Hamish Downie’s News Sushi #125: Morsels of News From Japan and Beyond


Hamish keeps serving the best News Sushi!
Hooray! More News Sushi for you to enjoy!
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.

Happy Pride everyone! I haven’t really done a playlist for Pride, so I’ll just recommend some films to watch here:


If you’re looking for a gay film without gratuitous sex and nudity, here it is. ‘Breaking Fast” is a very sweet film, and a window into a culture I never expected to see into (despite having a gay muslim friend). On Hulu.


This is a touching BL series from Thailand. Check it out on Gagaoolala now.


And of course, my debut feature film, “Matcha & Vanilla” is also available on Gagaoolala now. Interestingly, I’ve noticed the ratings for the film have gone up since we’ve all stopped promoting it, which means that like a lot of my films, when people discover them for themselves, they like them more than when they are promoted. Hmmm…


Rainy season is here, and with it, the need to take (and remember to bring home) an umbrella. But, did you know that there are 72 seasons in Japan? Check them all out here: https://www.nippon.com/en/features/h00124/

Here’s a quirky laundromat in Tokyo:

You can read more about it here: https://www.tokyotimes.org/an-old-and-unique-tokyo-coin-laundry/

This is a bit depressing, but needs talking about – why Kyoto is going Bankrupt (it’s more than it just being a Banana Republic relying on tourists):

If you need more reasons to be depressed, here are Five places you’ll never visit again:

Before we get too depressed… Let them eat gold!


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A post shared by Nina Em (@ninainjapan)

Have you ever wondered what the Ninja eat while waiting for the right moment to pounce? Well, wonder no more!

Interestingly, it looks similar to food Chihiro gives the dragon in Spirited away!


I’m like this when I take medicine too. Speaking of Ninja, this reminds me of a book series that a friend of my former student wrote on the Ninja. His name is SIMON HIGGINS and his book’s title is MOONSHADOW, and there are quite a few in the series. I read the first one, and it’s a great read. The author also studied the same training that some of the NInja did, so there is a ring of truth to the series. “Eye of the Beast” is the one I read.


Speaking of Friends with books, I’m about halfway through YUME, which is amazing, and also hits so close to home about feeling like a monster when you teach English here in Japan. It’s a pageturner once you get into it! You can read more about it here in my interview with the author: https://tggeeks.com/blog/2021/10/15/hamish-downies-five-more-questions-with-sifton-tracey-anipare/

The book is out now, so head to your friendly bookseller and demand a copy now!


If you are interested in tourist destinations (for when Japan is open to not just highly structured tour groups), here’s Doai Station on the JR East Joetsu Line.

According to the poster:
“It’s known as the best “mogura” Station in Japan. Mogura means “mole”, as in the creature that digs subterranean tunnels. Because it’s under the ground where the Niigata-bound is located. There is no escalator, no elevator, just 462 steps, or more exactly, if you count all of them, 486. But they’re numbered so you know exactly where you are and how many more you still have to climb. It’s an unmanned station. You just take a boarding certificate from a machine and pay at your destination. Along the steps there’s an underground stream, the walls are covered with moss, and the whole tunnel looks like a movie set. There’s a cafe on the ground level in the old station office, and a glamping site right next to the building. They always organize tons of events.”


Eloy of Strays of the World recently got in touch with me with a promotional campaign he’s doing for the release of his new album.

“Get Chaos All, the New Strays of the World Album, for FREE!!! What is the Chaos Experience? Well, in short… it’s life. And I’m hoping we can share this little slice of life together in celebration of the release of the new Strays of the World Album, Chaos All. I could just put it up on streaming and call it a day, but really wanted to give you more to chew on, a peek behind the curtain if you will. To me, this is the ultimate way to immerse yourself in the new album, Chaos All, so get ready for a multi-day experience with so many extras it’ll make your head spin! If you want in, just click below!


He’s also developing a live experience, so check it out!

Catch up with Eloy’s interview for his first album here: https://tggeeks.com/blog/2022/02/11/hamish-downies-five-questions-with-eloy-aka-strays-of-the-world/

In more music news, Robyn Loau, who has a cameo on “Matcha & Vanilla” and is starring in my upcoming short animation “The Last Anomaly” is here rehearsing Queen for an upcoming show:


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A post shared by Robyn Loau (@robynloau)

Follow @robynloau here! And go save her music on Spotify, it’s amazing!


You don’t always have to get undressed to be ultra sexy…


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A post shared by SHOGO (@shogosensei)

So, that’s all for this week! I leave you with the Dubtronic Remix of UNITE from my film “Matcha & Vanilla” for Pride.


こんにちは!Which means “Hello”!


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