Great first times: at the Fusion festival and at Berlin’s only Japanese Snack Bar

by Taishi Nagasaka July 11, 2019
Great first times: at the Fusion festival and at Berlin’s only Japanese Snack Bar

When it comes to Japanese music of all kinds, Taishi Nagasaka is very well known in Berlin’s scene as DJ ONONiiONIONIION. In this part of his series he writes about opening up to strangers and festival spirits.

Woohoo, I was at the Fusion Festival from Thursday to Saturday last week! It was such a huge but also amazing festival. (I personally much prefer this to Glastonbury.) Just everybody was very friendly apart from some of the staff members who thought I took too much beer from the backstage area for my friends. Yeah, I don’t know where to start, but my biggest memory was the police control. My friend Michael (from the Berlin based krautrock band Camera) drove us to the festival. He has a very cool moss green coloured van which looks obviously like it would belong to musicians. This year, the police tried to be on the festival area, but they couldn’t get the allowance. So I assume this made them control even harder than the years before. And of course they made no exception for us. They stopped us, took our passports, took everything out of the van, checked my body while my hands were put against the police car, checked my pockets, shoes, socks, some of the bags and let the dog smell our stuff and the inside of the van. Although lots of my friends haven’t been checked the years before, Michael told us that they always control him and thus he had warned us beforehand, because, yeah, the van looks very cool.

I also remember that the police were eating ice cream, drinking tea and laughing behind our backs. It was pretty annoying, they even didn’t let me go to the toilet until they were satisfied. And it was not nice that they took our passports straight away, as I am from another country and therefore the passport means a lot.

When we arrived at the production office to pick up the festival passes, there were only 15 minutes left until I had to start DJing, but there was a queue, haha! Life is not easy! Usually, I am pretty bad when it comes to ask random people for something, but this time I had no choice! I asked people to let me skip the queue, and they even knew my DJ name and helped me so much! Thanks to the people in the queue! Huge thanks! When I got the festival pass there were only 10 minutes left until I had to play, but I didn’t know where my stage was! It was a rushing but also funny moment, and people were so friendly there. And then he came again into play: Michael knew where the stage was and took me there! I will call him the GOD Michael from now on.

The DJ set was fun, people enjoyed it so much and I got a very nice feedback, but unfortunately I didn’t record it. During the festival, I made new friends, met about 30 of my Neukoelln friends and surprisingly also my friends from the UK band called Flamingods. I knew them already before they became popular, we got along as we both were interested in world music and experimental stuff and Jaguar No Me may support them when they play in Berlin.

So on Friday we had our Jaguar No Me show! Unfortunately, there were some tech problems. Yes! Festival! The power supply of my effects was often cut and the monitor was chaos, but we are a small band and it was a festival, so what can I say? I think we did a good job under these circumstances and people enjoyed it! I’m so glad! It was not packed, but everybody stayed and they didn’t leave at all!

Making friends at the Japanese Snack Bar

On Sunday, I finally had the chance to visit a Snack Jinsei event with the mother of Japanese in Berlin, the mother of Japanese burlesque, dancer Erotica Bamboo aka Chika Noguchi! Her role is very important for people like me in Berlin and one or two times a month she has a regular snack event at a Japanese restaurant called Life Berlin.

I guess some of you here think: What’s “Snack”?, so I discussed it with Atsushi, co-founder of the event, and we ended up saying it’s something between a gastropub and a pub (Kneipe). Yeah, in fact it’s simply a Japanese styled bar. You can go there alone and make friends, and you can also talk about your happy or even unhappy things, you know? Life is complicated, what you assume to be right is not right for some people, and because of this, you are hurt. You don’t understand why, but you have to.

If you are shy or too careful, it’s difficult to talk about these things even to your mates. But sometimes you need somebody who listens to you and I don’t think it’s okay to just hide and justify yourself by being arrogant unconsciously. It is important to be able to say what you want, but also to hear what others say. You need to deal with it. (Like the south London local legend Jack Medley’s Secure Men.)

So Snack is the place where you can express your complaints and hear other people’s opinions. Then you can prepare yourself for the next day.

Anyway, it was my 1st chance to finally be there. I wanted to bring somebody, but I basically didn’t have any Japanese people. So yeah, I went there as a lonely wolf. But of course I made some new friends. A guy next to me was new in Berlin. A hair stylist and huge music lover, listening to me so deeply and I noticed, he liked lesser known music from Asia, Africa, Arabia and the Middle east which I used to explore so much before I was doing J-pop. The guy sitting next to me on the other side was a dancer and originally came from the area where I grew up in Japan. We spoke so much about local stuff. Can you imagine? It was already funny to just say a name of a supermarket in the area, just a name! I will tell you more about it soon.

Sleepless Night

I would like to introduce this song called 眠れぬ夜/Nemurenu Yoru which means “Sleepless Night” by 80’s folk band Off Course. I assume this should be assigned to the genre City Pop. In fact, I am not a big fan of this band so far – maybe this will change in the future, as it’s always the case with me – but this track made me kind of cry when I listened to it for the first time. The beautiful arrangement and the lyrics touched me, and it’s always playing in my mind.

Upcoming events

I don’t have many gigs at the moment. I need time to rebuild the band and deal with the album release.
21.07.2019 Jaguar No Me show at NK Kranoldplatz Flohmarkt from 4pm


Header picture by Ben Plefka. Thank you <3

Related Articles