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When Swiss National TV called - I said YESSS!

Feb 07, 2024

It was an email I will never forget: “Dear Miss Sakata, we would like to have you on our talk show with the topic dual life as you are teaching people how to have fun and how to behave in Japan, you are teaching food science and producing Japanese salad dressing. Would you like to be part of the show on January 15th in 2015?”

Eeeehm, let me think about it… no, I know the answer: “YESSS of course!!!”

I’ve been in a smaller TV-live show before as my former boss, Mr. Tanaka didn’t want to talk and cook at the same time, so I did the talking and he did the cooking and I LOVED being on TV. Even though it was live I wasn’t bothered… teaching teenagers was a live “TV-show” every day. No second takes in the classroom : ).

Also this TV host Kurt Aeschbacher was and is one of the nicest persons on the planet. He’s so thoughtful, kind and takes really good care of his guests so I was sure that this would work out perfectly without getting roasted at all.

A young, eloquent editor of the show got in touch with me and told me that she would like to experience my Japan-event called “Japanspaziergang” which means Japan-walk. I hosted this evening with around 20 guests monthly for seven years! We always had a yummy dinner at restaurant Ototo in Zurich after I did a fun presentation about Japan and traveling there in general. While eating I taught some dos and don'ts at the table, how to eat correctly with chopsticks and how to make the best impression ever in a restaurant. Then we went on a 30min walk to café Miyuko for dessert. Everybody got a pair of pink, blue or yellow headphones and an ipod mini, to choose from 5 different travel topics which I recorded. It was the best idea that I conserved all the knowledge I formerly taught in a loooong presentation in these 30min audios. After the event they got all the audios to listen at home together with little cheat-sheet cards with the Japanese words on them for smooth traveling.

As Lea, the editor of the talkshow wanted to spend 1:1 time with me I suggested we do a private version with lunch at Ototo, walking together - she listening and dessert at Miyuko. We spent over three hours together and she took so many notes and recorded our whole interview. I was impressed by the diligence and care of the show’s preparation.

Then, she explained she’ll write a text about me and Kurt Aeschbacher, the TV-host will read this memo and think of his questions based on that knowledge of my life. I will not know the questions beforehand and that’s when I understood why I loved his program so much. It never felt rehearsed. It was real and touching to listen to him and his guests talking. The excitement grew!

On the day of the recording a week prior to the broadcast I was traveling through half of the country as I was teaching a food engineering course to teenagers in the French part of Switzerland. Luckily the train connections all worked out - it was January and snowing like crazy - and I arrived on time for makeup and hair. That’s when I met Odilia Rossi - remember? I hired her again for my Japan-speech in the same year. What a treat to sit down and just “let it happen”. The makeup for TV was a painful process though. She airbrushed it on my face and warned me: It feels like 1000 needles on your skin. Exactly that was how it felt : ). The price for non smearing, no sweat, perfect skin on camera…

They told me to bring my customized Japan-walk-shopping trolley as a prop and also Japanese salad dressings. So I did. The only hiccup was that Kurt’s opening question was so open, that I wasn’t sure if I can go full on into “a commercial about my event”? Yes he intended that and this interview was the gift that kept on giving. Japan-walk was sold out for the next 2 years and privately booked as a birthday event over and over again. I am still so super grateful for this opportunity!

My wingmen came to the studio to watch live and other friends showed up in person. What an honor! After the show we took pictures - I always thought Kurt is a giant… and he’s NOT! He cheated and stood a step higher than me : ) to be the taller one… - and he was talking with us for at least another hour while we had some drinks. I was impressed and touched. That’s how I want to appear on “the stage of life”. Approachable, warmly, personally, sincere, fun and professional. He told us about his system and how he’s planning and conducting the interviews. He writes a “conversation tree” about each person with the big branches as main topics and the little branches as side topics. If an interview partner switches to another branch without touching on all the subjects he noted, he’s deciding while talking if he wants to jump back to that branch later or not. Within the 10-15 min he’s composing the “music aka conversation” until he feels complete, oooor until his producer behind the camera signs him, that she’ll kill him after the show if he’s not coming to an end.

What a treat, what an experience, what a wonderful opportunity. I looove this memory and you can watch my part (or the whole show) HERE

I wish you the best week ahead ♡
Let’s become a little more approachable, warm, personal, sincere, fun and professional - or any other trait you admire every day, because we can, because we choose to.

Sending you lots of L♡VE



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