Thursday, May 31, 2012

40% Facebook's supposed 900 million alleged users don't exist?

Another one from the "No way. You've got to be kidding me!" file.

If I hadn't already laid out a litany of reasons to stay away from stocks like Groupon, Facebook and the rest of everything that has any whiff of so-called "Social Media" involved with it, here comes another reason:

"Spammers create as many as 40 percent of the accounts on social-media sites...."

So that means that 40% Facebook's supposed 900 million alleged users don't exist?

Bloomberg reports in: ‘Likejacking’: Spammers Hit Social Media

“Social spam can be a lot more effective than e-mail spam,” says Mark Risher, chief executive officer of Impermium, which sells anti-spam software. “The bad guys are taking to this with great abandon.”

Spammers create as many as 40 percent of the accounts on social-media sites, according to Risher. About 8 percent of messages sent via social pages are spam, approximately twice the volume of six months ago, he says. Spammers use the sharing features on social sites to spread their messages. Click on a spammer’s link on Facebook, and it may ask you to “like” or “share” a page, or to allow an app to gain access to your profile.

Woo-boy! Did I say "Facebook shares in the mid-20s by December?" I did. Good. But I was wrong. Look for the mid-10s! 

That's where it's going!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Gaijin Gourmet: Okonomiyaki Taiho in Tokyo at Tamagawa Station

Okonomiyaki is delicious! I love okonomiyaki!

Okonomiyaki paaaaar-tay!

"Okonomi... What!?" (I can hear you say!) That's oko-no-mi-yaki. Wikipedia says:

Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き o-konomi-yaki) is a Japanese savoury pancake containing a variety of ingredients. The name is derived from the word okonomi,meaning "what you like" or "what you want", and yaki meaning "grilled" or "cooked" (yakitori and yakisoba). 

Me cooking up a storm (photo by Vouch Trace)

Okonomiyaki is mainly associated with Kansai or Hiroshima areas of Japan, but is widely available throughout the country. Toppings and batters tend to vary according to region. Tokyo okonomiyaki is usually smaller than a Hiroshima or Kansai okonomiyaki.

Yeah. It's a sort of "Japanese pancake." I love okonomiyaki.

(photo by Michio Hashimoto)

Last night I went to an okonomiyaki place here in Tokyo at Tamagawa station that is called "Taiho." Taiho has great okonomiyaki. Now, usually I don't like Tokyo okonomiyaki as Osaka and Hiroshima are much better, but Taiho's okonomiyaki was excellent.

Taiho also has awesome unique style of monjyayaki

I was there to interview to shop's owner, Takahashi san about her place for a radio show that I produce and, while there to partake in the fine dining (and far too much drinking). The food was excellent and I had a wonderful time.

Live radio interview with Takahashi Tencho

Until I had interviewed Takahashi san, I didn't know why her shop was so popular but, it has stood the test of time... Get this, that restaurant opened up in 1962! It's been open for 50 years! Takahashi san's mom founded and ran the place originally and passed it down to her. You know if a restaurant has been opened for 50 years and still packs them in every night, it has to be good!

Takahashi Tencho says the secret to running a restaurant for 50 years is to, "Take care of your customer and treat everyone like they are special and that they are family and they will take care of you back!"

The address is:

Taiho Okonomiyaki
1-55-7 Den-en-chofu, Ota-Ku, Tokyo, Japan 145-0071
Tele: 03 - 3721 - 9835
Business hours are 5 pm ~ 11 pm. Closed on Mondays.

Taiho is a great place to take the whole family. It's fun for the kids too as you cook your own okonomiyaki, monjyayaki, weiners, potatoes, whatever right at your own table! Also, the kids can watch the Toyoko trains go by the front window! Everyone loves the food and atmosphere at Taiho. You will too! 

If you go there, tell Takahashi san that you read about it on Mike's blog!

My friend Michio in front of Taiho

Here's a map:

Monday, May 28, 2012

My Socks.... (And Leaving a Mark). Are you leaving a mark on the world that you were here?

