No More Monday Blues, a Brief History of the Kobe Hash
Kobe Hash House Hariers, Japan's second oldest hash, was founded on 9th January 1978 by Pat Donoghue a year or two after he began the Tokyo H3. In the early years the Kobe Hash was composed largely of expatriates working for foreign companies in Kobe or Osaka and quickly became notorious throughout the area. Typically the early Hash would pile into cars (as we can see from the first Trash) or later onto the back of a truck and head for the top of Mount Rokko where they would run about shouting themselves silly until heading back into Kobe for the On On.
Although Kobe initially offered many gastronomic locations, the Hash tended to visit each place only once, thereafter being banned for life. In the end only one place was able to offer a cautious welcome and that establishment took the precaution of first lining the walls and ceiling with polythene sheeting.
Perhaps its notoriety became too great to bear, perhaps the quality of foreign businessmen went down as Japan became less of an out of the way place, or maybe it was just bound to happen, whatever the reason the Hash began to decline in size and vigour. Largely shunned by the expat community, who seemed to have found something to do on Wednesdays, the Hash was reduced to a small core of diehards. Since those dark days, through good management, or maybe just good luck, the Hash has grown to probably its biggest ever, with 30 plus runners now commonplace.
Although it is said that Hash numbers fell to their lowest in his time, this revival might be traced to the foundations laid under the mastership of that most infamous of past masters Manko Buso, who while undoubtedly reinvigorating the proceedings with the hash knowledge he brought from the Taipei H3, and his decision to change starts from parking places to railway stations, had the unfoutunate ability of making as many enemies as he did friends. Who can forget however a Manco On On with the master, our Hash's first self styled Emperor, ordering "bieru takusan bon" and dispensing Down Downs to all and sundry, especially innocent bystanders?
These days your average gaijin is much more likely to be an itinerant English teacher than a professional expat, while the natives seem to be the same type they have always been, anything from teachers to dentists. From the early days Oddsocks can usually be seen at least once a year, Silver Grey reappeared a few years ago, while Sukebe has just kept on running. As for the rest members come and go as contracts expire or wanderlust re-emerges. Our worldwide fan club must be pretty enormous by now. Yet for those who remain Mondays would never be the same without the cry of On On ringing through the mountains and shotengais.
Take a look at the Tokyo Hash, the oldest hash in Japan.