Ten things we learn from Japanese TV

Trends & Culture - February 16th, 2001
Robert J. Collins

by Robert J. Collins

1. There is only one baseball team in Japan — the Giants. (There are play­ers from what must be other teams, but we’ll never know anything about them until they move to the U.S.)

2. Bizarre food may be sampled (weasel innards, a pas­trami on rye sandwich or any­thing prepared by a Giant base­ball player guest-appearing between seasons)

3. Once the bizarre food finally makes it into the mouth, the following must occur:

A) Tittering and squea-mishness immediately cease.

B)  The Serious As Hell mode kicks in. (“What was it Einstein said about the rela­tionship of mass, energy and motion? I really wonder about that.”)

C)  Chewing slows to a soft, rolling exercise so as to distrib­ute matter to all available taste buds.

D) Stop. Everything must stop. A frown must appear, wrinkling the forehead ever so slightly. This is serious busi­ness. Judgment. It takes three or four seconds.

E) “OISHIIIII!” then erupts, spreading amazement, satisfaction and relief around the room. “It’s unbelievably good!” (At this point others will dig in as if the bizarre food was Cup Noodle.) Whew.

4. Menstrual flow in Japan is blue. (Diet?)

5. The first guy to loosen his necktie in a mystery story invariably turns out to be the guilty party. Invariably. (It makes me wonder about the staff in my office. Everyone’s tie is loose.)

6. With one-and-a-half exceptions, all non-Japanese tarento appearing regularly are dorks. (George Fields is the “half part of he and the other guy—his father was Japanese.) Where do these other charac­ters come from? The Associa­tion of Village Idiots?

7. Cute crawling around babies. Diapers. Blue urine. There has to be more involved than diet.

8. There are, somewhere in Japan, abodes in which house­wives wearing starched pinafores scamper about in fluffy slippers applying a whole range of liquids to a whole range of surfaces whilst cute crawling around babies toddle about on highly polished and surprisingly uncluttered wood­en floors (unstained by blue urine) under the protection of machines issuing visible red rays of warmth from low on the wall or gray clouds of cooling from high on the wall as smil­ing birds lark about outside huge picture windows opening onto vistas stretching through tame greenery all the way to a horizon located probably in the next prefecture. Kinda nice. Just like the stereotypical com­mercials in the States. (Except in the States, like it or not, there actually are places like that. Lots of them. In there one place like that in all Japan?)

9. The throat is a tube that runs from the mouth to the stomach. When it’s sore, it glows bright red. A pill can fix that. The stomach is a bag in the body’s central part. When it’s sore, it glows bright red. A pill can fix that. The next step in the process is cloaked in mystery. No colors have been determined for intestinal discomfort and therefore it is not highlighted. The final step in the process, egestion, involves an aperture one might imagine glowing bright red if things aren’t going well. The remedy, however, not a pill, but a suppository, is demonstrated entering a silver channel. Silver?

10. Japanese politicians are the hardest-working people on earth. They go to meetings. They sit in meetings. They leave meetings. They are photographed each step of the way—including getting out of automobiles before the meetings and getting into automobiles after the meetings. All that moving around and staying awake isn’t easy. Aides on the left, right, front and behind get themselves in trouble, implicating everyone else in the game. One wonders how many of the politicians would rather be members of the Giants baseball team. Probably all of them, if the truth were known.