I have the exact same pair in the drawer somewhere!

What's the point of this? Nothing.... Well, nothing excepting one thing; and that's about blogging. 

Blogging is different from Facebook and Twitter in one big way. On Facebook and Twitter, one comments and leaves a photo or link, then that message quickly floats back into oblivion. 

A blog post? It remains. A blog post leaves a mark.

Even when I die, this post will still be here, fifty years from now.

Are you leaving a mark?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Japan and China Start Direct Trading of Currency in One Week? US Dollar Out?

Things are starting to roll very fast towards the US Dollar losing its place as the world reserve currency. Incredibly, this just in from Zerohedge: China And Japan Dropping Dollar Cross Rate System, Will Transact Directly:

As Yomiuri Shimbun reported last night, China and Japan are set to launch direct currency trading, bypassing the dollar, and the associated benefits and risks, entirely. "But how can that be?" dollar purists will scream. After all, when one bypasses the dollar, one commits blasphemy to a reserve currency. Somehow we think China gets that. From the AP: "Japan and China are expected to start direct trading of their currencies as early as June as part of efforts to boost bilateral trade and investment, according to reports. With the planned step, exchange rates between the yen and the yuan will be determined by their transactions, departing from the current "cross rate" system that involves the dollar in setting yen-yuan rates, Kyodo News said on Saturday."

More specifics on how the world's second and third largest economy will just say no to dollar hegemony here.

If you live in Japan, may I ask again? Got gold? Best Place to Buy Gold and Silver in Japan

Americans Do Barbecue Better Than the Japanese Can! God Bless the United States of America!

About a week ago, my wife told me that we were invited to a birthday party for one of my son's school friends. My wife said that other school parents weren't invited and, since my son's friend (the birthday boy) liked me so much, he insisted to his parents that I be invited...

I had hosted the Halloween party at their class and have hosted several events for the kids. I guess my son's friend thinks I am fun and "funny." 

I was pretty happy to be invited as I often do get invited by other parents to help out at these sorts of parties. 

The birthday party was yesterday, Saturday, but on Thursday night my wife told me something that made me very unhappy about being invited. She said,

"The people holding the party are an Italian and Japanese couple so they don't really know how to barbecue. So they want you to come along and handle the barbecue duties."

"What!?" I was so surprised.

"Yes. Since you are an American, everyone figures that you know best how to barbecue."

Can you believe it? Just because of my passport people think I know how to barbecue!? That's like saying every Spaniard is excellent at the Flamenco and all Germans drive tanks or a Mercedez Benz... Out and out racism, I tell ya!!!!

Suddenly I didn't want to go. I mean, it's hard enough to watch a bunch of kids but a birthday party and having to barbecue for 20 kids and a few parents?! And having to do that to protect the honor of my country!? Talk about putting the pressure on me! Not my idea of a fun time and fun way to spend my Saturday... Especially when I've been working a lot recently and haven't time to do anything and just want to rest. I complained on Friday night to my wife that I didn't want to go.

Too late. She had promised that we'll be there. I made up my mind to have a positive attitude and try to do the best I could to have fun... Defend my country's honor and try to have fun while doing it? Hmmm.... I wonder if those marines were laughing when they planted that US flag on Iwo Jima at the end of World War II?

Yeah, yeah.. A real barrel of laughs

When we got to the party, I was shocked. No, we weren't the only other parents invited. There were at least 30 other adults there. Probably about 20 kids. I cringed.

Luckily for me, the host of the party, Leonardo (aren't all Italians named Leonardo?) told me to enjoy myself and start drinking wine. I did.

What a feast my friends! Leonardo used to run a very high end Italian restaurant so the food was fantastic! At the barbecue they had tons of really fresh vegetables and the biggest grass fed beef steaks I've ever seen in Japan! Not only that, but they had fresh tiger shrimp, fresh scallops, chicken, tons of sea food, lamb chops from New Zealand...


