One of their movies I found really interesting is a documentary about low-budget film director Don Dohler called Blood, Boobs & Beast. It’s worth the 75 minutes of your time it will take to watch it all the way through.
And straight away I have a new band to enjoy! They’re called Mass of the Fermenting Dregs and the lead singer, Natsuko Miyamoto (宮本菜津子), is a woman who has some serious pipes, which she will now demonstrate in their song titled “Hikizuru Beat” (ひきずるビート) embedded below for your enjoyment.
Another series from Gaki no Tsukai is called “Gas Nuki” in which the cast are asked to dress up nicely and are then brought to a fancy restaurant for an exceptional meal. There is, as you would expect, a catch: they can only eat if they fart. Below is the first in this presently brief series in which they attend a five-course gourmet meal. For each fart a cast member produces they receive a course. You can enjoy this, sans smell-o-vision (aren’t you lucky), in the videos below. Note that you will need to enable closed captioning to see the subtitles (although you can probably understand what’s going on through context alone).
Despite my fondness for certain Japanese television shows I am not quite certain Japanese manners as they relate to the breaking of wind. Downtown tend to present themselves as man-children and can be found to, on occasion, fart while hosting their shows. Is it considered crude and childish and they’re simply embracing that child mentality, or can I take the subway in Tokyo and rip them left and right and be congratulated by all in attendance? I’m guessing it’s the former.
This is not, by any means, Downtown’s first foray into televised farting competitions. They once held, in the 1990s, a televised competition on who could produce the loudest fart. They hosted this show inside a massive auditorium where several hundred of their fans were given fart-inducing food and beverages and then asked to come to the stage when they were ready to have the loudness of their fart measured. Curiously, while easily half the audience were female, all (except maybe one) who came to the stage were male. You’re in luck! You can watch it this massive fart contest for yourself right here.
Here is a brief introduction to Gaki no Tsukai‘s “Genkai” series. Genkai (限界) is Japanese for “limit” or “bound”. The series was apparently born out of Matsumoto flubbing his words when he went to order an iced coffee (aisu kohi), instead said “maisu mohi”, and the waitress returned with an iced coffee. So the question posed by Matsumoto is what is the limit a person can stray from the words of the item they want to order and still successfully receive it.
Since iced coffee was where it all began, iced coffee is the first in the series. Unfortunately I can’t embed the videos here, so you’ll have to struggle with clicking on the links below. I know you’re up to the challenge. These videos utilize YouTube’s subtitle feature so if you don’t have closed-captioning enabled you’ll need to click on the “CC” button along the bottom-right bar below the video.
I think this series provides some small of insight into Japanese culture. It would seem if a waitress or waiter does not understand what was said they pretend it was never said at all. I imagine in the U.S. wait staff would be far more likely to confront the person and ask for confirmation on what they said.
This might be my favorite in the series even though there are no subtitles available. This is 7th in the Genkai series and the entire Gaki cast gets in on the action. Their job is to order Omurice (オムライス) which is an omelette stuffed with rice and topped with ketchup. Look out for attempts at ordering an Anne Rice, a homo sapiens, and a near perfect ordering of one samurai at the end.
You’ll also notice in this video there’s a new twist in which Gaki members receive a cash prize if they successful in placing their order. The prize amount is based on the difficulty of the phrase being tested. The unit of currency is the Yen (円) and the values give in are “man” (万) which means 10,000. So “nana man yen” (7万円) would be 70,000 Yen. A rough, but simple way to calculate from Yen into U.S. Dollars is to treat 1 Yen like it is 1 Cent; movie the decimal point to the left two places and you’ve got your dollar amount; in this case $700 US. In reality 1 Yen is more like 1.3 cents, so 70,000 Yen would be closer to 900 dollars, but it gives you a general idea of how much money is up for grabs when Matsumoto’s attempt at ordering a 侍 is valued at 10万円.
Oddly, I first saw him in a Japanese movie called Space Travelers because, of course, that particular movie stars several comedians including Hamada Masatoshi from Gaki no Tsukai. But that particular movie barely registers among his Japanese fans who know him best from the 1987 drama Dokuganryu Masamune. His popularity, both in Japan and across the world, has massively increased since his introduction into Hollywood movies.
And now we get to see him for the person he is, not a character he’s portrayed.
Continued on the inside…
Konto (コント) is a Japanese word derived French that means sketch comedy or a skit; like Saturday Night Live. Hamada and Matsumoto used to do quite a lot of konto, but that faded away over the years. Recently (within the last 3 years) the desire to do konto stuck itself back into Matsumoto and so he developed a series of sketches (six or seven) and packaged them under the title “MHK” or Matsumoto Hitoshi Konto. Below is one of those sketches.
The subtitles may come across as a little dense, but stick with it. The funny, at least for me, comes from Hamada and Matsumoto trying to stick together and not bust out laughing as the dialogue gets more ridiculous. When they get to the gorilla I had the hardest laugh I’ve had in a long time. The in-joke there being that Hamada has been referred to as a gorilla for years, probably going back to his middle school days with Matsumoto, because his face has a certain monkey quality to it.
I’ve talked a little about Itao Itsuji before. Even among Japanese comedians he’s considered a bit of an odd, but well loved and respected, duck. In 2009 Itao’s daughter passed away at a very young age. He had appeared in every one of the Gaki no Tsukai no laughing batsu games, but of course who would expect him to do so again when they filmed their annual batsu game about a couple months after such a tragic event? It was with a big surprise to everyone, both those on the show and watching at home, that he should ride in on horseback during their 2009 Hotel Man batsu game.
That look on their faces is genuine surprise and happiness to see their friend. Itao says nothing, he just walks into the road, turns around, and gallops away. It’s a classic Itao moment and a very special one as well.
What I think draws me most to Gaki no Tsukai is how their genuine friendship and closeness comes out (in the most horrible of ways) when they film their show. This particular moment was something even more special.
This week Itao became a father again and that is fucking awesome news. So to celebrate here’s a pure Itao video taking a very traditional Japanese presentation method and turning it on its head while also displaying the odd-duck nature of Itao’s comedy style.
I think the woolly mammoths are an especially inspired touch.
Courtesy of ShibataBread is this clip from Gaki no Tsukai where Matsumoto Hitoshi and his comedy partner Hamada Masatoshi answer a fan question. These talks (it is my understanding) are completely improvised and are close to the style of comedy with which Downtown started their career. The clip below, I think, is an exceptionally good example of just how great Matsumoto’s improvisation skills are.
What kind of dicks would abandon their blog?
Let’s begin with some Gaki no Tsukai fun. The video below is part of a series where the Gaki members decide one of them or their staff is acting oddly and so they decide to follow them after a taping to see why their target has been acting so strange lately. In this installment they’re on to Tanaka Naoki.
However to fully enjoy this clip there’s a certain person you need to know about.
Continued on the inside…
It really is. I’m not sure if this is a trait limited to just dicks or if it’s a shared human experience. All I know is that after work it’s easier to drink beer and watch television than to actually accomplish something meaningful, like laundry or writing a blog post.
I’ll go find some clean underwear and something to write about.
Shibatabread has translated an episode of Downtown’s Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende (ダウンタウンのガキの使いやあらへんで!!) in which the four other comedians try giving Matsumoto different items to see whether or not he likes them. The manner in which Matsumoto receives these gifts is… different.
I laughed much more than usual at this episode. There is a casualness to their filming with complete acknowledgement that the setups are silly, odd, and sometimes don’t make sense. Knowing everyone’s reactions are more real than scripted make the especially funny moments in this even more especially funny.