Tokyo in short, as actually I could tell you hundred times more than this summary.
In the spring 2012 I received an honouring invitation to the Tokyo International Anime Fair in relation to my Berry and Dolly series. It was an exciting, experience-packed novel adventure. – Erika Bartos, author of the Berry and Dolly series recently visited Japan, where she had numerous exciting experiences and for a while she had the chance to take a glimpse at the Japanese culture. Read and enjoy her travel memoire!
The Hungarian "fairytale world" was represented by four invited creators: Zsolt Richly, author of several amazing creations, Ferenc Mikulás, head of Kecskemét Cartoon Studio and organiser-host of Kecskemét Film Festival, producer Tamás Liszka on behalf of Szimplafilm and myself. Géza M. Tóth, leader of Kedd Animation Studio and director of the Berry and Dolly cartoon was also invited, but due to his other commitments unfortunately he could not join us.
It was a long journey to Japan. First we flew to Vienna and from Vienna we took a flight to Tokyo. Our flight tickets and accommodation was organised and paid for by the Japanese organisers. I have never travelled so far, so the 11-hour Vienna-Tokyo flight was weird, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Most mothers cannot afford to sit in one place for 11 hours; this itself was unusual for me.
The four-day Tokyo International Anime Fair started with an official opening ceremony in the morning of the first day. After the introduction of the organisers of the fair human-sized cartoon characters took over the stage; later on we found out that some of them were mascots from certain Japanese cities. These mascots were extremely elaborated, lovely looking costumes and I was absolutely gobsmacked. In the afternoon we took part at another official reception followed by the introduction of each nation. We also had to go up to the stage, where Andrea Kálmán, Hungarian cultural attaché gave a speech. To start with she gave a summary on Hungarian fairytale culture and she mentioned an emphasized the legacy of Veronika Marék. The books of Veronika Marék are extremely popular in Japan. (But not only there, as the book entitled Tommy and the lion has been recently published in Mandarin! Congratulations!) After this she introduced the work performed by the four of us and a short animation was screened including Hungarian animations. I happily had my heart in my mouth when the frames of Berry and Dolly series were shown.
The next three days were very busy. Meetings, discussions and negotiations with film companies, publishers, publishers of magazines and various product manufacturers followed each other. Tons and tons of business cards were exchanged. Of course we also had the chance to look around in the fair and take a glimpse at the ins and outs of Japanese film art and Japanese fairytale world. It was an exciting and novel experience, with numerous different impressions. We also had the chance to visit certain parts of Tokyo. It is a huge city and it is shockingly clean. I bought a pair of new shoes for the trip, but upon my return to Budapest I could have easily returned them to the shop, because it remained as lovely and clean as new after spending four days in the city of Tokyo. For me in Japan the co-habitation of past and presence was amazing. Hundred years old Buddhist sanctuaries perfectly fit in among ultramodern skyscrapers, multi-level road structures, bridges and railway bridges. The Japanese are extremely polite, kind, helpful and courteous. This was definitely a positive experience for me. Work is extremely highly appreciated alongside age. Young people hardly have the chance to get into higher positions. The world of Japan captures everyone; besides their natural beauties I could long cherish the merits of their ancient culture, moderation, politeness, working ability, humbleness towards work and several other credits.
During these four days I visited the exhibition booths of several nations: the Scandinavian, Czech, French, Bulgarian and Tunisian booths. I was confronted with various different cultural impacts: it was very exciting experience to take a look at the literature and animation world of several nations. Now that the Berry and Dolly series are published in various countries, I have more and more chance to view the slices of other cultures. It is really exciting. It was honouring that we enjoyed a visit from numerous co-workers of the Hungarian embassy and from Ambassador István dr. Szerdahelyi.
Special thanks to the Japanese organisers for the flowing, experience- and opportunity-packed programme, many tanks to Andrea Kálmán, who made sure that we have a great time in Tokyo both with respect to business and travelling.