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The Sports Edition From the traditional to the wild and wacky Silence | Sakura, Strawberries, & Sweets | Sports

nagazasshi Volume 9 Issue 5 March/April 2017


Jessica Richard

Editor-in-chief Rosie Fordham


Dominic Balasuriya Will Tiley

Copy Editor Will Powell

Layout and Design Dylan Nordstrom

Public Relations Melisa Ferrigno


Dominic Balasuriya Heather Chan Dan Cohen Karl Fagan Melisa Ferrigno Rosie Fordham Michael Fujimoto Kyushu Isu-1 GP Organizing Committee Yeti Mallavi Hannah Martin Will Morgan Christina Morrow Dylan Nordstrom Will Powell Almas Rehman Jessica Richard Will Tiley


Andrew Morris Matthew Nelson www.nagazasshi.com Cover photo: Kyushu Isu-1 GP Organizing Committee


he winds of winter have at last given way to the cool breezes of spring. With sakura blooming, the sun shining, and everyone shedding their winter layers, it’s the perfect time to pick up a new hobby. This issue focuses on the varied sports that can be enjoyed around the prefecture. But you won’t find a focus on soccer or baseball here. In our mini guides, we feature fishing, arguably Nagasaki’s favorite pastime, as well as other unique sports you may not have thought to try, including the martial art naginata and office chair racing (pg. 12). Or, if you’re seeking something more holistic, check out our interview with Almas Rehman, and learn about her interactive and highly active approach to yoga (pg. 10). Grab your gear, hop on a mat—or chair—and give these activities a whirl! Of course, also included is our monthly guide to seasonal food (pg. 8). This issue’s edition features sweet treats, including manju and ichigo daifuku. So, if you’re tired from working out, why not pack a basket of these delicious snacks and head out for a day of hanami? Don’t forget to bring your favorite magazine! Happy reading! Rosie Fordham


Contents Events


A Silence Pilgrimage of Nagasaki


Seasonal Specials


Collaboration, Malleability, and Handstands


A Nagasaki Sports Sampler


Nihon(go) on the Go


Locations featured in the film Silence

Sweet treats for Spring

An interview with Nagasaki’s resident yogi

Try a new sport

Art credit: Brazilian Jujitsu wood block prints Almas Rehman

Event of the Month

Omura Flower Festival Late Mar-Mid Apr, Omura Don’t miss the sight of over 2000 Omura Sakura trees in bloom in one of Japan’s top spots for cherry-blossom viewing (hanami). Grab a bento, some drinks, and some friends for a traditional hanami party. The park is illuminated until 11pm daily, but make sure to get there early to beat the crowds. 8 visit-nagasaki.com/spots/detail/97 photo Christina Morrow

Art Takeshi Mar 10 - Apr 16, Nagasaki City Kitano Takeshi, also known by his stage name, Beat Takeshi, is a renowned Japanese entertainer. This comedian, actor, director, and author, who has worked with the likes of David Bowie, is best known for his film Hana-bi. The Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum will exhibit works that showcase Kitano’s famous deadpan wit and acerbic humour. 8 nagasaki-museum.jp/english/06 Handmade & Craft Fair Mar 16-17, Isahaya Cultural Center Find unique local products at Isahaya’s annual craft goods fair, where over 30 vendors from around Kyushu will showcase their wares. Events also include a lottery and a stamp relay. Come and join the fun from 10:00-6:00pm on Thursday and until 5:00pm Friday. 8 come.iinaa.net Spring Flower Festival Mar-May, Shimabara City The cherry buds in the 2.2 hectare Shibasakura Park begin to open in late March, with April seeing them reach full bloom. In early May, the cherry trees are illuminated by strawberry candles in a special event. There are also live performances on the weekends. 8 nagasaki-tabinet.com/s/spot/60681 nagazasshi | March/April 2017


