A post in celebration that we’re still here. If I may, I’d like to direct your attention to this Team Gaki blog post in which you will find information on how you can watch this past New Years Eve 24-hour batsu game, fully translated. Team Gaki did a great job getting this thing finished in just two months. That is an insane timeline, half what it would normally take.
So what is this batsu game all about?
Like all 24 hour batsu games, the 5 members of Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende spend 24 hours in some crazy scenario during which they must not laugh. If at any point they do laugh they are punished (“batsu” in Japanese). Punishment typically comes in the form of a masked individual hitting them in the ass with a heavy foam bat. This year’s scenario was that they would be members of the Earth Defense Force, a team dedicated to protecting the planet from alien invaders.
Their costumes and several of the pranks pulled on the cast were inspired by an old Japanese sci-fi monster series called Ultraman. A few of the pranks really stood out and created some of the funniest moments of any of the batsu games such as the producers showing the uncanny similarities between Hamada and a couple Ultraman monsters, a touching, but painful letter from some of the cast’s children to their fathers, and a couple ruthless pranks setup early in the show with huge payoffs towards the end. Rather than spell them out here and spoil them, you’ll need to just trust me on this and head into it blind. It’s a 5-hour long show, so you’ll need to clear out a 5 hour block of your day or, perhaps the more sane choice, break it down into hourly segments. It’ll be worth the time.
In January I wrote about the annual batsu game for the Japanese variety show Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende!!. At the time you could find a copy of the show online, but nobody had yet translated the show into English, a job that typically takes a team of translators months to do. Well it’s been months and thankfully Team Gaki undertook the challenge and have released full subtitles for the show!
You can find the subtitles (and a link to the torrent for the video itself) at the Team Gaki site.
The team has also kindly provided notes that go along with the subtitles here and here. They will help explain the cultural references being made so that you can better understand the situations going on in the show.
Long story short: Hamada is a dick.
This isn’t the only time Hamada has been put on trial. It’s become something of an annual tradition, each one being a two-parter filled with stories of Hamada being a dick. They’re fucking funny (and a little shocking).
In their defense, after about a minute it doesn’t feel so bad.
Turns out that the whole Mayan apocalypse didn’t happen so I must now return to blogging.
Welcome 2013. And as is customary, 2013 started off with a 6 hour long Gaki no Tsukai special batsu (punishment) game. This annual event dates back to 2003 and typically involves the main cast of the show having to spend 24 hours not laughing in an environment designed to specifically make them laugh. And every time they do laugh the a masked man appears and smacks their ass (the punishment) with some large, rubbery object. You can read a bit more on these batsu games in this post I wrote a couple years back.
So what was this year’s scenario?
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.
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…
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.
In this episode of Gaki no Tsukai (ガキの使い) the guys get drunk and then perform a play based on the Japanese folklore hero Momotarō (桃太郎). The story is simple enough: a childless couple find a baby inside a giant peach. They raise him as their own. Years later he leaves to go fight demons and finds a few friends along the way. His name comes from momo (桃) meaning “peach” and taro (太郎) meaning “oldest son”.
After watching this I’m inspired to get a few friends and try this myself. But I don’t think any of the local schools would let us perform drunk; those philistines.
Translation by Shibatabread.