Tuesday, August 28, 2018

One Time God Gave Me ¥400,000! (About $4,000!)

About 20 years ago or so, I was doing a very late night radio show and I would arrive home at about 3:00 ~ 3:30 am every night.

One night, when I got to my apartment, there was a bunch of trash on the street. I thought it must have been there from my oldest daughter (who was often making trouble with her wild friends) and was worried that the apartment attendant would complain so I began picking up the trash.

There was a lot of bags from McDonald's and empty drinks and french fries, hamburger wrappings.

Anyway, when I just about finished up cleaning, there was also an envelope on the street so I picked it up. When I did, I knew it felt different. I opened it and inside there were forty brand new ¥10,000 bills, in serial number order, inside of it. The envelope was plain and had no names or addresses or anything on it.

"Wow! I'm rich!" I thought.

While I was dreaming of all the bad things I could do with that money, I ran upstairs and told my wife Yuka, who was sound asleep that I had found a bunch of money. I asked her what I should do with it. She said, "I don't care. Do what you want!"

I started dreaming of drinking, gambling, prostitution... all those stupid things stupid guys do with their money. Then I went to sleep.

The next morning when I woke up, my wife and kids were already awake and my eldest daughter said, "Daddy! Give me ¥50,000!" I said, "Why?" She said, "Because you found that money!"

I then realized that the money might be a curse. I started thinking about it.

As a parent, you always teach your children to be honest and to do what's right. How could I say that and then keep the money? That would make me look like a hypocrite. And what about that money? What if it were alimony or child support payments for some poor mother with small children whose husband ran away? What if that money was needed by some handicapped or old person? No! I couldn't keep it.

I had to do what was right. I had to do what I told my children to always do. I had to be honest.

Later that day, I took the money to the police station and told them the story. They couldn't believe it. The envelope didn't have any writing on it at all. They said most people would just keep the money. But I told them about how I was worried that the money was intended for some poor mother with starving children or a handicapped or old person who really needs it.

They said, "You are an honest man!"

I said, "I'm not that honest... I thought about keeping the money at first."

Anyway, I gave the police the money and they told me that they would look for the owner and if someone didn't claim it, they'd let me know and I could keep the money.

I thought, "Sure! In America, you can bet that the police would surely "find" someone to take the money for you." I knew I'd never see the money again and I forgot about it....

Well, six months later, I came home and my wife was smiling brightly. She told me that a postcard had come from the police and that no one had claimed the money and to come to the police station and they'd give the money back to me."

"Wow! Japan is a wonderful country!" I thought.

When we went to get the money. The policeman handed it to me and then, of course, I immediately handed it all over to my wife.....

I felt good about myself. Not only had I done what's right, but I got to keep the money too! See? There is a god!

Later that night, I was going to work again and thinking about how lucky I am. As I was walking along, I saw this very old Catholic sister carrying two cases of beer. I thought it was strange to see a Catholic sister carrying beer. I wanted to take her picture. I stopped and told her that I would carry the beer for her. She was so happy.

So I took the cases of beer and carried them across the crosswalk and down the street toward a car where another sister was waiting.

Man! Those cases of beer were heavy and that old catholic sister looked like she was about 40 kilograms and 80-years old. "How in the heck did that old frail lady carry those beers?" I wondered.

When we finally got to the car, the two sisters were very grateful and invited me to their party at their church. I declined. I had to go to work and I couldn't imagine me at a party with a bunch of Catholic sisters. I would be like Satan hanging around a kindergarten class of little children. No way.

I said goodbye to the sisters and turned back to walk back to the train station. 

By helping the sisters, I went out of my way for about 4 minutes. As I walked towards the station, there was an intersection with about thirty people waiting to cross the street. They were all about 20 meters in front of me when the light turned green and they all crossed. I walked behind them and when I was halfway across the crosswalk, I was shocked to find a ¥10,000 bill just laying in the crosswalk. Everyone had walked right over it and stepped on it and yet no one saw it!? I couldn't believe it. I picked it up.

If I hadn't helped the Catholic sisters and gone out of my way, then I would have never seen that ¥10,000!


Not only had I gotten back the ¥400,000 yen earlier that day, then I did a kind deed for some of god's secretaries and was rewarded again by finding ¥10,000.

This is a true story and I have had a few experiences like this in my life.

It proves to me that: I am a lucky person and that there is a "god" or some sort of "grace"; and, of course, always doing what is right has its own rewards.

NOTE: What happened to the last ¥10,000 I asked my wife if I should take the last ¥10,000 I found to the police. She said, "No! Because it is not in a wrapper and is naked money. And if I go there and say that so soon, they might think that I am some insane foreigner who keeps trying to give away money or that I like talking to the police... So I kept it. 

