As pretty much any returning reader to this blog knows, I am an “owarai geinin” in Japan. Why don’t I just call myself a comedian? Because the more and more time I spend in the Japanese entertainment industry, the more I’ve come to understand that comedians and geinin are two completely different categories of roles/people entirely.
With the novel coronavirus pretty much putting everything on hold everywhere in the world, now is the perfect time to take of stock of how the Japanese entertainment world has changed or shifted over the last couple of years.
So now that WHAT’S MANZAI?!!! PART 2 is finally out (though seemingly not in the US) and that part of my life is now completely done with, I’d be remiss in not mentioning the one place where you can hear me discuss Japanese showbiz on my own terms without a Yoshimoto staffer constantly whispering in my ear about not offending my sempai or making sure that I don’t say something about sponsor X, Y, or Z.
In case you were unsure about it or just went with the narrative of WHAT’S MANZAI?!!! that I am apparently the only non-Japanese person who ever thought about getting in Japanese comedy, there are others out there, and, starting a few months ago, a couple of us decided to get together and talk about our experiences as geinin in Japan because, quite frankly, you need an outlet for these sorts of things.
Those conversations kinda turned into regular thing that we decided to start recording and put out as the Big in Japan podcast, an uncensored, unfiltered, completely unendorsed by our agencies look at the Japanese entertainment world.I’d like to emphasis the uncensored part of this description because some of the stories shared on the show have been pretty darn raunchy (mostly because, as members of the Japanese entertainment industry, we haven’t had the chance to work blue in years). Continue reading →
The updates and blog posts have been few and far between of late. Of course, if you’ve been paying any attention whatsoever you already know this. Life has a funny way of coming back around on you. One minute you’re convinced that you have enough to say or write to put into words every day and the next you’re sitting around pounding your head into the wall trying to squeeze out a word turd through your prolapsed mental asshole. Continue reading →
So with the first month of 2017 almost over, I thought it’d be prudent to finally talk about what I hope to get done this year (not that any of you probably care anyways).
As I “covered” earlier, 2016 was a year full of change and random things and getting fired from your job waiting tables because you had to leave town a couple of woks for a job out in the boonies. The first month of 2017 has continued this trend. Not the getting fired part, mind you. You need to have a job first before you can get fired. Thus far, the new year has brought me a half dozen stage appearances, a couple of token television appearances, and a steady
succession of bad colds and flu-like symptoms.
Which brings me to my resolutions and goals for the new year. Everyone has them. Almost everyone makes theirs public. I’m just doing mine a whole month later than everyone else. Continue reading →
So we’ve beaten the whole Netflix horse for a while now and talked about introducing a manzai to the world (at least that was the idea) but what about my terrestrial career (i.e. the non-English language media)?
The Japanese new years holiday is one of shuttered shops and clogged transportation networks (interestingly enough, everyone is so busy getting out of Tokyo that the capital becomes an absolute breeze to get around for the week). It is also, most helpfully for me, a time for people to gather around and watch a shitton of TV. Almost every single popular program on television will put together a several hour long special show to be shown in the week around New Year’s Day as the Japanese public apparently still hasn’t figured out (a) how to use a DVR, (b) that you can watch almost anything you want on a streaming service, (c) the more time spent watching your favorite personality ham it up on screen means less spending quality time with your loved ones.
Yes, in Japan, on New Year’s, television is still king. And thanks to the national network’s ravenous need to fill airtime with original “special” programming, this means young struggling comedians such as myself find themselves with increased opportunity to see some airtime. Continue reading →
So, yes, I am that dude from that one thing you might have watched on Netflix and, yes, I am an actual struggling comedian with actual struggling comedian problems, problems that a Netflix film debut and the subsequent slight surge of recognition that came with it did nothing to really alleviate.
I’m writing this blog post in a Starbucks bathroom. Why? Because I’m an internet freeloader but also don’t want to pay three hundred yen for coffee. Also, I’m broke, which I’m pretty sure is simply a rite of passage for anyone going down the career path that I am. Also, Japanese toilet seats are super comfy so I could literally spend hours here without feeling too much rectal distress.
It is hot. It’s rather obvious but it’s still hot out.
Here in Japan, most stores switch into autumn gear almost as soon as the clock hits 12 AM on September First despite the fact the weather often fails to make the same sudden transition to cool nights and fair days. Really, the only difference here between the “late summer” (August) and the “early autumn” (September) is all the typhoons that conveniently decided to strike the Japanese mainland this month rather than the last. What the hell’s up with that? (That’s a rhetorical question, you humorless meteorologist. I don’t need an actual explanation regarding high and low pressure systems.) Continue reading →
I know, I know. This is a horse that’s been particularly beaten to death over the years and there are like five-thousand other articles out there on the internet with the exact same title, most of them probably better than this one.
But, ever since What’s Manzai?!!! went live on Netflix, I’ve started to receive a steady stream of the typical “Hey, I want to come to Japan but totally don’t know where to start so I just randomly decided to contact a dude that I saw in a random TV show on the internet” message (most of these for some reason landing in my personal email account, Facebook Messenger, and, in one case, through text message on my phone). Rather than answering each query one by one (while I appreciate the fact that you’ve taken the time out of your life to contact me, I don’t have the time or resources to come up with a satisfactory response that doesn’t make me seem like the total asshole that I probably am), I thought I’d kill thirty birds with one stone, something that should totally be an Olympic sport by the way, and start answering some of these questions somewhere everyone could see them.
Which brings us to our main course for today:
Five Things You Should Know Before Coming to Japan