Wednesday, 9 September 2009

I have introduced myself. You have introduced yourself. This is a very good conversation.

You know it’s a sad sight when somebody who once enjoyed the trappings of fame resorts to releasing a sex tape in order to cause a controversy and garner some attention.

(Gee Note: Really? People who have Aids are like Hitler? How insanely stupid is that? It's probably got a follow up advert where people with no legs are compared to Pol Pot).

Confession time: Despite having never been there I can't help but love Japan. For many reasons actually. Sake, Super Mario Bros, Ghost in the Shell, shoot outs in a pitch black room under the direction of Takeshi Kitano, Yojimbo, The's - the list is endless. But the main reason I love Japan is that as a nation it’s always struck me as being slightly bonkers.

Take Ninja Warrior for example. Ninja Warrior, or Sasuke as it's known in Japan, is a television show in which 100 people attempt to complete an assault course that was designed by a drunken sadist. No really, joining the Navy Seals is easier than completing this goddam thing. It's split in to four stages, each with increasing levels of difficulty, and includes such events as "Try not to die as you trampoline on to a hanging cargo net" and the popular "Travel across a really long ledge using only your finger tips". It’s as if somebody was playing the video game Tomb Raider, caught a sight of the implausibly proportioned Lara Croft hanging from a rickety stone pillar, and thought "My that would make for some good TV. Except we'd need to lose the hot English lass. And all the old Temple's and stuff. Do that and, baby, we've got a show.".

Now if it was held in any other country, with the possible exception of the United States, nobody would be crazy enough to apply for this thing let alone try and beat it. However it appears that the Japanese public are collectively one samurai short of an Akira Kurosawa movie, as twice a year thousands upon thousands of them sign up to compete in the grand daddy of all challenges. These range from the ever so slightly deranged Minoru Kuramochi, a restaurateur who's frail body makes him ideal for failing spectacularly at the very first obstacle, to genetic freaks like Makoto Nagano.

Japan’s eccentricity isn’t confined to television shows however. Indeed after the nation’s recent general election, “crazy” can be found at the very top of Japanese society. The “crazy” in question? Well that would be the one and only Miyuki Hatoyama, Japan’s newly crowned First Lady. How crazy is she? Well according to a piece in The Guardian last week…

"I eat the sun," Miyuki says, raising her arms as if to tear pieces off an imaginary sun. "Like this: yum, yum, yum. It gives me enormous energy."

(Gee Note: See what I love about this is that she actually felt the need to describe how one eats the sun, complete with nom nom nom noises.)

It isn’t just in sun eating stakes that Miyuki excels. The 66 year old former dancer also does a nice line of clothing. Namely skirts made out of hemp coffee bags. She also believes that she met Tom Cruise when they were both in a previous life. And that at the time Tom was a Japanese man. Which I’m sure is news to Mr. Cruise. Not to worry though, Miyuki is convinced it will all come flooding back to him in good time. "He would recognise me when I see him and say: 'Long time, no see!'" (Gee Note: Sure he will. Either that or he’ll back away slowly and try not to make eye contact. You know, one of the two).

But what truly separates Miyuki from the herd is an extract from her book “Very Strange Things I've Encountered”. An autobiographical work, one particular passage deals with an event that took place 20 years ago.

"While my body was asleep, I think my soul rode on a triangular-shaped UFO and went to Venus. It was a very beautiful place, and it was very green.”

First off, Venus is the second closest planet to the sun. It's atmosphere consists mainly of carbon dioxide, it rains sulphuric acid, and it's surface makes the Sahara desert look like a manatee's playground. The ground temperature often exceeds 440 degrees centigrade, with volcanoes regularly erupting like a pissed off Naomi Campbell. There is no lava flow from these explosions, just massive clouds of sulphur that are spewed in to the air.

Bottom line, it is in no way imaginable “green” (Gee Note: Although in her defence Miyuki may have been thinking of another planet and mistaken it for Venus. Like Venus’s tropical sister planet… Greenus. Ahahahahahahahaha. Geddit? Greenus. I’m so awesome).

Secondly I don’t care how in to psychotropic narcotics you are, anyone who believes that when they fall asleep their soul goes on a journey and has some amazing adventures instead of, you know, it just being a dream is in need of some serious help. Because otherwise last night my soul was involved in a situation with model and actress Milla Jovovich, some whipped cream, and a xylophone. And I’m pretty sure that never really happened. Because trust me if it had I honestly wouldn’t be as grumpy as I am.

But here’s the thing. It’s easy to write all this off as just the ramblings of some lovely yet slightly daffy lady. Until you remember just who she is. Her husband Yukio Hatoyama is due to be sworn in as the President of Japan. She will be the wife of one of the most powerful people in the world. I mean imagine if this was America for a moment, and during the run up to the general election Michelle Obama releases a book which contains the following passage.

So, uh, about ten years I was out camping in the woods with my homies, when Bigfoot ran past. No really, Bigfoot. Scared the s*** out of me let me tell you. The dude’s huge.

Would Barack get elected after that? I’m no political expert but my money would be on “Probably not”.

Now an argument could be made that just because Miyuki is as nutty as a snickers bar, it doesn’t mean Yukio is the same. After all, if Paula Abdul has taught us anything it’s that opposites attract (Gee Note: That and you can afford to go on television every week for eight years blind drunk and, amazingly, at no point will you get fired). Except Yukio has already claimed that Miyuki “will take an unusually prominent role for a Japanese First Lady during his administration”. And if this was in any doubt before allow me to reprint the quote from the beginning of this post unedited.

"I eat the sun," Miyuki says, raising her arms as if to tear pieces off an imaginary sun. "Like this: yum, yum, yum. It gives me enormous energy. My husband has recently started doing that too."

(Gee Note: The Japanese president eats the sun? OH MY GOD!!! They’ve elected Unicron. You know, that great big robot from Transformers: The Movie that floats through space, consuming Heavenly Bodies like they are Pop Tarts. To hell with this. I’m going to lock myself in a nuclear bunker somewhere. Call me when the Autobots have won).

See? This is what I mean about Japan being slightly bonkers. It may have been that Yukio Hatoyama was elected President because he had the best policies, or has a gift of the gab. I honestly don’t know enough about Japanese politics to say for certain. But I’m willing to bet that quite a few people voted for Yukio simply because of his wonderful wife.

And that is the reason I love Japan.

No comments: