News Sushi: Morsels of News from Japan and Beyond #22

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.


Hello everyone! This week we feature a brand new LGBT Electronic Artist, a great indie author, great short films, food, funnies, and more!

I’m going to put my astroturfing right up front… I was lucky enough recently to be interviewed by Andrea for this great new magazine she’s running. I’m in the July issue… is you want to take a look… please follow the link:

Also, in my continuing web series, “Talking about the Writer”, this week, I’m looking at the work of kiwi filmmaker Jane Campion:

And for those of you who have watched in the past and commented about the lack of sound quality, I’ve bought a mic as well as a ring light and a tripod, so it’s starting to look professional. You might have to turn the sound up, because I’m softly spoken (as anyone who’s listened to my podcast interview with Ben and Keith will know)…

You also find me in the middle of a heat wave…

You can thank me for the earworm later…


Fine, you’re not going to forgive me…


but, at least I’ve learned to let it go… (haha! Another Earworm!)

Are you in the mood to discover a great new queer artist? I know I am!

News Sushi Listens…

Sapphic Lasers drops music video for “Dyke Bars Never Last”

Sapphic Laser, a queer butch electronic pop music artist based in Oakland, CA, drops new music video, “Dyke Bars Never Last”, which debuted at Frameline: 2018 San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival to thousands of film goers at four separate screenings.

Though the San Francisco Bay Area is known internationally as a “LGBTQ mecca”, the disappearance of dyke-centric spaces has been alarming over the past four years. “Dyke Bars Never Last” follows a lonely queer butch in San Francisco sitting outside the now closed Lexington Bar, who follows a trail of glitter, motorcycle babes, and femme dommes/leather daddies to the “Last Dyke Bar on Earth”, while touring some of the remaining queer spaces in San Francisco and queer performers (powerhouse performer Alotta Boutte, Daddy Queen, Ramses Rodstein). The video tackles the problem of gentrification and push-out of queer spaces in urban areas and the grief over the loss of queer bars/spaces in the Bay Area through narrative storytelling and catchy pop hooks.

Sapphic Lasers tells us, “the more personal answer is that a number of dyke-centered spaces in various cities I have lived in (Montreal, Providence, the Bay Area, etc.) have closed and once they close, a whole history and significant community-building and culture-creating spaces die, and live only in the memories of those who frequented them. Even in the Bay Area, there isn’t a dedicated dyke bar that you could drop in at any time and see familiar faces. The sacredness and need for these spaces has been formative for a lot of my community, and my own story, and the ache of remembering these places and yearning for a place to call our own is palpable. I wrote this song after the Lexington closed in 2014. The last few weekends the bar was open, queers and dykes spilled out onto the sidewalk and the side street next to the bar. We couldn’t get enough. And then it was just over and is now replaced by a bougie bar that caters to straight, young professionals living in the Mission District. There’s a placard that commemorates the Lex in front of the bar, which feels kind of significant, like straight white Mission hipsters walk all over the placard to get into the new bar. It makes me sad every time I walk by it, and I know other folks share the same pang.”

Sapphic Lasers is proud to say the video was created with an all queer team – DP Stacy McKenzie, Editor Alex Albers, a cast of amazing queer performers including Alotta Boutte, Daddy Queen, Ramses Rodstein, Shells, and more.

Sapphic Lasers have released their debut EP “Ache” in late June, now available on Spotify, Amazon, iTunes, Bandcamp, and more.

Listen now:

Sapphic Lasers on Spotify:

On Bandcamp:

“Ache” features songs about alternative masculine genders, kink/leather/BDSM, disappearing dyke bars, grief, and queer and trans issues. The artist describes their music as “unapologetically queer emotionally-charged sad boy dance music, the sound of the 80s colliding with the sounds of the 2010s” and was recently featured on Pandora’s Sounds Like Pride series.

Sapphic Lasers is formerly one half of electro pop due GAYmous, who toured through the Pacific Northwest, Minneapolis, and Austin, and was featured as part of Outsider Fest in Austin, Folsom Street Fair, Blow Pony, San Francisco Pride 2015, Fabulosa Fest, and more.