Oh, and, I guess I should say that they had a hundred bottles of fine Italian wine. I said to Leonardo,

"Leonardo, my friend. Who is going to eat all this food?" 

He replied, "Oh, no! My friend! We must have the best party ever. WE must have so much food and a feast that people will never forget!" I'm serious. I couldn't believe it.

One of the Japanese guys who works for Leonardo said to me, 

"It's how the Italians always do it!" He laughed.

Besides expensive steak, this is what I was barbecuing for 8 year old kids!!!!

They had enough food for 150 people there and it was all very high-class gourmet style cuts and grade. I have never seen such a thing at a house barbecue. No cheap hotdogs and hamburgers!

But I soon realized why the food was like that. Leonardo not only had his son's birthday party, but he also had people visiting from the Vatican! No kidding. There were also several guys who I was introduced to who were like "President of Maserati Japan," "President of Alfa Romeo" something like that (like I said, I was drinking and by the time these guys had shown up with the guy from the Vatican, I was quite tipsy). There was also some Italian movie director there with his model-girlfriend...

Anyhow Leonardo had a few Japanese friends and workers there to handle the barbecue. I was relieved. I kept drinking...

I walked over to the cutting table where the Japanese guys and Leonardo were cutting the steak. Oh, man, those Japanese guys nuked those steaks! They were VERY VERY well-done... Er, overly-done!

Imported German sausages... For kids??? (I ate a ton of these!)

I looked at Leonardo and, by the concerned look on his face, could read his mind. He was thinking the same thing I was thinking,

"Oh! No! "What a waste of good steak!" Leonardo then looked at me and his eyes met mine. He furrowed his brow. Again I read his mind and said to him, 

"Leonardo, gee. I think those are a bit too overcooked. You want them red inside, don't you? Do you want me to handle the barbecue for you?"

"Oh, yes! Mike!" He seemed so happy!

"It figures!" I thought. 

So, I was roped into barbecuing the steaks and rest of the food for 60 or 70 people for the rest of the day. I wish I had the time to take the photos of the awesome food but, when you are handling two big grills at once and a few dozen people are waiting for food, you don't have time to do anything...

Well, anything but drink... So I have a hangover today.

My favorite: Barbecued scallops. The biggest scallops I've ever seen!

Later on, several people complimented me and Leonardo on the food an barbecue. One time Leonardo said "Thank you!" to guests and added, "My American friend here saved the day!"

They all agreed that Americans were the best at barbecuing... At least we're still number one in at least one category!!! God Bless the United States of America!

Ha! Americans to the rescue! (Only at barbecues!?) I laughed.

Anyway. Yes. It was a great party Leonardo! I had heard that the Italians know how to party and eat like Kings. Yesterday I saw it for the first time.....

I also saw why the Japanese say "Americans are good at barbecue!" It's probably not that we are so good at it, it's probably just because everyone else sucks so badly and over cooks everything!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Cool & Strange Music - Vol. Five: Smoke on the Water and Jailhouse Rock

Yee haa! Geisha Rock and Roll!!!!

Hell… It's a Saturday night, I've been drinking all day, and now it's late at night (6:45 pm to be exact) and time for my bedtime…

But, since you sick kids like this Cool and Stange Japanese music stuff so much… I got this one for you…

Smoke on the Water in traditional Japanese music style?

Are there more songs like this? Oh yes. More. Many more… (It might be difficult for westerners to see/hear, but these guys are world class - kind of like opera... This isn't any low class crappy orchestra. This is Japan's best!)

Shoot.... Elvis didn't have anything on these guys:

How about a Jailhouse Rock in traditional Japanese music style? Would this have been Elvis had Japan won the war? Japanese Elvis?!

This is a very twisted, dark and demented country.

Japan: Cool and Strange Music Country…. The only other place this is more bizarre is probably those crazy frisking Americans…. 

US3 On My Radio Show in Tokyo! COOL!

Unless you've been living in a cave the last 20 years, you know US3. They are huge and have had many hits songs over the last 20 years. US3 is a cross between Jazz and Hip Hop... But it is more than that... MUCH more than that. 

