Tokyo Tower: Chapter 4 Part 1
Tokyo Tower ~Me & My Radio, & sometimes My Mom~
(A semi-autobiography by Fukuyama Masaharu)
A movie starring Yasuko Tomita (富田靖子) opened to the public. It was a movie about the life and angst of college girls, their youth; love and friendship; and pachinko - “Hon no 5g” (「ほんの５g」). It started with Tomita visiting an apartment and then walking into a hot love scene involving a newcomer actor, yes, an actor not singer.
It was the autumn of 1988, one year had passed since the summer of 1987.
Almost getting swept away by the beauty of the 3 sisters (especially the middle one) and the warmth of the cedar wood bath, but finally brought back to his senses by the words of his lumber factory senior and prompted to take the Amuse acting challenge - this was the 19-year-old young Fukuyama.
And this is the remarkable story of the 18-year-old who set off from his hometown Nagasaki and became crowned “Radio’s National Treasure” in Tokyo 20 years later.
Thanks to my busted muffler, I got to know my audition results. After rounds of sheer luck, I finally “passed”. However, the company’s terms were: “During the course of the ‘trainee contract’, annual income ¥30,000″.
Annual income ¥30,000?
To be honest, I was furious.
This can’t be true? We’re not living in a Peso world……
And Amuse continued with their terms :
“As it is uncertain when you will be assigned a job, you are permitted to engage in part-time work elsewhere, but please endeavour to find a job which will allow you to take leave at short notice at any time.”
Why don’t you tell me where I can find such a job? How am I going to survive on an annual income of ¥30,000? Even though I had passed the auditions, I could only think of one thing: “Are they taking me as a fool?”
In any case, I had to quit my job at the factory now. I told the boss everything, about my audition and how I had no choice but to move into the city. After he heard me through, the father of the 3 beautiful sisters, and almost like a father to me, said: “I see. Well, if you ever run into any problems, you can always come back here!” And with that, he cheerfully saw me off.
The ex-Enka singer who triggered my decision to go for the auditions, Nakanishi-san said, “Try your best!” (「がんばってね」) to show his support. Now that I think about it, whether the boss or Nakanishi-san, must have been terribly worried even while they were cheering me on.
Although I had said I was moving into the city, there was no way I could afford the rents with an annual income of just ¥30,000. So, I suggested to my flat-mate, who went to the same school; lived with me; shared the same birthday and blood type; got picked up by a scouting agent earlier than me; and is now a nightclub host, that we should move house together.
We chose to live in the Mitaka area (三鷹). It was an old broken-down apartment house, with an unprecedented low rent of ¥29,000. We moved over in no time and as we were celebrating passionately “To our futures!”, suddenly we had a visitor. “Don! Don! Don! Don! Don!” someone was banging on the door non-stop with his fist.
At first, we tried to ignore him but it was too disturbing, so I yanked the door open and was about to shout
“What the…with all that noise!” when…
I saw a big fierce ‘bro’ with tattoos all over………not again ?? Why do I have to run into ‘life senpais’, wherever I go? His body was covered with muscle tattoos which were not coloured in yet, and his upper torso was wrapped in white cloth. He stomped into the house, yelling “What’s with the racket!” Seeing him like that, we were terrified.
“We’re so sorry! So sorry!” We kept on apologizing, and the big bro with his body full of art, asked us:
“You two, where are you from !? Which country, which country !?”
“Na…Nagasaki……” We trembled in our reply but he exclaimed,
“What? You’re really from Nagasaki…? Good! You two, come with me!”
It appeared he belonged to a gang which originated from Nagasaki. I don’t know whether we were lucky or not that we were also from there. Without much choice, we could only do as we were told. In the cold winter, his body full of tattoos and wrapped in cloth, he just threw a jacket on like the “wandering peddler Tora-san” (フーテンの寅さん)*. We dejectedly followed behind him.
The place he took us was actually a pub in Kichijoji (吉祥寺). We became the centre of attention the moment we stepped in. Needless to say, both of us felt terribly embarrassed.
This went on for a couple of nights. Until one day, I couldn’t take it any more and I told my flat-mate: “I’m so sorry, I’m moving out.” Staying here any longer meant every night I’ll be taken to the pub by the tattooed big brother. It would have been too much a danger to health to continue, so I said goodbye to Mitaka (三鷹) having only lived there for 10 days, and made my way to Shibuya (渋谷) alone.
The first thing I needed to do, was to find a place to stay in Shibuya and a job, and then find a way to survive on an annual salary of ¥30,000.
~ Continue to Chapter 4 Part 2 ~
* Tora-san was the travelling salesman in a Japanese film series “Otoko wa tsurai yo” (男はつらいよ, It’s tough being a man). Spanning 48 installments (1969-95), it was considered by the Guinness Book of World Records to be the longest movie series in the world at that time. Known as “our lovable tramp”, there is a statue of him outside Shimbamata station and the movie set has been made into a museum. (Source: Wikipedia)
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 426 & 427)
Original posted on ANN TamaRadi blog 2007.04.03 written by Fukuyama Masaharu
This English translation was first posted on MashaPlus [dot] Info Forums. (Registration required to enter.)