Sometimes the most mundane Japanese TV shows turn out to be interesting. Like one I caught the other day called Waratte Koraete! Darts no Tabi in which Japanese comedian Tokoro George (who provided the voice for Ponyo’s father, if you happened to see that version) threw a dart at a map of New York, then sent a cute Japanese idol there with a camera crew to see what interesting things she could uncover. The girl — who was dressed as Uncle Sam, complete with fake beard — walked around the East Village area of Manhattan, asking people she met if they could point out some interesting sights. One was McSorely’s Old Ale House, a pub that’s been open since the Civil War and apparently never cleaned, and another was the legendary Astor Hair salon, a local landmark according to the owner. Then a guy who gives people rides in a jinrikisha (er, a rickshaw) while wearing a Spider-Man suit showed up, to the great delight of the Japanese viewers who had never seen such a thing. During his interview, he spoke to the Japanese camera crew using extremely easy-to-understand English, and I felt sure that he’d taught ESL in Japan at some time in the past.
You can see some wacky things on Japanese TV.