Saturday, January 27, 2007

"Navy Pilot," Season 8...

Japanese TV

I have SkyPerfect TV, the satellite television provider. So I get a number of channels like Discovery Japan, Fox Japan, Movies Plus, Animal Planet, AXN and Cartoon Network. But one of my favorites is SuperDrama TV, which shows an odd mix of older fare and more recent programs, things like Dallas, The OC, KnightRider, Star Trek: Enterprise and soon, both The Sopranos and the unlamented 1979 Bad News Bears spinoff series, starring the very-lamented Jack Warden in the also much-lamented Walter Matthau's part, Coach Morris Buttermaker.

With Meeno "Voyagers!" Peluce as Tanner Boyle. Come on, who are they kidding? Engelberg you could replace, but Tanner Boyle? Chris Barnes owned that role, man!

By the way, Bad News Bears (both the movie and the series) is known as Ganbatte Bears! here in Japan. That's a sports cheer that means roughly, "Work hard, Bears!" And talking about title changes...

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Make love, not war! Harm orders a surgical tongue strike on
Mac's tonsils.

Right now, they're showing the eighth season of JAG, the long-running show about a stalwart U.S. Navy investigator. Only here, it's called Navy Pilot. I don't have the heart (or the ability) to tell people the title really should be Navy Aviator.

And Harm's not even an aviator on the show, although I think he was at one time. I don't know. Not a fan.

I wonder what people here think of this show, though. It's pretty corny but sincere in a way that grows on you, unless you're completely cynical about the military. It shows American officers at their best, in a totally admiring way... it must have a different impact here where American miltary prowess is at a popularity low (much like in the rest of the world) roughly equal to mid-1945 levels.

Still, I love my country in its (usual) sincerity and unabashed corniness. Maybe Navy Pilot can be a positive force, a good-hearted ambassador from home.

Can You Eat Natto? You'd Better!

Japan's not immune to the popular delusions of crowds, either. On January 7th, the Hakkutsu! Aru Aru Daijiten II, (English translation: Navy Pilot) program on Kansai Telecasting Corp. made the dubious claim that eating two meals of natto a day will cause you to lose weight. Japan is a weight-conscious nation where even the thinnest of women are frequently dieting and telling people, "I have lose my weight."

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Natto... the right thing to do, the
right way to do it.

And because natto is a staple of Japanese breakfast diets, it- like practically every other traditional food here- is frequently touted as healthy and the source of the Japanese people's famous longevity. Which McDonald's is currently doing everything in their power to change.

End result? I've never seen one, but this has all the earmarks of a run... on natto. Supermarkets quickly sold through their stocks around Japan after the show aired, with natto companies the beneficiaries. Then, as often happens with fad diets, someone pointed out the data was completely fictional.

This led to KTV's releasing a retraction and an apology from company president Soichiro Chigusa.

Victimless crime, you say? Think again. One of our students now has to eat natto every day because her mom bought a ton of it during the pro-natto hysteria phase.

"And I hate natto," she told everyone in class.

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