Give me your boss!!!
And here you are my third, and short, report from my third journey to the Land of the Rising Sun for the WCS 2007.
Thanks to Japan Airlines, much of my free time, which I would have rather spent in much funnier activities, was absorbed by the search for the lost baggage, and so my report will be much shorter ^_^
Tell me, dude
The journey doesn't start well, since our 5000 euro in yen are hidden somewhere in an undisclosed branch of Banca Agricola Mantovana somewhere in Triveneto, where, thanks to my brother-in-law Giovanni we can have a good exchange ratio.
Robbberto gets to my place right on time, and just after lunch the good news arrive: the money has arrived... but it's on the other side of the province of Verona.
From here our hero starts an incredible rush armed with his trusty satellite navigator, to reach San Bonifacio and to get back in time with the money (the truth is that just outside the highway my navigator pushed the eject button telling me to handle it on my own and laughing out loud, but this is a different story – Robbberto's note).
Obviously enough during the trip towards Milano we realize we forgot the following:
Robbberto's beauty case containing among other things razor, comb, shaving foam; Badtz Maru's carrying case; my cellular's recharger; Fujiko's gun.
Everything as planned, after all at that time I couldn't know that the worst loss would have taken place a few hours later.
At the airport the [...]
- check-in clerk of Alitalia teases us with a indecent proposal which I accept only when so pushed by my travel mate.
We are asked to board the 18:30 flight instead of the 19:00 because the latter might be in overbooking: and so our baggage is labeled to the final destination (Narita NRT), while we should have checked in a second time.
Not bad, we think, we will have more time to eat something before the next 12 hours during which I will be forced to eat nothing, but I couldn't help being worried seeing the label “stand-by” stuck on my luggage while it gets swallowed by the conveyor belt. I would have discovered later that I was right to be worried. I wished I had put a giant label on it saying “I'm going to Tokyo”.
Both in Linate and in Rome the check-in clerks swear to God that they personally checked the real position of our luggage and that we can sleep without any worries.
I don't know why, but I felt it.
When at Fiumicino the transit from one flight to the other gives some orientation trouble among the many terminals, so we decide to ask a nice clerk for help who, when asked “excuse me...” [...]
- answered “tell me, dude”.
Maybe it's just the Roman spirit within Robbberto that even after having lived for 15 years in Milano suggests his counterpart that he's playing on the home ground.
For the first time I board a JAL flight and as a counterweight of the bad seats we got during the previous flights to Mexico, we get the seats in the back side of the B747-400, where the tail gets narrower and the seat rows are constrained to two wider and more comfortable seats per row instead of three.
Since I slept for most of the flight I haven't much to add but the following:
why would you offer a movie in Portoguese, French, Spanish and German on a Japanese flight leaving from Italy?
I'm glad of my idea of the preemptive dinner, the food was impossible to eat, but not for “goodmouth” Robbberto, a man possessing an indiscriminate pit (my hunger precedes me... it's not a coincidence if the final technique of the gold saint of my sign is a black hole – Robbberto's note).
The queue at passport checks seems endless and those signs saying “from here 30 minutes” just like you'd expect [...]
- to find in an amusement park, don't solve the situation, one more reason, if we needed more, to avoid future night flights.
Quite tired (see picture) we head towards the baggage claim to find a not reassuring sign saying “Mr. Corsaro please contact JAL staff”; I'm not Sherlock Holmes but since Robbberto's baggage was there on the side of the sign, it was simple enough to realize why the sign was there.
I wish to add “I told you” (the truth is that I wasn't worried and my baggage was there, while, by worrying, you filled yours of negative aura so it was just a consequence that they forgot to board it – Robbberto's note).
We fill in the relevant forms with the promise (and hope) that the luggage gets delivered to us on the next day at the front desk of the Sunshine Hotel.
It's easy to realize that as a real woman, when I travel I carry with me a trolley full of shoes and that it isn't of any help for clothes change and the various make up.
And so I'll be forced to wash immediately my undies and dry them using an hairdryer, while my mate laugh (bitch!) and I wander the room without [...]
- underpants and wearing a towel around my head just like a turban that would turn off anyone, and a striped old fashioned dressing gown that looks like it just came out of the Doctor Gibaud's catalogue.
But not before having had a lunch at a traditional restaurant where we ate care rice and having had our first blister playing Taiko No Tatsujin on the notes of Zankokuna Tenshi No These (Evangelion's OP) and Cha La Head Cha La (Dragon Ball Z's OP).
On the way back to the hotel, at the magical traffic light we happen to meet Kyle, the admin of cosplay.com, and G-chan, while they are having a cup of ramen at a street booth.
Yes, it's true, Tokyo is a small town where everybody knows each other :D
Just a fast note: we went to a book store which was called, without much fantasy, Libro (Book in Italian) where, incredible to say, I found the latest issue of Cosmode! In Italy book stores don't even have comics and in Japan they even have the niche products.
Listen to me, Madame...
Phone calls to JAL get more and more frequent, frequent enough to have the clerk know who we are without saying the reference number: they know us by our voice.
And we face, once more, if we needed that, the fact that Japanese people don't speak English: it's a disaster.
