Strange English Lesson

I was trying to find a Japanese T.V. program to watch while eating lunch earlier this week.  While flicking I came across what I thought was an exercise program.  There were three woman skimpily dressed in yellow, orange, and purple sports wear doing aerobic exercise while chanting, “Are you serious about anyone” in English.  This was strange but not as strange as the next scene which showed three salary men in business suits doing the same thing.  At this stage I still thought it was some strange exercise program and they were showing people carrying out these exercises in the work place, some sort of lunch time exercise madness.

But then it moved on to two Western people sitting at a table laid out to look like a romantic dinner.  There was soft lighting and hideous outfits more suited to the 1980s than 2010.  The woman said in ridiculously slow English, “Shall we make a toast”.  And the man responded with, “Here’s to your lovely eyes”.  Well, since the program also had subtitles showing a translation of the English I finally worked out that this was a program designed to teach English.

I couldn’t decide what was more strange – the weird exercises or the phrases they were teaching.  I mean, if I was on a date and someone made a toast to “my lovely eyes”, I would either burst out laughing or try to think of a way to quickly be somewhere else.  But then watching salary men do what looked like bust improvement exercises while chanting, “You look sensational in that dress” was one of the strangest things I’ve seen on T.V.  Well, at least in the last month, I do after all live in the land of strange.

11 Responses to “Strange English Lesson”

  1. Tatsuhiko Miyagawa Says:

    Oh, that’s Salaryman NEO on NHK, right? You saw that around lunch — so maybe it’s a repeat. That’s a comedy show running on late night like 11pm usually for every week, but since it’s on NHK some people might believe it’s not a comedy, which is the most interesting part.

    I think they were the competition against The IT Crowd at Emmy comedy award in 2008. Love that show.

  2. Tatsuhiko Miyagawa Says:

    Hmm, reading the plot again, and it may not be Salaryman NEO — instead it might be a ridiculous NHK education show that does aerobics + English lessons.
    I was wondering if that’s still on the air — they are ridiculous!

  3. Jessica Marie Says:

    I’ve seen that online before, The phrases included “How DARE you say such a thing to me!” and “I was robbed by twoooo men.”

  4. Jessica Marie Says:

    Oh, and I forgot, “Spare me my life.” I guess it was a more morbid episode than the one you saw.

  5. karen Says:

    @miyagawa – it never occurred to me that it might be a comedy show. I hadn’t thought about this before but I imagine if I saw a Japanese version of something like The Office I wouldn’t realise that it wasn’t supposed to be serious. They joys of limited language ability.

    I did manage to find the actual show I was watching:

    Good to know that Japan has more than one crazy show like this!

    @jessica – I wonder if I can find any shows like this to teach me Japanese 🙂

  6. Tatsuhiko Miyagawa Says:

    Yeah, that show. It was from 90’s, and it *is* a comedy show that was aired in the midnight. I guess you’ve seen it on the cable TV (Fuji TV 724 or whatever) that does replays from 90’s all the time 🙂

  7. Tatsuhiko Miyagawa Says:

    Also, “Salaryman NEO” on NHK is basically The Office or IT Crowd in Japan. Highly recommended 🙂

  8. geoff! Says:

    Absolutely magic!

    I’ve laughed my sides off! Call me an ambulance! (But not for the reason they seem to want one!)

  9. karen Says:

    @miyagawa – I’ll have to look out for “Salaryman NEO” on NHK.

    I could easily have been watching cable TV and we do have the Fuji channels – mainly so I could watch the F1.

    @geoff – Yes, I can imagine you rolling around the floor to that. I was just completely bewildered.

  10. Liyang HU Says:

    @karen Reading through your description of the show, I felt an impending sense of dread and cringe even before checking any of the links, because I knew I’d seen it before:

  11. karen Says:

    @liyang I am so glad that’s not the episode I came across, it would really have ruined my lunch!