|Me, in the middle|
On Saturday, I was suddenly asked by a TV producer if I could be on live TV on Monday morning. They were doing a show about Swedish things and wanted an expert on their panel. They had not managed to find anyone else from Sweden (not many Swedes in Sapporo) so they would have to make do with me, kind of.
I lived 30 years in Sweden so I know a few things about Sweden, but I am not exactly an expert. I said yes anyway, and had a lot of fun.
|My fairly thick (and very Japanese) script/breifing|
After having said yes, they e-mailed me some questions like: "Do you know what 'tjockbullar' is?" (Yes, but I only learned that after coming to Sapporo; it is a type of bread which is locally famous in a very small locale that happens to be the sister city of the Sweden Hills place just outside of Sapporo, which makes everyone in Sapporo think that every little weird custom in that village is representative of Sweden in general), or like "Do you pronounce 'messmör' as メススマール or メススメール?" (No.)
I had to get up really early this morning, and there was makeup and rehearsals and whatnot to be done before actually going live. That there was a rehearsal was good for me. Then I got to see what I was supposed to do etc. so I would not make a complete fool of myself on live TV.
|Me and two of the regular staff when I was leaving|
The show is called "Saa Talk da yo (さぁ。トークだよ)" and today three of the four regulars appeared: Kan Kato, Noriko Nomiya, and Nami Sakaki. Then there was me, sitting in the middle. Today the theme was Sweden and Swedish things, related to the Sweden Hills golf club having built something they call the Ice Hills Hotel. This is inspired or connected to the Ice Hotel in Sweden, which is the oldest, biggest, most beautiful etc. ice hotel.
|I had my own room|
The show mixed pre-recorded things were Kan Kato visited Sweden Hills and tried getting into a sleeping bag on top of a bed made of ice (inside a building made of ice) and visited the Swedish Centre they have there that sells traditional Swedish crafts and bakes Swedish bread etc. From time to time they would ask me to comment on things, such as "Do you have a Dalahäst at home?" (My parents do) or "Do you like messmör?" (Not really, which they thought was very funny).
I wore a t-shirt that says: "I am not Japanese" in English and in Japanese, which they thought was funny. They also laughed at me when I rode a bicycle to the university when leaving the studio after the program was finished.
|My enormous changing room|
Things that I thought were funny include:
* I got lots of e-mails during the show. Mostly people saying: "You are on TV!". Which I already knew, since it was live.
* There were e-mails and faxes from viewers that they read during the show. They got lots more than normal they said, so they could not read even close to all of them, but the first message they read was interesting. I was listening to this for the first time during the live broadcast, and while hearing it thought: "Wait? This sounds familiar?" The longer they went on, the more details fit perfectly with one of my friends who visited Sweden together with me. Down to details like: "I thought it was nice, but there were also things like some completely insane people swimming in the ocean despite normal people wearing long sleeved shirts" (That was me and my mom...). I was not sure if it would be appropriate for me to say: "I know this person!" so I did not know how to react, haha.
* My friend in the message above said something along the lines of: "It was so nice I want to stay there longer and would even be willing to marry someone from Sweden just so I could stay there", which the female commentators thought was very funny and they immediately turned to me and asked if I was married. I said I am not. They kept talking about that during the commercial breaks etc. later too, haha.
* The female commentators asked me how you say "I love you" in Swedish. I said "Jag älskar dig" and the younger one said: "Say it again", several times, and then always looked away and laughed nervously. She even said it as I was leaving the studio to go back to work.
In the show we talked about the Swedish Ice Hotel, the popular Swedish souvenir "Dalahäst" (especially appropriate now that it is the year of the horse here in Japan), Swedish food like Jansson's Frestelse, messmör, and tjockbullar (which none of my Swedish friends nor relatives have heard of, since it seems to be a very local thing). There was even a chance to try some food. The bread was very nice.
|Me, in the small frame trying to look interested|
In Japan, they do this thing were they show a small frame with one of the studio people while they show other clips (the on location clips in Sweden Hills etc.). I had no idea what to do when it was my face in that frame, and they always put me there first, so I could not even look at what the others were doing and try to mimic them, haha. I tried to look amused when they were trying to be funny, or to look like: "Yeah, I know this because I am from Sweden". That apparently did not work that well, my friends told me later, haha.
I had a good time, and I do not think I made too much a fool of myself. I was quite nervous though, and did not really know when I could jump in and say things and what type of jokes would be appropriate. If I was more used to these kinds of things, I could have been much funnier, I believe. Anyway, I am quite happy with my third TV appearance (I once taught historical fencing/martial arts on Swedish TV, and once taught magic to a Japanese celebrity on Japanese TV).