Saturday, 17 August 2013

Currently watching: Why Did You Come To Japan?

Non-Japanese people on Japanese TV normally make my skin crawl. If they’re in a drama, the chances are they can’t act. If they’re on a talk show, they’re probably not that interesting, but just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

Of course, there are exceptions, such as Pete Barakan on Japanology. And also this show. It’s a humorous documentary where a TV crew asks foreigners arriving at an airport what they’re going to do in Japan. Most of the interviews are quite short and sweet, but every now and again they ask if they can follow people to their next destination.

It seems that, as long as someone is interesting enough and agrees, they’ll follow the story. Thus, we see an Englishman walk from Osaka to Tokyo Tower over the space of a month or so. And at the end of his trek, the film crew arranged for some people he met during his journey to be at Tokyo Tower when he arrives.

But usually, the stories are not that heart-warming. Instead they’re played for laughs (in a nice way) with subjects like a Ninja Convention or some guy trying to start a new life in Tokyo, arranging everything on the internet, only to find his new flat is between two loud building sites.

The program is a mix of English and Japanese with a few other languages thrown in. This can be followed quite easily by anyone with intermediate Japanese, apart from the commentary from the comedy duo Bananaman which is a higher level. But still, you can usually guess from the context.

It’s funny and interesting, like a sort of Soko Ga Shiritai, except not about Japanese people. And you can find it on YouTube. (Not any more you can't)

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