It had to happen. There’s only so long a gaijin can exist in Tokyo before a modeling gig lands in his or her lap, and this morning was my moment under the tungsten.
Okay, so there wasn’t any tungsten, just a gaggle of Japanese photographers, assistants, copywriters and other assorted individuals I couldn’t identify. Oh, and Kristen, the other gaijin who got suckered into this gig.
Okay, so we volunteered. A cry for help went out to the Japan bloggers mailing list – models needed for a photoshoot to promote the upcoming October CEATAC tech convention – and we offered our faces and bodies up on the sacrificial altar of the camera.
It was a rather strange experience. Kristen and I seemed to have similar backgrounds, in that we were both used to being on the other side of the camera. Suddenly, being told to look at her, or talk to her but don’t look at the computer, or whatever, was uncomfortable.
I’m used to giving the orders, dammit. Or at least, I’m used to molding the world to my vision. Being included in somebody else’s scheme, even if it is merely to hold a cell phone and pretend to talk, was extremely disconcerting.
We got to stand around and talk, pretending to use computers. We got to sit in a car and play with its navigation system. Of course, the man in the picture (that’s me, folks) got to “drive.” I got to pretend to talk into a cell phone and ride an escalator. Pulse-pounding excitement, I know.
There was a lot of standing around and playing with the toys in the Panasonic Center. It occurred to me that if this were the U.S., they would’ve hired real models to promote a tech convention. They would probably have been dressed in Matrix-style leather and PVC and not worn black business suits, as Kristen and I were asked to do.
Now, Kristen is a lovely lady, and I’ve come to accept the fact that I do not have the most hideous face on the planet – second or third, maybe – but let’s be honest here: This is not the start of a long and sordid modeling career. This is what happens when you live in a country where cutting edge basically means Western, and often white.