Today’s column is the last in a series (thank the muses for that small relief from teeth-gnashing frustration) about the adventures of a certain Michelle, hired to shoot a training video in the Tokyo offices of a certain client whose point person shall be known here as Crazy Boss Man, or CBM for short.
Leaving Tokyo before they throw us out
So, here we are at the end of the last day of the shoot. Dick the DP is wrapping up all his gear. The Tokyo office manager Shoko is serving us tea with ginger. I hate ginger, but this tea is pretty good. Later, I discover that Shoko got itâ€”in a can–from a vending machine, poured it into cups and heated in the micro. Oh, well. I am writing notes in my so-called continuity notebook. I hate continuity; pyew, peeyou; I never do it if I can get someone else to do it. And Griff the Crazy Boss Man is stressing about how on earth we’re going to get back to America land of the brave home of the free and where all the street signs are in English language of the gods on Mount Olympus; not to mention Red Robin hamburgers.
Crazy Boss Man ponders aloud if one of the Tokyo-ites can help him figure out how to get from the hotel to the airport. I have this weird idea that if he gets the secret golden key to unlock this mystery, he will just take off, leaving me and Dick behind to fend off the Japanese transportation monsters ourselves. Again, the conversation goes round and round about the taxi being absolutely the most trouble-free method, but CBM is unwilling to pay $50 or whatever paltry amount. How can a man so afraid to negotiate public transit by himself, let alone public transit in a different language, be so cheap about a taxi fare split three ways? Horiaki suggests that maybe the concierge at the hotel can just hand Griff directly into a shuttle bus.
Griff: â€œThat is an excellent idea. Why didn’t I think of that?â€
Then Griff sets to obsessing about bringing a souvenir back for his kids.
â€œThey will kill me if I don’t bring something.â€
Me: â€œWhat kind of stuff do they like, Griff?â€
â€œThey like junky little plastic toys that break.â€
Me: â€œYou are in luck. There is a store two blocks in that direction,â€ I point, â€œthat has tons of toys.â€
Crazy Boss Man: â€œHow did you EVER find that out?!â€
He is looking around as if I have some sort of invisible demon attached to my shoulder.
Me: â€œUmâ€¦I walked around.â€
CBM’s teeth start chattering. The thought of walking around a city block in daylight in one of the safest cities in the world has him panicked. What if he got lost? What if he couldn’t read the street signs? What if no one could understand English? What if they understood English and wouldn’t help him? What if the clerk at the toy store tried to cheat him? What if he couldn’t translate the money fast enough? What if there were a race war and he got caught in the middle of it?
â€œI need to find something in this building.â€
So, he goes to the vending machine from which Shoko obtained the tea and buys two cans of tea to bring his 5 and 3 year old.