/ japan

To the NHK shoot in Kurashiki

I’m off to take part in a shoot for an NHK TV drama in Kurashiki, sitting on a Shinkansen darting us from Shin-Osaka to Okayama. We speed out of the rainy Kansai megalopolis, and towards the mountains and countryside of Okayama; hopefully to sunny skies as well.

The answer to all possible questions about this TV shoot is: “I don’t know!”

That answer applies particularly to the following questions:

  • What’s the show?
  • When will it be on TV?
  • How did this happen?
  • Why are you doing it?

Well, the how and why can be poked at with a stick, I think. They might show some signs of life.


I was called to an audition at NHK Osaka over a month ago. I went out of personal curiosity as much as anything: I used to live on the other side of Osaka Castle Park from NHK, and I wanted to finally see the inside of their building.

The outside itself is quite interesting. Over the eastern edifice rests a giant sheet of glass that slowly curves in as the building goes up. A full-frontal view of the glass is partly impeded by the deodorant-stick-shaped Osaka Museum of History. The two buildings are connected on the ground by a glass globe that’s three or four stories high.

It’s the kind of structure that you can imagine looks just as curious from the inside as it does from the outside.


I did my best to prepare for the audition. I felt lucky I was asked at all, pass or fail.

And as a bonus, the building didn’t disappoint. From the upper floor where the audition was held, the views of Osaka castle and the surrounding urban landscape were breathtaking. The contrast of a giant green park quietly embracing a Japanese castle against the uncountable skyscrapers and multi-story buildings surrounding the park in all directions… it was like something out of science fiction. My reward was seeing Osaka from a perspective that most people don’t get to see.

If only I had had my new camera at that time… But the iPhone 4 did its best, as always.

And people are always saying:

“If all you have is an X, everything looks like a Y.”

No wait, that’s not the one…

“The best X for the job is the X you have with you.”

Yeah, that’s the one.

Osaka castle park from the NHK building

Osaka from the NHK building


It’s surely obvious where this little story is going at this point, but I got a call back saying they wanted me to be in a small role for the TV drama. There’s no speaking in said role, but for me, that’s a bit of a relief. I’m happy to get a chance to try this without suddenly diving in over my head. Besides, I get to do enough talking on FM 802 Osaka every month.

I’ll be quiet for once. I’ll be White Guy #4 for a day or two. Sure. And I’ll do my best to please.


To accomplish that mission, I’m sitting on a bullet train, a Shinkansen, screaming us in a streak of white to Okayama. Just forty-five minutes to go 112 miles west of Osaka.

I’ve never been to Kurashiki, but I’ve read about it: a historic town in western Japan. I’ll have to try not to appear too dazzled by the view while we shoot.