Friday, August 24, 2018

Matsuchiyo- Life of a Geisha to World Premiere at 2018 Raindance Film Festival London!

The line-up for the 2018 Raindance Film Festival in London has been announced! Raindance Film Festival is the premiere independent film festival in the entire world. Wonderslist shows Raindance at the "10 Most Prestigious Film Festivals Around The World." https://www.wonderslist.com/10-prestigious-film-festivals/ 

I am very happy to announce that a movie I helped produce and did some small parts for has been selected at the 2018 Raindance Film Festival. It is especially thrilling because this makes two years in a row, that a movie I helped write and produce was selected at Raindance.

This year, 2018, 'Matsuchiyo - Life of a Geisha' was selected. last year, "Ghostroads - A Rock n Roll Ghost Story" was selected. 

Here is the teaser:

Want to see more?

This years' 'Matsuchiyo - Life of a Geisha' will have two screenings at Raindance. 

1st: Wed 3rd Oct 15:00 at VUE Theater in Piccadilly London

Main: Fri 5th Oct 17:30 at VUE Theater in Piccadilly London

For more information and tickets check out the Raindance Matsuchiyo information page: 

BIG NEWS!!! There will be presents from Japan that can be won by drawing for guests at both screenings! Matsuchiyo folding Japanese fans will be given out by drawing to at least 50 lucky fans each night! So be there for the "trip" to the real Japan you've always wanted!

The Movie:

'Matsuchiyo - Life of a Geisha' is a documentary about one of the last surviving true geisha in Japan. The story begins with Matsuchiyo's wartime childhood in the Imperial Japanese puppet-state of Manchuria and, consequently, a narrow escape from the Soviet Army onslaught at the end of World War II. She only just escapes with her mother, the only two surviving members of the family. They drift across post-war Japan and finally settle down in a spa-resort town named Atami where Matsuchiyo joins an “Okiya” (a traditional geisha agency), to pay the family debts and support her aging mother. During her apprenticeship years, Matsuchiyo practices, works, and plays hard, to become a true geisha. 
In her adulthood, Matsuchiyo becomes one of the top geisha in the city of Atami, which was booming during 'Japan's post-war economic miracle' era. Living with strict geisha traditions, Matsuchiyo experiences romance, tearful farewells, being a mistress of married men, motherhood and tragic deaths. In her maturity, she acquires a somewhat zen-like attitude and wisdom towards life. 
Today, in her 80's, Matsuchiyo the geisha, is as motivated and inspiring as ever. She still delivers a mesmerizing performance on stage as she actively joins a relief effort for the victims of Japan’s 2011 earthquake, tsunami and following the nuclear disaster. And, like a true artist, Matsuchiyo genuinely enjoys every moment of her life. 
'Matsuchiyo - Life of a Geisha' is narrated by her own son and film director, Ken Nishikawa, and it is adorned with hundreds of beautiful photos from Japan's bygone era. This film illustrates the trials and tribulations of the ultimate Japanese cultural enigma that is - The Life of a Geisha.
This years' 'Matsuchiyo - Life of a Geisha' will have two screenings at Raindance. 

1st: Wed 3rd Oct 15:00 at VUE Theater in Piccadilly London

Main: Fri 5th Oct 17:30 at VUE Theater in Piccadilly London

For more information and tickets check out the Raindance Matsuchiyo information page: 

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

How to Win at Life! - Positive Thinking Will Create Your Own Luck! The Joy is in the Action!

One of the greatest hockey players in history, Wayne Gretzky, once said, "The shots you will definitely miss are the ones you don't take."

About one year ago today, I wrote a blog post entitled, "Winning at Raffles, Bingo and Winning at Life Are Exactly the Same! Here's 5 Simple Tips on How to Win at All of Them!" I know that it must have been about one year ago today because last night was the annual Bingo tournament at the local international school again and, just like last year, my son won again... In fact, he won four times out of twelve games. Granted that there's six to eight winners every game, so out of twelve games, there's a total of about 72 prizes... But in an auditorium of 700~800 people and most people playing more than two or three bingo cards, the odds of winning four times in one sitting are pretty minuscule.

A family that can spend time together having fun is winning at life!

That wasn't his record, though, one time he won five times in one sitting.

Anyway, from that blog post a year ago, "Winning at Raffles, Bingo and Winning at Life Are Exactly the Same! Here's 5 Simple Tips on How to Win at All of Them!" I wrote: 

Winning at raffles, bingo and winning at life are very, almost eerily, similar and I'd like to talk to you about that today. I think, if there is anything that I have been a massive success in my life at is that is being able to convince my children that they will win. I have shown them that the way to win is by first believing that you will win. I have even convinced - may I suggest that I brainwashed - my third daughter into believing that she would conquer "incurable" forth stage cancer. 

