Hamish Downie’s News Sushi #120: Morsels of News From Japan and Beyond


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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.

こんにちは!Which means “Hello”!

How’s your Halloween shaping up? I made a playlist of films for the month to celebrate the season. It wasn’t that many, but it sure was fun. First up was “Resident Evil” or as we call it in Japan “Biohazard”. It was poorly reviewed when it first came out, but gee it was fun and it’s so re-watchable. Unfortunately the CGI hasn’t held up at all, but all the practical effects look great. I still find it funny that in order to make Milla Jovovich look like an “ordinary girl” they had to populate the film with the most beautiful people in the world.


Next up was “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde”, the version with Spencer Tracy, Ingrid Bergman and Lana Turner from 1946. The interesting thing about this version is that Spencer played Mr Hyde as a man, not as a half-man, half animal creature. And Lana and Ingrid play against type in the roles of the good and bad girl respectively. No gifs for this one.

After that, I chose “Mildred Pierce” from 1945, the Joan Crawford classic. I’ve never actually watched a Joan Crawford film, but this one lives up to its reputation and had me on the edge of my seat. Both a well made and entertaining film. A masterpiece. I haven’t watched the recent mini-series, but I’m curious now.


Next up was Black Narcissus from 1947, the film that made Deborah Kerr a star. It’s been described as The Shining with Nuns. It’s basically about a group of Nuns that go up to the Himalayas to set up a school, and while there, their pasts start to haunt them. It’s slow to begin with, but once it gets going it also had me on the edge of my seat. I never thought watching a woman put on lipstick would be so frightening, but you have to watch it to believe it. It won two oscars for cinematography and set design. It was filmed all on a sound stage in London, but the matt painting and sets are so beautiful, you’d think you were there. This one also got remade into a mini series recently. A masterpiece.


Finally, I watched “The Thing from Another World”, the original Howard Hawks production from 1951. I wasn’t prepared for how good it was going to be. The dialogue was fast and snappy. The handsome leads had great chemistry. There was even a bit of chemistry between the Captain and one of the male officers. And the music was great, and the effects were also great. By today’s standards, it’s not really scary, but it has great suspense, and is just enormous fun over all. I can see why it spawned a whole genre, and started the trend of using the theremin in movies of the 1950s. This was famously remade by John Carpenter in the 80s.


Mt Fuji Timelapse

Mysterious radio signals detected near centre of the Milky Way galaxy


Using incense to write letters.

New music from Andy Van Soyoc… I want to watch the movie this has me picturing.

“The Linda Files”

Recently, Bec and I of the “FizzPopcast Radio Hour” did an improvised mystery called “The Linda Files”, which I hope you enjoy. It’s part cooking show, part real estate, part murder mystery story – all told through answering machine messages.


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Happy Halloween!


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