Last Updated:Jul 1, 2007

Interview with Junior Lucky Bastards from 55DSL

Earlier this year, 55DSL advertised for two ‘Junior Lucky Bastards’ to join their new Kick Ass Department. Their job? Travel the world in 55 days, and film/ blog/ photograph everything along the way.

Last week, the chosen JLBs, Rob Jung (UK) and Jeremy Angelier (France), touched down in Tokyo for their whirlwind 5 day stay. Lena Oishi caught up with the jet-setting boys to find out what they’ve been up to.

Briefly sum up what you’ve been doing in Japan.

Rob: It’s all a blur…
Jeremy: The first thing we did after we landed was to go and eat raw fish off a naked woman’s body*. The next day we fought sumo-wrestlers and ate chanko, visited temples, then went to a party with lots of girls. We’ve also seen maids in Akihabara and popped into a manga café.
(* A Japanese practice called “nyotaimori” or body-sushi.)

You’ve visited Italy, Costa Rica, both the East and West coast of the US, and Iceland so far. How do they visually compare to Tokyo?

Jeremy: We’ve seen so many different landscapes and architecture. Iceland was like the moon. Lots of craters and vast land. New York was another world with all those skyscrapers. And then you have Tokyo… Here it’s like New York City times two, with a big spotlight on it.
Rob: The style of New York and Tokyo are very similar, but at the street level it’s really different, especially at dusk, because the neons here are so much more intense. So much colour! Even taxis come in varying colours, for example. And those transparent umbrellas you have here reflect the neon signs and intensify everything. Tokyo is very vibrant.
Jeremy: I felt like I was in one of those car-racing video games set in 2030 when we hit that huge highway during our drive from the airport.

So do you think Tokyo is a futuristic city?

Rob: Actually, it’s not as futuristic as I thought it was going to be. Oh, but you have those jet toilets here with buttons and water shooting out, that’s cool! I guess I was expecting to see many more gadgets like these. Perhaps the rest of the world is catching up?

Jeremy, I hear you were fascinated by all the sounds in the shops.

Jeremy: One thing that I will remember about Tokyo is the sound. It’s something I’ve never experienced before. On the street-level, people are talking into microphones everywhere…
Rob: Those big screens on buildings have speakers as well! You don’t get that elsewhere.
Jeremy: The traffic, people selling stuff on the street, regular people having a conversation… It’s basically a mix of very regular sounds, but I find it very distinctive. Maybe it’s because I don’t understand what they’re saying.

Which place so far is most different to Tokyo?

Rob: Reykjavik, Iceland. It’s so deserted. We drove for 2 hours without seeing another car. There were no trees, let alone buildings. Apparently they chopped down all the trees many years ago without planning ahead, so now it’s a very tree-less country. Sigur Rós played a free concert just a few days before we arrived, I was so upset!

You’ve been filming and taking photographs each day to upload onto the website, right?

Rob: Yeah, we always crack up when we watch them at the end of the day!
Jeremy: We’re a little behind schedule so we’re actually editing footage from the last country. I guess that adds to our feeling of disorientation. We’re only in one place for 2 or 3 days, and barely learn to say ‘thank you’ before we fly off to the next country. But we still have to keep the last country in mind because at night, we have to edit the footage we took there. I think this influences the way it edit our videos… like, if we had a very traditionally ‘Japanese’ day today, and then go and edit footage from America tonight, it would probably be quite different to if we edited it there and then.

Anything you keep in mind when filming?

Jeremy: I try to have an idea of the video I want in mind before I begin filming. Otherwise we’ll have too much footage to go through. Also, the 55DSL website has a worldwide audience so we have to make it as ‘international’ as possible, with a universal humor. I don’t understand Rob’s sense of humor sometimes, so…
Rob: The British humor is too hard for him!

Jeremy – being a filmmaker back home, have you gotten any inspiration from this trip?

Jeremy: Incidentally, before I entered this competition I had written a series of travel documentaries, so this is like a dream come true! I intend to re-visit each country in the future and make a more in-depth documentary. So this is like the teaser for my next project.

Rob, you studied graphic design in school. What next?

Rob: I don’t necessarily want to stick to graphics, I’m open to all things creative. Illustration, design, anything really…I only graduated last year so I’m still trying to figure it all out. And now this trip has totally thrown me off kilter!

You’ve finished a third of your 55 day trip. Are you sick of each other yet?

Jeremy: I don’t talk to Rob in the morning…
Rob: The mornings are very fuzzy.
Jeremy: I like the fact that we’re artistically very compatible. He knows things I don’t, and vice versa…
Rob: But seriously, for the last 6 weeks or so, we’ve been together 24 hours a day. And you know what? I think we’re doing alright!

Good luck with the rest of your trip!

Check out the 55DSL website for regular updates by the JLBs: 55DSL Junior Lucky Bastards

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Lena Oishi

Lena Oishi

Born in Japan in 1982, grew up in England and Australia. With a BA in Media and Communications and MA in Cinema Studies, she now lives in Tokyo as a freelance translator and occasional editor. Works include VICE Magazine, Japanese editorial supervision of "Metronome No. 11 - <i>What Is To Be Done? Tokyo</i> " (Seikosha, 2007), and translation for film and art festival catalogs. She can also interpret simultaneously if you give her enough candy. Lena likes making her eyeballs bleed after watching way too many films while eating ice cream in the dark.

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