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star struck

Brunch break
Swedish-Japanese entertainer LiLiCo brings her madcap style to King’s Brunch and South Park
by Chris Betros

Chris Betros

Each Saturday around 11am on the TBS information
variety show King’s Brunch, a very energetic movie commentator is let loose on viewers. With her distinctive fashion, hairstyle and zany manner, LiLiCo has proven to be a real winner in the four years she has been doing the movie segment, getting heaps of letters from young women who want to be like her.

Born in Stockholm to a Swedish father and Japanese mother, LiLiCo had no desire to learn Japanese. Her interest started when she was a teenager. “My grandmother used to send me magazines and I got interested in Japanese idols,” she recalls. “So when I was 18, I decided to come here. I couldn’t speak a word of Japanese, except for ‘I’m hungry’ and ‘I don’t feel well.’ I auditioned for a job as a singer and landed a gig at a beer garden in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture.”

That was 17 years ago. Since then, LiLiCo has not only become fluent in Japanese, she has become a busy bee in the entertainment world. Besides King’s Brunch, she supplies the voice for Eric Cartman in the Japanese version of South Park, appears on cable TV, does a radio show, writes a monthly column for TV Taro, sings with her band Mix/fly at clubs and does occasional MC work (most recently at the Miss Universe Japan finals). “It can really get busy some days,” she says. “One Saturday, I did King’s Brunch in the morning, followed by a radio show at 1pm and an interview with a Korean actor at 3. Then I sang that night until 1:30am.”

The best part of King’s Brunch, she says, is interviewing movie stars when they come to Japan. Among the most memorable, she nominates Will Smith, Vin Diesel and Sam Raimi. While her fan mail comes mostly from women, guys tend to approach her on the street and chat about the movies she previews on King’s Brunch.

LiLiCo’s day usually starts around 9:30am with her Swedish coffee, which along with licorice, is one of the two products from her homeland she can’t do without. Then it’s off to movie screenings, sometimes three per day. “This job is endless and it is hard to get private time. I wish I could read more,” she says. Often, she won’t get home until around 10pm, which is when she likes to cook. Late-night jogs and 150 sit-ups keep her fit.

LiLiCo seldom takes time off, preferring the big city, although she can’t stand the sound of bicycle brakes. “That’s one thing I don’t like about Japan. Another is the way Japanese assume that all foreigners can speak English.” Her future dream is to open a teppanyaki restaurant in Sweden. “I’ll have to talk my husband into it. He’s a surfer and not keen on moving to a cold climate,” she says.





the scene

Nobara Hayakawa
COLOMBIAN artist celebrates new Aoyama show


Nobara; Peruvian photographer Alvaro; Venezuelan artist Andreina and Hector, a director of Artists Without Borders; art coordinator Valeria; artist Warren and writer Iiori Hamada; designer Ruu; designer Ricardo Mitre; and sculptor Catarina Mendes
Photos by Christine Engelberg

 

 

Q&A

Cameron Mackay

SWEET TOOTH

If there’s one thing that Cameron Mackay knows, it’s sweets. The Four Seasons Hotel at Chinzanso’s executive pastry chef comes to Tokyo from Australia, Brunei, the United Arab Emirates and the Philippines. Chocolate desserts are his specialty.

Did you want to be a chef when you were younger?
I always wanted to be an electrical engineer, but I started working at the age of 12 part-time at the local bakery, just doing basic jobs before and after school. Then I went on to take an apprenticeship.

What were your favorite snacks as a kid?

Lamingtons and sausage rolls.

What is your goal at the Four Seasons Tokyo?
To be the leading hotel in Japan within 12 months for our products. Pastries are a very important part of the dining experience. Breakfast is the first thing you eat in the morning and dessert the last thing after a great meal. You have a bad breakfast and your day is not so nice; a bad dessert and a great meal can be spoiled.

What is the one essential kitchen utensil you can’t do without, no matter what country you are in?
My trusty steel scraper that I have had for 22 years. It goes with me everywhere.

What do your mother and wife think of your creations?
My mom loves anything and my wife is my strongest supporter. She is an artist, so she often helps me in my planning with desserts. She is great with colors and contrast.

How do you like to relax?
I love golf, but unfortunately it’s hard to do in Japan, so my nights and days are spent with my 6-month-old baby boy Brendan.


Would you like to comment on this article? Send a letter to the editor at letters@metropolis.co.jp.

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