News Sushi: Morsels of News from Japan and Beyond #15

Editor Note: It is Friday and that means it is time for the World Famous, soon to be Intergalactic Famous, News Sushi from our very own, Hamish Downie. He brings us a decidedly different slant on Pop Culture as viewed through the lens of a non-native living in Japan. Thank you Hamish for your insights.


I heard on a recent episode of this website’s podcast is that this is the issue where we would go into the multi-verse… if so, we are going to need the right soundtrack, so I’ve picked Siddhartha Barnhoorn’s new EP, Thin Air

From his youtube page, he describes the project thus:

“An EP of music composed for the demo of the surreal, narrative adventure video game THIN AIR. It follows the journey of a lone woman, The Seeker, on a hallucinogenic spirit quest.”

Which sounds pretty exciting to me. If you are interested in the game, which was created by Portmanteau Games, you should follow these links:

Siddhartha says that “for this soundtrack I experimented a lot with sampling with the Casio SK-1 and processing the sounds through the Roland RE-501, Lexicon PCM70+PCM80, Flux Effects Liquid Ambience and later post-processing with plugins. While the developers were here in The Netherlands visiting and in my studio we did a jam session from which some elements were created that we eventually used in the game itself. Lara [Ausensi] also recorded some of her vocals which was later used in the track Spirit Quest [her soundcloud is]. I recorded a lot of instruments like singing bowls, kalimba, other percussive sounds plus woodwinds like the duduk and bansuri”

It really makes for a great sound! If you like it, why don’t you throw some money his way:


Japanese “Satoriteller” in the USA

Satoriteller (a play on the Japanese name Satori sounding like ‘story’) is a San Fransisco based media consultancy company.

As they say on their website, “we craft transformative experiences through technology, art, and ideas. We free audiences to escape normality and interact with your [their clients] message.” They work with key production partners, corporations, non-profits, communities, and co-artists deliver transformative experiential events that delight audiences through a deep understanding of their stories told through innovative interactive technology.

They say that they “have witnessed an increasingly widening gap between the business initiatives presented at corporate conferences and the messaging customers receive about a brand… younger and changing audiences have disconnected from the “tried-and-true” PowerPoint presentations on a rectangular screen with glazed eyes. The message and the story is getting lost, and not just business to business, but business to customer.”

As a marketing geek, this really resonates with me. How do we, as independent artists connect with our potential audience? It’s certainly a question I’ll have to answer as we move from post production to the festival circuit. There’s a disheartening trend towards distributors ignoring films at festivals without name actors attached. Sadly, even films accepted into top tier festivals face this dilemma. While, out in the marketplace, we arguably are living in a post-movie star world. They say Will Smith was the last true movie star, by which I mean an actor that is critic-proof and an audience will go out and see whatever movie that actor is in. These days the costume is the true star. Who truly cares who plays Superman? Not the audience, who have ignored the non-DC films that Henry Cavill has been in. Yes, he’s a well known actor, but not a true star.


Well, I better sit down and get back to the main topic… shall we?


Kennichi Takahashi, a friend of mine, who also works at satoriteller, did the art direction for the music video I directed, “Never Let You Down” and Paul Leeming’s short film “An American Piano” (available on Amazon video – wink). Here he is doing what he is a master of – miniatures. So the clients can truly imagine what the company plans to create for them.

If you want more information, take a look at the following link:



One of my co-workers at my day job where I teach English as a second language is also a very talented musician in the group “PlusPlus”. Recently, some French filmmakers used their music in a beautiful video. I really recommend checking it out.


Sad News – RIP

Some sad news regarding Japanese Alpinist Nobukazu Kuriki. He has been found dead at Camp II on Mt Everest this morning, multiple sources at the Mt Everest base camp confirmed according to the Himalaya Times. The newspaper reports that he wanted to make a solo attempt on Mt Everest without using Sherpa support and bottled oxygen this season. He had previously lost nine fingers on his last attempt due to frostbite, so you have to admire the guy for trying again with only one finger. He was just 36. Link:

天候などを見て、明日から登山開始します。 6400mまで上がり、その後7600mまで上がって高所順応します。 ・ こちらは午前中に晴れが多いので、今は咳が多少出ますが落ち着いて上がって行きたいと思います。 ・ 実はドキュメンタリーの撮影メンバーが急きょ帰国することになりました。 ・ 昨日、突然の激しい腹痛で動けなくなり、ベースキャンプに常駐しているドクターに見てもらったところ、菌が入ったようだとのことでした。 ・ 高所では抵抗力が下がるので、菌などにやられやすくなってしまいます。 これが山なので、彼の気持ちと共に登っていきたいと思います。 ・ ※彼は今もうカトマンズの病院にいて、容体も安定して体調も良くなっています。 ・ #否定の壁への挑戦 #エベレスト #everest #himalayas

A post shared by Nobukazu KURIKI (@kurikiyama) on

According to reddit user Cuisinart_Killa:

“Knowing somewhat about camp 2 and 3, this brings up more questions than answers. Why was he solo climbing when he was not experienced. Why didn’t he ask for help from other teams at camp 3. If he communicated he was suffering altitude sickness someone could have bagged him in an oxygen tent and bought some time. Coming down from Camp III to Camp II at night (11:30) tells a lot about the situation. Anything at night on Everest is very risky, you leave around 3am so you can summit and return before nightfall. My suspicion is he was rapidly dying from altitude sickness. “Kuriki had asked for help as he suffered from persistent cough and pain” [quoting the article] – I suspect he was having altitude related problems, and was trying to get down as fast as he could, and he encountered his limits, and just made camp knowing he was going to die. As it was night there was no way to call the expensive rescue helicopter either.”

It’s a sad situation all round. Rest in peace.



Movies in the making – The Phantom Menace

Did you know that the podracing crowd in ‘The Phantom Menace’ was really 450,000 Q-Tips being blown about? There’s something so incredible about miniatures …

The podracing crowd in ‘The Phantom Menace’ was really 450,000 Q-Tips being blown about from r/Moviesinthemaking



Writers everywhere have a great enemy to their productivity… impossible to overcome…


Nobody can resist!

There’s something else I can’t resist… a new type of sweet –


Marshmallow topped ice cream!

Apparently this is a thing. And it’s a thing made by ‘Penny Ice Creamery’ in Santa Cruz, CA. A redditor claims that this place has, “[the] best freaking ice cream in the world!! Damn when they had the vanilla-bourbon with caramelized bacon bits.. holy s—snacks!”

[I ate] Marshmallow topped ice cream! from r/food

So, quite a journey this week. Some highs and lows, and the promise of multiverse infamy. But, before I go, a challenge. Tell us the ten films that impacted you when you first watched them, and also that you still watch today! Remember to @tggeeks and @hamishdownie on twitter so we can find you!


We’ll be back next week, but…


Have a truly great day!

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