Learning by Drinking: Nakahara Chuya

Nakahara Chuya
If your coworker tries to hit you with a beer bottle
Poet | 29 April 1907 – 22 October 1937

The Heisei era, which began on January 8th, 1989, has now ended.

One doesn’t often stop to really think about it, but the fact is that we have literally just run past an era in time. The Lost Decades, the Aum Shinrikyo Incidents, the Great East Japan Earthquake… These phenomenon of the past thirty years shook people’s sense of values, and they changed the way in which we live our lives.

Meanwhile, in the world of sports, perhaps one of the more significant incidents during the final Heisei years was sumo grand champion Harumafuji’s alleged beer bottle assault and his subsequent retirement.

While there is no excuse for violence under any circumstances, really the main reason why this incident in particular attracted so much attention may have been because of how shocking the initial reports were.

Continue reading

Learning by Drinking: Otomo no Tabito

Otomo no Tabito
If your coworker calls you a monkey because you don’t drink
Poet | 665 – 31 August 731

If you could choose any great historical figure to drink with, who would it be?

That was the question running through my mind as I was drinking last night. Honestly, as long as I got to drink, it wouldn’t matter who it was with—it could be an eminent figure or some total freak and it wouldn’t matter to me one way or another. But then that doesn’t really get the conversation going, does it now?

So, if I was to make a list of a few names, one person who would definitely be on the list is Otomo no Tabito.

Oh, come on. Who the hell is that? Now you’re just being esoteric for the sake of it.” I can hear the complaints of all you snotnosed Heisei era folks. “How do you even read the kanji of his name?” Nevertheless, it was actually reported that the current era of Reiwa originally got its name from a waka poem by Tabito, suddenly making him the man of the hour. One never knows when it’s going to be their time to shine.

Continue reading

Learning by Drinking: Fukuzawa Yukichi

Fukuzawa Yukichi
If your coworker gets naked in front of the boss’ wife
Philosopher | 10 January 1835 – 3 February 1901

Around three years ago, I was at a house party of this person who always looks after me, and I made a blunder.

I forgot that it was someone else’s home, and I had too much to drink. Unable to even properly sit in a chair, each time I stood up to go to the toilet I always sent the chair flying. As someone who happens to urinate frequently, I get the feeling I wasn’t a fan favorite of anyone there.

Every time, I would fall off the chair and crash into the table like I was a bowling ball, knocking down people’s glasses in perfect rhythm. My articulation was mumbled; a repetitive, slurred mess of “I’m fiiine, I’m fiiine!”

I was not fine.

Eventually, I was ordered to sit down on the sofa. The one thing I do remember in striking detail is the wife’s fed-up facial expression. I even vaguely remember her saying something to me, but by that point I was gone, so unfortunately I do not recall what that something was.

Continue reading

Learning by Drinking: Rikidozan

Rikidozan
If you have to start up a new business
Pro wrestler | 14 November 1924 – 15 December 1963

In every community, there’s always that one person who acts without any consideration for others, making trouble for everyone around them. And yet, for some reason, you just can’t seem to hate them.

Loved by their seniors and trusted by their juniors, they act with reckless abandon. Even so, it’s impossible to dislike them. You don’t love them, but you also can’t help but be drawn to them.

This time, we will be covering a national pro wrestling star of the postwar period: Rikidozan. Some of you might be going, “Who’s that?” Let us thus first take a brief look back at this man’s journey to becoming a wrestler.

Born in 1924 in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, his real name was Kim Sin-rak. He was later adopted, thus becoming Momota Mitsuhiro, and by the time he became a national star he was fully Japanese, “born and raised” in Nagasaki. While today it is pretty much self-evident, back then it was considered the biggest of taboos in the media to mention his Korean origins.

Continue reading

Henkka’s New Music Discoveries #2

Music.

I love to listen to it. I love to think about it. I love to look for more of it (particularly the good stuff) every chance I get.

It keeps me sane, it gives me the drive to keep going, and it makes me content. It makes everything feel more worthwhile. Even the shittier parts of life suddenly become more bearable when you know how at the end of the day, when you’re ready to take it, it’s there to be had.

And so, here’s some great music I’ve found since last time.

KNOWER
“I’m The President”

2023 | SYNTH FUNK

“Holy shit.”

That just about sums up my reaction on my first time hearing this song. And, to be fair, my reaction on every successive listen ever since.

I’m the president, yeah
You all voted, here I am
I’m the president, I love you
Who’s the president? Me
Landslide fucking victory
I’m the president, I love you

Continue reading