Who is Danny Choo?
Born in the UK to Chinese Malaysian parents and currently residing in Tokyo for about 16 years, Danny Choo is the creator of a brand called Culture Japan which shares Japanese culture through in-house produced TV Shows, Character Content and a Fashion Doll known as Smart Doll.
Danny also writes about life in Japan as a foreigner on his blog and has been doing so regularly since 2004.
What does Danny do?
Danny is also the creator of Mirai Suenaga (pronounced "mee-rai soo-eh-na -gah") - the mascot character for Culture Japan who has collaborated with various anime and game companies such as Square Enix, Good Smile Company, Bushiroad, Ascii Media Works, King Records and Nitroplus.
In 2013, Mirai became an official mascot for Japan Tourism and in 2014 she became an official mascot for Malaysia Tourism.
Danny has been recognised for his work by the Japanese government who have appointed him as a member on various high level committees which focus on strategies to disseminate Japanese content outside of Japan.
Career and clients
Previously an Engineer for Japan Airlines, Website Manager at Amazon, Product Manager at Microsoft, Danny developed a proprietary CMS called Mirai Gaia which he licenses out together with marketing services to clients which include Disney, Columbia Music, Konami, Production IG, Good Smile Company, Bushiroad, King Records, Kadokawa, Kotobukiya, Ascii Media Works, Nitroplus and Sega.
Danny’s stage work includes speaking for the advertising agency Dentsu at the Cannes Advertising Festival and for SEGA's Vocaloid Hatsune Miku concert Mikunopolis in Los Angeles. Danny is also invited to speak at conferences around the world such as the Mobile World Congress on the subject of Startups and Entrepreneurship.
Danny's spoken languages are English, Japanese, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean.
Find out more
Folks who are interested in learning more can do so in the following extensive posts which cover how and why he is in Japan and how he started up his company against many odds.
- How Discovering Japan Changed My Life
- How I Started A Company in Japan
- My First Visit To Japan
- Why Money Doesn't Motivate me
- The Making of Smart Doll
The above is written in 3rd person as press and event organizers keep asking for something to copy and paste ^^
Everything below is back to normal written in 1st person.
Where Does Danny Work?
In 2013, the Japanese government appointed me as a member of their Creative Industries Internationalization Committee (CIIC) where I gather with the top folks from companies such as Bandai Namco Games, Sony Music Entertainment, Horipro, Kodansha, Isetan, Mitsui Fudousan, Tokyo Broadcasting System and others to decide what measures should be taken to help the proliferation of Japanese content around the world. The full member list is up at the METI website.
In 2015, the Japanese Cabinet appointed me as a member of their "Cool Japan Strategy Committee" [クールジャパン戦略推進会議] - a larger scale initiative that involves many more ministries including MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports and Technology), MAFF (Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries), METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry), MOFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Japan Tourism Agency, MOF (Ministry of Finance) and the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
I have also been working with Japan and Malaysia Tourism on various projects that involve my character Mirai Suenaga which I will talk about later in this post.
Sharing Japan through photos
I love Japan and I know what its like to be on the outside which is one of the reasons why I will always continue to share photos of my daily life in Japan with those who don't live here.
I try to document as many of my photos as possible with information on visiting or living in Japan.
If you are visiting Japan then check out the Places to visit in Japan photo category, if you are going to or have just moved to Japan then check out the Living in Japan Guide photo category or if you want to learn more about Japanese culture then check out the Japanese Culture photo category.
Sharing life through articles
I was bullied at school, been around for 4 decades, lived in 3 different countries, worked in corporate life and started up a company. I share my experiences and discoveries in the career category listed up below.
- How I started my company in Japan
- My First Visit To Japan
- Why Money Doesn't Motivate Me
- Staying Strong When Things Go Bad
- How To Mass Produce Your Own Products
- Are you living the life of others?
- 3D Printing in Japan
- How Discovering Japan Changed My Life
- How to write a resume
- Organizing Your Workspace
- View more
Character Development - Mirai Suenaga
Back in 2007, I created a character who I named Mirai Suenaga [末永みらい] - the meaning is "Eternal Future."
Back then she was created with the purpose to prettify the website but she ended up turning to be more than a website mascot. Mirai went on to collaborate with various anime and game companies such as Square Enix, Good Smile Company, Bushiroad, Ascii Media Works, King Records and Nitroplus.
