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.
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.