A non-appearance (phone only) appearance on Channel News Asia.
Monday's collapse of service on Tobu Railways's Nikko Line (memo to me: I think* Tobu Railways is an absolutely terrible company) left me far from my computer and Skype, with the battery on my phone at near empty.
With the recording window immanent, I stepped off the train at X Station, went to the local Major International Coffee House Chain outlet, bought a mug of coffee, plugged in my near dead phone into one of the complimentary electrical outlets and asked to talk to the manager.
Manager Y was a magnificently self possessed young woman, who at no point seemed fazed by a crazed, backpack-toting hiker babbling about doing a smartphone Skype broadcast from her store. She had me explain twice what I wanted to try to do, told me that company policy allows no video recording without explicit permission from headquarters -- so a Skype call with video was a no-no -- but if I wanted to talk on the phone to a international television network about South Korea-Japan relations in the 50th anniversary year of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, sure, she would be happy to turn down the volume of the music in the packed store for the quarter-to-half an hour I might be talking to the host in Singapore.
Which is what she did.
Thanks also to the network, for their flexibility, patience and professionalism. The staff improvised, pulling down from the Web the picture of me from almost a decade ago and pasting it to a photo of Mt. Fuji with cherry blossoms (full disclosure: I am not a big sakura fan) to make up for the lack of a Skype video feed.
Please check out the result.
* My friends with legal backgrounds have explained to me that sticking a superfluous "I think" in front of a statement makes it an opinion and thus not legally actionable. Not having the "I think" (it is my blog, who else would be doing the thinking?) could be considered either slander or libel.