Japanese Movie: Family Game

I’ve been taking advantage of the campus media library and renting Japanese movies like crazy.

Recently I checked out The Family Game.

This film is quite goofy. I enjoyed it and recommend it.

To put it simply, The Family Game is a black comedy about a Japanese family who hires a tutor in order to get their youngest son to shape up and get better grades in school. The family hopes that he can pass the entrance exam for a prestigious high school and be as studious as his older brother.

The family is your ultra-stereotypical Japanese family. The father is a salaryman who is only available to dish out the money to pay for the tutor, and to tell his kids to ganbare every so often. The mother worries about her kids private lives in that passively probing way that Japanese mothers do. The older brother is better than the younger at school and the parents urge him to be a role model. The younger kid encounters bullies at school… All the usual stuff. Things get weirder and weirder as the film progresses. It’s as if the common stereotypes are taken to such extremes that things become absurd. It’s really fun to see the wackiness develop.

Not only that, but this movie also features the greatest and most random food fight ever to be caught on film. Love it.

Here is a low-quality trailer found on YouTube.

If you need ideas for Japanese movies to watch, browse through the Slash and Burn blog – that’s where I got the idea to watch this movie!

– Harvey

Ulfuls Osaka Strut

One of my all-time favorite Japanese bands… ULFULS (ウルフルズ) and their video for Osaka Strut (大阪ストラット).

If you recall, Osaka is the wackiest city in Japan, and this, is an ode to Osaka.

The tower that appears right at the beginning of the video is Tsuutenkaku which has been mentioned on JapanNewbie before. And what’s that? Did they actually get ウルフルズ up on the tower just for this video??

A lot of other stereotypical “Osaka” culture things appear in the video… Like at 1:19 they discuss whether to go eat Udon (because it’s the Osaka thing to eat Udon, NOT Soba!), or to go to マクド (ma-ku-do) which is the Osaka slang way to say McDonalds – in Tokyo, they say マック (makku).

Of course, everyone is speaking in Osaka dialect. At 1:30 he is standing in front of Kanidouraku which is on Doutonbori in downtown Osaka. At 1:45 he’s right in front of Osaka Castle. At 2:10 he mentions that he wants the Hanshin Tigers to win. At 2:19 he gets shoved out of the way by a typical Japanese Osaka Grandma (if you’ve ever tried to get a seat at rush hour in Osaka… You know the type). At 3:50 you can see he’s right on Doutonbori Bridge with the Guriko Neon sign that appears on the JapanNewbie logo right behind him.

These guys rule.

– Harvey

JapanNewbie does Video

Look, I can embed videos in WordPress. I think I’m the first blogger on the internet to figure this out!

Maybe I can… yes… that’s it. A novel idea. I could make a blog… full of video! I would call it… a Video Blog!

– Harvey hoping his sarcasm communicates well

Free Music on HearJapan – Versailles -Philharmonic Quintet-

The Japanese visual-kei aristocratic metal band Versilles has changed their name to “Versailles -Philharmonic Quintet-” due to some issues in the U.S. As part of the celebration, they have made their first single entitled “Prince” under the new band name available on HearJapan for FREE.

If you’re into this sort of thing, go over and check it out. And if you’re not into it, check it out anyway, because it’s free and you might like it! Background information on the band is available on HearJapan as well.

Oh, and um… All of the band members are men.

Even the pretty one on the right… Only in Japan…

– Harvey

Osaka Style Banker Wallpaper and a Language Lesson

Use this wallpaper on your computer and be the envy of all your friends.

Dude’s standing a pile of money!!! ブリングブリング♪

This wallpaper is from a famous Japanese TV Drama staring Riki Takeuchi called Minami no Teiou or, roughly translated, “The Caesar of South Osaka”.

I asked a random Osaka friend for tips on any interesting jdramas that use a lot of Osaka dialect, and she mentioned this one… Unfortunately I can’t seem to get my hands on the actual drama anywhere…

My wife, on the other hand, says this drama isn’t interesting because the story is always the same… (her dad is a huge fan.)

Someone borrows money from the Riki’s ring of money lenders… the borrower can’t pay the money lenders back, Riki’s group goes to threaten them to get the money back… turns out the person who borrowed the money was really intent to pay them back and isn’t all that bad… maybe he was borrowing the money to pay back someone who was scamming him or something… so then Riki comes in and does a quasi-good deed by trying to get to the money back from the person who was scamming the original borrower…

Or something like that.

Here’s a Japanese lesson that may help you follow the story line if you end up seeing this drama.


ondorya! Hitosama ni karita kane ha(wa) kicchiri kaesu no ga hito no michi darouga?! HAa!?!?!?!?

This translates into… (while gripping the lapel of the listener) “PUNK! RETURNING MONEY TO THE PERSON YOU BORROWED IT FROM IS THE PROPER WAY FOR A PERSON TO ACT RIGHT!?!?!?! RIGHT!?!?!!”

If Japanese had such a thing as capital letters… It would be in all-caps as well.

Cultural note.

あなた (anata) is a nice way to say “you” in Japanese.

君 (kimi) is a little less formal.

おまえ (omae) is a pretty mean way (unless you’re super good friends with the listener) to say “you”.

おんどりゃ, as used here is pretty despicable no matter what the situation.

– Harvey