Sunday, May 08, 2005

Sunday, 6pm, time to watch cartoons

Went out to play golf today and worship at our " Holy Mother of the 16th Fairway", a rolling up and down hilly hole with trees on one side and the out of bounds stakes on the other. Oh and did I mention there is a massive bunker in front of the hole?

Anyway, shot a mediocre score, but I still got a birdie on the first hole, with the "shot that brings you back". 160 yards, straight center to the hole, and hitting my 21 degree Nike recovery club ( which I use in lieu of a 3 Iron). For some unknown reason smack it up 5 feet from the pin. Putt in for a birdie......HOO HOO! ( lets not talk about the next six holes till I found my driver swing again.) Plus the whole thing is made worse, as the S.O. was on fire today, beating me by five strokes all because she could: a) hit the ball in the fairway, and b) putt like a mad woman. ( She sunk a 25 foot par putt......GRRR!).

ANYWAY, back to the apartment, start making dinner, and turn the T.V on. Its 6 pm, time for cartoons! My weekly hour of Japanese listening practice: Chibi Maruko Chan (ちびまる子ーちゃん) and Sazai-san(サザエーさん).

At 6 pm comes Chibi Maruko Chan:

This is a funny cartoon about the everyday life in school and at home of a little 9 year old girl with a great imagination named Chibi Maruko Chan. ( In Japanese the name literally means Little Maruko).Maruko spends most of her time daydreaming in her 3rd grade classroom rather than paying attention to her teacher. In her class, has many friends including her best friend (Tama-chan), a rich kid who lives in a mansion, a weird kid who lacks friends, and many more. At home, lives with her parents, one older sister, and her grandparents. Whenever she has a question about something, would ask each of her family members but they are not always free to answer her.

Want to hear the theme song of Chibi Maruko-chan? Click here!

Like South Park, its a little off the wall, but with out use of the F-word. After all this is Japanese T.V. The end and the begining of the show are always interesting as the music is changed about every 6 weeks. Its funny, and its good language practice.

At 6:30pm, its time for the weekly favorite, Sazae-san (サザエーさん)。

First published in 1946, authored by Machiko Hasegawa, Sazae-san illustrates an ordinary family in post-war Japan. The title character, Sazae, is a somewhat giddy teenage girl (later wife and Mom) rushing headlong toward post-war modernity while retaining her essential Japanese-ness. The strip, which ran in the Asahi Shimbun from 1949 to 1974, is as familiar as Peanuts or Blondie to Americans. It was adapted to radio, television (I videotapted episode 3379, which aired in 1990), and movies.

The main character, Sazae Isono (磯野 サザエ Isono Sazae), married Masuo Fuguta (フグ田 マスオ Fuguta Masuo) very early in the cartoon's run. In the beginning Sazae's mother, Fune Isono (磯野 フネ Isono Fune), was worried that Sazae was too unladylike to ever attract a husband. Masuo moved in with Sazae and her family; she eventually gave birth to a child, Tarao Fuguta (フグ田 タラオ Fuguta Tarao, usually called Tara, タラ ちゃん).

Many of the storylines revolved around Sazae's other family members, like her father, Namihei Isono (磯野 波平 Isono Namihei), and her young siblings, brother Katsuo (カツオ) and sister Wakame (ワカメ).

Also, two families sometimes appear: a neighbourhood family, Isasaka, which consists in a novelist husband, his wife, who was a friend of Fune from their high school days, and their children; also, another branch of the Isono family, Namihei's nephew Norisuke Isono (磯野 ノリスケ Isono Norisuke), his wife Taiko (タイ子) and their one-year-old baby Ikura (イクラ).

Although the comic ran for twenty-eight years, it was reminiscient of others in the medium in that the characters never aged: Sazae was always 27 years old, her husband 28, her father and mother were always 54 and 48, and Sazae's siblings were around eleven and seven years of age, respectively.

The Simpsons it's not. There is no biting satire or jabs at Japanese political figures. However it is a reminder of the simpler things in life and how to take joy in them. Also there is a subtle irony to the way that Sazae deals with her parents and with her husband. And, unlike American cartoons, it shows people doing real things: like smoking.

Plus Sazae-san on the tube means it is officially the end of the weekend and Monday morning is right around the corner. So I like it as it allows me to postpone that reality for a few minutes longer.

Ja ne,



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