In April 2015, Mirai starred in her first live action drama doS Deka (Tabe Mikako, Yoshida Yo) which was broadcast on NTV in Japan. This first episode reached a record high 12.7% viewership across Japan.
Character Development - Mirai & Friends
Somewhere along the way, I created more characters to keep Mirai company - her younger sister Haruka Suenaga, a floating spherical robot called Retrokyu and 4 school mates who are Kanata Hoshikawa, Eiji Seiun, Kizuna Yumeno and Chitose Shirasawa.
"Mirai" means "Future" in Japanese and thats what she turned out to be for me and my company - everything that we do revolves around her.
Mirai has also had the honor of being illustrated by many popular illustrators who participate in the Japanese pop culture field. Many of these illustrations are used on the products that we produce.
Product Development - Japanese Learning
I wanted to make Japanese language learning more fun and thought that it would be a good idea to do so by fusing it with Japanese Moe culture.
The result was a deck of 50 cards that teaches Hiragana called Moekana which was released in April 2012.
Moekana became a hit over night - the first print run sold out during the pre-order period and became the second best selling anime product on Amazon Japan. Even though Moekana was developed for foreigners to learn Japanese, Japanese folks also bought the product for their kids too! Moekana is currently in its Second Edition.
In June 2013, we launched Moekanji - a deck of 80 cards which teaches first grade kanji.
Product Development - Smart Doll
I wanted to create a 1/3 scale fashion doll modelled after Mirai but no manufacturer was interested in working with me. After having the door slammed in my face, I spent about 2 years researching material properties, various molding methods and then doing extensive networking to find vendors who I could work with.
I used up pretty much all the cashflow that my company saved and started to develop our own brand of fashion dolls in Japan using 3D printers to make molds.
Today, Smart Doll is in thousands of homes worldwide owned by creative folks who love to customize and take photos of their new companion.
And here is a closer look at my creations - Smart Doll 001 Mirai Suenaga on the left and 002 Kizuna Yumeno on the right.
The result is my vision of what I believe to be the optimum design for an international modern fashion doll.
TV Production - Culture Japan & Japan Mode
I direct, produce and present on a TV show called Culture Japan which covers Japanese Pop and Traditional culture.
The show is broadcast on Tokyo MX TV in Japan and across the world on various cable, terrestrial and online networks including Animax Asia, Mnet in America and Crunchyroll.
While Culture Japan is targeted at folks outside of Japan, the national broadcast in Japan became particularly popular in its second season often trending on Twitter after each episode.
I also present on a TV show called Japan Mode which focuses on Japanese lifestyle. Japan Mode is broadcast on FOX's Star World channel across Asia and is sponsored by Panasonic and Toyota.
Apart from Culture Japan and Japan Mode, I also have a TV show broadcast in the mornings on Japanese TV (Tokyo MX TV) called Check Time which focuses on business related to Japanese Pop Culture.
Web Production - Mirai Gaia
I've been developing websites for most of my career starting at Japan Airlines moving on to the scientific journal Nature, Amazon and Microsoft. After leaving Microsoft, I developed a CMS called Mirai Gaia that would not only cater for my own needs but for the needs of my clients too.
I started out building Mirai Gaia in PHP+MYSQL but now we have migrated to Ruby on Rails+PostgreSQL.
For some of my clients, we also maintain their social media networks like Facebook and Twitter too. My clients are mostly in the anime industry and include Production IG, King Records, Good Smile Company, Bushiroad, Kadokawa, Ascii Media Works, Yuzu Soft, SEGA and more.
Event Production - Culture Japan Night
I host a networking event called "Culture Japan Night" worldwide where the main purpose is to meet fans of Mirai and friends and make sure that by the end of the event they have made new friends too.
Emcee and Speaking Appointments
I'm regularly invited to speak at various conferences around the world. Previous appointments have included speaking at the Mobile World Congress on the topic of Startups and Entrepreneurship, for the advertising agency Dentsu at the Cannes Advertising Festival, Trend Day in Germany, Imprint Culture Lab in Los Angeles, Thailand Game Show, Promax DBA Asia in Singapore and more.
I also emcee for various stage events and broadcasts in English and Japanese. I have previously looked after many Japanese voice actresses such as Chiwa Saito, Miyuki Sawashiro, Hanazawa Kana and more.
Artists that I've looked after include LiSA, May'n, FLOW, Angela, Sphere and Hatsune Miku's Mikunopolis in Los Angeles concert.
I occasionally give lectures at universities in Japan and abroad on the subject of career development.