I don't really enjoy jazz and I don't like Hip Hop... But US3 are able to do it differently... This sh*y kicks ass!!!

US3 Jeff, me, DJ First Rate.... Us 3... Well them two and me:

The biggest hit for US3 was Cantaloop. Unless you've been dead or living in a cave, you know this song:

Thanks for coming to the show, 6 O'Clock Yatsura on 76.1 InterFM last night, guys...

Here's their latest video. US3 Thanks Jeff. You guys are awesome!

Us3 - Lie, Cheat & Steal (feat. Akala & Oveous Maximus) OFFICIAL VIDEO:

Us3 DJ Unit Japan Tour & BCBGMAXAZRIA Fashion Show

日時 Date: 5/26 23:00 - late
会場 Venue: ザ・ペニンシュラ東京24Peter
                     Peter at The Peninsula Tokyo
入場料 Admission: ¥3,500 (1drink)

KenKuroとBeyond ExposureはロンドンからUs3 DJ unitを招いたイベントをザ・ペニンシュラ東京で行います。Us3はハービーハンコックの"Cantaloup Island"をサンプリングした名曲"Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)で広く知られ、この曲を含んだアルバム"Hand on the Torch"はブルーノート・レーベルからは初のプラチナ・アルバムとなりました。(100万枚セールス)

イベントを華やかにするのはグラマラスなロサンゼルスのブランド、BCBGMAXAZRIAによる2012 SSコレクションのショーです。ハリウッドのトップセレブリティに愛され、シャロン・ストーン、ビヨンセ、ハル・ベリー、アリシア・キーズなどがレッドカーペットで披露しています。BCBGMAXAZRIAは2012年ミス・ユニバース・ジャパンのオフィシャル・サプライヤーです。


Friday, May 25, 2012

Cool & Strange Music - Vol. Four: Akiko Kanazawa "Yellow Submarine" and Kazuo Umezu "Snake Girl"

Hot on the heels of the very successful Cool and Strange Music post about Yo Yo Hashi, here's today's version that is guaranteed to crack you up! 

Matsuchiyo - A true geisha

Our feature song today is by a very well known Japanese artists by the name of Akiko Kanazawa. Akiko is probably best known for singing the "Pokemon Counting Song." In this 1982 released version of the Beatles 1966 hit, "Yellow Submarine" Akiko Kanazawa gives it the royal "Japanese" work over for a delightfully different take on a rock standard. Enjoy!

Akiko Kanazawa - Yellow Submarine Ondo

The next song is called "Snake Girl" by Kazuo Umezu. Kazuo Umezu is a Science Fiction/Horror writer and also is well known for drawing manga (comics). You've just got to check out his Wikipedia page. He LOOKS like a nutty manga artist!

Here's Kazuo Umezu and Snake Girl

Also, once again, if you are interested in geisha, here is the trailer for Matsuchiyo - Life of a Geisha that was recently created by Ken Nishikawa:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Cool and Strange Japanese Music: Yo Yo Hashi - "YoYo's Pad"

It don't get cooler than this. Another version of Cool and Strange Japanese music. 

Today is Yo Yo Hashi and "Yo Yo's Pad."

This stuff is so obscure folks that I can't tell you anything about it except that it is awesomely cool and it was made a long time ago and the girl singing in it is sexy as hell!

Lyrics and lyrics translation:

Issho ni Ginza wo arukanai?
(Won't you walk with me to the Ginza?)

Te wo tsunaide ikimashou
(Let's hold hands while we walk)

Watashi wa Taka desu. Anata wa?
(My name is Taka. What's your name?)

Iie, kisu wa iya yo!
(No... I don't want to kiss....)

Dewa, sayonara...
(Okay, then, well, goodbye....)

Well, that's it... But not completely... Just like this awesome sexy Japanese goddess that gives you blue balls, Yo Yo also has you hanging with this next number of which I have zero on information too!


