Hamish Downie’s News Sushi #126: 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.

こんにちは!Which means “Hello”!


Two News Sushi in one month? It’s true! How’s your summer going so far? Have you succumbed to air conditioning yet? I’m still doing the U-stream my partner showed me with fans, but I’m sure I’m not far off turning on the air.


My podcast co-host Bec and I were talking about a hipster fellow with a man-bun on our trains, and while we have the same complaints, it seems that we are talking about different people (hers has a moustache). What is it about artistic foreigners that get disappointed by seeing other foreigners?

I’ve been listening to Eloy of Strays of the World/Prince’s Friend fame’s newest album “The Chaos Experience”. He’s releasing one song a day, with each song getting its own artwork, short origin story, plus demos and lyrics with breakdowns. It’s quite involved. Eloy is a screenwriter, and my favourite part is the short stories and the artwork. They really paint a mood for the music to be the soundtrack. It’s definitely a lockdown album, so I think it’s something we can all relate to. So far, he’s released five songs (as of writing):
According to the album portal, “Tunnel Vision” is about determination to the point of single-mindedness, and not letting anything get in the way of your success. It’s a great rock song, and a great way to open the album.
This is my favourite song of the set so far. I certainly connect to its message as an indie creator, and the song itself is magical. According to the album portal, “One More For Obscurity” is a haunting track about the constant push forward without the success that such hard work should be owed. You work and work and work, and what do you get in return? More work!
Of course a Student of Prince would have to have a song named “Hello”, it is after all one of his more famous b-sides (and a personal favourite of mine). This is a sexy song, and definitely carries some swagger. Personally, for me, I preferred the rawness of the early demo, but the finished track does have an incredible instrumental. I kind of wish Jill Jones was on the track as well. That would have been cool.

According to the web portal, What’s better than finding love? It’s sometimes hard to place, but when you find it… you just kind of know it. “Hello” is about finding that love and the quest for bravery to approach. Then again, if they just said “hello” first…
This is definitely for people who are just fresh out of a bad breakup. Eloy previewed this song on youtube.

Again, I preferred the early demo, as I think the rawness of the sound suits Eloy’s voice, but again, this is a personal preference. This one also has my favourite single covers (website exclusive).

According to the web portal, When you’re alone, you try hard to convince yourself that it’s for the best. You didn’t do anything wrong, it’s everyone’s else’s fault, or a plot by the universe that you’ll overcome. You’re “Better Off Alone”, right?
Like all of these songs, the lyrics are amazing. Eloy said that this one came out just spur of the moment. I can definitely relate to the sentiment of the song, but again, I did prefer the early demo.

According to the web portal, “Fear of Flight” is all about seeing your fear, calling it out, but not letting it get the better of you. The world is scary, after all, but as the song says… “Don’t give into your fear of flight, and you’ll fly!”

Overall, I think Eloy has matured as an artist and a musician. I hope he releases the instrumental versions of the songs, as the music is so good. Sometimes though, I do prefer the demo to the final track. But, I am really loving this body of work, especially “One more for Obscurity”. While you can hear echoes of Prince influencing the music and title of the album, Eloy has definitely crafted his own sound. I’m looking forward to the second half of the album.

If you want to sign up to Eloy’s mailing list, please go here:


It’s the dying days of Pride Month, and I still have some recommendations, or at least some films to look forward to:

First comes Brimo Morales, who’s “SCARED VISIONS” trailer is debuting tomorrow (we’re getting a sneak peak:

It looks really interesting. Part mystery, part character-driven story.
A domino effect sends a frat party spinning off the rails & into madness in this anxiety inducing thrill ride. A #metoo revenge horror film.

As part of a brutal hazing ritual, a young frat pledge leads a wasted girl upstairs to swipe his v-card, only to discover getting lucky isn’t so easy.

Monica Garcia Bradley … Mary
Anthony Notarile … Brad
Pablo Sandstrom … Tony
Yuhua Hamasaki … Conner
Jacqueline O’Kelly … Trixie
Jackson Trent … Kyle
Haulston Mann … Rick
Vianca Peguero … Monica
Paige Sciarrino … Mags

Produced by Mattioli Productions and AJ Mattioli
Directed by Micah Coate and Colton David Coate


Festivals and Distribution companies please reach out! Keep up with our insta: @guysatpartieslikeitfilm

It’s not really a Pride thing, but my final thing to look forward to is a lazy egg, GUDETAMA:
Gudetama, a listless egg who has given up on life, knowing that all that awaits it is someone’s plate, is forced out of the fridge by the enthusiastic, overbearing chick Shakipiyo. Together, the odd couple set out on a quest to find their mother.



Adrian Bruce has a webcomic for us about his memories of Japan, and I think it’s well worth a read:

REcapturing Japan’s “Woodstock”
Japanologist Alex Kerr joins the Seek Sustainable Japan talk show once again to share some of his insights from his keynote, as well as beautiful traditional features of Minka houses, the challenges and experiences at the 2022 Minka Summit event in rural Kyoto which brought reuse and old house enthusiasts together from across Japan.



Emperor Uda’s Love of a Cat

I have a short story for you from “Writers in Kyoto” Member Stephen Benfey. According to his bio, he’s a fiction writer, copywriter, and father. He lived in Kyoto during the 1970s, attending college, working for a Japanese gardener, producing videos, and listening to Osaka blues bands. There, he met his future wife and began writing. After raising children in Tokyo, the couple moved to a tiny fishing village on the Boso peninsula. This year, he received honorable mentions from the competition judges for his cleverly conceived piece, “Emperor Uda’s Love of a Cat”.

Short story: https://www.writersinkyoto.com/2022/05/seventh-writing-competition-results-honorable-mentions-stephen-benfey/

If the heat it keeping you up, maybe try listening to Thea Riley’s new release, “2am Tired Eyes” (I know the feeling too well).

Thea is hard at work making the score for my latest short film, “The Last Anomaly”, which will hopefully be out soon.

Life is sending screenwriter and author Sheridan Jobbins a message.


Have a happy weekend. And a Lazy Saturday.


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