So far I have lectured at Kadokawa Contents Academy, Nihon University, Keio University, London University (SOAS), Digital Hollywood University and Nagaoka Institute of Design.
Tokyo Dance Trooper
I was brought up on Star Wars and have always wanted to be a Stormtrooper since I was a kid - but had to wait until I was an adult to become one.
After getting hold of some armor with permission from my finance director (wife), I customised it so that it was a wee bit easier to move around in - then I tested it out on the streets of Tokyo.
I first started taking photos using a Canon IXY compact camera then moved on to Canon Kiss DSLR.
Following the Kiss, I switched to Panasonic and used a few generations of their GF series.
I then moved on to the Sony NEX series which then proceeded to using the Sony full frame RX1 and A7 II
I used Nikon for a while and during that time was asked to be in a commercial for them.
My spoken languages are (in order of proficiency) English, Japanese, Cantonese, Mandarin and Korean although my Korean reading ability is much better than my Mandarin.
I'm also currently learning Malay and Bahasa Indonesia but progress is slow ><
My work involves a lot of travel - I spend nearly half a year away from my home in Tokyo to speak at or attend conferences. The Travel photo category contains photos of my trips - but is not updated as regular as I'd like it to be ><
I've been gaming since the Commodore 64 years where we loaded games via a cassette tape that took over 10 mins!
I then discovered Japan through the Sega Megadrive in an era where I became to own a Super Famicom and PC Engine Duo.
These days my line of work involves not only anime but games too so I'm required to keep in the loop with the latest and greatest by spending some time playing. If you are Sony gamer then feel free to add me - my PSN ID is dannychoodotcom
My latest games are listed in this post.
There are many resume templates that you can download from the Internets but I thought I'd share a tried and tested resume format that got me jobs at companies like Amazon and Microsoft and interview/job offers from Google and Apple - which I turned down to go to Microsoft ^^;
Anyway, the word file for the my CV is here - feel free to use it. Read more about my resume format.
Culture Japan (Mirai Inc) : April 2007 - Present (Tokyo) Representative Director
“Mirai Inc” is the company that I founded and “Culture Japan” is the umbrella brand which we use to share Japanese content through various mediums which are mainly TV, Character Content and a Fashion Doll called Smart Doll.
Everything we do revolves around our mascot character Mirai Suenaga.
Microsoft : April 2006 - March 2007 (Tokyo) CGM Product Manager
At Microsoft I managed planning, service evaluation, development, implementation and execution of various online services such as Favorites, Spaces and Maps.
Amazon.com (JOYO) Nov 2004 - Apr 2005 (Tokyo/Beijing) Sr Manager, China Website Development
My last project at Amazon was managing the acquired Chinese website joyo.com where I was responsible for the management and recruitment for software development, web development and catalog systems/operations in China.
Amazon (Alexa) : March 2004 - Nov 2004 (Seattle) Sr Manager, Global ASIN Metrics
During my 6 months at Amazon HQ in Seattle, I was responsible for the management of software development teams to develop and deliver ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number - a unique identifier for our products) metrics systems such as Competitive Monitoring, Selection Analysis and more.
Amazon Japan : Aug 2001 - Mar 2004 (Tokyo) Sr Website Manager
My first responsibility during my time at Amazon was to manage development and deployment of the website.
At Amazon I was responsible for the production team of 30 which comprised of Web Development, Quality Assurance, Design, Browse Development, Content Build and Deployment, Cross Site Editorial, Imaging, Program Management and Catalog Operations.
My team was responsible for the launch of various product lines such as Video Games, Software, Gift, Marketplace, Consumer Electronics and Home&Kitchen and features such as My Store, Listmania, Wishlist and Cash On Delivery.
Before my next assignment in Seattle, I implemented various Search Engine Optimization changes to all of the Amazon retail sites resulting in incremental revenues of millions of US dollars.
Nature : Jul 1999 - Apr 2001 (Tokyo) Web Marketing Executive
My first job in Japan was working at the scientific journal called Nature responsible for marketing of Nature and 12 sister journals in South East Asia (Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore).
I left Nature with incremental subscription numbers, a new Korean language web portal and launched various magazines in my regions which included Nature Immunology, Nature Genetics, Nature Molecular Cell Biology and Nature Neuroscience.
Japan Airlines : Jul 1998 - Jun 1999 (London) Computer Engineer
The first full time job I had after I graduated from university was back in London at a subsidiary company of Japan Airlines called JAL Avionet where I was responsible for software/hardware support and maintenance of Japan Airlines reservation systems throughout Europe.
