Ah, Christmas. I remember when it used to actually mean something.
Well, I’m gonna be on TV again. Same bat-time, same bat-channel.
So, it looks like the Rudius Media network is down…
If you can’t beat em…join em?
By now my seething hatred of Japanese television should be fairly well known. If Hollywood has taught us anything about life, its that when one person hates something so passionately, so derisively, that there are only two possible conclusions – an all-out fight to the death, or for the hate to turn into romance of some sort. While my plan to rain down unparalleled destruction on Japanese TV networks is still in the planning phases (do you have any idea how hard it is to gather Satan’s minions…?), I may have to put it on hold for a while, as…well…now I’m actually appearing on TV.
Calm down, I haven’t become the next Bob Sapp or Bobby Ologun *shudder*. So far its only been a few random appearances on one TV show. …So, how does that happen anyway?
Last year with my wedding ceremony coming up I was crunched for cash. I was also working the Job From Hell (see the Sour Apples entries), so I was regularly checking job postings – something part-time I could do in addition to my job to help with the wedding costs, or a full-time job to replace the nightmare I was working at then. I came across an ad for a talent agency for foreigners. The office wasn’t located too far from my workplace, so I figured why not – I contacted them one day and went for an interview/screening during lunch break.
They explained that they are an agency that provides foreigners for various roles in the Japanese entertainment business. TV spots, movie extras, commercials, etc. I gave them my information and took some profile pictures. They said they would give me a call if any good projects came up that would be suited for me.
As most of you know, I don’t really care about celebrities and entertainment news. They’re just ordinary people who happen to appear on TV and in movies and what not, so I don’t understand the obsession with following their lives. I do try to keep up with the news and current events, and unfortunately in doing so I’m exposed to celebrity news. Its almost unavoidable. Anyway, looking at some celebrity “incidents” that have happened in Japan over the past year got me thinking about how differently these things are handled/viewed back home.
First off, for those who don’t follow Japanese celebrity news (most of you I hope…?) a brief recap.
One of the tough things about keeping up a site that catalogues the weird little quirks of Japan, is that the longer you live here, the more the weird becomes normal. Living here 5 going on 6 years, I don’t even bat an eye anymore at grandmothers with rainbow-colored hair, old men in dresses, festivals that worship the penis, et al. It’s just…Japan. But on the other hand, the closer I get to Japan being normal, the further I get from my home of America being normal. So now Japanese people can point out things about my homeland that they don’t get, and I can understand where they’re coming from somewhat. I’m not sure if America will ever reach the levels of eyebrow-raising hijinks that Japan does…but not for the lack of trying.
I don’t think I’ve officially come out and said it, but I have a new job.* Its further from my old job, which means I have to ride an earlier train. Yep, you guessed it…new train crew.
*New job is also the reason why I don’t post so much. I’m getting closer and closer to the Japanese salaryman dream/nightmare with each passing day.
Although one morning, I was running late and ended up riding the old train. Didn’t see Sub-Zero (but this is the summer, maybe he’s hibernating…?), but I did see Shorty and Brandy. I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but Shorty chews on her fingers, a bad habit that has apparently still continued up until now. Shorty is kind of cute, but girls who like to bite down on long cylindrical objects tend to lose sex appeal points. Brandy got a haircut – I like longer hair so I’m not a fan, but she’s still cute and still carries stupidly expensive bags. Even if we did hook up, I imagine she wouldn’t let me hit unless the condom was from Versace or something. I also didn’t see Massive Melon Tits or Tats, so I can only hope that they and their plentiful/graffitied bosoms are doing well wherever they are.
Before we get to the #1 spot, there’s one more show that deserves mention.
Dishonorable Mention: Waratte Ii Tomo!
The title of the show translates to “Its Okay To Laugh!”. Which is a pretty bold statement, considering they don’t give you much to laugh at. Its almost like a dentist who specializes in root canals hanging a sign up over the dentists chair that reads “It’s Okay to Orgasm!”
