Thursday, March 24, 2005

I am not impressed

The Man and I watched the opening ceremony of the Aichi Expo on TV today. It was the first I'd even heard of it, but The Man assured me it would be good.

He was wrong. The speeches were boring, most of the performances were like something from a high school concert, and then there were the sappy lessons about the environment. Irony abounded. Japan lectures the rest of the world about taking care of the environment! Then they throw paper all over the place, and send a bunch of children dressed as insects to sweep it up, incompetently. Mostly into the bushes.

The robots were good. Japan does good robots. Also the drumming, and the Kabuki-like performance.

There were a few laughs. The camera work in particular had some unexpectedly funny moments. When the Prime Minister was about two minutes into his speech it was not diplomatic to pan the crowd of foreign faces and zoom in on the one who was yawning enormously. Amusing, but not diplomatic. And when the Emperor was speaking, why on earth did they choose a close-up camera angle that got that other guy's head so prominently there, so that it looked like the Emperor had two heads? He was a funny-looking bloke, and I thought for a wild moment he was resting his chin on the Emperor's shoulder and inspecting his dandruff. When the camera panned back you could see the guy was actually a couple of meters away, and it was just the angle and the guy's huge (and extremely ugly) head that made him look close. Did they do that on purpose?

And the music! We got classical music with a big orchestra, which was pretty good, alternating with truly horrible Japanese singers who could not hold a tune. Some of the high notes actually hurt, and I had to leave the room for a while.

Also, if they were going to have all those kids singing in English they probably should have given them a few pronunciation lessons first, although I must admit it increased the entertainment value enormously when they started singing about arse music and arse harmony and so on. We were laughing so hard we missed most of that song, but that bit was good.

As a tax payer, though, and considering they're spending 1.8 TRILLION YEN on this Expo, I hope the rest of it isn't quite as amateurish as the opening ceremony was.


Kines said...

I really want to go the Aichi Expo. Apparently they're really keen on getting public interest in it, because I saw ads for it on the buses here in Paris. (Also my mum said tickets were no longer available for the first few months).


I wrote something I hope you might take a look at about Eastern and Western usages of language:

As a aside, I love how in Shibuya they have OIOI City (Marui City, the department store): the Japanese read it Marui Shitee.

E.P. said...

ROTFL, GoodAunt, about your description of the camera antix! Just goes to demonstrate once more how camera folk (if so inclined) can propagandize in subtle yet deadly ways. Not a word of bias, yet "a picture's worth a 1000 words." (Besides which, a picture goes straight into the soul, without being processed by reason, much the way alcohol penetrates the brain without being digested first. Frequent enough exposure to biased pictures and a whole society is drunk with lies.)