Japanese Punk and Italian Noh

On the plane from Helsinki to Osaka I was sitting next to this Japanese punk guy, Keiji (I initially thought he introduced himself as “Cage” until I saw his FB page). We had an interesting conversation on the Italian HC punk scene, of which Keiji is an expert. Bands like Negazione and The Wretched re-emerged from my memory, reminding me of the days when I used to listen to stuff like The Exploited, U.K. Subs, Anti-Nowhere League, etc. Keiji has blonde hair and a lot of piercings, so I showed him the hole left by the piercing I had in my lower lip. I was curious to know what kind of life a Japanese punk lives, as I thought it would differ much from a punk in any of the European countries I visited. He explained that Japanese punks wash themselves more often in comparison to European punks. I asked him how he came in touch with punk and why he liked it. He found the latter question quite difficult to answer.

At this point the conversation paused for a moment, I leaned back on my seat and thought I would take the chance to do some of the reading I planned to do before I left Italy. So I took out a copy of the Noh magazine Hana moyo from my bag and started reading. Keiji freaked out. He could not believe the guy sitting next to him, who was talking about HC punk a few moments ago, was now reading a Noh theatre magazine. I explained to him that I don’t listen to this kind of music now, and that I find Noh much more hard-core than punk. This is when the average Japanese tells you about how they only saw Noh on a school trip and that they found it boring. So he did, and then he asked me a couple more questions about how I came in touch with Noh and why I liked it. Funnily, I gave the same kind of awkward answer Keiji did regarding punk. We looked at each other for a brief but intense moment. Then we shook hands.

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