METROPOLIS | CLASSIFIEDS | PERSONALS | JOBS
LIFE IN JAPAN
Dru Robertson

Russ VeillardOccupation:
"Sponsorship Evangelist" Tokyo International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival
Time in Japan:
Eight years


What do you do here?
As a sponsorship evangelist, my main mission is to attract money for the film festival, because it is run on an all-volunteer basis and we' been keeping it going for seven years. So that's the main thing. To get as much money as possible to cover all the costs of renting and shipping the films over and renting Spiral Hall, which is very expensive. And the other thing we hope to achieve by attracting sponsors is to decrease homophobia. A lot of companies might avoid us because they don't want their logo attached to the words "lesbian and gay film festival". But if they see other people doing it, it kind of decreases the fear, so it's a two-pronged approach.

Where are you from?
I'm from New York, then I lived in San Francisco for ten years.

What brought you to Japan?
It was kind of wanderlust at first, now it's just lust.

Are you planning to stay?
Yeah, at least for another five or ten years. I'm really enjoying my life here.

Tell us about your commute to work.
It depends on which job I'm doing. During the week I hire myself out as a communications specialist. I have a contract with a computer company and basically they're doing business with a couple of Silicon Valley companies in California. Because I don't start work until the afternoon, the commute isn't too traumatic.

What do you like about Japan most?
What keeps me here is my involvement in this festival, and also the fact that I'm in love with a Japanese woman. It has its ups and downs, but that keeps me here. I also love the fact that we're really branching out and touching new ground, that we're the pioneers of queer visibility in Japan, so that for me is just an incredible experience. In San Francisco it's so established it's almost on the corporate level, but here if I approach Maybelline for cosmetics for our drag queens, I'm the first one doing that. And that's a wonderful experience. And then I'm contributing to this very brave community of Japanese lesbians and gays, helping them to do something adventurous. I love it.

What do you dislike about Japan most?
A lot of things that I hated at first, I've kind of gotten used to. But what I really despise is this categorization of "women do this and men do that", the constant segregation of the sexes.

Do you organize your CDs alphabetically?
I'm a Virgo, so yes, of course I do.

What's the weirdest thing you've ever seen or experienced in Japan?
Every now and then I see this kind of foreigner and I look at them and think, "My God, they've been here too long. They've never adjusted, they're going mad", and this one guy was obviously in that category. He was holding up a Japan Times and he had cut out eye-holes in the paper and was looking at people through it. He said to me "You're wondering what I'm doing, right? Well, I hate these Japanese people, they're always making believe that they're not looking at me and I know they are. So I'm doing this so I can catch them staring". Time to get off the train.

If you could take one thing back from Japan to your native country, what would it be?
I would put onigiri in all the 7-Elevens in America. I can't tell you how disappointing it is to go back to America. It's like "What do you mean, you don't have onigiri? This is a 7-Eleven, right?"

Do you have a favorite place to eat or drink in Tokyo?
I really like Las Chicas if I'm feeling like a gaijin atmosphere. As far as enjoying a really beautiful Japanese dinner there's a wonderful place in Kichijoji that overlooks Inokashira park, called the Golden Monkey.

Where would you like to be when the big one hits?
Oh my God. I think about this at least once a day. I'm always imagining where I don't want to be. I wonder, you know, if my gym would be safe. The Tipness where I work out.

You have to spend the rest of your life trapped on the Yamanote line. You're allowed to take one book, one CD and one luxury item. What would they be?
The Ginger Tree by Oswald Wynd. It's the story of a Scottish woman who comes to Japan in the early part of the century and is supposed to get married to this guy but starts having an affair with a Japanese count. Then it all goes wrong, she has a mixed-race baby and she's abandoned by everybody. As for the CD, it'd have to be The Beatles' Greatest Hits, and the luxury would be Kaoru, the woman I'm in love with.

The Seventh International Lesbian and Gay Film and Video Festival takes place at Aoyama Spiral on May 8-10 and May 15-17. For booking details, see the advertisement on page 4.

Dru Robertson spoke to Nigel Kendall.

Do you know an interesting person in Tokyo? E-mail us at editor@tokyoclassified.com

LIFE IN JAPAN:
248.9: Safia Minney
Founder of Global Village
247: Dimitri Herskovits
Marketing Consultant and Artist
246: Simon Setter
Freelance Hair and Makeup Artist
245: Jett Edwards
Music Producer
244: Yukiko Leitch
Illlustrator
243: Ranjit Wickremasinghe
Journalist
242: Fr. Jacques F. La Pointe
Franciscan Priest
241: Kyle Sexton
Baker
240: Stephen Mansfield
Photojournalist
239: Darren Friend
Aikido Instructor
238: Didi Ananda Krsnaprema
Meditation and Yoga Teacher
237: Jason Angove
Fire Dancer/Professional Dancer
236: Susan Pompian
Writer
234: Jon Lynch
Music Promoter
233: Paula Terry
Singer and Recording Artist
232: Nikita Deo
Student
231: Amy Chavez
Writer, Humor Columnist
230: Marco Bosco
Musician
229: Rick Kennedy
Author/Content Editor of Tokyo Q
228: Traci Consoli-Korenata
Artist
227: Ray Belscher
Computer Contractor
226: Robert Garside
Running the World
225: Thomas Paul
DJ, Dancer, Rapper and Party Organizer
4: Dr. Chieko McKinstry
Cosmetic Surgeon
223: Philip Harper
Kurabito
222: Paul Davies
Writer
221: Anna Livia Plaurel Belle
Writer, Literary Review Editor
220: George Williams
MTV VJ, InterFM DJ
219: Eve Howard
Joint Owner Amphora Aromatics
218: Dr. Allen Robinson
Counseling Psychologist
217: Steve McClure
Writer, Tokyo Bureau Chief
216: Karen Wenk-Jordan
President, Wenk-Jordan and Company
215: Russ Veillard
Writer/Narrator
214: Dru Robertson
"Sponsorship Evangelist"
213: Warren Arbuckles
Managind Director
212: Guo Liang
Qu Gong Healer, Tai Chi Teacher
211: Gerald Genteman
President and Executive Creative Director
210: Michelle Dorion
VP Asia Pacific Marketing
209: John Robinson
DJ at Velfarre
208: Jeff Libengood
Strength/Conditioning Coach
207: John Shelley
Illustrator
206: James Myers
Marketing Officer
204: Raj Ramayya
Musician
202: William Swinton
Membership Manager
201: Richard G. Roa
Representative Director
200: Cathy Bernatt
President of Wanderlust Adventures

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Issues 150-199
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