Friday, July 17, 2009

Old Man Bites Tenderly

I came across this entirely by accident, but it's hilarious (if a bit brutal), especially toward the end.

When I lived in Japan, the TV was full of shows like these: people having to put their faces into cages full of live snakes or having to dance on giant slimy inflatable balls, or being dropped in cars from 100-foot-high cranes. Most of the time they didn't seem funny to me, being largely about humiliation and doing things that looked insanely dangerous. This one, however, is made funnier by the inanity of the punishments and by the stricture of having to be quiet in a library. And what the heck is that American guy doing there? No idea, but it's very typical of the genre.

There was also a series of Arnold Schwarzenneger commercials when I was there for what we called a "genki drink" (energy drink), where Arnold behaved like a lunatic, which struck all of us gaijin (foreigners) as extremely funny, in that "Oh, my God" kind of way. Here's one, below: "Bui" is how the letter "V" is pronounced in Japanese, and "Daijobu" means "no problem"; so the "Daijobui" is a kind of play on words for the name of the product.

Hard to imagine, in those days, that he would become the governor of California.

My closest brush with this kind of silly show was when a TV crew came to the gaijin house (a kind of residence hotel) where I lived for awhile and filmed us all making dishes of our own concoction out of Japanese ingredients. The crew were very polite, but the TV show, when it came on the air, ended up just as sensationalized and inane as all the others. Still, it was extremely interesting to see oneself through the lens of another culture's media.


Anonymous said...

The black guy is the dutch thaiboxer Ernesto Hoost (you can hear the others refer to him as Hoost in the video) who is famous in Japan from the K1 championships.

Heather McDougal said...

Aha! I shouldn't make assumptions like that, I suppose. He dresses like an American...