12 Hours at Twin Ring Motegi

Author: mirai  //  Category: All Posts, Cars and Racing, Life in general, Travel Blog

Last weekend my cousins and I participated in our very first 12 hour endurance race at Motegi Twin Ring as Hayashi Racing. This is the same 12 hour endurance race that my cousin raced in last year. Ironically the team that my cousin was a part of last year, and actually helped get our car into proper race shape, was our rival on the track.

The day was very long. My cousins and I were up at 3AM to set up and push our car out to the pits to make final preparations for the long 12 hour and 9 minute race. I had only had two hours sleep, but strangely enough I was pretty charged and ready to go. The day started off to be cool and only slightly humid, but my mid afternoon, it had turned into a very typical Japanese summer day, hot, wet and humid. The pit area was about 40 degrees Celsius, and the tracks got upwards of 50+ degrees. The temperature inside of the car was also about 50 degrees, but with our 3-layer fireproof race suits and helmets on, it seem so much hotter.

The car performed well for the first 3 hours, but unfortunately by mid morning, we ran into some technical troubles (again). Apparently, our car was leaking oil pretty badly, and the race officials were about to disqualify our car. They had given us a chance to fix the leak. This proved to be a much more involved task than any of us imagined. If we sent the car out to the track, and it leaked again, we would surely be disqualified so we had to be absolutely certain that the car would not leak oil. The task was just short of disassembling the whole engine. Even the team who shared our paddock helped us fix our car. After literally 3 hours of blood sweat and tears, we had the leak under control. There was no more that we could do. Our car had fallen 20 places and we were in danger of being dead last if we didn’t run. Luckily for us the car didn’t leak any oil for the rest of the after noon and we were able to complete the rest of the race…well almost.

On the very last lap of the race, the car developed an electrical problem which caused it to stall right before the finish line. So we wound up getting a DNF (did not finish) instead of a completion. We wound up placing fourth in our class (out of five cars) and 103rd overall (out of 125 cars) Although disappointed by the results, it wasn’t dead last and we all enjoyed ourselves and had a good time.  We took tons of pictures during weekend. Here are some of them:

Our little red racer

Another one

Our little red racer prior to the race Our car on the starting grid

The competition

My cousin giving me final instructions before I start my leg of the race

then came the trouble….and the 3 hours to fix it.

Race official inspecting our car after 3 hours of hard intense labor in blistering heat

By sunset, we were back in action.

And finally, the checkered flag!

But our car never saw it….

The Tree Man and Me on TV

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

A few weeks ago,  I was called for a casting call for part in a re-enactment drama for a TV show.  What’s a re-enactment drama you may be asking.  I think we’ve all seen them before.  It’s when they show a dramatization of a event that occurred in the past.

This drama was about an Indonesian man named Dede Koswara, who came down with an extremely rare condition called the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).   Koswara, who originally had a weak immune system contracted the disease after cutting his leg on a rock as a teenager.  Shortly afterward, he discovered wart-like infections spreading throughout his arms and legs.  Eventually, the infection got so bad that the warts thickened and started resembling tree bark, hence the name Tree Man.

I auditioned for a part (didn’t specify any part at the time) at TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting System) studio at the end of last month.  The shooting was to take place over a three day period, but due to my work schedule, I could only attend one day of shooting.   I wasn’t too sure that I would even get a part, so I wasn’t really trying too hard.  The audition consisted of the assistant director (AD), giving me an old script from a TV show from 10 years earlier, and acting out the part of a guy who came to Japan for the very first.  The part didn’t have too many lines, but it did have a lot of motion.  For example, I had to act as if my home country didn’t have vending machines, and I had to buy a drink from the vending machine for the first time.  The AD, a very nice lady named Tsutsumi-san, whom I got to know quite well from the actually day of the shooting, told me exactly what she was looking for.   She told me that she wasn’t to concerned about how well I read the lines, but rather my facial expression and how I am able show the right emotion for that particular situation.  That was a big help, and so I was able to play out the role of a lost foreigner trying to but a drink from a vending machine for the first time of his life. The entire audtion took about an hour, of which I played several role.  Afterwards, I knew it wasn’t my best acting.  It had been a year since my last audition so I was a bit rusty.

A few days later, my manager calls me and says that I got “a” part.  I, of course, asked him which part, but he wasn’t too sure.  Apparently, (and I learned this after the shoot), that I was slated to do the main role of the tree man, but since I couldn’t attend all three days, that I was given a fill in role, which is basically any role that was not assigned an actor, was given to me.  Ultimately, that resulted in being three different roles: a construction worker, a van driver, and a friend of the main character.

The shooting took place  in Yamanashi prefecture, which is about a  two drive from Tokyo.  Orignally, I thought that the shooting would take place at the TBS studio in Tokyo, so I wasn’t too particularly thrilled about being bussed out to Yamanashi.  When we got I there I realized why they chose that particular location.  Our location was in the  middle of the mountains in a foresty section of a vaction house sub-division.  The whole area was quite rural and did resemble what a rural part of Indonesia might look like…I suppose.

