Finally a PR!!

Author: mirai  //  Category: All Posts

 The weather has been cooling down a lot in the past several days.  I finally broke out the stove heater because the living room has been getting a bit chilly.  I love this time of year because my favorite holiday (New Years) is just around the corner.

Last week, I came hom from work and found a postcard from the immigration office.  The handwriting on the front looked familar because it was the same postcard that I had filled out several months ago when I went to their office in Yokohama.
On the reverse side, printed in Japanese where instructions telling me to bring my passport, my alien card, the postcard, and 8000 yen in cash and report to the immigration office no later than December 1st.  If it hadn’t been for the  fact that the postcard had my writing on it, it could have been easily been mistaken for a deportation notice, since no other explanation was written.  But I knew exactly what it was for.  After 11 years of being in Japan, I am finally a permanent resident.
I took a half day off from work and went to the Yokohama branch of the immigation and naturalization office, with my passport, my alien card, the post card received in the mail, and of course 8000 yen in cash in hand.  Since I have never gone through the process of getting permanent residence, I didn’t know quite what to expect.  I thought that the process would be much more difficult and take longer, but it was as easy (if not easier) than renewing my current visa.
When I got there, there were no lines at all.  I gave my documents to the lady at the counter and she told me to take a number and buy a revenue stamp on the 7th floor.  Ahhhh okay, this is probably the part that takes a real long time, I thought.
I went to the seventh floor and bought the 8000 yen revenue stamp….yes quite an expensive stamp!  Again there were no lines so I was able to get the stamp right away.  Geez, this is too easy and too smooth! I’m bound to run into a snag somewhere!, I thought.
I went back down to the fifth floor and looked at the meter to see what number is being serviced, only to find that my number is being called.  What?  Already?  That is too quick!  What about the Filipino lady with the three screaming kids, or the Indian guy asking what seemed to be a never ending stream of questions, whom always seems to be in front of me? I went up to the counter and presented my ticket with my number on it.  I was sort of expecting the lady to say, sorry we made a mistake!  No PR for you!  NEXT!  (Taken from Seinfelds’s Soup Nazi episode if you haven’t figured it out) But instead, she handed my passport and alien card back.  She opened my passport and pointed out the newly stamped sticker complete with encrypted barcode and the words “Permission for Permanent Residence” written in Japanese and English on it. 
I was surprised and thrilled at the same time.  It wasn’t quite what I was expecting.  I was expecting to get a card complete with an unflattering photo and some kind of IC chip embeded in it with all of my personal details (when I entered the country, the last time I left, what I country I went to, what I ate for dinner last night, etc.. ) written into the memory chip inside.  Instead, it was just a very simple looking and almost forgeable looking sticker stuck on one of the pages of my passport.
Now I no longer have to go to the immigration office every three years to have my visa renewed.  And the biggest advantage is that now I can get I housing loan. I can actually buy a house in Japan now..yay!

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Working with Professional Models is FUN!!

Author: mirai  //  Category: All Posts, Theater, TV, and the Arts

Lately,  my project with Nissan has been coming to an end so I haven’t been as busy with work as I have been previously.  This gives me more time to focus on other things, like my acting career for example.  I’ve been vigorously working on my own website to promote myself to advertising companies for possible future work in commercials, movies, and promotional videos.  This is sort of like killing two birds with one stone, because it also allows me to brush up on my web authoring skills as well.  I could have cheated and just whipped up something simple using preinstalled templates and what nots, but I decided to author the whole thing completely from scratch and make my own very professional looking presentation.  This can also help me land other projects at work as well.

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Over the weekend, I got a frantic sounding call from my manager at the talent agency.  Apparently, while they were shooting a commercial for Suzuki’s new car called “Wit”, one of the mamagers became really ill.  Unfortunately, he has a very important role and that is to coordinate with the foreign models and also interpret instructions given by the director of the commercial.  So, just simply going home was not an option for him.
My manager asked if I could come out to the studio and help them out the shooting.  Since I really had nothing else to do I accepted.  Fortunaltely for me, the studio was only about 20 minutes away from my house, so it was really quite convenient.
When I arrived, Jitsu ( the manager who had fallen ill) was waitng outside of the studio.  He didn’t look well at all and looked as if he was going to pass out at any moment.  Apparently, several days earlier, he was told that he had stomach ulcers.  But since his schedule had been quite busy, he was not able to take any days off to rest.  The pain had gotten so unbeareable that he wasn’t able to continue.   But since the agency is pretty shorthanded these days, the had no other choice but to call me to do the work.
I do have interpretting experience, so whether I could do the interpretting part of the job or not was never an issue.  But it was more than just interpretting.  Since the shoot can take upwards of 30+ hours to complete, it was my job to make sure that the stars of the commercial (in this case, four very beautiful models) don’t get too frustrated and to also keep their spirtits and morale afloat.  Fortunaltely for me, the models were very cooperative and always in good spirits.
I got to the studio at around 6pm, By then, there were people who have already been their for about 8 hours or so. They were changing the set, so the assistant director told us that they should be done in a couple of hours.  So Jonny (the other manager from the agency) and I hung out with the models in the dressing room.
There were four models, (Jess from New Zealand, Tina who’s half-Japanese and half-British, Mandy who’s half-Chinese and half-American, and Gabrielle, a Brazillian model who looks a lot like Sandra Bullock, but prettier).

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Tina, giving the typical Japanese “peace” sign for the camera
They all had great personalities and really made my job easy.
The set change eventually took 6 hours to complete.  We were all pretty frustrated with the long delays, but we all remained very professional.  The shooting resumed at around 12:30pm.  Surprisingly, I wasn’t sleepy at all.  I guess I was caught up in the excitement of things.
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Jonny (my manager) also giving the peace sign as Tina looks on.

The whole shoot lasted until about 11am the next morning.  The models slept on and off during their breaks in the dressing room.  I wasn’t able to sleep so I stayed up and chatted with the models, the directors, and basically whoever was awake until the shooting restarted.
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The four models striking a pose (from right Tina, Mandy, Jess, and Gabrielle)

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The ladies on stage with the new Suzuki Wit.
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A Suzuki Wit that had been cut in half for interior shots.
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A moving background will be imposed on the green scree during the editing process to make it appear as if the model is actually driving the car.
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Mie, the make-up and costume lady, complete exhausted from the all-nighter.

Although I was not in the commercial, I felt as if I had a big part in making it come together, and I felt a great sense of satifisfaction when it was over.  I am actually looking forward to seeing the final product.  And since Suzuki does publish their commercials on their website, I will but a link here when it airs next month.