Angry Gaijin

Cameron Ohara

Beautiful and hilarious – the Model-Comedian, Suzuki Nana

Suzuki Nana - 鈴木奈々

Suzuki Nana – 鈴木奈々

As a ginger, I don’t like promoting stereotypes based on hair colour.  Suzuki Nana may play the “dumb blonde” role, but you can’t play a dumb character effectively without some brains yourself.  In a previous post I mentioned Suzuki Nana’s encounter with Kitano Takeshi.  That’s right!  She had the balls to go head to head with a living legend.  And that’s why I love Suzuki Nana – she really isn’t “just another pretty face.”

The reason I love watching Japanese variety shows is because so many of them are ad libbed, which means there is A LOT of subtext to pick up on.  Anyone and everyone on TV is essentially acting or “putting on a face” for the camera.  But the professionals do it better than most.  Yet even so, sometimes you catch a bit of honesty, whether it was intended or not: what are these people really thinking?  What are they really feeling?  What are their relationships with one another?  What are their personal strengths, weaknesses, beliefs?

It’s this subtext that I find endlessly entertaining, and as a bonus sometimes you have a funny comedian like Suzuki Nana on the screen – someone who knows how to play a character and riff of the other comedians on stage.

It’s why I just can’t get behind SMAP.  Aside the fact that they can’t sing or dance, whenever they’re on camera two or three fifths of them just look like they want to go home. Masahiro Nakai does a great job and can play a good host, and Shingo Katori genuinely seems to enjoy being on TV… but the other three… I dunno – it never seems like they’re in a good mood.  Maybe they’re just pretending to be aloof and cool for the camera, so I could be wrong…

Meanwhile, there’s a real joviality and positive energy about Suzuki Nana that’s just fun to watch!

Reference photo for above art (link)

Reference photo for above art (link)

-勝ち虫

KITANO TAKESHI – the Samurai Himself

TAKESHI copy

北野武殿

I would say that Kitano Takeshi wasn’t my cup of green tea.

But that would be racist.

I was first introduced to him through his ultra-famous (and shamelessly ripped-off) film BATTLE ROYALE.  I was pretty young at the time – probably as old as the kids in the actual film, which made me feel pure disgust and ANGER (AKA teenage angst?) toward the premise.  That first impression never left me, and his other films and movies (like Takeshi’s Castle or MXC) seemed to reinforce this.  I decided that Takeshi was nothing but a violence-monger.

Buuuuuuut now that I’m older and jaded in brand new ways – the violence seems MUCH MORE JUSTIFIED!

*AHEM!*  ummm errr ohhahhh eemmm….

ACTUALLY the real turning point for me was a recent episode of Shabekuri 007 – a 2 hour special with Mr. Takeshi as the guest.

What I saw in these two hours surprised me – what I saw was a gentle artist.  Take this for example: the hosts of Shabekuri 007 often try to bring to the show people who their guests want to meet (for example a favourite musician or actor, etc).  But, special for Takeshi, they did the opposite.  During this two-hour special there were 3 extra guests dubbed “the People that Takeshi wants to meet the LEAST.”

link

Suzuki Nana (link)

Suzuki Nana, also one of my favourite TV personalities, was one of these guests.  She said that she came to apologize to Takeshi for always calling him ‘Grandpa.’  Takeshi replied that he wasn’t angry at her for that, since it’s simply part of the character she plays when she appears on television………………………………………………  This is what followed:

HAVE YOU EVER SEEN AN ARTIST MORE GENTLE???

OK, OK.  So this is probably the most violent thing I’ve EVER seen on prime time TV.  But what struck me was the aftermath: all through the rest of the episode (after Suzuki Nana had departed) Takeshi wondered aloud if she was all right.  I recall at least once or twice at the end of the episode Takeshi asking if she was OK.

This admission of regret is not something I usually encounter – especially not on television!  But the fact that he felt regret, and then verbalized it for everyone to hear – this is what stuck out to me.  And this is only the most dramatic piece of evidence I found during this 2 hour special.  It made me think there was more to Takeshi than the spectacle.  Violence-monger or envelop-pusher?  I suppose I shouldn’t judge myself.  But safe to say I saw this man in a whole new light that evening.

