Tokyo Tower: Chapter 3 Part 2
Tokyo Tower ~Me & My Radio, & sometimes My Mom~
(A semi-autobiography by Fukuyama Masaharu)
Continued from here.
Just when I was resigned to spending the rest of my life at the lumber factory, the factory’s ex-Enka singer Nakanishi-san’s words woke me up - “I’ve got to do something!”
Looking at how my friend got scouted in Tokyo: “Do you want to be an actor?”, then: “I paid ¥300,000 and they want me to be a nightclub host!”….., this belief became stronger and stronger -
“I definitely must get something done!”.
In Tokyo, his looks were acknowledged, and I did not get any such recognition. But finally, giving me a good push on the back, was the TV idol show “Bishoujo Gakuen”.
My gullible friend took the audition photograph for me and I was finally able to enter the “Amuse 10 Movie Auditions”. We did not have the money to install a telephone at home, and of course no mobile phones, so Amuse could only contact me by mail c/o my landlord. A few days later, my landlord handed me the ‘acceptance notice’. I could go forth to the auditions.
Feeling a bit nervous, I reached Victor Studios. First, to fill in the forms, there was a section called ‘Talent’. Not knowing any special skills, I put in “Carrying Wood”. I was confident of that. It was the truth.
So, with my specialty “Talent: Carrying Wood”, I came before the interviewer. Ichige-san from Amuse (市毛さん - his first producer, now Amuse corporate director) said, “You’re Fukuyama-san, yes? In the ‘Talent’ section, you filled in ‘Carrying Wood’. Why?”
With my hands on my hips, I faced the interviewer like I was picking a fight, “That’s it. Carrying wood. That’s what I do now.” And without thinking, I added “What’s wrong with that?!” This was the attitude I used back at her.
“Amuse 10 Movie Auditions” was Amuse’s 10th anniversary celebration event. To shoot 10 movies, they needed to enlist actors for the auditions. Those who came were mostly kids younger than me. The fact that I was probably the oldest one there, gave me a bit of a blow. Tonesaku Toshihide (東根作寿英) of “Seibyou Sensei (?)” (性病先生) also took part in these auditions.
Not only were they young, but kawaii as well. These young and lovable boys, seeing some of them practice with their soccer ball, even I couldn’t help saying things like, “This kid is so kawaii~~”. They all looked so fresh and lively.
As for me, all I could do was “carry wood”. So I just picked up the guitar that I bought in Nagasaki, from the money I earned washing dishes, and then started to play. But then, among the fresh and lively kids, this person who sang Shigeru Izumiya-san’s “Haru Natsu Aki Fuyu”* (泉谷しげるさん “春夏秋冬” The Four Seasons), must have stood out as a result. (* 1972 old song)
季節のない街に生 Born in a city with no seasons
風のない丘に育ち Growing up in the mountains with no wind
夢のない家を出て Coming from a home with no dreams
愛のない人にあう Meeting a person with no love
人のためによかれと思い For the good of others
西から東へかけずりまわる I rush about from west to east
やっとみつけたやさしさは’ And the kindness I finally see
いともたやすく しなびた Too easily withered away
春をながめる余裕もなく I have no leisure to look at the Spring
夏をのりきる力もなく I have no energy to get through the Summer
秋の枯葉に身をつつみ My body is covered by the dried leaves of Autumn
冬に骨身をさらけ出す My bones and flesh are exposed in the Winter
今日ですべてが終るさ Everything ended today
今日ですべてが変る Everything changed today
今日ですべてがむくわれる Everything was destroyed today
今日ですべてが始まるさ Everything starts today
泉谷しげる “春夏秋冬” Shigeru Izumiya “Haru Natsu Aki Fuyu”
My gloomy rendition on the guitar seemed to have left a different impression on the interviewer. Of the people who came for the audition, some worked in theatrical groups; some were going to acting class. Among these young people, I was an outsider who had never acted before. I stood at the side, looking at their performances and thought, “There is no way I can do better than them…”
I had only played in a band that did cover songs and all I felt was, “Oh no, this is it.” Although I had some experience in saying lines, what was sure in the audition was that I could not have said them well.