Continuing with music, here’s a great photo from the Kyoto-based band PlusPlus:


A post shared by Plusplus (@__plusplus__) on


Brent Jones

TGG: I first found out about Brent Jones through a Secret Facebook Book Club that I and his wife are a part of. Thanks to that, I got to read a review copy of his great novel, “The Fifteenth of June”. For the readers who don’t know you, could you introduce yourself and your work?

Brent: My name is Brent Jones and I’m the self-published author of titles such as The Fifteenth of June, Fender, The Matchbook, and Go Home, Afton. I write fiction full-time from Fort Erie, Canada, where I live with my beautiful wife, Andréa, and two dogs, Gibson and Stirling.

TGG: “The Fifteenth of June” reads very true to life, what was the inspiration for this novel?

Brent: If I were to summarize The Fifteenth of June in one sentiment, it would be this: things can change in an instant.

TGG: Do you ever give thought to small moments that changed the course of your entire life? For good or bad, I mean. Oftentimes, it’s some of the most seemingly innocuous choices we make that have the biggest long-term impacts.

Brent: This speaks to the title of the book, how a single day in history changed the future for one family, and how our protagonist (of sorts) sees a chance encounter as an opportunity to reinvent himself.
I’m often asked if The Fifteenth of June was intended to be autobiographical in any sense. The short answer is no, although some of the settings throughout the book were inspired by personal experience. I lived in an apartment once not dissimilar to Drew’s. I used to have a friend like Neil Galloway. I also based Transtel, the call center, off a real call center I’d once briefly worked at.

TGG: I love how badass you’ve made Librarians in your latest series. Could you tell us about, “Go Home, Afton”?

Brent: I’d love to.
“Go Home, Afton” is the first of four parts in a new serial thriller I’ve written. The story follows Afton Morrison, twenty-six, a small-town children’s librarian with a dark side. She has suppressed violent impulses her entire adult life, impulses that demand she commit murder. In this first installment, we see Afton pursue a violent sexual predator, intending to kill him and make the world a better place.
At the time I’m writing this, exactly one week after Go Home, Afton was released, the book has received fifty ratings on Goodreads with an average rating of 4.46/5.0 stars.
The Afton Morrison Series is intended to be read as one serial novel. All four parts (books) will be released this year, with book two, See You Soon, Afton, coming out August 7. It can be pre-ordered now almost everywhere eBooks are sold.
The entire series, containing all four books, will be published as one collection later this year in print, audio, and eBook formats.

TGG: We have a lot of indie creators who read this website, what advice would you be able to give them?

Brent: My advice? Do just what the label suggests. Create.
This won’t apply to everyone, of course, but I’ve met a lot of creative people who are afraid to create. That, or afraid of creating something less than perfect, but life is imperfect. Be willing to take risks. Be willing to make mistakes, because in the end? No matter how long you sit on that composition or manuscript or whatever it is, it’ll never be perfect. At some point, if you want to call yourself a creator, you need to be willing to let the world see what you’ve created.

TGG: You’re based in Fort Erie, which sounds like the perfect location for a Stephen King horror. And I’ve watched a movie with Marilyn Monroe set in Niagara. What can you tell us about your hometown for any curious travellers? Where’s the best place to eat there?

Brent: Fort Erie isn’t a scary place, I wouldn’t say, although it is said to be haunted. This town was, after all, a major player in the War of 1812. If you ever visit, be sure to check out a tour of the Old Fort.
A lot of my writing, including The Afton Morrison Series, is set in the fictional Midwestern town of Wakefield. I’ve loosely based that town on Fort Erie, although Wakefield is smaller and more, um, unpleasant, let’s say.
Fort Erie is the last stop before Buffalo on QEW Niagara, and it’s also home to something called the Friendship Festival. As its name suggests, each summer our town hosts a celebration of the enduring friendship (peace) between Canada and the United States since the War of 1812 ended.
I don’t know if I could choose the best place to eat here. If you’re into diner food, try Bridgeburg Family Restaurant. If you’re into sushi, try Osaka 1 or Yukiguni II. If you’re into pub food, try South Coast Cookhouse in Crystal Beach or Trailside’s in Ridgeway. We also just had a Vietnamese restaurant open here called Pho Xuan Tang, and the food is pretty good.