Thanks to Ken Nishikawa, Hiroshi Yoshida (Pianistar Hiroshi)

Do you also want to see the trailer of our geisha film: "Matsuchiyo - Life of a Geisha"?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Japan’s public debt is almost 240% of GDP = Japan Downgraded AGAIN!

We are f*cked, doomed, scr*wed, whatever you want to call it.

The crisis, folks, is upon us. Mish Shedlock writes in Japanese Debt Downgraded by Fitch; No Urgency for Japan (Until Panic Hits):

Japan’s public debt will hit almost 240 percent of its gross domestic product by the end of the year, Fitch warned.
Did I say that we're  f*cked? I did? OK. Go back to what you we're doing. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along..... Move along.....

No problem, right? We're just a step or two above Spain and Italy and, heck, look at how well they are doing....

Earn a Bad Reputation; Disrespecting Artists and Their Work

"It takes years to build trust. It takes just one action to destroy that trust." - Yuka Rogers 

"Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company." - George Washington

"Gain a modest reputation for being unreliable and you will never be asked to do a thing." -  Paul Theroux

Recently, a good friend of mine and I finished a documentary film about one of Japan's last true Geisha entitled Matsuchiyo - The Last Geisha. You can view the trailer for the film here.

We've been shopping around for a good partner for distribution of the full movie as well as promotion and publishing for the music. I have been talking to several companies who seemed very interested. Some companies have big money and major connections as well as excellent reputations.

Let me tell you about one of them whose negotiations I cancelled without even having an initial discussion. And that cancellation all happened by pure coincidence.

First off, a little about the geisha movie. The geisha in the movie is, actually, Ken's mother and she is a real geisha. I know all of these things for a fact as I have met his mother and worked with her before - once for a commercial involving a geisha and Fiat automobile (the young girl as a geisha is my daughter Sheena and Ken's mother, Matsuchiyo did the makeup and dress work) see here:

...and I also worked on the geisha movie with Ken too so I know very well about his mother and the geisha film and just how much it means to Ken's life. Finally finishing this work was years in the process and at least 8 months in actual production.

I cried when it was finally done. I know Ken did too and he was exhausted by it for several months before completion. I merely helped with script writing and some editing and it wore me out!


An artist's work is their baby. It is their blood, sweat and tears. It is a culmination of their life and experiences. It is to be respected and revered and treated with utmost care.

If one wishes to work for or with those artists and those works, then they have a serious duty and responsibility to do their utmost for the success of the project (work of art) or get out of the way.  

That's the key word here; work of art. Like I said, these things are to be revered and respected. As I mentioned, Ken and I have been discussing possibilities and terms and conditions working with different parties and different companies. Many discussions are going well and seem to be quite full of potential.

As far as Ken and myself are concerned, I am the business-side partner in this deal. It is the unsaid agreement between us that I am to find the partners and the funding and all agreements for this work of art. I feel a great responsibility to Ken, his mother, the film and to everyone involved to arrange the best deal possible for the most people to see this film that I can. Of course money is important, but the most critical thing is to get this work of art out to the widest audience possible.

After all, if a tree falls in a forest when there's no one around to hear it, does it make a sound?


Let me tell you why I just out and out dumped a potential partner for the geisha movie because of something I saw by complete coincidence - by a total accident - the other night...

There's this person named, Kasumi (not her real name) I know who runs a company involved in the music industry. Recently Kasumi had been asking me to air on my nightly radio program tracks from an artist she handles. Kasumi also asked me to help with any promotion for that band. I liked what I heard and agreed to do so.

Me with the Bawdies 

I enjoy bringing new artists to the public and getting them heard. I like being able to brag later on that I was to first to play an artist before they got big. Recent examples were Amy Winehouse and the Japanese band, Bawdies. Anyway, Kasumi asked me to play her artist and I did. I liked the songs. 

But, after what I saw on Saturday night, concerning that artist, I'm not playing them anymore. I'm afraid they aren't going anywhere and it is a shame. I only have so much time to play so many artists on my FM radio show. I don't have the ability to waste precious air time time with an artist that cannot succeed. Why can't they succeed? Not because they aren't a great band; they are. They can not succeed because of poor and incompetent management.