The Kanoukaen Mar 25, Throughout Shimabara Torches fill the night at Nagasaki’s biggest fire festival, illuminating the blooming sakura trees. Traditionally clad samurai carry their torches high, shouting war cries to enemies unseen. Come feel the heat and excitement as history is re-enacted. 8 visit-nagasaki.com/spots/detail/96

Nagasaki Kite Flying Tournament Apr 2, Nagasaki City This yearly tournament dots the sky with a multitude of kites as people compete to cut each others’ kite strings. Dating back to the 18th century, this competition once boasted over 200 different kite designs. Come see if you have what it takes to be a kite champion! 8 visit-nagasaki.com/spots/detail/643 Tall Ships Festival Apr 20-24, Dejima Wharf, Nagasaki City The Tall Ships Festival is the only one of its kind in Japan. Come and enjoy a day by the water as sailing ships from around the globe dock at Dejima Wharf. Watch as their crews perform drills and cruise around the bay, and check out nightly fireworks on weekends. 8 visit-nagasaki.com/spots/detail/100


A Silence Pilgrimage

of Nagasaki

The long-awaited Martin Scorsese film, Silence (沈黙 chinmoku) recounts the perilous journey of two Portuguese missionaries (played by Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) who travel to Nagasaki in search of their former mentor (Liam Neeson). Based on Endo Shusaku’s 1966 novel of the same name, the film brings to life the harrowing persecution of Christians in Japan. Though filmed in Taiwan, you can visit the places where the original story took place right here in Nagasaki! Learn more in our handy guide.


N AGASAKI official visitor guide

Nagasaki Prefecture Tourism Association


8 http://www.visit-nagasaki.com

Photo credits: pg. 6: Heather Chan; pg. 7 (top to bottom): Jessica Richard, Dominic Balasuriya (center two photos), Will Tiley


For more information on the film Silence, see: 8 visit-nagasaki.com/silence/

Endo Shusaku Literary Museum Located in the Sotome district northwest of Nagasaki City, the Endo Shusaku Literary Museum pays tribute to the work of Japanese novelist Endo Shusaku. The area was originally home to many hidden Christians and served as the inspiration for the film’s water persecution scene and for the town of Tomogi. Opened in May 2000, the museum displays some of Endo’s favorite possessions, including his writing desk, Bible and rosary. A monument nearby, overlooking the Goto-nada Sea, quotes Endo, reading: “Humanity is so sad, Lord, and the ocean so blue.” Nagasaki Museum of History & Culture The Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture displays artifacts from Nagasaki’s long international history. A reconstruction of the magistrate’s office featured in the film can be found inside its grounds. On weekends and public holidays, local actors portray life at the office, showing just how strict trade was during the national isolation period (1633-1858). Adjoining restaurant, Ginrei, was a favorite of Endo’s, and Scorsese also ate there during his visit to Nagasaki. Nishizaka Hill In 1597, twenty-six Roman Catholics, including six Franciscan missionaries, were crucified on Nishizaka Hill under orders from Daimyo Toyotomi Hideyoshi. This marked the beginning of two hundred years of Christian persecution and eventually led to the banishing of the Portuguese from Japan. Today, the 26 Martyrs Museum and Monument commemorate those who perished during this period. On display is a collection of precious religious artifacts, including the Yuki no Santa Maria (Our Lady of the Snows) scroll which appears in the film. Unzen Jigoku (Unzen Hells) Unzen Jigoku (Unzen Hells) is one of the martyrdom sites shown in the film. Now a scenic tourist spot, a walk through the stark volcanic landscape transports visitors back to a time when many Christians were tortured in an attempt to force them to apostatize, or reject their faith. Kirishitan Junkyo Hi—a memorial to the 33 Christian Martyrs killed in the Hells—and a marble crucifix can also be found along the main tourist trail.

