While there are some interesting adventures, Day 2 in Japan was mostly a work day. We got up in the morning and (after a late start) caught the train to head out to Tokyo Big Sight for the Tokyo Anime Fair.
Tokyo is a city of trains and monorails. While there are cars here, they are few and far between based on the lack of space in the city. Everyone EVERYWHERE takes the train.
Once we got to the event, we began having conversations with various companies and attending private events. One such event was a 3:00 PM business tea party where I learned something very very important: Being “Tom Croom” works in Japan.
(For my close friends reading this: Japan is not Las Vegas.)
Allow me to explain. Up until that tea party, I had been operating in a very reserved (read: Japanese) fashion in order to avoid being perceived as the “loud American.” I wore a suit to give a professional presentation and avoided being… well… me. During the party I got introduced to someone from the States who was also at the party. Out of sheer thrill, I went into “dude, what’s up” mode in order to properly convey the essence of my home state of Florida. After a minute of being pseudo-me (in a suit but in Converse All-Stars and talking like “me” again) a number of Japanese business men started walking into the conversation to present business cards wanting to talk to me.
A moment about the business card thing: it’s all true. 100% of it. I must have collected over forty cards doing formal introductions throughout the course of the weekend.
ANYWAY, it seems that my style of personality works because I was acknowledging the correct elements of respect: following custom, wearing a suit, bowing, etc. The cultural part (being reserved) is what they are used to here, but the idea of the “American personality” seems as interesting to them as the uniquely Japanese vocal patterns (especially in women) fascinates me. They like the larger than life American personality… as long as it is respectful.
Which I am (it would appear.)
Thus the rest of the trip I have been more of myself (with various local traditional adjustments) and it has worked out well.
My next test of acting like “me” again was at the Takara booth where I took this photo:
I spoke to the men running it and they both were thrilled that I was a big Transformers fan from America. I explained the voices of the characters they had on display (one of them recognized the name “The Rock” when I mentioned it as Dwayne Johnson; he was thrilled to translate the info to the other guy.) Needless to say, I was offered two business cards and they have requested I email photos of my “legendary” Optimus Prime collection in the office back at the States.
I walked around some more and saw the usual Japanese stuff. You know. Hot anime girls on cars:
After hoofing it for a bit, we opted to grab some food. Looking for something quick and easy, I walked the line of booths set up (just like any convention center) and grabbed what looked like “meat on a stick” for Marc and I.
It looked safe enough, but the consistency was a little strange. It tasted like good grilled beef… but kind of spongy. I noted this oddness to the Anime Expo team sitting with me and Rob quickly pointed out the answer:
“You’re eating tongue.”
Had he not told me, I could have finished. Sure, it seemed a little “off” but I was fine with it. It was just meat. Knowing it was tongue, though, destroyed by ability to finish (and Marc’s, too.)
THUS, I went back and bought this:
‘Cause you can never go wrong with FRIED CHICKEN in any country!
We left the convention center after meetings and opted to meet for dinner at a place complex (mall) called Aqua City. Inside there, we saw a couple of cool things.
First: they had an arcade dedicated to claw style “catch the prize” sort of games. Lots of anime statues and similar items as prizes. The coolest thing was a variation on skeeball from America. Instead of rolling balls up a row to get points, you get bombarded with small balls that you put into the mouth of a talking ramen cup. I have video (that will be posted later.) For now, here’s a photo:
As we walked around the mall, I got further insight into Japanese everyday life and culture. Anime and Sentai are a big deal. They go through as much trouble promoting these things in Japan as we do our Hollywood movies. Check out the awesome Ultraman display we found in the mall promoting an upcoming show:
After a long day of work and walking, we headed back for rest. I passed the McDonalds outside my hotel and saw the latest addition to the “Big America” line of foods they are promoting.
I don’t know about you, but I have NEVER had a cherry milkshake in America.
That’s all for now. 🙂