Kabuki star Ichikawa Ebizo apologizes for drunken brawl

Nothing’s better than a full-on Japanese apology, except perhaps when performed by an illustrious actor. This time it was Kabuki star Ichikawa Ebizo apologizing for getting into a drunk brawl in posh Nishi Azabu that caused injuries including a fractured left cheek bone, two chipped front teeth, and multiple internal and head bruises.

The “prince of Kabuki”stands to lose 100 to 200 million yen in product endorsements (US$1.2 to 2.4 million). And in true Japanese fashion, his shame threatens the overall image of kabuki, or so some say. The Yomiuri covers the facial reconstruction side of the story.

I’d like to think about how long his vow- “I won’t feel like having a drink for a while”– will last, particularly in light of this handsome actor’s drunken wedding image below.

Update: After reaching some sort of out of court settlement post-Xmas, Ebizo’s explanation for the fight: “Ebizo has claimed he was struck without warning when he was providing care to the man, who had been drinking heavily.”

Nakagawa is dead!

Nakagawa, x-Finance Minister

Japan’s ex Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa found dead in bed by his wife this morning. He’s the guy who got fired for mixing booze and pain killers before appearing at the G-7 global Finance Minister meeting this spring. He was 56.

From the Wall Street Journal: “considered extremely intelligent but also noted for his temper, [Nakagawa] had served in parliament for 26 years. The seat had previously been held by his father, Ichiro Nakagawa . . . . The senior Mr. Nakagawa died in 1983 in what police said was a suicide.

And the Japan Times reports the presence of vomit, sleeping pills and alcohol. Plus this observation from his wife the night before: “When Nakagawa’s 50-year-old wife came home at around 9 p.m. Saturday, she saw him sleeping half on the floor with his upper body face down on the bed, but she did not sense anything was wrong, they said.”

Random San Francisco post

Dolores Park bromance

OK. To be honest this post has nothing to do with Tokyo. Except perhaps in a comparative studies sort-a-way. Above is a photo from an absurdly fetishistic site called Brolores Park, featuring male “bromances” in the famed park between the Mission and Castro. You might also check out 7 Places to Get Drunk and Lose Your Dignity.

Do you think the movie Hump Day will come to Japan?

Humpday movie poster

“What’s so bad about being naked?”

Kusanagi, "What's so bad about being naked"

My least favorite SMAP member Kusanagi Tsuyoshi was arrested for being drunk and naked last night at 3 am in Hinokicho Park near posh Tokyo Midtown. He reportedly told the police, “What’s so bad about being naked?”

The story created a breaking news flash on Japanese TV, and has already reached the foreign press including the Singapore Straits Times, Bloomberg, AP and the San Francisco Chronicle. The Straits Times describes SMAP as “an ageing boy band.”

Of course there will be apologies, and corporate marketing and even governmental policy implications. Per Bloomberg:

Japan’s government may halt advertisements promoting digital TV after the incident, as the campaign features Kusanagi, said Hideo Harada, an official at the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

Toyota Motor Corp. also will halt commercials featuring the performer. “We’ll stop all advertisements in which Kusanagi appears as of today,” said Hideaki Homma, a spokesman at Toyota.

I always thought he was the ugly one of the five guys, covering up his receding hair line with goofy bangs. Maybe his drunken defense of public nudity will make me re-consider his talents.

Holiday parties & booze

Holiday parties & booze

The holidays remind me how fortunate I am to avoid almost all  parties, especially work and family-related. And, until moving to Tokyo, I almost never drank.

Here’s a list of what one New York Times author has overheard at holiday parties. Doesn’t it make you feel safer to be at home in front of the screen?

  • “We’re not really budgeted for a vacation this year, what with the exchange rate and my gambling addiction.”
  • “I have to apologize for not reading your new book yet. It’s just that the last one was so awful.”
  • “That’s a great outfit! It really shows off your breasts.”
  • “What I really want is a job where you don’t worry so much about money and prestige. Are there any openings at your place?”
  • “So I told human resources flat out, it’s not sexual harassment if I can prove I’m impotent.”
  • “Has anyone ever told you that you have the air of a much more successful person?”
  • “Sometimes accidental electrocution can be a blessing in disguise, but try telling that to the other mothers in the playgroup.”
  • “Did you have some work done? Because, you know, too little too late.”
  • “I don’t usually drink this much, but you’re insufferable.”
  • “I had pants on when I came in, right?”
  • “Aren’t holiday parties great?”

What have you over-heard at holiday parties? I am counting down the hours until the Xmas music is turned off in Tokyo. .