Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Musicians! Do Not Send DJ's Spotify, Youtube or Soundcloud Links!


Once again, I have received a message from an artist asking me to consider their music for radio airplay. Once again, they sent me a Soundcloud, Youtube or Spotify link and asked me to go to the links and listen to their music, write back to them and tell them what songs I want, and they will send them along.

I won't do that. I don't know any professional DJs or curators who will.

It is good that artists make this effort; well done. But, artists, do not just send DJs only Spotify, Youtube or Soundcloud links, please! Most DJs I know will not respond to you nor will they go to your link.

Why? There is no reason for us to go to the link. We can't play those links on air. So, if we can't play them on air, there's no point in even listening to them. 

If you want us to listen to your music, check out our playlist. If you think your song fits what we play, then put your best foot forward, and send us your fave MP3 or two (Don't send us full album downloads, either - if we want those, we can ask for that later.)

It is an extra process, or step, and a waste of time for DJ's to go to your Soundcloud, Youtube or Spotify link. We don't have time to write back to you or download the tunes using special software. Sorry, but you need to do homework and check our on-air playlist.

Yes, we DJs are lazy (and underpaid). But remember, our listeners will not increase nor decrease whether we play your track or not. I already write to lots of artists and ask for tracks for things I found and like.

Send me those Spotify, Youtube or Soundcloud links, fine, but include a high -quality MP3 of your best track in the mail/message too.

If I listen to the MP3, and like it, I will immediately place it into the music list; I can't do that with a Soundcloud link. I don't have time to write back to you and wait for a response. I'll forget.

FYI: I know other DJs and curators who absolutely hate it when artists ask them to go to an online link and listen.  

Again, today, another artist has asked me to listen to their online music and pick what I like. They wrote: "Here's my Soundcloud or Spotify link. Please listen and then tell me what songs you like and I will send it to you." 

This frustrates me. 

The artist wants me to play their music on the radio in Japan? Great. But it is the artist's duty, not mine, to go to the radio show webpage, look at the playlist and then determine if their music is suitable (You'd be blown away at how many artists send me Heavy Metal or Death Metal - which I never play). 

I don't want to come off as a conceited jerk, but the artists have to make things easier for us. 

To the artist above I actually responded (most DJs won't). Here is what I wrote:

"Here is my radio show link. Please check out the link and the songs that I play. If you think your songs fit, please send me two of your best MP3s. I don't listen to Spotify or Soundcloud as it is a waste of time because I cannot play those on the radio. I know for a fact that most of my DJ friends, who do this job as an occupation, won't listen to Spotify or Soundcloud either. 

I'm not being a jerk. I want to, and always have, supported new artists. But I need for the artist to help me and save all of us time by sending the tunes that they think are the best fit (as MP3 attachments)

Please understand. 

Here is my show: http://www.interfm.co.jp/mrs/ 

Thx, Mike"

Monday, November 6, 2017

Old Japanese Telephone - If You Know What This is... You Are Old (and have visited Japan long ago...)


The other night I went to a small pub near my house named "Nonki." Nonki is what is called a "Izakaya." An Izakaya is basically a Japanese tavern that serves drinks and all sorts of foods. Kind of like what they call "Tapas" in Spanish: Lots of small dishes with many, many taste delights along with beer, booze and hard liquor.

Nonki is run by a nice old guy and his wife. It's actually the wife's place... The husband came in to help after retirement and another kind old lady - who I assumed was the wife's best friend - passed away several years back.

I like "Nonki." "Nonki" basically translates into "carefree." And that it is. Every time I go there I see the same customers from the neighborhood laughing and having fun.




I am assuming that Nonki has been in the neighborhood for 45 years (read on and you'll know why I think that). Nonki used to be a a hundred meters away in a different spot. I had been there a few times 12 years ago or so... Now, it is located on the main shopping street at Futakotamagawa.

Nonki really is a traditional old style drinking establishment. The only time I have ever see other foreigners there was when I went to the wash and saw my reflection in the mirror or when I brought foreign friends there.

I hadn't been to Nonki in years when I decided to visit a while back. As I approached the door, I could hear many people inside laughing and talking and, as I opened the sliding door and looked in, all the patrons looked at the door and saw me standing there.... They all suddenly went silent. You could hear a pin drop - it was like they were immediately frozen stiff - with their mouths open and gaping at the E.T. standing at the door. They looked like they'd seen a ghost.... 