But before I go into theory and philosophy more, allow me to continue with telling you about the past and our "luck" and wins in all sorts of games and winning at bingo. Two years ago, we won the very top prize of a vacation to Okinawa that included hotel and airfare. Yesterday, he won the trip to New York. In February of this year, he won a gift certificate worth several hundred dollars at a very famous store in Tokyo. Last year, he won five times out of a total of 12 games or so in one tournament. Think about that; there are seven hundred people all competing at bingo trying to win the prize. To win once is enough to bring wide smiles and cheers to anybody's face. But he won five games in one night! That must be a record. Every time my son won, people were astounded. By the forth time he won, everyone was clapping for him. By the fifth time, people were verbally shouting, "That's incredible!" "I've never heard of such a thing."

Yesterday, again, when my son won the first time, people were laughing and saying, "There he goes again! He always wins!" By the time he won the second, third or even forth time, people seemed dumbfounded. Actually, I was sitting across from my son and watching him. He came awfully close to winning another six times or so. A few times, he sat with a card that almost immediately had four numbers in a row waiting for his final number to be called. But the numbers didn't come. A few times, the announcer called and called out another dozen numbers or so, until someone else finally called out "Bingo!" 

My son, after winning the four times, was going after a record-breaking (at least for him) sixth time.

Now, how does winning at bingo and winning at life relate to each other?

Well, I hate sounding like a salesman, because I'm not selling you anything, but I'm here to tell you right now you can become one of those lucky people... 

There are two really important things that you need to understand about becoming one of these lucky people. One is understanding what exactly it is that we are doing and its purpose in our life; and the second part is how these things affect your entire belief system. These two go hand in hand. 

A happy kid who actually believes... This is the true lesson I want to teach him about life... Who cares about trinkets?

The first part about understanding what it is that we are doing is, perhaps, the most important part. Today, we're using bingo as an example, so let's go with that. Think about this; is winning at bingo the best part of going to bingo? Is winning everything? I don't think so.

At bingo, I meet friends and other parents and always smile and shake their hands and say, "Hi!" We are all at bingo so, of course, the subject quickly turns to bingo. I always try to be extremely positive and say, "I always win!" They laugh. They don't believe me (the ones who knows us well don't laugh). Invariably, they all say the same thing,

"I never win." 

They say this with a voice of exasperation and defeat. Poor folks. They are totally and completely missing the point. They are really missing the boat in the bad lesson that they are unknowingly teaching their children subconsciously. Get this: I suggest to you that they are teaching their children defeatism and a losing attitude. 

I can imagine this family in my head; after "losing" at bingo (I mean they don't win a "prize"), they hop in the car and go home. Dad and mom and kids are sad because they "didn't win." When they get into the house, dad takes off his coat and gives out a very loud sigh. "We lost again!" He says.

Is that any way to teach your children how to win? Is that any way to teach your children how to be positive?  

Here is what I always tell my son before we play bingo;

"Remember the best part of bingo is not in the "winning," it is in the "doing." Just being able to be here playing bingo is winning. This is fun and it is a wonderfully exciting time we spend together. Just by being here, we have already won. So smile and let's have fun!" 

It is. Playing bingo with my wife and son is a great memory and it is so very much fun. 

I tell my son this because I want him to be a winner. I want him to understand what "being a winner" truly is. This sort of thinking, this positive attitude, actually, I learned from an old Zen Buddhist saying,

"The joy is in the action, not in the result."

Can you understand this concept? The joy is in the action, not the result. Get it? I think people who truly love to paint or fish or golf, etc., can understand this. For the painter, a beautiful work is nice, but the true value and joy is not the finished painting, it is in the action of painting. For the fisherman, of course catching a fish is fun, but the true joy is standing there alone in front of nature and contemplating life - the joy is in the doing; for the golfer, the winning score is interesting, but soon forgotten; the real joy is in the day and the time considering the play. For all of them, the real value is in the action, not in the result. 

This is what is meant by, "The joy is in the action, not in the result."

Now, do you understand why, whether or not my son wins a big prize (a trinket), he knows, he believes and knows in his heart that he is a true winner? Can anyone deny that, regardless of prize, that we won merely by being able to go and play together and enjoy this moment together on our short time on this earth? 

So, friends, think about what is really important! Is it a trinket? Think about it; how many others are suffering? How many families would love to visit bingo together as a family but one child is ill in the hospital with a deadly disease? How many people in this world can't enjoy even having shoes upon their feet? Yet these families can come to the bingo event with their children and enjoy a wonderful exciting time together! Spending this short fleeting time with ones children while you can is winning in every sense of the word.

