(My) Japanese Blues

by Taishi Nagasaka May 6, 2019
(My) Japanese Blues

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 shares his thoughts on Japanese food in Berlin and takes you on a sentimental journey.

Mayday was celebrated recently and reminded me of Berlin’s street craziness. My most favorite place on this day is Mariannenplatz! For me, it is really the best location to get excited. There is always a huge Turkish/Arabic stage with many live performances. You can enjoy the maybe unfamiliar music, join the circle and connect with people from a different community! It is strange, we both live in the same small area and don’t have many connections though. But even if you are shy, you can at least dance together!

Unfortunately, this year I haven’t had the chance to go there because I hosted my own noisy night with my band mates from Jaguar No Me (I introduced it the last time, don’t forget our show on May 9th, at 8mm bar, woo!!) at my favorite venue in Neukölln, which is called Loophole. For some people it could be a bit of a difficult place to go because of the smoke and the toilet, but I don’t care. Drinks are cheap, the collective there is warm hearted and the team is very passionate. Their contribution to Berlin’s (especially in Neukölln) music scene is MASSIVE! As time goes by, some members of the collective have changed since my first visit but the attitude has been maintained by the new people. As I remember, there is only handful of venues like this still remaining in Berlin. Therefore, I want to take this opportunity to thank them for their effort and passion and everybody’s support to keep the Loophole going.

Japanese Food in Berlin

Another crazy thing on Berlin’s street is Japanese food. Now you can see restaurants on every corner – well, of course I am exaggerating a bit – especially for Sushi! There are several types of restaurants here, owned by Japanese people, by non Japanese and by both of it. In fact, I love the Japanese Sushi the most, as I am very Japanese, but sometimes, when I have a hangover, I also like non Japanese Sushi. There are some Turkish Sushi places close to my house in Neukölln which I haven’t had the chance to check out yet, but maybe some of you want to go with me? Their offers looks great somehow and remind me of the sample pictures of Turkish hairdressers in my area.

Anyway, Japanese food is obviously beginning to penetrate multicultural Berlin in some form. Ist this going on in other German cities, too?

When it comes to real Japanese food, I already told you about Mobile Izakaya Berlin, run by Shinji Kamikubo. I wanted to interview him and show his picture here, but he refused to!

So, why don’t you come to one of our music and food nights, eat something and greet him after you had your meal! The next event will be at my beloved bar Oblomov with 60’s J-Pop. Shinji also runs another pop-up once or twice a month at a bar called, Dresden in Kreuzberg. And if you need a catering for your office, party etc, book Mobile Izakaya! I would love people to experience Shinji’s cooking, so support him to let him go further!

A message of Japanese moody music

This time, I would like to introduce you to a song called 港町ブルース/Minatomachi Blues by 森進一/Shinichi Mori.

It is in fact a very interesting video from an era, when Enka was still seen as pop music. As time goes by, people now think it is music for old people. It is very bluesy and nostalgic – sure, a fake nostalgy for me – and there is no smell of drugs, but booze instead. It is very funny, because I also used to have no interest in this music at all, looked down on it and thought, yeah, music for old people. But since I am researching about Japanese Pop music, I am a huge fan of it. It even makes me cry sometimes.

Why? The 1st reason is obviously that I love old stuff. But having a child has also a huge effect, as I am not together with the mother anymore. We all live in Berlin though, and I often look after my son and play stupid games as you can see in my band video.

It is normal to have split up parents here in Europe, I have even met a guy in Berlin who has 3 children with 3 different women. However, in Japan, especially for the middle class from the 80’s like my family, I assume that it is not normal. Parents do their best to stay together, for the children and also for their position in the society. I don’t agree with that, but I do understand it.

Furthermore, I personally experience other difficulties in life as well. So, I feel something when I listen to Japanese moody music that tells me ”It is hard but I just have to deal with it!” A human power!

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