As the combined power of TokyoScope, Pulp magazine, and the Tattooed Hit Man began to light fires in garbage cans all over the Kanto region, host Takeshi Kitano was heard to say, “being human is normal, and violent expression like yakuza movies is necessary as a catharsis”.
To which we quote Omar Epps in BROTHER, "I loooooves you aneeeee-keeeee!"
Here's a TV report on the Shizuoka Hobby Show from a while back. Check out all the Gundams and RC helicopters and shit. See if you can spot Matt Alt and Adam Newman recording an episode of Hot Tears of Shame in the background. Also among the "foreign visitors" is the very man who rescued this clip from the windy moors of YouTube: the one, the only Francesco Fondi!
Ok. Here’s my bit from the recent Nippon TV special “Discovered in the World! What is it?! Japan Grand Prize". This is the sum total of three days of grueling non-stop shooting, complicated international coordination (services performed by jaPRESS), and a LOT of time spent in San Francisco’s Japan Town. I was told that the segment would end up around the 20 minute mark, but I must be hard of hearing since 2 min. is all we got. I’ll take being crowned the “American Otaku leader” as a consolation prize, I guess.
The rest of show itself is pretty interesting. The theme was how Japanese culture is interpreted (or more usually misinterpreted) abroad. There’s a interesting segment on Russia which includes a grocery delivery service called “Yakuza”, a geisha school, and Ivans washing down their sushi with cappuccino. Other highlights include a visit to the offices of South America’s “Otaku Magazine” - which looks like cross between a refugee camp and a children’s science museum - and fun & games with the singing & dancing wotaku of Mexico city. Uncomfortable at times and for reasons too numerous to mention here? Oh yes and probably. But hey, that’s show biz…
The hosts were like a rouge’s gallery of villainous TV personalities and included Razor Ramon HG, flamboyant tranny Ikko, S&M “comedian” Domme Sumiko, Bobby Ologun, and Egyptian fortune teller Fifi. Imagine the last two floating above your head pressing a button to rate how funny YOU are…
Yes, that's really my apartment in SF.
No, I'm not actually fluent in Japanese.
No, that's not actually how much all my j-garbage is worth.
Do you really believe everything you see on TV?
Thurs/24 will soon be here, which means its time for the Really Big Show on Nippon TV (NTV) here in Japan. Prepare thyself for the "Mokusupe" of the century...
Title translates into something kind-of-like "Discovered in the World! What is it?! Japan Grand Prize". I'm the focus of a 20 minute segment on American otaku, which will include home invasion of my San Francisco apartment and much frolicking with cosplayers at Japan Town. Other locations the crew visited include Italy, South Africa, and Russia.
7pm to 8:54pm. NTV. Link to the program's homepage here. See you in TV land.
Jan 12 2008 NHK World Premium (World; pay channel)
Also, if you didn't see NHK's annual Red and White show the other night, here's Gackt's amazing performance as a rock and rolling Uesugi Kenshin. This is like some serious G.I. Samurai level shit right here. You just have to stick it out past the 1 min mark.
NHK World TV's TOKYO EYE, now celebrating it's first anniversary on the air, will be running a "greatest hits" special on 12/19. It looks like they'll be featuring some of my old segments from Akihabara and Harajuku. Matt Alt thinks he might pop up as well, resulting in a very Hot Tears of Shame style holiday viewing experience. Update: Jean Snow too!
There's a crew from Nippon TV inside my San Francisco apartment now shooting for a special to air in Japan in late November. Today: just a simple home invasion. Tomorrow, it's going to get very weird when all the cosplayers show up...
Here is my robot report on Akihabara and video arcades, as seen on episode 25 of NHK World's TOKYO EYE. For some reason, this one feels about as weird as the one with the maids even though it really shouldn't. Also starring the Kondo Robots, the Gundam P.O.D., and a really old crunky arcade in Ebisu...