If your kids are healthy and you have the time to spend with them at a school function playing Bingo, or even reading a book together then, trust me, you have already won..... You are alive. You are together. You and your child are healthy? You are a winner.

So remember, my friends, what winning really is. Is it getting a package of trinkets or tickets to go somewhere or is it spending a lovely time together and giving your child your complete and total self and your dedication and time? 

No! We have "won" simply because we are there together having fun! Who cares about some trinkets?

So for this morning, look at your children. Do you have a happy and healthy family? Yes? Then remember, that whether it is a bingo or a raffle or a drawing, daily life or whatever; if your children are healthy and you are spending a fun time together with them, that alone makes you a grand prize winner in life! Never forget that.

So smile and say, "Yes! I won!"

Some people will scoff at this (they have a losing attitude). But let me ask you to consider this question: There are two children. They both have to go to school. One wakes up in the morning and says, "I don't want to go to school. School is no fun." The other wakes up and says, "I want to go to school. School is fun." Which kid gets good grades at school? Which kid becomes successful at school? Which kid is positive, is popular, gets the best girlfriend or boyfriend and becomes class king or class queen?

Simple, isn't it? It is the old chicken and the egg problem. Which came first? The kid liking school or the positive attitude? Which came first? Hating school or the negative attitude? And how did these children get these attitudes?

How do these attitudes affect our belief system? How can we change these attitudes? And, if we have children, how can we stop teaching them bad attitudes and start teaching them beneficial ones?

I think it is obvious how these attitudes affect our belief system. In the example above, do you want to be like the father above who comes home exasperated and continually expressed doubt and a defeatist attitude to himself or his children, or, do you want to be the person who understands that the joy is in the action and not the result?

Again, yesterday, before bingo started, I met a few people who claimed that my family always wins and that their family never wins. Again, I said to them what I always say,

"With saying that, it is very difficult for you to win. Imagine the Wright Brothers! Do you think they could have flown in an airplane had they not believed they could fly? Don't you think that everyone told them it was impossible? If you think you won't win, isn't that a sort of 'self-fulling prophesy'?

Many people told the Wright Brothers that, "If god had meant man to fly, he'd have given man wings." But the Wright Brothers didn't listen. They believed and their belief made them succeed. Do you think they could succeed if they didn't believe? Everyone knows the power of positive thinking!

Take the story of Jesus walking on water. In my thinking, man cannot walk on water; it is impossible. But, I believe that this story about Jesus is not literal. What I believe it represents is Jesus preaching faith and belief (read: the power of positive thinking). Of course man cannot walk on water. Walking on water is impossible. But! If man believes that he can accomplish the impossible, then he can.

That's what the story about Jesus walking on water represents to me... So can man walk on water? No! That's impossible, but in Matthew 14, Jesus walked on water and accomplished the impossible. See what I mean? The story of Jesus walking on water seems a parable to me to mean that if you believe, if you really believe, you can move mountains.... 

Gee, moving a mountain is impossible too... But people do that too!"

Believe and you can win! It doesn't matter if it's something as silly as bingo or a raffle... But believe and be positive and you can win at much more important things like life, love and success.

And now, from that former post, here's tips on concrete things that you can do  to turn your situation around and make things better STARTING RIGHT NOW:

From today, here's five things that you need to do to start on the track to believing that you can win at bingo and win at life:

1) Write down on three pieces of paper the saying, "The joy is in the action, not in the result." Tape one of the pieces of paper to the refrigerator and tape one in your car where you see it constantly and the last one in your wallet. Think about that phrase a lot. Repeat it out loud whenever or wherever you can.

2) Get a dollar notebook and start writing down your top 10 goals for your life and do it everyday! Here's how.

3) Wake up in the morning and the first thing you MUST do is think: "Smile! Today is going to be a great day!" If you can't remember to do this by yourself, then write it in large red letters on a piece of paper and tape it to your bathroom mirror.

4) Start using the Law of Attraction and positivity to create a good self-fulling prophesy to help you. Here's how

5) Start greeting everyone you meet with a happy and healthy "Hello!" or "Good Morning!" Stop sounding like you are dead to the world. If you greet people with an un-energetic salutation then you sound like you are losing. Stop it immediately. Everyone is searching for positive people. You should be that person. Instead of being "dark" and absorbing light like a sponge, you should give out light. People are attracted to light.

And, number six, OK, I said there'd be only five, so sue me...

6) Call your mom or dad or kids and tell them you love them and do it RIGHT NOW! Don't hesitate! Or, better yet, give them a great big hug and tell them yourself how much you love them and how beautiful they are. Realize that today is a fantastic day and you all are the luckiest people in the world... (Oh, and of you do go to bingo, take grandma... She's lucky, right?) 

