I was reminded again today how lucky I am to have so many wonderful friends in my life. A few weeks ago I was at Hajime discussing Japanese doramas with Sayaka and Momo, two of the waitresses who happened to be off that night and having dinner at the sushi bar. In Japan, there are doramas like Crying Out Love In The Center of The World which are usually around 10 episodes long, an hour or so each, and then there are asadoras which are the morning dramas typically produced by NHK which are short 15 minute episodes running for indeterminate length, often 150 episodes or longer. The thing about NHK asadoras is that they are essentially produced to promote government approved values. As a result, they are filled with extremely sweet characters and are almost fairy tale like in their happy storylines replete with sometimes not so subtle lessons in how to live life by traditional family values. Sakura was the first asadora I watched and is what first got me into the whole jdoarama scene. Currently I’ve been watching Churasan which is on Sundays at 2p on channel 55 which shows 3 episodes each week. Anyway, while Churasan was apparently the most popular asadora in history, Sayaka and Momo weren’t familiar with it. So when Anri, the waitress who was actually working that night came over to serve us, we asked her if she knew the show. Her eyes lit up and exclaimed that yes, it was one of her favorite shows when she was growing up in Japan. So we talked about it some more and I asked her since she knew the show whether she knew of any place where I could find a Goyaman keychain. She kind of laughed and then Sam asked what a Goyaman was, so I explained. In the show, the heroine Eri’s older brother comes up with a dim-witted scheme to create a superhero doll called Goyaman. Ultimately the scheme bankrupts the family and overcoming that financial trouble becomes one of the early storylines in Churasan. So what is a Goyaman exactly? Well “goya” is the Japanese word for bitter melon, the bitter tasting squash-like vegetable popular in some Asian cuisines. So the Goyaman superhero is essentially a bittermelon with a hat and a cape. Hey, I did say it was a dim-witted idea! Anyway, as most asadoras have happy endings, eventually Goyaman does start to sell because Eri’s younger brother (played by the same actor who plays Saku in Crying Out Love) becomes a rock star and inadvertently starts a Goyaman craze by having a Goyaman dangling from his guitar. So why am I rambling about all this anyway? Well today I went to Hajime for the second time this week because Sam is on vacation next week. As I sit down, Sam tells me that the waitress working today, Hisako, had asked him earlier if I’d be in today. He told her that he didn’t think so since I had already been in on Wed. I hadn’t seen Hisako in weeks because I think she had been back in Japan and had just gotten engaged (congratulations Hisako!). Anyway, a few minutes later she peeked out from the back and excitedly waved hello and then returned to the back to get something. She then comes back to the sushi bar and presents me with this:


Apparently Anri had mentioned that I really wanted a Goyaman and Hisako happened to have one! This is truly remarkable because I have been checking for a Goyaman on eBay for oh, the last year or so and never saw one. I figured it didn’t really exist as a consumer item although I had wondered how that could be given the Japanese love for all things cute and marketable. So just as I had given up hope of ever seeing one in real life, out of the blue, here was Hisako giving hers to me! I really am lucky to have such wonderful friends. I think people don’t really believe me when I tell them that the folks over at Hajime are like family to me, but now I have a Goyaman to prove it! 🙂

8 thoughts on “Goyaman!

  1. oooh- haha- this goyaman is AWESOME….you know i LOVE LOVE bitter melon…and when i saw the pic…i immediately loved this guy…what an idea….
    keeping up with moneymoy en españa.
    happy labor day!

  2. Dude, thanks again for introducing me to Hajime. I can attest to the fact that you are family at their restaurant – I brought my friends there on Friday night and told Sam that you had mentioned he would be on vacation. He looked at me and said “Oh, you’re Steven’s friend! Thank you for coming” and then the whole crew proceeded to provide excellent service, as always. And at the end of the night, after having a huge plate of sushi that we all shared, Alice brought out a plate of Unagi, on the house, that Sam prepared “for Steven’s friends”. Thanks again dude!

  3. Very cool. Glad you and your friends had a good meal, and thanks for supporting my family!

  4. What a sweet story (although the main character is a bitter melon) and a cute photo. The family we’re born with is a by the Nature of events, but a “second” family is one of the most wonderful gifts of life. Now I am curious to see this “family values” drama. It’s always intrigued me how Japan has such a gentle, naive view on life. And what’s wrong with American taste–why would anyone fall for, say, Superman or Batman when there’s Goyaman to save the day?

  5. HEY I have been loooking for goyaman all over the internet, I just finsished watching the entire Churasan , boo hoo, Im sad its over, I live on Long Island!

  6. Hey it’s Monica Long Island! Glad you found my blog! If you didn’t figure it out yet, I’m Steve. So you and I actually go waaaay back, all the way to the Sakura days. 🙂

  7. @Speedoswim: Wish I could help ya but I don’t know anyplace where you can order one. I think you’d need to get someone in Japan to find one for you.

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