I Survived a Japanese Game Show -> Lost in Translation

June 25, 2008 at 4:00 pm | Posted in DVD, movies, tv shows | 2 Comments

I Survived A Japanese Game Show
ABC premiere – June 24, 2008

Last night, I was scrolling channels for something to watch during dinner. Normally as a general concept, I avoid reality TV with the occasional exception of American Idol auditions or So You Think You Can Dance. At around 9 pm on ABC, I came across a new reality show called I Survived a Japanese Game Show. (IMDB) 10 Americans are flown to Japan (most of whom have never left the U.S.) to compete on a popular Japanese game show called MAJIDE. The winner of the competition receives $250,000. Interesting concept!

First, the contestants are broken up into two teams of 5 players, The Green Monkeys and the Yellow Penguins. The first challenge was entitled Conveyor Restaurant. One team member was designated “the Eater” while the rest of the team wore trays strapped to their head. The objective of the game is for the Eater to consume as many boci balls (balls of gooey, gummy rice?) off the trays on the team member’s heads below. The Eater must swallow for it to count. But that’s not all… These team members must run on a large conveyor belt, moving backward toward a huge pit of flour. LOL Hysterical!

A few months back while over a friend’s house late one night, he put on some Japanese sporting competition. It was fun to watch, not only for entertainment, but for the cultural differences as well. Typically in American game shows, I noticed we gravitate toward more cerebral challenges, like the puzzles of Wheel of Fortune or question and answer games like Jeopardy or Who wants to be a Millionaire. Back in the 80’s, there were a couple of shows like American Gladiators or Nickelodeon’s Double Dare that offered physical challenges that tasked not only the contestant’s strength and agility but quick reflexes and strategy. Plus, they get submerged in gook and hilarity ensues!

The Japanese tradition in game TV shows is much more visually striking, where not only are the hosts and audience bursting with ecstatic energy, there are colorful animated graphics on every inch of the screen. It would be interesting to compare the amount of ADD diagnoses in the US and Japan. One would think that the attention span of the Japanese must become strained with the barage of images consistently moving and shaking. Oh boy!

Human Tetris: This is awesome! A game based on Tetris where contestants must fit into Tetris-inspired shapes or they are pushed/dunked into a pool of water…LOL

CNN’s Review of Japanese game shows invading American TV…

RATING: ****/5
Recommendation: Check this show out!


Immediately after seeing this show, it put me in the mood for Lost in Translation. A fantastic movie written and directed by Sofia Coppola and starring Bill Murray, Scarlett Johannsen, and Giovanni Ribisi.

There is a scene where Bob Harris (Murray) participates in an outlandish and real? game show where the host has been compared to Johnny Carson. The awkwardness of the cultural clash is entertaining and may have been the inspiration for I Survived a Japanese Game Show. (Merely guesswork on my part, but I would not be surprised.)

I could go on and on about this film, I love it so much. From the original soundtrack by Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine to the striking cinematography, it is a film not to be missed. Perpetuates my lifelong dream to visit Japan, which I intend to complete by my 30th birthday next year.

Charlotte: I tried taking pictures, but they were so mediocre. I guess every girl goes through a photography phase. You know, horses… taking pictures of your feet.

I read an article recently about variations on the “dinner and a movie” concept for dates. This was comprised of several DVD rentals and accompanying meal selections, such as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and hot dogs. The obvious choice here of course is pairing sushi and Lost in Translation, but I suggest maybe a Thai or Chinese dish for an all around Asian palette. Anything would be better than the questionable meat served to Murray and Johannsen’s characters during the “worst lunch ever” scene. lol

RATING: *****/5
Recommendation: Worth making a part of your permanent DVD collection.



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  1. What no SATC? Must still be wallowing over deep regret from having missed Wanted 🙂

  2. sigh. Comment on the movie that’s reviewed. hater. 🙂

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