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Japanese Game Shows

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Japanese tv has been infamous the world over since news of Endurance first made it to the west, and some of the programs are as crazed and colourful as we're led to believe. Sometimes I just sat, staring at the screen without any clue of what was going on. There's lots of chat shows on psychedelic sets with a host who appears to have drank way too much coffee, but every so often the Japanese networks come up with something truly revolutionary.

Take, for example, a show called Nasubi. In this a contestant was chosen in an audition without being told what it was about, then stripped naked and locked in an apartment alone for over a year without any food, furniture, or entertainment. Whatever he needed he had to win by sending postcards off to magazine competitions. Once he'd won $10,000 in prizes he'd be released. Another show, Namidame, is about crying. In it, ten young women in a house compete over one week to see who can cry the most, collecting their tears in test tubes, and slapping and insulting each other.

Japanarama is a collection of "psycho TV from Japan" available on video, and some of the highlights listed include;

• A game show in which a grandmother has to answer questions about pop culture in order to prevent her grandson from being catapulted into the air by a bungee machine--the man screaming "Grandma, Graaaandmaaaa!" and the old woman bowing in apology just before he is launched hundreds of feet into the air.

• A beachside wrestling match pitting hulking pros against 90-lb. weaklings. Said weaklings are always tossed out of the ring, either onto an electrically charged platform or a giant glue trap.

• Martial Arts movies where the camera looks up the woman's skirt whenever she does a kick.

• A man with a chunk of meat strapped to his forehead sticks his head into a corridor, whereupon a hungry komodo dragon is unleashed toward him.

• For more violent wake-up calls, men with machine guns surround someone in a peaceful slumber and open fire.

• Stripped of his clothes, a man is smothered in butter from head to toe and placed in a cage with a half dozen dogs.

Quirky Japanese TV programmes
Scenes from Japanarama

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