Well I’ve been looking for stuff to watch here in Japan to practice my Japanese. Unfortunately either Japanese TV is generally boring (which I heard from several Japanese people) or it’s that I don’t understand it so it’s boring to me. I’m not sure which it is. Maybe a little of both. So, I’ve been trying to find something interesting enough that I will want to watch it in instead of having to force myself to watch it.
Well I found it! Crayon Shinchan is a cartoon show. It seems to be aimed at kids but I’d say it’s often aimed at adult kids kind of like South Park though not quite that far.
I’m not good and translating comedy (or anything else for that matter) but to give you some examples: Shinchan often uses fairly bad language, bad in the sense of impolite not vulgar, though he doesn’t know any better as he’s supposed to be in kindergarten. There was one episode where he’s modeling something with clay at school and he’s trying to make a butt for an animal he’s making so he pulls down his pants in the middle of class to look at his butt but he can’t see it and model at the same time. The teacher notices and of course freaks out and asks him why he’s pulled his pants down in class. He explains and then asks the teacher if she’ll pull down her pants to model for him. She of course says no way and before she can stop him he runs out of the class to the classroom next door to ask the next door teacher.
Well, his teacher runs out after him and is confronted by the next door teacher asking why this kid is interrupting her class asking to see her butt. The next door teacher exclaims it must be because her butt is prettier and then of course the two teachers each stick out there butts and start arguing about who’s butt is prettier and then Shinchan steps in between and of course exclaims that in reality he has the cutest butt of all.
In another episode that was very funny Shinchan is in a bookstore looking at books while is Mom is at the hairstylist next door. I’m not sure if this is a comment on bookstores or not but there are two women running the bookstore and they have hand gestures that look very much like the gestures baseball coaches use to communicate to catchers which the bookstore women use to communicate without the customers knowing that they are talking about the customers.
One of the things they do is the lady at the cash register will notice that lots of people are loitering in front of the magazine stand reading magazines but not buying so she signals all this to the other lady who goes over there and in a loud voice says "excuse me" so she can put some new magazines in thereby dispersing the crowd.
The crowed disperses except of course for Shinchan who is oblivious to it all. She tells him "you can’t stand here reading a magazine" so Shinchan sits down and starts to read. She tells him "you can’t sit here reading a magazine" so Shinchan innocently lies down to read it. She says "you can’t lie down here either" so Shinchan starts, for lack of a better word, exercising while reading.
After trying about 5 more things to get him to leave and communicating with hand gestures to the lady at the cash register for help and sympathy, she finally gets a good idea and tells him there’s an ice cream store next door and he should go ask his mom if he can get some. This really excites him so he runs out of the store. She’s all happy (more hand gestures) but then of course he comes running back with a 4 scoop ice cream cone. She tells him he can’t come in eating ice cream but he pulls out 3 bucks and says basically "I’m a paying customer, my mom gave me this money to buy a picture book."
She spends the next 10 minutes trying to get him not to spill the ice cream and to quickly decide on a book. Trying to get him interested in something she thinks "ah ha!" and gets out a Maskman book (ie, generic popular superhero. Like Ultraman). Shinchan is of course interested and starts looking at the book and she, trying to get him sold, starts acting out like Maskman and/or his enemies and of course at one point gets fairly loud as she’s rolling on the floor acting like a hit enemy which of course the rest of the store notices, thoroughly embarrassing her. After which she asks Shinchan, "so, are you going to buy this book?". He responds, "I can watch Maskman for free on TV so no way would I buy this book."
When he finally finishes the ice cream and his hands are all sticky with it and he’s about to open a book she tells him "you can’t open the book with your hands covered in ice cream" What does he do? Licks his hands clean. Again as he’s about to open the book she’s like "you can’t open the book with your hands all wet". He starts to blow his hands dry.
Then he notices a book on top of a bookshelf. Thinking he’s interested she gets out the ladder and gets the book. She brings it down and he starts to thumb through it and she’s like "so, are you going to buy this book?" and he’s like "just like I thought. I already have this book."
I’ve heard that parents generally don’t like Crayon Shinchan because it teaches the kids bad words but I’m sure the kids love it.