In a parallel universe, this paragraph would have been written in the JFK departures lounge with a bag of disappointing gifts at my feet, a 14-hour flight to Tokyo boarding any minute and a notebook still crackling with the previous day’s electrical discharges from Ryuichi Sakamoto.

I would have arrived early at Té Company in New York’s West Village to bag a table in a tea house described in The New Yorker as one of the city’s most thrilling places to eat: a fitting venue to interview a man whose great contribution to the 1970s and 1980s was to show the world via pioneering electronic pop that Japan was not just an epically ambitious industrial power but also a prodigious hive of cool. Sakamoto’s power as a musician — the force that has blasted him between early hip-hop and Olympic opening-ceremony anthems — has been the ability to shift between influences, instruments and technology, managing with each move to emerge as the arch innovator.

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