September 1, 2005
Hello, this is Long Skirt.
When we were discussing the lunch and dinner menu for the Yatsugatake training camp, OO seemed concerned that Snow White and I seem to only do curry and udon noodles.
He said, "I hope you at least know how to make miso soup." Determined to cast aside this grievous insult, I proudly stood my ground and confidently said, "That's easy. I use powered bonito stock, so don't you worry."

And then the director turned to Snow White as she was writing up a shopping list and said, "Snow White, I want you to buy enough breakfast and dinner for each of us going." You see, apparently Falcon, who got wind that there may be a problem in this area, had prepared some recipes for delicious, easy-to-prepare meals that boast of his skill and experience as something of a gourmet chef.

Yes. The director wanted to bring Falcon along as our chef. If only he just wasn't so busy with work...

September 2, 2005
Good evening. It's OO.
Yesterday we produced some material for Blood+. It was quite an intense job and we kept at it until seven in the morning. Present were me and Masae South of Aniplex as well as Mr. Roundmountain of Mainichi Broadcasting. Here we were, the three of us, talking about all kinds of programs in the middle of the night, but as dawn approached, the words got fewer and fewer. And finally, we started dealing with the work that we prepared for today. Roundmountain said, "I've got a meeting at ten." And Masae South, "I have a meeting at ten as well, but I should least run through and check my papers before I go." It sure is tough for them; there's hardly any time for them to sleep. But the footage we came up with as a result of these circumstances is quite good. And I think all of you will soon have an opportunity to see it. It'll be something to look forward to.

September 8, 2005
Hello, this is Long Skirt.
At the Yatsugatake training camp, I made fried noodles and curry with all of my might and I ended up with muscle pain.
As for the miso soup, we ended up using the store bought stuff, but still, it was just so busy and confusing that there wasn't even enough time to pour the hot water. This reinforced the stigma I can't shake that I am not even able to make miso soup.

Oh, the tears...

So, moving on...

Off to the training camp, we left at nine on the Friday evening. During the ride along the expressway, the director, who was experiencing some sort of natural high from his four or five meetings since the morning, jolted us wide awake with his wild behavior.
But finally, at midnight, we arrived safely at Production I.G's Yatsugatake mountain lodge.
We parked the car in a parking space thick with the summer grasses and we unloaded all that we had jam-packed into the vehicle. Then we paused and looked up, and you could almost hear the awestruck voices of everyone at the sight of the night sky full of stars.
In the pale indigo night sky, I saw stars that I'd never seen before, as well as the Milky Way. It was only for a moment, but I just couldn't help but feel glad that I came.
Yes, but this is where the problem began. We now had to wait for OO to arrive. He was speeding along in the night to meet up with us after having picked up crew in Tokyo, who were running around even in the middle of the night doing things for Blood+. Of course we have a meeting while we wait.
Carrying on with the flow of the quiet forest air flowing through the window left open were the voices of scriptwriters making bold pronouncements about great ideas with diversions into rather trivial jokes.
This kind of talk continued for some time, and as morning approached and sleep was nearly upon them, they were finally on the verge of passing out.
And when the headlights of OO's car with the rest of the crew appeared through the dark grasses, I was so happy. Really, serious happy. I figured that now I could go to sleep.
But no. I was getting ahead of myself.
Basically, we carried on with this aimless meeting with the newly arrived crew. Then we were reminded that wake up time was nine, but it was past five by the time I got to sleep.

Oh, the light of the bright sun stings my eyes... Ow, ow, ow...

September 9, 2005
Hi, this is OO.
I went to the recording session the other day.
The moment we breathed life into the characters after almost a year of working on this project, I realized that none of the voices I heard exactly matched what I had imagined.

This isn't a bad thing. It was very interesting in that all of the characters that I thought I knew were actually revealed to me as different from what I had expected. The impression I got from the auditions also differed from that of the recording session.

In any case, all of the characters in Blood+ are quite appealing. I hope you all wait in anticipation for another month.

September 15, 2005
Hello, this is Long Skirt.
Dinner at the training camp was curry, just as previously announced.
As far as it was being prepared according to Falcon's instructions, the "pre" curry before the curry paste was added smelled so yummy that everyone expected a delicious dinner. But after the paste was added, the whole thing mysteriously turned out to be somewhat dry and floury.
How could that be?
The director suggested that coffee could fix funny tasting curry. So I sprinkled some instant coffee over the pot. The result was even more floury.
How could that be?
I tried a range of things to get the right flavor. But everyone who dropped by seemed to make strange disheartening comments and funny looks. I asked for their advice as well. I did try my best. I did it, really. But my curry veered further and further from the proper taste of curry.
How could that be?
Then I started ralizing that certain flavours were missing, while others were clearly in excess. In a desperate effort to restore the correct taste and consistency, I determinedly threw in a bunch of ingredients, and it was like magic. The taste of the curry changed dramatically. By the end of it, I wasn't sure what I was actually cooking. When Snow White came into the kitchen to cook rice, I looked for confirmation:
Long Skirt: What do you think I am cooking?
Snow White: Curry, isn't it?
Long Skirt: Would you taste it for me?
I handed a little scoop of the supposed curry-like substance to Snow White. After trying it, she stopped suddenly and said in a quivering tone,
Snow White: I don't get it...
Long Skirt: I knew it!
After giving it another go, I finished the pot off with some soy sauce and bouillon powder. I succeeded in coming up with something that resembled curry, but the cubed potatoes and carrots were long dissolved in the stew, turning the whole thing into a rather hard to describe though unquestionably original sluggish texture.
How could that be?
Well, no one talked at the table while we had this curry for dinner. It was a very quiet time, with just the endless echoing of Tora-san speaking his famous lines from the TV set.
I am so very sorry.

