Friday, April 08, 2005

4/2: flatulent angels and frightened celebrities

[Translated from trip journal; mouse over pictures for relevant info and/or comments.]

Today we took the train to Tokyo Big Sight (that's how they spell it) for the 2005 Tokyo Anime Fair, which showcases current and upcoming anime series.

Tokyo Big Sight

We didn't have to wait in this line because we were speshul.

First, we took the elevator up to an Italian restaurant called Trevi for lunch with our special surprise guest. We all sat down and Isaac announced that, although he hadn't arrived yet, our guest was none other than Yoshitoshi Abe, character designer for Serial Experiments Lain, Haibane Renmei, and NieA Under7.

This means nothing to those of you who are not into anime; for those of you who are, you may touch the hem of my garment. Please form an orderly line.

Anyway, we waited for awhile and there was still no sign of him. Isaac excused himself to make a call while the waitresses began serving us. First came a piece of salmon stuffed with onions and an onion-bedecked salad. I sipped water and looked up how to say "I am allergic to onions" in case they asked if something was wrong with my food.

Next came artfully arranged pork chops. I was busily cutting into mine when Isaac stood up and said, "All right, everyone, here he is...Yoshitoshi Abe!" He pointed at a Japanese man walking into the restaurant, and everyone burst into applause. The NHK camera swung around to the man, who had a look of incredulous horror on his face. Abe's agent, who was sitting next to Isaac, grabbed his sleeve and whispered something in his ear, and Isaac said, "Um...that's not him. Sorry." The man quickly scurried to his seat, and we continued to wait.

Ginger ice cream. No Abe.

Finally, we were done with our meal and the maitre d' requested that we clear out, so we went to the cafe next door. We waited about ten minutes, and then Abe showed up, looking harried and ruffled. Cheers and applause erupted, and he bowed and took a seat at the front for a Q&A session.

From left to right:  Isaac, Yoshitoshi Abe, our native guide/translator Shimako, and Abe's agent.

Abe's agent wouldn't let him sign for all of us, so he signed ten limited edition posters and we played a mass game of janken pon to see who got one. I was eliminated in the first round, but prayed feverishly that Dawn Weiner wouldn't get of course she did.

If I had been sharing a room with that snarky little bitch, I'd have stolen it while she slept.

Even though he wasn't able to sign for everyone, we still got to pose for pictures. I went up to him, bowed deeply, and then held up the travel agency's brochure. Isaac said, "Oh yeah, product placement, baby!"

"Goran no sponsor de okurishimasu!" I cried, and everyone began laughing. Abe looked at me in complete shock, and I yelled, "Too much rock for one hand!" and made the appropriate hand gesture as Isaac snapped the picture. As soon as I figure out how to blur/cover my hideous mug, I will post the picture so you can all see this tiny Japanese man cowering in fear before my boisterous American skillz.

After Abe left, we went down to the Anime Fair, and I strolled around gathering the freebies that were being passed around left and right (Paradise Kiss balloons, a huge Full Metal Alchemist tote bag, Honey & Clover cookies, Ichigo Marshmallow stickers, etc.), checking out the displays, and taking pictures. A very small sampling:

Cute con girls advertising Mahou Shoujo Arisu.

I made this kid cry like a little bitch when I beat her up and stole her sundae.  Recognize!

Remember when I told you about the anime series that revolves around an angel who comes to earth, keeps beating her host to death and then remorsefully resurrecting him, and gets explosive diarrhea if her halo is removed?  This is a woman advertising that show.  No, I did not yank on her halo to see what would happen.

After I had seen everything, I still had a little time, so I took the train over to Odaiba in hopes of riding the enormous Ferris wheel. Unfortunately, I had to pee really badly, so I went into the mall and waited in an interminable line to use the bathroom. (And yet there was no line outside the men's room; nice to see some things are universal.) Once I got out of there, I only had about fifteen minutes before I needed to take the train back to the convention center, so I got a cup of Dippin' Dots and began walking back just in time to see a monkey show!


Fortunately, no monkey-beating was involved this time.

Anyway, there's more to tell, but I need to get some sleep, so I'll finish this up tomorrow.


Goran no sponsor de okurishimasu!: I have never actually seen this spelled out, so I did it phonetically; I apologize if the romanization is off. Anyway, I'm not sure what it means, but they say it at the end of many anime shows while flashing company names on the screen. I'm assuming it means something along the lines of "And now a word from our sponsors."