Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Nihonjin no shiranai hihongo eps 1-4

 When I first heard about this series, I remembered this old British tv series called 'Mind your Language' about a class of foreign students trying to learn English. I remembered the Pakistani always fighting the Sikh and the Chinese girl always quoting from Chairman Mao. It was full of racial stereotypes but that was what made it extremely funny. You can find the episodes on youtube and its bloody hilarious.

Oh course, I didn't really notice that the name of series roughly translates to Japanese that the Japanese do not know. Basically its about things in the Japanese language that probably most Japanese do not realise. The students speak pretty good Japanese and ask the teacher Haruko played by Naka Riisa all sorts of difficult questions that she has to look up.Most of the time its difficult stuff and so my hope of the show teaching me 'practical' Japanese was dashed.

Besides talking about different facets of the Japanese language, the show concentrates on each student per episode and Haruko's attempts to help them solve their problems in Japan. It is interesting to see the show deal with the status of foreigners in Japan and the tight laws and rules that they have to abide by there. They have to be careful as someone making a complaint can cause a student to be deported.

Humour wise, its not as funny as I had hoped it would be. The Japanese stuff is hit and miss for me. I think people with stronger grasp of the language would probably enjoy it more. I don't mind the bad acting because its campy and its not easy to find decent foreign actors. Its still better acting than some people who can continue to star in jdoramas.

Overall, I still enjoyed watching it because its different. Its fun to see Harada Natsuki play the Ojousan Katori who is always pining for Shibuya after seeing her cold doctor in Othros no Inu. The constant fighting between Haruko and the head teacher is funny. Nihonjin no shiranai nihongo is definitely a watchable series but your mileage your vary depending on how good your Japanese is in order to grasp the difficult questions, most of which just went over my head..


jt said...

i'll give this a try. im desperate to learn japanese. and that cute chick naka risa.. riisa naka.. or was it nisa riika? it's the most confusing name ever!

i need to detoxify from serious jdramas all week.

Anonymous said...

I also agree that it's less funny than I thought although the gaikokujins' actings are better than I thought (they also speak pretty good japanese). I took 2 quarters of intensive Japanese in grad school (up to reading and writing level in Tokyo dialect), and IMO whether you can pick up the conversations depends on the complexty of the phrase/sentence, the enunciation,speed,and voice. Take my 2 recent favorite dramas for example - in KDO I have a hard time picking up Abe Hirosi's dialog because his enunication is not very good even though he doesn't speak very fast (of course simple words/phrases/sentences are not a problem). On the other hand, in Shikaotoko I can pick up both Shibamoto Yuki's and Tabe Mikako's dialogs most of the time.

Anonymous said...

Forgot to add that it also depends on the dialect. For example, in Ryouma Den (this year's Taiga), there're all sorts of dialects and most of them I've no idea what they're saying. BTW they some how managed to find some pretty good English actors that can speak some Japanese as well.

Anonymous said...

You forgot to say that the students acting sucks like nothing else on earth. Special prize to the french Marie, I've seen flat-irons with better acting skills than she has. Still, it's enjoyable.