Craig Baldwin just handed me the new disc from his Other Cinema Digital stable: TV SHERIFF & THE TRAILBUDDIES – NOT 4 $ALE and, whew, is it a doozy. Three great American icons: a masked gunfighter, a pajama-clad prospector, and a guy in a pink gorilla suit (AKA the Video Ape) relentlessly remix the flotsam and jetsam of television - perhaps you've heard of it - into a sense-frying concoction of image and alarmingly funky sound. Some of the 30+ clips on the disc seek to hypnotize the viewer into spontaneous submission; most make you feel seconds away from experiencing a Pokémon-seizure. The Sheriff and his buddies (who perform live VJ-ing often in the SoCal area) may have done their job too well. Instead of being addicted to tee vee, as per usual, I'm seriously addicted to the TV Sheriff! Yee-haw!
The following clips are all featured on the NOT 4 $ALE disc, although in the superior quality afforded by the DVD format formatformatformat formatformat
Ok. Here’s my bit from episode one zillion of NHK World's Tokyo Eye – a tour of figure and model convention WonderFestival. It's all here, from the opening otaku stampede, Godzilla, moe and imoto figures, Russian spaceships, to super realistic South American frogs followed by the usual studio mayhem with "your navigator" Chris Peppler and company.
Here’s my brief segment from the recent TBS BS-i TV special "The Fantasy Republic of Japan: Searching for the Source of Subculture." It’s the first time I’ve been dubbed in Japperknees before and the Nick Adams-in reverse like effect is disorientating!
I say some stuff about why Americans like anime so ding-dong much. I’d been stopped by the cops minutes earlier, who searched my bag and pockets, owing to the fact that I look like a suspicious foreigner. I don’t know how that might have impacted my performance on camera, but it sure made an impression on me!
The clip begins with some amazing (probably only to Steve Harrison, Tim Eldred, and myself) footage of 1st generation anime warlocks waiting in line for the premiere of Be Forever Yamato in 1980. In fact, the whole special is full of startling scenes of otaku milestones past, ranging from an interview with “the first cosplay girl” - who dressed as Triton of the Sea at some SF event in 1978 - to images of people totally flipping out over Space Invaders and the Super Famicom. The contemporary scene is covered via visits to the Kaiyodo toy factory, a peek into Production IG, and a Russian cosplay girl running around the Toshimaen amusement park. The show is also co-hosted by my certified celebrity crush Natsuki Kato (Battle Royale 2, Moero! Robocon) which begs the question why, oh why, couldn’t they have beamed me down to the studio intead of filming me at the B-Maniacs store in Shimokitazawa!??!
"The Fantasy Republic of Japan: Searching for the Source of Subculture" repeats on TBS BS-i on Jan/24. Totally recommended, weird looking gaijin excepted, if you have the means to see it.
Tokyo Eye, the sexy NHK World show that I’m a semi-regular on, begins broadcasting today in North America via the cable and satellite services of TV Japan. Looks like they are starting right at the beginning with episode one: Maid Wars. If you don’t have TV Japan in your area, contact your local Cable TV/IPTV provider and have a dramatic conniption fit.
Ok. Here’s my bit from episode 11 of Tokyo Eye – a warp speed race through my favorite place in the world: Kabukicho. Stops on the line include a game center, a bowling alley, and one of them manga cafes.
You usually need to get permission, from all kinds of officials and unsavory types, to shoot in Kabukicho. “We can’t guarantee your protection” was the answer given by the police. No one even bothered to ask the other ruling power in the area: the yakuza. And so, like Takashi Miike so many times before us, we ran the risk of being both shut down by the cops and some guy in a jogging suit demanding money. We hedged our bets in the form of a wild-eyed cameraman who managed to shoot the street scenes in stealth mode. Also, I was told that since I was a weird looking gaijin that most of the locals would simply figure I was too dumb to know the correct protocol and would hardly be worth the effort. In spite of all the paranoia, the result is a cheerful G-rated look at an area where a lot of bad shit can, and does go down. But it's also where "the magic happens" for me. Sorry we didn’t make it inside any couple kissa, love hotels, host clubs, or strip joints, but this is, after all, NHK not Hard Copy. Not that it wasn't hard...It seemed like every time we had a shot lined up and ready to go, some wobbly oblivious old drunk would wander in the frame and hover there. Another time, we had to wait until the cops finished going through some Korean guy’s designer handbag. Maybe they were looking for a hidden camera?
