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776: Streep talk
775: World of difference
774: Shocks and Bonds
773: Viva La Revolución
772: Jacqui Bayne
768: Beyond the universe
767: Yasuhito Endo
766: Aroon Mahtani
765: Dr. Hidemi Akai
764: Badr Hari
763: Mizuki Kubodera
761: Patrick W. Galbraith
760: Jean-Pierre Felix
759: Philippe Grau
758: Emi Kashiwara & Elekiteru
757: Aura Virginia Chirculescu
756: Aaron Davis
755: Happy days
754: Bryan Au
753: Martin van der Linden
752: Qinggelete
751: Chuck Johnson
750: Mike Applegate (aka Magic Mike)
749: Yukie Kito
748: Steve Kaufmann
746: Samira Zarghami
745: Raising the Bar
744: Pierre-Gilles Delorme
743: David F. Hoenigman
742: Miwa Gardner
741: Kevin Cooney
740: Kyle Cleveland
739: JJ
738: Bruce Stronach
737: Yoichiro Dennis Ide
736: Mike Garrett
735: Hiroki Suehara
734: Rise and Shrine
733: Patrik Washburn
732: Michael Bumgardner
731: Patricia Bader-Johnston
730: Darin Maki
729: Hiroshi Fujimaki
728: Misha Janette
727: Jon Mitchell
725: Hokuto Konishi
724: Rita Lamah Hankach
723: Kisui Nakazawa
722: Angela Jeffs
721: Simon Wood
720: Yasuko Yokoyama
715: Jason Kelly
714: Dominica Serigano
713: Erik Gain
712: Genevieve Maylam
711: Masahiro Gono
710: Eikou Sumura
709: Eikou Sumura
708: Malcolm Thompson
707: Makiko Tsuji
706: Dominic Allen
705: Maria Heitanen
704: Beckie Cassidy
703: Jett Edwards
702: Yoshinobu Furuichi
701: Silvestre Jacobi
700: Jah-Light Sound System
699: Daniel Velazques
698: Lynne Charles
697: Eric Bragg
695: Susan Nichols
694: Anna Kunnecke
693: Kenneth Pechter
692: Kazu Wakui
691: Antonio Inoki
690: Hiroko Noguchi
689: Richard Bysouth
688: Eric Bjorndahl
687: Andrew Shuttleworth
686: Sayuri Suzuki
685: Yurie Hatanaka
684: Miogi Takii
683: Thierry Cohen
682: Ahmed M. Elmardi
681: Aya Kitagawa
680: Suzanne Ng and Yoriko Soma
679: Ricco DeBlank
677: Takenari Shibata
676: Kirk R. Patterson
675: Satoko Yahata
674: Flavia Nishimura
673: Ryo Shoji
672: Chip Eckton
671: Yuko Ito
670: Marja Kullberg
669: Laur Meyrieux
668: Slavomir Stanislaw Kowalewski
667: Ryan McGuire
664: Life force
663: Steve Marshall
662: Jeff Klein
661: Ahn Soon Han
660: Straight shooter
659: Marcello Pietrantonio
658: Glitterball 2006
657: Alison Roberts-Brown
656: Girl on the go
655: Rob Hoey
654: Kahori Ochi
653: Ed Wells
652: Haruka Orth
651: Laura Cook
650: Uleshka Asher
649: Full speed ahead
648: Katsumi Namekata
647: Top talent
646: No heels, no life
645: Joanna Roper
644: Lu Nagata
643: Kirill Konin
642: Gabriele Roberto
641: Carlos Gibbs
640: Blair Falahey
639: The Three Waiters
638: Simon Woodroffe
637: Tony Virili
636: Paul W. Creager
635: Randy Channell
634: Mari Takeuchi
633: Stephanie Schueller
632: Tara Tan Kitaoka
631: Katherine Mok
630: Bob Tobin and Hitoshi Ohashi
629: Tommy Kullberg
628: Toshio Nagashima
627: Eiko Kondo
626: Embrey Ramon Williams
625: Neil Day
624: Mong-Lan
623: Tor Hideki Kashio
622: Elizabeth Heilman Brooke
621: Louis Carlet
620: Theo Panagiotoulias
619: Lionel Gougne
618: Sarajean Rossitto
617: Christian Hassing
616: Kiho Takashima
614-615: David Wagner
613: Heather Stuart
612: Erica Angyal
611: Jack McLean
610: Fumine Yakumo
609: Yasutoshi Hirabayashi
608: Yoko Hijikata
607: Jim Frederick
605: Yuka Murakami
604: Chayne Ellis
603: Marco Antonio Nakata
602: Kicking Back
601: Stand by your man
600: Hero worship
599: The Candy man
598: Heart strings
597: Sweet and sour
596: Subtitle subtleties
595: The right moves
594: Mother’s day
593: The clone ranger
592: A career kicks off
591: Woman of substance
590: Final conflict
589: World Ready for ‘War’
588: Fun in the sun
587: New life for an old hero
586: Fun and games
585: Knockout punch
584: Patrick’s day
583: Marcia marches on
582: Brunch break
581: Kingdom come
580: Gentle as a beast
579: Prime time
578: Devil of a time
577: In first Gere
576: Bright spark
575: Rei of sunshine
574: A star is reborn
573: In search of geisha
572: Marshall law
571: In the Nic of time
570: Holding a grudge
569: Bourne again
568: Soap opera
567: Alexander and friends
566: Oceans apart
565: A night at the opera
564: Just joshing
563: McPain in the neck
561-562: Hanks for everything
560: Reading between the Klines
559: Risqué business
558: Sky highs
557: Korean boom
556: Queen Victoria
555: Glitter Ball
554: Peter Miller
553: Ralph Frehner
552: Dimension K
551: Tokyo Game Show
550: US Embassy
549: I, Robot Premiere
548: Mauve
547: Xterra Japan
546: Earth Celebration
545: Idée R-bar
544: Laforet Museum
543: Hara Museum
542: Fuji Rock Festival’04
541: Bunkamura Museum of Art

