Archive for February, 2009

Japanese Culture: Television

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

In today’s society one can tell a lot about a culture by watching it’s TV programs.

I read something to that effect at least. I have also read some studies to that effect. The effects of “Sex and the City on promiscuity of Modern Women” or something to that effect. Also the influence of things like Jerry Springer on your average American and not to mention Oprah. If you want the actual studies: go read a scientific blog or smtgh.

Japan, as with many other things, is a bit weird in this respect. And while I can see certain links between western television and cultural symptoms I have a far harder time with this for Japanese shows. I have given you some taste of Japanese TV already with “Pithagoras suwichi” and the “Algorithm dance” in Wally’s Blog – the Youtube edition. But maybe I should delve a bit deeper into the subject. Now I don’t see the link partly because I don’t understand half of what’s going on, it is true, but also because well . . .

Let me just give you examples and you can tell me why I have a harder time linking Japanese TV to reality

First of all, let me show some of the influence of Japanese TV outside of Japan
The algorithm march on grand scale
OK, if I were in prison in the Philippines I would probably need to find some kind of way to spend my time. And at least they didn’t go crazy with the idea.

I’ll just point you in the direction of some other gems available on Japanese Television.

The Zuikin Girls managed to score big combining exercise and learning useful English at the same time.
Click here or here for a real show fragment. And can you really find fault with their approach? It combines a lot of things popular in Japan. Cute women, exercise, learning English and poor plots. We’re basically only missing the hentai tentacle porn in that show.

A different genre is the gameshow. Now in the west we have such things as the weakest link, wheel of fortune and (gulp) Lingo. Then there is All you need is love, the mega blubber power race and so on and so forth.

The Japanese have this. or this. And there’s this bit for the people who thought the first one isn’t funny enough. Same show.

Sport is important in Japan. Same as it is here but regarding different sports. Well, unless you are American. Seems the Japanese are as obsessed with baseball and golf as you lot are. But there are still significant differences.
as shown here.

Other interesting gameshow topics:
It’s like “wie van de 3” but different

There’s also the gameshow where they have to find obscure objects in people’s houses and they get shocked if the other team finds it first. But I need a link to that, can’t find the damn show on youtube.

Educational Children’s TV
Very important that they learn this properly.

OK, all of this is just wacky TV. I’ll admit that. We have plenty of those already, Japan isn’t unique in that respect. Who would, in their right mind, try to extrapolate relevance to society from that.

So I give you

Hard Gay

I dare you.
I double dare you

Analyse that!

Writer’s Block

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

Unfortunately not only here but in my matlab files I haven’t written anything constructive in weeks.


Quote of the day:

Its called ‘little green man theory’. You can’t definitively say that there are no little green men out there in space with ray guns coming to suck our brains out, but you can say that we haven’t found them yet and thus it is not likely that they exist.

However, if there is definitive evidence that little green men do exist and they do in fact have rayguns and are infact coming to suck our brains out; video footage, interviews with the aliens and people laying on the side of the road with their brains sucked out, then you can prove that they do exist. Regardless of how many people looked into a telescope and didn’t see flying saucers.

– Anon

How green?

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009


Well No. Actually.


It’s one of the small things that keeps popping up in conversations regarding Japan.
I have mentioned before that some of the culture just sorta gets assimilated into yourself and you don’t really think about it anymore ’till it somehow comes up in conversation. And then, because you haven’t been thinking about it you don’t know how to present easy proof of your claims.

Traffic lights are a good example.
Pretty much all the countries I have been to have the same colour scheme.
Though the yellow is largely the same it is called orange in some countries.

See? Pretty much the same as they look where you’re reading this.

Not the Japanese though. The Japanese have Red-Yellow and BLUE lights.

Now, some of the people that read this have been to Japan.
These people may frown.

This, is a Japanese traffic light

Blue right?

OK, OK, I know I’m the colour blind one but that is definitely blue.
Blue as the grass.
Blue as the trees.

You see, the Japanese were not confronted with the concept “green” until after WWII. 青 (blue and green) was all they had and all they needed. The sea was blue, the sky was blue and so was the grass.
With the American occupation post WWII the concept of green was introduced and with it came both
緑 (green) and グリーン (guriin (Japanese phonetic green)). Actually 緑 had been around a while but it came into its own as a real colour instead of a shade of 青. And with the definition of green being in place 青 became just blue. Well. Mostly so as you can see.

Now, for those of you that remember my post regarding counting, you will remember the Japanese will count things differently depending on what it is one is counting. With colours it is much the same. A T-shirt with the colour of the go-signal on a traffic light will be ç·‘ whereas the traffic lights will continue to tell us that “信号機は青くなった” or “The traffic light has become blue”

For those of you of little faith btw.


Quote of the day:

Everything you learn in Engineering school is obsolete by the time you finish. Except abstract math, and that you will never use

– Raphaelle