News Sushi: Morsels of News from Japan and Beyond #38

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. Hamish 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.



All aboard… this week, let’s look at the films that could have been (but never were) as well as some poetry from yours truely, and lots more…


NEWS SUSHI… social

My partner took this photo, and I keep it as my wallpaper on my laptop.

I feel this way almost every time I travel to Wakayama (away from the big city lights)…

NEWS SUSHI… Motivation!

Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark places where it leads.
-Erica Jong

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to make a horror movie… even though I couldn’t encourage you to do it more – the Horror community are the most open, friendly, supportive fans out there.
What it means, as my improv teacher at the Tokyo Comedy Store once said, “audiences want you [the characters] to walk into the danger”. They want to see you do what they fear to. For a writer, that means the courage to face your demons, and write about it with truth, and candour.
Success follows truth.



Pieces of film history we never got to see…

Did you know that Judy Garland was supposed to be in “Valley of the Dolls”? Or that Jerry Lewis made a comedy for children set in the Nazi Concentration Camps?
Well, thanks to the internet, now we can all take a look at these films that never happened, or happened in a different way to the original plan.
Judy Garland “Valley of the Dolls” Screen Test

Judy Garland couldn’t catch a break in her later years. Not only was her comeback film, ‘A Star is Born” hacked in the editing room, and now sits with
“The Magnificent Ambersons” as one of those ‘what could have been’ films.

Judy Garland was originally hired to play Helen Lawson, an ageing star who thwarts the ambitions of Patty Duke’s character (who resembles Judy a great deal). She was replaced allegedly because of some diva like behaviour, which resulted in her stealing the outfits made for her. Later, people close to the set say that she was mismanaged, with the director asking her to be on set in the morning, when her scenes weren’t set to be filmed until much later. Then, the people she had around her would ply her with alcohol, so she’d be too inebriated to act.

Can you imagine how much better the film would have been with Judy in it? Sure the film is very much one of it’s time, and it survives as a camp classic (albeit with a very melancholic theme song)… although I believe this is based on reputation more than the actual film.
Jerry Lewis in “The Day the Clown Cried”

A film which Jerry Lewis says is locked in a vault and will die with him (althought a few people claim to have seen it, and is now listed on Google as being released in 2024). Whatever you might think of the film, allegedly a comedy about a German clown who entertains Jewish children as he leads them to their deaths… from this footage, it seems to have been made with a lot of care.

If you haven’t read about this film, this article is the one to read:
And here is a Vanity Fair article with a French Critic who saw the film and loved it:

Gloria Swanson in “Queen Kelly”

So much money was spent (most of it Gloria’s own money) on making this picture. It was allegedly against the moral codes of the time. A fiery relationship between star and director began. Censorship and the invent of sound pictures killed this film off. Director and Star eventually worked together on a picture that was released, “Sunset Blvd.” – he wasn’t the director however – he played her butler! Also, the film “Queen Kelly” was seen in part in Sunset Blvd… in the scene where Norma Desmond relives her past glories.


Marilyn Monroe in “Something’s got to give”

Here in her last unfinished film, we got to hear Marilyn’s voice unaffected. And for the straight men who read this… nearly nude.
Are there any films that you wish that you could see?


Here’s a post from Aki, who was one of our interviewees this year…

View this post on Instagram

It’s been a beautiful autumn this year. Even though the temperature has been very warm, the leaves are already changing color. These are the beautiful autumn colors from one of the most beautiful villages in France. These villages are good to visit anytime because the colors are always changing and the views never close! 今年のドルドーニュの秋はとっても暖かく過ごしやすい気候です。 日本では桜が咲いているというニュースを見ましたが、そちらも春のようなお天気なのでしょうか? こちらの春と秋の気候はとても似ていて、穏やかで心地いいですが、さすがに桜が咲くとびっくりしますね。 さて、先週はフランスの最も美しい村を3か所訪れました。秋の紅葉がとても綺麗でした。 ここ“ラロックガジャック”という村はボートクルーズがおススメです。 日本語の音声ガイドもありこのエリアの歴史や背景など知る事ができ、美しい景色と共にその時代が思い浮かぶような内容になっています。 #frenchcountryside #bedandbreakfast #bnb #sakuraguesthousefrance #chambredhotes #nearbergerac #riversidehotel #dordogne #NouvelleAquitaine #plusbeauxvillagesdefeance #autumn #フランスの田舎 #ドルドーニュ #フランス旅行 #ボルドー から電車で来れます #旅行 #個人旅行 #個人旅行案内 #紅葉 #小さな村 #南西フランス #フランスの最も美しい村

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Bye for now!


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