Archive for September 20, 2007

Think you know Japanese culture? Watch this video

If you fell off your chair from laughter then you probably realize that most of it is fallacious, or at least exaggerations of the truth. Of course there are the straight-up lies about cheap sushi containing chopped pasta and bad meat parts. And most people can call the bluff of sushi chefs using wooden sandals for plates.

Intermediate Japanese enthusiasts would know that the yellow-colored vegetable on the plate is actually pickled ginger, and that it’s impolite to drench your sushi in that much soy sauce.

But it’s the super Japanese enthusiast who’ll know that this is actually a video of what the Japanese people assume the rest of the world thinks of them: polite, misogynistic, serious, and anal. In reality, some of the cultural points are actually true. For example, you should always pour beer for your superiors, though most Japanese these days would say that women deserve to the favor, too. After all, Samurai rule ended over a century ago.

The video is part of a series on Japanese culture by the comedic duo The Rahmens, who previously made appearances on Mac vs. PC commercials. They’ve done other videos on the art of paper-folding, dancing, chopsticks, bowing, and how to woo women. They all teeter between reality and comedy and serve no purpose other than to amuse the audience.

My favorite segment in the sushi video comes at the end when the customers stoop in front of the restaurant to dabble their fingers in a dish of salt. Some You Tube viewers commented that they’d never seen salt laid out like that ― but it’s an actual practice. Salt is a symbol of purity. Not the virginal kind, but of cleanliness. When sumo wrestlers enter the ring they throw salt on the ground as a symbolic cleansing. (Traditionally, women are not allowed to stand in the ring because their menstrual cycle deems them impure.) So seeing the Rahmens licking the salt supposedly because they didn’t get enough for dinner is quite a sight. In fact, it’s making me hungry. ^_<


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September 20, 2007 at 1:36 pm 2 comments

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