Seasonal Specials Will Tiley tells us what’s special in spring, while Melisa Ferrigno, Will Powell, and Hannah Martin share the sweetest spots for a seasonal snack


fter a long, cold winter, fresh seasonal produce is thin on the ground. However, as spring brings warmer weather and people start venturing outside, there are a few treats that are almost impossible to avoid.

flavored mochi that conceal a delicious juicy strawberry. Surely nothing could compliment a hanami (cherry blossom viewing) party better! n

The first are strawberries (ichigo), which reach the pinnacle of their delicious sweetness in time for spring. You can even head out to a farm and pick your own! Secondly, and more famously, spring brings the quintessentially Japanese spectacle of sakura, or cherry blossoms. From lattes at major coffee chains to local traditional sweet shops, sakura products are everywhere. For a double fix of seasonal goodness, get a hold of some ichigo daifuku, sakura-


photo credit: pg. 8 - Hannah Martin; pg. 9 (from top to bottom) Jessica Richard, Dylan Nordstrom, Hannah Martin

March/April 2017 | nagazasshi


At Jufuku, a small sweet shop near the Peace Park, the sweets vary with the time of year. Sweet red or white azuki bean paste is used to fill the mochi, with different flavors complementing the seasons. Always available are traditional daifuku, with or without a walnut, which are perfect with a cup of green tea. Be sure to head over often, as certain sweets are only available for a few days. Melisa Ferrigno

u C ho u



At Omura Yume Farm Chou Chou, you can pick the best and juiciest strawberries for just 200 yen per 100 grams! The farm’s all-you-can eat restaurant features a huge range of locally-produced food, and at only 1300 yen you won’t leave unsatisfied. There is also a bakery and ice cream shop selling produce made right on the farm. The strawberry ice cream is strongly recommended, especially if you enjoy it while looking out over the beautiful view of Omura Bay.

r e Fa m Ch m o


Na gasaki City


Will Powell ff Sta

I s a m i ya

If your gut is ruled by your sweet tooth then visit Isamiya (Kaho Isamiya), a small bakery five minutes from Kawatana station. From traditional Japanese sweets for tea ceremony, to ichigo daifuku, to dog and cat themed chocolates, Isamiya has it all! Every customer receives complimentary Kawatana manju and tea, and the helpful staff is always ready to assist you in a pinch, be it with a last minute birthday cake or some friendly conversation.





w at an a




o on s i (Higash

Hannah Martin

Collaboration, Malleability, & Handstands

photos Jessica Richard

Rosie Fordham sits down with Almas Rehman to discuss the weekly yoga class she teaches

week at a Brazilian Jujitsu (BJJ) gym in the city since last year.

“I wanted to be able to do a really cool handstand,” she says, laughing.

The classes began when Almas’ BJJ instructor noticed the yoga stretches she would do at the beginning of lessons, and asked if she would be interested in teaching a yoga class in the space. She agreed, and since then she’s been running classes on Wednesdays from 6-8pm.

Originally from the UK, Almas lived on the Goto Islands for three years, and has spent the last three years in Nagasaki City. She’s been teaching yoga once a

Almas became interested in yoga shortly before moving to the city. Her search for the perfect handstand technique led her to the videos of famous yogi

A 10

lmas Rehman’s path into yoga started fairly unusually.

March/April 2017 | nagazasshi

and instructor, Kino MacGregor, and ultimately to practicing yoga on her own at home. Though she originally viewed yoga as “passive,” her attitude towards it changed after she began following it online. “[Yoga] surprised me, actually,” she says. “Really, it can be physically challenging, and it can be very restorative and rewarding and relaxing... It’s a very malleable sport.” Almas has taken this malleability and transferred it into her classes. Lessons open with a “gentle” video to warm up, followed by a more challenging video. The class then does bodyweight exercises, including pair exercises, and 50 push-ups per student. “[Doing 50 push-ups] sounds intense,” says Almas. “But the way I do it, everyone is able to do it.” Fitness levels in the class tend to vary, so Almas puts a strong emphasis on making sure that everyone is able to do the class, while still pushing themselves. “I want it to be inclusive rather than exclusive,” she says. “Keeping [the class] kind of broad and playful is a really important thing to me.” Similarly, Almas’ approach focuses on collaboration, encouraging the students to determine what they want to do and are most interested in. As opposed to simply listening to the teacher and working independently on poses, the students are encouraged to “talk about

