JPgomi

Trash Picking For A Foreign Language!


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エガちゃん2:50 – Complete Idiot or Comic Genius?

Comedy is a strange thing.  It takes on many forms around the world.  It can be something as simple as a kick in the groin or as complex as an analogy that touches on socially taboo issues.  On the spectrum of world comedy I’m not so sure where the Japanese variety sits.  Unlike the chicken and that road, it seems the idea of “two guys walking into a bar” never crossed the Pacific.  Although present in Japan, the concept of stand-up comedy is far from mainstream.  Comedy in Japan is more of a performance based on physical humor and subtle cultural nuances.  Perhaps this is a derivative of the classic 能(Nou) and 歌舞伎(kabuki) styles of theater.  Maybe it’s just a matter of social differences and taste.  I hypothesize that the Japanese want an outrageous and silly escape from the realities of life.  However, many American audiences enjoy irony, cynicism, and a very brutal examination of the world we inhabit.  (These are very overarching umbrella concepts in order to frame the large and complex idea of geographical-comic-differences.)  In order to explore this idea of Japanese humor, lets do a Comic-Case-Study on one of my favorite comedians; エガちゃん。

What do you get when you combine tights, the conservative nature of Japanese society, and a skinny-middle-aged-mentally-ill-weirdo who has no qualms about showing his package to anyone and everyone?  Comic Genius? Idiocracy? Television Gold? Dead Brain Cells? Piss-your-pants-comedy? Insanity? Or plane old shock, awe, and disgust?  Well, maybe you get a little bit of all of that, which is actually exactly what I want.  エガちゃん, or Egashira 2:50 (江頭2:50 Egashira niji gojuppunn), is kind of like a mix between Gilbert Godfrey, Richard Simmons, Chevy Chase, and Steve-O.  Quite the potent cocktail of a human being huh?

How does one explain the success and popularity of エガちゃん?  Although it isn’t hard to see, at least in my opinion, why he’s likable, popularity in Japan is often ultra-fleeting.  “Here today gone tomorrow” is given an entirely different meaning.  However, despite the media saying he is crude and based only on shock value, he remains a popular character on mainstream tv.  So this begs the question – “Is he a complete idiot or a comic genius.”  In regards to this style of comedy I think you can be a complete idiot without being a comic genius, but I’m not so sure you can be a comic genius without being a complete idiot.  By Complete Idiot I mean; Stupid Ass.  And by Stupid Ass I mean; that rare and magical combination of physical presence and human energy which makes a person larger than life.  In that way エガちゃん is both a complete idiot and a comic genius.  Egashira san, like so many other performers, is one of a kind.  His brilliance lies in the fact that no one could do what he does.  The Ega chan formula can not be reproduced.  As a performance based comic he relies heavily on his body and physical image.  It’s that frail, feeble, and somewhat grotesque physical image that encapsulates much of his character and uniqueness.   You can say what you want of is comedy and methods, but there is no denying he’s one of a kind.

Comedians like this give a different window into the world of Japanese culture and human nature in general. These type of loud-mouthed-boisterous-loose-cannon-antics, are not at all what one would expect. Although through the years the peculiarities of Japanese TV and their inconsistency with the rest of the culture, has been noticed.

When first delving into the stylings of エガちゃん, you should be aware of certain themes and inevitable happenings.  As mentioned earlier he is keen on getting naked wherever and whenever possible.  Thankfully these antics are always blurred out so it’s really nothing more than a pg13 movie.  He usually tears his tights off and jokingly attacks the women around him.  It sounds much worse than it is.  (As a side note:  I find it interesting that Pee Wee Herman flashed some people and he goes to Jail.  エガちゃん does it and he’s given buckets of cash and the laughter and admiration of thousands of loyal fans.)   In addition to his nude shenanigans you will almost always see エガちゃん do his trade-mark ドン。This involves him sticking his arm down the front of his tights and thrusting his fist into the air while he screams ドン。 This ドン(don) refers to テポドン -Taepodon; Taep’o-dong; North Korean ballistic missile.  This is obviously an analogy alluding to… well I think you get the idea if I said he’s acting like there is a rocket in his pants.

A short mash-up of some great moments

These two videos are of エガちゃん doing characters which is more like traditional Stand-Up. Maybe???!!

エガちゃん YouTube playlist.

Just another piece of JP gomi. ドーン


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Ice Hockey In Japan: What the Puck?

It’s the end of August, which means it’s time to say “さよなら summer”.  Mother Nature, or in physics-nerd-talk the Earth’s Rotational Axis, says pack away your pool noodles, fold up your beach chairs, and pile in the last of those Ball Park Franks.  Baseball, bikini’s, and boardwalk snacks are coming to an end.  But hey, we had a good run right?  If we’ve learned anything from Monty Python it’s that “Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government.”  No, no, no, that’s not it.  It’s that we should “always look on the bright side of life.”  That’s more like it.

