“Blue!”announces Akemi the second the traffic light turns green.

“Green!”I correct her.

“Blue!”she chimes as if she didn’t hear.

“What color is that?”I ask, pointing up at the traffic light.

“Green,”she concedes.

“But they’re blue in Japan?”

“No, they’re green in Japan.”  Beat.  “But they call it blue.”

“Why do they call it blue if it isn’t blue?”

“I don’t know.  Why do they call them blueberries?”

I hesitate, wondering if this is some sort of trick question.  Eventually, I go with the obvious: “Because they’re blue.”

Outrage.  “No they’re not! They’re purple!”

I was going to argue the point but then remembered a Food Network piece on the famed blue plate special that revealed blueberries are, in fact, closer to purple.  Hey, they look blue to me but who am I to argue with science?

“Why do they call them strawberries?”wonders Akemi aloud.  “They’re not straw.”

“Why do they call them goose berries?”

She starts as if I suddenly showed her the remnants of a spider I’d squashed in the bathroom.  “That’s so gross,”she says.

She then proceeds to tell me that, according to one of her teachers at the English school she attends, the Japanese refer to green as blue because, back in the day (samurai times?) green and blue were effectively considered the same color.


“What do you call a red light?”I ask.  “Orange?”

“No,”she says, seemingly weighing my sanity with a dubious sideways look.  “Red.”  She makes a face, then brightens.  “In Japan, when you say something is blue, it means the thing is immature or not ripe.”

“In North America,”I inform her, “when we you say something is green, it means the thing is immature or not ripe.  Blue usually means depressed…or ecchi (Japanese slang for naughty or dirty).”

She incensed by the assertion.  “No!  Blue isn’t ecchi.”  And then, as if it’s the most obvious thing in the world: “Purple is ecchi color.”

“It is?”

“Yes.  In Japan, when someone wears a lot of purple, it’s because they are yokyu fuman (Japanese for sexually frustrated).”


Photos of Akemi training for the big fight:

Fists of fury!

Continuing our trip down SGA memory lane…


To be honest, this one didn’t really pan out.  For several reasons.  One was the location.  The episode was supposed to shoot in a place that approximated the look of an Old West town, but it was only after the script had been written that it was decided that location we had been scouting was unusable. Director Martin Wood wasn’t happy with what it offered from a visual standpoint and there was also the fact that several of the buildings were in such a state of disrepair that the production feared they were downright dangerous.  And so, out of options, we ended up shooting our version of high noon in Fantasy Gardens, a bizarre theme park location that is mishmash of various architectural styles.

The location was one of many compromises that had to be made in prep.

In the showdown between Sheppard and Kolya, the two face-off – and the rest of the Atlantis gang is standing right behind Sheppard.  I found it odd that anyone would stand directly behind someone in a potential shoot-out, but the cast was adamant that their characters would “back Sheppard” up.  While I appreciated the sentiment, I would have argued that, in this particular instant, one would back someone up without, literally, standing behind them.

Guest stars Richard Kind and Robert Davi were, however, brilliant.

Richard Kind improvises his dialogue in the scene where Lucius walks off with Sheppard and starts pitching him ideas.  We loved it so much we ended up keeping it in the script.

After the episode was shot, Robert assured me he had come up with a way to bring his character back.  “Hey,”I told him.  “This is science fiction.  Nobody stays dead in scifi.” True enough.  Although the character Kolya made a reappearance in Atlantis’s fifth season (sort of), there were plans to bring him back in the real – but, alas, that story never materialized.

35 thoughts on “August 16, 2012: Blue! Green! Fists of Fury! Days of Stargate Atlantis Past! Irresponsible!

  1. That was a fascinating story about color. I had thought that in Japan, that particular blueish-green traffic light color was defined as part of the blue spectrum. You seem to be saying that Akemi knows the color is green, but calls it blue from tradition, is that correct?

    I had no idea that wearing purple suggested sexual frustration. Does that mean that wearing a lot of purple would suggest one is “available”?

  2. there are a couple of theories on the name of strawberries;

    There is a legend that strawberries were named in the nineteenth-century by English children who picked the fruit, strung them on grass straws and sold them as “Straws of berries”. Another theory is the name was derived from the nineteenth-century practice (ands still today, although most farms use raised beds, enclosed in plastic) of placing straw around the growing berry plants to protect the ripening fruit. But the most widely held view is that the name Strawberry was derived from the berries that are “strewn” about on the plants, and the name “strewn berry” eventually morphed into “Strawberry”.

    in the interest of making a long comment short(er), here’s info on gooseberries;

    In Japan, when someone wears a lot of purple, it’s because they are yokyu fuman (Japanese for sexually frustrated)
    i had a teacher who wore only purple/lavender/lilac. she also had a lavender/lilac car & rumor had it that her house was painted and decorated with those colors too. draw your own conclusions.

  3. I love the painting of your dog on the wall. Poor Akemi’s hand! But it looks like she can take anyone on 🙂

  4. I remember reading an old interview with Davi where he said he was unhappy with the way Kolya was dispatched with so little fanfare. Hopefully his season 5 reappearance made him feel a little better about his character’s arc.