what [they’ve experienced] right then and there,” allowing Almas to make adjustments to the material and the level of difficulty. This allows for more interaction between participants, so they feel part of a community as they get fit together. Going forward, Almas is interested in pursuing a formal yoga instructor’s license—possibly sometime next year—and in seeing the class grow and develop in new ways. For example, she’s interested in the prospect of moving the class outside on weekends, and in incorporating park equipment or other props. “[The class] revolves around the students,” she explains. “So it depends on if there’s students who want to continue my style of exercise, my style of fitness.” Until then, she’s happy to continue encouraging people to move their bodies and experience the benefits of regular exercise. “The main thing I want to put across to people is to enjoy movement,” she says. “To really embrace that and find your own fitness and well-being.” Also, she’ll continue to work on mastering that elusive handstand. “[It] isn’t there yet,” she says with a smile, “But I feel like I’ve improved a lot.” n For inquiries about the class, contact: * almasrehman1@gmail.com Classes are run in English


A Nagasaki Sports Sampler

Find a new hobby with our guide to three unique sports that can be enjoyed right here in Nagasaki Prefecture. Michael Fujimoto talks about fishing, Yeti Mallavi shows us the world of naginata, and Karl Fagan introduces us to the wacky Isu-1 Grand Prix.

Fishing with an Island Boy


rowing up in Hawaii, fishing was a large part of my childhood. If I close my eyes, I can still hear the sound of the water crashing on the rocks on the north shore of Oahu. Now, I live on Fukue, part of the Goto Islands. Japan’s world-renowned fishing culture is alive and thriving here, with waters abundant with fish and sea life. Fishing is one of the last forms of harvesting food from its natural environment, and Nagasaki Prefecture is a great place to learn how. Here are a few tips to get you started. Happy fishing! Be safe: The ocean can be treacherous, and deserves respect. If a fishing spot looks dangerous, it probably is. Make sure you have proper safety gear, check weather conditions, and go with someone experienced. Find a good teacher: The best way to learn how to fish is to find a mentor willing to show you the ropes. I was incredibly lucky to meet Kazuma Egawa,


a very knowledgeable and skilled fisherman. Mr. Egawa has taught me a lot, but more than anything I value his time and friendship. Fish to your ability: Ika (squid) and aji (horse mackerel) are great game for beginners. With some relatively inexpensive equipment and a little know-how, you’re all set for some fun. Kuro (black rock fish) are a greater challenge but a prized catch in Goto waters. Malama aina: This Native Hawaiian phrase means to care for and photos Dan Cohen be responsible shepherds of the land. After fishing, be sure to take any trash with you, even if it’s not yours. Do your part in preserving fisheries for future generations to enjoy. n

A Beginner’s Guide to Naginata Yeti Mallavi


our years ago, I attended a Japanese festival back in Canada that demonstrated various martial arts. I quickly fell in love with naginata. As someone who almost exclusively did hand-to-hand martial arts, it was really exciting to try something that included a weapon. Moving to Japan, I was able to continue it after finding a small group right in Nagasaki City. So, what is naginata? A naginata is a traditional polearm, a curved blade attached to a long pole, once used by monks and samurai foot soldiers. In the 1400s it became the weapon of choice for samurai class women, with the perfect length and weight for protecting the household. Today, naginata is practiced by young and old, and the majority of practitioners in Japan are women. Modern naginata (atarashii naginata) has three major focuses: kihon (basics),

kata (forms) and gokaku geiko (sparring). Kihon is the basic building blocks of naginata, such as strikes, blocks, stances and footwork, which take years to master. Kata are a way of studying and understanding techniques and improving rhythm with your partner. The ones in naginata are called shikakeouji, fights in which one person takes the offense and the other defense. Sparring in naginata is very similar to sparring in kendo, with various strike points located on different areas of the body. Points are scored through hits that demonstrate a clean technique. Typically, the first person to score two points in three minutes wins. If you’re interested, classes are Saturdays, 11:00am to 1:00pm at the Suwa Municpal Gymnasium, which also offers an array of other martial arts. n photos Yeti Mallavi