So whats the bright side of summer being over?  For starters, you can dust of all those hoodies, jeans, and track jackets that have been discarded in your closet like an island of misfit toys.  Another biggy is that bugs will disappear and the chemical-chloroform -dance of leaves and light will begin.  Is there anything better than walking under pastel colored leaves, the embers of a dieing fire, on a crisp autumn morning?  I can think of only one thing.  Ironing out that Couch-Cushion-A#*-Groove in preparation for the mother of all sports seasons.

For me this means Hockey.  That’s right football-junkies, I said slap-shot-stick-save-drop-your-gloves-Broadstreet-Bullies-backyard-knuckle-puck-pond-Hockey.  What’s that you say, the NHL might go on strike?  What the Puck!   Hmm… I should have thought about this before opening my big mouth.

Well now what do we do?

Don’t worry I have a plan-B.

This isn’t that idea about dressing up beavers in hockey equipment again is it?

No, I swear this will work.

It turns out there is an Ice Hockey League in Asia.  He shoots he scores!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The AL, short for Asia League Ice Hockey, is a decade old this year.  The league is composed of 7 teams from Korea, China, and Japan.   Four of the teams, the Ice Bucks, the Nippon Paper Cranes, the Oji Eagles, and the Free Blades, are located in Japan.

Although the AL could never replace the NHL or my love for the Flyers, these teams are an interesting and worthy stand-in.  As the Olympics illustrated, one of the best ways to bring different countries together is athletics.  The competitive spirit and fun derived from sports transcends linguistic and cultural boundaries.  For the most part the rules of a game change very little with location.  When I would ride my bike around the Olympic built, 駒沢公園, I’d see that the Japanese had adopted almost every world sport.  Some of the more surprising discoveries were Lacrosse, Rugby, and American Football.  However, as a life-long hockey player I was hoping to find some Japanese-Hanson-Brother-counter-parts.  Although the sport is still widely unknown, I think the AL represents a bright future for international collaboration and the sport of Hockey.  In reality, other than a few countries, Hockey has always been the underdog of the athletic world.  Perhaps we like it that way.

Map of team locations

To help spread the love I attached some interesting links to sites about hockey in Asia and Japan.

Asia League Ice Hockey main site.

http://www.alhockey.jp/

Asia League Facebook Page

http://www.facebook.com/ALhockey

Japan Ice Hockey Federation

http://www.jihf.or.jp/index.php

Japan Ice hockey Federation facebook page

http://www.facebook.com/jihf.or.jp

Overview of Japanese Ice Hockey Arena’s.  location/pictures/history/details

http://www.geocities.jp/muguken1975/hockey_arena-jpn.htm

5 rinks in Tokyo.  Google Maps the locations.  Many are closer to major stations than I thought.

http://www.cnngo.com/tokyo/play/tokyo-best-ice-rinks-215479


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Street Fighter Meets Marketing Mascots(Fight!)

Question:  What happens when you take Ronald McDonald’s body and infuse it with the psychotic mentality of The Joker and the physically destructive capabilities of a Super Saiyan?

Answer:  Awesomeness happens, that’s what.

Did you ever wish you could play an awesome Street Fighter style video game with your favorite, or perhaps hated, marketing mascots?  I know I have.  What could be better than using these oh-so-nostalgic and beloved characters to kick the advertising S*#! out of each other. ( It’s like Christmas morning for a communist.)  Well thanks to METAJAN that wish has become a reality.  The art in this series depicts what would happen if these meek mascots were taken from the glitz and glam of commercials, billboards, and magazines, then thrown into basic combat training, only to be told they now must fight to the death.

Ronald “The Big Mac” McDonald and The “Greasy Bandit” Hamburgler are throwing down a tag-team “I’m-loving-it-smackdown”.  Meanwhile Colonel “The Kentucky Killer” Sanders is taking names and kickin A#%’s with his secret recipe of 11 finishing moves.

The Big Mac

The Big C

Out of all of the individual characters my favorite is still The Boss from Boss Coffee. I love Boss coffee and the mascot is… well he’s a “Boss”.  That piece of art currently resides as the desktop background of my computer.  And yes, every time I open my computer I do feel like a Boss.

The Boss (not Bruce Springsteen)

I’d love to hear from people on who there favorite characters are, what their ideal team would be, who they wish was in the game, or what match-ups would be the most fun to watch fight.

I’ve included a link to the original article and a link to the METAJAN site.  On the METAJAN site there are characters such as the LEGO figure that weren’t included in the article.

『ストリートファイター』にカーネルサンダースやドナルドやキティちゃんが登場!? 作者にお話を伺ってみたよ! | Pouch[ポーチ].

METAJAN


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Summer Japanese Jam-sesh (DOPENESS×BOSE×QN)

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a musician I’ve been there.  The beers flowing, a warm breeze rolls through like a blanket over a sleeping child, and all is right with the world.  Everything clicks, connects, and the senses mingle releasing one’s thoughts from past and future.  That moment and that night, the next note wrong or right, are all that matter.  People join in as new friends of the song.  Everyone’s banging or tapping something regardless of if they can play.  The rhythms right and the Jam-sesh is on.

