Category Archives: japanese tv

relay races – japanese style

Time for another wacky Japanese show. Yesterday`s show was broadcasted live from a huge atheletic stadium somewhere in Japan:
The stands are absolutely full and according to the announcers, there is going to be a very important relay race. The participants are all wearing running gear and one guy gives a welcome speech and tells everyone to do their best etc. The first race involves four of the teams. All the runners take their places along the track, waiting for the starting signal. One of the officials fires the starting gun and the runners are off. I suddenly notice that instead of batons, they`re holding ropes and are running towards a row of large white things. The white things turn out to be – and I kid you not – refrigerators. What do they do with the fridges? Why, tie them to their backs and keep on running of course! And we`re not talking about mini-fridges here; we`re talking two-door, feed a whole trailer park fridges. At this point, it looks pretty straightforward – instead of using batons they`re using fridges…no biggie. But of course that`s just too easy. It turns out that its a furniture movers relay race. Yea thats right: its a tournament to figure out who can move electrical appliances and furniture the fastest. In a stadium. So, next up is a king size mattress, next a closet and then a freakin` three seater couch. I must add that the show was one hundred percent serious and wasn`t hosted by a bunch of comedians. I love it.

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romeo and juliet…animated version

So I saw the trailer for the romeo and juliet anime by Gonzo a few months ago, and now that I watch it again I just can`t help but wonder whether its a smart move on their part. For those of you who are unfamiliar with anime and/or have watched the old, crappy English animated version of r&j in school, this is shakespeare on a totally different level. Gonzo`s Gankutsuou (a futuristic anime, loosely based on The Count of Monte Cristo) was really out of this world but honestly I don`t know what would compel me to watch a fantasy(!) version of the shakespeare story I so hated back in high school. How many adaptations can Japanese audiences take anyway? And how good is it going to be this time around? Admittedly though, the quality of the animation is good enough to warrant a peek. Lets just hope that they don`t mess the story up halfway through as they have a tendency to do.
When you watch the trailer you`ll get what I mean: there`s a short church scene, the screen cuts to Juliet, then Romeo; everything seems normal…then out of nowhere a pegasus looking thing flies into the middle of the screen. Where the hell did that come from?! Did one of the directors just wake up one day and think to himself `Romeo needs a flying horse!` Honestly, it`s just too much.

romeo and juliet trailer

Oh and I`ve linked to the gankutusuou ending song and trailer for those of you who are unfamiliar with it. SIDENOTE: All the (great) music in the show is by Jean-Jacques Burnel.

gankutsuou ending

gankutsuou trailer

japanese comedians: you shall repent!

Last night there was a sketch comedy on as part of a DOWNTOWN episode, with all these famous comedians, Macchan being one of them. They were all seated in a classroom and awaiting the `teacher`. When she walks in they are horrified to see that its a very masculine looking woman who could probably crush their bones to dust if she so desired. At her side, a hilariously stupid female assistant who does nothing but echo what her boss says. The teacher announces that all the comedians present shall repent for their misdeeds. One by one each comedian is punished. So Macchan for example, got slapped on the head by some of the comedians because its something he does to other people. Another guy had to hug all the comedians and apologise, because he is always bullying the guests that go on his show; another had to swear at the other comedians because he is too nice etc etc. It became really funny however when it came to punishing the comedians who talk to much: the assistant said, “after this punishment you won`t even be able to use your mouth!! Lets begin the Elastic Punishment!” The elastic punishment was basically this: the teacher holds one end of a long elastic rope and pulls it tight while the other end of it is in a comedian`s mouth. She then gives this menacing smile and lets go. Ouch.
I wonder if these sketches are scripted…if they are, I can`t imagine why anyone would volunteer to being the elastic punishment victim. The poor sap. Inflicting sudden pain on comedians especially is a really popular thing in Japanese humour (sort of like anvil humour in cartoons). The following is the best example I can come up with. Personally I think its hilarious…enjoy. NOTE: There are no subtitles to this but you don`t need them – its pretty self-explanatory. Also, all the `students` are comedians. The aim of the game: no matter what, don`t laugh.

Don`t Laugh

knock knees: my two cents

I just don`t get it…try as I might I just don`t understand why emulating a medical condition is considered sexy/cute/attractive. Knock knees (or Genu valgum) is something of a high school girl specialty here in Japan and personally, I think its wierd. Not only does it look strange, but doing something like that when your young must really mess up your bones in the long run and lead to something like early arthritis. And the media seriously isn`t helping the problem: when you watch anything on t.v. or read anything from a book store, you end up thinking that all japanese high school girls are knock-kneed and angsty. It`s ridiculous.

kiss the girl

I just had to write about this. Last night I was watching a show hosted by Oriental Radio, a comic duo made up of two guys in their twenties? I`m guessing. They`re pretty young compared to your traditional Hitoshi Matsumotos (or Macchan) or Takaaki Ishibashis, and not as funny if I do say so myself. In this particular episode, they announced that they were going to search the streets of Japan for single girls and then ask to kiss them. Uhh okay. Is that even legal?
In the half an hour that followed, the camera showed the guys asking random girls to kiss them, to the accompaniment of *the horror* a supposedly sexy Italian narration. Not surprisingly, they were both rejected more than a few times, but in the end one guy got two girls to agree and the other, one. All sorts of cheesiness ensued. And get this, at the end of the show the celebrity guest had to choose who made the best couple. Quality entertainment.

gaming CMs

Just some japanese gaming commercials I found that are pretty funny. If you`re a regular youtuber you might have already seen some of them.

This first one is for Devil May Cry:

This one is for Tenchu Dark Shadow (DS version):

And finally one of my absolute favourites, one of the 1992 Legend of Zelda CMs:

Classic.

anything for a buck

I`ve studied Japanese for long enough to have seen some of the wierder shows they have on, but the one I saw last night takes the cake. It was a competition called K1 or Kao 1 (face 1). The opening theme to the show consists of all the competitors telling the camera how they are going to be K1, and no one can beat them etc with some cheesy dramatic music in the background.
Not surprisingly there are three gaijin (foreigners) in the mix as is common on a show like this: one English guy, one American guy and a guy from New Zealand. They are usually thrown in because they are viewed as an oddity and thus considered hilarious. Honestly, I don`t understand how these guys can just throw away their pride but I guess people will do anything for a buck.
On with the show: the stage is revealed to show a panel of judges made up of all these Japanese celebrities, two presenters and the six competitors now with masks on to conceal their faces. One of the presenters begins to describe the point of the show which is apparently to find who can make the wierdest facial expression. Ah, the reason for the wierd title reveals itself. An hour of air time dedicated to making faces. God I love Japan.
Anyway, so the competitors unveal their faces one by one and do their thing and the judges give them a score out of ten. Fun huh? One guy did a thing where he popped his eyes out of his face (really gross because we were in the middle of dinner), another used all these rubber bands to collapse his face and a third guy put on fake teeth and squashed his face against a window pane. Charming.
In the end, that last one won (he was the American). Good for him – I wonder what he felt like making an ass of himself on a foreign TV programme. How about the other two guys who walked away with no prize money…youch.