Monday, 19 May 2008

PostHeaderIcon Vengabus

Just before I was due to teach 6th period today the nice office lady made me some coffee. It was too hot to drink straight away so I had to leave it. Note: I can't drink piping hot drinks and in Japan they say I have a 'cat's tongue' . Personally I don't know how people can drink tea or coffee that had just been boiling a minute previous. Anyhoo, I came back from class and I optimistically tasted the coffee to see if there was any life left in it. It was cold and bitter so I went to wash the cup and put it away. I started to whistle a little bit (apparently I whistle a lot too) and for some... bizarre reason... it was this song:

If you have just finished watching or listening to the youtube clip then you'll understand how it messed up my head at the time. This song reminds me of my school trip to Paris in 1998(!) where a bus full of 11 year olds kept singing "VENGABUS... IT'S COMING... THE VENGABUS YAAAY" I have no idea why it suddenly popped into my head whilst I was washing a coffee cup in Japan... a decade later. Man, a decade... I'm old. It's great though, I've listened to it three times now. You think the chorus is going to come in during the first minute but... it doesn't.

Also, I am studying Japanese right now. Thus I have returned to my student likes ways of procrastinating on the internet.

Haha I actually love this song now.
Friday, 16 May 2008

PostHeaderIcon Bad Japan: Japanese Comedy

Sometimes I'll be at a work party or eating lunch with the students and I'll be asked who my favourite Japanese comedian is. The problem is I don't have a favourite so I'll just reply in a very diplomatic way of "Oh that one that does that wee dance." However, that pretty much describes every single 'comedian' that Japan has to offer the world. When I first came here there was a young bloke who used to perform his wee jig in only his underpants. He'd be on pretty much every television show doing the same 1-2 minute performance. It would revolve around some little event like a man telling him "Ye cannae park yer bike there lad" and then he would launch into his spiel of そんなの関係ねえ or "What does it matter?" Here's a wee clip of him for ye:

He's got a degree in Literature from a pretty prestigious University in Tokyo.

Right... so this guy actually lasted quite long by Japanese celebrity standards. All the students in my school would do the little shindig. I remember one day at lunch one kid asked me if I knew who he was and I replied with "Aye... he does this eh?" and copied what he did. The table I was sitting at went totally insane. "OH MY GOD! Look at him dae the thing... everyone come look... come look now"... thus completing my transition into performing monkey. It's a sad state of affairs when I look back on those days rather fondly as he has now been replaced with a new hilarious star:

I really do detest this woman. I'm not even entirely sure what her little act is about. It seems to consist of some terribly unfunny build-up for her to launch into 45 seconds of a funny wee dance and numerous GU GU GU GU GU with her thumb. Thanks to the wonders of katakana English... a lot of words that end in 'g' will have 'gu' instead which make words like 'running' and 'jumping' sound horrendous. Now this talentless old cow has brainwashed all my students and they now run up to me and perform the good old GU GU GU GUGUGU GUGUG.

My basic point is that Japanese comedy is abysmal. It's all based on 1-2 minutes of slapstick and a new act is brought along on the conveyor belt of mundane despair every few weeks. The sad thing is that a nation of 130 million people tune in to watch this and crack up about it. I bet you that every single foreign English teacher in the country now has every kid running up to them and going ''. I've noticed this before in Japan with various other things and I now refer to it as "This is the time to.... ". When there is a graduation ceremony the parents and students will know the overly-reheased and appropriate time to cry. After the first drink is downed at a party it is then the appropriate time to open up and bond... even with minor things that happened weeks before but they were too uncomfortable to mention. With the comedy skits I get the impression people watch the 1 minute of filler at the start whilst sitting patiently... patiently waiting.... "Oh here it comes... its coming" and then they all split a rib laughing at the catchphrase. Now is the time laugh har har har har

Is this racist or is it just harmless 'cultural observation'?
Friday, 9 May 2008

PostHeaderIcon Allo

Yer... so I've been a bit slack with the blog updates recently. There hasn't been much to write about but I've got some material to dig into sooner or later. I might get around to it this weekend but I've got stuff to do as well. Mainly playing my new Grand Theft Auto game and answering months worth of Japanese test booklets. I was meant to be going to a big beach party this weekend but it was rained off sadly. I was in Tokyo for about a week during the holiday period so I'll have some pictures from there to add as well.

Anyway, work finishes in a whole 5 minutes time. Cool.
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About Me

I am a 24 year old Scotsman currently teaching English to Japanese schoolchildren. I live in a small town on the east coast of Kochi prefecture.