For me this Jam-session video is the epitome of that end of summer vibe.  I know the summer isn’t over yet but a Friday in august gives me that feel.  I did some research on the place where this video takes place.  It’s pretty much my heaven.  It is so epic that it requires its own post which I intend to do ASAP.  I actually need time to consider whether or not I should reveal this precious gem’s location.  I don’t want my heavenly paradise crowded up with tourists now do I.  Hmmm… on second thought I’d be a tourist as well.  But then again I could always call the universal law of “Finders Keepers.”  I’m in a good mood though so lets see what happens.

The video features, as the title illustrates, Dopeness, Bose, and QN.  I’ve dabbled with a bunch of their stuff and find most of it to have a killer style.  However, I’m no expert in their bodies of work.  I’m not sure who the musicians are in the video but it really doesn’t matter. They hit that flow that usually comes around when no one has a camera and the only time the jam will ever be heard is the first and last time its played.

Thank 神様 someone had a camera.

In the background of this video you’ll see U-zhaan, a world renowned Tabla player who studied and lived in India.

AP_Drum_U-Zhaan“U-zhaan (Hironori Yuzawa) is considered to be one of Japan’s foremost tabla players. He is a disciple of the legendary tabla maestro Pandit Anindo Chatterjee.  He has also studied seriously with the world renowned maestro Ustad Zakir Hussain. U-zhaan’s many projects and collaborations, span the wide array of genre in Japan. From the traditional music of Japan and Classical music of India, to modern fusion and contemporary music, his tasteful and inspiring musicianship shines through, touching everyone who comes to listen.”  http://u-zhaan.com/ (The above is an excerpt from http://tyburhoe.com/the_tabla_community/tabla_players/index.html.)

My favorite part of the entire video, besides everything, is the clearly drunk girl yelling in reply ” 楽しい、楽しい” at 2:03.

Just another piece of JP gomi.


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MegwinTV at The Olympics Going for Gold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s been a few days since I’ve posted anything.  But its for good reason.  The man has been busy.  Busy doing what you ask?  I’ve been rummaging through the dumpsters and dive bars of the internet to bring you half eaten sandwiches and Iced Beer that’s served in dirty mugs.  I’ve got a little bit of everything for no one in particular.  Some things up on deck:  New and old music I’ve been into lately, TV shows, YouTube channels, an assortment of wild and wacky websites, and maybe even an unmentionable or two.  But for now, since we are all in the Olympic spirit, I’ll start off with something topical.

All right that had absolutely nothing to do with anything.  I just think that’s the greatest video that will ever exist. It proves that if you search long and hard enough you can eventually find the meaning to life on the internet.

What I really wanted to get to was this:

 

I really want to like this megwin guy but the English subtitles are killing me.  But his YouTube channel has an insane amount of videos ranging from the purely stupid, to the educational, to the Da F-#* was that?  But his channel definitely makes a great internet TV.  I just flip through his videos till I see something I like.  Plus everything is kept short to appease all the ADD having internet roamers out there.
Just another piece of JP gomi.

 

 

 

 


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Bloodthirsty Butchers

I love this band.  But I also hate them because they came up with an awesome band name that I wish I had thought of myself.  The alliteration, the imagery; even the way your mouth moves when you say the words “Bloodthirsty Butchers.” It’s incredible!  With such a great name the music has some big shoes to fill.  Luckily the tunes are up to the challenge.  This style of Japanese rock is hard to even describe.  In my limited writing capacity I could never do the music justice.  But I’ll try to give my 2 cents.  At times you can hear hints of Shonen Knife, Sonic Youth, Pearl Jam, Cat Power, The Breeders, and a spectrum of other bands that blend into an emotionally powerful sound.  I have no basis for saying this but I feel not many people know of this group.  If that’s true, I hope I can introduce this awesome band to a few people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This last one is the play list I usually just put on and let it ride.


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Cute Girls + Calendar = Japanese Learners Dream (美女暦)

美女暦 - びじょごよみ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inspiration, motivation, visually-cruel-and-unusual-punishment; call it what you will but I call  美女暦 a Japanese learners dream.  What’s not to like?  No seriously, tell me.  Go ahead, I dare you! That’s what I thought, you got nothing.  The 美女暦 not only tells you the date but does it in face-melting-kawaii-style.  Some may think “this is only useful for guys, and weird guys at that.”  But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.  I first stumbled upon this site because the pictures of some of the girls were in really interesting bars and cafe’s.  In many cases its like getting a tour of an area of Japan by a beautiful private guide.  In addition, for those into Japanese fashion the pictures offer magazine quality shots of what the girls are rocking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just clicking around the site you’ll probably pick up a thing or two.  But for me the real benefit of this site in relation to learning Japanese are the blogs and videos associated with each girl.  Although the weekends on the calendar are off days, that still offers hundreds of new sources of media a year.  I particularly like the YouTube videos because the girls speak in such a natural, low, somewhat mumbled manner that is completely different than a scripted TV episode.

 

Their twitter feed makes it easy to stay informed and connect to the relevant media.  Below is the main page link and the twitter feed link.

美女暦twitter

 

美女暦(BIJO ごよみ)| bijogoyomi.com.

Just another piece of JP gomi.