About a month ago The Activist set up a meeting with me and a Tokyo newspaper to take photos of handbalancing (maybe photos in Ueno station with me doing the handstands in training clothes or my suit!) and an interview as well.
She really made this whole idea work all by yourself by using her contacts at the newspaper. They covered her work when she was in her early 20’s, meeting the pope, receiving writing awards, etc. Later, she wrote a weekly column for them. To this day they still cover her work. She said it was hard to promote my story since there is a business aspect to it unlike the grassroots, NGO, social projects she normally promotes.
Her first request was refused, but she re-pitched the idea to focus on my Japanese background and roots and my desire to bring a show to Japan – the timing is right because we are approaching the anniversary of the Expo and she has been pushing for the idea of profiling people related to the Expo.
She’s hoping that I will tell them about how the Expo helped me to embrace my Japanese background and roots and inspired me to stay longer in Japan – and only then mention my future plans about making a show happen in Japan.
Her advice to me is to change how we approach people and the media to focus on a good story more than the business angle.
On the day of the actual interview I made a little mistake when I mentioned that I met my Lithuanian roommates at Expo. When I told my roommates about it they asked that Lithuania not be mentioned in the article because the Lithuanian embassy does not want to give the image that they used Expo as a way to get longer-term visas for Lithuanians. The embassy is trying to make it easier for Lithuanians to come to Japan to work and are worried that it might look like they used the Expo to abuse the system!
Last week I finally received a copy of the article and sent thank-you notes to the reporter and photographer; and I, once again, thanked her very much for the effort she put into making that a reality!
The article looks great, but I have to admit that in a weird way it made me feel a bit down. After seeing how excited people in Canada, the USA, Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore are about this project; I can’t help but wonder what I have been doing wrong here in Tokyo. I blame myself; I think that I must be talking to the wrong people or saying the wrong things. I also feel bad that The Activist has put so much effort into this project but that there has been no real payoff for her efforts. It’s almost too much for me to let her keep helping out. She has given 500% so far, and I am greatly in her debt, but she reassures me that she is still feeling positive about the project and is more than willing to keep helping out. She has been an inspiration to me the whole way, and is a friend whose support I will treasure forever.