Andoryu-san from Tokyo

Andoryu-san was born in Tokyo, but he was raised in the town of Koriyama in the Fukushima Prefacture of northeastern Japan.  Despite being Japanese, Andoryu-san thinks that most Japanese people ere fake, superficial, and pretentious.  They do something or love somebody not because they want to, but because they think they have to since everyone else expects them to do it.

japanAndoryu-san also resents that Japanese society is still sharply divided into social classes and castes. When he was eight years old, he had a friend named Masai-kun.  Masai-kun lived with his mother and sister on “the other side  of the railroad tracks.”   Somehow, they survived with no electricity and warm water. A lot of times they didn’t have anything to eat. Andoryu-san’s parents owned a chain of supermarkets in Japan. To help Masai out, Andoryu-san would bring food to him and his family.  Eventually, he got caught and his parents forbade him from ever talking to Masai. The reason wasn’t the food, but who it was given to.  Masai belonged to the Burakumin group or the “village people,” who were considered to be “impure.”

burakuminAndoryu’s family take great pride in their history, and they know it very well. They can go back over 20 generations to their ancestors who were fierce samurai warriors who rode horses, fought with swords, practiced Bushido(art of the warrior), and every once in a while committed harakiri (suicide with a sword). Over the generations, his family has grown into many people. They all keep in touch and get together for large family reunions in very expensive restaurants where they like to mingle with other “elites.” Today, Andoryu’s brothers and cousins work in the Japanese government, industry(Nissan), finance  (Nomura  Securities) and even the media(NHK).  Andoryu-san would spend summer vacation with different members of his family.  He would visit their mansions and gardens in downtown Tokyo, Fukushima, Koriayama, or Aizu-Wakamtsu.

aizu castleAizu Wakamatsu Castle

However, his favorite childhood memories are of him staying in his uncle’s Takeo’s home in a village called  Miyo.  The village is not far from Lake  Inawashiro, where Andoryu-san  would fish, swim, and hike in the mountains with his childhood friends Nobuhiro-kun and Norio-kun. Afterwards, they would clean themselves in the local “onsen” (bathhouse), and play samurai with their kendo swords.

kendoDespite his “fairy-tale childhood” and family’s connections, Andoryu-san has always hated nepotism and vowed to “make it” on his own. He had good grades, and was admitted to the best school in Japan – the University of Tokyo. After many years, he graduated with a PhD in economics. His main research area of interest was behavioral economics.  He is fascinated by the effects of social, psychological, cognitive, and emotional factors on how people make decisions.  Especially, he is interested in how these factors impact decisions relating to money. Specifically,  he is interested in market prices, returns, and resource allocation.  Due to his hatred for nepotism, stubborn ways and bad temper, he had alienated and lost touch with most of his family, including his aunt Haruko and his older brothers Takushi and Toshiuki. After his father died, he now talks to them mostly through the family lawyer, Mr. Ichikawa-san.

Even after graduating with  his PhD in economics, he even had trouble landing a job. Eventually, he was able to become a senior research fellow at Fukushima University, where he continued writing research papers on behavioral economics.  However, after the Tohoku earthquake, tsunami, and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, things changed. Andoryu- san decided to move back to Tokyo.  It was a tough decision.  Everyone told him it was  safe to stay where he was at, but he felt that “something just didn’t seem right.”  He had to take a pay-cut in order to become a junior research fellow at Keio University in Tokyo to be further away from the radiation.

radiation map of jpanaRadiation Map of Fukushima Dai-ichi Disaster

Andoryu-san says he speaks “very good In-ga-ri-shu.”  He fell in with America ever since he visited Tokyo Disneyland when he was five years old. Deep-down, Andoryu dislikes it whenever Americans come to Japan and act like “they own the place.”  That’s why, he loves to start his sentences with the words “In Japan” or “We Japanese”  whenever he talks to his international guests.  Andoryu-san loves traditional Japanese cuisine.  His favorite food of all time is zaru-soba noodles.  Even though he still likes to read Japanese manga (comics) and listen to J-pop, he also enjoys more traditional forms of entertainment.  He enjoys reading about Bushido, listening to Enka music, and watching re-runs of Abarenbo shogun.

abarenbo-poster

Abarenbo Shogun

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