Some people read this and think that I am a very lucky person. I am. But I've been through two divorces, a war with cancer, family members dying in bizarre car accidents, worrying about work as we all do (nothing special)... I've been through a lot of difficult times... But you know what? I never forget something special; I know that projecting negativity will just make things worse; I know that projecting positivity, in the face of great challenges, is creating a good outcome for myself and my loved ones through the power of the Law of Attraction. I know that, by being happy and thankful that I create a better situation for you and a better situation for myself.

Remember my friends, "The joy is in the action, not in the result."

Stay happy. Stay positive. Spread positivity. You already possess the greatest prize of all.


NOTES: More tips on winning at life, being more positive and a better parent:

One Easy Step to Becoming a Better Parent and More Successful at Life

Pocket Notebooks - the Secret of Millionaires and People Won't Listen

How to Stop Worrying so much and Become More Successful at Life

Make Your Own Success

One Easy Step To Becoming a Better Parent and More Successful at Life 

Power of Positive Thinking and Self Fulfilling Prophesy 

Positive Thinking: The Story of A Guy Who Defeated 4th Stage Cancer - Two Sides of the Positive/Negative Thinking Coin 

Monday, July 30, 2018

I Interviewed Johnny Rotten - the True Story.

"The saying goes ‘you should never meet your heroes’ because inevitably this person you’ve built up to be larger than life in your mind is going to let you down, and reality is going to punch you square across the jaw." - Cass Anderson

I just spent almost two weeks in London at the world famous "Raindance Film Festival." I was there promoting our movie, "Ghostroads - a Japanese Rock n Roll Ghost Story (Trailer here). Raindance is one of the most prestigious film festivals in the entire world and the film festival with the most Street Cred. I had the time of my life there. I will write about the wonderful experiences I had there, but for now, I want to write about one of the biggest disappointments in my life at that festival; meeting and interviewing one of the heroes of my youth, John Lydon (AKA: Johnny Rotten formerly singer of the Sex Pistols).

L>R: Mike Rogers interviewing Tabbert Fiiler (Director of "The Public Image is Rotten") and Johnny Lydon (Formerly Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols)

Our film did very well at Raindance. The World Premiere there was sold out! I was thankful. I guess we did so well that I made such a good impression on the festival staff and management that on the last Friday of the event, one of the organizers asked me to host the Question and Answer period for the movie about the history of the Post-Punk band, Public Image (AKA: P.I.L.) entitled, "The Public Image is Rotten." She added that John Lydon would be there for the interview. 

When I was 19 ~ 20, the Sex Pistols changed my life. If it weren't for the Sex Pistols, I'd have never made my own punk band or gotten into radio and the mass media as my job. I idolized them. To this very day, I even collect original Sex Pistols items, some of them costing me hundreds of dollars.

If it weren't for the Sex Pistols, I may have never come to Japan nor made the movie.

The day when I saw in the newspapers that Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious had died, I cried. For me, that was the end of punk at the time (little would I imagine that Green Day would take punk to the Top 40). The Sex Pistols changed my life. They were heroes to me in my youth.

So when I was asked to host the Q&A with the director, Tabbert Fiiler, of the film, "The Public Image is Rotten" and John Lydon, of course, I jumped at the chance. It was a dream come true.

The day of the interview, I spent 4 or 5 hours preparing for what was scheduled to be only a 15-minute post-screening interview.

When 7 pm, the appointed time arrived, I was in the designated meeting place with the staff of the festival. One by one, members and staff with Public Image arrived at the theater. I had studied them so I knew their names and what they looked like, so when they arrived, I quickly introduced myself and became friendly with the band (Scott, the bassist, and Lu, the guitarist, are cool guys)... The other folks, management and entourage (read: paid friends?) Not so much... The others seemed aloof... Or, probably they'd already started partying and drinking before they arrived?

Probably? No way. They had been drinking... Some of them more than drinking!

John Lydon was very late to the pre-party, of course. We all anxiously awaited the arrival of the king. The movie was scheduled to start at 8:15 pm, and he was scheduled for publicity photos, press and a brief meeting with me beforehand to fix the interview questions. 

Finally, more than an hour late, John Lydon arrived. Most of the riff-raff (like me) could not really get close to him as he was surrounded by his handlers and related members. As someone who doesn't follow rules, I jumped the barrier, and went closeby Lydon and tried to introduce myself (I wanted to do a professional interview) but couldn't really get close at first. John was soon rushed off to a to take promo photos on the red carpet.

I was allowed into the photo area and, since time was short, and I wanted a good interview, I forced myself closeby as I just wanted to ask him if there were any questions he wanted asking, or if there were any questions he wanted to avoid... Pretty standard stuff to ask for an interview. But, it was nearly impossible to get near him.

