1“I’d love to be a judge on this episode of Iron Chef,”said Akemi.  “The secret ingredient is heroin.”

“Heroin?”I asked.  And here I’d thought they couldn’t get any more surprising than “battle scotch”.

“Heroin,”she repeated.  And then enunciating just to be sure: “He-ro-in.”

Hunh.  You think you know a  person…

“The fish,”she added.  “Like aji.”

“Herring?”I asked.


“HerRING is a fish.  HeRO-IN is a drug.  HerRING and HeRO-IN.  Not the same thing.”

“Well, they sound the same to me.”

Another one to file away for my upcoming book, Shit My Japanese Girlfriend Says, along with the many Akemi-isms I’ve been introduced to over the past three years.  Like “punching sweet” as in “This candy is punching sweet!”.  She threw that one out a little while ago and, hours later, when I declared something “punchy sweet” she shot me a mystified look and asked me what I meant.  Apparently, the correct term is “punching sweet” and no variation is acceptable, much less comprehensible.  This despite the fact that SHE MADE UP THE TERM! Still, like other Akemi-isms (ie. “melty sleepy”), it’s memorable and does kind of sort of make sense.

So, your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to start incorporating these Akemi-isms into daily conversation.  Let’s start with these –

Punching sweet: Something so cloying it feels like you’re being punched with sweetness.

Melty sleepy: So sleepy you feel as though you’re melting.

Supa-mochi: Fabulous!  Awesome!  Fantastic!

Well, upon further consideration, I realize I’ve been going about it all wrong.  I’ve been lucky in my career to date.  I went from writing/story-editing animation straight into writing/producing teen sitcoms, then right into one hour action shows, then right onto Stargate where I spent the next 11+ years writing and producing. From Stargate, it was off to Toronto to work on that other show and then, from there, right back to Vancouver where Paul and I worked on the Delete miniseries and have since been developing pilots for several networks.  It’s been a lot of fun and, in most instances, very fulfilling both creatively and financially, but the reality is that, at the end of the day, it’s not enough.

Now don’t get me wrong.  Most of those productions afforded me an incredible amount of creative freedom.  Still, given my line of work, I have a choice: I can be happy doing what I’m doing, working as a hired gun on other peoples’ shows, or, I can set up my own show.  I would prefer the latter.  And, as much as I’d love to do it in Vancouver, it has become increasingly obvious that if I’m going to take that next step, I’ll have to make the move to L.A.

Last year, I was out for dinner with a friend from L.A. who told me about a fellow who had been in a similar predicament.  He’d done very well for himself back home but was gaining little traction in the U.S. market.  So, he took his agent’s advice and moved to L.A. He went from being an enormously successful show runner to a staff writer-producer.  Three years later, after working hard, making connections, and proving himself, he was an enormously successful show runner once again.

So that’s the plan.  Leave Vancouver for L.A. so that I can set up my own show and move back and shoot it here in Vancouver.

Crazy, no?

36 thoughts on “April 4, 2013: Akemi-isms! Okay, here’s the plan!

  1. What about moving to Winnipeg seasonally in the summer (or brave it & try a winter here)? There’s still good stuff going on here and we still have our tax credit for film & tv production!

    (And yes, I have a wee lil’project you might find intriguing, if interested in more space stuff!)

  2. Awesome plan. I’m not sure how to respond to the last line, though. Nothing crazy there. I think something was lost in the translation from French to English to DP-takes-everything-too-literally.

    What’s the best time of year to burst onto that scene?

  3. You’ve done crazier things, Joe. 😉

    On a side note, I came home from work, ate dinner, and – for no apparent reason – instead of going back out like I was supposed to, I ended up in bed. Seems I was melty sleepy and didn’t even know it. (Of course, now I’m wide awake – Akemi needs to come up with a term for that. 😛 )


  4. What happens to Akemi and her residency requirements? That does sound pretty crazy to have to do that. I was hoping when you were saying you wanted more out of life you were going to tell us that Shit My Japanese Girlfriend Says book was changing to Shit My Japanese Wife Says.

    I think we should adopt these Akemi-isms — but go one step further — try to get them trending on Twitter with the hashtag #Akemiisms. I’m supa-mochi today, especially after getting some desperately needed sleep. #Akemiisms Now trending is something you have to do in a very specific manner. You have to agree to do it within a 2-hour period of time on a specific day. Or it won’t really trend. Usually. There are exceptions. But that is what we found with Fringe. I don’t know if you can use a hyphen in the hashtag, which is why there is a double “i”. Anybody interested?

