Being a 24 year old man I don’t often interact with the under tens (apart from the ones I teach of course). Next door to the school I teach at on Saturdays is some kind of gym for young kids. One of the receptionists at the school said that it was where “they train the leaders of tomorrow”, I really hope that sentence was lost in translation because I’m weirded out by it.
Anyway, the school shares a toilet with this gym thing and when the boys enter it and I’m in there, it leads to a number of strange and conflicting reactions from them. It’s always some sort of big deal for them. Most walk in, see me, leave instantly and start yelling “Gaikokujin da! Gaikokujin da!” (There’s a foreigner! there’s a foreigner!). I have had other reactions, once a boy came in didn’t notice me until it was too late, walked into a cubicle, didn’t shut the door and just hid in there. He tried to stay perfectly still just in case, like a T Rex, my vision was based on movement. My favourite reaction though was of the kid who came up to me while I was washing my hands and started to bombard me with questions. “HelloHelloWhat’syournameWhereareyoufromI’mfromJapan” I tried to respond to him in Japanese, he didn’t understand.
I’m not sure of the point I’m trying to make here but I’m sure that by the time I was 6 or 8 or whatever I wasn’t so amazed by those who looked different to me, I guess that is what happens if you grow in such an homogeneous society.
I wonder what Japan’s leaders of tomorrow will turn out like?
Whenever I feel a little down I always listen to this song. It’s just so full of positivity, which is unusual for a Shiina Ringo song. With her music, no matter how much I enjoy it, I always get the feeling like she is getting ready to stab someone (herself, that girl, that man, other band members, me) in the back, there is always an indescribable harshness to it but here there is none of that.
At first I didn’t like this song. The main thing the put me off is her brother’s singing, I just don’t like it much. But when I was EXACTLY in the right mood it just clicked, everything about it shines so incandescently. These days it really does make me smile and bob my head. I caught myself doing just that in a café the other day, while studying a bit of Japanese (but mainly in my own little world, just listening) and an old lady started to stare at me. I quite like the video too despite Ringo looking drunk through the whole thing and Junpei being dressed as some kind of wizard, the cat and mouse on the baton always makes me grin. There are also sparklers!
I recently bought myself a copy of the game Winning Eleven 2008. I held back for quite some time due to all the bad press that it had attracted. Winning Eleven has so many great memories for me, my first two years at university (and beyond) were largely spent playing that while having in depth discussions about nothing.
I have bought just about every major version since 2002 and with that I noticed how they really haven’t evolved the series at all for quite some time. Even worse this latest one just doesn’t seem to be very polished. All sorts of frustrating shit goes on with the players AI and I remember back in the day even players like Emre looked good but in this one he looks like Mr Generic, he doesn’t even have a mole (although I do have a thing for disappearing moles). The most disappointing thing about the series’ development though is that they have force fed the commentator, Jon Kabira, Ritalin.
Jon Kabira is the ultimate legend. In the earlier titles he used to provide such wonderful, colourful commentary. He even used to get excited over a back pass and not only did he shout GOL for minutes in a South American manner but would burst into song when a goal was scored. He would also say a few of the player’s names in interesting ways, such are rolling the R in Rooney to breaking point and pronouncing Ashely Cole in a Geordie accent. Now however, the commentary is just so dull. When a goal is scored the best he can come up with is a simple “Goal desu”. Zzzzzzzzzzz. I don’t care if he now has two co-commentators, they are all as dull as dishwater.
Kabira does seem like a very interesting chappy, originally from Okinawa he is half American and a top breakfast DJ. He has apparently been commentating on the Japanese UEFA Champion’s League coverage for quite some time, along with his brother. Also, and I almost had a joy explosion when I realised this, he does the narration for the greatest programme on Japanese TV, 英語でしゃべらナイト (Eigo De Shabera Naito). More on that for another post though.
So I’ll leave you with a collection of awesome Winning Eleven commentary samples from the great man himself. I’ve actually put these on the internet before but never in this lovingly presented flash player.
If you are anything like me you will absolutely love the song Debaser by the Pixies. Here is a word of warning however, don’t ever try to sing it at karaoke.
It will sound terrible, everything that makes that song truly ace has been removed by the power of midi. Even it you think, like I did, that you can’t sing so therefore Frank Black’s screaming will be possible to pull off, just don’t do it. There is a lot more to that song than a screaming man.
Obviously all the above is irrelevant if Kim Deal in the room to sing it with you.
I ruddy love Doctor Who, I really do. Most people from my generation missed out on it, when I was a child it was the dark days of the nineties when there was no Who on telly. I really don’t know how I got into it (maybe it was my dad going on and on about The Brain of Morbius every other minute) but every Saturday I would trapes down to my local library and rent another video of old Doctor Who adventures. These old stories really do have a bad rep but I think some of them are fantastic. Sure, some were so bloody bad looking back on it, but others, they were great. Doctor Who was always full of great ideas, whether or not the production team had the budget or the the skill to put them into reality. All of the different actors playing The Doctor had their moments too (yes, even Colin Baker), you often hear older folk go on about their Doctor (i.e. the Doctor they grew up with) but they are all my Doctor.
Trying to explain Doctor Who to my Japanese friends is difficult. Although they do have police boxes (koban) in Japan, they are very different looking things. I do like starting with:
“It’s about a man who travels through time and space……. in a koban!”
The looks I get at this point always amuse me. That’s when I add the bombshell:
“The koban is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.”
At this point I usually get the feeling that they think I’m making it all up, so I tell them more.
“He is an alien who can die 12 times.”
Just to sow the seeds of doubt further, I decide to tell them about his mortal enemies.
“Daleks!?”, they say.
Roger Moore style eyebrows are being raised now but I press on.
“Yeah, they are the most evil beings in the universe, imagine pepper pots with a plunger for an arm and and ray gun.”
Just as they digest this image I finish off with:
“Oh, and they have a problem with stairs.”
After this exposé people seem to be interested in watching it (maybe they are just humouring me) and are genuinely impressed (or shocked, I’m not sure) that it has run on and off for 45 years.
So, Doctor Who is pretty much unheard of over here but it is actually on Japanese TV! Going under the name of ドクター フー (Dokutaa Fuu) and it airs on Tuesdays (or at least it did). The dub is kind of bad though Daleks yell out “抹殺せよ” (Masatsu Seyo) which kind of means “It erases” according to babelfish so it kind of looses the impact of shouting one word over and over.
I tried to find a half decent clip of Japanese Daleks on youtube but could only get Cybermen, which everybody knows aren’t as good.