I felt like I had walked back in time to a pub in Kawasaki in 1980! 

It was like that scene from the Blues Brothers when Jake and Elwood went to that high class French restaurant and looked in; the customers were frozen in shock.

Anyway, the reason I write about Nonki, and the reason why I suspect they've been in business for 45 years is their telephone. That's right, their telephone. They still have and use the type of telephone that were prevalent in Japan up until the late 80s. It's a huge pink box with a ¥10 coin slot at the top. 

I think it's a pretty safe bet that this pink public phone is one of the few remaining in Futakotamagawa!

I hadn't seen or used one of these in years.....

So I picked up the receiver and, as I did, the Mama at Nonki smiled at me and brimming with pride she said, "That phone is 45 years old!" I smiled back at her. I was touched... Her expression and her smiling eyes! What a nice, charming lady she is!

Then, I had an inspiration! I pulled a ¥10 coin out of my pocket and inserted it into the slot and entered into a Time machine! Really! Wow! 

It was like going back in time - and for only ¥10! - it was a strange sensation putting my finger into the dial and dialing after all these years... But who would I call? Ah? I'll call myself! 

I have an uncanny memory for numbers... But after I put my finger into the hole to dial, my brain drew a blank suddenly and I couldn't recall my own number! I stopped and had to think for a few seconds. What was it? I suddenly recalled, and, like Back to the Future, I was dialing up my past. It was new and different to actually dial up a number with my finger after all these years.



.... You've seen those memes on Facebook and Twitter that show some old object and they say, "If you know what this is, you are old"? That's what it reminded me of.

It was brilliant taking a trip back into time, if only for a few seconds... Images of the faces of old friends and loving family long gone and passed away - and all the good times and memories they gave me flashed though my mind.... It felt good....

I miss you all and I miss the good times... God bless you all and thank you all for being a part of my life .

.....And thank you pink telephone! For times past and a recent exhilarating experience I will never forget.



NOTES: Oh, Nonki is super cheap and delicious! If you go there, tell them "Mike sent me!" They won't understand as they don't speak a word of English and you'll get nothing for it - but maybe I'll get a free beer or something! ;)

のんき (Nonki)
東京都世田谷区玉川 4-12-1
4-12-1 Tamagawa, Setagaya-Ku, Tokyo
https://www.nikotama-kun.jp/shop/g_nonki/

Tel: 03-3709-2381

Cool & Strange Music Countdown July 27, 2017! Harp Twins, Tearaways, Blaas of Glory, Jive Bunny!


Welcome back to another episode of Cool & Strange Music for July 27, 2017!



Once again, it's time for our monthly dose of Cool & Strange Music.

Today I have some more wild music, this time from the more "funny" side of things. If you like life's finer things: Cute dogs and cats, summertime and doing the twist; The Rolling Stones and Heavy Metal Marching Music - featuring one the world's greatest heavy metal marching bands - then you, my friend and friendette, are in the right place!

First up is said Heavy Metal Marching band. These chaps are from the Netherlands and have taken "turning the amplifier up to 11" to a whole new level; twelve or even thirteen! Their name is Blaas of Glory and they are hot. All across Europe, they've been selling out stadiums, arenas, er, hotel Starlight ballrooms, uh, shopping streets to wild and enthusiastic head-banging audiences. 

Seriously folks, I love Blaas of Glory. See?

Blaas of Glory

This definitely has to be one of my favorite heavy metal acts in the entire history of rock! These guys are fab and they have a great sense of humor and they are awesome musicians. Oh, and their webpage is hilarious! Go there a scroll your mouse over the band member's photos: http://www.blaasofglory.nl/

They've just released their album, "10 Years of Heavy Metal Marching" and it is one of the hottest albums of the year! Today's video is a special treat as it just came out a few days ago! Oh, and of course, they have a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/blaasofglory/

#3) Blaas of Glory - Ace of Spades https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmrCx_CA5tc 


Sticking with acts from Europe, next up is a cool remix just in time for summer. They go by the name of Jive Bunny and the Master Mixers. They were introduced to us by alert reader, Koichi Hamada (AKA: Brazzil san). Below is a photo of Jive Bunny.... For what it's worth.

Jive Bunny

Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers throw together a fun mash-up of a bunch of songs that bring the summer and the ocean and dancing outta your speakers. Their bio says, "In 1989, Jive Bunny arrived on the music scene. From their humble surroundings in Rotherham to a global platform, Jive Bunny & The Mastermixers achieved 3 UK number one hit singles and have sold over 15 million records worldwide!"