  5. Speaking of Irresponsible, It’s a shame you never did a third episode in this manner. I loved them, and posted my thoughts on these Lucius episodes on your blog no less years ago Joe.

    At least I think I did, I remember giving my opinion on it years back anyway lol.

    Had no luck searching just now, did find comments I made from 4 years ago about some SGA eps lol

    That said its a shame Koyla died in this episode, didn’t want to see that, and also a shame we never saw Lucius again 🙂

  6. My niece asked me the other day why blackberries aren’t called purpleberries. So I just googled it. There already are purpleberries, so sorting the blueberries to one side and the blackberries to another makes sense.

    I liked the location that was used for Irresponsible. The town felt more closed-in, residences right on top of the action. Also, it was an older, more invested town, the people’s wealth tied up on location instead of spread out in the countryside as in a Western. A less independent folk with fewer options, in need of a hero — it could be called a better take on a Western town setting stakes-wise.

    Also a classic Western town is more of a skeletal post that serves a rural population. It begs more of the question of whether a posse would ride in to save the day. A tight-knit city makes waiting on a single hero make more sense.

    But the visuals of a Western are always fun, too, I can see why missing out on that would be bothersome.

    Doctor Who’s about to do a science fiction western tech-enhanced show-down. You wouldn’t want to hone in on that.

  7. For a minute there, I thought Akemi was color blind. I bet it is very interesting for you Joe when your Canadian culture clashes with her Japanese culture. Akemi should take karate classes. She would be a natural and would learn to protect herself too.

    Richard Kind is very good as the mischievious Lucius. And he is very funny. I would have also liked to see him in more episodes, getting into more trouble, and seeing what other con games or schemes he comes up with. Also, that final shootout between Sheppard and Kolya…Shep’s team was standing just behind Kolya. If his aim was off he could have killed one of his own friends. I guess they should have done what they do in westerns…everybody starts running for cover, by crossing in front of the two gunfighters. Now that always struck me as stoopid. Good ep.

  8. And also I agree with Robert Davi concerning Kolya’s manner of death. It should have been way more spectacular!

  9. @Joe:

    I loved the Kolya episodes…too few of them were made unfortunately.

    On the names of colors, I’ve run into other cultures where the boundaries between colors can vary (blue/green and red/orange being notable). If you think about colors as a spectrum, you can see that it’s somewhat arbitrary on where blue turns into green and vice versa. Come to think of it, I think I had this conversation in Taiwan…

    On off topic news, I just completed a stargate centerpiece for the Chicago convention this weekend. I know your Stargates were better, but I had more limited time and resources 😉

    If you want a look:



  10. I always did find the episode’s setting a little awkward – and Kolya’s death was definitely not worthy of such a great bad guy! He deserved a much more epic ending.

    And I would LOVE to see how you were going to bring him back!

  11. Speaking of blue, and with the Rugby Championship starting this weekend (former Tri-Nations, now with 4 international teams: NZ, Australia, S. Africa, and Argentina), I just have to mention this…(also mainly because I have the sense of humor of a 12 year old 😛 ).

    During play, a referee will often refer to a team by the color of their kit. It’s particularly amusing to watch a game when possession goes to a team wearing blue, and the referee declares, “Blue ball!” (Which is almost as amusing as “greasy ball”, “ball’s out”, and that guy who used to play for England, Danny Grewcock. 🙂 )


  12. @JeffW – wow…I’m impressed…very NICE!

    @Akemi – nice ready, guarding and ATTACK stance/form!

  13. Akemi would make a good boxer. She looks focused, like she’d commit to doing the job right. Or maybe she already is a good boxer, I don’t want to make assumptions.

  14. Also…about the color purple. I have always heard it is a royal color. I always thought if you like purple, you have a sense of entitlement and confidence. Never heard it meant you were sexually frustrated. BUT THEN, just last night I was watching (Fleetwood Mac’s) Stevie Nicks on satelite in a one woman show. She was singing Gold Dust Woman. One line in the song is…”Rulers make bad lovers, you better put your kingdom up for sale.” So maybe Akemi has something there. If Stevie says so too… 🙂

  15. I was so upset Kolya died in this episode, something much more grand and evil was anticipated! He was such a terrific villain I hoped he’d be around for many more episodes. Oh well…

  16. And, now that I know about Peasnatch’s blog….

    Seems the debate on colors continues.
    Grape soda can almost be an acquired taste…depending on brand.
    Could not really read the label, but I’m with Akemi to give it to you.

    @Akemi – YEAH….bring on the wine!
    That’s a “nicer grape drink.”

  17. @sylvia, Ponytail, and Janet:

    Thanks so much for the compliments!

    We’ve been working on it for about two months (off and on). My kids, Jackie and David, provided lots of ideas and I provided the milling, electronics, and programming to pull it off.

    @Pontail on what I can’t do…

    I apparently can’t take any time off without some major appliance breaking. 😉 During my Christmas break, my water-heater broke and tonight (on the eve of taking a long weekend), the refrigerator broke. I know what’s wrong with it and with ordering the part I need online, I won’t get it until Monday at the earliest, so I’m not going to let it ruin my weekend. Thanks for the vote of confidence though!

