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weekly singalong joy

TV review:
The show: Nodojiman
Channel: NHK 2
Time: Sunday at 12:15, just before lunchtime
Brief description: A singing contest

Nodojiman is the longest running TV show in Japan. It started on the radio in 1946 and transferred to television seven years later.

It's an outstandingly wonderful festival of happiness that speaks of a bygone era, a time of innocence, a time when unconditional love was the norm, a time before beheadings and baseball bats.

Every week the show goes to a different town and invites 'ordinary' members of the public to come along and singalong. The wearing of work clothes is strongly encouraged.

The TV studio bursts with unrestrained positivity; the mutual support is almost palpable, like some kind of enormous rehab centre full of singers. When a performance is good, they clap and smile and backslap, and when it's bad, they just smile and stare at the floor.

The contestants come from all sections of society, from school kids skipping juku classes to senior citizens who look like they might not even make it to the end of the song before being carted off to the cemetery. But they always do, and you have to admire them for that.

The camera frequently cuts to the effervescent audience. It seems that to be an audience member you have to be at least 90 years old. Many of them can't hear a thing, but it doesn't stop them having a damn good time.

The singer sings until the judges judge. If the performer puts on a good show, they're usually allowed to sing for about a minute before being interrupted by one of three jingles. The type of jingle denotes the success of the performance.

A guide to the jingles:
1. A kind of long tring-a-ling-a-ling sound: "Excellent. You should consider a professional singing career."
2. A slightly shorter tring-a-ding noise: "Not a bad effort. A little more work required."
3. A single bong: "Shit."

If the singer is deemed to be an embarrassment to society, the performance might only last for 20 seconds, or possibly be allowed to go on for three minutes so everyone can have a really good laugh.

Margaret Thatcher makes a surprise appearance. She got a very large bong.

The audience has been known to throw bottles of urine at really bad acts.

Ukraine snubs the Eurovision Song Contest in favour of Nodojiman.

Here's a short clip of one of the more notable performances from a recent show. Apologies for the crap quality of the video. I'm referring to the picture of course, not the performance, although......

Watch the video on the YouTube site.
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On Monday, 04 June, 2007, Blogger Mel & Seigo said:

Unfortunately I've seen WAY too many episodes of this ;)  

On Tuesday, 05 June, 2007, Blogger Michele said:

HAHAHA Seishun Amigos. Hilarious. :D  

On Wednesday, 06 June, 2007, Blogger Kallun said:

There are no words to describe just how much I hate this show...  

On Thursday, 07 June, 2007, Blogger Invader Stu said:

When can we see you on the show? :)  

On Thursday, 07 June, 2007, Blogger Annie said:

That's very interesting - a show that's been continuing for 60 years! It does seem to me that there is something quite different in Japanese humor, different from that of southern folk in the US. But the joy of singing and laughing is the same the world over.  

On Thursday, 07 June, 2007, Blogger Steve Wise said:

Very, very funny blog... I was referred to it by a guy in Australia, yet I live 'down the road' in Kobe. And I'm an Englishman. With a blog not as funny as yours. Do you think there a franchise here if I can get mine up to snuff?  

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