TGG: Just before you go, could you please let us know how can we support you? Where can we buy your books? Where can we follow you on Social Media?

Brent: Please consider checking out “Go Home, Afton”, particularly if you’re into thrillers, action, gritty stories, and strong female leads. It’s only 99 cents, and it’s available everywhere eBooks are sold, including Amazon. If you like it, feel free to check out the three books that follow in the series.
You can get a free copy of my short story, The Matchbook, by subscribing to my email newsletter.
I’m @AuthorBrentJ on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Follow me, and I’ll follow you back!

TGG: Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed, and I’m sure we are all looking forward to seeing what you do next!


Here’s a great Japanese model and dancer doing what he does best!

One hand on the rock. #dancer #acrobat #handstand #personaltrainer #acupuncturist #bodyweighttraining #functionaltraining #dom 安心してください。 #ダンサー #アクロバット #倒立 #パーソナルトレーナー #鍼灸師 #自重トレーニング #動ける体 #ドム #筋トレ

A post shared by TETSUYA DoM OKUBO (@tetsuya.dom.okubo) on


Driving on a dark and lonely road, a man is confronted with a mind-bending turn of events. A suspense short in the tradition of David Lynch.

Put on some headphones and take a drive with us into the unknown…

Directed by John Fitzpatrick
Written by Travis Opgenorth
Starring Ryan Dillon as The Driver

The Spirit of Noh: Oldest Continuously Performed form of Theatre

'The Spirit of Noh (能)' – Oldest surviving form of theater in the world from Edwin Lee (Fallout Media) on Vimeo.

Speaking of which, here is the oldest continuously running Hotel in the world. Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan, in Yamanashi, Japan, which was founded in 705.

Hoshi Ryokan.jpg
By Namazu-tronOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link


If you want to go, here is the link to their website:
But, beware, it costs a pretty penny to go there.

Writer, Sheridan Jobbins looks through some old ghosts…

Box of ghosts at Mum's house. #oldletters #secretlives

A post shared by Sheridan Jobbins (@sheridanjobbins) on

Speaking of old forgotten things, here is an abandoned sculpture garden in Japan…

In movie news… it seems that Japanese Anime, Gundam will be turned into a feature film by Legendary Pictures. Hopefully it won’t be whitewashed, but I’m not holding my breath.

Here’s me standing in front of Gundum in Odaiba, Tokyo.

This was from Paul’s application to the Mars One program… whatever happened to that?

It lead to him being a part of a documentary… Mars Closer…

Mars Closer – Trailer from NORDPOLARIS on Vimeo.

Actually, I got to be a part of it too, but my part was cut! Haha!


If you are from my generation of Prince fans, you’ll remember the best member of the New Power Generation was Rosie Gaines. She was so incredibly talented, and apparently was able to foresee that Prince would marry Mayte. She made a number of albums after leaving the group, and even had a big dance hit in the UK, but recently, she’s fallen on hard times. She apparently was suffering from a mental illness and was even homeless. Her daughter has joined forces with the following website to help Rosie, and if you are interested in helping, you can go here:

All Rosie Gains t-shirt sales will go directly to Rosie herself.

Buy here:



Miyuki, our favourite graphic designer that I featured a while back, is here to make you drool!

And a foodie funny from our favourite deep parody twitter…


The man with a thousand puns returns –

Forget about the new hamster – The Pun-issuer has arrived in "Overwatch"! 😂 . . . #Punissuer #Punisher #ThePunisher #Overwatch #Mercy #puns #jokes #funny #videogames #gamer #humor #instafunny #fun #toys #toyphotography #funko #funkopop

A post shared by Michael Chan (@michaelcwchan) on

And the sage advice of a parody screenwriting twitter handle:

And with that… it’s goodbye for another week!


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One response to “News Sushi: Morsels of News from Japan and Beyond #22”

  1. Brent Jones Avatar
    Brent Jones

    Thanks for having me! I appreciate it, Hamish. For those interested in checking out my newest title, Go Home, Afton, it’s available on Amazon for only 99 cents.
    Editor Note: The blank space is an Amazon link.

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