5 July, Japan – ‘All Over The Place – Asia’
It’s a mark of how ridiculous my job is that this is the second time this year I have dressed up as a ninja. The first was when filming a Japanese themed wedding in Northern Ireland for ‘Marrying Mum and Dad’. Today it was because Vic and I were singing a song at the Nezu Shrine here in Tokyo all about Ninjitsu (in the style of Outkast’s ‘Hey-ya’).
I had no idea that ninjas actually took inspiration from Buddhism. How they managed to square this with strangling and stabbing people to death I’m not quite sure. We had two fantastic extras in full ninja garb with us all morning, who hopped about the beautiful gardens and pagodas while Vic and I thrashed around in an uncoordinated fashion next to them. This seems to be a popular place to bring children and lots of adorable Japanese toddlers tottered around, virtually oblivious to our frenzied ninjas whacking each other with sticks. I think the video is going to look amazing, what with the location and the moves our ninjas were busting, and the song is really catchy too, so I can’t wait to see how it all comes together.
After a quick trip into town to shoot some promotional stuff for the show (some of the streets are groaning in so much brightly lit signage I’m surprised the front of the buildings don’t fall off) our director Emma was able to shout “That’s a wrap!” and I headed off to do a quick spot of shopping before collapsing into bed in the hotel. What a crazy couple of weeks it’s been. This is shaping up to be the most exotic and bizarre ‘All Over The Place’ series yet, and we still have loads more blocks to go (we’re coming back to Japan and India, and also doing China, Sri Lanka and Dubai). I was surprised how much I liked Bangkok and would now love to see more of Thailand, and Japan has been a refreshing change to what we experienced in India. The streets are so clean here you could honestly eat your dinner off them without feeling too concerned about the hygiene implications. It’s the most efficient, pleasant and calming place I’ve ever been.
Rounded off our visit with a trip to an alley littered with dinky little eateries (it roughly translates as “Urine Alley”, but it’s still cleaner than any street in London), a visit to an area called Golden Gai with similarly little dinky bars that only fit about 8 or 9 people, and then a few hours of karaoke to make us nice and hoarse for our journey back to Brexit Blighty tomorrow…