last updated: april 17, 2006

This page is designed to answer some of the common questions asked about me and this site.

Who the hell are you?

Hi! My name is Scott David Foutz and I live in the beautiful metropolis of Chicago. While not watching Japanese films or working on this site (or drinking rice wine) I am a full-time internet developer for a non-profit organization and an adjunct faculty at a private university where I teach courses ranging from World Religions to Systems Analysis and Design. I have spent most my life studying theology and religious philosophy and have several degrees to show for it. (But as I just said, I make a living as an internet developer/programmer. Go figure.) I enjoy reading political and religious history, particularly that of Japan, which I've had a fascination with since my early college days. I also thoroughly enjoy Japanese film (NEWSFLASH!!).

Why the focus on Japan?

During college I formed strong friendships with several international students from Asia, and through them slowly gained a nuanced appreciation for the the beauty which is Asia. Through my Japanese friends, I met Kimi Yokota, a kind little woman who had immigrated from Tokyo decades earlier. Through Kimi's friendship, I became intimately familiar with the very robust and long-standing Japanese community in Chicago. This trajectory culminated in my moving to Japan for two years, during which time I taught English and studied Japanese language and Buddhism (informally). While there I lived in Tokyo and Nasu, Tochigi and was able to do alot of sight-seeing. After getting back to the US, I returned to school but kept myself immersed in Japanese culture as much as I could.

How did you get interested reviewing films?

This all started when I became addicted to reading hilarious reviews of only the worst films. And here I give kudos to Andrew Borntreger's and Nathan Shumate's Cold Fusion Video Reviews, both of which had a significant influence in the way I've approached my own reviews.

This habit gradually evolved to reading reviews of Japanese films, and here I ran across the impressive SnowBlood Apple. This site offers reviews of "extreme Asian" films (not exclusively Japanese) by a variety of contributors (though most are by the wedded site admins, Alex and Mandi) and spends a seemingly enormous amount of time cultivating its discussion forum.

AND THEN... I happened to watch Reborn from Hell: Samurai Armageddon which contained such implausible hilarity that I felt utterly COMPELLED to attempt my first "review". From there, things seemed to snowball...

Where can I get a copy of the movie you are reviewing?

This all depends. At the end of each review, I generally mention the specific format of the film I am reviewing. These would include:

Region 1 DVD
This means the film has been released in the USA. You can check Blockbuster, Amazon, or NetFlix, etc for availability.

Region 0 DVD
This generally means the film has not yet been released in the USA and you will have to deal with distant relatives of the yakuza and mafia to get your hands on a copy. (These guys generally require your littlest finger in exchange for a DVD, so pick your DVD wisely.) Region 0 DVDs are readily available on Ebay, but if you feel tempted to buy a "Region 0" Japanese film, make SURE you note whether you are buying an original or a Chinese/Hong Kong release. The English subtitles on HK DVDs are often terrible and will ruin your chances of enjoying the film. (For example, check out even the most mainstream problems with this here.)

Region 2 DVD
Well, I finally went out and purchased a region-FREE DVD player which allows me to play the original Region 2 Japaneses DVDs. Region 2 DVDs are not plentious in Chicago, except recently at local Japanese video rental shops.

Unsubtitled VHS
This means I found the film at a local Japanese video rental shop. Your own success in locating this video will depend on your proximity to a large, multi-cultured metropolis with amazingly small, dingy J-Video shops run by highly questionable characters.

I recently began perusing "Asian" or "Chinese" video stores and discovered they also carry Japanese titles on VCD. Most DVD players currently do not play VCDs, and indeed this format has a few shortcomings. For example, the quality is far less than standard DVD, they (the Japanese films) come with non-removeable Chinese (and only if you're very lucky English) subtitles, and they often split the audio channels so that your left speaker blares out the Chinese dubbed version while the right speaker is the original Japanese (so you'll need to configure your sound system to handle this as well).

What criteria do you use when deciding which movies to review?

Before any film is reviewed on, it must meet the following rigorous test of appropriateness:
      1. The film must be Japanese
      2. I must be able to get my hands on a copy of the film.
Once these criteria are met, its all down-hill from there.

When you provide reviews for a film, how much do they pay you?

I have never been paid or compensated for any review I've written. At most I might be lucky enough to receive a free screener copy of a soon-to-be-released DVD, but that very rarely happens. This project has always been solely a labor of love and all costs involved, whether for DVDs or web site hosting/development, comes straight out of SaruDama pockets.

Who are the advertisers on SaruDama?

This site actually has NO advertisers. Any links or "ads" within SaruDama to other sites (such as LS Ando or AND Meerschaum) exist because I deem those site owners as personal friends and because I feel SaruDama visitors can truly benefit from knowing about them. (In other words, SaruDama doesn't receive any benefit or compensation for linking to these sites.)

One exception to this is the link to Amazon's listing of particular DVDs on the review pages. SaruDama is an Amazon "Associate" which means that Amazon will return anywhere from 2% to 15% of an item purchased at their site via a link on SaruDama. The buyer, of course, incurs no additional cost, but the benefit to SaruDama by providing these links on review pages is two-fold. First and foremost, they answer one of the most commonly asked questions I receive : "Where can I get this DVD?". Secondly, in the event our reviews spawn in you the desire to purchase the DVD, should you do so through the link SaruDama provides, we recieve a small percentage of the purchase price, which we would of course apply to the costs incurred in maintaining this site.

Thus if you wish to contribute to SaruDama without spending an extra dime out of your own pocket, simply use the Amazon links within our site to purchase or access your Amazon products.

If I wish to get in touch with you, how can I do so?

You can email me via: 'reviews at sarudama dot com'

Or snail mail me at:

Scott David Foutz
530 Sheridan Rd 3A
Evanston, IL 60202 USA

And although I wholly appreciate the sincerity of the many female fans of SaruDama, we must ask that you stop sending us all those sexy pictures.

Miscellaneous Books on Japan Japanese Movies Japanese Religion Japanese Folk Lore Japanese History