I must have been wrong about the jetlag, because I think I actually have some. I was absolutely exhausted last night, and went to sleep around 11. Got up around 5AM, and stayed up since I couldn’t go back to bed. Decided to start off my day. I’m pretty sure this is jetlag rather than just my sleep schedule being off, because usually there’s no way I would even operate with just 5 hours of sleep, unless absolutely necessary. I spent pretty much the entire day in the Ooimachi (大井町) area of town, which is south of Shinagawa. Why did I go there? Because I knew there was a group of department stores, and it would be a good place to start my work research. Actually doing the work, I feel like some kind of spy or detective, which sounds retarded but is actually kind of fun. I have to snap pictures of the store displays and product selections, without anyone seeing, of course, and then I was talking to a store manager today and two other employees trying to get some basic information about the whole baby bottle issue I’m researching. Kind of cool, plus I think my Japanese is kind of coming back to me. Too bad my reading level can be compared to “retarded 3rd grader with a dead eye.”
I got back from Ooimachi on the Rinkai Line, which isn’t a JR line per say, but is connected to the Saikyo Line. Confused? There was even a sign in Japanese that said “Rinkai Line is not a JR Line,” meaning that even Japanese people must get confused. If the natives don’t get the difference, I certainly shouldn’t be expected to. One sweet thing about the Rinkai Ooimachi Station, however, was that there were 3 computers set up with internet. 100 yen (about a buck) for 10 minutes of usage, right there in the station. Talk about handy, especially for people like me who have no keitai because of stupid stricter laws requiring foreigners to have their alien cards to get a cell phone. Grr. But I really liked having the internet computers there, not because I really had anything important to look up, but just because it’s so convenient. I checked e-mail, Facebook, and that was pretty much it. Again, a great idea.
Since I don’t have a whole lot to talk about today, I will go on a bit of a tangent about Japanese TV. Everyone probably knows that it is, in a word, ridiculous. This is probably one of the reasons I like it and would want to work in it, because some of the most ridiculous ideas ever are made into TV shows. Let’s not even go into some of the really crazy shows, that most Americans see some evidence of in Iron Chef and MXC. The weirdest one was last year when I saw the show where they challenged guys to drink as much beer as possible, then they timed them peeing in the bathroom to see “who can pee for the longest?” Crazy, right? And you thought American late-night TV was bad. Whenever I’ve been in the hotel, at night and in the mornings, I’ve watched mainly news shows. Japanese news shows show the exact same clips and stories all day long, at least from what I’ve noticed. All channels, all day, and sometimes for several days in a row, will show the exact same stories, exact same footage, and related information about the “biggest stories.” Maybe it’s just that this is normal and I don’t watch news shows in the states enough. This whole week the biggest things have been a girl who died in a pool drain in Saitama, and the new flyweight boxing champion Kameda Koki.
I don’t watch a lot of boxing, but I don’t need any boxing knowledge to tell you that this kid (he is 19) is a major tool. He and his two brothers are famous in Japan I guess, training under their boxer father to be boxers themselves. Kameda Koki won the championship the other night, by a 2-1 decision against some equally tooly looking skinny guy from Brazil or somewhere in South America. I didn’t watch the match, but I hear that Kameda was pretty much getting owned the entire match, even getting knocked down twice. How did he win? I don’t know, but I’ll bet it was some kind of underhanded bribery. I’m not going to speculate, since I don’t know (or care) about boxing, but I just wanted to spend this time on my blog to reiterate that Kameda Koki is a tool. After winning, he was crying, weeping, and and generally being a poor winner on stage, acting like a little kid who just successfully stuck all 64 crayons up his nose. The next day, he’s on a pretty much every news show, with many of them having him there for a live interview. Instead of being respectful to the adults and everyone watching him, this little snot now has an even bigger ego, wearing reflective sunglasses and a silk shirt in every interview. Most of his answers are 1 or 2 words only, and he doesn’t have much to say except “I’m going to get stronger.” If I were interviewing this kid, I would have punched him in the face if he refused to take off the glasses and talk like a grown up. I don’t know why he pisses me off so much, he just does. If you look up a picture of him (here I did it for you), you can see that he’s just a little snot whose dad paid off the officials so that he would win and not have to cry in the corner all year.
Back to TV. Another thing you see a LOT of on Japanese TV is shows with people eating. I noticed this the first night I got here, when there was at least 2 hours of consecutive shows like these. These aren’t cooking shows, food review shows, or anything about the history of the food really. They’re just shows that feature people eating. Anything. They don’t even have to be celebrities, they’re just the random hosts of the shows who go around eating at restaurants. Sometimes it’s actually something interesting, like a restaurant that has a giant parfait, or maybe a giant bowl of noodles, but usually it’s just watching people eating and hearing them exclaim “oh man this is good.” Does that sound boring and retarded? Well it is, and I guarantee that Japanese TV stations air at least 10 hours of people eating a week. The two hosts are usually a girl who acts like she is 12, and a guy with a kansai accent who says “waaaaaa” a lot.
I haven’t watched much of childrens programming, but I caught the beginning of some show this morning before I left the hotel. It apparently stars the former sumo star Konishiki, but I guess since retiring from the sport he has been downgraded into a crappy Barney-type character. Showing you this picture will do a lot more than me trying to explain it: