Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My First SLR in My First S.American Country: Argentina

I very generously received a broken SLR and a pristine lens from my coworker, and managed to get it repaired for a fraction of the price of even a used SLR bundle, just in time for my first foreign business trip, which also happened to be my first trip to South America. My destination: Buenos Aires, Argentina!

After the first day of work, I timidly set out from my hotel
to explore and use my new camera in the hour of free time I found!

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Stepping off the red eye to Buenos Aires, we took a bus to the big-top style, heavily secured, temporary tent set up for the media to cover the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) elections. Without a moment to change or relax, we went straight to work. That night, after my stolen moment out with my SLR - I really have to name "her" -we had a huge company dinner with almost our entire team.
This gentleman (center) is the head of Japan's National Olympic Committee, Mr. Tsunekazu Takeda
The majority of my work in Argentina was attending each of the three bidding countries' daily press conferences leading up to the day of the vote and reporting back to my team on what new gimmicks and info they've disclosed.

Japan's, typical of their stereotype, was largely dry and logical. Interestingly, they waited until the Prime Minister arrived the day before the vote to give precise answers to press questions about Fukushima radiation. After the press conferences I would interview the world media for their impressions, and while this was their main gripe, it didn't seem to matter to the IOC members ultimately.
video of an interview/appeal with Kirobo on the Int'l Space Station

Kirobo's Earth-bound copy with Olympic fencer Yuki Ota
One English sports commentator commented that Mr, Ota reacting with the robot was ironically the least robotic (most passionate appeal) portion of the press conference!

This famous Japanese talent seemed to be there mostly because she is fluent in French. Never having been to France, or any French-speaking country, I can't tell you anything about her international popularity, but she is quite beautiful, although at times her boredom with the repetitive, mechanical presentations was only too obvious.

The Turkish bid was very convincing to me, focusing on bringing the games to a new region, bridging Asia and the Middle East, engaging the large youth population; but ultimately the people they needed to convince were the IOC members, not the viewing public, and their press conferences were the weakest in terms of star power and wow-factor, with a couple very well-made videos played over and over again to the point they were no longer effective.

The Spanish press conferences I went to took place in a beautiful room, no where near the other two venues. I was happy for the chance to visit a different part of the city, but logistically, it was a pain, and the room had no phone reception and faulty wifi, both of which ended up making my job harder, and almost costing us an interview I had set-up for my colleagues with an important IOC member. Luckily I still managed to make it happen.
The Spanish presentations, by the way, started late, and were completely in Spanish. Other than their celebrity and royal family speakers, their presentations also felt lack-luster and light on substantive answers to hard economic question.
Most people who supposedly knew more than me were shocked when Spain was the first to fall in the first round of voting, but based on what I saw, it made sense. Also, Barcelona hosted the Olympic games in recent memory, so I also imagined that as a high hurdle to clear.
Reporter, Mr. Okudaira reporting from a park across from the IOC's Hilton

Buenos Aires is quite the beautiful city. I enjoyed the parks, shops, architecture, and skylines.
Here's some photos of places we broadcast live from, or locations close enough for me to wander around in brief moments between jobs.

The Istanbul Photo-op at the Sheraton basketball court

Our cramped work space

Our official live position. (Eurovision used this tape to prevent us from using the spot previously pictured :P) 
Here it is during the day. Reporter Mr. Otake, interviewing Olympic swimmer Ryosuke Irie
Hardware! (This lets us broadcast live)

Outside the Madrid Committee's hotel

Probably my favorite photo. These are not police dogs.
Interviewing the mayor of Tokyo, live, outside the Sheraton Hotel,

This expansive area was used mainly by press who did not have their own private work space, although we who did used it too.
These happy old Japanese men are smiling because Tokyo was just announced the 2020 Olympic City

Stylized bald spot...

Even in Argentina, we found Japanese bento, and it was good!

Red scarf...

This is Shinzo Abe, current Prime Minister of Japan, preparing for an interview after finishing ours. I sat at his feet and held a monitor so he could see the person in Tokyo he was speaking to. Wasn't expecting that, but he didn't seem to take notice that a very non-Japanese looking person was working in this Japanese television crew!

All the stars of the Japanese bid gathered to watch a montage of their efforts

After the results came in, there was a victory party and everyone, including IOC members who supported Japan, showed up. The Japanese Olympic Committee members did live interviews with each Japanese television network, right there at the party. 

Of course Buenos Aires is the city of wine and steak, and we had plenty of both (although perhaps not enough delicious red wine). I especially liked their Malbecs.

Here's the name of the restaurant pictured above, if you ever get a chance to go...

I don't want to pretend Buenos Aires is a paradise, free of trouble. There were plenty of homeless people, and children-street-performers who should have been in school, along with dilapidated buildings.
During our one "free" day, which was less than a day, we visited a touristy Gaucho ranch.

This is a dinosaur.
I love how these female peacock all rested in a circle

Menacing goat photobombing to dirty sheep

Of course, more meat!

My hotel room was spacious and the hotel staff were very nice!

Boca fans will know who this is

Lots of shops had dogs and cats just hanging out

The Boca Juniors Stadium

Gift/sports merch stores

Seeping stray dogs always reminds me of Thailand

This is the touristy version of the barrio

Great tango = scary-nice legs!

This seems like "the life" to me...

Beautiful Gaucho dancers

I'll just sit here.

Hope you enjoyed! Sorry it was such a long-time in the making! Next up (real soon, this time, I SWEAR!): my year-end wrap-up and 2014 resolutions! Stay tuned!