A few days ago friend of mine recommended me a Lithuanian travel show on TV. They’re in their 10th season and this time they went for Japan, which is why she recommended it. With every season they change their title and this time they’re called “Banzai“. I just watched the first episode TWICE and must say, I love it a lot (link to a legal place to watch this show for free down below, tho it’s in Lithuanian and there’s no subs, maybe you care to watch anyway).
The travelers and our heroes are Martynas (the slimmer, smaller man) and Vytaras (the bigger man). Their story this time starts with a traveler philosophy: you travel so much, and the more you do, the more you understand how little have you seen. Then there’s first views on Japan out of Airport, car, driving on the wrong lane (wrong to us), aaaand… Camera pans and I start laughing. Lemme rough-translate the quote:
Martynas: He’s buying icecream, as our tradition demands. Probably cherry!
Vytaras: No, Vanilla. Sakura.
You see why I laughed? Well here’s more (trust me, they’re not ignorant men, it’s just a little mess, excitement and other things piled up) :
Martynas: Let’s go look at the pretty Sakuras.
Vytaras: Those spruces there?
They tell us a little about sakuras. Apparently they started blooming just a day before their arrival. We love our cherries here too, thus there’s no surprise in the love Japanese show for these days of pink blossoms. The difference is in the atmosphere!
Camera pans again. Leaving the silent Japan behind and, with first few seconds of Miyavi – Selfish Love playing in the background, Martynas and Vytaras go learn how to use a Katana. Here I found out some new things too. For instance, I didn’t know the rolled up tatami for training had to be a little damp. I didn’t know that you have to listen to your sword while learning, whether it’s making “whoosht” sound or “shoosh”. It’s admirable how kind people were to them, how genuinely they seemed rejoiced whenever our lads managed to make a correct and an effective blow at a tatami.
Next destination was the fish market. It took them a serious while and a lot of officials to get in and be allowed to film. I never seen this before and never even thought about it, thus this was a nice change from the regular shows on Japan. Heck, now I even feel a little guilty for my love to Tuna. They’re huge, unlike anything I imagined before and there’s so many of them out there. Funny thing tho (or not so funny, actually), they were not allowed to get in or film where the live tuna was sold. And now we all can only wonder why. Still, it was very interesting to see how fish market works. Store officials come in with hats that have their shop title attached to it. They look through all the fish and go stand in specific places. When auction starts, they cover their hands with notebooks and show signs to sellers, bidding for fish and hiding their bid from the rivals.
From there on they move to Aokigahara, which is merely a side-trip to their true destination, which will be shown in second episode. Aokigahara is better know, to us at least, as Suicide Forest. Even if you leave your car too long by that forest – people will go into the forest to search for you. There are rangers who walk around there at all times. They talk to the living, try to help those on the edge and… Inform on other things. Naturally this duo felt extremely uncomfortable in the forest, thus they didn’t stay there long, didn’t go deep.
All in all, I loved this show. The small details were especially great: the icecream bar cost 150 yen, which is barely above one euro; road prices are high, but the roads are extremely well maintained; shoes come off everywhere, even school; Japanese youth is not very interested in Samurai studies anymore; etc. I await next episode.