I also maintained computer systems for JALs other clients which included NHK, NTT Data, Mitsui Kaijyou and Marubeni.
Photo taken with my wife at Yosemite National Park. We met back in London when we were working in a Japanese restaurant and have been together ever since.
I most certainly could have not made this journey without her. Folks who visit our booths or attend the events that we host would have seen her running the show. She is currently the Finance and HR Director at my company Mirai Inc.
I still got a lot to learn but try to share what I have already experienced in the hope that folks will benefit when seeking their own answers in life.
Smart Doll is my biggest life project so far and after 40 years on this planet I can tell you that the bigger your goals are, the bigger the hurdles are going to be and the harder you will fall.
Having not made anything like this before, there was a steep learning curve which in many cases involved trying things that often involved me tripping on one of those hurdles and falling flat on my face. Some would call this "failure" but I call this "learning" - nothing will always lead to nothing while something will always lead to something even though that something may seem like a failure.
Without failure, there is no learning and without learning, there would be no progress meaning that goals would not be reached. Don't be afraid of failure - be afraid of never reaching your goals.
Never give in
Another hurdle that I experienced is the constant disappointments of poor quality or just plain not-to-spec samples or product parts that come back from vendors. This can be very very depressing at times!
While I work with talented vendors, some of them have difficulty in working with the quality standards that I expect.
One has to grow very thick skin (thick enough to make siew yoke) by believing in what you are doing and not giving in when folks around you try to convince you otherwise - your goal is to make a quality product that encapsulates your vision - your goal here is not to make friends.
Telling talented vendors that their work is unacceptable is not an easy task and you will be hated "for being picky" but remember that once you give in, your product and vision dies there and then. Everybody else wins - you lose.
Then there are times when folks who are close to you will tell you otherwise - that "its good as it is" - that you are being too picky about nothing. If you give in and listen to them and find out that they are wrong afterwards you will end up blaming them.
The person you should blame in this case is yourself because it was you who listened to them in the first place.
Many of us worry as it makes us feel like we are doing something about a problem when in fact we are wasting time being anxious about nothing. Making a judgement call on an aspect of design (could be the frame, outer shell etc) that has an unknown outcome is a decision that affects time and money and we humans naturally don't want to waste either of these precious resources and worry whether we are making the correct decision or not.
But if you start to think about any decision you make as being essential to progress, then its easier to make quicker decisions even though the outcome turns out not as expected.
The reason is that now you have that unexpected outcome, you have something to work on to make a judgement call so that you can at least progress towards your goal instead of standing still.
If you find yourself worrying about a decision to make then just make any decision as it will at least set you off towards your goal instead of leaving yourself standing still worrying about nothing.
Another thing about worrying is that 95% of the things we worry about don't happen anyway which goes to show how we waste time worrying over nothing.
To prove this - think about 10 things which you remember worrying about in the past - you will find that most of it didn't happen and that you was worrying to see if you could come up with a scenario to remedy the outcome of a worry.
But there are things which you have absolutely no control over (weather, London busses etc) in which case just go with the flow! If you already new the flow from the beginning the life would be boring without any surprise or learning.
There is only one form of worry that is productive - the worry which leads to an action that fixes or improve something. "I'm worried and concerned about the boxes we are using for the shipping of Smart Doll - so lets change the boxes to a double corrugated type."
A better way
Whatever you do - you must always question the workflows you put in place - you must always tell yourself "there just *has* to be a better way to do this."
Without this mentality, you will end up working with old clumsy workflows that will eventually start to tie you down and prevent you from reaching your goals.
Don't leave stuff as it is just because everything just works - always strive to make it better.
Many of us wait for "the right timing" because we think it will be "easier" - disappointed you may be when I tell you there is no right timing. There is no right timing especially when it comes to things like moving house, changing a job, having a baby, getting married or starting your life project.
If you have something you really want to do in life then that time is now - not next week, not next month and definitely not in the new year when you make that "new years resolution." A new years resolution is an excuse to put something off for another year - if you convinced yourself to wait until the new year to make that resolution then your goal is either not important or you will convince yourself to put it off again.
A life goal has to mean everything to you otherwise it means nothing to you and you will never ever reach it.
The bigger your life project becomes, the more likely you are to come across people who get involved in your project and eventually stab your back.
