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“WANDER-LAND”

Deeper Tokyo

Aired: October 25, 2018 (UTC)


Information

Japan is a country with an unapparelled diversity of attractions.
With enough money, you can enjoy any kind of food imaginable, and cutting-edge culture is always within in reach. However, the most popular spots with overseas visitors are all incredibly crowded.
Harajuku, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Tsukiji Fish Market, Asakusa and more! All wonderful places to enjoy and take plenty of memorable photos, but that alone is Mottainai! (wasteful)
With rapid redevelopment and globalization, “Good old Japan” is disappearing at an alarming speed.
It’s now or never to explore the hidden wonderland the media overlooks!


Cast

Navigator

Honey (Hachimitsu) Jiro

Comedian/Pro-wrestler
Loves sorrowful bars, dangerous areas, back streets,
strange people, etc.
Born in Kurashiki City, Okayama Prefecture

Traveler

Maxwell Powers

Voice Actor/MC/Bilingual Pro
Loves Japanese sake, fascinating people,
getting lost in Tokyo, etc.
Motto: I want the world to learn more about Japan and vice versa!
From Oakland, California

Gallery


Director’s note

Koichi Yukitake

Director/Producer, TV Asahi・THE MINKYOKYO

★Ever since high school, I’ve always had wanderlust. Each time I’d drift away somewhere, it always turns out to be a makai, a “world of magic.”, a “wonderland”. After days of wandering through the woods and mountains, I find myself at some nondescript kissaten coffee shop in a little town more often than not quietly reading a novel while chowing down on a plate of Japanese spaghetti served by an elderly owner. I’ll always be fond of such moments.

★One time in Kathmandu, Nepal, I found myself in a run-down drinking hole in an area known to be somewhat dangerous. As I indulged in my drink alone amidst the bustle, an intense-looking guy approached, holding a rather curious-looking skewer of meat. “Eat!” he said, glaring at me. Without hesitation, I took a bite. It tasted like the roast giblets I would eat in Japan. Before I knew it, everyone else had joined us and we were partying. The excitement escalated the moment they knew I’ve come all the way from Japan. We drank the night away…and I remember nothing after that. I still have no idea what kind of meat it was.

★Once, I was in a small town near Chongqing, China. I was hungry, so I went wandering about in pitch-darkness. I then found a shabby little hut. An old lady came out so I asked her if there was anything to eat. She went off somewhere. A few minutes later, she came back with a small bowl of hot noodles! I still remember the mildly spicy, light-tasting soup and the fat, firm noodles. I started eating, then heard a snapping sound, and the lights suddenly went out.
I turned on my headlamp and went on slurping my noodles. Then, out of nowhere, a man came up on his motorbike. As soon as he took a glance at me, he shone his motorbike lights at my direction, blank-faced. A mugger? Fortunately, not. He turned out to be a nice young man. He hadn’t heard of Japan before. I was about to pay for the meal, but the old lady said there was no need. The least I could do was to share cigarettes with her and the young man. The three of us smoked in silence in the darkness and bid farewell, shaking hands. It was like being in a movie.

★For me, a makai is definitely NOT a terrifying place where strange people come and go, as one might think.
Universally, they are places where very few people visit, where there’s no need for conversation, and where one can spend time alone and enjoy it.
Makai in Japan have five distinct traits:

(1) Over 50 years of history
(2) You’ll think twice before entering
(3) The owner doesn’t speak much
(4) An abacus lying around
(5) Quiet

Makai places in Tokyo are rapidly decreasing. More than ten of my favorite drinking spots have shuttered their doors in the past few years, for reasons such as aging owners, absence of successors, and area redevelopment. The places we visited in the program are no exception, and no one knows when they’re bound to close. Convincing the owners to let our cameras in wasn’t easy. They’re basically not at all fond of magazine, TV media outlets. :)
No Wi-Fi, no credit cards, no “omotenashi” hospitality.
These could be the worst-ever specifications for a first-time visitor from overseas. :)
But do muster up the courage to step inside. A taste of genuine NIPPON, an experience like nowhere else, awaits.


ディレクターズ ノート

★中学生の頃から「放浪癖」のある私にとって、ふらふらと彷徨い込む場所はいつも「魔界」でした。数日間、山や森を歩き、ようやく下界に辿り着いて訪れるのは決まって、小さな町のありふれた喫茶店・・・老いたマスターが作るナポリタンスパゲティを食べ、静かに本を読む・・・そんなひとときが、とても好きでした。

★ネパールのカトマンドゥでは、ちょっぴり危険なエリアの古びた酒場に潜入。
喧騒のなか独りで飲んでいると、不思議な串焼きを持ったコワモテの男が来て食え!と睨み付けます。迷わず食べると、日本のモツ焼きのような味。その途端、店じゅうの男たちが寄って来て、大盛り上がり!日本から来たというと、さらに過熱!
朝まで酒を酌み交わし、その後の記憶がありません。今でも何の肉だったのか、謎です。

★中国・重慶に近い万県という田舎町では、こんなこともありました。
真っ暗ななか、おなかが空いたのでふらふらしていると、粗末な掘立小屋が。
皺だらけの老婆が出てきて、何か食べるものはないかと尋ねると、どこかへ消えていきました。 数分後持ってきた小さな茶碗には、熱々の麺が!ちょっぴり辛くて薄味のスープに、太くコシのある麺…ひとくち食べた瞬間、パチンという音とともに停電です。 持っていたヘッドライトを付けて麺をすすっていると、どこからともなくバイクの男が!
私を見るやいなや、無表情でバイクのライトを私のほうに照らし始めたのです。 もしや強盗?違いました。ふつうに親切な若者だったのです。彼は日本という国を知りませんでした。老婆にお金を払おうとすると、要らないと言います。申し訳ないので日本の煙草を老婆と若者に1本ずつ差し出しました。静まり返る暗闇のなか、3人は無言で煙草を吸い、最後に握手をして別れました。まるで映画のようでした。

★私が言うところの「魔界」は、恐ろしい場所、変な人たちがいる場所、ではありません。 世界共通、あまり人が行かないような場所、会話が不要、独りで十分楽しめる場所です。 そして日本の魔界には、独特な5つの特徴が存在します。

(1) 50年以上の歴史
(2) 入りにくい
(3) 店主が無口
(4) そろばんがある
(5) 静か

★TOKYOの魔界は急速に消滅しつつあります。私がお気に入りの酒場は、ここ数年で10軒以上閉店しました。原因は、店主の高齢化・再開発・後継者の不在・・・
そして今回旅したお店も、いつ閉店するか未知数です。取材交渉もたいへんでした。基本的に魔界の店主たちは、雑誌やテレビが大嫌いなんです(笑)
Wi-Fiがない、クレジットカードが使えない、「おもてなし」は一切ない・・・
初めて訪れる外国の方にとっては、最悪のスペックです(笑)
でも勇気をふりしぼって潜入してみてください。絶対に味わえない本当のNIPPONがそこにあるのですから・・・

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