B Ishigaki Yaimura Village 1,000 yen 8 https://goo.gl/maps/au2PO Sunday evening \ Ishigaki-style Izakaya w/ live music and performances i 2 performances per night, 19:00 − 20:00 and 21:00 − 22:00 8 http://usagiya-ishigaki.com

Photo credits & information: Photographer: • Karl Po Page 16 (clockwise from left): • Author playing an Okinawan sanshin (3-stringed instrument) • Water buffalo cart ride • Sights around Taketomi Island Page 18 (above): • Kaibira Bay

Monday G Ishigaki Market Yu-gurena Mall

For souvenir shopping \ Re: Hellow Beach Enjoy a seaside brunch 8 http://www.rehellow.com i Mirumiru Honpo One of the best ice-cream cafés on the island 8 http://mirumiru-honpo.com

Heading to Goto Island Island? Stay at...


P Bannadake Park Overlooks Ishigaki City 8 http://okiryoku.org/park a Ishigaki to Naha (16:05-17:00) All Nippon Airways [ANA 1776] 7,600~27,100 yen a Naha to Fukuoka (19:15-21:00) Skymark Airlines [SKY 508] 9,700~17,900 yen


* 500-5 Koba-Machi, Goto-Shi, Nagasaki ( 090-9599-9220|8 gotogo.jp

Heading to Goto Island Island? Stay at... Times: check in 7:00pm|check out 11:00am

Amenities include: wireless internet, 1 public computer, washer (100 yen/load), AC, parking, common area, light breakfast (toast/coffee) is provided

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Nagazasshi 8.1  

The first issue of volume 8 is here! Our feature asks whether multilinguals have multipersonalities. Check out the latest staff recommendati...

Nagazasshi 8.1  

The first issue of volume 8 is here! Our feature asks whether multilinguals have multipersonalities. Check out the latest staff recommendati...