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TOKYO - 11 August

This is not real

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Three days later

I am writing this on the plane back to London. The trip to Tokyo (three days) has been insanely short for such a long journey, but it turned out to be fascinating, moving and educative. All three days (other than the first, lunatic day of arrival described in part one) were spent, all day, in the interview suite. I went out to eat in the evenings, disgracing myself by dropping grains of rice from my chopsticks all over the table, but otherwise was locked firmly in the discipline of interviews; the discipline of a process which, due to its inherent repetition, sometimes feels like a yoga, or perhaps a mantra, even though I try not to repeat myself, if at all possible, perhaps especially when the questions are relentlessly identical. Happily, in this case, they were not.

In the suite, looking out onto a cluster of skyscrapers, the view occasionally varied by thunderstorms and rain but mostly cloaked in a heavy, white haze of humidity, I gradually adapted to my temporary universe. This was the only corner of Tokyo I would really get to know during my trip, but it turned out to be a potent, lively and revealing corner, not least because of the graceful good manners of everyone participating. Held by the beauty of the courtesy, the conversations went deep. East West relations, bombs, cultural imperialism, Nagasaki, haiku, rhyme, dirt, micro-biology, music, and where did I buy my skirt.

There were even some photos taken for a fashion magazine (Figaro) and a style glossy – though from the politically astute quality of the questions asked I would not have guessed. The photographer, Shigeki Nakashima, from the latter, sweetly printed out some of his pictures, crouching over a small printer in the hotel corridor, and presented them to me. I liked them, which is rare, as I usually see a stranger, posing, or a wild, tired, tense and shy person pretending to be relaxed, but not the person I feel myself to be from the inside. Whoever that is.

The most noticeable characteristic of the interviews, other than the graceful courtesy displayed by everyone, was the amount of careful preparation by each journalist. Some of the questions – long, lucid – had been written out for the superb translator, Sachiko Koyama, to read aloud. The enforced pauses, due to the translation process, can be very helpful in these conversations. There is time to reflect, to think more deeply. I found I was discovering new ways of expressing ideas I have sometimes struggled with.

Christopher Sheppard, meanwhile, was out and about in the city, meeting with the Gaga marketing team, looking at a print with Japanese sub-titles, and checking out the cinema where the film will open in October.

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Figaro Photo Shoot

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Shigeki Nakashima

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Sachiko Koyama

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The poster

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Gaga marketing team

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The subtitles

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The cinema

Text © Sally Potter. All pictures © Adventure Pictures unless otherwise indicated