I found Yodan Lab in a Nagoya bookstore which distributes free magazines. In Japanese, “Yodan” means bullsxxt or gossip. When I turned the pages, I could not really figure out what I was reading. The magazine contains only murmur-like scattered passages. In its June 2019 issue, someone shared her habit of making ume syrup; someone pinpointed a mistake in the translation of the subtitle when watching a movie; someone said she realised that orange is her favourite colour after being a grown up; someone was reading a book called A Room for Me, the Crocodile and my Sister; someone received flowers from a farmer, then picked a rose and started drawing it… Nothing but small and trivial talks. What sort of message is this little paper delivering indeed?
“I read from the news that all parents in Japan aim high on their children’s learning capability, they don’t want their children to perform poorly at school, not to mention doing anything out of the box. But hey, It’s fun to act out of the box! This is one of the messages I wish to deliver by founding Yodan Lab.” Yutaro Nagai, the founder of Yodan Lab explained.
Most of the writers for Yodan Lab are from the Northeastern part of Japan like Sendai and Miyagi. They are all amateurs coming from all walks of life: a restaurant owner, a baker, a gardener, etc. They use simple words to record their daily life. The charms of Northeastern Japan reflecting in different aspects: cuisine, accommodation, nature, culture and so forth, are subtly on display.
The Northeastern part of Japan hasn’t been fully recovered from the unprecedented disaster since 2011. When you are flipping through their small talks printed in Yodan Lab, you would treasure even the most ordinary moments of peace.