After that day, I was called in for a few more rounds of audition. Wood; guitar….I’ve repeatedly performed, gradually I started feeling there was no end to it all. “How long is this going to carry on for?” I started to feel dubious. Finally, we received notice that “the next round will be the final selection.”
The final round should be held on a Sunday. I waited and waited, but didn’t get the notification letter. Usually, they would contact me by Wednesday.
Thursday, no news.
Friday, no news.
Saturday, no news.
I thought, “So I didn’t make it,” but still I called the office to confirm. “Oh, we wouldn’t know if you had passed the audition or not, from our side,” came the offhand answer. As expected, I didn’t make it after all. Full of disappointment, chagrin and fury, with no outlet, I felt dismayed and ready to give up.
So, on the Sunday of the final round, to stop myself from feeling too depressed, I took a ride on my motorbike which I had bought for ¥90,000 some time before. I was on Highway 16, going in the direction of Ome (青梅), when ……
“BUOooong” with a boom, my exhaust muffler fell off. Leaving me and my bike right in the middle of Highway 16.
“Oh no!” I dumped the muffler in the back of the bike, in any case, I had to turn back home now.
So with this and that, I was in the carpark in front of home, fixing my muffler when, right at that time…….
“Excuse me! Telegram!”
Out of the blue, a telegram arrived. The recipient was 「フクヤママサハル」 (Fukuyama Masaharu). I opened it, “Please contact us immediately”, it said. I hurried over to make the call. The sender was apparently an Amuse staff from the audition venue. She was shouting at me, “What on earth are you doing? You’ve passed the previous round! Why didn’t you come? Get over here, now! Quick!”
The auditions usually started around 8am or 9am. I looked at my watch. It was well after noon. From my home in Akishima (昭島), it would take at least 1½ hours to reach the audition venue.
“I’m sorry, even if I leave now, it’ll probably be after 3pm when I reach there.”
“It doesn’t matter! Just come!”
Well, since they say so, I made my way over.
If my exhaust muffler hadn’t fallen off outside the Yokota Air Base on Highway 16, I would have driven all the way to Ome as I wanted to stop myself from thinking about the auditions. I would never have known about passing, nor of the telegram. Thank goodness for my busted muffler!
Of course the auditions were well over by the time I reach the venue. I just thought that even if they kept asking me to come, I couldn’t have made it anyway. I felt that I was taken for the fool, to have rushed all the way over and find that it’s ended. I was sulking as I went before the interviewer.
“Well, please sing something then,” the interviewer said.
I started losing my temper when I heard that. The others must have done their fresh and lively dances or something, and I have to sing and play by myself again. They call me to rush over and then ask me to sing immediately, how unreasonable was that? I suppressed my bubbling rage and sang “Haru Natsu Aki Fuyu” for the interviewer again. After that, he told me, “We’ll get the results soon. Please wait here for a while.”
I don’t know why, but I “passed” the audition. Then, Amuse Chairman Osato Youkichi spoke to each of the candidates who passed.
When he came in front of me, he burst out, “Oh, is that you? The ruffian from Shinjuku.”
“Eh? (You got it all wrong…….I worked in a pizza place….)”
“Yes, yes, I can tell just by your looks~~”
“What……(This person doesn’t listen to others at all….)”
And so, I successfully passed the “Amuse 10 Movie Auditions”. Under the leadership of the Chairman who doesn’t listen to others, what would happen to me? I could not see the way at all.
~End of Chapter 3~
Tokyo Tower Series
Chapter 1 (I / II) ………. Chapter 4 (I / II) ………. Childhood Chapter
Chapter 2 (I / II) ………. Chapter 5 / 6 / 7 ………..Mother’s Day Chapter
Chapter 3 (I / II) ………. Final Chapter (I / II)
Translated from Fukuyama Honne (Articles 408, 409 & 410)
Original posted on ANN TamaRadi blog 2007.03.28 written by Fukuyama Masaharu
Lyrics of the song have been translated very loosely from the original post. Please let me know of any mistakes!
This English translation was first posted on MashaPlus [dot] Info Forums. (Registration required to enter.)