Entry #50 – Dinner Party #5

Hey all,

Kohaku here. As I mentioned in last week’s entry, this is going to be the last scheduled journal entry for now. Liner notes will be the new Sunday serial going forward – you can read the whole entry about it here, and check out the new liner notes page here.

Anyway, today is the 5th edition of my Dinner Party project. If you haven’t come across this before, here’s some info before I start:

Links to earlier installments:
→ Dinner Party #1 (full explanation of the project and its history)
→ Dinner Party #2
→ Dinner Party #3
→ Dinner Party #4

Obligatory blurb:
“The basic premise is to keep a list of 10 famous people whom you admire or respect, people who inspire you in your daily life and work. Then, track how this list changes over time. There are some new people on it this time around. These new inspirations replaced some of the old ones, to keep the list at 10, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t like or draw inspiration from those old people anymore. The Dinner Party project is just a snapshot of the 10 people who are most inspiring to you at this particular moment.”

Okay, here we go. As before, new entries compared to last time are bolded, and every name is linked to that person’s website or Wikipedia page. I’ve also added one new thing this time – beneath each entry, I’ve included a brief description of one or two reasons why they are on my list. In no particular order:

  1. Yuzuru HANYU (羽生結弦)
    — Taught me to always give my 120% even in the face of illness/injury/adversity.
  2. Greta THUNBERG & other student/youth climate activists
    — She self-educates, relentlessly speaks her mind to anyone, and is a realist who still doesn’t give up.
  3. Jane GOODALL
    — Taught me to approach environmental/climate change solutions with both determination and hope.
  4. GACKT (大城 ガクト)
    — Taught me to live life without making regrets, especially in your genuine relationships with others.
  5. hide (松本秀人)
    — Inspiration as a guitarist and artist, and remained a kind, thoughtful, loving person even after reaching extreme popularity.
  6. Hayao MIYAZAKI (宮崎駿) & the whole team at Studio Ghibli
    — Inspiration for not just making great art, but also using it to convey significant themes regarding the environment, war, female empowerment, etc. to children and young adults.
  7. Mao (山口真生)
    — Inspiration as a poet and artist, for his song lyrics and musical styles. No Wiki page, so these are links to his blog (JP) and his band’s Wiki (EN).
  8. Haruki MURAKAMI (村上春樹)
    — If I had to pick one traditional writer who influences my own writing the most, Murakami would probably be it.
  9. Yojiro NODA (野田洋次郎)
    — Inspiration as a poet and artist, for his song lyrics, MVs and representation of minorities.
  10. Chachamaru (藤村幸宏)
    — Inspiration as a guitarist and a kind, laid-back person, and expresses in a fairly “feminine” way.

Something I noticed with this edition in particular, especially when I was writing the one-sentence inspiration explanations, was that sometimes I am taking these people as individual representations of a larger group. For instance, when I say I am inspired by Hayao Miyazaki, that is true, but I also mean the animation and production team at Studio Ghibli as a whole and I don’t want to slight them. Other times, I literally mean just the one person listed – when I say Yuzu or Chacha inspire me, I don’t imply anybody else related to them. So, to be more clear, I bent the rules and added group descriptors into the list wherever applicable.

There are three new individual entries this time. Recently, I have been learning a lot about climate change solutions and really focusing on that, so it makes sense that Jane Goodall and Greta Thunberg are on my list right now. In many ways, the two of them and their approaches to addressing the climate crisis are very different, but I truly think that both ways are necessary and valuable. Greta Thunberg on my list also represents the many other student/youth climate activists who do not receive as much media attention as she does, but who are also doing really great, valuable, inspirational work.

The third new entry was Mao. He is the vocalist and lyricist of SID, one of the bands I have been listening to a lot recently. Especially for me, who exists to a large extent at the intersection of writing and music, I think it is quite natural for poets to be inspired and influenced by songwriters, and perhaps even the other way around. I read once in a music article somewhere that great poetry usually makes for terrible song lyrics, but I don’t necessarily agree. Anyway, it can’t be as simple as that. I wondered whether to include the other members of SID in the list – maybe AKi, who writes the music, or Shinji, who plays the guitar – but I decided on just Mao for now.

So, that’s my current top ten. What does your list look like right now?

Take care of yourself,


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