Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Appearing In Japanese Variety Show

"Are all Malaysians as tall as you?"

Mr Happa Ikki
main host of Nekketsu BO-SO TV

Guess what? I have quit my engineer job. Although I have just started working for less than three months, I have decided to give up on my job to become an entertainer in a Japanese variety show. TV personalities are more commonly known as geinoujin (芸能人) in Japan. And before you start wondering why did I choose this path, instead of doing a more secured and stable job, think again because I was just kidding only-lah.

I am still a full-time engineer, but sometimes a part-time babysitter and now, part-time geinoujin hahaha wtf! I'm pretty sure you saw that coming, didn't you? I was recently invited to be one of the two guests in a local variety show on Chiba TV called Nekketsu BO-SO TV (熱血BO-SO TV). Since April this year, two persons from the first batch of Chiba Kun Ambassadors are invited each time to the show, on a biweekly basis. So far, Zoltan Gergely Kurunczi (Hungary), Sikiru Tijani (US), Mi and Kei En (China) have appeared in the show. 


I met up with Mr Ishizaki at Chiba Station, and Ms Osada later accompanied me to Chiba TV headquarters. 
Here I am, outside the building upon arriving at Chiba TV.

I didn't even think twice whether or not to accept the invitation to the show when I received the e-mail last month. It was not something you get to do everyday - to appear in a TV show, what's more when it is a live recording, isn't it?

Nekketsu BO-SO TV is basically a program to introduce information about local personalities and specialties of Chiba Prefecture through a live show. Its name "BO-SO" comes from the multiplication of two identical words - Chiba Prefecture's pseudonym "Boso" (房総) and "boso" (暴走) which means run wildly. Not sure how running wildly is connected with the show; probably the local specialties are too good that when people try on them, they will be so impressed until they run wildly.


The schedule of the day for the whole crew team.

I literally have zero knowledge about the geinoujin world in Japan. I don't think I can even name any random three current popular Japanese actors or actresses. Yes, that is how bad I fare haha! However, despite that disability, I'm still very determined to join a few of these geinoujin and have fun at the show.

The show was scheduled to start at half past five in the evening. However, we were told to be there by three as we would be given a briefing by the producer, change our costumes, do some rehearsal and finally, the live show. However, looking at the schedule, it is amazing that the behind-the-scene crew members had arrived there at noon. I can't help but to be really impressed by the amount of preparation time made for a show that lasts for only 40 minutes.

Two sets of wonderful bento boxes and snacks, plus drinks for the two of us.

Upon reaching the main entrance of Chiba TV, the security staff requested Ms Osada to register her name first. However, it was a free pass for Chiba Kun Ambassadors. For once, I experienced the feeling of arriving at a location like a VIP haha wtf!

We were directly taken into a waiting room, also specially designed for the two Chiba Kun Ambassadors. The moment I stepped into the room, I saw a couple sets of bento box on the table. And I guessed it right; it was for both of us! As I just had my lunch a couple of hours earlier, I tapao-ed the bento box, and also the rest of the snacks back home lol!


The flow of the show and also the detailed script for each segments for us to go through one last time. Now I know every second counts in a live TV show.

Mr Kimura Akihide, the producer then came in to give us a short briefing about the show. He was certainly a no-nonsense guy and quite scary actually haha! He will sound you immediately if you do not pay attention to him fully when he was explaining, just like what happened to Mi. Reminds me of some of my strict discipline teachers back in my high school lol!

After the briefing, we went to change our costumes. I got my elegant black baju Melayu and a beautiful piece of kain samping from my senior, Nazrul a.k.a. Doink who was kind enough to lend me for the show. It was my first time wearing a traditional Malay costume, but the tough part was the kain samping. I have never tied it before and honestly, I was actually worried that it might drop off during the live show. I bet if that were to happen, I would be super famous around Japan after the show hahaha wtf!


Took a photo in front of the mirror while chit-chatting with the super friendly staff who were applying some light make-ups for me.

As Mi got her hair and face done by the make-up artists duo, consisting of the mom and her daughter, I asked them if guys will have themselves done as well. She said to me that my natural look is already too good and I do not need any extra touch-ups.

Haha, unfortunately, the make-up artists were not that flirtatious as I would've wanted lol! She instantly asked me to take a seat and started working on my face. She has been doing this job for the past 40 years! I told her that it almost equals to two times of my age. She just gave me a smile and continued with her task of performing a make-over for me lol!


 Entered the studio and the first thing was to adjust our chairs' position to fit the camera angle.


And we started the rehearsal session at four, for the next one hour.

As we stepped into the studio for the rehearsal session, all the guests were already seated on their positions. To see these people in real, while I have only seen them on TV all this while gave me some kinda goosebumps feelings. Several crew members on the other hand, were making some last-minute adjustments to the set and equipments.

And hence, we began our rehearsal session. 


Mr Happa Ikki asking me a couple of questions at the beginning of the show.


Kuro-chan (in pink t-shirt) introducing his corner.

While the presenter mostly looked at their script held together with them when they speak, I wondered how could they managed to memorise them in just a short while and almost not refer to the script at all during the live show an hour later. But do you wanna know the secret behind it? Let me reveal how they managed to do that.

There are crew members who will stand just next to the camera. They will be holding the script, printed with unusually large font and from there, the presenter just have to read them up while trying to look into the camera and appear as if they aren't reading from a script. I gotta say they did a great job in mastering that skills.


This is an example of the script, held by one of the head crew of the show.

From participating in this live show, I have learned quite a few things in a production of a variety show. For example, the short 60-second commercial break is the time where they make quick adjustments for the next segment. It's just amazing to see how the crew members invade the main set like nobody's business trying to rearrange the chairs and tables, and the guests of the show doing some touch-ups on their make up with just about fifteen seconds before the show resumes. And they barely panic and looked as calm as ever.

There were a few segments where we get to sample the food during the show. However, for the rehearsal, we were only given empty plates. When the host asked me how was it, I told him the food tasted delicious. He responded by expressing his amazement at my ability to foretell how the food taste even before I taste it haha!


Rikki-san (seated, first from left) were clearly super impressed with my giraffic height haha!


And so, the rehearsal session ended.


Took a photo in front of the show's poster outside the studio after the rehearsal session.

At the end of the rehearsal session, Mr Kimura came to us and told us that we don't have to be stiff during the show, but relaxed and enjoyed it as much as possible. I barely gave much comments during the rehearsal, because like Mr Kimura had reminded us, it would be better we keep them during the live show; otherwise the suspense and excitement will be lessen if we say out everything during the rehearsal.

I felt quite anxious during the rehearsal to be honest, probably it was my first time. I told myself to be as natural as I could, and just enjoy the moment during the live show that will come shorty after that.  And finally, as the clock ticks away, we were just minutes away from the live show. Everyone took their positions and the cameras were ready to start rolling.

With a countdown of five, four, three, two and one...

~ to be continued ~

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