Trash Picking For A Foreign Language!

Leave a comment

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


Leave a comment

America, Route66, and 山下智久

Route 66











Sometimes when your fully entrenched in learning a language you forget to look around once and a while.  “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Beuller  Although I try to keep an open and socially aware mind, I know I’m often guilty of throwing on the Japanese blinders.  In a way this is good because I replace many of the junk-food aspects of American society with cultural and linguistic knowledge.  There is a difference between knowing whats going on in the world and simply tweeting/facebooking/blogging about every tragedy-made-into-a-late-night-talk-show-farce.  Ignoring most of that Noise, its not news, actually gives me a clearer and more stable perspective on the world.  Surprising what happens when you read books huh?  Any way I’m just blabbering now.  The point of all of this is that when you are learning a language to a high degree its easy to forget how great your own country is.  One of the best ways I’ve found to reinvigorate my home grown love, which in turn spurs my global love, is to view my country through the eyes of a foreigner.


It’s fun and you can’t help but think, “Yea that’s right, we done it, word to big bird.”  Maybe some people just call that emotion pride.  But Buddhist teachings warn of the  dangers of pride.  Or was that master Yoda?  Any way here’s a cool show/documentary I found of Tomohisa Yamashita driving a 1980 C-20 Chevy across historic Route 66.  Like all Japanese idols this guy is like horse shit; meaning he’s everywhere.  That was just an old term of speech I thought would fit nicely with the western theme of Americana.  Enjoy! America!

I tried to find a picture that looked least like it would be on a 13 yr old Japanese girls bedroom wall. It was pretty much impossible.


For the record, he actually seemed like a decent dude who legitimately was interested in learning about the world and its people.  Had to clarify because usually I have a hate for all pop idols regardless of nationality.


120513 ルート66.たったひとりのアメリカ.特別編_在线视频观看_土豆网视频 20120513 ルート66 山下智久.


Just another piece of JP gomi.

Leave a comment

Japanese Travel Show: 世界の果てまでイッテQ!_

Of all the sources of media I use to learn Japanese, 世界の果てまでイッテQ! is my favorite.  The subject of the show is an automatic winner in my book.  Travel!  Who doesn’t like travel?  In a way that is the real root and enjoyment of learning a language.  All the hard work and studying pays off when you get to travel to the motherland and flex your linguistic chops.  Unlike other travel shows, 世界の果てまでイッテQ! has a style that makes it appealing to any audience.  For me it has always been the go to source of Japanese when I’m feeling bored, frustrated, and generally just burnt out on learning a language.

It’s key strengths are:

– Wide demographic appeal

– Plenty of slang and urban-pop-Japanaese

– Extensive topic coverage

– Multiple hosts with varying styles of speech

– Tons of large and brightly colored subtitles

– Language difficulty has something to offer beginners – advanced

– Episode length makes it easy to put on and leave minimizing distractions

– All around a 超面白い show

Below is a link to an 84 video playlist of everything Sekai no hatemade itteQ.  I was going to post individual episodes that I love and discuss a specific learning topic from each, but the playlist is so well put together.  I may still choose to do an individual episode review, but for now enjoy.


Just another piece of JP gomi.