News Sushi #74: Morsels of News from Japan and Beyond

News Sushi #74 And we (Hamish) keep serving the best 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 (ありがとうございました) Hamish, for your insights.


Live vision from the making of this column…


This week’s column is running a little behind schedule, so forgive me if it reads a little rushed!

Firstly, we lost Toni Morrison, author of the classic novel “Beloved”, which in my opinion is one of the most haunting books ever written.

Secondly, if you’ve been following this column, you’ll remember that Thea has been working on a music video for one of her trance tracks, and it’s just been released, so check it out here:

Elated & Thea Riley – Take Me As I Am (Official Music Video) [Vibrate Audio]

buy now:

Pokemon meets Thumbelina aka Jupiter Star

Jupiter Star, whom I’m working with on a couple of songs for the soundtrack for my film, has posted a fun photo this week. Which makes her look as if she’s about an inch tall!

View this post on Instagram

My friend Kero-chan!

A post shared by Sabrina Zirakzadeh (@jupiterstarchild) on

Check out her music here:

Robyn Loau has a gig in the middle of nowhere

One of my favourite artists, and also a contributor to the soundtrack of my film, has posted about her gig in the Aussie desert this week.

She’s doing the old Toyota ad, for those who don’t remember:

Here’s Robyn Loau’s ultra cool remix track…

A different kind of feeling… do you ever have that feeling?


For those of you who remember Steve, who I interviewed a while back in NEws Sushi, he posts these wonderful little oddities from around the world. This one is really interesting (stay tuned for another later in the column).

Swiss Architect and the disappearing houses:

My editor, Felicity, who lives in Kyoto recently posted this wonderful beauty shot…

Don’t be fooled, however, Kyoto can be disgustingly hot in summer, so unless you love the heat and humidity, I’d recommend admiring from afar.


This seems to be a follow-up week… if you remember from last week, here’s a chance to listen to Poli Laurito rehearsing for her performance tomorrow!

Isn’t she marvellous?


The follow-ups continue with the announcement from the recent interviewee Naomi McDougall Jones that her book is available to pre-order!

From the website:

A deep dive into the current state of women in the film industry, revealing how systemic misogyny disrupts careers and what enterprising actresses and women filmmakers are doing about it.

Actor, screenwriter and award-winning, indie filmmaker Naomi McDougall Jones reveals how we arrived at the shocking state of filmmaking in Hollywood today where only 5% of top studio films are directed by women and less than 20% of all the leading characters in mainstream American films are female. Women buy most movie tickets, yet they are the group studio executives consider last. Women who aspire to be in a cast or crew face gauntlets of rejection that, when not abusive, are nearly always systematic. Legal recourse is iffy, if it exists at all. Industry-wide too many people are fearful of losing their shot at success or stardom to speak out.

And then some people are like McDougall Jones, part of a growing group, working outside the traditional studio system–courtesy of streaming services, crumbling distribution models, innovative online platforms, and outside advocacy groups. Informed by the journey of her own career; interviews with other women and men in film; and cold, hard data, she deconstructs the casual, commonplace sexism rampant in Hollywood, as well as the grassroots, women-in-film activism that is emerging after #metoo and the fall of Harvey Weinstein. The Wrong Kind of Woman makes a business case for financing and producing films by female filmmakers. But, the moral case is clear, too. Women in all industries who have experienced their own struggles with sexism will be inspired and empowered to take action by the stories here. It is–like women in film these days–fearless, bold, and ready for a closeup.


I share this every year, but as this week also marked the 74th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, I’d like to share my short film, “An American Piano”.

An American Piano (2014) – Theatrical Version from Paul Leeming (Visceral Psyche) on Vimeo.

Directed by award-winning filmmaker Paul Leeming and written/produced by Hamish Downie [that’s me], “An American Piano” is based on the extraordinary true story of a young Japanese girl who played the piano for Prisoners of War during World War II and how it affected their lives. War is only possible when the enemy is dehumanised. “An American Piano” is a story of humanity, compassion and the universality of music in helping to heal the rifts between wartime rivals.


Another one…

Get your knitting needles out!

The way it should be… right cat owners?


Bye for this week!


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