Client hired me to produce an internal training video and they wanted to shoot it in their Japan office.
Griff, my main contact at the client, is a bit of aâ€¦shall we sayâ€¦naÃ¯fâ€¦about traveling outside of the good ol’ USA. Let’s be frank: he really doesn’t like to leave California. Okay, to be totally honest, sometimes he gets lost inside the office building.
And he definitely sneers at anyone who shows any originality. Like, if you don’t dress in logo-ed golf shirts and khakis, he is verrrrry suspicious. He was quite shy of me the day I had purple hair. And the time I showed up with dreads he kept staring at me as if trying to figure out what I really was: black, white, wannabe, or just weirdo nutcase filmmaking type. The day I wore a navy blue skirt suit with sensible black shoes and starched white blouse, he ALSO got seriously freaked out. Almost as if he suspected I was trying to blow his tiny little mind.
Which I wasn’t.
I mean, why should I?
If he had to be hospitalized for stress, I might not get paid for the video shoot.
Though it might have been worth it for the laughs.
Back to the video shoot. I mean, back to Tokyo.
Griff and I are walking around Shinjuku Park at dusk. There are lots of trees in the park. There are lots of crickets in the trees. The crickets are making their little crickety noises. Very pretty, peaceful. Nice to have a patch of nature right in the middle of a big city.
Griff is stopping every few yards to peer into the ground below the trees. Apparently dissatisfied, he then walks on.
â€œWhat are you looking for, Griff?â€
â€œTrying to find the electronic speakers that are making these chirping noises.â€
We stop at a vending machine. Griff wants a soda. He has some Japanese money. The sign on the vending machine says $200 Y. Griff stares helplessly at the coins in his hand. He has among them several which are clearly marked $100 Y each in very familiar Arabic numerals. I pick two of them out from his palm and prepare to insert them into the soda machine.
â€œWait, wait! Stop. I don’t understand how much it’s costing. What if they’re ripping me off?â€
Side note to those who haven’t had to convert dollars to Yen lately, it’s so very close to 100:1 that you needn’t bother with the math. The soda at $200 Y is a $2.00 soda.
â€œIt’s 100 to 1, Griff. It’s a $2.00 soda.â€
â€œHow do you know these things?â€
He takes out his special international currency calculator which he has bought for this trip (well, actually he told his wife to order it; and it cost her $59.99) to double check me.
â€œOh, ha, ha, you’re wrong. It’s $2.05. That’s too expensive.â€
(By the way, Griff makes about $150,000 per annum.)
Griff whispers to me as we exit our respective hotel rooms on the first evening there:
â€œI read that their culture is to be very polite. Let’s make sure we are very polite.â€
Oh, yeah, sure. Glad you told me. Otherwise, I would have assumed I could act like a total ass. Thanks, Griff. Saved me from certain blunder.
It’s a bonus. Get paid to make videos and get material for screenplays for free!