Wow! OK? Get ready for the Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers and get ready to "Name That Tune!" 

Oh and here's their Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/OfficialJiveBunny/

#2) Jive Bunny And The Mastermixers - That's What I Like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GiwGQGIix7U 


Speaking of summer and surfing and Hawaii Five-O.... (Hey! Whatever happened to Jack Lord?) Let's go across the USA to the west coast of California! Today's #1 is a band that brings everything together. Now, if you want a hit on Facebook or the internet, what s the one ingredient that every photo or video must have? That's RIGHT! A cat or a dog licking its balls! This video has them all. These dogs are so cute that they are cuter than a hello kitty lunchbox with a Snoopy and Woodstock thermos in it! 

Oh, the Tearaways also have a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheTearawaysUSA/

#1) Tearaways - Naughty Dog….https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOHeBrzW-lQ

BONUS TRACK! And today we have a special present for you! Since our first track today was Heavy Metal marching music, I have another surprise for you! It's called "Harp Rock." Rock music done on a harp! This track features Camille and Kennerly, two identical twins who are awesome goddesses of rock, er, harp. 

Their Facebook bio says: "Young harpists Camille and Kennerly Kitt, known as the HARP TWINS, have achieved extraordinary success by taking Electric Harps and acoustic Concert Grand Harps to unprecedented levels and smashing boundaries between different genres of music. The duo has amassed over 1 million fans across their social media sites and over 58 million views on their YouTube music videos, easily making Camille and Kennerly the most followed and recognizable harp duo in the world. As actors, The Kitt Twins have appeared in commercials, TV shows, and three feature films - two of which also feature the twins performing on their harps."

Is this cool and strange, or what? And their Facebook page has over 600,000 Likes! Holy shit! https://www.facebook.com/CamilleandKennerly/

BONUS TRACK! Harp Twins - Camille and Kennerly - Paint It Black


Wow! I'm in love for the first time this week!

Well, that’s it for today! Hope you have a great rest of the week and hope you stay Cool and Strange! 

See more Cool & Strange Music countdowns here: http://robot55.jp/?s=cool+%26+strange+music 

Last week's Cool & Strange Music: Cool & Strange Music Countdown June 20, 2017! Pinksideofthemoon, Japanese Led Zeppelin, Miami Dade County Police! https://modernmarketingjapan.blogspot.jp/2017/06/cool-strange-music-countdown-june-20.html

And if you like new music and alternative artists check out the weekly Top 3 here: http://robot55.jp/?s=Top+3+videos

—————————– 
About Mike in Tokyo Rogers: 

Mike has been a professional music/TV/radio/anime-related program producer in Japan since the eighties. He began in the music business in 1977 as lead vocalist with the legendary Los Angeles Punk Band, “The Rotters” (Sit on My Face Stevie Nix.). As a university student, he was assistant to the legendary Rodney Bingenheimer (Rodney on the ROQ – KROQ Los Angeles from 1980 ~ 1981.) 

Mike was the first and only foreigner in Japanese history to become the General Manager of a major Japanese broadcasting station (TV Tokyo owned InterFM). Has produced a few smash hit programs (some real losers, too!) and several of Tokyo’s highest rated and most famous radio programs. A recent hit program was “The TV Show” (Set Program with “Ninja Slayer”) which, between April – Oct. 2015, garnered over 10 million viewers. He is currently producing and hosting “WTF?” the hugely popular Sunday live show on InterFM 89.7. 

And his life’s dream is his just completed full-length motion picture, “Ghostroads – A Japanese Rock and Roll Ghost Story”which will be released by a major Japanese motion picture company and in theaters all across Japan in Autumn 2017. (See trailer here: https://vimeo.com/210533272) … Oh, and he likes to write about himself in the third person!)

Ghostroads - A Japanese Rock n Roll Ghost Story Trailer... Coming to a theater near you soon! HP: http://ghostroads.jp/








Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Photos of Tokyo Skyline


The other day I went to Apple HQ in Japan. It is on the 40th floor of the Mori Building skyscraper in Roppongi.

I love going there because you can almost get a 360 view of Tokyo.


I remember when I first came to Tokyo about 35 years ago.....



I worked in Shinjuku at the 55 floor Mitsui building (it's in that grouping of big buildings in the middle there)...


