Japan Trip One: The Email

Okay, what? You went to Japan? And you didn't tell us? How could you?

These are some of the thoughts that might be going through your head right now. I know, I'm sorry, but I really wasn't allowed to tell anyone until this week. You see, not only did I go to Japan, but I went there to film an episode of Who Wants to Come to Japan?. I wasn't allowed to post anything on social media, or my blog, about the trip until the episode aired, which it has now done!

If you think this all sounds crazy, just imagine how I felt. 

It all started on a Monday, May first to be exact, when I received an email from a representative of the program. I was at work and about to take my break, waiting to use the punch-out machine, which was blocked by a restocking cart. While I waited, I took my phone out and saw that I had an email on my business account. I took a quick look and felt my eyes grow to the size of saucers. 

"...I work for a Japanese TV production company in New York. I am contacting you on behalf of the Japanese TV program..."

"Huh?" 

I quickly scanned the email, none of it making any sense to me in my rattled state. The restocking cart moved and I quickly punched out. Instead of eating my lunch I sat down in the cafe and read the email more slowly. It explained how this program, "Who Wants to Come to Japan", looks for foreigners who have a passion for Japan, but have never been before. Check and check. A film crew come to their house to do initial interviewing, and if the producers back in Japan like the footage, they invite that person to Japan to film an episode. 

Each episode focuses on whatever the particular interest of the person is. So if you are a foreigner who loves, for example, traditional Japanese clothing, they bring you to Japan and film an episode where you work with an expert in traditional clothing. You might sew some, or go and see how they dye the fabrics, and of course they will film you wearing a ton of traditional clothing. 

So what was my particular interest? I have so many, I don't think I would have been able to narrow it down. Luckily, the email told me what had brought me to their notice, and that my the post I had written last summer about kamaboko. They couldn't believe I had taken the trouble to make it at home, since practically no one in Japan does this, let alone someone outside Japan. They also really liked how I gave information about the history of Kamaboko. If I was interested, they said, they would like to come to my house and film me making kamaboko in one week! ONE WEEK.

I took a screen shot of the email and texted it to my sister with one simple comment: "What the actual &*#@?" 

My break was only fifteen minutes long, so I quickly read the email perhaps fifty times, then went back to work. While I sliced deli meat, my mind wandered. Was I really prepared to be on a Japanese television program? I don't even like having my picture taken. I'm not a particularly emotive person and I was born with a bad case of RBF. I've never had any ambitions to be on television, unless you count when I was a little kid and used to pretend I was on a cooking show while I made my lunch. I wouldn't call myself shy, but reserved is a very good way to describe me. Could I really pull off being on a tv show? 

My phone buzzed with a reply from my sister. "Wow, cool! Are you interested?" 

My brain didn't know what to think. The whole idea was so overwhelming. 

"I don't know. I think so." 

Needless to say, I sent an email that afternoon to the representative, and by the next day I had talked to her on the phone. In only one week I had a Japanese film crew in my house. In one month I was invited to Japan, and in two months I was walking out of Narita Airport with a camera following behind me. The whole thing has been a complete whirlwind, and I still can't quite believe that I spent eleven days in Japan. 

I wish that I could have spent the whole time writing about my adventure and sharing it with you, dear readers. However, I was forbidden to tell any but my family and close friends about the program until it aired. And so, that is why you are only hearing about it now. There is so much to tell, but for today, this is where I will leave you. In the next post I shall tell you all about the filming at my house, and my trip to the local grocery store with a Japanese film crew in toe! 

Until next time, remember, you never know what will happen in life next.