News Sushi: Morsels of News from Japan and Beyond #8


Another entry in the World Famous News Sushi.

“Hello world.
This is me.
Life should be,
Fun for everyone.”

  • Maestro Aki

I love this song, it always puts me in a good mood. And it was created by a talented young artist by the name of Maestro Aki.

He describes himself as “The patron saint of lost causes, a sinner, gypsy, dilettante, a libertine, and everything in between.” He’s an independent musician from my hometown Newcastle, and if you like his music, take a look at his bandcamp:

Maestro Aki is also disabled, and his facebook is both a funny and illuminating look into life from the perspective of someone in a wheelchair:

Another lovely artist, who contributed the beautiful piano to the song “Driven”, is Thea Riley…

Thea is a beautiful kid who I was asked over fiver years ago to mentor. I don’t usually mentor people, and this was the first time for me, and it’s been a real privilege to watch this young artist grow and blossom into the wonderful person she is today. You might have heard me refer to her several times on this column so far… yes, she’s composed music for my films, and will do the same for the upcoming feature film. She’s also a Trance feature artist, who’s recently had a top 40 hit on Beatport (for DJs) with the song, “Do it myself”.

Beatport artist link:

However, if you support her on patreon, which you can for as little as $2 you can have access to her beautiful album “Means to function” and follow her on her journey as both a musician, and as a trans-woman (yes, the album title has a double meaning). I’m putting my money where my mouth is, and I’m supporting her, and I hope you will too.

Here’s her latest track, “Complete me”:


Pokemon NO!!!!!

“Pokemon Go” players will no longer be allowed to search for virtual creatures near pond of famed Tottori Sand Dunes (desert near the Sea of Japan), where they may have nearly stomped out a real-life beetle species. Access to 3,500 square meters “oasis” in the dunes will be restricted & roped off to protect endangered Cylindela Elisae. Both sad and ironic.

For more info:


Environmentally friendly “smart” town to open in Yokohama

According to NHK World, leading electronics maker Panasonic has opened the so called “smart town” that aims to cut CO2 emissions by using renewable energy to power local homes and businesses. It was built on a former factory site for Panasonic, who has been moving a lot of production offshore recently. No news on what makes the town “smart”, but it has me wondering what that could mean, both positive and negative. I’d love to heard your thoughts, so please sound off in the comments section below or on the social medias.

For more info:


Never too old to dream #2

In what might become an ongoing series (as I find it motivating)… here’s another case of someone pursuing their dreams. Recently, an 88-year-old Japanese woman has earned a university doctorate for her study on ancient textiles from Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto. She has been researching for more than 30 years to shed light on how fabric from the Jomon Period (c. 14,000–300 BCE) was woven. Congratulations to Kiyoko Ozeki!

For more information:


Hello from Japan

Hello is such a simple word, but it has a pretty interesting history. They say that our word ‘hello’ comes from the days of maritime ships passing each other, and saying ‘hello’ was a way of notifying the other ship that you were friendly. The words for ‘hello’ in Japan have a slightly different history, but no less interesting. The most famous one to non-Japanese ears is undoubtedly Konnichiwa. Let’s break the word down; first we have ‘kon’ which means ‘this’, next we have nichi which means day, and finally we have wa which means ‘is’. So, “this day is…” sounds like the beginning of a sentence, and it is. Back in the days of the Samurai, they would take shifts to protect their Feudal Lord, and so when the day security guard would come to take over the Night Security Guard’s shift, the Night Guard would report the evenings events starting with “This day is…” i.e. Konnichiwa. The same goes for Konbanwa or “good evening”, which breaks down as “This evening is…”. The word for “good morning” is a little different, Ohayo, which roughly translates as “Gosh darn, you’re up early!”, which as it comes before Konnichiwa, which used to mean the beginning of the Samurai’s day, then I’m guessing mean that the night guard was surprised that the Day Guard was up so early, and was worried that a coup was about to occurred (but, all this is just my conjecture).

Do you know the history of ‘hello’ in other languages? If so, tweet me @hamishdownie or comment below.


City of Night

Hope I’m not stepping on anyone’s toes here, but I’ve been reading the classic tome of LGBT non-fiction, “City of Night” (if you aren’t reading Gini’s “Old classics newly reviewed” then go and read them now!). And I’m sorry to say that it’s a real struggle to read it. Not because it’s bad, but it’s hard to swallow that much self-loathing in one sitting. It’s such a bipolar book, in one moment beating it’s proverbial chest with how macho and straight it is, and in the next minute, going literally off with the fairies and flowery writing. But, I guess that was life back then. Which is incredibly depressing. I’ve read about 40% of the book, so I can’t really give my final thoughts, but so far, I can see that it’s a little bit of an “Alice in Wonderland” type story. While the author does describe himself in the first chapter, he is essentially an empty avatar with which we view this world from a pretty safe distance. In fact, one of the female characters in the book comments on this. So, I liked the fact that he calls himself out. You see, while the author is recounting his life as a rent boy in the 1960s on the streets of New York and LA, he doesn’t really give the gory details of actually being a streetwalker himself. So, I can see that that would give the 1960s reader a sense of safety when delving into this shark tank. The other novel that this reminds me of is “The Great Gatsby”, only this time, we are being lead through the lowest of low lives, rather than the dizzying heights of Gatsby’s world. Rather we are diving deep into the underground of broken dreams and hatred, both towards the self and others. So, in that case, it’s still a must read for the new generations of LGBT to see how far we have come, and to see the world were lingo like “trade” comes from. But, the self-hatred is a hard slog to get through, but like the proverbial broccoli, we must eat it!


A belated happy birthday to Siddhartha Barnhoorn, composer based in The Netherlands. Let him take you into interstellar space with this improvised track. And follow him here: @SidBarnhoorn


And now it’s time for….


Student in Japan told to write essay promising not to fart…


Perhaps the student should go the traditional route and hire someone to cover for them…

A Japanese girl with naturally brown hair was told by her conservative high school to dye her hair black.


But all that pales into nothingness compared to this news…. Hello Kitty Bullet train to debut this summer

And “The Aliens” directed by and starring Byron Yee, is now available on most digital platforms… go check it out here on iTunes!

If you are reading this Byron, then get in touch with Ben and Keith toot sweet! And if you aren’t Byron… then check out this sweet film pronto!

Akira Kurosawa’s advice to aspiring filmmakers:


One Perfect Shot

Remember to tweet your #oneperfectshot to us @TheTwoGayGeeks and @hamishdownie for your chance to be featured on this column and the bragging rights that ensures! Woo!

Remember to check out the wonderful world of The Two Gay Geeks… there’s a podcast on Mondays, Reviews throughout the week, and on Wednesdays there’s the fabulous series from Gini Koch which delves into Old Classic Films with fresh eyes, and asks, “do these films deserve their classic status or not?”… and of course, News Sushi on Fridays.

Until next time… that’s all folks!


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