Sunday, 5 April 2009

Japan: Still Hidden

Oh God, how disappointed am I? I've been pretty seriously ill over the last few weeks and the one of the only things that has kept me mildly sane is the "Hidden Japan" season on Beeb 4. Now, when they said "season" did they mean a good few weeks jam-packed with programming? Like bells they did!
What we actually got was three hour-long documentaries and a couple of films shown late at night. That was it. Seriously. "In Search of Wabi-Sabi" featured the brother of Louis Theroux making slightly embarrassed faces in maid cafes and struggling to keep up with the intensive rituals of monks. Next was "Fish! A Japanese Obsession" which was a little more interesting (oddly, as I have no real interest in fish besides eating a bit of salmon now and again). This examined everything from the eating of fish to the breeding of Koi Carp and fishing for points (hey, now I know where they got the idea for Zelda fishing from!). Finally there was the illuminating "Japan: A Story of Love and Hate" which followed the life of 50-something Naoki and his 20-something girlfriend Yoshie as they battled against poverty - as he puts it "this isn't special poor, this is normal poor in Japan." I guess you just had to see it to believe it - I knew that Japanese houses and apartments were small but this one really took the mickey.
These 3 shows coupled with a Japanese word of the day that seemed to poke a little fun at the Japanese terms for phrases we had here was all I got. I've had a lifetime fascination with Japan and this is all the Beeb are giving me? I thought that they might explore manga and anime, look deeper into the weird idiosyncratic shops and rituals that they have, even explore the language of Japanese.... anything more than we got!!
Ah well, I guess I'll just have to wait until the next time they show anything mildly interesting about the country.


CrazyCris said...

Hope you're feeling better! I was wondering at the silence around here...

if you want a glimpse into a period of Japanese history (east meets west, 16th or 17th century), I'd recommend picking up the dvds of the series Shogun (bonus points for a yummy Richard Chamberlain!)


Brett said...

At least you got that, we cannot yet get the digital channels yet

Keshi said...

TY for stopping by my blog!

JAPAN...some very interesting history there WOW!

**"In Search of Wabi-Sabi"

At first sight, I read it as "In Search of Wasabi"