Lost in Translation
October 11, 2011 7:10 PM Subscribe
What do the Japanese find "wacky" or bizarre about American/Western culture? Not looking for negative stereotypes, more "WTF??" moments of hilarious cultural untranslatablility.
posted by evilcupcakes to Society & Culture (39 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Here in the states, we've all seen the funny videos of sadistic Japanese game shows, chirpy, surreal pop music, and strangely scatological commercials that tend to make most Americans say "WTF?!?". I usually assume there is a cultural reference I am missing, and that these things make perfect sense if you are Japanese (or maybe not, and that's the point, and Japan just really enjoys that WTF feeling- which would be awesome). Even knowing the historical and cultural background of some of these things doesn't make them feel less weird to many American's western sensibilities (tanukis, anyone?).
My question is, for anyone who is Japanese or has lived in Japan, what American phenomena (if any) illicit the same response over there? I don't mean things like "why are Americans so fat/violent/other negative stereotype", I mean things that are just not culturally translatable or strike the Japanese as surreal or hilarious. I mean, if I were from another culture, I would be completely baffled as to how people could watch "Jersey Shore". Is it supposed to be satire?? Are these people for real? What is the entertainment value? Hell, I live here and I don't even know. Are there YT videos of things like Jersey Shore being passed around Japan the same way we tend to pass around things like this video