I’m less of a geek than I used to be. I haven’t watched anime much this year, I don’t have a Cylon toaster (but I’d really really love one), I’ve only mentioned the Chris Benoit conspiracy three times in the last six months and I haven’t even joined in the hilarious harassment of the Scifi Channel on Facebook. Nevertheless, I am occasionally reminded that I am still somewhat of a freak, even in Japan. Our welcome party for new ALTs was one such occasion.
We had fifty attendees for the party, so a beer garden was the only viable budget option. We ended up on the roof of a department store. We had been told that the entry price included live entertainment, and the website featured pictures of Hula dancers. As it turned out, the entertainment for the night we were there was a band in cosplay performing anime theme songs. Not many… they played the same set twice. I am pretty sure I recognised the guitarist from the local rockabilly nightclub, so my guess is that the cosplay band is a fun side project and not taken too seriously. The first song they played was “My Boyfriend is a Pilot” from Macross. Ahh, the memories. Macross was the first anime I ever saw. It was on TV in Australia (well, butchered into a version relabelled Robotec) in about 1995 and unusually for my family circumstances I was actually allowed to watch it. It left an indelible mark in my aesthetic sensibilities. The vocalist called out to the crowd to name the song. After a long an awkward silence someone offered an incorrect guess. The nostalgia coupled with the amount of alcohol I had already consumed led to me eventually jumping up, running to the stage and yelling the correct answer. In the interval the vocalist came over for a chat and, showing off far more than is excusable in polite society, I sang the theme song of the character she was cosplaying. After that all throughout the second set (which was actually just the first set repeated) she kept trying to get the rest of the crowd to identify songs, saying “come on Japan! How come the foreigners know more about anime than you?” then giving up, pointing the mike to our section and invariably we would all shout out the correct answer. Perhaps never before having had such an enthusiastic audience, she invited us to stand in front of the stage, where in true drunk gaijin fashion we started a mosh pit and the other nerds and I joined in loudly on all the choruses. At the end of this quite enjoyable evening I turned to leave and saw that an entire section of the Board of Education (my employer) had come in for their own party and had witnessed all of the frivolity. Fortunately they seemed to think that it was hilarious.