June 23. Too many things happened to fit in one post – I’ll never be able to narrow it down to one picture or video.
I started the morning by taking the Bullet Train from Fukuoka to Okayama. We visited Uchiyama Kindregarten. Uchiyama Kindergarten is where Japan keeps the cutest kids on the planet. About 70 or so children gathered in their auditorium/gym to ask some questions about our movie and what we do for a living. Then everyone split into four groups to paint some large dragons. We were supposed to talk to the kids as they worked, but Dean and just I ended up painting with them. After the painting they made a giant circle and did a bit of dancing before we had to leave.
We had lunch in an italian restaurant across from a real palace. Dean and I were told that this town was famous for a legend about a boy who was born out of a peach, and went on to defeat demons. As we left the restaurant I noticed that an illustration of the boy from the legend was molded into the manhole cover in the street. At least I’m pretty sure that’s who it is.
Then we drove to a TV station for a live TV appearance. When we arrived I immediately became distracted by what seemed to be the station’s mascot – a little animal named OHK. It’s pronounced OH-koo. He wears a black cap that covers his ears, and orange pants. I immediately focused all my attention on him. I helpfully identified every OHK I saw as we walked through the building, waving at plush OHK I saw in offices and poking at the eyes of the ones printed on posters. I asked if he was working there somewhere, and if I could meet him. It didn’t take long before they dug up some OHK stickers and a OHK file folders for Dean and I. They even had a little rubber stamp they had made with OHK’s autograph, which they stamped a business card with. This made me extremely happy, and I was buzzing with joy when we went on the TV show. Dean and I each drew Toothless for the hosts as we answered questions. Dean drew Toothless’ head, and I drew Toothless sitting on a lawn next to OHK with a big shiny heart floating between them. I think the show went well, and everyone seemed enthusiastic about the accuracy of my OHK drawing. When we got back to the green room I couldn’t believe my eyes….”
OHK!!!!!!! He was there! The real actual OHK! There he was in his orange pants, waiting for me! I ran to him and asked him many questions. They showed him my drawing and he threw up his tiny, perfect white paws in exclamation. I didn’t have my camera handy, so Dean shot a few pictures with his cel phone. I’ll get hold of them and post them later. Alas, I couldn’t stay with OHK as long as I wanted (he has many responsibilities) so we bid him farewell and moved on to our next appointment.