Thursday, March 22, 2007

Musings on Japan#3: Terrible terebi

Tokyo is the most exciting city in the World. To some extent, the reason for this must be because the free-to-air television is just plain awful, so people are forced to devise ingenious ways of avoiding it. I will never complain about British and Australian television ever again. If you look up banal in the dictionary, a selection of “Nihon no terebi” highlights will be flickering up at you in glaring colours.

Every show seemed to involve either cooking or comedy. Or, if you were very lucky - "comedy cooking".

It was like watching "Ready, Steady, Cook", 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 10 channels.

I have always championed the genius of Ainsley Harriet (even if it is deeply buried in a quagmire of dullness and wrapped in a thick gauze of stupidity). But even I couldn't stand Ainsley's brand of hilarity for more than 30 minutes a day. Japanese television has Harriet to the power of a thousand, and it is all in a different language.

Despite the language barrier, there appeared to be only be 2 words you needed to know to get the most out of your viewing pleasure: "oishi" and "sugoi". The former word means "delicious", the latter means "amazing". Apparently, everything was either delicious or amazing, or, if you were very lucky, a combination of both. This would refer to anything from a bowl of plain rice to road kill.

Occassionally, we were given a reprieve with K1 fighting, which pits large, powerful men against other large powerful men with the victor being the last large powerful man standing. But they took it to the extreme by taking Akebono out of mothballs. He is a former Yokozuna – a Sumo grand master, part of a proud sporting tradition. However, this lumbering giant was reduced to slapping at the air while his lithe opponents fancy stepped around him. His only hope was if they tripped on their own fancy footwork, and he pinned them with the belly flop of doom.
To make matters worse, a little man from NHK - the state television station - came around once a month and asked for money - there was actually a license fee for this?

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