“My name is Angela and I have 2 cats.”
Since March I have appeared on 5 episodes of the long-running television show called “Cool Japan” that is broadcast on NHK’s BS1 channel, as well as on their global broadcast called NHK World.
Today I got my first message from a viewer through my blog (thank you for writing, Ich!), and it dawned on me that I should probably post about my experience on the show.
Whenever people find out that I have appeared on the program they always ask me how I got on the show, what it’s like, etc. so, there’s the scoop on it.
I started watching the program when we moved to Japan in November 2013. I enjoyed the show, and watched it almost every week.
Then in June 2014 I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and during my “surgery summer” I was home recovering, which meant I was able to watch every episode of the show.
During this time I also spent a lot of time online researching and happened to check out the Cool Japan website on NHK. At the very bottom of the site there was a button mentioning they were accepting new cast members, so I thought.. “what do I have to lose?” and I applied sometime in July 2014.
A few months went by without hearing anything. Then around September I got an email asking me to come for an audition. Of course I said yes. The only problem was that I was in Hawaii receiving cancer treatment and would likely not make it back to Japan in time for the audition. I said yes, anyway. I convinced my doctors to let me fly home maybe 2-3 days before my big audition.
I was jet lagged and filled with a low level of radiation. My hair was falling out and I was exhausted. But I made the trip to Roppongi from my city and auditioned. It was awful. The asked me to tell them about myself. I had not been asked that question since being diagnosed with cancer. I stuttered. I said “My name is Angela and I like cats.” I didn’t say where I was from, that I worked for Dell (at the time), that I was married, that I had a master’s degree…none of it. They looked at me like I was nuts.
It was a group audition with 3 other foreigners in my group. They were very genki and from big metropolitan cities. I was sick and was from a small southern state in America. The audition topic was about night life. In my state nightlife consists of clubbing (which I don’t do), and going to the 24-hour Wal-Mart. We don’t really have anything else that’s open 24 hours, so I had very little to contribute to the conversation.
After the audition I was pulled aside and asked some questions about gachapon machines, but I didn’t feel it was a good audition at all. I was so sick, so I don’t remember much else about it at all.
A few more months passed-I assumed I made a fool of myself and would never hear from them again. I was so surprised when I received an invitation in February to appear as a panelist on the topic of Kawaii 2015 that would tape in March. I went. I talked. I had a blast.
It was so much fun! I couldn’t believe that I was sitting just a few feet away from people I watched on television every week. It was surreal and I turned into a fangirl for a moment.
Then I taped the other episodes I mentioned earlier.
For those interested, my episodes so far have been:
It’s been a really fun and exciting summer, and I’ve really appreciated the opportunity to work on the show. I’m not sure if I’ll be asked back in the future, but I will always cherish my memories and experiences from the episodes I’ve done so far! I’m feeling better each passing month, and I think that being on the show and making people laugh has helped me in my cancer recovery.
If you’ve stumbled upon my blog because you saw me on the show, thank you for watching. I hope you enjoyed watching the episodes!