ANN Tamashii no Radio - Nagasaki: Part 3
Zankyo 残響 - A collection of Masha’s thoughts on his hometown Nagasaki (6)
ANN Tamashii no Radio Live and TamaRadi Blog:
I’m not a certified Tour Guide yet, so it’ll be a bit difficult for me to tell you about the modern history of Nagasaki. But if you want to know about Fukuyama Masaharu’s history, I can do that. I was born and grew up here….. so I can bring you on a tour (of my history)! It will be a bit hard to walk, why don’t I drive you, come sit by my side…..How much can I charge, I wonder? (laugh)
The first place for us……I think should be Inasa-yama! Then the Asahi-Ohashi bridge, because we can have a nice stroll over. After that…….how about the musical instruments store? We had our live shows in the Gen Gakkiten (「原樂器」店 Gen Musical Instruments Store). Our break-up concert was there too. They had about 300 seats and so for a concert with 5 bands, each band had to undertake 60 tickets (laugh). I just secretly went over there a while back. (laugh)
Another place is the Honda Gakkiten (「本田樂器」店 Honda Musical Instruments Store), which we had used for rehearsals. They had a dog there, I don’t know who did it, but someone had drawn eye brows on that dog (laugh). They were very funny and it looked very cute!
Next, we can go to the bus stop where it was said I got nicknamed “The Boy at the Bus Stop”* during my High School years. It’s just below the tram stop (ropeway) next to the Fuchi-jinja (淵神社 Fuchi Shrine)**. Whenever I had to wait for the bus to school (Nagasaki Technical High), the girls from the nearby all-girls high school would start a commotion. I shouldn’t be saying these things……..but I think I was the one who disclosed it in the first place. Right from my debut, I haven’t stopped talking about it (laugh).
Adjacent to the shrine is my kindergarten Houshu Youchien (宝珠幼稚園 Precious Gems Kindergarten). We can also go to places like my Elementary School or my Junior High. But the Live House where we used to hold our concerts is gone! I’ve sung about the Asahi-ohashi (bridge); Nakamise Hachiban Gai (仲見世八番街 shopping street leading to a shrine); and a shop called “Yossou” (「吉宗」) where the steamed egg custard*** is delicious! The steamed egg is the main dish, accompanied by tri-coloured rice. It’s quite a sizeable portion and is really scrumptious.
The Mayor of Nagasaki says that tourism is very important to Nagasaki. We have one of the 3 best night views in Japan,**** lights from each house extending all the way up the hillside, it’s not a view we can easily get in other cities! Visitors from other prefectures and cities would like the foreign flavor that can be found everywhere in this city.
~ Excerpt from ANN Tamashii no Radio (2008.04.05) and TamaRadi Blog (2008.04.09) ~
* From the book “Fukuyama Masaharu Sokuseki [1969-2003]” (足跡, Footprints), published by the Fukuyama Masaharu Cheering House (福山雅治応援団)
** The Fuchi-jinja (Fuchi shrine) is situated at the foot of Nagasaki’s most famous mountain, Inasa-yama (稲佐山). Within the vicinity of the shrine is the cable car (Nagasaki Ropeway) station up the mountain as well as Masha’s kndergarten Houshou Youchien.
*** Yousou (steamed custard egg meal) is a famous local Nagasaki specialty. Check out the offical site for more information and pictures.
**** Night view from Inasa-yama. See also our site photo.
ANN Tamashii no Radio and TamaRadi Blog:
On returning to Tokyo Yurakucho 有樂町 for his radio show, one listener asked Masha how he felt about coming back from Nagasaki?
F: “Life in Tokyo is centred around protein-based food. There is almost none in Nagasaki! I would recommend Toruko Rice (トルコライス Turkish Rice)* to visitors of Nagasaki, but you’ll have to be careful if you’re on a diet (it’s got over 2,000 calories)! You really need to take note!”
The first week, visitor numbers for the 2006 Photo Stage I in Tokyo Roppongi Hills were 5,860; and for the 2007 Photo Stage II in Tottori 1,937. So, what does our Fukuyama Hometown Ambassador think about the staggering 8,814 number of visitors recorded for the first week of Photo Stage III in Nagasaki?
F: “8,000 visitors, that’s incredible! An amazing number even for the records of Nagasaki. Although they have come over for the exhibition, Nagasaki itself is a good place for tourists as well. I’d say the exhibition was simply a catalyst, through which you can also go on to try out the local delicacies like champon; toruko rice; crab rice balls (かにやのおにぎり) or go sightseeing at Inasa-yama or Glover Garden (グラバー園) etc. There are many great sights : Spectacles Bridge (眼鏡橋 Megane-bashi); Kwassui Women’s College (活水女子大学 Kwassui Joshidaigaku); the sunset at Inasa-yama….
If you go a bit further on, you’ll get to Huis Ten Bosch (ハウステンボス Hausutenbosu)**. As a cultural bridge (between Japan and the Netherlands), Huis Ten Bosch is constantly evolving. Perhaps your impression of the place is still a haven full of tulips and little fairies dancing about ……..it’s much more now, they have done a lot of work towards clean energy recycling to support their natural ecosystem.”
So Fukuyama-san knows quite a bit about what’s happening in Nagasaki now!
F: “Let me say it once again. Yes, because I am the ambassador. But Nagasaki has a lot of great places, come and have a look yourselves!”
Needless to say, the ambassador recommends the sightseeing and historic places of Nagasaki. But what he wanted most to show us, was the warmth and friendliness of the Nagasaki people.
F: “Because of the exhibition, many people are probably going to Nagasaki for the first time. Nagasaki has a lot of history and different cultures, but its greatest strength are the residents…..come and see for yourselves. When you’re asking for directions, whatever your question, they will do their best to help you. Just like some countries, there are close to no pickpockets in Nagasaki, it’s very safe here.
The confusing geographical layout of the place has made us (locals) become used to relying on (and giving) each other’s help most of the time. During Japan’s self-imposed isolation to the outside world***, Nagasaki was the only port allowed to remain open to foreign trade. That’s why the people of Nagasaki are inherently friendly and trustworthy. Even if you’re not a local, you’ll find yourself opening up in such an environment.”
~ Extract from ANN Tamashii no Radio (2008.04.12) and TamaRadi Blog (2008.04.14) ~
* Toruko rice is local Nagasaki specialty made of pilaf, noodle, hamburger steak and demiglace or curry (Toruko=Turkey). Check this out for more information.
** Huis Ten Bosch official webpage
*** Between the years 1639 and 1859
Masha said he hopes we could meet with the people of Nagasaki and get to know their warmth and friendliness in person. Indeed, this is the impression I got when I went there.
When I couldn’t find the way to the ramen shops, most of the people I asked would willingly give me clear directions and walk along with me part of the way. The last time, we wanted to go to Sanno-jinja. It was around 8am and I had to ask for directions in the streetcar (Nagasaki street tram). A middle-aged man immediately proceeded to walk us over and he didn’t leave us until we were almost there.
The same thing happened when we went to have a look at Masha’s family home. An old lady approached us and told us that Masha’s mom had already gone out early that morning. She even told us the time Masha’s mom usually cleans up the porch and how Masha went for a medical check when he last returned. Apparently she lived nearby and everytime Masha bumps into her when he’s back, they would chat a bit. Her Nagasaki accent was quite strong, so I couldn’t hear everything she said, but instead she apologized to us for it…..These are but some of the many examples of the friendliness of the Nagasaki people that I had experienced myself.