Profile and Leo's Take
Age：41 Years in Toronto： 12 years
Steven was introduced me through both Lana and Ryotaro. Steven was so good to me during my entire stay during Toronto, I really can't thank him enough. Being a food lover, he took me around to a lot of great restaurants (which really helped out my food project). Also, I believe Steven is one of the few people in the world who has completely maxamaized the meaning of "work-life balance", having an incredible job and an even more incredible hobby. You'll learn about more of it when you read the answers, but basically he is an ambassador for Japanese indie music in Canada. Fascinating. Top picks are the flag (Q.4), imgaery of death (Q.5), ideals (Q.10), and his moments (Q.11). Thanks again for everything Steven, and I will see you in Japan for the finale or NMFT!!!
→Check out Steven's amazing project. Actually, you should go to it: Next Music From Tokyo Vol.7
Place for shooting and reason
Place: So, this is St. Joseph's Health Center. It's a hospital, it's a community teaching hospital in Toronto.
So it's a teaching hospital in the sense that we have, we train residents, doctors in training here, but it's also sort of, not as quite as busy as the big research centers in downtown Toronto.
If you were handed US$2500 and received a one month vacation where you could live in one city, anywhere in the world, where would you choose? What would you do?
Okay, so, it's funny you ask, because I actually travel to Japan five or six times a year, and people usually ask me like, why do I always go to Japan, and why don't you travel to any other countries? And to tell you the truth, if I had $2,000, $2,500, I'd still probably go to Japan because I can't get enough of Tokyo and the other cities in Japan. I found that Japan, Tokyo especially, has the best music scene in the world and I really love music. I also love the food. I love going there but I probably wouldn't want to live in Tokyo. I'd rather…I love Canada and for work, definitely Canada's much better, but in terms of having fun, Tokyo's probably one of my favorite cities, actually it is my favorite city in the world. So, I would fly out to Tokyo.
What country do you feel “close” to, other than your own?
Sure. Okay, so I would say, because my background is Japanese, I would say I feel closest to Japan, but then it's too similar to my first answer so I'm gonna say, well at least, geographically, America, you know, the United States is definitely closest to Canada. And, I think culturally, like growing up, you're just exposed to a lot of Americana. The television shows that we watch, or at least what I watch is predominantly American. Because the Canadian programs here, you know, they're decent but from an entertainment standpoint, almost everyone, most people in Canada are watching American television shows. So I think, geographically and culturally I find my self associating myself to the US, other than Canada.
What one "thing" and "place" best represents your city?
Hmmm (Thinks) Well, I don’t…I can't think of anything really poignant, so because I'm a basketball fan, and I know you like basketball, at this moment I would say the Toronto Raptors. They're sort of Canada's team, even though there used to be two basketball teams, the Grizzlies in Vancouver. But now the Raptors are the sole basketball team in the NBA, so they sort of represent Canada as a whole, not just Toronto. And Kyle Lowry, who's participating in the All Star game this this year, he's like a great ambassador for Canada. If you watch the Jimmy Fallon show, or other interviews recently, he's really…sort of like promoting Canada, how nice the city of Toronto is and Canada as a whole, and how great the fans all over Canada are. So, I think right now, being NBA All Star weekend, with Kyle being in the NBA All Star game and representing Toronto, I'd say right now the Toronto Raptors.
>>>So, what would you say for place, the Air Canada Centre?
Sure, Air Canada Center. Or even, outside of the Air Canada Centre—the Maple Leaf Square. Like last year when the Toronto Raptors went to the playoffs, there were probably, I would have to guess, maybe close to 10,000 people. Well that might be an over exaggeration, but there were thousands of people there to cheer on the Raptors and it was a great atmosphere. I actually went there, they gave out free T-shirts. There was just a lot of energy and passion throughout.
If you were to redsign your country's flag, how would you do it?