Through the Smart Doll project I've had a few jabs to my back but the important thing was to move forward instead of spending time and resources to take a jab back - while very tempting, if you devote time to stabbing somebody back, it means that taking revenge has become more important and you will loose focus on your goal. It also means that the person who stabbed you has won because they got to stab you and also got you to give up on your goal.
Instead, use your anger and channel that into wanting to do everything to complete your goal sooner because the likelihood is that the person who you once worked with who stabbed your back will be watching your progress all the way and when you reach your goal then you have delivered the fatal blow - the humiliation of your backstabber watching you succeed.
This also applies to trolls on and offline. These days, I get trolled for anything and everything - does not really matter until the trolls start to tell malicious lies to gather recognition from their peers.
One of the reasons why trolls do what they do is because they do not have the ability to accomplish much in real life but gaining your attention gives them a sense of achievement.
Never ever react against a troll - instead of using your anger to counterattack with small clumsy uncalculated blows that will leave you feeling embarrassed afterwards, use your energy to aggressively continue to achieve your goals and live well.
I want my trolls to know that whenever I achieve my goals - this is what my face looks like when thinking of you. Please keep up the trolling - it really does me wonders.
Folks spend time whining about this and that and is something I used to do too - a complete waste of time that takes time and energy away from your project. Absolutely nothing that you whine about is worth even thinking about when compared to the problems that some folks face in the third world.
Goals involve sacrifices. The bigger your goal, the bigger the sacrifice you are going to have to make. Its one or the other - not both.
There is a myth that working for yourself means that you have the freedom to work on what you want whenever you want and that you will have more time to do your own stuff - how wrong the myth could be.
Once you start to work for yourself you don't have a steady paycheck anymore meaning you need to constantly think about income and then doing the work that involves bringing that income. This means you have less time for yourself and find yourself choosing between:-
#Running and growing the business
#Spending time with family
#Spending time on health
If you are not willing or finding it difficult to sacrifice something in order to reach your goal then you are going to take a long time or never reach your destination.
Importance of language
Without my knowledge of the Japanese language, there is no way I would have been able to be at this stage with Mirai. I could have used an interpreter but lots of things usually get lost in translation and also I would have wasted a lot of time too.
At the moment I use all my spoken languages on the development of Smart Doll - Japanese, Korean, Cantonese and Mandarin (and a wee bit O English).
I know many foreigners in Japan who are not bothered with learning the lingo and some excuses I have heard is "my wife speaks Japanese so I don't have to" but notice that many of these folks can only go so far with the development of their business or career.
If you are seriously interested in developing a career in Japan then I urge you to make it a necessity to learn Japanese - if you are not sure where to start then here is a good starting point.
Google sensei is your friend
I just can't stress the importance of taking time out to learn and build your inventory of skills. Back when I was growing up in the UK, there were no Internets - if I wanted to learn something I needed to go to a library, rent a VHS tape, ask somebody or hope it just turns up on TV. Now that we have Google Sensei there is absolutely no excuse not to learn.
Google sensei taught me how to program PHP, MYSQL, CSS and use graphics packages like 3D Max, Photoshop, Fireworks and more. Google Sensei also taught me how to make soft vinyl parts and everything else that I needed to know for Smart Doll production.
Another reason why I was able to build up the business with limited resources is because I was able to do much of the stuff myself. My programming and graphics package knowledge enabled me to make websites and do consulting for companies like Disney, Columbia, King Records, Good Smile Company, Bushiroad, kadokawa and more.
The comfort zone
The definition of "hard work" varies from person to person but my definition would be something like:-
Something that requires a level of effort that exceeds what the human body is designed for. Humans by nature are designed to save energy and by default do not carry out tasks that are difficult and requires effort and energy.
Energy can be physical or mental. Mental hard work is things like dealing with difficult people or trolls, working under pressure of dealing with bosses or deadlines, working with ambiguity and making decisions that put the security of our basic human needs at risk - food and shelter. All of these things listed is not normally something one would want to do due to the effort involved.
Then there is physical energy which are things like working long hours (with illness) without rest, sleep or food or doing something which puts a strain on the body - could be something like strenuous physical tasks, doing monotonous work or constantly traveling through time zones.
However, humans avoid hard work not through a conscious decision but because they are biologically programmed to be efficient - in the eyes of these humans, hard work uses way too much energy and is thus not efficient. A humans efficiency is enhanced by us unconsciously working ourselves into a comfort zone. Our comfort zone could be a comfortable job that we may not necessarily like but it enables us to pay for our basic human needs and keeps our bodies efficient by not having the need to do anything that puts a strain on our body.
