News Sushi: Morsels of News from Japan and Beyond #10

Editor Note: We have now dubbed this column “The World Famous News Sushi” by the inimitable Hamish Downie. As always we thank Hamish (and all of our writers) for taking time out of their busy schedules to provide us with stimulating content. Take it away Hamish:

Why… Hell-o there, I didn’t see you.


You caught me unawares.

Why thank you! This ol’ thing?

I just threw it on. You know the drill! Tee-hee!

In case you can’t tell in the back row, we’re having a big ol’ hoo-ray! for Hollywood! this week. And we’ll try to be like the ol’ MGM adage – more stars than in the sky!


Yes, I’m a bit of a film geek… I love a good shot. And this is a good one. Just saw it on reddit:

Probably one of the best shots of my Career. from r/Filmmakers

And this one from a movie that we aren’t supposed to talk about (but we will)…

I’m probably last to find out about this one, but I recently saw this video essay on “Fight Club” which says that it may be an allegory for a closeted gay man… interesting.

As far as I’m concerned, what makes an interesting movie is that it is one open to multiple interpretations (which is what I tried to do with my short film “Silence”).

However, rumours of closeted gay men in Hollywood is what brings me to my next subject…

No, I don’t mean Montgomery Clift. Or the references to famous stars and directors in the Hollywood section of “City of Night”, where youngmen were chewed up and spat out (in more ways than one) by lecherous old men. And young hustlers try to rattle out money from those who want their services.

No, not them. I’m talking about…

“The Actor and the Model”

“The Actor and the Model” is a short LGBT film set in Japan, and it’s about the closet – told through the prism of a relationship between an out Model and a closeted Actor.

It’s a great film that I was lucky enough to watch the screener of, and the writer and star Christopher McCombs is a nice guy. We’ve talked about festival strategies for lgbt films over email, and he couldn’t have been nicer. The film has won a few awards, including for the Christopher himself. If you want to read more about the film (and dive into the discussion of whether your favourite actor should brace himself for an impossible mission to come out)… take a look at this great article written by Ali of “Movies over the rainbow” (then come back here for the rest of News Sushi! We ain’t done yet!)…


What I can add to that review is that my favourite part of the movie is that it showcases something very rare in Asian-Western interracial relationship films… an masculine Asian “top” and a femme Western “bottom”. It’s something that happens a lot more than films like to acknowledge, and I really appreciated that aspect of the movie.

The film also explores the very real experience of being an out Western Gay man in a relationship with a closeted Japanese man. While perhaps for the under 30s in Japan, this is becoming less and less of an issue… for Japanese over 30, for the majority, the closet is firmly locked, covered in concrete, and finally dropped into the middle of the ocean. There are a lot of sad Japanese Mothers who think that their sons and daughters will die alone and unloved, not knowing that indeed, they are deeply loved and will not die alone. But, even if this generation were to come out, there is a feeling here that wanting to live your “truth” is a selfish thing, and they need to just shut up and put up – i.e. get married, have a kid, then go have an affair if you must. But, hopefully this is changing for the younger generation. Hopefully. That’s the one gripe that I have with ‘The Actor and the Model’ is that the themes the film explores are more than just a “Hollywood” problem. It’s a wider problem. But, I wonder if because it’s presented through the lens of Hollywood that people will more easily dismiss their problems.


What do you think? Sound off in the comments below or @hamishdownie on twitter

Like “Occupants” did, “The Actor and the Model” have also produced a prequel manga tie-in, which is free on their website:


It was drawn by Italian Manga Artist, Caterina Rocchi. Caterina has been drawing manga since she was fourteen, and now runs a school, Lucca Manga School. From the official website:

“at 15 she started spending her summer break in Japan, attending lessons of some Japanese manga schools including Yokohama Manga School. She founded Lucca Manga School at 17, first bringing Japanese artists to Italy to teach, then stepping in at 19. She works between Italy and Japan, linking the two countries through various collaborations, like the gourmet report collaboration in 2015 with Mochizuki Mikiya for the online column Ippin Zeppin. In 2016 she participated to the 43rd edition of Angouléme festival, painting a 2×5 meters canvas during the four days of the festival, a collaborative performance with Tamura Yoshiyasu who painted a 2×7 meters canvas. In the same year she worked as an assistant for the mangaka Tanabe Setsuo, and brought the mangaka Kouga Yun to Italy to attend the world’s second biggest convention, Lucca Comics and Games.”

