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20 Questions: the best answers of 2015

by , , , and

Staff Writer

Japan Times On Sunday contributors select the responses that made them laugh loudest this year


What’s your favorite Japanese word or phrase? I like the word sōzō. In kanji, it can be written 創造, which means “to create,” or 想像, which means “to imagine.” It’s nice that one word can have two different meanings, both of which are inspirational and artistic.
Mariya Suzuki, illustrator, Nov. 29

Describe your most embarrassing moment. Arriving at a Japanese dinner party at 9:30 p.m. It had obviously finished by then.
Marguerite Paget, communication manager for the Kyotographie International Photography Festival, Feb. 22

Why, Japanese people? People throw beans at demons at Setsubun on Feb. 3. WHY, JAPANESE PEOPLE?!? There is no way a demon would be kept at bay by a bean!
Atsugiri Jason, comedian, Feb. 9

Any memorable moments with co-star Robin Williams over the three “Night at the Museum” films? On the first film, we were standing together off-screen and I was marveling at the music my costume was making with all the beads jangling around. I started moving to a beat and Robin improvised an entire rap song over it.
Mizuo Peck, “Night at the Museum” actress, March 22

What’s the strangest request you’ve ever been asked in your line of work? During fan service after a performance in Taipei, a female fan asked me to headbutt her. Obviously not wanting to hurt her or incur a lawsuit, I gave her a gentle scalp to scalping. However, she said it didn’t hurt and insisted I do it properly.
Ladybeard, Australian idol and pro-wrestler, April 26

What’s the strangest request you’ve ever been asked in your line of work? Oh, there’s been quite a few. One that pops to mind was from an absolute beginner. He bought a guitar that came with a gigbag. His question? Can you tell me what these pockets on the bag are for? My answer? Ahhh … for putting stuff in, you know, stuff you need to carry?
Josh Parkin, luthier (a fancy name for guitar maker), April 12

What’s the strangest request you’ve ever been asked in your line of work? I was once “mayor” of the now-defunct “Cute Ward” in Fukuoka. That was a pretty interesting 1½ years of my life — and a difficult concept to explain to my parents and Canadian Border Services whenever I visited home.
Micaela Braithwaite, artist at Watanabe Entertainment and video blogger on YouTube, May 10

What’s the strangest request you’ve ever been asked in your line of work? I have been featured on TV in South Korea three times. One time, I was asked to dress as Ray Charles and play keyboard.
Ahmed Mohamed Elmardi, Sudanese artist, May 24

What’s the strangest request you’ve ever been asked in your line of work? I was asked to make people float in the air with balloons. We were able to make people fly with the help of 4,000 balloons.
Masaki Matsunaga, entrepreneur, Sept. 27

What’s the most exciting/outrageous thing you have ever done? I almost caused a “war” in Asia over mangoes.
Kunio Senga, CEO of Save the Children Japan, Jan. 11

What song best describes your work ethic? “Whistle While You Work” from “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” I always whistle whilst I work.
Robert Bailey, senior cutter at Huntsman (Savile Row, London), Aug. 30

How would you find a needle in a haystack? Roll around the ground and — Ouch! — found it.
Santa Paradise Yamamoto, Santa Claus (authorized by the Greenland Santa Claus Association), Dec. 13

What do you think about while standing on the train? I’m always trying to guess who is going to get off the train first from what’s going on around me.
Yasuo Hazaki, professor of social science and founder of onigokko (team tag), Nov. 22

What superhero would you most like to be? Cyndi Lauper.
Akiko Shinoda, director of international relations at Japan Fashion Week Organization, March 29

Simply Red’s earlier incarnation was called The Frantic Elevators at the time. Please describe the most frantic elevator you have ever been on. No one in their right mind gets on a frantic elevator.
Steve Spencer Baker, artist manager, writer, creative business adviser and explorer, July 12

Tell us a quick joke. “Abenomics.”
Stephen Gill, Haiku poet and university lecturer, Jan. 25

New Zealand radio station 3ZB’s Ranfurly Shield song was called “Give It a Boot Robbie” in honor of your kicking prowess. Any thoughts on the tune/lyrics? It’s a bit repetitive.
Robbie Deans, coach of the Panasonic Wild Knights rugby team, Aug. 9

Do you share any characteristics with SoftBank’s Yoso Guy? I guess I do. Of course, I work hard, but sometimes working smarter is more efficient. I tend to find new ways to surprise people in good ways: designing, acting, writing, etc.
Dante Carver, actor, owner and designer for AtAt Designs, Sept. 13

Who would win a fight between a lion and tiger? The tiger, because his enemy spends all his time “lion” around.
Atsugiri Jason, IT manager and comedian, Feb. 9

Do you have any words of advice for young people? See your own country from the outside; it’s easier to see something you haven’t experienced before when you’re not stuck on the inside.
Maya Onoda, Installation artist, March 8