And don't let me tell you of what happens in Italy.
Thanks to my sister's and the Verona airport's manager's help, telex and more telex are sent to Alitalia, which, on those very same days, is on every newspaper due to the same trouble they are causing to thousands of passengers.
The situation makes my mood awful, not only because I hate not having my clothes and the rest of my belongings with me, but because the idea that I won't get the luggage in time for the Osu Parade and for the WCS final is getting stronger and stronger and I don't like it.
Luckily there are Max and Emanuela, who lends me an over sized Naruto's t-shirt (nerd 100%) and together we mess around, meeting some nice person.
Like the old man in the subway who tried to pick me up, while they, bitches, laughed sitting on the other side of the train.
Among the [...]
- new arrivals of the otaku shops in Tokyo, I wish to mention some incredible gashapon which I would define as “extreme”.
Tired of producing the same old lolitas showing off round boobs and butts, Japanese invented a collection of breasts (in various shapes and colors) and hips in various versions (with tanga, Brazilian wire or traditional slip) to be sold directly as they are without losing time and worthy plastic on useless parts like heads or arms.
After last year's collectible WCs, I thought we touched the bottom line, but I will never learn that we can always start digging.
It is the big day of Osu Parade.
Feeling guilty due to some sort of patriotic feeling, the WCS staff ask me if I want to lead the parade, carrying the glorious sign WORLD COSPLAY SUMMIT, even if I have no costume to wear.
And so here I am, suddenly leading hundreds of cosplayers walking around Osu just like the two previous years, always with the same hot temperature, but having the chance to chat for a while with friend near and far.
Yes, because the meeting with Ryuki, grandma Betty and Acchan on the other side of the world has a special taste to it, just like meeting our Mexican friends (mainly Paula Marmota and Mario Bodegas) in this totally unexpected context.
Maria and Verena keep high the honor of the Italian cosplay, sporting two really kawaii clamp-designed costumes, but an unexpected shower puts an early end to the parade, forcing everyone to rush for cover.
We find shelter in the galleries, sitting in a the house, under the other customers' eager eyes. ^_^
In the end I give up...
In the end I give up.
I'm in Japan and I can't just stand there like a statue and watch the others having fun while I breed revenge against JAL, that meanwhile don't know what to say to justify the unforgivable delay.
In a cospa shop I invest in the cheapest costume I find: Simca from Air Gear.
I grab eye lenses and wig from Maple Wigs and here I am, I too have a costume for the grand finale.
The idea that Monkey Punch won't be able to see me in my Fujiko outfit is disturbing, but having had the chance to meet him and giving him a couple of pictures of me in that very same outfit, taking one more with him, is pleasing nevertheless.
It might have been due to xenophilia or for the Japanese passion for bloomers, but the Simca cosplay draws towards me an incredible crowd of photographers and cosplayers (among whom there were a lot of girls!!!! *_*), who, shouting “kawaii”, “cute” or “sexy”, want to take some pictures with me, bowing and smiling a lot.
The sad thing is that the happiness of these moments is undermined by the fact that for a sudden distraction my wallet lifts off.
Honestly I'm not even so upset.
There was the equivalent of 150 euro in yen inside it, but at least documents and credit card were safe at the hotel.
My zen training is almost complete.
Despite this, one of my N°1 fans struggles a lot by filing the report of the loss to the local police and nearly starts crying, begging me to accept his money for the incident.
I reassure him by saying that it doesn't matter, but I fear he plans suicide ;_;
The WCS competition goes on in the most classical way, with costumes and performances almost always very good.
This time, the singing guest is an old friend of us, who we had already met at the Japan Expo in Paris: the good old Ichiro Mizuki, between a hair teasing and a retouch to his make up, doesn't dislike a duet with his Italian friends. ^_^
Just a note: look at the picture of Manu and Toru Furuya... I don't know who had the most make up, but while she looks fine, he looks like he's made of plastic *_*
In the remaining days we dedicate entirely to some healthy and tiring shopping around Akihabara, Shinjuku, Harajuku and so on.
Obviously we don't miss our usual evening at the karaoke, something we can't do without!
These are quiet days, during which the tensions loosen; in the end my luggage reaches me, which gives me some trouble for the weight allowance I have for the return flight, since in the previous days I had to buy something to survive and to change clothes...
I haven't much to add, but I will tell you something about the famous magic traffic light, the one where we used to meet at night, at about 2am for a cup of hot ramen, teased by the slow rhythm of the few cars passing by, that suddenly became even pleasing, sitting at a mobile booth.
The old teethless and happy man running it looked like he just came out from Ashita no Joe.
He immediately liked us, and while Rob chatted a little with him (hearing that he looked like Ma-su-to-ryan-ni san) I looked amused the Naruto (or Naruto san) he sliced fast. He was sure I liked them much so he always filled my cup!
This old man was so tender drawing his booth in his 70s [...]
- to the crossing and running it from 10pm to 4am as a job. Who knows, maybe to raise money for his ill wife (yes, we had a lot of fantasies about him ^_^).
The last night he wasn't there, he wasn't feeling very well, so we left his son a bottle of red wine we had brought from Italy.
Who knows if he liked it...