Japanese TV

Here’s a funny blog post about Japanese TV:

Looks like Japanese TV has remained pretty much the same since I’ve been there.

I actually like Japanese variety shows, or to be more specific, the segments they show during it. It’s fun to watch a Japanese dude staying with some tribe in Africa hunting lions or cute, newly-wed housewives around the world cooking their husband a home-style breakfast in their cuisine.

One particular interesting bit I remember was when they compared the total monetary value of gifts (called 貢ぎ物) given to Shinjuku’s top host and hostess. It looked like the top host would win with a luxury car when at the very end the hostess remembers, “Oh yeah, that condo I’m living in was also a gift.”

What I CANNOT STAND in variety TV is watching the reactions and discussions by celebrities after they watch the segments. WHY AM I WATCHING OTHER PEOPLE WATCHING TV?? Maybe I should gather some friends and make a video of us watching celebrities watching TV. Then I can make a video of us again watching that video. Geesh.

Still, in my opinion, Japanese TV is way better than US programming. Also, I think they were doing reality shows before they really took off in the US and it never seemed to descend to the level of trash like “Flavor of Love”. For instance, 「あいのり」 started over 6 months before the first season of Survivor (ugh).

By the way, my wife LOVES London Hearts.

12 thoughts on “Japanese TV

  1. Korean TV is similar in a lot of ways, including the part about people watching TV. However, I find Korean TV to be more entertaining than Japanese TV personally. Except for the reality shows. Those are boring like watching a video of a guy watching a video of his wife watching a video of the two of them watching a video of Bob Ross watching a video of Bob Ross painting a picture of a man watching a video of…

  2. I like Korean and Japanese drama…I haven’t watched the variety shows as much though…

  3. I wonder if a Japanese version of Hell’s Kitchen would be possible or well-received..

  4. I love the Japanese variety shows. They do the most random things which are just so interesting to watch.

  5. Ah but perhaps my favorite example of quality Korean TV (I’m being serious) was a 3-part mini series of a popular variety show. After completing a bunch of various tasks each of the 6 hosts were divided into teams. And after randomly choosing envelopes they were divided into smaller teams, one guy even being alone. One team took a bus to a hotel to eat dinner, one team took a high-speed train to Pusan to get on a ferry to an island to eat dinner, one team took a bus to another city to eat dinner at a hotel. And the last team (I forget how) went to a restaurant at the top of a hotel.

    One hotel team was a loner who got a free 5-star French cuisine, but had to ride a Razor back to the set. The Pusan team took half a day to get to the island (and of course had to get back). The other hotel team had a choice of red jajangmyun (black bean sauce noodles) or white jjambbong (seafood, veggies, and noodles in spicy soup). When the food came out the jjambbong was served in a big white bowl and the jajangmyun was actually something like Cup Noodle, packaged in a red container of course. The restaurant team, one guy, found out the restaurant didn’t have his required meal on the menu, so he was given permission to call a Chinese delivery place and have food delivered to his seat at the restaurant. Dessert had to be drank through a 50-foot coil straw.

    I’m sure I’ve got some things mixed up, but you get the idea. I think only the Razor guy was actually in Seoul, everyone else went way south. lol

    The show also took advantage of places that shared the same name to increase tension and surprise. I.e., the name of the island has the same as a nearby district in Seoul.

  6. I haven’t really watched much Japanese TV except for anime, but I have watched a few of those ‘celebrities playing games’ segments on youtube and found some of them rather entertaining. One in particular is the 罰 ゲーム segment on one of those variety shows with 5 guys. A certain amount of the guys goes to a certain location and are not allowed to laugh or smile at anything the entire time or else they get punished. Then they are surrounded by things that are designed to make them laugh or smile.

    You can see one of the 6 or so I know about at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THXPQ2vsrn8&feature=PlayList&p=110D42BEB44DA47C&index=0

  7. I love watching Japanese shows too and it amazes me how appreciative Japanese are. Thanks for sharing. This site might interest some of your friends.

  8. If you want to see videos of people watching videos, just go to YouTube and search for the word “reaction”. There you go, more videos of people watching videos than you can stand.

    As for television, I don’t even watch American television anymore.

  9. I find those variety shows to be nice, but are there really high quality shows like The Sopranos, Dexter, John Adams, House, BSG or whatever to be found on Japanese TV? Sure there are really good anime out there, but I’ve never heard of a really good live action Japanese TV show. (OK, I know that really good shows like The Sopranos are rare, and only seem to air on premium channels, but it’s still TV). And I’ll admit I love the crazy wackiness of some variety segments (they’re all over You Tube), but yeah, aside from all this ‘reality-TV’ (which I hate for the most part) I found most J-Dramas (and most K-Dramas for that matter) kinda lacking in the production quality department. Maybe I’m just spoiled by the American obsession with High-Def multi-million dollar productions or something….

    Honestly, the only Japanese shows I’ve seen that matches or exceeds some of the best American shows seem to be high quality anime like Eureka Seven or Mushishi.

  10. I am not big on Japanese variety shows myself, but I have to admit some of their other programming is good. Our little girl (half-American, half-Japanese) likes the kids programming on NHK quite a bit, and I think it’s a lot better than what I grew up with in the US (Sesame Street aside, which is a great show).

    Funny you should mention Ainori. My wife *still* watches that and keeps track on the web after all these years. I watched the first few episodes, but after they churned through the first few members, it got boring to me quick.

    I do like the comedy shows or anything by Okamura. That guy is a genuine comic genius. Miss めちゃいけ though. 🙁

  11. I have to completely agree with you — Japanese programming is by far more entertaining than North American programming. The biggest thing I hate about Japanese TV is trying to explain what it’s like to people.

    After reading over that guys blog, it’s kind of easy to see a trend in his posts (err, rants). Seems like you could throw him into the category of foreigners that only hang out with other foreigners and are too scared/close minded to actually open up and accept things for what they are there.

    @Doug M – I wish your wife was still watching it. That means it would actually be airing still! The final episode was March 2009 =(

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