the scene






Attendees dressed as their favorite characters, clockwise from top left: Chun Li of Street Fighter, two turks from Final Fantasy, unidentified, Antonia Bayle from Everquest and a Star Wars stormtrooper
Photos by Rob Gunther



star struck

Universal values
Reigning Miss Universe Japan Eri Machimoto basks in the beauty of life
By Chris Betros

Eri Machimoto was walking along Omotesando one day early in 2003 when she was suddenly accosted by a Frenchwoman who asked if she was a model. The woman was Ines Ligron, national director for Miss Universe Japan, who was scouting for candidates for the pageant. "I was really surprised," recalls the 172cm-tall Machimoto. However, the invitation to join the contest intrigued her enough to check it out on the Internet and she soon applied, joining more than 1,500 other young women. One year later, in March of this year, Machimoto, 20, beat 13 other finalists to be crowned Miss Universe Japan and went on to represent her country in Ecuador in June.

The Japan final, a gala event held at a hotel in Odaiba, featured contestants modeling casual punk, lingerie and evening gowns. It was a whole new world for Machimoto, who comes from the small town of Fukayama, outside Hiroshima.

Through her trips abroad and frequent appearances at promotional events, Machimoto says she has learned a lot about herself in the past 18 months. "I've developed more self-confidence and my English is getting better," she says. "Another positive effect is that I have learned more about own culture by representing Japan abroad. It was interesting to see the image people had of Japanese women, namely that we are shy and reserved."

When she is not carrying out her official duties, Machimoto continues her studies in economics at Nihon University in Tokyo. An active woman, she enjoys swimming, basketball and marathons, as well as cooking. Usually, beauty contest winners are a magnet for drooling men, but Machimoto says guys hardly ever try to hit on her. Currently, she doesn't have a boyfriend, but says her ideal man must be "unselfish, kind and know what he wants."

While there is still some criticism of beauty contests as being demeaning to women, Machimoto disagrees. "The contests are not just about physical appearance. True beauty is in your heart. It's who you are. These contests also provide women with a lot of opportunities," she says. "In my case, it has kindled my interest in children's issues, especially helping refugee children."

As her tenure starts to wind down, Machimoto is looking ahead to the next phase of her life. A karaoke fan, she aspires to be a singer. "I dream of singing to a full house in Tokyo Dome. I would also like to get into movies, but I have to succeed in Japan before I can even think of going to America." Her successor will be chosen next January.
Whoever it is, Machimoto offers some simple advice: "Don't worry about winning or losing. Look ahead and just do your best. Like in life, I suppose."

Photo credit: MUJ




Ines Ligron

In 1998, real estate mogul Donald Trump, who owns the Miss Universe pageant with NBC, asked French businesswoman Ines Ligron to take charge of Miss Universe in Japan. Ligron not only took charge; she revamped the whole concept, elevating it in status and turning it into a gala event with sponsorship from leading foreign and Japanese companies. An energetic character, Ligron can often be seen around Harajuku, where her office is located, approaching women on the street or in cafés, asking them if they’d like to be in the pageant.

What’s Donald Trump like?
He’s a very bright businessman and quite eccentric…as I am. I suppose that’s why we have gotten along for the past seven years.

How often do you approach girls on the street or in coffee shops?
Maybe too often. Sometimes my male friends say it feels weird to be around me. Most of the time the girls assume I’m lost and asking for directions.

What’s the most beautiful physical quality of Japanese girls?
They are long and slim with beautiful skin and can be very much like chameleons. Their look can change dramatically depending on the makeup and color of their hair.

What do they need to learn most after you take them on?
Definitely self-confidence. They also have to stop trying to be kawaii, and be more sensual instead.

Name a few women whom you think are classically beautiful.
Former Miss Universe winners. Hisako Manda, Satomi Ogawa, definitely this year’s Miss Japan, Eri Machimoto (see Star Struck), and Halle Berry. Others would be Michelle Pfeiffer, Catherine Deneuve, Monica Belluci and Charlize Theron.

When you were younger, did you want to enter a contest and be Miss France?
I would have loved to, but the image of Miss Universe back in the ’80s was different. I thought I had to be very tall and “more” to even think of applying. Now I do regret it, because it would have been a great experience.

What is the craziest thing you’ve done since you’ve been in Japan?
Breaking into a VIP party at the Celine shop on a 1,400cc Harley Davidson. CB

Courtesy of MUJ