Swedish-Japanese entertainer LiLiCo brings her madcap style
to Kings Brunch and South Park
by Chris Betros
Each Saturday around 11am on the TBS information
variety show Kings 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 couldnt speak a word of Japanese, except for Im
hungry and I dont 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 Kings 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 Kings 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 Kings 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
LiLiCos day usually starts around 9:30am with her Swedish
coffee, which along with licorice, is one of the two products
from her homeland she cant do without. Then its
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 wont 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 cant stand the sound of bicycle brakes. Thats
one thing I dont 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.
Ill have to talk my husband into it. Hes
a surfer and not keen on moving to a cold climate, she
COLOMBIAN artist celebrates new Aoyama
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
Photos by Christine Engelberg
one thing that Cameron Mackay knows, its sweets. The
Four Seasons Hotel at Chinzansos 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 cant
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 its hard to do in Japan,
so my nights and days are spent with my 6-month-old baby boy
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