Finally, when I did get close to Lydon, I introduced myself as the host of the event that night and asked the question, he blurted out some one-word grunting sound and then ignored me. 

The members of P.I.L. had asked me to ask John whether they all wanted to sit in the front of the theater or the back of the theater (I should have been suspicious when the band asked me to ask him instead of asking themselves). After he mumbled something incoherent, he stumbled off. I then asked his wife, Nora, if they wanted to sit in the front or the back of the theater. She smiled at me and her reply, also, was merely a grunt. 

How charming. How intelligent. But, it's OK, I live in Japan, I speak Grunt Language too. No problem.

I told Scott and Lu, the P.I.L. band members, about this grunting reply from John and Nora and they both laughed and said, "Welcome to the club."

I assumed that Nora's grunting meant "near the front of the theater" and told the theater staff.

Me and Tony the event director/manager. This guy was great the entire festival. Polite, smart and professional all the way. Later he'd tell me all sorts of wild stories about how many big stars were total children and assholes. I figure he'll be assassinated before they make a movie about his GREAT and unbelievable stories. Thanks Tony. You are tops!

Just before the film started, the theater director, named Tony (not his real name) walked up to Lydon and said, "Hi, I think we need to get down to the theater in about 5 minutes. Is that OK with you?"

To that, for some inexplicable reason, Lydon sneered at him and scowled like my paraplegic 3rd-grade sister and pointed and said, "I don't like you. I'm not talking to you. If you want to talk to me, you have to talk to my manager."

John Lydon's manager, a questionably slimy guy named John Rambo (who seemed more an Amway or used car salesman than a professional artist manager), was standing right there besides Lydon and, as if nothing was amiss, repeated exactly what Tony had said to Lydon and back and forth. It was like a Monty Python episode: Three guys having a conversation and the guy in the middle saying exactly the same thing the village idiot and the professional (Tony) were saying; astounding behavior for a 61-year-old man... Typical behavior for a spoiled, bratty 6 or 7-year-old at grammar school.

This absurd nonsense went on for a few minutes; Tony asking the questions he needs to ask as a professional and manager; John Lydon acting like a child, and his dim-wit manager, John Rambo (whose name isn't Rambo, but he insists everyone call him that), talking between them as if this was normal behavior for a 61-year-old man.

John Rambo, being an ass kisser, and a useless manager who could never say to Lydon something like, "What the hell? Knock it off and stop acting like a little kid. Goddammit!" 

He couldn't say that like a professional manager would.

I realized that John Lydon is completely surrounded by "Yes Men" and ass kissers. It was a depressing realization, actually. I reckon everyone around him (I mean the ones who aren't stoned) realize that he is scatological, often incoherent, and hypocritical. He has surrounded himself with people who will never tell him when he is wrong or saying something extremely stupid. 

He says stupid stuff with regularity (at least he did that night.) 

Finally, an hour late, we went to the screening and watched the film, "The Public Image is Rotten" which was a film that continued the ass-kissing and glossed over all the problems of the Sex Pistols as well as John Lydon's own ideological as well as illogical inconsistencies and, well, self-serving rationalization and excuses.

I do have to add here that I can't blame Lydon for wanting respect. I get it totally. I have the same desire in Japan where I live and work. One must walk a mile in a man's shoes before judging him and I totally understand wanting respect and status. I desire the same, so I can't fault him for that. 

But I can fault him for being unprofessional, drunk, and incoherent at his own film premiere in the UK. It is the premiere; the first. One only gets one chance at a first impression. So I think blowing it is not acceptable and a source of regret.

L>R: Mike Rogers in interview with Fiiler, Lydon, Edmunds, First of P.I.L.

During the screening, a bunch of the people surrounding him were doing some sort of chemicals by alighting something on aluminum foil (I don't know if John was doing that or not, but he was really drunk at the least.) The stoners were shouting nonsense during the screening like, "Johnny be good" or some other crap. 

After the film, we had the interview and Lydon was talking mostly nonsense... But it seems he thinks it is some sort of genius philosophy, but it was just nonsense..... He continually jumped up and yelled, "Don't be a robot!" "Don't follow the system or the rules." 

Yet he praised the collective of the government-run health insurance scheme.

Right, John... Don't be a robot; don't follow the rules, but join the government-run system just like all the other sheep and slaves?

I rolled my eyes. Is this guy so messed up he doesn't realize the hypocrisy of what he just spouted out?

Many people in the audience were taking videos on their cameras but, after Lydon began talking for a minute or two, many of them stopped and dropped their cameras down. He was spouting incoherent nonsense. It really was very sad.

