Thursday, 22 July 2010
Currently watching: Nihonjin no Shiranai Nihongo
British people of a certain age will remember a sitcom called Mind Your Language, set in an English As A Foreign Language class, full of ethnic minorities recently arrived on the shores of the UK. Given the same premise, this show ("Japanese Words that the Japanese Don't Know", more or less) could bring back some odd memories of racial stereotypes from the 1970s, a time when saying things like "I tolerate coloured people" was considered the height of sophisticated multiculturalism. It's an unfortunate connection and perhaps a little unfair, but it's one I can't shake.
On the other hand, watching it did also bring back memories of when I was an English teacher, and being stumped when someone asked why a particular phrase is worded in such a way. Also, the idea that foreigners can't wash up properly reminded me of when my Italian ex-girlfriend explained how odd it looked to her when we English don't rinse our plates after washing, and just leave them on the draining board covered in soap-suds.
So, clearly, this show is well-observed and it struck a chord with me. But despite that, I found myself waiting for it to get better. I didn't really like any of the characters and some of the acting is a bit wobbly. I'll watch a couple, just to see if it just needs a while to get going but as it stands, this is pretty missable.