There is however a silver lining - once we start to doubt our programming then we can make a decision to change and believe that hard work pays off - the first thing to do is take the leap out of that comfort zone.
It's not the money
Many folks blame the money - "I could do it if I had the cash" - this is the voice of somebody who can't be bothered and does not have any real goals.
A modern day example is the Evernote type service called Springpad - even though they had 7.3 million USD of funding - they could not create a sustainable business - this could be for a variety of reasons and I'm not going to speculate either but just wanted to get the point across to you that its not the money that counts - its you and your desires and passions that decides whether you succeed in reaching your life goals.
This photo is of me and some workmates when I was working part time in a Japanese restaurant called Benihana. I left my father's studio to pursue my dreams of living and working in Japan (which you read about here) - working here fulfilled two goals - not only did I get to speak Japanese to staff and customers, I also earned the cash that I needed to travel to Japan once a year to absorb the culture.
I also reached another unexpected goal while working there - I met my wife ^^
Unfortunately there are a load of folks out there of the I-could-do-it-if-I-had-the-cash variety who are not willing to work for the money - I guess they are too good to wash or carry dishes like I did. Or maybe they were scared of breaking dishes like I sometimes did ^^;
The first thing that many startups do is seek funding but I see that as an act of not wanting to leave the comfort zone of a salaried job - this is evident by the flash offices these "startups" go and rent who start to fill it with expensive furniture and Macs for everyone - this does not sound like startup mentality to me.
Many successful startups tend to bootstrap their own business by initially using their own funds which are usually savings - in my case I bootstrapped my business through earnings at Amazon and Microsoft and over time through sales of Mirai Suenaga merchandise.
The good thing about using your own money to bootstrap your business is that you will be more frugal with the way cash is spent and learn how to innovate with scarce resources. Many companies who startup with millions of USD have abundant resources to play with so there is no need to innovate anymore. I guess this is one of the reasons why 90% of tech startups fail.
Humans do things based on necessity. If its not a requirement we tend not to do it because humans are by nature programmed to conserve energy - using energy to do something that is not a requirement goes against our programming.
If you was hungry you would go to the kitchen to look for food - if there is nothing in the cabinet or fridge then you would go out to get food. Eating is a necessity for us which is why we always make time to eat.
If you have a goal in life then you must make it a necessity - you must have a desire and a will to make it succeed - it is you that can and will make it happen - not the money.
Remember - its not the money - its you.
More about my background
Was born and raised in the East end of London - this photo taken in Victoria Park Hackney while I was still living with both parents. Parents are both Malaysian Chinese.
Later on in life during my early years, times were tough for my parents who both worked hard day n night. As they were both busy trying to make ends meet, they decided to put me in various foster homes which I lived in for most of my childhood. In some of the homes, I wasn't treated incredibly well but didn't say anything to my parents as I knew they were having their own financial and other problems. I ended up living with a white, black and then with an Indian family for what seemed like an eternity.
As luck would have it, one of the foster homes had guardians who would take my clothes and consider it theirs while their kids would constantly bully me - was easy to pick on the boy who had no parents. I was made to feel as unwelcome as possible in their house.
I remember a particular evening where we came back to the house to discover the front door open. We walked in to discover that the place was a mess - burglars had got in. I was scared and started to cry. The eldest child of my foster family shouted at me:-
"What are you crying for?! This isn't even your house!"
Other memorable moments in one of the homes was when I was strangled until I had red patches around my eyes. When asked the next day at school, all I could think of was saying that I put cups on my eyes ^^;
Another unforgettable time was when I was beaten with car racing tracks - a bit like these ones but were made of rubber with an orange strip down the middle. Was left with lovely bright red marks all over. Remember looking in the mirror after the beating session and still remember exactly what I looked like back then down to the green jumper that I was wearing.
The only thing I had in life back then were the occasional weekends with my parents. Dad would come to pick me up for the weekend and I would either stay with him or he would drop me off at mums. But at times he was just swamped with work and couldn't make it. The phone would ring and my foster parents would pick up and hand me the phone.
After hanging up I would sit crying on the stairs looking out at the small window above the door. I couldn't even go out to cry because I wasn't allowed out on my own apart from going to school. All I could do was go back to my room which was a small stock room with a bed. I would have dreams of my only friend Buck Rogers coming to visit me with his trusty robot Twiggy.
