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JAPANARAMA! Psycho TV From Japan

HITCH - The Journal of Pop Culture Absurdity

Japanarama! Volume Two

Ask and ye shall receive. Last issue, we raved about the wild Japanese TV compilation Japanarama!, and now we're prepared to do the same with the quick follow-up Japanarama! Volume Two. Even after multiple viewings of the first tape, it is still mind-boggling to see what the Japanese can get away with on the tube. Luckily, Too Far East has captured it all for proof.

As with the first, we still get lots of crazy commercials, such as ones for an all-Japanese production of the musical Annie and for toilet deodorizer (I get sick just thinking about all the seafood stench), with many of the spots featuring American sell-outs celebs. Among them: Dennis Rodman, Madonna, Quentin Tarantino, Liv Tyler, Beavis and Butt-head, Jodie Foster, Antonio Banderas, Brad Pitt, Mel Gibson, Demi Moore, Ringo Starr and Bruce Willis, who simply sits on a ladder, watches feathers fall around him and exclaims with a smile, It's dream time! Boy, is it ever. Also as with the first, we still get clips from strange films and bizarre musical numbers.

The real reason, however, to watch Japanarama! Volume 2 is for the sampling of shows programmed by our far-out Far East friends. The game shows in particular seem designed solely to hurt and humiliate its participants. For example:

-On Ultra Quiz (misnamed since there are no questions asked), contestants spar with masked pro wrestlers on a floating ring in the ocean. Each round ends when the pro tosses the hapless player into the water, where chum is then thrown to attract the nearby shark. Because watching a guy get his leg swallowed is funny!

-Six guys hit the streets to see who can get their underwear the dirtiest. Hence, scenes of grown men rubbing their bottoms in trashcans and on tailpipes.

-Two men play tug-off-war using only clothespins attached to their tongues.

-Various items are rolled down a tube that empties into a player's mouth. This would be no big deal, except that said objects include a scorpion and a flaming hot coal.

-A couple of apparently thick-skulled men bounce a bowling ball up a ramp with their heads.

-A variety of hot and sour things is poured into men's mouths to see who can stand it the longest. The contest almost ends when lemon juice is poured into one contestants eyes.

-A man with a chunk of meat strapped to his forehead sticks his head into a corridor, whereupon a hungry komodo dragon is unleashed toward him.

-Two guys in jockstraps pull appliances around the room using only a cord attached to the material covering their butt cracks.

-Stripped of his clothes, a man is smothered in butter from head to toe and placed in a cage with a half dozen dogs.

-Two men play chicken with a firecracker, each waiting for the other to let it go before it explodes in their fingers.

Other programs deal not in games, but remain just as cruel nonetheless. For example:

-A young man chows down on beans, eggs and milk in order to work up some noxious fumes, and then farts in the faces of unsuspecting sleepers.

-For more violent wake-up calls, men with machine guns surround someone in a peaceful slumber and open fire.

-A wrestling match between a guy and some sap in a bear costume ends when a solid punch results in a jetstream of blood spurting from the bear's eyes.

-A workplace sitcom finds laughs in the plight of a bucktoothed businessman who literally is caught with his pants down, depositing diarrhea in the women's bathroom.

-In a Candid Camera-type segment, we watch a loving couple strolling down the street suddenly stumble among a giant glue trap.

Most notable is Japan's continued efforts to demean women. It's all in plentiful supply in vivid color here, including:

-In-awe Japanese men touching, groping and weighing the bare, silicon-enhanced breasts of skanky American strippers.

-A bikini tricycle race! Watch out for those bumps, ladies! The cameraman sure is!

-A quiz show is set in a hot tub. The buzzer, however, is at such a distance from the tub that, in order to answer, the naked women have to emerge from the water to hit it.

-For weather reports, a woman in a metallic bunny outfit goes out in some public place and pops pieces of her costume off before spouting the skinny on precipitation.

Like the first volume of Japanarama!, you won't understand a word, nor do you need to. Comedy this low and shameless requires no translation. I laughed my ass off, and you will, too, provided you shed any veneer of political correctness beforehand. It is hysterical, surreal and infinitely entertaining. If our many blooper shows included material of this type, I'd watch them week after week. C'mon, Rupert Murdoch, bring this stuff stateside! Until then, however, we'll just have to pin our hopes on a Volume 3.

-Rod Lott

Japanarama! Volume Two








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