Okay. Well, I think that the Canadian flag is very simple, and elegant, and I wouldn't really change anything. I think it represents Canada—when Canadians travel abroad they have that, maybe a little patch of the Canadian flag on their backpack. Immediately, they sort of get treated well because Canada…well the Canadian flag sort of symbolizes, or sort of personifies the peace making friendly nature that Canadian citizens have. So I wouldn't change a thing, but if I had do make one change, on the corner, at the very bottom, I would put the initials NMFT, which stands for Next Music From Tokyo, which is the music tour that I do. (Laughs) I bring Japanese bands from Japan to Canada to promote Japan's Indie Music, and it would be great to have like that little spot, even just rented for a while on the Canadian flag, so that maybe more people can come to the shows and experience the awesomeness of Japanese Indie Music.
>>>All right. Don't worry, I'll be doing all your promo-ing for you on the site don’t worry haha
Please tell me the images you have for the following words.
Let's see…source of life. So, I think all animals, like organisms originally evolved, came out from the ocean, and then eventually became humans. All the other animals that we have today originated from the ocean.
The sun…the source of life too haha. Energy, the word and images are what comes to mind.
>>>You being a doctor…
Inevitable…the inevitable. Everyone sort of fears death, but it also sort of serves…because the human life is finite, it sort of urges you to do the most that you can with the little time that you have, so…(goes into thought)
>>>Can I ask you about that, because I know now that in your background, this isn't just a question that I have because you are a doctor, but because you're also in anesthesia, which is the closest thing you can get to death. If you put in too much then there's death’s right there, right? So does that affect the way you're thinking about death at all?
Absolutely, yeah. So, basically when you're in a state of general anesthesia, you're almost in, or close to a state of death. Your heart is beating on its own, but your sensations are all sort of abolished and you're very close to a state of death, so I feel I have great responsibility whenever I'm involved in surgeries and providing an anesthetic. And I can't, you know, I shouldn't take it for granted… For most healthy, young people who go through an anesthetic, there's very little you have to think about. But often times we do deal with sicker patients, where we have to be very... precise in terms of the anesthetic we give, because if you give too much, then they could suffer cardiac and pulmonary complications, and potentially death.
How do you feel about the future? Both yourself and mankind.
Well, sometimes just living in a big city you start worrying about overcrowding everywhere, throughout the world. But there's, I mean, human civilization has its own checks and balances. And I find that right now in Japan, particularly a lot of young people aren't getting married or having children. I'm actually in the same boat, I'm 41 right now, I'm not married and I don't have any kids. So…I wonder if that's almost like a natural way of…(thinks)…I don't know if the way things are right now, like that sort of pushed me into a state of mind where I feel it's not that important to get married or have kids. So, like in terms of the future I see that maybe in a lot of the places around the world, not just in Japan, where a lot of younger people are sort of waiting before getting married or not getting married at all. I have two friends, Bernard and Han, who you might meet, they made a conscious decision not to have kids. They're married but they're not gonna have kids. So, I'm not too sure exactly what sort of ideals led them to not have kids for what reasons. So yeah, that's one thing.
What I see in terms of the future, like something that might be different is, 20 years ago you'd see families with ten children, but that would be extremely rare now a days. So, the age demographics is going be a lot different in the future, compared to now and ten years ago.
What's the most important "thing" for you?
The most important thing is my health. And right now I'm single, but if I had a significant other, obviously she would be the most important thing in my life, but for me right now, being single, I would say my health.
What do you look for in a partner?
(Laughs) Okay, well I would be lying if I didn’t say that I'd have to be attracted to her, so, physically attracted to her. But…a great sense of humor, being patient. Like every other human, I make mistakes, so if they're able to live with me making the odd mistake. Hmmmm……so, good sense of humor, patience, what else…area to look for…nothing really, like a list, so…and just common things…oh yeah, I would say that the things that I look for are a good sense of humor, patience, and common sense, and I have to be physically attracted to them.
>>>That's interesting because, you know, most people don't say that but it's a necessity for probably everybody.
Do you want to get married? Do you want children? What do you want to do with them? How do you want them to grow up?
I think if I met the right person for sure, I would want to get married.
>>>Right, and would you want children, too?
I would want children too.
So, I think like any dad, you know… like I would love for them to be… like I love sports in general, so it would be great if they could also play sports. But if, you know, they're not athletically inclined, I wouldn't push them, obviously. But just, I want them to discover something that they really enjoy and find a career in that. So even though I'm a doctor, I wouldn't want to push them into medicine or anything, but give them every opportunity to find something that they like and to pursue it.