It was quite nice, much nicer than the other shooting location I’ve been to in the past, because TBS  had leased out two vacation houses.  One house was used as a set for the shoot, and the other was to be used as a break room for the actors.  The house used as a break room was small but it was nice.  There was a small bedroom, a loft, a living room, a kitchen, and of course a restroom.

The other house was much larger and had several rooms.  It looked more like a lodge (which it probably was) and some of the actors chose to use that as a break room instead.  I spent the majority of the morning in the smaller house and recouped after the long drive.

Later that day, I was called up to the set by Tsutsumi-san.   She explained that I would be playing multiple roles throughout the shoot.  Some were extra-like roles (or roles with no speaking parts) and roles with speaking parts.  I was abit curious as to what language we were suppose to speak in.  Traditionally on these types of shows, we would speak the native language of the person we are playing and there would be subtitles, or we would speak some random language common  to all of the actors (usually English) and be dubbed over by some Japanese voice actor.  It this case, it was the latter, so I was kind of looking foward to seeing funny it’d be to be dubbed over, but at the same time, I was hoping for a real speaking role for a change.  Now I know how Arnold Schwartzenegger felt when he made Hurcules in New York.

My parts were brief, especially when I played the construction worker, since I was essentially just an extra.  But the way they played them so many times on TV that I got pretty sick of even watching myself at one point.  there was even apoint where I thought enough was enough, and nearly turned my TV off.  But all in all it was a pretty fun experience.  I always love doing these TV shoots, and my roles are progressively growing so hopefully it leads to something really big in the future.

Watch Kaori in Ã¥®¶Ã¦ï¿½ï¿½ |  View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

Stupid Celebrities with Stupid Issues

Author: mirai  //  Category: Life in general

Back in the days, celebrities were an exclusive group of people with exceptional talent or abilities, who  showed us how extraordinary  they really were, and how normal we are by displaying amazing feats of talent that less than .000001% of the world’s population can only hope to accomplish .  Nowadays, it seems like celebrities are more comprised of the ultra dysfunctional like Britney Spears, or the ultra obnoxious like Perez Hilton, or maybe even the ultra normal like John and Kate, who choose to just show how boring, normal, and bland their lives are on national television.  My question is where have all the really talented people gone?

What happened to all of the real actors, the ones who could effectively dominate a whole 40 second movie scene with just their facial expressions,  and without saying single word the entire time, like Jack Nicholson once did in the movie, Once Over the CooCoo’s Nest?

What happened to all of the real entertainers, the ones who could captivate 20 million people in a single evening, and billions more over the next two and a half decades with a single dance move like Michael Jackson once did with his moonwalk at Motown 25?

What happened to all of the real singers, the ones who could set the music standard for dozens of artists, for the next half century like Little Richard once did?

I’ll tell you what happened to them.  They were all push into a black hole, to make way for people who  became celebrities by being absolutely stupid on TV or the internet, because they have nothing else to offer.  You see, it seems that the general public no longer appreciates real talent, or any kind of talent for that matter.  Instead, their interests have shifted to people who rants and cries pathetically  on their blog site, after being hit in the face by a person whom he thoughtlessly insulted over and over again. It’s all quite disappointing, but unfortunately this is what sells nowadays.  So move over Luciano Pavarotti, your services are no longer needed, because Speidi are the new celebrity sensations  now.  They are the new dynamic duo, and as far as the mainstream is concerned, your just another dead overinflated Italian windbag.

In Japan, we have our own flavor talent deficiencies.  If you have even an ounce of real talent, you won’t make it, unless you know how to act like a complete imbecile, and show a sincere aptitude for stupidity in public.  You see, stupidity and doing moronic stunt in front of other stupid people and making them laugh is the new talent. And I am not exaggerating about this.  There is a whole TV show called Bakusho Red Carpet that is dedicated to showing people acting as stupid as they possibly can to try to get cheap laughs, and 99.9999% of the time, they are not funny…AT ALL.

Yet, the people who have REAL talent like Misia, who is my favorite female Japanese vocalist gets very little air time (partially by choice, which I admire about her.)  This young lady debuted about 10 years ago, and she is able hit the same exact vocal ranges that Mariah Carey can (including the super high vocal whistle that Mariah rarely does now.)  But I personally think Misia is better because she actually writes and sings quality music, like Mariah once did…a long, long….VERY LONG time ago.  But she’s not an idiot nor does she act like a hyperactive ten year old on national TV, hence she is not too popular among the main stream.

So what is the recipe for success in the Japanese media you may ask.  Well, here is my take on it.  You have to be one of the following:

  • A transgender male who’s still has masculine qualities
  • A very feminine man (who may not necessarily be gay)
  • A foreigner who speaks really poor Japanese or speaks Japanese with a really thick incomprehensible accent on camera, but is able to speak fluent Japanese off camera
  • A Japanese who goes out of their way to look or act Caucasian or Black and change their names to something western sounding even if they can’t pronounce it
  • People who are good at falling all over over themselves, and just being dumb in general

An example of each:

The transgender; he looks much more muscular and hairier on TV

Mr. Girlie man

An otherwise very intellegent man who makes a living by acting like a stupid foriegner on TV

Hi! My name is Suzanne!  No it isn’t ..it’s Sae Yamamoto!

This man gets paid to convince you that he’s an idiot…no convincing needed here.