And then I went to see his newest film – Ryuzo and his Seven Henchmen (龍三と七人の子分たち) – a film about an elderly retired mafia man who decides to start a new mob.  Suffice to say, the move has more heart than violence.

I wouldn’t normally recommend this, but his tweets, though few and far between, are interesting and at times philosophical.  Check him out on Twitter: https://twitter.com/beat_takesh1

p.s. Suzuki Nana…. WERE you OK after that??  o_o

Cream Stew for advanced Japanese speakers (くりぃむしちゅー)

Cream Stew copy

Ueda in green; Arita in red

OH MY GERSH – CREAM STEW is the BEST!  How has it taken so long for me to write a post about the sheer genius that is Arita and Ueda of Japanese comedy duo くりぃむしちゅー (Cream Stew).

I watch these guys at least 2 or 3 time a week, and they make me feel a very special kind of happy.  They are the most upbeat folks on TV – and I NEED upbeat people in my life (becozz im such a dwnrrrrr……….JUST KIDDING!!!!!???)

And not only are they FUNNY – they’re also intelligent.

Take their television program, the Most Useful School in the World (世界一受けたい授業), which covers topics from history and art to science and technology in a classroom-like setting (complete with Arita playing the class-clown who sits near the teacher’s desk – you know: the kid who you wanna WHACK so bad, but who also really knows how to make you laugh).  The show is both funny AND informative, and it’s been on television since 2004!

That’s even longer than Seinfield!

That’s even longer than the Simpsons was on for! (the seasons that count anywaypleasedon’tkillmemattgroeningiluvuokshuttingupnoweep)

the Most Useful Class in the World (link)

the Most Useful Class in the World (link)

My favourite program of Cream Stew’s is Shabekuri 007 (しゃべくり007).  Ueda hosts Arita, as well as two other comedic groups, Tutorial (チュートリアル) and Neptune (ネプチューン).  Every week the seven men gather to interview a celebrity guest… Needless to say, comedy ensues – but the EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE behind the questions they (particularly Arita) ask make the show unbelievably interesting for an amateur socio-psychologist (aka pseudo-intellect) like myself.

This clip is from a recent episode of しゃべくり007.  The gang interview あばれるくん (who I actually Street Passed with recently!!)

DISCLAIMER: I wrote this post while listening to THIS VIDEO – and not because there as been a rash of visitors to angrygaijin.wordpress.com/ (COMMENT AND SUBSCRIBE) looking for info on Rola the Model.  But because ARITA and ROLA used to date, and I mourn the loss of the beautiful children they could have had!

OH YEAH!  Cream Stew is from KUMAMOTO, KYUSHU to boot!  KYUSHU IS AWESOME!

-トンボ

HAPPY CANADA DAY!

And what better way to celebrate than by re-watching the latest episodes of SKY PIGS!  Since January 2015 there’ve been three episodes, and there are plenty more to come!

SKY PIGS (#0) – Pilot

MAPLE LEAVES for EYES (#0) – Pilot

SKY PIGS (#1.0) – Hunger Lives at 22 Sussex

More SKY PIGS COMING SOON!

Maple Leaves for Eyes

Click HERE for NewGrounds > > http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/659242

The newest addition to the SKY PIGS family is ready!  I decided that being unable to find the perfect voice actresses for my characters didn’t need to keep me from telling a story.  And who knows?  Perhaps in future installments, the characters may actually speak!

My inspiration for Miu being birthed from a maple tree comes from the Japanese legend of Kaguya-Hime (Princess Kaguya), but there are lots of Canadian references here as well.  For example, in some First Nations legends it is said that the trickster creator Raven created humans from clay (hence the clay people in the video) (see Kwakwaka’wakw mythology).

The moon is also said to lend guidance to those in the dark (link), and so in the MLfE pilot episode, the moon shows the viewer how Raven will try to trick them by making himself appear bigger than he actually is.

Stay TOONED for more..!

Click here for all SKY PIGS episodes!

Character blow ups copy

Miu huddled whole

Stay ‘tooned for more!!

-亀

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