September 16, 2005
Hello, this is OO.
It's already the middle of September. Time flies so quickly.
The recording session for Blood+ starts this morning. For people in the anime industry, this means very early hours to get up and work. Don't expect me to get there until the last minute. The recording studio is about a 15-minute walk from a train station. I walked from the station under the hot summer sun, sweating as usual. But then came a taxi, which passed by as though teasing me. I saw OTKC-san, the producer from Aniplex, comfortably sitting back in it smoking a cigarette! When I saw the taxi stop at the red light, I ran to try to catch up to it to ask for a ride, as I sweat even more. But with five meters to go, the light turned green. I shouted, "OTKC-san, please wait for me!" but the taxi cruelly pulled away without me. Later when I asked OTKC-san if he had heard me, he said, "Huh? I didn't hear you at all." Well, next time, I should wake up earlier; no, yell louder.

September 22, 2005
Hello, this is Long Skirt.
This is the last entry of the never-ending training camp diary. Have I been stretching this story out a bit too long? Sorry about that.

Finally, it is the morning of the third day. We expected a lot of traffic getting into Tokyo because it was the last weekend of the summer holidays. And since someone in the group had a business trip planned and had to be at Tokyo Station in the early afternoon, we decided to wake up at eight and leave by nine. That meant we had to get up like school kids even though we only went to sleep in the wee hours of the morning. (Actually, I nodded off and fell asleep for about an hour in the middle of the night, so I think I got a little more sleep than some of the others. Heh, heh...)

As I came down the stairs rubbing my eyes, everyone was diligently making rice balls with the leftover rice from the night before when Snow White cooked way too much for our curry dinner.

According to my calculation, 9 to 10 rice measuring cups were enough for everyone. But Snow White's own way of calculating things suggested she cook 12 cups: one cup per person. That was obviously too much. I witnessed for the first time in my life the lid of the rice cooker softly lifted upwards by the expanding rice inside.

After the rice balls were wrapped up and distributed, we each put our bags into the cars and headed back home along the highway.

In the car, with our sleepless director behind the wheel, we played CDs at full blast and sang songs. When I looked back at the quiet rear seat, I saw poor Snow White passed out in a deep slumber in an unbelievably bent forward position with her seatbelt holding her in place. She was sort of like hanging in midair.

When we came across the anti-sleep bumps on the roadway, her head went left and right with the trembling car. I must say her neck swung like a Kabuki actor performing the "Renjishi". I was worried she might get whiplash, but I was more concerned about not waking her up. So I pretended I didn't see her. It was an expression of my kindness.

At the Dangozaka Rest Area, we ate grilled rice dumplings as usual. Then we got off the freeway, which wasn't as heavily congested as we expected, and got back to our office safely.

We unloaded our bags, which, for some unknown reason, was more than what we started out with.

We gathered our various souvenir boxes of red-bean buns for our patrons and crammed the fridge. So, the long Yatsugatake Training Camp was at last over with that curry dinner as the one disaster of the summer.

Oh, what a disappointment that was.

September 29, 2005

Hello, this is Long Skirt.

Right now, we are in the middle of recording a Blood+ special pre-airing show that will be broadcast on October 7th.

The host of the show is sitting diagonally in front of me, going through a detailed preview and discussing the program plan.

This silly diary entry won't appear on the website for another week, but I will try to record a written "live coverage". I'll keep my ears open, while pretending that I'm completely uninterested in what's going on.

I feel like one of the characters in a suspense drama, "Witness to the Blood+ Production" or something like that.

Oh, here comes the show host.

Looking at the program ads posted all over the place in the meeting room especially for this occasion, the host very adequately and bluntly said something that could never come out of someone who hadn't seen the movie.

Behind the room partition, I was grinning and thinking, "Definitely, this person has seen our works." when OO came over and cold-heartedly reminded me, "You are in it too, Long Skirt." I ended up appearing in the background with my bed head and a look of sleepless stupor without makeup.

Eh? I can't do the live coverage!!

Well, anyway, all of us at the meeting were too nervous, with the odd awkward chuckle here and there, but we kept on talking. Then I heard the sound of the host talking from far away. And in the next moment, they stormed in. We hurriedly hid some confidential documents that were left open. Next, I went out of the camera frame to discreetly turn off the monitor we were watching.

While the host generously led the director, who was obviously not used to a TV camera, I was convinced my real life image would be safely out of the way. But just as I relaxed a little, they started to talk about me. Then the camera spans to shoot me.

Host: And what about this lady?

Long Skirt: I am thirty.

I am somewhat of a fan of the host, so I am delighted. But I sincerely wish the footage of me with bed head, and my sleepless stupor without makeup would be eliminated to fit the time frame. Just a wish of this young maiden.

But, why? Why did I say "thirty" on my debut appearance on TV? (tears)

September 30, 2005

Hi, this is OO.

There was a preview of the first episode at an undisclosed location in Tokyo the other day. Since this was to mark the successful completion of the first episode, Hitomi Takahashi, who sings the series opening theme, rushed in to join us.

She is a high school student, and very nice, reserved and polite girl. As may be expected of someone who was chosen from among thousands of candidates, she is not only a good singer, but her ordinary talking voice is also absolutely attractive. I was impressed that talented singers do have brilliant voices even when they're not singing.

At the premiere screening of episode 1 on October 1st, she will be singing in person. Besides her songs, there will be various surprises in the video that will be shown.

I think the opening theme song of Blood+ "Aozora no Namida" (Tears of the Blue Sky) is simply and truly great.