From that building too, you could see every direction from the center of Tokyo... 


I thought two things: 1) Japan has lots of earthquakes but they build the high skyscrapers. And 2) Tokyo is the only city in the world where you can see buildings all the way to the horizon no matter which direction you look at it.

Amazing.





Sunday, October 22, 2017

1978 Los Angeles Punk: Black Flag & the Rotters.


Just a quick post. Hope it inspires you....

40 years ago, I played in a one-hit wonder late 1970s L.A. punk band called The Rotters. We had a smash hit called, "Sit on My Face Stevie Nix." 



I had a dream back then. We were a lighting smash success within a few months and on radio stations and charts all over America and Europe. 

One night, my band played at a new club in Hollywood called Madame Wongs with another band. We all were expecting a packed crowd of 300+. 

My band opened. When we hit the stage, we were dumbfounded to see a crowd of only about eight people. Eight! 

We played a flat and disappointing set. 




After us, the next band played in front of the same eight people... That band was fucking awesome! They were electric and exciting! Their power made the small crowd (including me) go simply crazy. 

After the show I asked the guitarist how they do it. My band was flat "because" of the disappointing size of the crowd; their band was explosive. The guitarist forcefully blurted out to me, "It doesn't matter if there's three people in the crowd or three hundred people - we always kick ass!" 

They did indeed. 

That was 1978 (79?) The guitarist's name was Greg. The band? Maybe you've heard of them! Their name was Black Flag. 



The point of it all? Live your dream. It doesn't matter if there is only one person who sees what you do or 10,000 people: Do it for yourself and build a legend. 

Sometimes, it doesn't matter what other people think now. It only matters what you think. 

In my case, I remember what Jack White from the White Stripes told me. He said he was a "Big Fan" of the Rotters and even bought our record when he was 13. He said: "It is better to have punked and lost, than to have never punked at all!"

James Dean said, "Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today."


------------------

Anyway, I made a movie. It premiere's at Raindance Film Festival in London on Sept. 25, 2017. You can get tickets here: 

Here's the trailer:


Here's our webpage: http://ghostroads.jp/

------------------------


About Mike in Tokyo Rogers: Mike has been a professional music/TV/radio/anime-related program producer in Japan since the eighties. He began in the music business in 1978 as lead vocalist with the legendary Los Angeles Punk Band, “The Rotters” (Sit on My Face Stevie Nix.). As a university student, he was assistant to the legendary Rodney Bingenheimer (Rodney on the ROQ – KROQ Los Angeles from 1980 ~ 1981.) So Mike has met Blondie, Phil Spector, The Go Gos, the Dickies, The Germs, Black Flag, the Vibrators, Slaughter and the Dogs, The Angry Samoans, the Ramones.) Mike was the first and only foreigner in Japanese history to become the General Manager of a major Japanese broadcasting station (TV Tokyo owned InterFM). Has produced a few smash hit programs (some real losers, too!) and several of Tokyo’s highest rated and most famous radio programs. A recent hit program was “The TV Show” (Set Program with “Ninja Slayer”) which, between April – Oct. 2015, garnered over 10 million viewers.  He is currently producing and hosting “WTF?” the hugely popular Sunday live show on InterFM 89.7. And his life’s dream is his just completed full-length motion picture, “Ghostroads – A Japanese Rock and Roll Ghost Story” which will world premiere at the prestigious Raindance Film Festival in London on Sept. 25, 2017.

… Oh, and he likes to write about himself in the third person!)


Ghostroads – A Japanese Rock and Roll Ghost Story Japanese Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxwJ4AfzOwM&t



Ghostroads – A Japanese Rock and Roll Ghost Story Foreign trailer: https://vimeo.com/210533272)





3) These are short - and true. You'll laugh. please read: 

Rock N Roll Music and the Proof of the Existence of God!
https://modernmarketingjapan.blogspot.jp/2016/12/rock-n-roll-music-and-proof-of.html

Belinda Carlisle Naked, The Ramones, Rodney Bingenheimer and Me - Another True Story
https://modernmarketingjapan.blogspot.jp/2017/05/the-ramones-rodney-bingenheimer-belinda.html

David Bowie, Blondie, the Beach Boys, Paul McCartney, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain and me! A True Story!
https://modernmarketingjapan.blogspot.jp/2017/07/david-bowie-blondie-beach-boys-paul.html

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Cool & Strange Music Countdown Oct. 15, 2017! Nutley Brass, Louisa Baker, Bubble, Cambodian Space Project!