I tried my best to control the interview for the allotted 15 minute time-slot (but, as a robot too, I tried to follow the schedule for the convenience of the audience - as opposed to Johnny who was an hour late and the screening was an hour late, and people had to get home as it was after 11 pm... But we shouldn't follow the rules yet we should be joining the collective???)

At one point, when Lydon was rambling about something or another, the floor director of the event signaled to me to cut it off, so I interrupted Lydon and went to a question to the audience. At that point, his manager, Rambo said to me, "Oh no, now you've done it... You've interrupted him!"

If looks could kill, Rambo would be dead as I shot him a look like, "Shut the F-up! I'm doing him a favor by interrupting his stupid crap!"

There were a few questions from the audience with Lydon giving his self-serving answers (just like the film) but the interview was drunk rambling. 

At the end of the interview, as time was short and late, I said, "We have time for one more question..." To which John's manager said to me, "No. No one kicks John out of a place!"

Oh really? 

Lowly underpaid bouncers wouldn't even allow John into his own after-party as he was so stumbling drunk. Even the famous UK newspaper, the Sun, wrote about it: ROTTEN LUCK Sex Pistols star Johnny Rotten got barred from his own party — after security refused him entry for being too drunk (https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/4598378/drunk-johnny-rotten-barred-from-party/)

Photo from the UK newspaper, The Sun, claiming, "Johnny Rotten looked pretty glum after not being allowed into his own party." (https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/4598378/drunk-johnny-rotten-barred-from-party/)

Finally, Lydon stood in front of the entire audience, waved his arms wide and said something like, "I want you all to know that I love you all and want you to come down here to the front and take photos with me."

Of course, the only people who could get close to Lydon were his team and invited fans, so that statement was bullshit too. 

If he really wanted to meet the regular fans, he'd have shaken their hands as they came into the theater. But he didn't. It was all bullshit.

I did that for my movie; I met and shook hands with everyone who came to the film. I also gave them guitar picks or badges and said, "Thanks."....But, then again, I am working class riff-raff and not royalty.

A few people from the audience came down to the front, but they couldn't get really close to Lydon. He was surrounded by his posse.... Most of the audience sat in bewildered silence. I grabbed the mic and said, "It's OK, folks, it's late so if you want to go home now, please do."

The king and savior of the working classes had spoken; all animals were equal but some were more equal than others.

After the interview was over, P.I.L. members were really apologetic to me for Lydon's behavior (I figured he delivered what everyone expected so I wasn't mad) and they invited me to the after-party. I agreed to go.... But after all the nonsense and standing in the rain, I went home. 

The Sun article is not exactly true that he wasn't allowed into his own party. He was after fifteen or twenty minutes of arguments and being rejected several times.... But it was packed and the members of P.I.L. and I left immediately and they asked me to go drinking with them someplace else. We went to several clubs but they were all packed. After walking a long time, I said "Goodbye" and I went home.

Like they say, "you should never meet your heroes’ because inevitably this person you’ve built up to be larger than life in your mind is going to let you down."

Here's a video of the interview. He insulted me before and during this interview...It was cool. He was a total asshole... Did any of us expect any less? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2NJYq4OHb8

But... It was sad...

WANT TO READ MORE AMAZING STORIES ABOUT THE RAINDANCE FILM FESTIVAL? CHECK THIS: Confessions of a Sandwich Sign Man https://modernmarketingjapan.blogspot.jp/2017/10/confessions-of-sandwich-sign-man.html

Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Three Signs of True Stardom! A True Story about Elvis Presley, Donald Trump, Pamela DesBarres, Rodney Bingenheimer, Arnold Schwartzenegger & Stephen David Brooks

Today I have a (hopefully) humorous story about how one can know if they REALLY are famous! What is "Famous"? There's lots of definitions... But here's a simple three-step test to see if you have become REALLY famous.

You need to fulfill all three qualifications to be truly famous.

The First Qualification of Stardom!

You start getting people who bash you and/or threaten your life.

Sure, you have a hit song or you are a Hollywood in-crowd or starlet. But are you really famous? Well, you ain't famous unless some people hate you and begin to obsess over you. 

People diss you on Social Media? Meh... People disparage you in articles or on TV? Well, that's getting there. People stalk you or threaten your life? That's it! You must be famous if some nutcase cares about you so much to obsess over you like that!

Now, you can be famous and live in fear for the rest of your life! Well done!

I remember many years ago, Pamela DesBarres came to Japan to promote her best selling book "I'm With the Band" (the true stories of the life of a groupie superstar). World famous DJ, Rodney Bingenheimer (Rodney on the Roq), asked me to take care of her in Japan, so I did... Rodney had only told me her name was "Miss Pamela." I picked her up at the airport. 

