“James” looks more like a lumberjack than a geeky anime nerd.
Hosts in Japan can earn big bucks for drinking with customers and doling out praise and compliments through friendly conversations at bars. No host, however, can quite match the demand for Roland, who’s also known as the “King of the Hosts” for his popularity…and his burgeoning bank balance.
Previously, we saw Roland share some secrets behind his morning routine on his YouTube channel, where he controversially revealed that he never uses the same toothbrush twice. Now, the King of the Hosts is back again with a new video, and this time, he’s going undercover to live the life of an otaku geek for a day out in Akihabara.
Roland is actually a geek at heart with a love for anime like Love Live! but being a bit of a well-known face makes it difficult for him to roam the streets of an otaku paradise like Akihabara without being recognised. With his bleached blonde locks, Roland decides to swap his Japanese identity for a foreign one, going undercover for a trip to Akihabara as “James“, who sports dead, unblinking eyes and gives off lumberjack vibes.
▼ Take a look at the video below.
The video begins with a preview of Roland (and “James”) in Akihabara, before introducing us to the man who made the incredibly lifelike mask, a 45-year-old special effects makeup artist called “Amazing Jiro“.
▼ It took Jiro four days to complete the mask, and when it was done, Roland named it “James”.
After trying to prank his staff with the mask, who weren’t fooled by his disguise and “bad pronunciation”, Roland dons the mask and decides to head out to Akihabara from Roppongi by train, a mode of transport he hasn’t used in roughly eight years.
▼ At this point, Roland looks like any other foreigner in Japan, trying to make sense of the train fares.
Because he’s now James, he decides to press the English button on the machine when buying his ticket, only to realise he’s at a machine that doesn’t dispense single-fare tickets but is used for charging transport cards instead. After that hiccup, Roland eventually boards the train as James, joyfully soaking up every minute of the ride before stepping out at Akihabara Station, where he instantly recognises the platform jingle to be the AKB48 hit song “Fortune Cookie”, although he mistakenly calls it “Chocolate Cookie”.
▼ Obligatory Akihabara Station shot.
Roland and his cameraman eat a bowl of cheap soba for 310 yen (US$3), walk by a bar staffed by bunny maids, and head to the fourth floor of Sofmap, the anime floor, where James browses the shelves and Roland explains the story behind some of his favourite titles. Then it’s off to the Sega Akihabara No. 3 Building, where Roland leaves James on a wall hook for a while so he can sketch poorly drawn pictures of his favourite Love Live! characters as “Otaku Roland”.
With fellow Love Live! geeks unimpressed by Roland’s artistic abilities, he and his cameraman head to the purikura floor, where they spend some time taking photos at the purikura (literally “Print Club’) photo booths. The image-enhancing filters used by the machine to beautify its subjects ends up adding some extra levels of kawaii to James’ appearance as well.
▼ James Charles, eat your heart out.
With the “King of the Hosts” being heavily into health and beauty, we can’t help but wonder if Roland’s choice of name for the day really was a hat-tip to YouTube beauty vlogger James Charles. Either way, Roland appears to have pulled off the disguise without getting noticed up by anyone, so there’s a good chance we might be seeing James on the streets again in the near future.
Hopefully next time he won’t actually bump into anyone who expects him to converse in a language other than Japanese, though, because while Roland’s sister can speak Japanese, English, French and Italian, he’s the first to admit his English language skills are rusty.
Still, as the King of the Hosts, Roland boasts a whole other set of skills, and with many host bars now closed due to the state of emergency in Tokyo brought about by COVID-19, he’ll no doubt be showcasing those skills with more entertaining videos on his YouTube channel.
Source, images: YouTube/THE ROLAND SHOW【公式】 via Hachima Kikou
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