Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Where the Hell is Matt?

If you haven't seen the Where the Hell is Matt? video from 2008, you should. This whole post will make a lot more sense if you do. Some of the related videos are outtakes or talks he's given about the process and the experience and are also worth watching if you have some time to kill.

After seeing that video, I joined the mailing list and promptly forgot about the whole thing until I got an email saying he was going to be in Tokyo and was letting people know where to meet to potentially be part of the next video. No guarantees, of course, but it was worth a couple hours of my Sunday to see what it was like and explore a part of Tokyo that was new to me.

On one of the train platforms, one of these signs caught my eye.

I thought Yoda had his hands full with battling the Sith, but he obviously has enough time on his hands to open a couple clinics in Tokyo on the side.

The event was to be on the steps of the Fuji TV building in Odaiba. I was early so I wandered around a bit to take some pictures...and saw evidence that the aliens have, in fact, landed.

But the architecture is neat!

The view from the top of the stairs:

And there are a lot of stairs. You actually can't see them all from here.

Having explored the immediate area, I moved back to the foot of the stairs to wait.

People started to gather.

Matt arrived a little late, evidently he tried to take a cab but got caught in the traffic gridlock caused by a marathon. Surprisingly enough, he was alone. I thought he'd have a camera person with him, but he does it all himself with his digital camera.
He had us stand in a group on the bottom stairs and shuffled us around a little to fill the frame.
We did a fairly informal release, instead of having a physical form for us to sign (the first video or two they took photos of everyone and had them sign a document, he said he has a stack of two thousand at home) he started recording, read off a disclaimer and had us all say "yes" and give a thumbs up to show we agreed. If someone ends up licensing the footage that requires a more official disclaimer, he has our email addresses and will send it to us at that point to sign and send back.

I obviously couldn't take pictures of the whole group while I was in it, but he led us in some really simple dance steps. I mean simple like point to the right, point to the left, point to the right again. And the right one more time. Good, now the other side! Point to the left, right, left, left. Okay, then!

It was fun, even if we don't end up in the official video.

He's cool, too, he stuck around to take pictures and video with anyone that wanted to.

If anybody had an idea or wanted him to strike a pose, he was all for it.

I handed my camera off to a random volunteer who didn't really get how my camera worked, but this is enough to prove I was there (in my awesome murasaki-striped scarf that I adore) and that I danced with Matt.

Not having anything else to occupy my time since it was over and people were slowly scattering, I wandered over to the street side to see what was there, and saw something wholly unexpected.

It was a few blocks away and I went to get a closer look.
Yep, definitely didn't see that coming.

You can see it's not exactly a full-size replica, but it was still surprising.

I looked back to see the FujiTV building, complete with alien spaceship. The building between me and it is a shopping center, so I wandered inside to see what I could see.

I found a pet store and decided I had time to get my heart broken by small animals I can't take home, so I walked around to see what was there. First, kittens!

And the price tag for one of those kittens:
At time of writing, ¥218,000 is approximately $2,650 USD. On sale from $2,900 USD. What a bargain!

I also (finally!) found a store that sells bizarre flavors of Kit-Kats. Japan has a reputation for having strange flavors, but it's been harder than I expected to find them. Now I know where to go. Well, here and the airport. Odaiba isn't exactly next door, but it's closer than Narita by half.

Evidently annin dofu is a Chinese dessert made from almond jelly. It tastes better than it sounds.

The wasabi flavor, I just had to try. It's actually really tasty. It's like a mild wasabi mixed in white chocolate, and you just have to trust me that it totally works as a flavor set.

I love mochi candy, so I got some of this to try, too. Haven't sampled it yet, but I expect positive results.

This was another "it's so weird I have to try it" moment.

Banana ale. I think it would have tasted better if I didn't know what bananas taste like. It was worth trying, but I wouldn't get it again.

So after my shopping adventure it occurred to me that Mr. Matt does travel all whirlwind-style and never spends more than a day or two in one place, so if I were to share some of the weird Kit-Kits with him, it might be a nice thing. So I went back to FujiTV but didn't see anyone and went to the train station, where I ran into Matt.

He was heading to a Honda dealership to see their robot, ASIMO, dance. He was gracious enough to let me tag along, and I did my best to be charming so he wouldn't resent my imposing myself on his schedule. I think it worked. I was no good as a guide, being in a part of town I'm not familiar with, but I did get a chance to give him a wasabi-flavored Kit-Kat, so that's something.

We went our separate ways after the show; he went to get lunch and wait for the next performance in the hopes that the people there would let him dance with the robot, I went on to Shibuya and the farmer's market in front of the UN University before going home.

On the way, I managed to leave the Shibuya station through one of the wrong exits and went probably a mile out of my way because there wasn't a good way to cross the tracks, but it was a nice enough day and exercise is good, plus I got to see more of Shibuya than I'd seen before. Including this awesome apartment building.

How cool is that?

The United Nations University has this crazy sculpture out in front; I missed my chance to get it in full sunlight, but I'll try again later.

Side note: two of the vendors remembered me from last time, that was kind of cool.

I was looking for something specific I'd seen before to send back to the States (I occasionally take inexpensive souvenir requests and was keeping an eye out for something). I didn't find what I wanted, but I did leave with some new things to try.

For example, vegetable muffins. I couldn't identify all of them, but there was definitely pumpkin, potato, and yam. The green one might be spinach.

Plum jelly and some plum-related bonus gift. The plums here don't taste like the plums in the US, they're not dark purple and sweet, they're usually small and green or orange and somewhat tart.

Oh, and I went to the grocery store to get some bread and eggs and veggies. We were out of bread so I got the regular shokupan (which is just phenomenal bread, we stopped buying regular loaves at the commissary a long time ago).

And then I saw a brown loaf, and I thought to myself, "hey, whole wheat! Awesome!"
It wasn't until I got home that I looked a little closer and realized it's not whole wheat, it's chocolate.
Chocolate bread. Who does that? Now, having tasted it, I'm going to get this chocolate bread again. It sounds weird (like so many other things), but it's pretty much straight up chocolate cake in sliced bread form. It's not quite as fluffy or rich, but it's a nice light chocolate flavor and it makes an absolutely fantastic peanut butter sandwich.

1 comment:

  1. Wow - are those kittens purebred gold-poopers or something? Perhaps rainbows? Or does that price include a lifetime supply of food and toys?

    I think discovering your whole wheat bread is chocolate is the kind of "oops" moment that only happens in my dreams.