So, two things. One that`s kind of a funny look on Japanese culture, the other that`s more introspective, personal stuff (which I`ll put behind a cut, so you can be spared 😉 ).
Recently I`ve been trying to learn a bit more about Japanese comedy. My attempts to find out about Japanese culture through the television have been completely useless — every time I turn it on, it`s another goddamn food show. Seriously, almost every show on (regular broadcast) Japanese television involves people traveling around, eating things, and saying how delicious they are, with D-list celebrities superimposed in a box in the lower corner, nodding their heads in agreement. Every other word is `oishii` or `umai`. It`s frustrating.
So I set off to youtube to find some comedy bits. Most of the comedy I saw fell into two categories — bizarro hidden camera/reality skits (a la Hard Gay, the Don`t Laugh guys, and other increasingly cruel, game show-esque comedies), and owarai genin (comedians). The camera/reality skits were actually pretty funny, but the owarai genin were just baffling. Let me talk about the three popular ones I found:
- The Touch (aka Za Tacchi). These are two short, kind of ugly, weird looking twins. Their trademark is putting their hand out like a karate chop, and saying a word three times, in a specific rhythm. Usually, it`s `chotto, chotto chotto,` or `doumo, doumo doumo.` I CANNOT figure out why these guys are funny. Everyone knows who they are. They`re just short and weird and extremely lame. I have asked around a dozen Japanese people, ranging from 8 years old to 80 years old, and the only answer I`ve gotten is, `culture.` Apparently the rhythm and their manner are just hysterical to Japanese people. I don`t know.
- Yasua. This guy used to be a lawyer. He`s got this incredibly weird overgrown bowl cut that extends about a half a foot to the left and right of his head. His thing is to give the thumbs up and sort of cycle his hands up and down, grinning like a maniac. He looks like a complete doof. I guess that, in and of itself, is funny, but… Japanese people seem to find it hilarious. No idea.
- Taka and Toshi. These two will get up and perform this incredibly fast skit, which basically has one of them chiding the other for doing anything vaguely western. Basically, they`ll pretend to go eat, and one guy will order `cherri pai` (cherry pie), and the other guy will yell `Oubeika!` (westerner) and hit him. He`ll pretend to cut his pie with a knife — oubeika! Say `hello`– oubeika! This was kind of funny, but I don`t think for the same reasons Japanese people thought it was funny.
Alright, onto the other stuff.