This show doesn’t make the main list primarily because its daytime TV…and I think it’s a rule of the cosmos that daytime TV must suck. Like, if Moses had stayed up on the mountain just wee bit longer, God would have carved “Thou Shalt Not Enjoy Daytime TV” as the 11th Commandment into the stone tablet. So I can’t hate on it for sucking, because sucking is a part of its destiny. This show did teach me something rather eye-opening about Japanese TV in general though, which is why it gets the mention at least.
The show features Tamori as a host (he joins Sanma as one of the “Big 3”). Tamori conducts a dull interview with some random celebrity, and the rest of the show is devoted to celebrities playing games, often with food involved. …But wait, this sounds almost exactly like every other show you’ve described so far, you may say. And you would be absolutely right. So, think about that for a moment – Japanese daytime and primetime TV are virtually identical.
The other thing I noticed while being subjected to this show is that the studio audience is 100% female. That got me thinking, and I realized that most shows had a predominately female audience. It makes sense, because Japanese guys are rarely ever home in the evenings. They work late hours, and even if/when they don’t, there are drinking parties, trips to the local whorehouse, or hours to waste away at the pachinko parlor. And that’s when everything clicked – Japanese TV is primarily meant for Japanese women. So its like a combination of daytime TV and the Lifetime Channel, on every channel, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
So, for us guys, this is more or less the first step into Hell itself.
The worst hits parade continues!
#3 – Sanma’s Dancing Palace
This is one of those “round up a group of talent and just have them talk” shows. They tell “you had to be there” stories, which is boring because…well…we weren’t there, these jackoffs aren’t interesting, and I just don’t care.
As this type of show dominates Japanese TV, I’m singling this one out because of the host, Sanma Akashiya. He’s considered to be one of the “Big 3” entertainers in Japan, but watching this show “entertainment” is a terrible misuse of the word. As his guests say something supposedly funny, or stupid, he makes a horrible overreaction, braying like a donkey, falling to his knees, and often hitting a podium with a scepter that features a buck-toothed, dragon-head* likeness of himself. The podium seems to serve no other purpose than to give him something to hit with his Dragon Zord Scepter.
What, me make things up? Never!
And now, my Top 5 most hated Japanese TV shows.
I would like to stress again that this list is based purely on personal preference and experience. So if I’ve never seen a show and don’t know of its existence, I can’t really rank it. And while there may be more horrible shows out there, these are the ones that irk me on a personal level. Again, while the shows themselves might not be that terrible, you have to factor in that Japan offers nothing better – this is what passes for entertainment, and almost everything else is an uninspired re-hash of the same concepts over and over again.
While I gave a general explanation of it in the last post, I found that Wikipedia actually has an article about the geinojin/talent, here. So for those who are interested/curious to the point of dangerous obsession, someone has already written more about it than I would care to. So, enjoy.
But anyway, here we go.
#5 – Hey Hey Hey Music Champ
This show tries to pass itself off as a music show, but that’s just a facade for the same ‘ol crap of rounding up a bunch of talent, and having them talk/eat/play games. Except now its music talent, and they justify the “music” portion of the show by having the artist(s) play a 90 second version of whatever new single they’ve recently released.
Hey Hey Hey makes the list because it is exceptionally boring. I cannot overstate how mind-numbingly dull this show is. I can’t even say bored to tears – tears would imply some sort of emotional response, something Hey Hey Hey couldn’t do even if the guests and hosts all spontaneously exploded. You know the phrase “bored to death?” Sometimes I feel like watching Hey Hey Hey actually shortens my lifespan. Like a giant soul-sucking vacuum is placed on my chest for 30 minutes and my lifespan is tragically shortened.
But don’t just take my word for it. Here’s an example.
Host: (to a famous female artist) So, tell us about your “secret” personal life.
Singer: Well, many people may not know this, but I’m actually really good friends with [some other famous female singer].
(Mostly Female) Audience: …..EEEEEEHHHHHHH?!?!
Singer: Its true! When we aren’t busy with recordings or tours we often go eat cake together.
My Wife: …..EEEEEEHHHHHHH?!?!
Me: …..No. You stop that immediately.
Wife: But, its interesting!
Me: Wow! Normal people do normal things! Yes, that certainly is fascinating.
That isn’t something I just dreamed up, that actually happened.