I went to see the TRIGGER office. They had just recently finished furnishing the office, and it was nice. I think their biggest draw (haha) is the customized tilting tables for the animators. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of them...
I met up with Masahiko Otsuka-san, the president of this new studio, and Sa-san of GAINAX, and Yamada-san of Sanjigen.
We went to dinner, and after that we came back to the studio.
Hiroyuki Imaishi was there, so we talked for a long time about the anime industry. He said he wanted to come back to the United States, maybe next time to the east coast.
By the way, this day (Dec 23) was a holiday, and the first of a three-day weekend. There were many, many staff working late at night as if it were a normal day. This is the anime industry, everyone.
I went to GAINAX, mostly because I haven't seen their new office. I think every time I go, they're in a new office.
Anyway... I forgot to take pictures because I spent most of the time talking to various people.
Kazuya Tsurumaki-san was there for a meeting, and I haven't seen him for close to 10 years, so I was talking to him for a while. With him was Yoji Enokido-san, script writer for Evangelion and Utena, among other things. I'm actually a huge fan of Enokido-san, so I was pretty excited.
Enokido-san is called "Prince" and I saw why... He looks like he's in his twenties!! I thought he was an assistant or something because he looks so young...
I then went to go see Yoshiyuki Sadamoto-san. He told me about his most recent project, "The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki."
I also said hi to Su-san, who is part of the licensing team.
After saying hi to everyone I know, I went to dinner with them.
It was a nice, fun evening. I forgot to take pictures, but I did take pictures of the stuff they gave me.
Flyer for "The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki" and "Believe in Yourself" samples.
My cousin wanted to go out to buy FF13-2, so he was nice enough to take me along. I wanted to go buy a new camera, because my FujiFilm broke for the 3rd time. (I will get it fixed... I needed a new one to use during my trip in Japan.)
After our trip to the electronics store, we went to eat ramen.
This is what the store looks like.
It looks like a Capsule House from Dragon Ball, yes?
It's a tiny place, but they have huge ramen servings.
I got the normal size...
Shio ramen with spinach and egg topping.
My cousin and his friend got the large.
It's hard to tell, but please compare the size of the bowl to the chopsticks.
They even have a size larger, extra-large. It's in the same bowl but with way more noodles.
My distant cousin is a teacher for a local elementary school, so I asked him if I can visit his school to see how English is being taught in Japan.
Before I joined this industry by chance, I had a tiny dream of teaching English in Japan. So I was really excited when my cousin said that the principal approved my visit.
It was a nice, sunny day. It was supposed to snow, but lucky me, it didn't.
I went in and thanked the principal. We talked a bit about how all the ALTs (Assistant Language Teachers) left after the quakenami because they were scared of radiation and stuff.
And after discussing what we were doing for class that day with my cousin and the Japanese ALT, we went to class.
The children were so cute! It was a combined class of 5th and 6th graders for the English session.
I went in and introduced myself in English first. My cousin (their teacher) asked if they understood what I said. They understood some words such as "translator" and "movies."
I then introduced myself in Japanese, and we started class.
The topic of the day was "What I want to be when I grow up." An electronic text book thing played an audio recording of various occupations, and after the students practiced the pronunciations they answered what they wanted to be.
During practice, the kids asked me to repeat the occupations. They were surprised that "photographer" and "sumo wrestler" was pronounced differently than what they thought.
At the end of the class, I gave them my impressions in English. Again, they were asked if they understood any of the words. Then I translated my words into Japanese, and left.
Sigh... The children were so cute. And their dean (dressed in P.E. clothes that day!) was so cheerful and funny.
I hope I can go back, because I really liked the staff and students.
Maybe I can have my niece attend that school for a summer or two.
S-san of GAINAX was in Niigata for the weekend, so I went to go see her. Niigata-city is the hometown of S-san and Yamaga-san, as well as other famous people in this industry like Rumiko Takahashi and Takeshi Obata.
I hopped on the Shinkansen to Niigata-city.
S-san took me to a sushi restaurant for lunch.
It was so freaking delicious. I actually don't like sushi or sashimi much, but I finished my plate in seconds.
We then went to the Nihonkai Tower. We had a nice view of the Sea of Japan.
S-san also showed me the area where Megumi Yokota was abducted by North Korea.
She showed me the city for about half the day. We visited a movie theater where Yamaga-san used to work, and where they still work with GAINAX to do some screenings.
It was fun seeing S-san outside of Tokyo and the United States, in a non-work environment.
My uncle works for a sake company and he makes one of the best sake in Japan, the Kubota Manju.
Today he took me to his company so I can take a look at how they make it. Unfortunately, my uncle is not a very skilled guide and I learned NOTHING from the visit. But I'll post the pictures I took anyway.
And this is the final product, to the right.
They have this sake in high-end Japanese restaurants, so if you have a chance, please try it.
By the way, this sake was mentioned in the movie "Ocean's Thirteen." So please look for it in there, too.