1 October 2009

On Host Clubs, Racism and Robotics

This is a pretty snazzy little documentary by Japanese-American Adam Yamaguchi for the show "Vanguard".

Usually when I see Westerners talk about Japan about TV, especially when they talk about major cultural differences like femmy men pouring drinks for yuppie spinsters, or the emergence of robots in the workplace, they present it as being extremely weird-yet-common place (in a "that's so Japanese" sort of way), so it's refreshing to see something that's well analyzed and with a knowledgeable host.

I still don't quite get the robot thing though. Maybe Kyushu is too inaka (ie. the boonies), but I've never seen a robot in Japan. Not once, ever. But, unlike other news magazine documentaries I've seen about the robotics-versus-immigration debate (or, "non-humans versus sub-humans"), this documentary actually talks about cultural differences behind this phenomenon.

I was thinking too, about how people act in stores. I was just at the grocery store and was watching the kid in front of me at the till. The cashier was using ultra formal Japanese with him but not making eye contact. The kid took his change, didn't look at her or respond, and just walked away. This is not really unusual in Japan, and from a fuh-fuh-fuh-foreigner's point of view, at first it was kind of nice, but the ultra-formal Japanese sounded so scripted anyway after a while that now it doesn't even feel like they're talking *to* me. My point is, replace that cashier with a robot and no one would notice.

And I really feel sorry for the Koreans, Chinese and Brazilians in the documentary. I mean, there are enough angry rants in here as it is so I'll save it, but I feel for you, dawgs.

Edit: I want to become a host because, as some of you know, it's been my life-long dream to get drunk every night and talk about virility for some old grand-mama who might be-- nay-- is decked out like a Christmas... tree