I’ve never been to Japan. I was supposed to go to Japan 13 years ago. I was still practising Aikido then and I was invited to attend a marital arts convention in Sendai, but I couldn’t because the trip would clash with my PSLE. I was gutted.
That is largely the basis of my Japan Hour neurosis. Every Saturday I faithfully tune in to Channel News Asia at 7:20 PM. Every week I swoon over the red torii gates and the gilded autumn trees, and moan at the sight of snow-capped mountain-scapes “So magical”, swaying my arms from side to side like an anime character.
Shit, that is my porn.
I similarly latch on to other travelogues on Japan. In fact, I just watched another on Channel News Asia called Kyuushu by Car, which follows two Singaporean girls fresh out of uni on a road trip around Japan’s third largest island.
God, the two hosts were so boring.
Everything was “nice” and “cool”, but there was no sense of joy or wonder in their eyes. Now I’m not one for kawaii ‘V’ poses or girly affected gasps, but Lord, I’ve seen flag poles more animated than those two.
Their idea of showing excitement was to raise an eyebrow. They are perhaps the Roger Moore of TV hosts.
And they had no curiosity at all! There was no “What is this”, “How do they do that”, no whys.
How can like that one?
My Po Po (婆婆, maternal grandmother) believes in the power of prayer. My mother often moans to Jesus, “God…You know, God, I work very hard but I don’t get to live in those houses…” every time she shows her clients one of those swanky Sentosa Cove apartments.
I, on the other hand, wondered aloud to my sister Elva: “What sort of fucking deal did those two make with the Devil to land a gig like that? Cos that ain’t right, God, that ain’t right…”
Losing our religion over three generations, heh.
Wasted lah, they should have gotten us instead.
Confirm there’ll be big laughs; waggling eyebrows; lip-syncing and miming to cutesy J-pop tunes; price comparisons and lamentations of the Tokyo standard of living; serious discussions about Singapore-Japanese relations post-WWII, the apparent co-relation between genetics and stylishness among Japanese and Singaporean women, Japanese masculinity and plucked eyebrows, and the follies of youth (namely the adolescent crush on a cauliflower-haired samurai boy called Akira).
And at least one “This hot spring is really nice – but where is the plug? Eh, cannot find leh… What, no plug, no drainage? So this is the same water everyone uses? So there’s dead epidermis, and pubic ha— Eeee-yeeuh!” reaction.
That would be our Japan Hour. And that, my friend, would be television gold.