The Jah Experiment In Japan
The theory Six Degrees of Separation was in full effect when I met the stylish Jahmel Holden in a Tokyo nightclub, ironically named HARLEM. I had been traveling Tokyo for days and was too exhausted to even think of hitting up another night scene, especially after turning up with the Japanese Voguer, Legendary Mother Koppi Mizrahi. The V3 and I were on the tail end of our trip and the exhaustion was real; but truth is when I travel, the only real sleep I get is on flights and in between layovers.
I had already hit the Tokyo neighborhoods of Asakusa, Geek Town, Harajuku, Shinjuku and the sight of Black people’s presence was very far and few in between. That was until me and the girls met a couple of young Black U.S. military men in a cool tucked away bar in Tokyo.
After a few drinks, an in depth controversial conversation of Trump being these guys new Commander & Chief, followed by a Westernized inspired playlist of Wu-Tang to NWA; and we were anxious to see what else Tokyo had on the night scene. Just a short walk away we stood in front of what seemed to be the most buzzing nightclub in the area http://www.harlem.co.jp/index.html it was three floors of music and had a line out the door. When I walked in, I soon found out that I was not the only “Fly” who had been buzzing around Tokyo. The slew of Melanin swarming around this nightclub was UNBELIEVABLE. I guess I wasn’t the only black person who felt like leaving the country with the mess of an election happening back home.
Some of these shades of black individuals traveled from the United States, Africa and Paris to get a dose of Japan culture. Some were curious nomads like myself, others in the military, and International 6’8” basketball players. I can’t front I was Happy inside to see the many faces that could make interesting profile post for Travel Noire’s IG.
Out of all the faces and style that I had seen while exploring the 3 floors that Harlem had to offer, this particular one stood out. He was tall but extended his height with the same style of hat worn by Japan’s musical God, Pharell Williams. Overalls plastered and styled with dope pins, and a spirit that soon told me that I had found a Kindred Spirit in Japan. His name was Jahmel Holden and he had travelled with a couple of friends but was rolling solo this night. The club scene is typically not the place for this type of conversation that usually would be held over coffee or tea, but we stood in the middle of the dance floor and exchanged words of wisdom, travel and how we went about “Kreating Our Happiness”.
This Kindred was Born & Raised in Kansas City, Missouri and is currently living in North Long Beach, Los Angeles. It wasn’t until long after meeting in Japan, that I found out that we shared a fellow Kindred, S. LadyBug of www.YarnMovement.com , hence the reason for opening this blog post with “Six Degrees of Separation”. When she found out that we were both traveling to Japan, she wanted to link us up but it never happened. To show the power and movement of how this Universe works, our Kindred Spirits found each other while buzzing through Japan after all. Some spirits are just meant to connect no matter where they are in the world. My Kindred dropped some travelling gems for all of you travelling Kreators out there. Check out the Jah Experience in Japan!!!!
KK: What made you select Japan as a designated location for travel, What parts did you actually travel to, and which were your favorite areas?
JH: Japan more so chose me. It’s been a great contributor to my life with a number of awesome blessings in the form of Sega, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Dragon Ball Z, and the poetic expression the haiku to list a few. It’s always been on my heart to visit Japan and pay my respects to those innocent lives lost as a result of the atomic bomb. While in Japan I made it from Narita to Nagasaki and back and in between! That’s east to west or 15hr and 44mins (1,300km) by car. I spent the most time in and around Tokyo & Kyoto. I also made trips to Nagano, Hikone, Osaka, Nara, Fujiyoshida, Toyama, and Mt. Fuji. I really enjoyed my time in Kyoto, Nara, Nagasaki, and Fuji. The nature, temples, and ever present beauty of life resonated with me most in these places.
KK: Who were your traveling Kindred?
JH: For the most of my trip I was traveling solo-dolo! I had friends in the country as well who I connected with at various points but the majority of my time in Japan was spent enjoying the company of myself and new found friends along the journey.
KK: What did you learn about the Japanese culture that you didn’t know prior to traveling?
JH: One thing that readily caught my attention about the Japanese culture was the little amount of trash cans. In America I’m accustomed to seeing trash cans just about on every other corner with litter sprinkled about like leaves during autumn. In Japan finding trash cans is comparable to locating real life dragon balls. That said, respect in general and respect for nature is such a prominent factor in the Japanese culture the streets and most places are litter free.
KK: What do you appreciate most about the Japanese culture and why?
JH: There are a number of things about the Japanese culture that I appreciate. The most resounding and what stands atop them all is the respect that people have for themselves, their surroundings, and especially nature.
KK: What would be your words of advise to any world traveller looking to come to Japan?
JH: If traveling to Japan for either a week, month or longer and interested to see the beauty that is Japan I would suggest investing in a JR Rail Pass. (http://www.japanrailpass.net/)
KK: Give us your top 5 as it relates to dining, shopping and or entertainment:
T’s TanTan Vegan Ramen (Tokyo Station) soooooo good
Pizza Salvatore (Kyoto) tasty all you can eat Italian
Shibuya 109 [Men’s & Women’s] (Shibuya)
Shinkyogoku [Shopping Market] (Kyoto)
AMU [Shopping & Food] (Nagasaki)
KK: You come off as a very fashion forward world traveller. So what fashion styles were you most inspired by
JH: Shouts to UNIQLO!!! Great prices and nice options!
KK: What can’t you travel without?
JH: My fanny pack which is usually filled with an assortment of things one might need throughout a day in any city. Also most likely to be with me is my bag of buttons / pins. I love and collect them wherever I go!
KK: Next destination is where and what exactly is your mission?
JH: I am currently traveling about the states for a few weeks. Shooting some visuals in New Orleans after spending some QT with family in Kansas City, Missouri (for Moms bday) followed by a trip to North Carolina for quiet time with my paternal Grandmother. The mission is the same, enjoy the journey of life!
KINDRED: Jahmel Holden
KK: How do you “Kreate Your Happiness”? (What do you do to make yourself happy?
JH: I am a multimedia artist who considers the opportunity to express as a blessing and a gift be it through
poetry, filmmaking, or photography to list a few outlets. Happiness truly becomes me when I get to be a bridge and connect people!!