For more info, contact:

* yetimallavi@gmail.com


Isu-1 Grand What? Karl Fagan


ver dreamt you’re speeding down the road at 100mph, watching the world blur by in an office chair? If so, it’s probably a flashback to the Isu-1 Grand Prix! Isu is Japanese for chair: yes, there’s an office chair racing circuit! Held in twelve prefectures across Japan, the Isu-1 GP was the brainchild of Tsuyoshi Tahara of Kyotanabe, Kyoto. He thought of the event as a way to revive struggling small businesses in the local arcade. It officially launched in 2010 and is now so popular it’s even made its way to the streets of Taiwan. While probably not as liberating as, say, the World Naked Bike Ride, it’s definitely an adrenaline rush. I know, because I’ve done it!

When I signed up for it, I imagined whizzing down the streets of Omura shopping arcade, having a chuckle. My second lap in, I realized my expectations might have been a bit off. I wasn’t prepared for a test of physical endurance. It’s a good thing the Isu-1 GP has teams of three taking turns doing laps. Tires tear, backrests break, racers topple over and will-power is tested. Luckily, most of the participants aren’t athletes and winning isn’t really the point. It’s more about having a good time and doing something your inner child is beaming over. The symbolism of sticking it to the humdrum of a 9-to-5 job by tearing down a public street in an office chair doesn’t hurt either. n

photo Kyushu Isu-1 GP Organizing Committee

Want to have a go? Visit: 8 isu1gp.com


March/April 2017 | nagazasshi

Nihon(go) on the Go

When you think of Japanese スポーツ (supotsu - sports) you probably think of 相撲 (sumo - sumo wrestling), and 柔道 (judo). While the most popular sport is actually 野球 (yakyu - baseball), there’s an endless variety of sports for aspiring 選手 (senshu players / competitors). Here’s how to say some 人気 (ninki - popular) sports:

サッカー (sakka) - football… Err, soccer, depending on where you’re from. バレー (bare) - volleyball, or ballet. Context is crucial since they’re pronounced the same. バスケット (basuketto) - basketball. テニス (tenisu) – tennis. バドミントン (badominton) - badminton.

Here are a few 珍しい (mezurashi - uncommon) ones:

剣道 (kendo) - the way of the sword, Japanese fencing. 弓道 (kyudo) - the way of the bow, Japanese archery. 卓球 (takkyu) - literally “table ball,” a.k.a. table tennis. 新体操 (shintaiso) - gymnastics. Not ラジオ体操 (rajio taiso radio calisthenics)! 水泳 (suiei) - swimming. 陸上 (rikujo) - track and field. アメフト(amefuto) - football of the American variety.

Here’s a phrase to help you brag to your Japanese friends: _____ が得意です。 _____ ga tokui desu. I’m good at _____. PROTIP: using 上手 (jozu - skillful) to describe oneself sounds presumptuous; use 得意 instead! Just insert any sport into the blank. It also works with other skills, e.g. 料理 (ryori - cooking) or 日本語 (nihongo - Japanese).

Dan Cohen & Will Morgan

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Nagazasshi 9.5  

Just on time for spring, it's the Nagazasshi's sports edition! Read all about how you can get involved in yoga, naginata, and more. Plus, Se...

Nagazasshi 9.5  

Just on time for spring, it's the Nagazasshi's sports edition! Read all about how you can get involved in yoga, naginata, and more. Plus, Se...