Pretty amazing for someone so young. And you can follow her here.

Here are some photos from the launch of the manga:

The artist Caterina Rocchi’s accounts are CaterinaLMS both on Facebook and Instagram.

Tokyo Cowboys is on Facebook at
And Twitter @Tokyo_Cowboys

While the Japanese Actor in “The Actor and the Model” wants to keep the world from knowing his secret, my next item is about those very people who are searching for THE DIRT! That’s right, I’m talking about gossipmags –

Celebrity Trashhh!

We want the stories… and here’s a short film about how they get that juicy gossip! By going through other people’s garbage! It brings a whole new meaning to the term, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

This short comedy pilot is again by David Chester, and as he once told me, the gays love it, but the straights hate it. So, depending on where you fit into that equation, you should check it out – or not. But, I love it (so you know where I fit in).

The still yet other side of the coin, is those of us who are out and proud entertainers and are hustling to find any way to get noticed. And well… I noticed.

Ichiro Zipang

This guy started following me on instagram (probably to follow then, unfollow when I follow him…), but it worked. With his eye-popping good looks, and posts that skate on the very thin ice between porn and what can be published. It’s interesting how some gay artists are choosing to be out from the jump. He’s using his body to sell his music… and I can’t comment, because here I am sharing this hot link….

#7thHeaven 1:2

A post shared by 🇯🇵 I C H I R Ø Z I P A N G (@ichirozipang) on

So, it worked on me. But, can you imagine what he is promoting? Underwear model? Go-go dancer? Porn star? Actually none of those. He’s a hippity-hop artist. Quite a serious one too. I really wouldn’t have expected it. I thought with all the sexy pics that he’d me more into parody hip-hop like Cazwell. But, here we are. And he’s got some good remixes on his first album, which is what I plan to purchase on iTunes. Go check out his other talent.


I recommend following the links and giving his music a listen. It really isn’t what you’d expect. I C H I R Ø Z I P A N G new single『 Nobody Kills Me Like You 』(2018) coming soon….

Next stop on our Hollywood Bus tour is the…

“Brentwood Strangler”

It’s the Christmas season and a lonely woman goes on a blind date, but unbeknownst to her… that her date is an active and notorious serial killer, The Brentwood Strangler. Is this love at first sight? Or the worst (and last) date of her life?

It’s a blind date. Keep an open mind.

It’s a horror short film, but has been sprinkled with the golden age fairy dust of ol’ hollywood, and has an unexpected ending, so don’t be too scared!

“Brentwood Strangler” was written and Directed by John Fitzpatrick (Skypemare, Scary Endings), and stars Jordan Ladd (Cabin Fever, Death Proof, Grace), Adam J. Yeend (Skypemare, The Grinning Man, Liz & Dick) with Maximilian Osinski (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Last Ship) and Cameron Daddo (Australia’s answer to the Baldwin Brothers – not the douchebag part… but that they are a famous pair of brothers… and this columnist might have had a crush on growing up).

This is a big departure for Adam J Yeend (who was in my “An American Piano” short), who usually plays nice guys. He’s an out actor, who was told he’s not “gay enough” to play “gay” roles… but, hopefully if I talk about him enough, all those indie filmmakers who follow TGGeeks will give him a go (hint, hint)!

Now, our final stop on the tour is…

Dannielle De Andrea (Gaha)!

And her NEW RECORD comes out TODAY!!! “My new record” is one the the most infectiously happy ol’ school songs, and Dannielle is one of Australia’s best vocalists (though she lives in the US these days).

Her last album, “The Call” was a #1 on Australia’s iTunes chart for Jazz, so you should also check that one out! It was recorded at the world famous Capitol Studios.


And speaking of Australian brothers… this lovely lady’s brother, Eden Gaha was an iconic Australian TV presenter, who I also used to have a big crush on (and it’s not me trying to butter him up because he’s now a powerful Studio Executive). I used to watch him on all the ABC (Australian Public Broadcaster) children’s TV shows he used to present.

Well, thanks for taking the News Sushi bus tour of Hollywood! Hooray! Y’all come back now, ya hear?!

And I wish a Brentwood Hello to all, and to all a Brentwood Hello!

Hamish xoxox

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