Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I Wonder (Departure)

Yes, I'm back home again. I did get back last night, but I was too tired to blog about it. I'm still more than half asleep now, but never mind, it was worth it for a fun trip to Tokyo.

I don't know that my performance on the TV show, which was called "Wonder", was really worth the cost to the TV company of flying me out there, but they seemed happy with it, anyway. It's hard to describe exactly what the show is about, it's sort of a Juke Box Jury, only with things like memory champions and record-breaking scuba-divers instead of pop songs, and the panellists guess at answers to trivia questions on the subject of the week rather than rating it. So really, now I come to think of it, it's not much like Juke Box Jury at all. I've never even seen Juke Box Jury, it was before my time, so I don't know why I made that comparison in the first place.

Anyway, we got to see snippets of the upcoming Japanese documentary, which looks really awesome, and have some entertaining banter in the studio, as well as a memory challenge in which I memorised the order of forty sushi dishes, and the panel memorised ten each. They got them all perfectly, and I had two mistakes, which wasn't the result the TV people were expecting, but never mind. One of the guests was the famous actor Hideki Takahashi, who's a really big deal in Japan, but I can't remember who the other people were. I was a bit lost with all the goings-on, since I was relying on a translator sitting perched behind me and whispering a running translation of what everyone else was saying (usually with up to five people talking at once), so my spoken contributions were minimal and usually not really an answer to the questions I was asked. Still, perhaps it looked better to Japanese viewers.

The translator, incidentally, did a really great job, and it wasn't at all her fault if I didn't know what was going on - she'd even had a crash course in the basics of memory techniques and competitions, and understood it all very well. She had a notebook full of Japanese writing with occasional English phrases like "Ben System" and "Queen Elizabeth's Glammar School, Horncastle", so the TV company had clearly done their homework extensively. The director, for one, knows more about the world of memory competitions than some of the people who compete in them, and was able to explain in details the principles of person-action-object, journeys, the difference between the Major and Ben Systems, personal details of all the competitors, anything you might care to ask. I'm confident that the finished documentary is going to be the best ever, so hopefully it will somehow end up being translated into English.

There's more to say about the trip, but it can wait until I wake up.

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