top of page
Mac's Script (unedited)
[PASSPORT STAMPS FAST CUT]
Once you visit 108 countries and all 7 continents…
[Fast cut of accommodation, money in any currencies, sex?, people enjoying local festivals around the world]
You learn one overriding lesson
Everyone wants the same things
My name is Makarim Salman.
The name ‘Makarim’ means honourable.
[JUXTAPOSE WITH JAPANESE HONOUR CLICHES EG https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_and_Honor_(2006_film)]
Everyone calls me Mac.
Nominally, this is the story of how a British guy became a tour guide in Tokyo.
But it’s also a tale of influence and connection across time and culture.
[DOCTOR WHO THEME CUT]
Actually, why don’t you decide what it’s about.
If it’s about anything at all.
When I was 16 some friends and I would go to a pub, the Mount Radford in Exeter, to watch Premiership games on Sky.
On one such Monday a fellow patron started hurling abuse at me.
On the drive home I asked my friend Chris if I looked different. If people could tell that I wasn’t white.
Although I’d endured a lot of racism growing up, it was always from kids at school or neighbours. I had to confront the fact that for the rest of my life I LOOKED DIFFERENT
“Tokyo is the World’s Greatest Metropolis”
- Mac (that’s third person me!)
1 June 2002
I arrive in Japan to spend 17 days in the country following England around during the World Cup.
I emerge from Ikebukero Station South Exit. I look around, turn to my friend and say “One day I am going to live here”
1590 - Tenshō 18
The imperial regent Toyotomi Hideyoshi offers to transfer Tokugawa Ieyasu, his biggest rival, to some newly acquired provinces in East Japan in return for Tokugawa’s provinces west of Hakone.
I imagine Tokugawa visiting Edo to decide whether he should accept the offer. I picture him standing outside Edo Castle and thinking “Someday this will be the capital of Japan”
“Someday this will be the World’s Greatest Metropolis”
[GROWTH OF TOKYO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RB9oxVtzB1Q]
29 November 2020
You emerge from a building in Koganecho, Yokohama having watched Gan SiongKing’s film ‘The Koganecho Gesture’
You are inspired.
Inspired by the power of non-linear storytelling.
Inspired by the narrative, and lack of it.
11 February 2017
Launching the website for your new tour business, Maction Planet.
You want a presence on every social media platform, including YouTube.
You make your first video, a two minute short featuring OSka the Stilt-Walker.
[Some cuts from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuaR94_fD9c]
How much do I love art? Here’s an example.
When I was in working in the finance industry, I used to travel around the world in 16 days.
I would squeeze something memorable around meetings, like a visit to an art museum. Here’s what I visited art-wise on a 16-day round the world business trip in November 2015.
[FAST CUT OF PHOTOS OF ALL THESE MUSEUMS AND EXHIBITION POSTERS]
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
Museum Of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen
ARKEN Museum for Moderne Kunst, Copenhagen
Tate Modern, London
Musée De L’Organerie, Paris
Musée D’Orsay, Paris
Musée Picasso, Paris
Centre Pompidou: Paris
Rodin Museum, Paris
Gerda Wegener - ARKEN Museum for Moderne Kunst, Copenhagen
Bjorn Wiinblad - ARKEN Museum for Moderne Kunst, Copenhagen
Goya: The Portraits - National Gallery, London
Giacometti: Pure Presence - National Portrait Gallery, London
Alexander Calder: Performing Sculpture - Tate Modern, London
Ai Weiwei - Royal Academy of Art, London
Picasso!: L’Exposition Anniversaire: Musée Picasso, Paris
Karel Appel: Works on Paper - Centre Pompidou: Paris
A Brief History of the Future - Louvre, Paris
Splendour and Misery: Pictures of Prostitution, 1850-1910 - Musée D’Orsay, Paris
Who’s Afraid of Women Photographers - Musée De L’Organerie, Paris (Part 1) and Musée D’Orsay, Paris (Part 2)
Rodin: The Laboratory of Creation - Rodin Museum, Paris
Conventions and Events:
Thought Bubble Comic Con, the Leeds Comic Art Festival, Leeds
The Shop and Suckadelic: Toy Lords of Chinatown – The Standard Hotel, New York
The Quin - Art Hotel, New York
Despite that, sometimes I have not connected with video art and installations as much as I feel I should.
It was a pleasant surprise to be so affected by Gan’s work at Koganecho Gesture.
Yves Klein changes my life.
I’m 11 years old and I go to Paris for the first time on a school trip.
We visit the Centre Pompidou.
“If a man can become famous selling blue panels, I can do anything”
- Mac to his teachers, October 1989
I can even move to the other side of the world.
[Snippet of Tokyo I’m on my Way by PUFFY]
Thursday 3 August 2006
You say goodbye to your mother and sister at London Heathrow airport and board a plane to change your life.
FRIDAY 4 AUGUST 2006:
HIGH TEMP: 32.3C
HIGH HUMIDITY: 78%
Have you made a mistake?
[Fast cut of press cutting of video footage of issues]
- Japanese single mothers have the highest poverty rate (51%) and the highest labor force participation rate (85%) among OECD countries (OECD 2013)
- Fukushima disaster
- Mori and sexism [https://www.reuters.com/article/us-olympics-2020-mori-idUSKBN2AC03Y]
You start work in the insurance industry in Tokyo because you are a qualified actuary.
