Perhaps it was the jisaboke (時差ぼけ, jetlag) or a lasagna-induced food coma, but it took time for my mind to register the scene before my eyes — a cosplaying gladiator speaking Japanese in front of the Coliseum in Rome. The Italian sentry — garbed in a feathered helmet, crimson cape and body armor, and wielding a shield and sword — paraded up to my Japanese friends and energetically offered, “Shashin totte agemasu yo!”(「写真 撮ってあげますよ!」 “I insist on taking a photo for you!”).

Clearly no amateur, the cosplayer directed the shoot, swinging his sword like a maestro’s baton: “Mō sukoshi chikaku ni! Un, un“(「もう少し近くに!うん、うん。」 “A little closer! That’s it”).

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