Hothouse goes global
The team heads to Japan for a high-profile video shoot
In general, we like to consider ourselves a cultured bunch, but recently three of our team members upped the ante. Account Director Laura Nix, Video Editor Roger Okamoto and myself—Creative Director Sarah O’Bryan—put our passports to use and headed to Tokyo, Japan for an onsite shoot. We can’t tell you who the client is or what we were filming. Just know that it’s a really big deal and you should be impressed. So how did three southerners fare in the world’s largest city? The fact that Roger speaks fluent Japanese is the only reason we didn’t end up in a Tokyo prison.
We climb aboard our Delta flight and nestle into our comfy first-class beds after being welcomed with flutes of champagne to celebrate our departure. J/K we slum it in coach. But thanks to a very active beverage cart, ZzzQuil and a generous selection of romcoms, we’re confident this 13.5-hour flight will pass quickly.
Dear God, how are we still on this plane? Have we entered into some kind of wormhole? I cannot watch anything else with Kate Hudson in it.
We finally touch down and navigate the maze of a train system to our hotel. By the time we arrive, it’s basically dinner because #timetravel. We sample our first taste of sushi and sake, and explore Kabukicho—a vibrant neighborhood that’s technically considered to be Japan’s red light district. What happens in Tokyo, stays in Tokyo.
Jet lag is bringing the crew down, but we wake long enough to review our production books and map out our route for Tuesday’s client visit a.k.a. Roger does everything, because he is a global powerhouse. We then stuff our faces with delicious bowls of ramen and decide that the only cure for our sleepiness is to put on our fanny packs and go sightseeing. We head to Asakusa, which features a vibrant market and Buddhist temple. We also pop into an actual Owl Café, where we pet lots of different animals and Laura gets pooped on by a majestic winged creature.
Time for location scouting! It’s a 15-min train ride to Shin-Kawasaki to meet our clients, who are beyond collaborative and give us full access to the campus. We identify our locations for the in-person interviews and opportunistic b-roll. Laura goes the whole day without getting pooped on by an owl, so for her, it is a true success.
We meet our Japan-based crew at 6:30 am and head to our first location. The day consists of 4 on-camera interviews, so I get to play Barbara Walters, minus the lisp. Our schedule is back-to-back with no room for error, so we have just enough time to scarf down a rice ball and 3.5 packets of mini cashews during our transition to the second location. After a 12-hour day, we zombie-walk to the train and catch happy hour at the hotel. Reenergized by alcohol, Roger finds us a basement Izakaya for dinner and we flood our Instas with super annoying food porn.
Day #2 of the shoot consists of capturing beaucoup de b-roll. Plus, we have a drone! The drone operator wears a sweet neon orange vest, making the entire Hothouse team question their own fashion choices. All in all between our two shoot days, we capture 15 hours of footage that Roger will edit into a pictorial delight. Despite our promises that we will “rage” that night, we’re so exhausted that everyone is in bed by 10 pm.
We wake to news that North Korea wants to sink Japan into the sea, which is totes comforting when you are IN JAPAN. To distract ourselves, we decide to maximize our one full day of being tourists and head to Kamakura, a seaside city filled with dozens of temples and shrines. We get our Buddha on and do some shopping. Can you bring back a samurai sword through customs? Only time will tell.
Sushi for breakfast? Yes, please. We arrive at the infamous Tsukiji fish market at 6 am. It’s sensory overload with vendors yelling, fragrant spices and oh yeah, lots of dead fish. We snuggle up to a food stall and watch as the fatty tuna is sliced to order. It doesn’t get any fresher than that, folks. After inhaling our sashimi bowls, it’s time for the trio to say goodbye. Roger catches a train with plans to stay on another week to visit family. Laura and I head to the airport for a reunion with the beverage cart, Zzzquil and of course, Kate Hudson.
Wait, we leave on Saturday and arrive on Saturday? International Date Line, suckaaaas. Laura and I stride into Customs like we own the place, because we’re global travelers now, y’all. Our passports are promptly seized because of some “misunderstanding” about the “duty free” nature of the “8 bottles of sake” we purchased. But all ends well and we head to our respective homes feeling tired, but thankful to have had one of the best trips of our lives.