News Sushi: Morsels of News from Japan and Beyond #25

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 again, thanks for stopping by… can you believe it? A quarter of a century…


I know, I’m blown away too. I’ve got to stop being so amazed at the small milestones, but for now…

I’m going to feel my oats.


Enough of that… now let’s get to it!


Here’s my friend Matt again with wings!


While we are flying, let’s see some out of this world art…


Junk – Written and Directed by Joe Morris (see interview below)

A gay teenager desperately attempts to keep hold of the only companion he has left.

Perhaps, this is a little NSFW… but, I really recommend watching this powerful short film…

Junk from Joe Morris on Vimeo.

For more, here’s Ali Naro’s review (where I first saw the film):



TGG: Hi Joe, thanks for agreeing to this interview. For our readers, could you please introduce yourself, your work, and maybe what inspired you to be a filmmaker?

JOE: I’m a queer filmmaking from Yorkshire. I’ve been making films for a number of years, mostly around a broad range of social issues.

I don’t think there was ever one moment of inspiration for me, it had always seemed like a completely natural thing for me to do. My mother had a catalogue of films from Cabaret to Stand by Me and I just become completely immersed into that kind of storytelling. When I started to think about what I wanted to do with my life, it just seemed very normal that it would be something to do with film. I mean, films are a wonderful way to experience other people’s lives, dreams, aspirations, fears and fantasies. Film is an incredible art form and I’ve always, since I can remember, been totally captivated by it.

TGG: I came across your powerful short film, “Junk” recently on the ‘Movies over the Rainbow’ website. Could you tell us about the film and what inspired you?

JOE: It seemed to me at the time, and I still think this is true, that a lot of films tackling gay issues focused mostly on sex or relationships or coming out. These stories are relevant and interesting, but there are other pressing issues within the gay community that we need to be talking about, not just in terms of what stories we tell, but also what fights still need to be fought.

Many gay men are living in poverty, many gay men still suffer homophobic violence, many gay men are still subject to arrest, imprisonment and death in some countries. And that’s before we even start to talk about issues facing the trans community. So, while it’s important and fun to talk about sex and relationships and coming out, in my view, we also need to be focusing on social issues that exist for LGBT people. As someone who has experienced addiction and poverty, Junk was an attempt to address some of that for me personally, but also to try and highlight some of these issues. I’m not sure how successful it is in doing it, but I wanted to tell a story that tapped into the sadness and struggle that lots of gay men, especially young gay men, experience.

TGG: Often, actors playing homeless characters look too well fed. How did you find such realistic actors to play the leads?

JOE: We had extensive casting sessions and call backs in London and in Sheffield to find the right boys. Luke and Connor were not just the best actors, but they fit the characters and their situations. It was a long process, but I think it was worth it.

TGG: For those who are interested in seeing more of your work, could you let us know what are you working on now?

JOE: I am currently working on a short film, We are Dancers, about a real life drag queen called Hansi Sturm. It’s a period drama set in 1933 Berlin the day after the Reichstag fire. It follows Hansi and his friends as they deal with the socio-political crisis. Hansi has to decide whether to leave his club a d go into hiding, or resist the Nazis that will come there to seek revenge.

I’m fascinated by that part of queer history – the raging Berlin 20s and the development of the gay rights movement. I wanted to tell a story about that period and I think the story of Hansi resonates with contemporary situations.

TGG: Finally, could you let us know the best way to support you? (Social Media, were we can purchase your work etc)

JOE: I think We are Dancers is an important film because it discusses a history not often spoken about and draws frightening parallels with present history. I think the LGBT community in the West is under threat. Gay marriage in the US could be rolled back, trans rights in the workplace could be reversed. We need to be talking about defiance and resistance and what that looks like. Supporting the making of this film is, I think, the best way to support me, but is also one way of championing visible resistance to homophobia and transphobia.

indiegogo link:

Video link:

We Are Dancers – Indiegogo pitch from Freyja Films on Vimeo.


Here’s a great actor I met a while back in Nagano at the Ozu Tateshina Film Festival:

Here’s a friend of mine, who is a great musician in Nagoya, Japan: Towa…

The English Lyrics are in the footnotes of the video on Youtube!
Hopefully, I’ll get to interview her soon!

Now for no reason (other than that I wanted a transition)…


Rotem’s Comic “Out of Service” Update! If you remember from one of the earlier issues, I talked about my friend’s horror comic… well, she’s finished it now, and it’s about to go on sale!

One of the ADs on my film did the next music video. I love this in a 80s Karaoke way…


Let’s end with a funny… from the man of a thousand puns!

Thanks for stopping by… have a great week!


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