Mum and dad were paying my foster parents to house and feed me and not to particularly care about how well or bad I done at school. My childhood was school > go home > eat > occasionally watch TV > go to room > repeat.
The TV was my first encounter with Japanese anime where I watched Gatchaman (called G-Force in the UK). I didn't particularly know it was Japanese - not that it was important at the time anyway.
This photo was taken during the time I was staying at one of the foster homes. Didn't have much fun in school either. Was constantly bullied and most of my memories were of being dragged through gravel, gang beaten up, having my possessions burned, football constantly aimed at my face, and having the big guy in the school playground say to me "If I smash your head with this bat and kill you then I would go to jail. But it would be worth it." I remember having to ask the same person to punch me so that I could be part of his posse.
Memories attached to emotion are easy to remember as the brain releases a chemical which helps the memory to be stored for longer. This is why we easily remember moments of joy, sadness or embarrassment.
If you think back to your childhood, many of your memories with either be a mix of these emotions. I have no memories of happiness during my childhood apart from one of when my parents still lived together. It was Christmas and we were sitting in front of the Christmas tree in the living room back in Blurton Road Hackney.
Used to be quite depressed when I thought about my childhood until I started to think about what some other kids go through as a child - I had it easy compared to them.
Completely unmotivated throughout my school term, I ended up taking subjects because of what others in class took - I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do in life. With no destination in life or passion for the subjects that I studied, I didn't do well in school at all with average grades of D or E. Now you know why my English grammar is terrible ^^;
Cant remember at which point in life but I started to live with my parents again - with dad for a couple of years and then with mum until I moved out. This photo taken with mum last year. I want to be able to buy her a house somewhere so that she doesn't have to live in that council flat anymore. Love her to bits but she's as stubborn is as stubborn does and wants her own place and not one where I pay the rent for her ^^;
Don't have the cash quite yet after I nearly went bankrupt in 2009 but have been able to recover a wee bit of late. Getting a place for mum now would pretty much use up all of our savings and also mean that I would not have enough cash flow to continue to run the company which is not a good thing.
This is mums place in Hackney. Lived here until I moved out to live with wifey. Was veeeeeeeeery depressing living here. The neighbors would play thumping reggae music all day and night. The floor boards literally shook.
Mum got mugged in Hackney 3 times - once she was left unconscious after somebody hit her head. After getting a call, I ran to the hospital to find her with dried blood down her face and bruises on her arm where she tried to hold onto her handbag
Wikipedia (Wiki) Type References
Not updated since 2012 and not sure if I can find the time to update it ;-;
- Cool Japan Conference at Chokaigi (speaking with Yukio Edano the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry)
- Cool Japan Conference by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (Speaker)
- 2012 Winter Good Smile Broadcast (Presenter)
- Tokyo International Anime Festival (panelist)
- Nagaoka University (Nagaoka, Japan) (2011/10) (Speaker on my career)
- Wonder Festival 2011 Summer (Tokyo) (Speaker at Kotobukiya stage)
- MIKUNOPOLIS (Hatsune Miku Concert) (MC)
- Anime Expo 2011 (Los Angeles) (Speaker and MC)
- Cannes International Advertising Festival (Speaker for Dentsu on Anime Culture)
- C3Hong Kong ( speaker on my TV production Culture Japan)
- Japanese Media Culture Conference (Tokyo) (Panelist)
- Cool Japan and Japanese Industries Seminar (Tokyo) (Ote News College)(Panelist)
- Anime Festival Asia 2010 (Singapore) (speaker on my TV production Culture Japan)
- Cool Japan Forum 2010 (Singapore) (host and speaker on "My Cool Japan")
- Anime Festival Asia 2010 (Singapore) (MC for voice actress Kana Hanazawa and Milky Holmes)
- Cool Japan Tokyo Conference (Tokyo) Organized by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Panelist.
