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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Nihonjin no shiranai nihongo (2010)


Country: Japan
Format: drama in 12 episodes
Genre: school, language
Cast: Naka Risa, Ikeda Narushi, Aoki Munetaka, Harada Natsuki, Asaka Mayumi, Blake Crawford, Sethna Cyrus Nozomu, Olga Alex, Sebastiano Serafini, Camilla, ZOE, Zhang Mo, Dasha, Mayor Akintoye,
Synopsis: Kano Haruko used to work as a charismatic shop assistant, but she has a dream of becoming a high school teacher. Her former teacher asks Haruko to stand-in teacher position for 3 months, but for Haruko's surprise this job is not in high school. She becomes teacher at Japanese language school for 9 foreigners, who have rather wild thoughts and dreams. 
Rating: 2/5
I will be honest and say that this drama needs a lot of tolerance (sister gave me word "script-supervisor"). As foreigner perspective it can be reaaaaaaallly annoying and rude as those foreign students are not portrayed as the most intelligent people.I have not read the original manga, so I am not sure whose fault it was - mangaka or scriptwriters?

The first reason why I wanted to see it was due to Naka Risa's outfits. She looks really cute and I have rather similar style, so it was really interesting for me to see it. Kano Haruko is one of a kind woman who stands up for herself, but she does not have any teaching experience before and her young age is also a disadvantage at knowing the perfect Japanese language. We may say that it becomes more difficult to her than she first believes. She understands the fact that teacher must become like a second parent to students, but at the same time I think she is going over-board with it. I think that her teaching method is great, because her ways help understand of what they are talking rather than blunt memorizing of words. At the same time I think that there are things in every language that even native speakers do not know or do not use everyday.
The biggest disappointment were the students. It almost seemed that they were used to make comedy. Even their reasons why they have gone to Japan were rather pointless. If you want to live your life in Japan, then you cannot just like Japanese honor or mangas, want to meet with real ninja or other things like that. Get serious! If you want to LIVE in Japan and work there, then the best solution is that you actually have something that might be useful. Due to that reason I liked Jack the best - he was at school in order to learn perfect Japanese because he was working as an international businessman in Japan.
Other reason is that I like Blake Crawford and ("Hi!" to you!), I knew him before "Nihonjin". Jack is also a top-student in the class. I do not like it when writers do not make their work properly and this time what hit the alarm clock were Swedish names. In series there is a beautiful white Swedish girl named Ellen and she tells her relatives names which are "Pa Yanen", "Minna Aho", "Henna Pantsu". As you know that I live somewhere in North-Europe, fortunately I do not live in Sweden, because I would have sent a really angry letter to someone. In my country and Sweden there are really similar names and believe me - NO ONE NAMES THEIR CHILD WITH THOSE NAMES! There are names like Miina and Hanna, but Pa? and usual Swedish surnames end with "-son", "-ström" and "-berg". And Swedish people do not think of Japan as "savage-country" - I know so many Japan-fans from Sweden and North-Europe countries look up to Japanese culture and technology.
Writers should really get their facts straight. There are also  Russian Diana, who is played by model Olga Alex; Bob played by actor/model Mayor Akintoye; lady-killer Paul; French yakuza-crazy Maire; really annoying Chinese girl and guy, who always bring out the differences between Japanese and Chinese languages - gyoza, if you are so mad at Japanese taking over kanjis and stuff, why are you even at Japan? as you see there were many things I did not like. But I did like Luca, played by model Sebastiano Serafini. He is very otaku and has difficulties to speak with other people, but he still is Italian. First Italian who has difficult time delivering his love-feelings. I think his story is the cutest of all student stories.
Another important characters are the other teachers. Takasu is always on fire with Haruko, because he thinks that she is doing things halfheartedly and she does not know anything about Japanese. He turns many scenes comical, because Haruko answers with same flame. But much cuter is Catherine/KatorixShibuya love-line. Those two are really alike and their mess-ups are sweet, of course there will be a lot of drama considering those two.
Actually you may learn many new things from this drama - including Japanese language and some laws. You must be really fast to notice all, because most things go on fast so, I basically would have
hit pause after every minute to 100% notice and understand what is what. A very important law that they talk about in drama is about foreigner student's work - limited hours and it's not allowed to be working in night-life business. It kind of came as a surprise for me, because I know one foreign student whose part-time job is being an host, but it is better if foreign students do not work there - getting caught might lead to sending out of country. Japanese society can be harsh by its law, so rather avoid trouble than suffer from consequences.
As you see I was very disappointed, because I thought that it might be a good drama showing a glimpse of Japanese life as a foreigner or something, but no. It turned out as a joke, a bad joke. Of course again, there are viewers that have find it incredibly great, informative and new by its storyline. Well, I leave that to decide for yourselves.

2 comments:

  1. The names of Ellen's/Elaine's family were Japanese puns. I'm sure she said it intentionally as a joke.

    - Paa, yanen? "That's paper, right?"
    - Minna aho. "You're all idiots."
    - Hen na pantsu. "Strange knickers."

    It's a light-hearted series. I'm wondering if you're missing out on its charm because you're taking it too seriously?

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    Replies
    1. Maybe I do take it way too seriously, but is not that all making bad impression of others and talking about other culture with wrong facts? I pretty sure that you can make light-hearted serie with correct facts too. I just am really interested in meeting a Swedish person with those kind of names. I will change my mind when in December in Stockholm I will meet them.
      It did not seem that she was making a joke, because you just do not make your family into joke :) Of course that is just my opinion :D

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