News Sushi #61: Morsels of News from Japan and Beyond

News Sushi #61 And we keep serving News Sushi!

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.

I’m a bit late to the game with this one, but as I binge watched the first season with my Mum, I thought I should comment on “Tidying up with Marie Kondo”. As with many shows of it’s ilk, it’s basically the same episode on repeat with different cast members. Someone has a disorganised house, and Marie comes over to help them organise it.

Something I wasn’t expecting from the show was how honest it was. A lot of these shows try to make it seem as if it’s all done in a day (shows that do this often only do one room, or part of a house – not the whole thing). But, this show has Marie visit over the course of about 6 weeks.

They also have an on-set translator for Marie, who is included in the show (not just there to tell Marie what to say, then she records the line in English for the camera). They also show how awkward Marie is with hugging the people whose houses she’s cleaning. She gets progressively better at it over the ten episodes, but it’s always a bit awkward. Japan doesn’t have a hugging culture, more of a bowing culture, so you can see that here on display.

They also don’t hide how critical she is of the Japanese-American family. Whereas the other families are treated to only kindness from Marie, the family in Hawaii (I think), are judged on how “Japanese” they are. Marie is especially critical of them outside the house, then is nice as pie to them as soon as she enters the house.

I’m really surprised by how honestly the show was edited. Perhaps Marie wasn’t nice to the editors?

Some things in the show are probably seen by outside audiences as just something cute and quirky, but actually have a deeper meaning than the show lets on. Let’s start with “sparking joy”… which is explained better by the youtuber “That Japanese Man Yuta”:

So, does your couch give you butterflies? If not, it might be time to give it the old heave-ho. To me, having romantic feelings about an inanimate object is a recipe for being invited to participate on the Jerry Springer show!


So, you can see why it was translated to “spark joy”. Actually, I think that’s not a bad way to think about items you want to keep or not. I like her focus on deciding what to keep, rather than what to throw away to be a nice touch.

So, what about her “introducing herself to the house” via meditation or “touching objects to ‘wake them up’” or “thanking objects for what they have done for you”… well, this really has to do with Shintoism i.e. religion. If you’ve watched “Spirited Away”, you’ll be familiar with the basic concept that everything having a spirit. So, that’s what Marie is doing. It is still pretty quirky, but she didn’t pull the idea out of thin air. Still, I like the idea of being grateful to something before throwing it away. So, what do Japanese people think of Marie Kondo? Let’s ask Yuta again:

So, there’s my thoughts on this show. Have you watched it? Let me know in the comments below!


FYI…. when you come to Japan… don’t be so excited at the prospect of eating ramen that you forget your wallet!


Here’s a free read from News Sushi favourite, Richard Lee – “Constant Noise”

Do you want to support him? He’s just collected his zombie shorts on Amazon here:


Did you check out my interview with Chris McCombs for his new Amazon series “The Benza”? If not… check it out now!

Well, the soundtrack is now available… and Chris is featured on the soundtrack!

And if you have LINE, then the stickers are also available!

Can Chris answer five questions in five minutes (or get a pie to the face)? Check it out here:

Also, check out Chris McCombs new show, “Bento Expo” on NHK!


Here’s one from News Sushi favourite, Michael Chan…

Caption: “I wonder people thought as they drove by me and my tripod. I mean, who tries to model in a Home Depot parking lot? I must’ve looked like such a Tool. Get it? GET IT?!”

View this post on Instagram

I wonder people thought as they drove by me and my tripod. I mean, who tries to model in a Home Depot parking lot? I must've looked like such a Tool. Get it? GET IT?! 😂 . . . #homedepot #parkinglot #parking #modellife #instamodel #modelling #modeling #malemodel #model #tool #actor #realtalk #pun #puns #lol #funny #reallife #life #mylife #portraitphotography #selfie #selfies

A post shared by Michael Chan (@michaelcwchan) on


We welcome your comments and feedback below. If this is your first visit, be sure to read the Privacy / Terms and Conditions Of Use. And Please, Play Nice.







Thanks for visiting. Let us know what you think.