Welcome back to another episode of Cool & Strange Music for October 15, 2017!



Once again, it's time for our monthly dose of Cool & Strange Music. Today I have a real variety of stuff for you... From Nutley, New Jersey to Cambodia to the Super-Cool and the outright bizarre.


First up is an act from Nutley New Jersey. Yes, there is a town in New Jersey named "Nutley" and the band's name is the Nutley Brass (Band). Folks, I can find no information whatsoever about these geniuses excepting they covered a bunch of Misfits and Ramones songs. Here they are doing their version of the Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated." They also do a hilarious cover of "Beat on the Brat."

#4) Nutley Brass Band - I Wanna Be Sedated: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffoqoKitrDs


Next up is Bubbles from the classic comedy show "Trailer Park Boys." What is Trailer Park Boys? Here's what Wikipedia says: "Trailer Park Boys is a Canadian mockumentary television series created and directed by Mike Clattenburg. The show focuses on the misadventures of a group of trailer park residents, some of whom are ex-convicts, living in the fictional Sunnyvale Trailer Park in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia...A few years later, actors who portrayed Ricky, Julian, and Bubbles purchased the rights to the show from the original producers, and created their own internet streaming network called "Swearnet."

Get it? 

No? OK. Well, you will. Trailer Park Boys was one of the very few things on TV over the last twenty years worth watching (and that ain't saying much.) But to give you an idea of the hilarious comedy these guys were doing, check this as Jim Leahy from the Trailer Park Boys talks with his best friend, Bim Jeam:

SPECIAL: Liquor Stories - The Pilot Episode  



So, from that classic TV show, The Trailer Park Boys, here is Bubbles doing his rendition of David Bowie's "The Man Who Sold the World." Watch this carefully! Bubbles is amberdextrious?! Is this a video trick. He can play left or right handed?!

#3) Bubbles - The Man Who Sold the World 


Next up is a girl I met in London, England at the world famous Raindance Film Festival. Her name is Louisa Maria Baker and she is a singer-songwriter. Louisa has done an awesome cover of the Green Day classic, "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)." This impresses me as I think it takes a LOT of guts to cover such a famous song. It takes rare talent to make that song your own.  She's done it with flying colors here!

Oh, Louisa has a Facebook page too. Go Like it: https://www.facebook.com/louisa.m.baker

#2) Louisa Maria Baker - Good Riddance (Time of your life):  
And at #1 fresh off their successful debut American tour, is our favorite band from.... Cambodia! It's the Cambodian Space Project! Taa-daa! And this is their 3rd or 4th time on the countdown! The Word magazine says: “They sound as if they’ve just landed on Planet Rock from Mars and have taken a speed course in every conceivable variety of the music.” 
Yep! And, of course, the Cambodian Space Project have a Facebook page. You know what to do: https://www.facebook.com/The-Cambodian-Space-Project-102538263132453/


#1) THE CAMBODIAN SPACE PROJECT:  Rom Ding! Dong!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VP1JKzrTcdI


Well, that’s it for today! Hope you have a great rest of the week and hope you stay Cool and Strange! 

See more Cool & Strange Music countdowns here: http://robot55.jp/?s=cool+%26+strange+music 

Last week's Cool & Strange Music Countdown July 27, 2017! Harp Twins, Tearaways, Blaas of Glory, Jive Bunny! https://modernmarketingjapan.blogspot.jp/2017/07/cool-strange-music-countdown-june-27.html

And if you like new music and alternative artists check out the weekly Top 3 here: http://robot55.jp/?s=Top+3+videos

—————————– 
About Mike in Tokyo Rogers: 

Mike has been a professional music/TV/radio/anime-related program producer in Japan since the eighties. He began in the music business in 1977 as lead vocalist with the legendary Los Angeles Punk Band, “The Rotters” (Sit on My Face Stevie Nix.). As a university student, he was assistant to the legendary Rodney Bingenheimer (Rodney on the ROQ – KROQ Los Angeles from 1980 ~ 1981.) 

Mike was the first and only foreigner in Japanese history to become the General Manager of a major Japanese broadcasting station (TV Tokyo owned InterFM). Has produced a few smash hit programs (some real losers, too!) and several of Tokyo’s highest rated and most famous radio programs. A recent hit program was “The TV Show” (Set Program with “Ninja Slayer”) which, between April – Oct. 2015, garnered over 10 million viewers. He is currently producing and hosting “WTF?” the hugely popular Sunday live show on InterFM 89.7. 