- Anime Expo 2010 (first day panel) (second day panel) (Los Angeles)
- Digital Hollywood University (Tokyo) (Lecture on Creative Industries in Japan)
- University of London - (Speaker on Creative Industries in Japan)
- Animation Asia Conference (official site) (Singapore) (Speaker and panelist on Japanese Pop Culture)
- Anime Festival Asia 2009 (Singapore) (official site) (Performer and speaker on dannychoo.com)
- Good Ideas Salons Tokyo (Tokyo) (official site) (Panelist on Pure Living)
- Nihon University (Tokyo) (Speaker on my career and dannychoo.com)
- Apple Store Ginza (Tokyo) (Speaker on Consumer Generated Media)
- Remix Tokyo (Tokyo) (Speaker at Remix 2006 for Microsoft on "Windows Live Gadgets")
- Imprint Culture Lab (Los Angeles) (Speaker at Imprint Culture Lab on "dannychoo.com & Blog Culture")
- Trend Day 2008 (Germany) (Speaker on Otaku Culture and dannychoo.com)
- Promax BDA Asia 2008 (Singapore) (Speaker on Otaku culture and dannychoo.com)
- Animax Blogging Workshop (Singapore) (Speaker on history of dannychoo.com, monetization and userbility)
- Pecha Kucha Night (Tokyo) (Speaker on Tokyo Trooper)
Radio, TV, Commercials, Movie
- Channel NewsAsia (Singapore) guest on the morning Primetime Morning to talk the anime industry and monetary aspects.
- Culture Japan (Tokyo MX TV / ANIMAX Asia) Presenter and Director.
- Nikon Commercial
- CNN (Feature on Danny Choo)
- The People vs George Lucas (Theatrical movie)
- Kira Kira Asia (BS11 / Shanghai / Taiwan) Presenter.
- A is ASIA (NHK World) Feature on Danny Choo.
- Fantastico (Brazil nationwide broadcast) (video here)
- TBS Radio
- O-Japan Senryaku (Tokyo MX TV)
- La Chaîne Info (France TV Broadcast)
- iPhone 3GS Launch (Nationwide press coverage)
- BBC News at 10PM (Otaku Subculture)
- BBC World Fast Track
- Google My Fave Places
- Firefox 3.5 Welcome Video
- CNN (iPhone 3G Tokyo Launch)
- G4TV (Attack of the Show)
- G4TV (Ninja Fest 3)
- Lily Allen and Friends (UK BBC)
- Won Hobby 5
- Boing Boing TV
- Blog TV (Tokyo MX TV)
- News Zero (Nippon TV)
- Akiba Report part1 (Tokyo MX TV)
- Akiba Report part2 (Tokyo MX TV)
- Asamade Nama WonHobby (Good Smile Nico Nico Broadcast)
- The Star (Malaysian newspaper 2010/05/17)
- Japan Times (Japan) Feature on Danny Choo.
- Weekly Ascii
- BMW Magazine (Worldwide) Trends in Japan
- Otacool 1,2,3 (a collaboration publication with Kotobukiya)
- Otaku Encyclopedia (featured under "C" ^^;)
- La Repubblica XL (Italy) (feature on Danny Choo)
- Mac Fan (feature on Danny Choo and Mirai Inc)
- Weekly Ascii (100 famous folks gadgets)
- Game Axis (Malaysian game magazine)
- Tokyo Sports Newspaper (Feature on Otacool)
- Nikkei Sangyo Newspaper (Talking about dannychoo.com and online monetization)
- Weekly Ascii (Japanese Internet publication)
- Windows 100% (Japanese computing publication)
- Freesouls (a book by Joi Ito)
- Yahoo Internet Guide (Japanese publication)
- Windows 100% May 2006 (Japanese publication)
- Metropolis (Magazine for gaijin folks in Japan)
- Weekly SPA Jan 15th 2008 (Japanese publication speaking on Second Life)
- Weekly SPA Aug 15th 2007 (Japanese publication speaking on dannychoo.com and online affiliating)
- Monoqlo 2 (Japanese publication)
- Giant Robot Magazine 51 (Asian culture publication)
- Boing Boing (Guest blogger)
- Best Japan Blog (Forbes)
- Yahoo.com top page (my Akiba dance trooper vid was featured)
- Gyao Trend (interview/Japanese)
- Ascii (interview/Japanese)
- Wired Magazine (my otaku guide)
- Ameba News
Contact and Connect
I get quite a bit of spam that gets through the filters and another 1653 mails a day asking me everything from "can you buy me x" to "could you translate this for me."
I would love to answer all mails but if I did so then all I would be doing is answering mails all my life - and life is too short too do that. Please don't hate me if I cant reply ;-)
I tend to skip the long mails due to lack of time - short mails are usually read. If you don't get an answer, please resend mail again after 2 weeks. If I manage to make a clone of myself I promise to read and reply to all mails ;-)
Please contact me through my FaceBook or mail which is [support at mirai dot fm]
Folks who are interested may want to hook up on the following communities which I participate in - feel free to add or follow.