Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Big in Japan

I've had a few interesting/funny one-off jobs since I moved to Japan.

I did a voice recording in English which may or may not be used in a hotel elevator somewhere in Japan: "First floor.  Second floor.  Third floor.  Parking Garage..."

I played Santa Claus for a Kindergarten in Minami-ku.

But the most interesting, most fun job I've had by far was playing a small part in the new music video Friday by Japanese singer-songwriter Marie Ueda (above).

How did I get this gig you may ask.  My German modeling agent in Osaka, of course.  True.  I got an e-mail from him in early December asking me if I was free to do a music video the day after Christmas.  He didn't tell me anything except wear a white shirt, dark trousers and boots if you have them.

He took me to the studio in Osaka where we met the director and the rest of the crew shooting the video.  My agent speaks perfect Japanese.  I obviously do not.  So he stuck around for a while to translate and make sure everything was okay.  Then he left.

I couldn't help but to think of Bill Murray in Lost in Translation when he is doing the whiskey commercial: "For relaxing times, make it Suntory time."  At one point, following the second or third take of one scene, the director said to me, "More languid, please."  I had to scramble to think what that meant.

I imagine it is always sort of strange and funny to act in front of a green-screen with no background or set to orientate you.  It is even more strange and funny in Japanese.  Because I was not privy to the concept for the video and my role in each scene could only be communicated in very simple English, I mostly had no idea what was going on.  I graciously did what they asked me to do, and graciously did it again when they asked me to do it again.

Everyone, including Miss Ueda, who ended up styling my look in the video, were perfectly friendly and very patient.  I could not have spent a more amusing and enjoyable 4 hours the day after Christmas.

For more info. on Marie Ueda and her new album はなしはそれからだ (Stories from the Body) which is released February 25th visit her website:

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