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Early on, my brother got me into reading Japanese comics, or manga. There is or was a lengthy monthly magazine called CoroCoro that came out with a collection of serial mangas, new chapters of each manga being published each month. And I mean this magazine was huge – 700+ pages each month just packed with comics, sweepstakes and advertisements for the latest toys. My brother and I loved it, but I’m not really sure what our parents thought, us being bombarded with enticing ads and all.Not much has changed since. One of my favorite books to this day is The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff, which like manga uses fictional characters to tell a story. The book takes the characters from Winnie the Pooh and uses them to introduce to the reader the basic principles of Taoism. It’s funny and informative, which is right up my alley.
Interesting fact about yourself that people wouldn’t expect?
When I was around 5 years old, I was once on a daytime TV show in Japan. As a thank you for being a part of a segment, I think the network gave me a clock with the Fuji Television logo on it; which in hindsight seems like I could’ve asked for a little more in return.
Favorite place in the world and why?
There’s a small area of the Greenwich Village in Lower Manhattan, around Bleecker Street, that feels like it isn’t present-day New York City– like it’s in some sort of time bubble and still has intact all of the charm that small narrow streets and old brownstones exude. There’s a record shop down there with a little bench outside, cramped onto the sidewalk– you sit there in the winter with the snow coming down and a hot cup of coffee in your hands; it’s pretty magical.
Who would you invite dead or alive to your fantasy dinner party?
Miles Davis. I’d want to hear all the crazy stories, both the wonderful and scary things he experienced as an artist, how working with some of the other jazz giants was, what it felt and meant to him that he received so much praise and attention both during and after his life. And I’d want to hear it all coming from his distinct raspy voice that I’ve heard so many others imitate.
What was the last movie, TV show or book that made you cry or tear up?
I tear up a lot, so it really doesn’t take much emotionally to get me there. I want to say the last film I recently watched and nearly cried over was Dirty Dancing. I mean come on, Johnny learned what being respected and cared for feels like, and Baby had the summer of her life!