Teaching In Socks


Power to the People-san
October 15, 2008, 6:31 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

It’s time to give the people what they want.

I realize the past week has been a little light in regards to posts.  Some of you have grown a bit testy as a result and for this I apologize.

Between an absence of embarrassing moments on a cultural front (normal embarrassing stuff is still intact) and devoting a majority of my quality time to character flash cards, I haven’t had much to write about.  However, I will try to make amends this week.

Let’s commence with a game I like to call “What’s on my Japanese Television Right Now”  Idiot Box edition; “Let’s see what’s on my television at 11pm on a Wednesday”.

Channel 3: During normal hours this is NHK news. Actually, I think NHK is the name of the channel. Clearly I’m still getting my media bearings. NHK, from what I can tell is the central channel in Japan. This is where what Republicans would call MSM (main-stream-media) lives in Japan.

Currently, we are in after-hours, slightly beyond prime time. What does the media beacon bless us with at this hour? A very inspiring weight-loss infomercial!

After a few minutes into this program, here are my main observations:

1. The background music so far has consisted of Aretha Franklin (odd choice for a weight-loss program) and Avril Lavigne (kill me).

2. There is home video, spliced with shots of women on beaches in bikinis, which is then then interspersed with footage of thousands of people working out in giant, festival/concert surrounding. The message I’m getting is weight-loss = brainwash = fun. This is a strong marketing message.  Millions of Yen will be made on this alone.

3. Product! there you are, finally. DVDS! It appears they are shilling a Billy Blane “Tai-bo” style fitness program, only they all wear sequined belts, here it is.

Coincidently, the big diet craze in Japan right now is the “banana diet” (I know the name is almost too ripe for parody). This consist of consuming 2 Bananas and water for breakfast, and nothing else.  Then the rest of the day you can eat whatever you want and continue to be lazy. I’d love ot see the science behind this.

So far, I think the  I don’t think Japan is losing weight. but this does explain why my supermarket has been out of bananas for the past month. No joke, I was really confused about the status of banana import market, also, this diet is bananas! (there, I said it)

Channel 4: I’m not sure what’s going on here. There are a several young male comedians lined up as if they are part of a panel…there appears to be some contest amongst scantily clad young women they are currently introducing to the audience.  I think this is called “Midnight Cinderella”….ah it’s the “Wednesday Midnight Variety Show” (on a little early aren’t we?) These women are mild celebrities of some sort (one girl was in a Fanta commercial!) and they are competing against each other in a beauty contest style game.

The host, another comedian, is wearing silver shoes! (that’s bananas!) I could use some silver shoes. They are in the “talk about your background” portion of the pageant. This one girl has 11 siblings! everyone is impressed. Hmmmm, everything seems to be going swimmingly for the moment, but let’s not forget this is a Japanese game show; I predict there will be some humiliation in the near future. We’ll come back to this….

Channel 6: Kellog’s Commercial:  A woman has a sloth attached to her abdomen. The sloth is really dragging her down. from behind a building a giant box of Special K appears. She eats the Special K and the sloth has vanished. Apparently, the only way to fix parasite sloths attached to your abdomen is with Special K. That’s right, Special K is so revolting that it will make a bleeping sloth move.

Actual Programming: News! People are angry about some sort of apartment zoning. A collection of elderly people are sitting across the table from each other.  They are wearing vaious sashes and have various degrees of grumpiness on their faces. The lesson here is that Zoning law changes are never favorable the elderly, not even in Japan.

In other news, a Panda was delivered to Japan today. It got a special plane and giant welcoming party on the tarmac (bleeping bananas!). People are happy, but the panda looks as grumpy as an old person from the apartment zoning meeting. This Panda looks a little heavy, maybe could use some sort of dietary regiment involving bananas.

Channel 8: This program is called Real Venus. Right now, they are following a famous Japanese figure skater around through he daily routine. There is an inordinate of crying involved. This only compounds my previous experience and subsequent assumption that Japanese female athletes are rated on the amount of times television shows can make them cry tears of joy. It might even be in their contract, either way the public seems to enjoy it. tears = television.

Channel 10: The most shocking into yet. There is man in poorly done makeup. Five other guys are sitting around the table making fun of him. I”m sure if I understood what they were saying this would be funnier than Two and a Half Men. Oh dear, now they have brought in a small army of male–>female transvestites (make your own bananas joke here)–apparently this is a laugh-riot for everyone.

It gets worse, the man in makeup and the transvestites are putting on a low-production value Victorian musical (big bleep bananas batman!).  I draw the line at musicals, the channel will be changed….

Channel 12: Japan’s version of PBS. They are following a News Producer through his daily routine. In three minutes of watching this, I have learned PBS is still kind of boring in Japan. Somebody put on Globe Trekker!

and back to Channel 4: It appears the final portion of the contest is “who can hang on to a suspended bar the longest while wearing bikini” The humiliation that I predicted has finally arrived, however I am a little disappointed in the severity. I had high hopes Japan! Where’s the mud, Velcro suits, strange sea creatures you know the stuff that really makes the crowd lose their bananas. Falling four feet on to a soft cushion isn’t that intimidating.

Still, as mild as it may be, I’m not sure why Fox hasn’t tried to adapt this show yet.

This is what I am talking about,please watch until the end.

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1 Comment so far
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During my first trip to Japan I was eating dinner with my host family. They managed to find Tremors playing on one of the channels and, despite my protestations, insisted on viewing it with English and Japanese simultaneous audio which prevented anyone from understanding a damn thing. The next morning at school all of my fellow American students were discussing their evening’s television viewing. I had Kevin Bacon and Reba McEntire, everyone else ate dinner while watching a woman lounging in a bathtub full of milk being licked by cats. Moral of the story is that if you keep watching you’ll find something good out there, don’t settle for Tremors.

Comment by Blaark




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