Friday, July 20, 2007

Bond, James Bond. In Japan!

So the enigmatic job title that I currently hold is CIR, short for Coordinator of International Relations. The title is purposely vague because you never know what might come with it - some translate and interpret all day while I run beach parties and wine tastings, with some English and culture classes thrown in there for variety. I've also recently given a speech about Maryland and attended a couple wedding parties held at work as a sort of liaison of sorts and will also get to go to a concert, a beer factory tour (beer garden visit included), and a baseball game when I'm showing a delegation around in a few weeks as interpreter and tour coordinator.

However, this all pales in comparison to this:

That's right, Bond! A CIR down in Kagawa Prefecture is parading around like Bond on tv and events in this Bond-obsessed area in attempts to persuade the Bond people to shoot their next movie there. Apparently there was a Bond book which features this prefecture in its climax, so they've petitioned for it and do all sorts of Bond events, including picking a local Bond girl to parade around with our young hero, Andrew Cockburn. Lucky bastard.

Now don't get me wrong - the cosplay photo shoots and hula dancing randomness of Shichigahama is cool, and I've been on tv and in print a few times myself, but this is one job that I think anyone could enjoy. Sad thing is though, I'm sure they picked a Brit specifically, and photos come with the applications so I'm sure they screened for that as well. Sometimes being blond sucks... but then there's the rest of the time, so I'll be ok.

By the way, there's vids and all here if you missed it above, so by all means check it out.

And here's a personal account from the lucky bastard himself from the CIR forums:
When I first arrived in Kagawa, there was already quite a lot of 007 stuff going on. The latest (absolutely awful) 007 novel is called "The Man With The Red Tattoo", and the climax of the book is set on Naoshima, an island in the Seto Inland Sea owned by Kagawa. In the book, there's a G8 summit on Naoshima which is threatened by terrorists with killer mosquitoes, and Bond naturally saves the day. When the people of Naoshima caught wind of this, they realised that if only they could get "The Man With The Red Tattoo" made into a film then THEIR ISLAND would be in a Bond movie!!!!

So starting in 2004, with the help of the prefectural government, Naoshima has been campaigning for the next Bond Film to be made here. So far, efforts have included an 80,000+ signature petition, the creation of a 007 museum on Naoshima (well worth a look if you go to the island - it's free and really cute), and several awareness-raising parties, including the one I participated in 2 weekends ago, with the theme of "Find Kagawa's Bond Girl", and one we had to coincide with the release of Casino Royale last year, which was called 「007電車でGO!!」, and we all took a train to the famous temple in Kagawa, Konpira Jingu, and watched a sacred fan dance and prayed for the success of Casino Royale and that the next film would be made in Kagawa. Then on the way back we had an hour long booze up on the train with live music (a harpist!), and a 007 general knowledge quiz. Truly random. At the party we had a couple of weeks ago, they had me up on stage in only my swimming shorts doing fire-poi at half time in the judging, and then after that some of the contestants wanted to speak in English so I had to interpret that to the crowd still half naked. A cool Martini, shaken, not stirred was very much in order once I had that over with!

It's pretty good fun being Bond.. Every couple of months there's a flurry of media interest in the campaign, and we get film crews coming along to film me and Naoshima, and I dress up as Bond and point my replica Walther PPKand run around catching bad guys! Also at the last party, the final winner was a really cool lady called Sachie Manabe who just got back from a couple of years' study in America, and so is awesome at English and from now on, we'll probably being going on tv together quite a lot. (For instance next Tuesday we're off to the KSB studios to be in a news article!!!)

That's pretty much the whole story. The parties are really good fun, in Kagawa people recognise me as Bond every so often, and I get to be on tv as an action hero!

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