And his life’s dream is his just completed full-length motion picture, “Ghostroads – A Japanese Rock and Roll Ghost Story”which will be released by a major Japanese motion picture company and is in theaters all across Japan from Autumn 2017. (See trailer here: https://vimeo.com/210533272) … 

Oh, and Mike likes to write about himself in the third person!)

Ghostroads - A Japanese Rock n Roll Ghost Story Trailer... Coming to a theater near you soon! HP: http://ghostroads.jp/


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Become a Yakuza! Japan's #1 Online Yakuza Fashion Boutique! なんちゃってヤクザファッション専門店!


Folks! I have my nominee for "Best Website of the Year!" It is called "Birth Japan" (http://www.rakuten.ne.jp/gold/auc-birthjapan/) and it is a Yakuza Gangster Fashion and accessories site on Rakuten. Rakuten is the largest e-commerce site in Japan and among the world’s largest by sales. So, Rakuten is a name you can trust! (Insert diabolical laughter here.)

Don't believe me? Go to check this awesome webpage out RIGHT NOW! https://www.rakuten.ne.jp/gold/auc-birthjapan/

Birth Japan seems to be run by some (former?) Yakuza. On their website they say they've gone straight and so you can trust them too. Honest!


My best friend, "Ken" (not his real name), showed me the Birth Japan website yesterday and I loved it!!! "Ken"also told me that he had finally found his dream; his calling in life. He said he wants to become a Yakuza! 

Wow! That's cool! Me too! I'm totally serious here folks. "Ken Nishikawa" (not his real name) has found the website of the year. I haven't had this much fun and been excited about a website like this since the early days of the internet. I'm being dead serious here ("Dead" in a "figuratively speaking" manner, of course) you will just LOVE the Birth Japan webpage!

I want to become a Yakuza too! And you can in an instant with Birth Japan! They even say so on their webpage!. And when you go to their webpage, they've got gun shots and cool suspenseful background music too - so you can feel like you ARE doing something illegal when you visit their pages!

Don't move! Hands up!


(Above) It says something like, "If you are a good person, you can become a bad person instantly. If you are already a bad person, you can become a really bad person in seconds!" (with Birth Japan!) 

What are we waiting for? I'm in!


The above is a cool link from their webpage. It says that "Everything here (at this click) is only ¥1 yen but there is a, er, 'catch,' or a 'condition.'" Gee, I wonder what that 'catch' or 'conditions' could be? 

Well, I trust these guys, so I'm going to click it... If I suddenly am "disappeared" then you'll all know what happened.


If anything, "Birth Japan" is a name you can trust when it comes to buying stuff from and looking like a Yakuza. The above shot is announcing their big 10th Anniversary Sale! It's the 10th Anniversary of the boss of Birth Japan being released from prison! You can also sign up for their mail magazine that is full of outlaw stories from the boss (before he went straight!)

This is really hilarious. These guys have a sense of humor! I love that photo of the boss at the top right!


Keep your eyes open when visiting the site, there are discount coupons and all sorts of stuff flying by the screen at all times. It really does remind me of the fun sites from the early days of he internet. I really do dig Birth Japan!


Check it! You can order a wide variety of fashions for Yakuza as well as accessories like sunglasses, chains, belts, shoes, boots, buckles, lucky charms, dog tags, etc. You name it. They got it. 

And, if you buy it, WHAMMO! You become instant Yakuza bad guy! How cool is that?


Check it! Luxury for you and your favorite gangster and gangsterette!


Talk about Customer Service! What's this? Another sale? Yep! You can get a 5% discount on all deliveries to your friends who are currently in prison and a 5% discount for your friends who have been released from prison within the last 3 months. ABSOLUTELY NO C.O.D.!


Hey, and if you know what's good for you, you'll go and "Like" the Birth Japan Facebook page! (https://www.facebook.com/893fashion)

There's a few hours of fun and cool stuff on the Birth Japan site. Here is their "Image Video." How cool!
不良ファッションブランド「BLOOD MONEY TOKYO」イメージCM その2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgLjO5Lxaqk


Check out the Birth Japan website. It's fabulous! "Birth Japan" 
Tell them "Ken Nishikawa" (not his real name) sent you!
(http://www.rakuten.ne.jp/gold/auc-birthjapan/) 


---------------------------

NOTES: Some folks reading this might think I am joking. And I am, a little bit. But I think the guys running Birth Japan might be genius. They could be onto something big here. Imagine of the Anime community found out about this? Birth Japan could become very wealthy.

