Hamish Downie’s News Sushi #143: Morsels of News From Japan and Beyond


Hamish keeps serving the best News Sushi!
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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”!

We are coming to the very end of the cherry blossom season, with the bloom of the double petaled blossoms, epitomised by the flowers seen at the Osaka Mint. Youtuber, David in Osaka, shows us around:

I’m a little late to this, but my partner wanted me to share his favorite songs by Ryuichi Sakamoto in honour of his passing this month. Before I do that, let me share the first time I saw the great musician was as the director of the music video about making a music video Madonna made for her song “Rain”:

She had originally wanted Akira Kurasawa, but when the legendary director declined, she asked Ryuichi Sakamoto, because he was “so beautiful”. By the way, Sam Smith, if you want to make a music video about certain taboos, this is how you do it (if you know, you know).

Also, if you’ve read my columns on Christmas movie recommendations, you’d know that I have recommended “Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence”, which both starred Ryuichi Sakamoto, and was scored by him, featuring one of his most beloved pieces of music.

OK, now without further ado, here’s my partner’s playlist:

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence

Forbidden Colors

The Last Emperor (Main Theme)

On top of being an accomplished composer, he was also a member of the Yellow Magic Orchestra, who along with Kraftwerk were pioneers in electronic music.

Yellow Magic Orchestra “Rydeen”

The following is my partner’s most favourite YMO song and B-Side (do kids even know what this is now) or Non-Album-Song:

YMO “You’ve Got to Help Yourself”/”Expecting Rivers”

YMO “My Heart Belongs to You”/”Chaos Panic”

Ryuichi Sakamoto also produced music for other artists (unfortunately not for Madonna), and here are my partner’s favourites of those:

Miki Nakatani – Mind Circus

Aztec Camera – Spanish Horses

Thank you for the music, Sakamoto-san!

I’ll finish this week’s blog the way I started, with some horticulture:

Have a great week!


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