What would be the ideal thing to see the first moment you wake up? What would be the ideal thing to see the moment before you fall asleep?
Okay. Well, this always goes back to like this tour that I'm doing. I would love to have, to be able to see a blank check from Bill Gates, so that he can help subsidize the Japanese music tour that I do, and if I make back the money I'll definitely pay Bill Gates back. (Leo bursts into laughter) So the instant when I wake up, that's what I would like to see. And then going to, yeah, going to sleep? So, it would be, yeah…my significant other that I don't have right now. But, so in her place then I would say Ueto Aya. (Laughs)
>>>Hahahaha but…. Ueto Aya happens to be married…
What was the happiest moment in your life? What was the most terrifying moment in your life?
So wow…so as I mentioned, I really love music. And out of all the tours that I've done so far, the third one was probably the most…the last one and probably the third one were most gratifying. Because after I did the second tour, Next Music Tour, I almost felt like, you know, the attendance at shows wasn't that great, and I felt that maybe I was being taken for granted by all of the bands as well, too. And I thought maybe I wouldn't do this again, but after the third one, like we finally actually managed to sell out a show, the reaction was so great. Like both…all the bands did really well, and they were so gracious as well, too. They knew how much work I put into it, and the fan support, and finally being able to sell out a show was like, yeah, I felt like on cloud nine. So, that was probably the happiest time.
And the, also related to the tour, during the first tour one of the band members actually got electrocuted. So, there's a band called goomi…he plays guitar and also violin. So we had a show in Montreal where some fan came up and then doused the band like with champagne or like sparkling wine, or whatever, right? And then I think two days later, playing the show in Toronto, I think that caused some sort of…well it just affected the wiring so that when the violinist was performing half way through the set, there was actually a spark. And the guy, he literally got electrocuted and fainted. And no one knew what was happening at the time, initially they thought maybe this was part of the act, like a lot of the bands you bring there, you know, they're pretty dynamic on stage, and they thought maybe, oh this is him putting on a show or just being dramatic. But, so at first, no one knew what happened, but then Ryotaro, who's a friend of yours, he said he actually saw a spark, so we all rushed to the stage, and the ambulance came. He was fine, he ended up performing the next night…so we had a second show in Toronto the next night, and he played with more vigor than ever before. He felt like, you know, like he could die at any moment, so since that moment, every time they performed, he played like it was possibly the last show he ever played. And a lot of people, a lot of fans in Japan noticed a huge change in the way that they performed…so it was a very scary, terrifying moment. I would say that was probably the worst moment because someone potentially could have died. But luckily he was okay, and if anything, that moment spurred them to become even better performers.
What was your childhood dream? What would you say to the childhood you, now? And what is your dream now?
My childhood dream…I remember liking skateboarding a lot. It would have been fun to be a professional skateboarder.
Yeah, Tony Hawk. And growing up in Vancouver, there are a lot of local, great local skaters like Colin and Casey McKay, Rob "Sluggo" Boyce, Rick Howard. Those are all sponsored, professional skaters and I actually skated with them. But…it was something, I was pretty good at skateboarding and I never had a sponsor but I was close to being sponsored by a skateboard shop. But I never really entered a lot of contests so yeah, I was never really sponsored, so. It might have been fun if I could actually make a career doing it, but it was so competitive at the time and I wasn't quite…well I was definitely not good enough to make a living skateboarding. And if I could, that would have been great, that would have been a nice dream. And if I could go back in time, I'd say that yeah, “no matter how much you practice, you probably won’t be a skilled skater, (Everyone laughs) so you should…yeah, just have some common sense and find out what you have an aptitude for —hint, hint—and you're probably good at, you know, studying, and becoming a doctor might be something you want to consider”
And the dream I have now? So, you know, as I mentioned, even though I'm a physician, I have a hobby which is promoting Japanese Indie music and my dream is to have Canadians recognize the greatness of Japanese music. And it's a tangible goal and dream, and I feel that I'm inching towards it so, yeah, basically just continuing to promote Japanese music and hopefully one day Japanese music will become as popular as sushi and anime.