Being an idiot, I didn't know that her last name was pronounced, "De-bar" I thought it was pronounced "Des-Bar-res." So, while we were riding back to Tokyo in my car, she started telling me about what she did and why she was in Japan. As I drove, I started thinking, "Wait a minute! I've heard of you!" (This confusion about famous Hollywood people used to happen with me a lot when I was hanging around Rodney). Then she handed me the book, I looked at the cover, and I knew exactly who she was!

Pamela Des Barres' Bestselling Book, "I'm With the Band"

About that same time, the comedy and satire magazine, "National Lampoon" had done a satire of "I'm With The Band" and had a hilarious article lampooning Miss Pamela's book. The article, with funny photos and story, was entitled something like, "I'm With the Brass Quartet" (or something like that). This was really coincidental because I just so happened to have that particular magazine with me in the car and I showed it to her.

She didn't like it at all. But I told her, "No! This great! When you get made fun of or people bash you, that means you've 'made it!' It means you've become so famous that everyone knows who you are and so people can make fun of you. This is a real status symbol!"

It's true. People don't publicly bash people who aren't famous, there's no point in that. People publicly bash famous people; because then everyone gets the joke. It's one of the three qualifications for true stardom. 

The Second Qualification of Stardom!

People walk up to you at restaurants and say, "Are you somebody?" 

They say, "If you wanna be professional, act professional." If you wanna be a star, look and act like one.

A long time ago, I was with that same famous DJ, Rodney Bingenheimer, at Canters restaurant in Hollywood. It was in the daytime before his show. 

Rodney was being visited by many musicians who wanted to sit with him and chat... I felt it was my duty to be a sort of adjutant for Rodney and so, as people walked up to our (his) table, I would stand up and block them (politely) and ask them, "Can I help you?" 

Later, Rodney was sitting there with somebody super famous (I think it was Phil Spector but can't remember well) when some lady walked up (I think she was a tourist). I stood up and did my duty and asked how I can be of assistance to her. She pointed at Rodney and said, "Is he somebody?" 

I was surprised and said, "Uh, yeah. Everybody is somebody!" 

She then said, "No, I mean is he famous?" 

I replied, "He is the most famous disc jockey in the world." The lady then scowled and quickly turned and walked away uninterested. 

I should have told her "That's David Bowie!" 

Rodney Bingenheimer has that "look of 'somebody.'" He has two of the qualifications of true stardom.

Rodney Bingenheimer (Left) Phil Spector (Right)

The Third Rail is the Ultimate Sign of Fame

Forget the Academy Awards, Grammys, Oscars, MTV Music Awards, Tony's, Peabody & Sherman's! The true pinnacle of success, the peak of the summit, the plastic pickles on the cheeseburger, is when a Chinese company makes a Halloween costume of your likeness for sale to the public. 

Laugh if you will, but it is truly the ultimate honor... Lots of people have won Oscars or Grammies or whatever. Few. Very few have been made into Halloween costumes.

Every year, I see these costumes on sale here in Japan. Of course, there's the usual: Donald Trump, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley... But also in this year's Top 100 selling costumes, there's Heather Chandler, Severus Snape, Ziggy Bowie and, surprisingly, Uncle Fester from the Addams Family... 

But this morning, I saw something that dropped my jaw! My dear friend, movie director, Stephen David Brooks is now a Halloween Costume! Wow! Move over Sylvester Stallone and Arnie Schwarzenegger! I haven't seen you two loser's costumes in a long time. 

Now, you might be saying to yourself, "Who is Stephen David Brooks?" and that might be a fair question. But, it doesn't matter what you or I think, when a billion Chinese think he's famous enough for a Halloween mask, then he's famous enough for a Halloween mask, OK?

There's a new kid on the block! All hail the new king! Movie director, Stephen David Brooks! 

Here is his costume on sale: https://www.cosplay.com.hk/comics/Celebrity/Stephen+David+Brooks

Really. What an honor, eh?

So, now, Stephen David Brooks enters that same hallowed Hall of Fame of where few have walked: there is a plastic costume of him on sale in Asia! 

Well done, Stephen! I hope that Hong Kong company is paying you good royalties!

NOTE: Stephen David Brooks is a multi award winning director of the movie Flytrap. You can read all about him here: SMC Spotlight Series No.1 | Stephen David Brooks 'Flytrap' Director & Writer Exclusive Interview starlightmusicchroniclesspotlight.com/smc-spotlight-series-no-1-stephen-david-brooks-flytrap-director-writer-exclusive-interview/

One Time God Gave Me ¥400,000! (About $4,000!)

About 20 years ago or so, I was doing a very late night radio show and I would arrive home at about 3:00 ~ 3:30 am every night. One nig...