Tokyo Tower: Chapter 2 Part 1
Tokyo Tower ~ Me & My Radio, & sometimes My Mom ~
(A semi-autobiography by Fukuyama Masaharu)
1988 Autumn Amuse 10th Anniversary Movie Auditions
Long after the end of the final auditions, a breathless young man arrives at the hall in his wooden clogs and guitar. “One more to add, Fukuyama Masaharu, 19 years old.”
And this is the story of the remarkable journey of an 18-year-old who left Nagasaki, and became “Radio’s National Treasure” in Tokyo 20 years later.
After a few hours on the swaying Blue Train (ブルートレイン), I reached Tokyo and made my way to Hajima Station (拝島駅) where my friend lived. We were born on the same day, share the same blood type and were in the same class for 3 years. I heard that he was the manager of an adult joint somewhere in Tokyo. He had borrowed a few million yen from me before he disappeared….
It was the week before I left, that I made the decision to stay at his place. I called him from Nagasaki, “I’m going to Tokyo, hope you can let me stay with you for a while.” ”Oh! My home……there’s a loft, no problem!”
“A loft” gave me the impression of those dream houses you see in the dramas at that time. “Tokyo sure is different!” I thought. When I reached his home and looked through the door…… the “loft” was really a 50cm tall x 70 cm wide x 180cm deep place to store blankets.
“This is your loft?”
“……..seems a bit tight”
“Yeah? Well this is where you’ll be sleeping from now on!”
Following my friend’s generous declaration (?), I spent the night in my ‘room’. It was too small to even lie down comfortably. Squeezing myself in, it took me ages to fall asleep. When I woke up the next morning, I instinctively sat up and crashed my head on the roof.
“You have got to be joking! You try sleeping here!”
So the next day on, needless to say, began our long fight for the only bed in the house.
When we finally sat down to talk, I found that he had also recently resigned from his job. Just like me, he wanted to start afresh. ”To our future, cheers!” Such silliness at that time, and yet we earnestly did think about what lay ahead. What were we going to do from now on? We could not foresee anything, other than the fact that we were in “Tokyo”. And that alone was enough to let me see a future glittering with hope.
Having both quit our jobs, the next day we decided to divide ourselves into day and night shifts, and take on temporary work. I was the day shift. And I started work as a delivery man in a pizza place.
Once a pizza was ordered, I would deliver it. Although that was all I had to do, I got to meet lots of different people. The lady always in the low-cut; the small room packed with foreigners, the tattooed ‘life senpai’ who answered the door after I kicked it down in disgust, because no-one came no matter how many times I pressed the bell………
There were happy times too. As I was with the pizza place since its first opening, I got to meet Antonio Inoki-san (アントニオ猪木) and Yamamoto Kotetsu-san (山本小鉄)* when they came to our shop to celebrate the re-opening after its renovation. Upto now, I still treasure the pictures we took together on that day. If we hadn’t met then, Inoki-san coming to my concert would probably have been no more than a dream. (*professional wrestlers in Japan)
At times, the headquarters of the company I quit in Nagasaki, would order pizza. It was situated in a tower in the Shinjuku Skyscraper District (新宿副都心). “Wow, this is Tokyo after all.” I was so touched when I delivered the pizza over, but as I was getting ready to leave………
It was gone.
The motorbike was gone.
I went round the mammoth building once, twice, and still couldn’t find my motorbike.
“Tokyo has motorbike thieves too……”
I was furious and bewildered. But, hold on! Collecting my thoughts, I don’t remember parking the bike on this floor. It was on the G/F carpark and I was looking all over the 1/F……
“How can such a thing happen, this city is mocking me! Even this city is looking down on me……!” I desperately wanted to take it out on someone, it was really hard to suppress my anger.
They called me “Nagasaki-kun” at my workplace. Believing in a bright & vivacious work attitude, I would always call out, “Hai! Thank you for your business!” after an order was placed. When the others praised me “So energetic, how nice!” I’d happily shout louder the next day. I had no idea that this was the Tokyo way of mockery…… “What a country boy!”
Then one day, the store manager called me over. Having just been ‘praised’ not so long ago, perhaps this time I’ll be awarded! I thought as I excitedly went to see him. The manager simply said, “Can you, not work here anymore? You don’t really match up with our shop’s image!”
“……Are you taking me for a fool? I didn’t come all the way from Nagasaki to deliver pizzas in Tokyo!”
I shouted at him. In my head.
“Hai, I understand….” In reality, there was nothing I could do, but accept the fact that I had just been fired.
And that was how I lost my job after only 3 months. Anyhow, I had to find another job quick. No more stuff like pizza deliveries this time. Something that required physical labour, I needed to put in all I had!
So, with that lifestyle, I slowly lost touch with all the pretty girls and the glamour of Tokyo, and entered into another world. ……At that point, I had no idea how to move forward. I could only gaze at the photo with Inoki-san, clench my fists tightly and think about tomorrow’s meal.
And my music, had yet to begin.
~ Continue to Chapter 2 Part 2 ~
Tokyo Tower Series
Chapter 1 (I / II) ………. Chapter 4 (I / II) ………. Childhood Chapter
Chapter 2 (I / II) ………. Chapter 5 / 6 / 7 ………..Mother’s Day Chapter
Chapter 3 (I / II) ………. Final Chapter (I / II)
Translated from Fukuyama Honne (Articles 397, 398 & 399)
Original posted on Ann TamaRadi blog 2007.03.20 written by Fukuyama Masaharu
This English translation was first posted on MashaPlus [dot] Info Forums. (Registration required to enter.)