Also, I have written about the Yakuza before and have no real complaints about them. They have always been polite and had manners.... They are much better than the government who, through coercion, extorts money from us at gunpoint and bombs kids in foreign countries. The Yakuza also follow a code of ethics.... The government? Ethics? Never in the same room or in the same sentence.

Read this: Yakuza: Japanese Modern-Day Cowboys 
https://www.lewrockwell.com/2006/01/mike-in-tokyo-rogers/japans-modern-day-cowboys/  

Friday, October 6, 2017

Confessions of a Sandwich Sign Man


I was hoping my parents never found out about this... But I can't live like this anymore; I can't live with hiding who I really am. I am coming out now for the entire world to see. 

I will admit it; I was a sandwich sign man.


In front of the Vue Theater at Raindance Film Festival Sept. 21, 2017, London, England. (Photo by Vertic Arts Gallery)

Sure, you've seen us before. You know, you consider all of us losers, those near homeless guys who stand on the street sandwiched between two cardboard signs selling this or that... 

We are thought of as the deepest depths of a loser class; a job with a pay minimum lower than the minimum paying job. The lowest of the low. The worst of the worst.

But that was my job; sandwich sign man, and I am damned proud of it and this is my story.

I did it my way.

By some miracle of God (or most probably a clerical error) a film I made with friends was selected by one of the most famous film festivals in the world; the Raindance Film Festival in London. Sure, you've heard of it. Who hasn't?

The festival ran from Sept. 20 ~ Oct. 1, 2017, at a venue called The Vue Theater in Leicester Square (the British spell things in a strange way, so let's just call it "Lester Square.")

I kissed the wife, kid and dog, goodbye then packed my bags and was on a jet airliner, on my way to England, the land of many giants of world history: Churchill, Cromwell, and Eric Idle. 

I arrived at the theater hoping to promote my film by pasting posters all over the place. I had been in a punk band in the late seventies so I was used to ripping down other bands posters and putting up my own. I figured I'd do the same thing at Raindance.

But, it wasn't 1977 anymore. The theater had those new-fangled electronic posters on the walls; they didn't use paper posters anymore. Paper posters were verboten.

Gee! I had arrived a few days early to promote and then was told I can't promote as I had planned... Dejected, I hung around the festival and tried to get free food and drinks.

While I was floating around the venue, I made several good new friends. They were there for the festival with their films too. I asked them how they were promoting and they all told me that they weren't. Not at all. I thought this was odd. It wasn't what I was told by my movie sensei, Stephen David Brooks director and filmmaker (whose most recent work, Flytrap, has won a dozen awards at some famous film festivals such as Chelsea in New York!) 

Let me rewind here a second. When I found out we had been selected for Raindance, I called "Stephen sensei" and asked him what I should do. Since Stephen has won more awards than my mom has Tupperware, and has been to many festivals, I figured he'd have a tip or two. He did! He was the one who told me to take posters to hang in the theater. He was the one who gave me all the good advice for little promotional goodies to bring. He was the one who told me, "It is the filmmakers' duty to get butts into seats to view the films." 

I didn't realize that. I thought the film festival would fill the seats! But no! It was the duty of the filmmakers to sell tickets!

Anyway, while I stood around in London at the theater, wondering what to do for promotion, some of my new friends told me shocking news: they had been to some film screenings and, in a theater that seats 200 people, there would only be three to eight people in paid attendance!!!!

What?! Only three people? Only eight people?! I was shocked... Well, no... Not so much shocked, but scared!

My life flashed in front of my face. I thought about my wife. She's a smart woman. What would she say if I had spent three years of my life making a movie, spent $2000 going 6000 kilometers to the other side of the earth only to have it viewed by four people (including me?) 

By the way, the number four also means "death" in Japanese. I could see my death. If only three people came to see my film after all this rigamarole I'd have to kill myself by hanging from the London Tower! (Say! That's a good promotional idea!)

So, with that, I decided that's what my mission was: I had decided to sell out our screenings or, if I couldn't, to at least give it the good old samurai try. 

I think that is the attitude of a professional.

