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Table of Contents:

1. Background
2. Design of Toilets
3. Composting
4. Construction -- Base & Vaults
5. Construction--Pad Fabrication
6. Construction--Superstructure
7. Finished!
8. Monitoring & Evaluation
9. EcoSan Resources


Japan Journal
Getting Started in Showbiz in Tokyo
by Dave Bockmann
North American Post Tokyo

Getting a start in show business in Japan isn’t difficult, but making a success of it requires hard work, dedication and "a look."

The IMO Talent Agency of Tokyo has about 4,000 foreigners on its list of "talents"—the term used in the film industry for actors, actresses and models. Samy Pop, an IMO talent agent says if you have a visa that allows you to work in Japan and a residency card, "you can just come in and register. When we get a call for talent, we’ll let you know." The chances of getting a call are not bad. "Maybe half get work," Pop says. "The other half they sign up, go home and don’t come back. Some get jobs everyday, some don’t."

Seattleites Jennifer Barr and Matthew Barron are among those who get jobs everyday. "It’s easy to sign up," Barr said, "but it’s what you put into it. You have to make frequent appearances at the agency and go to auditions even if you don’t think you’ll get the part. That way they’ll remember you."

Barron agrees and adds this advice, "first thing, save your money and learn Japanese. The better you can speak it the more comfortable the staff (agents and producers) get. If the staff feels they can depend on you, you’ll get lots of jobs. Don’t ever say, ‘I’m a foreigner’—try to fit into the culture."

The culture, according to Pop, means "you should be punctual. In Japan punctuality is important. And you should be respectful. If you are, it’s pretty easy to get work." Not all of Pop’s talents learn to fit in, however. "The only trouble with American guys, sometimes they think they are number one. If you’re working for a client, you should…you shouldn’t have such a big ego. Or be a know it all," he said.

And then there’s the "look." Pop says the talents most in demand are North Americans, but there are opportunities for everyone. "We can provide talents of all ages and ethnic groups," Pop said. "Of course, the client often wants a certain ‘look.’ If you look good, are handsome or look sophisticated, then you have a really good chance. Sometimes they are looking for a special person. You should have a ‘look’ or talent that is yours."

So, armed with a visa, residency card and a good attitude there’s a great chance of getting into show business in Japan. Staying in it, though, requires hard work and a willingness to put up with tough conditions. For this article, Matthew Barron was interviewed by telephone from a chilly mountainous area about an hour from Tokyo. "I had to be here at 6 a.m. and we won’t finish until midnight. Right now, we’re shooting a reenactment show. It’s hard work and we’re up in the mountains freezing our a***s off."