It is said and well known in the music business that without good management, the best band in the world isn't going anywhere. Well, that band is good. Their management leaves quite a lot to be desired.


Like I mentioned, I was in Yokohama the other night and drinking with a few friends. As we walked along the busy part of town, one friend said he needed to go to the restroom. The restroom at the convenience stores all had long lines. I knew a nightclub nearby and the boss is my friend. I knew that he'd let me in without paying to use the bathrooms so we entered the building.

There on the wall, I saw a poster for the band that Kasumi promotes that she recently asked me to help promote. I said to my friend, "We play this band on my radio show a lot!" 

Then, it struck me that the date on the poster was that very same day! "What!?" I thought. "This band was playing a show nearby today and I didn't know about it? What kind of poor promotion is this?"

I walked in and saw Kasumi. I said to her, "Hey! Kasumi. If these guys were playing live tonight, why didn't you invite me or George?" (George is the host of the show that I produce that plays Kasumi's band. George also has the power to put a band like Kasumi's on the bill for big concerts in front of 16,000 people - not like this dinky club that holds 150! He also can put bands on TV and other radio shows.)

Kasumi didn't say anything. "Lazy? Or could she possibly be that incompetent?" I thought.

Here is this band that Kasumi asks me to help promote and I do, yet Kasumi is fails to invite people who can really help them sell and make money and get their music heard?

Kasumi wants the band on George's radio show to do interviews, but fails to follow through to ask George to come to their show so that maybe they can be booked for George's annual event concert that 30,000 people come to every year? Why? How hard is it to take 30 seconds to send an e-mail or pick up the phone? Kasumi knows I produce TV shows too! George has 3 TV shows and 3 FM radio shows but Kasumi doesn't invite him to come see their shows?

Wow! Astounding, no?

Don't think that Kasumi didn't have the chance to do so easily. In fact, I spoke with her on the phone about the geisha movie at least twice and shared e-mails in the few days before this event! Kasumi possibly wants to work with the geisha movie for profit but she doesn't have the wherewithal and accountability to think about inviting potential business partners?

What can anyone call this excepting for lazy, inept, negligent or useless? 

Okay, you could call it simply amateurish and no way to properly run a supposedly professional business. If I were a band member I call her, "Fired!"

Now, I ask you, dear reader, do I want to introduce Kasumi to handle the rights for Ken's movie? Would you? No way. Do you think I could introduce anyone in good faith to Kasumi to handle their business? Nope. Not when my reputation is on the line too (please refer to the George Washington quote at the top of this article). 

As soon as I got home that night, I cancelled our scheduled meeting with Kasumi that was scheduled on Monday morning, the day after. I'll bet Kasumi is so confused that she thinks I canceled it because she thinks I am mad because I wasn't invited to the show.

No, Kasumi. I cancelled our meeting because Ken deserves better. Because I saw a symptom of how poorly you handle your business. I cancelled it because artists - your artist included - deserve better than it seems you are capable of delivering. That is not only the band's misfortune but a tragedy for all the people who love real quality music.

This has nothing to do with me feeling disrespected or not being invited to a show. It has everything to do with what I see as incompetence and a total lack of dedication, hard work and respect to an artist and their work...

This post is a wake up call for you, Kasumi to get serious about your business or do these artists a favor and get out.

This is an example for you, dear reader, on how to earn disrespect in the music or cinema business.

Thanks to Ken Nishikawa and to Ray Hearn. Ray is a professional in the music business and knows how to treat people (musicians, media people, and generally everyone) like they are important.... Because, well, they are. You can't have a proper or successful business without any of them. 

Top 3 New Video Countdown for May 6, 2023! Floppy Pinkies, Jett Sett, Tetsuko!

   Top 3 New Video Countdown for May 6, 2023!!  Please Follow me at: Check out my Youtube Channel: ...