I decided that since we couldn't hang posters, I'd take my biggest poster and make a sandwich sign. Then I'd stand in front of the theater wearing the sign every day. 

I went to an art shop and bought the supplies for making the sandwich sign. I then went home and constructed it with more loving care than mom making Christmas dinner. The next morning, I went back to the theater with my sign and put it on and I stood there; in the heat and the sun... 

I hadn't decided how long I was going to stand there in my sandwich sign, but across the way, I noticed another guy hawking tickets for a discount ticket store. This guy was standing there like a statue with the tickets in one hand held way above his head. I tried that for a while with my small sign, but after just a few minutes, my arm was exhausted. This guy across the way was doing it for hours on end and he barely moved. I began calling him, "Ironman."

My legs hurt after a little while, so I began fidgeting around; I also had to take a break every two hours. Not Ironman, though. He took no breaks that I saw. Ironman stood like Nelson's statue at Trafalgar Square; tall and stoic. Nelson, as you might know is the famous British admiral who is known for winning the Battle of Trafalgar Square... (snicker!)

From that day on, Ironman was my inspiration. Because of him, I would stand in front of the theater with my sign for four and a half or five hours every day. Ironman, on the other hand, was out there for at least 8 or 9 hours. He was a real pro. A real inspiration to all of us who had to stand there advertising the old fashioned way; the way of real men.


With Ironman (not his real name). Sept. 23, 2017

There were several things I learned from being a sandwich sign man; first off, we are faceless and considered a curiosity by most passersby. Think about it, no one looks at our faces, they see some guy standing there with a sign. It's like the view of a time machine into a better time in the past. So I wondered why other filmmakers are so self-conscious and embarrassed that they refuse to promote their own films in this way? Nobody really cares what we do. Nobody watches us as much as we like to think they do.

There really is nothing to be embarrassed about.

Also, people think sandwich sign man is an expert of the local geography and knows where everything is located. I was approached by literally dozens of people every day asking for directions. Of course, when the beautiful girls all approached, I tried to help but, yeah, I was basically useless... I didn't even know my way back to the subway station.


With beauty queen and dancer/filmmaker Tim Lo. 

With Kosia Sawicka. See? I told you all the hot women wanted to know sandwich sign man! (Photo by Hendrik Frentrup.)

I was, though, a curiosity to the other people at the film festival. Some said sandwich sign man inspired them, some laughed; others ridiculed me (really). One time two young filmmakers walked past me, pointed at me, and one said, "That's what we should be doing. I wonder how much that costs?"

Being an old punk from the late 1970s early days of punk, I thought, "It doesn't cost anything. It's free. Have you guys never heard of D.I.Y.?" Even Joe Strummer of the Clash never forgot his D.I.Y. roots and often made the pin badges and items for the band by hand - even after they were really famous.

On the day that I was informed that the World Premiere of my movie, "Ghostroads - a Japanese Rock n Roll Ghost Story" was sold out. I felt redeemed. 

Ours was one of the few that sold out. In fact, both our regular screenings were doing so well (thanks to sandwich man?) that a third screening was added. I was told that the third screening being added was only the sixth time that's happened in the 25 year history of the Raindance Film Festival.

Maybe Sandwich sign man is an embarrassing job. Maybe it is low class... But there also is an old saying, "He who laughs last, laughs best." When I found out we sold out opening night, I had a hearty laugh.


Sandwich sign man caught on video Sept 22, 2017

A lot of people think sandwich sign man is a pretty easy job, but it isn't what it seems. It is quite difficult to stand outside in one place for several hours. A sandwich sign man has a sort of unspoken agreement with the public so beautiful women are often approaching us and asking for directions. Our sandwich sign is a sort of mark or sign of trust: It says, I'm here. I'm me. Go to the restaurant I'm advertising or "Go see the movie that I am hawking"... 

It also shows the mark of someone who just might not be what he seems.

Thanks, Raindance Film Festival. I can truly say that I have done something that very few people will ever experience in their entire lives: I was a sandwich sign man in London's Leicester Square.... And it was a fab experience I will never forget.


Ghostroads - a Japanese Rock n Roll Ghost Story (trailer): (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rpo-6kDB1KA&t)



READ MORE AMAZINF STUFF ABOUT THE RAINDANCE FILM FESTIVAL? Check this:

I Interviewed Johnny Rotten - the True Story. https://modernmarketingjapan.blogspot.jp/2017/10/i-interviewed-johnny-rotten-true-story.html

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