Yep, here I am on a very speedy trip to Tokyo and Hong Kong( 9 days)…but this time it is an all expense paid one…no I didn’t win the lottery BUT I did get hired to take a Video Crew to tape the Christmas show at each place for ABC’s Disney’s XMAS Parade(if you
watch the Parade, my part will be at the end when they throw it to each Park and Sing in their own languages)…and I must say, Disneyland Tokyo has quite a spectacular show…and I’m usually not much for this kind of stuff…Actually Disneyland Tokyo is a
wonderful Park and it really has that “spirit” that seems to have lessened a bit at Disney World…
Tokyo is an incredibly large and dynamic city…did I mention large and spread out…I mention that because as luck would have it Peter Devlin is here shooting a movie and we decided to try to get together to have Sushi while we were both halfway around the
world….Well, let’s just say my day was spent trying to find my way to his hotel…and I mean the whole day(although I did take time to shop a bit and
explore)…of course we all know that I have a tenancy to get lost anyway…and I really don’t mind under normal circumstances… but I have to get back to my hotel (via a train system that is a maze of confusion for me)because I am the proverbial “Den Mother”
of the wonderful Crew…which means I need to be there to “guide” them (: …so getting lost takes on a whole new meaning under these circumstances…By the way, there are very
few(and I can count them on both hands) Westerners in Tokyo…so getting around is quite a chore for us…well, add to the fact, I can’t understand any of the signs…and to my surprise, very few people here speak any English…but I have become quite proficient
in sign language…Let me rewind a bit…We(me and our crew of 3 crew guys and our Director from LA) arrived on Tuesday night after traveling since Monday at
8AM…the first night I was out of bed by 2:30AM and watching Japanese game shows until we left for our scout at 6am….last night I was up at 1:30AM(don’t you just love Jet Lag) …but this time I discovered how to get CNN in English…our crew call today was 3:45AM…so I was ready…we wrapped by 8:30AM and the boys and I decided to venture into the city to explore….They wanted to do the Electronic geek thing so I went off in the “Lewis & Clark” tradition to “explore” and “discover”. …But first I had to tackle
the Public transportation system… the train system…which I soon learned was different than the subway but somehow connected…BUT you need a different ticket..and sometimes you needed to actually leave the underground and walk a few blocks to catch a connecting train(which I would have happily done if I understood Hieroglyphics!)…I will not go on and bore you with the dramatics of my commute…but believe me
they were dramatic!…Let’s hope my return tonight is smoother! Tokyo is huge…did I mention that?…but incredibly clean…despite my inability(and the boys too) to
navigate the public transportation smoothly, their system is actually quite amazing and very efficient and organized…that is if you speak and read Japanese…which of course I don’t…but… funny thing…every time someone speaks to me in Japanese, I find myself starting to answer in Spanish…so I guess I did actually retain some of what I learned in
The Japanese are all, and yes I will generalize because I have yet to see a contradiction of this, they are all very stylish and hip in their dress…very western in that way…but the
comparisons stop there…I have worked for a few Japanese Clients and I know that they are very hardworking(to put it mildly..because they put us to shame in most cases) but I have been amazed by the total efficiency of everything and everyone here…when we arrived at customs(usually my Hell on an International job, especially with TV equipment and Carnets), they opened a special line for us(Ahead of all the Pilots who were in a very long line, themselves). The Customs official was so polite and treated us with such respect(not something I have encountered in many other country’s including the US)..When he had to go away to get something for our Carnet, he ran, …and he ran fast. I have noticed almost all the Japanese here tend to literally run to get things…I think this is why we get our economic butts kicked by them…and maybe this is also why they stay so slim…hmmmmm…hey, for all of you Carb Phobic people, this is my 6th country where Carbs are the Mainstay and the people are still very slim…so you need to rethink that Phobia(I think it is a Myth)…and it’s White flour carbs in all these places not even whole wheat…I have yet to see an obese person yet…although, with McDonalds around, I’m sure that will change!
One fabulous thing they have here is a great bathroom mirror…yes, I said Bathroom Mirror! You know when you get out of a nice hot and steamy shower, the Mirror is all fogged?…well here when you get out, most of the mirror is fogged BUT a perfectly square
part where your head looks in is completely CLEAR!!!…and speaking of bathrooms, let me tell you, they are all immaculate, including public ones…I have even ventured into the Subway and one at a park where there was a small shanty town set up…and also
most of the toilets have a contraption that heats the toilet seat(and yes it is clean enough to sit!) and a Bidet attached..even in public restrooms…I guess I get impressed by the simple things…but after traveling to countries where I’m just happy the hole in the ground is deep enough, this is simply incredible! (:
OK, here’s another interesting thing I learned, when they show on the TV News how people in Japan are wearing the Face masks…Well, I just assumed it was because some people were worried about getting the Bird Flu: Wrong! It’s a custom for people who have colds or flues to wear a mask so as not to infect others around them…they sell these masks(which of course I had to buy)in all the drug stores…and some are even decorated…At Disney, they even have characters on them!…I, personally, think this is a great idea and once again the Japanese show they can be cutting edge…because I don’t know about you, but with the Bird Flu looming, i want to be sure I have a stylish face mask to match my outfit!…But seriously, what a great custom…can you imagine how many fewer sick people in an office there would be!!!
My stay here in Tokyo is quite short, 3.5 days….but I have really enjoyed the experience. I think I have enjoyed it more than I would have if I were just vacationing. It’s been great to work with the Japanese Crew. My Coordinators here have been simply amazing and I have learned much more about Tokyo because of them….
This travelogue probably is a bit disjointed…but then I am writing after only sleeping an average of 3- 4 hours a night since Sunday…and I still have Hong Kong to go….but I did want to send a little email to give a slight idea of Tokyo…It’s a big city…and I tend not to gravitate to the cities…but I have enjoyed my work experience here and I have certainly
been challenged by the logistics of getting from point A to point B…the people are great here. Even with most not speaking English, I find after trading a few hand signals(not the bad ones!), I had a few people on the Subway personally guide me to my destination.
And for those of you who know me well, YES, I have been eating lots of Sushi and other things that I could not identify but tasted good nonetheless!