Snuggle up under the kotatsu and eat some of that weird stuff made out of chestnuts. It’s New Years in Japan, which means everyone is going to sit around and watch lots of tee-vee. At one point, a very strange gaijin will appear on the tube and begin to babble about anime and manga. This strange gaijin would be me.
I’m going to be featured in the two-hour special 空想共和国ニッポン～ジャパニーズ・サブカルチャーの源流を探る～ (which translates into something like “Fantasy World Japan – The Search for the Source of Japanese Subculture"). It airs on TBS BS-i on New Years Day beginning at 9pm. Link to the page for the show is here.
Ok. Here I am prancing around Akihabara and babbling on about Figures on episode 8 of Tokyo Eye. Keep in mind though that I take no personal responsiblity for playing with Ultraman toys in front of the station exit and trying to kiss a lifesize Ayanami Rei...
The location footage for the figure segment was shot in a two-day blur in Akihabara. I think we spent about 4 hours in the Radio Kaikan. While the crew was getting coverage, I got to stand around and watch various lost-lonely male otaku customers shuffle in, sit down on some stadium benches, and stare off into nothingness. We tried to approach them occasionally for an interview, but all withered away in terror (although one did tell us his life story and invited us out to karaoke…we just couldn’t film him and his entire collection of Thunderbirds candy toys). The next day saw us stuck on the Moe Figure floor of Asobit Chara for a good three hours. The mood in Akiba was high that day as it was just prior to the launch of the PlayStation 3, and camera crews were crawling all over the place looking for targets. Then we were whisked away to Fujita-san’s house near Sugamo where I did the “gaijin home invasion” thing yet again. Like most Japanese otaku, he was really interested to hear what American fans were into. You could see the confusion on his face when I told him “Naruto and Bleach, mostly.” In response to many (white people’s) complaints about my lack of fashion sense during the Gothloli segment, I am seen modeling an authentic "Center Guy" jacket from 109-2 and some giant silver Adidas. Chris Peppler seemed to like the results, but will you?
Fun fact: Lisle Wilkerson is the voice of Nina Williams from Tekken.
Well lookie-loo. The dreaded "Gothloli Wars" from Episode 4 of Tokyo Eye, the NHK show I work on, have appeared on YouTube...Watch in horror as I shamble about in Harajuku, rummage through a Lolita's luggage case, and invade a Goth girl's bedroom on the outskirts of Tokyo.
This Fri/27, I’ll be featured on yet another episode of NHK-TV’s Eigo de Shabera Night. My segment will offer viewers “Otaku in USA” nuttiness via a visit to the Japantown Anime Fair, the editorial offices of Viz Media, and some first-rate slouching around in the headlands near the Golden Gate Bridge. The rest of Friday’s show will feature a tour of Nakano Broadway with manga-ka Taiyo Matsumoto and “Black and White” anime director Michael Arias. Tying it all together is special guest host Marina Watanabe (ex-Onyanko Club member #36) who will discuss the amazing world of pilates!
Also, on Wed/25, I'll be making my second apperance on NHK World's Tokyo Eye, this time leading the charge of the light brigade into Harajuku, Marui Young, and darkest Machida for the Gothloli wars.
The control room of the Government of Darkness? The Final Revelation of Mystery Frequency 109? Or just the last episode of Kamen Rider X?
Nope. Just me doing my bit as a reporter for the new TV show TokyoEye.
The program begins airing October 4th on NHK World. The first episode features Maids versus Me.
Official Hype: AKIBA MAID FRONTLINE
The Akihabara electronic district in Tokyo has become a magnet for "otaku" lovers of comic books, animated cartoons and videogames from around the world! We introduce the latest fads, including coffee shops and beauty parlors staffed by women in suggestive lacy maid costumes. One of those maids also visits the studio!
It sounds like some crazy ESPY stuff I would make up, but the show will actually be broadcast via. orbital satellite at 4060MHz (Asia-Pacific Region), 3743.5MHz (Southwest & Central Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe Region), and my personal favorite 4040MHz (South & North America Region).