  5. Crazy. But most likely true. Not that I know a heck of a lot about any of this, I admit. However, my son is currently in college studying video production in hopes of eventually working in television, and over Spring Break one of his professors took their class out to LA to get up-close and personal with the industry. My son’s take-away was that if he wanted to have any hope of landing any kind of job in LA–even just fetching coffee as a PA–he needed to have an LA address first and foremost. Sounds like that’s true no matter what aspect of the business you’re launching into.

    So yeah. Crazy. But it sounds like a plan…!


  6. Wouldn’t you need to be a permanent legal resident in order to work here, Joe? I suppose that if Akemi’s not working, she could be here on a visitor’s visa. I don’t know if it’s crazy, but I wouldn’t live in LA for all the tea in China. Mr. Deni is from there, and it’s just not for me. It’s not even for him any more, either. Fires and earthquakes aren’t for me (plenty of badass earthquakes growing up in Guatemala), I’ll take hurricanes over that any day! Then, there’s the whole LA “thing”. Oy. 🙂 How’s Jelly tonight? Have a good night!

  7. I love the Akemi-isms, and even tonight I feel melty sleepy from jet lag.

    That is a crazy plan! Might work though

  8. @Crazy, no?

    Not really, this may sound simple minded, but really, you’ve gotta do what you gotta do. If you need to move somewhere briefly to set things in motion, then perhaps it’s for the best Joe.

  9. Vancouver via LA? Seems like a long way to get back home.

    (Once there was a way, to get back homeward,
    Once there was a way, to get back home,
    Sleep pretty darling do not cry, and I will sing a lullaby)

    But if that is where your profession leads you, better start looking into a visiting Visa in America for Akemi. Or would she stay home, get a job, care for the puppies, and you fly home on the weekends? Carl could keep an eye on her. Or you could just write books:

    Shit My Girlfriend Says

    Another Cookbook But This One’s Good

    How To Care For Pugs

    Travel to Tokyo Without Getting Chased By A Knife Wielding Subway Masked Man

    My Time Producing A TV Show

    A Compilation of Star Q&A’s

    Seems like you have to anticipate the next fad in television and write a TV show for it. Easy enough!

  10. So, does Akemi ever get annoyed at you poking fun at her Akemi-isms on your blog, or does she post Joe-isms on hers when you massacre something in Japanese?

  11. @ cat4444 – No, but that would be fun! I wish Akemi would post Joe-isms on her blog. But she is too sweet for that!

  12. I wouldn’t make such a big change myself, just to start over, but then I’m not in “the biz.’ David H moved down to the LA area but it seems he’s gone back up to Canada for actual work.
    There are some really nice restaurants here in LA though, so you might like that aspect. I don’t think they are as personal as the ones you describe in Van.

  13. Big jump, but you are a better judge of the situation than the majority, if not all, of your regular blog readers, in terms of career moves. Certainly we would love to have you come visit us here, to what to you is the south. Best of luck on making a decision on that, and handling the Akemi related aspects of it.
    I’d be tempted to become active on twitter just to hashtag some of those comments, as PBMom suggested. And definitely time to go back and make a list of all the Akemi-isms you’ve posted to date, just so that we can do a better job of incorporating them. got a few days coming off, so maybe I can indulge in that little project. And you do need to push that Akemi based book up on your project list. It might be enough to earn you enough money to fund your own projects, and to start a whole new trend in everyday speaking.

  14. Hmm, TV sounds like as much moving as people in academia. You settle in somewhere, thinking you’re gonna get tenure and then you don’t and poof! you’re back on the job market halfway across the country. Or, worse yet, in the market these days, you simply jump from visiting position to visiting position (because tenure-track jobs are fewer all the time) – some of which are often in places like Dubai (where your girlfriend can only join you if you’re married, apparently) or Belgium. Ah, yes, the things I have to look forward soon.

    All that rambling aside, I don’t envy you and I wish you luck. And hope you get a job so that, selfishly, I can enjoy your writing on my TV again.

  15. @Akemi – I love your Akemi-isms!
    Today was a looooong day and I am sleepy melty!
    thanks for that Akemi

  16. I went to a supa-mochi wedding reception last night. It was a late night so now I’m melty sleepy. There was lots of luboo luboo in the air but thankfully the chocolate wedding cake wasn’t punching sweet. There was no heroin on the menu but there was a whole roast pig (hog roasts seem to be a popular thing in the UK).

