Hamish Downie’s Five Questions With D. H. Chester


Editor Note: Hamish has another in his series of Five Questions With…

Hamish came up with this idea because he was accumulating too much material for his Famous News Sushi column and asked if he could do these mini-interviews. Why would we say no?

Thank you Hamish for being such a trooper for us. We really appreciate all for your hard work.

Let us know what you think of these interviews in the comments below.

TGG: I’ve known today’s interviewee for over ten years, since meeting at a networking event in Tokyo and he invited me to a screenwriting workshop. He was the first person in the filmmaking community in Tokyo I ever met, and he was kind enough to introduce me to Paul Leeming, who I’ve been working with ever since. But, for those who don’t know you… Can you please introduce yourself to our readers?

DHC: My name is D. H. Chester. I was a professional pianist and songwriter for most of my life, but when I left Los Angeles (my hometown) and moved to Tokyo in 1993, it slowly dawned on me that I was supposed to be writing screenplays. I am now a professional screenwriter with four produced features and several award-winning short films.

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In 2016, David Chester, an American screenwriter and filmmaker based in Tokyo, sent me an email inquiring about using one of my photographs of Asian men for a book he was going to write and self-publish. After a number of emails back and forth, he came to choose this photograph of Patrick, which was taken in 2012. Strangely, I never heard from David for the longest time and wondered if his project was shelved. That is, until several days ago. It was back on track after 4 years since our first communication. LOVE-STARVED is now available on Kindle through Amazon. LOVE-STARVED is a collection of short stories detailing the author's decades-long journey from a traumatic childhood event to a delayed sexual awakening as an adult, with Japan as a vibrant background. LOVE-STARVED centers around sexual encounters with other men that are surprising, shocking, humorous and heartbreaking, sometimes all at once, as the author struggles to accept himself and find his voice. Amazon link: https://tinyurl.com/y2vremog Note: please check to see if your country has Kindle before you purchase. On a side note, the cover design was also by your truly! Thanks! #lovestarved #davidchester #ebooks #shortstories #awakening #eroticism

A post shared by Norm Yip (@normyip) on

TGG: Can you tell us about “Love Starved: A Sexual Awakening” and what inspired it?

DHC: “Love-Starved: A Sexual Awakening” started as a short story based on a sensual experience I had in Tokyo. I kept the story to myself for almost 15 years, along with a number of other stories that I was too afraid to share with others. Finally, my confidence overrode my fear and I published them.

TGG: It’s very raw and honest. Have you asked any of the people who appear in the book to read it?

DHC: Thank you. That was the intention; to not hold back. I wanted, in my own way, to authentically tell these stories that would otherwise just become distant memories. As for the people in the book: I wouldn’t even know where most of them are now, so, no. But I did have my screenplay co-writer proof it, and we’ve known each other for 27 years, so it was good to get honest feedback from someone who really knew me.

TGG: Because it serves as a major catalyst in the book, I have to ask, what are your thoughts on the Japanese work culture and the negative birth rate?

DHC: Japanese work culture is deeply entrenched in a master-slave mentality. It is incomprehensible to me why Japanese employees are generally (not always) willing to kowtow to their manager and put in countless (oftentimes unpaid) overtime hours, at the cost of their health and family life. I can say, from first-hand experience, that it almost destroyed my primary relationship. But thankfully we survived it. It is a cruel, cruel thing to do to people, working them nearly to death, and for what? You can’t gain an edge on the competition when your employees are only sleeping three hours a night (if that). Also, how are people supposed to start families when there’s not even enough time (or energy) for them to have sex? The negative birth rate is all connected with overworked employees. I’m glad that younger Japanese people are standing up to the system. As a way to get the country back on its feet after WWII, it may have been understandable. In 2020? It is unacceptable.

TGG: Finally, how can we best support you? (Where can we buy the book, follow you on social media) etc.

DHC: You can best support me by purchasing a copy of my book on Amazon and offering your candid review, view my award-winning short film THE LESSON on GagaOOlala, and follow me on Twitter, where I post a lot about screenwriting. I’d also like to make readers aware of Norm Yip, the photographer and book cover designer. His photo crystallized what I had in mind and helped bring the book to life.

TGG: Thank you so much D. H. Chester!

Buy the book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/LOVE-STARVED-awakening-D-H-Chester-ebook/dp/B08JM1KHMJ

Watch “The Lesson”: https://www.gagaoolala.com/en/videos/74/the-lesson-2011

Twitter: https://twitter.com/davidhalchester

Norm Yip on Instagram:

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