  18. Another color-word oddity: I’m a redhead. Why? Orangey-brown, actually. On a horse my hair-color would be chestnut. I think the British “ginger” is much more accurate (and yes, I do have a soul). 🙂

  19. Akemi continues to entertain. funny how people perceive things differently.
    As far as Irresponsible, again, not one of my favorite episodes. Lucius’ character is marginally more likable, or at least less annoying, but placing him in the same episode as Kolya just rankled. And while the shootout was a nice way for Kolya and Sheppard to finish their personal war, it was too quick and clean. Somehow, I always thought they would end up in a swamp, with Sheppard getting some good thump before drowning Kolya in the much. And technically the rest of the team had no say in where they would stand. I’d expect Kolya to want them to one side, to watch Sheppard die before he turned to deal with them. Ah well. In some ways I guess Kolya’s death is fitting. His fall from power brings him to an undignified end appropriate for someone who has done the things he has done.
    Another weekend coming. Looks to be a boring couple of weeks for me as about everyone I know heads out on vacation. Guess boring is good…at least I can catch up on some book reading. Thanks as always for the post…

  20. Yep, that ep was really not the best. I thought the whole standing behind him thing was really silly and kinda ruined the believability (well, the whole ep was pretty silly). The biggest disappointment, though, was that the whole Kolya/Shep rivalry ended so… lamely. And if I recall correctly, I didn’t even like Kolya that much until some of his stuff in here. I don’t know, there just should have been more for all the buildup of that character. In this ep, he seemed like a tack-on afterthought to the goofy guy star of the week.

  21. @ Akemi – Now I’m starting to suspect Joey didn’t get that black eye from lifting weights… 😉 *Note to self: Do NOT mess with feisty wee Japanese girls.

    @ JeffW – Love the Stargate! Now, can you make one big enough for Todd to fit through?

    Speaking of Todd, saw Chris Heyerdahl in a show called Bullet in the Face on IFC. I’ve come to the conclusion that he’s probably the greatest character actor of our day. 🙂

    @ Tam Dixon – Love the kitty theme songs! 😀

    RE: Purple – Around here, purple is seen as the color for the LGBT community. Not sure how that started, and I often wonder if it’s really the case, or just urban legend in the straight community.

    Blueberries – I have long argued that blueberries are, in fact, purple. So are blue corn and blue potatoes in most cases. In fact, I cannot think of a single naturally occurring blue food. Bleu cheese comes close, but the veins are often grey to bluish-green, not a true blue. There is one food that may be a true blue, and that’s the Lactarius Indigo mushroom. Joe, as a foodie, have you come across any truly blue foods?


  22. Koyla was the bad guy I loved to hate. Every time he showed up I wanted to punch him in the face. Robert was excellent. And yeah, I was disappointed that his ending was so….anticlimactic, I was pretty close to punching my screen when he showed up in season 5. It takes a great actor to pull off that kind of hatred for a character.

    But I would have preferred to see a big knock down drag out fight between Sheppard and Koyla instead of the all-to-quick gun duel.

  23. I first saw Richard Kind in “Mad About You” and was charmed. Anything he is in, I can’t help but watch. I suppose you would call that charisma?

    Akemi sure is cute! I totally agree with her about names.

    I have several “Redheaded” cousins. Like BMc, there are so many shades of “Red”. My cousins have more of a beautiful bright orange color, not red at all. While other redheads are described as strawberry blonde, auburn or ginger. It confused me as a child because I’m so literal. I would LOVE to have red hair but I wouldn’t want that pale skin because it burns so easy.

    JeffW: Awesome! Where do you find the time and can you teach this time management to the rest of us? Good luck with the appliances. It seems to happen in threes, so expect one more.

    One question, Is that Jelly in the picture behind Akemi?

  24. @Akemi
    I didn’t like soda:(
    You are wiser and healthier than many. There is a lot of phosphoric (sp) acid for the fizz and other stuff (sugar unless it is diet soda) that is not good for bones and health. Now I have to try to follow your good example and cut back on my consumption. ugh…I feel the withdrawal pains already.

    @JeffW – ditto what Tam said. Please teach us your time management.

  25. Joe, the signs on the Love Hotels in Japan are purple. I suppose there aren’t that many in downtown Tokyo, but surely you noticed one somewhere, sometime?
    TMI: We used to go stay at the ones near Yokosuka in the dead of winter to use the uber-deep hot tub. Our little house was un-insulated and heated only with kerosene heaters; a tiny honeymoon on a Saturday afternoon was just the thing to cheer hubby and I up. I was so tempted to steal the sheets featuring a large print of an octopus and the fisherman’s wife.

  26. @das – I had a blue mushroom once. I found it while I was picking parasol mushrooms and it’s really just the pre-mature form of that mushroom that erupts from the ground too early. It’s called a blue-on (sp?). It was edible, but I couldn’t shake the knowledge that way too many cats hung out where those mushrooms grew. I put it in an Italian canning jar and just looked at it.

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