    As for moving to LA. It would have to be an AMAZING job to ever get me to live there.

  17. Not crazy, just doing what you must. I suspect you’re getting restless. You may have doubts, but sometimes it’s necessary to leave the “comfort zone”. It’s all part of the learning experience and the path towards success. Overcoming the bumps in the road along that path is a major character builder.

  18. Been an alien myself i understand the problem Akemi have with your r´s g´s and c´s (sitty hole akemism). Its easy understand if you wish say a thing is very very sweet (punching) you later cant do a diminuendo (punchy) would be meaningless.;)
    About the heroing thing my advice for dear Akemi is to do as i and use only FISH (i dont like have a jail boyfriend or similar experiences). Speaking of fish if you wish big fish you need to sail where big fishs are. You know if the guys in L.A. dont know you well in persons lower the possiblilities.
    On the other hand you are an true artist in relationships involving restaurants that quind of newtworking can be very very funny in L.A.
    And last but no less fun, I would like to see your Americanized accent in some time.

  19. Looks like you have to go where the work is.

    Will you still talk to us when you are a big Hollywood producer?

  20. Does Carl or someone live in LA, maybe you could do the house swap thing? Maybe there is loophole in the permanent residency thing, just visiting, not changing perm addy…?> and the pups, so many decisions, Good luck with whatever you make happen.

  21. I’m really sorry I missed “Battle: Heroin”. I bet the withdrawals were dramatic.

    As a resident of the United States, I can say that we’ll be glad to have you! How will you work out the Akemi immigration issue?

    I considered using some Akemi-isms, but they’re kind of skewed towards the feminine. I’m 5’11” with a long goatee, shaved head and tattooed sleeves. It’s just not going to happen.

  22. Those Akemi-isms do have some logic to them. I like them.

    Good luck with the career path! We are all rooting for you here 🙂 .

  23. Crazy yes.

    Since being diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis I’ve found that I’m often melty sleepy. I rarely get more then forty five minutes sleep before waking and having to change positions, let the pain leave, then try to sleep again. Try going like that for eight years.

    Melty sleepy pretty much nails it.

    Is LA more expensive then Vancouver?
    What is Akemi going to do?

    You could buy a 45 foot sailboat and live aboard in Catalina. It might be much cheaper then renting a place. 45 footers can sometimes be found relatively cheap, especially ferro cement boats. If you get tired of the life in LA, just sail away back to Vancouver, or to Australia, New Zealand and Japan. And if you need a crew mate…

    Yes, I’m putting my aspirations on you. I’m hoping someone I know, or at least know of will so I can live vicariously through them.

  24. I was given a jar of homemade fig jam, punching sweet indeed.

    LA… I love it. Hate it. San Diego is more my speed.

  25. True, going to the source for TV prods makes sense, and the Metro and Metrolink can get Akemi anywhere she wants to go, and there are some terrific lofts downtown close to everything, plus beautiful old buildings and great architecture as seen in Gattaca and Blade Runner. I’m fascinated by the people who get around LA on skateboards, they pop out of the metro, toss down their skateboards and head off to explore, no parking required.

    You guys will have fun exploring the city and savoring the great produce and restaurants and you’ll be closer to Vegas while still being able to fly direct to Japan.

  26. LA is where people do get deals. It would make you available for all those meetings…instead of phone calls. You will love the weather⛅ and hate the traffic.🚙🚗🚕🚛🚗🚚🚒🚐

    Great idea💡on filming in Vancouver. 😊

  27. Forgot to ask how Jelly is doing? I hope the vet had some treatment options or her.

  28. 😳 dropped my f in for but you probably could have figured that out if you can translate Akemi…. 😉

  29. as long as you’re able to stay in canada, seems like it’ll work out. Just hope you get to bring it back to vancouver

  30. Sounds awesome crazy. When does the behind-the-scenes reality TV show come out, following you, Akemi & the dogs moving to “the big city”?

  31. Ah, yes. A lesson well understood.I am visiting my friends in Thailand who are teachers. They often talk about the “Head Mother” Mr. “So and so”. Oh right Head Master. As a comparative weather report a snow flake doesn’t have a chance in “Thailand. Happy Songkran.

  32. Last night I was in the local Robinson’s (here in southern Thailand). On an overhead monitor that was displaying ads. one ad for woman’s clothing had “naughty bitchy”. As it is not one that your Akemi has said, does it fit the category?

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