Sunday, July 10, 2016

Some somewhat amusing Japanese material

I think Clive James, with his clips of silly Japanese "challenge" game shows when he was at his height of TV popularity back in the 1980's and 90's, gave people a  misleading impression of the country's supposedly "wild and crazy",  if not cruel, sense of humour.  (I am told those shows were more or less just a passing fad - so it would be a bit like the Japanese thinking they understood Australians by watching re-runs of "It's a Knockout".)

Having said that, it's OK to find amusement at some Japanese images which are, well, unusual from a Western perspective.

For example, I took from the Japan Times:

This sums up the odd juxtapositions in Japan so well - the formality of the traditionally dressed and classically pretty "Miss Sake" at one end (in Australia, I think we would only end up with a somewhat tattooed "Miss Beer" wearing ugg boots and tracky pants), and at the other end of the line, after the serious officials, a really silly looking mascot - despite the Japanese Sake Fair presumably not really needing any attempt at "kawaii" to attract attendees.   (Although it's true, I suppose you could make the same argument about mascot superfluousness of the Olympics.)

Anyway, I just love the photo.

Later, in a book shop, I found this in the kid's section:

Yes, I do believe I stumbled across a relatively recent Japanese children's character, the "Bum Detective".

Now again, I know we've had our very own series of silly "bum" inspired novels for kids (The Day My Bum Went Psycho, for one), but I doubt they were illustrated, and I find the Japanese concept amusingly peculiar in its own right, as per this explanation:
The Bum Detective behaves like a perfect English gentleman, except that his face looks like a butt, and he blows farts from his face! He is very kind to ladies and likes tea and sweet-potato cakes. He often says, “I smell trouble,” and solves it. In this first title of the series, the Bum Detective tries to find a thief who stole all of the sweets at a shop. Young readers can enjoy labyrinths and quizzes as well as the story, which has them trying to figure out the truth together with the Bum Detective.

That's all I have time for, right now...


TimT said...

I give you Viz's The Bottom Inspectors!

Steve said...

Well, yes. But there's considerably more charm in the Japanese illustration. (I like that a bum should have such neat hair*.)

* There's a line that'll never appear on this blog again!