Being bullied for being good at maths has paid off.
Batman is driven by never losing control
I own thousands of Batman comics
Being in control
Not beholden to anything
To decisions made by your parents.
To nationality, ethnicity, cultural background.
“Find fault with thyself rather than with others”
You move from insurance to investment banking. 9 years working as an Equity Analyst.
I analyse Japanese financial companies and tell investors to buy or sel.
Banks issue reports and hope they get paid for them.
It’s a strange business.
It’s rather like the art world. You create something and hope someone pays you for it.
"In a very real sense, we are all aliens on a strange planet. We spend most of our lives reaching out and trying to communicate. If you're in our whole lifetime, we could reach out and really communicate with just two people, we are indeed very fortunate."
Gene Roddenberry, CREATOR OF STAR TREK
11 March 2020
The 75th anniversary of the Great Tokyo Firebombing.
Nothing great about it, but that’s what they call it here.
Despite the developing pandemic, I need to confront history
[Scenes from my YouTube video: https://youtu.be/Nl8HYITUe34]
325 B-29 Bombers
1,665 tons of incendiary bombs dropped in 3 hours
250,000 buildings destroyed
100,000 people killed overnight
1 million left homeless
41 km2 of East Tokyo wiped out
The single most deadly bombing raid in history
29 November 2020
Around 23 minutes into Koganecho Gesture, Gan SiongKing extends an invitation.
“What kind of story is meaningful to you?”
The time-hopping approach used by Gan connects with me. Why?
My Masters in Theoretical Physics?
My love of science-fiction and time-travel?
The Doctor Who fan in me?
[ORIGINAL DOCTOR WHO THEME SEQUENCE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjDFvoRNpOM
Inspired by Marcel Duchamps, [CUT TO SHOT OF R.MUTT URINAL] I applied twice.
- The history of Tokyo
- Japan’s social problems
18 December 2020
Gan contacts me. I’m shocked. Why?
Lack of self-confidence?
Excitement masquerading as doubt?
You always ask yourself why you feel what you feel
Japan announces differentiated treatment for citizens and foreign residents.
If my mother in the UK were to pass away from COVID-19, I could leave to attend the funeral, but I wouldn’t be allowed back in to Japan.
Tokyo doesn’t love me as much as I love it.
The first Tokugawa shoguns transform Edo.
New waterways spark transportation, business and culture.
Edo becomes larger than London by 1700.
“In all things Edo presents peaceful harmony… Where does one find its like in Europe? Only along the banks and in the squares of the Queen of the Adriatic, Venice herself.”
- Aime Humbert, Swiss envoy, 1864
Taro Okamoto = Japan’s Picasso
Fumio Asakura = Japan’s Rodin
Eikichi Yazawa = Japan’s Mick Jagger
[B-ROLL OF THESE FIGURES]
The Tokyo Firebombings
The atrocities inflicted by the Japanese Army across Asia
Innocent people paying the price for the insanity of their governments and military
More than 100 natural rivers and man-made canals flow underneath Tokyo.
Stagnating rivers, filled-in streams, highways built over canals.
The City has forgotten its history
[SHOW PAPER TITLE file:///Users/MacProSSD/Downloads/20-7.pdf
CEMENT PRODUCTION https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQkAoCT7vIM]
You sit bolt upright in bed. Inspiration strikes. “Travel and Apparel”.
Tokyo tours and T-shirts.
[MEME WITH PHOTO OF ME: “FIND SOMEONE WHO LOOKS AT YOU THE WAY MAC LOOKS AT TOKYO”]
The first tour cancellations start to come in as a result of the global pandemic.
Japan was on schedule to have more visitors in 2020 than any year in human history.
Everything I had built towards for three years was gone.
And I was one of the lucky ones.
Inspired by Koganecho Gesture, I commit to creating one video a week for 12 weeks and publishing it on YouTube.
Why do I love Tokyo?
- The safety
- The efficiency
- The people
- The food
- The culture
[Cut with some photos illustrating all this]
I believe very passionately in global citizenship.
[Cut to screenshots showing this, by me: https://www.esqueglobal.com/dear-global-citizen/global-citizenship/]
The worst part of the pandemic, outside of the loss of life, has been seeing the world act like feudal villages.
Don’t look back.
You hate going backwards.
You avoid backtracking.
Seeing the world go backwards makes you sick.
I am not Japanese.
I will never be Japanese.
I don’t want to be Japanese.
I am not from Tokyo, but I am OF Tokyo.
Tokugawa Ieyasu was born in Okazaki. He was not from Tokyo either.
“There has been no reason for me to tell you any of this. This confession has meant nothing…”
― Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho
What is the value in the energy, time, effort, money, to create this?
We are obsessed with meaning. Reason. Why? Why? Why?
I wanted to share my story and my love of Tokyo and Japan with you because without sharing what are we?
We need different perspectives
We need catharsis
Plus, it was fun. Isn’t that what it’s all about?
“Life is short and we should make meaning whenever we can”
Gan SongKing - The Koganecho Gesture
bottom of page