In 2005, Nagoya, Japan held the first World's Fair of the new millennium. I know what you're thinking: "World's Fair? Do they still have those?" The answer is yes! They're generally called World Expositions these days, but they're part of the same great tradition that started with a Crystal Palace in London in 1851, that brought us the Eiffel Tower, the Space Needle, and Ferris wheels, and that served as a showcase for the debut of countless new products that are now part of our everyday lives. Despite the great World's Fairs of America's past, most Americans are (sadly) unaware that this great tradition continues to this day.
This fantastic video was made by my fellow pavilion guide, John Rogos. The epic quality is no exaggeration. The clips of music starting around :40 and 1:37 are from the US Pavilion soundtrack itself. Ah, the nostalgia! That's me as Ops that you see with the clipboard at 2:42.
But some of us know, and I'm one of them. I had the opportunity to work as a United States Pavilion Guide at Expo 2005, and it may have been the most exciting experience of my life.
If you think a picture's worth a thousand words, check out my photo gallery of Expo 2005 and the United States Pavilion:
And if you feel that even at a thousand words a pop, the pictures don't quite capture the whole experience, check out some of my journal entries and other write-ups from the Expo. I have more I want to post later, so if you're interested, you might want to join the mailing list to hear when they're up.
The Positions Take a tour of the US Pavilion from the guides' perspective, and see what we did to keep the flow of guests going. This isn't as exciting as some of the other logs, but if you read this first, you'll be able to picture the rest of the stories better.
The Fourth of July I sing a lot and have one of the best Independence Days ever despite not being in the United States. It was one of my favorite days at the Expo!
VIP Logs: Gen. Colin Powell and Dr. Mark Adler We had all manner of VIP guests coming through all the time, but it just so happens that two of the ones I thought were the most interesting came within two days. First we had a visit from the Secretary of State, and then a mission leader from NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab and his wife paid us a visit.
VIP Logs: Dr. Randii Wessen Another scientist from the Jet Propulsion Lab comes and talks about fascinating things. And gives me a pin-badge.
This is the official theme of Expo 2005: I'll Be Your Love, by Yoshiki. The Japanese version of this song welcomed us to the Expo grounds at 8:15 every morning, before it was open to the public. You could find it in all the karaoke places in Japan, too.
And here's another version, this time a symphonic arrangement. I recommend playing it while you look at the photo album above for maxiumum epic effect.
Here's something else that's pretty funny: when I left the Expo, I didn't take home my entire uniform, because I didn't like all of it that much and I only had limited space in my suitcases. So I left part of my summer uniform behind in the pavilion. Well, apparently someone went through and collected it after we left, because look what showed up on the Internet a month later?
Someone who had been following my blog during the Expo found this and told me about it. Wow. Even if you can't read Japanese, you'll be able to pick out a misspelling of my name in the description. It's offering this as proof of authenticity and suggesting that the buyer go to the USP homepage and try to figure out which guide's jacket this is. Wow, I've never had my name written on something make it more valuable before! Though we did give out a lot of autographs at the Expo. :)
Here are some links you'll want to check out if you're interested in Expos! Note especially the controversy over whether the US should go to the Shanghai Expo in 2010. I've got a strong opinion on this which I will write up and post here in the future, but for now, you can follow the links for more information.