Friday, February 5, 2010

Variety Shows!

So today I’m posting a list of the Japanese variety shows I watch, and I definitely recommend watching stuff like this if you’re looking for Japanese material. Immersion is one of the biggest tools when learning another language, so definitely check these out! I’ve also been reviewing jdramas in separate entries, and I might make shorter episode reviews on the ones I’m currently watching… But anyway, this will be focused on just variety shows! Disclaimer, though, all but one of these are specifically Arashi shows XD

Tensai! Shimura Doubutsuen

First, here’s a show you can really enjoy without being familiar with Arashi at all – in fact only one of the members (Aiba) is even in it. This is a show for animal lovers! Every episode consists of several different corners, such as funny animal videos, or continuing stories of certain celebrities and their touching experiences with a particular animal companion, or one of the regular members of the show (Shimura, Aiba, Becky) going on silly animal adventures. Most of the time the show is very lighthearted, cute, and silly, although every once in a while there is a very touching, sometimes even tear-jerking story. You don’t really need to understand any Japanese to enjoy this show, so you can watch it just for fun and absorb Japanese at the same time!

CxDxG no Arashi

So this actually refers to three different shows, and I’ve only seen D no Arashi and G no Arashi. This show does revolve around the members of Arashi as they go out on crazy random adventures, meet quirky people, or do useless but funny experiments. What’s great about these shows is the variety of topics that are covered, so the show doesn’t really get repetitive or boring. The D stands for Documentary (so documentaries on various, usually very random topics) and the G stands for Ganbare (so the boys “support” certain groups of people). It’s hard to explain the mechanics of these shows, but I think they are hilarious, interesting, and sometimes even a little educational. This could be a good way to “get to know” Arashi. I think one of the most entertaining things to watch is these boys interacting haha.

Mago Mago Arashi

This show is simply adorable. The general premise is that a couple of Arashi members at a time go visit an old couple and “become their grandkids” for a day (hence “mago mago”). They help with chores, cooking, and just hang out with the jiichan and baachan, who usually don’t have grandkids of their own or rarely see them. It’s an incredibly sweet concept and I’ve literally teared up at several episodes. Later on, they do a couple of other corners, such as taking care of kids and cooking dinner from them while the parents are gone, or running around Tokyo in a sort of treasure hunt with nothing but an ancient map from the Edo period. The kids section is adorable as well, and while this show can get repetitive as most episodes have the same premise, it rarely gets boring. Check it out~

VS Arashi
This one is still airing now, so it’s kind of fun to keep track of something that is so current. This is Arashi’s athletic game show; there’s always a guest team that go up against Arashi in a few different silly games, which include rock climbing, coin stacking, pipe catching, bowling, etc. This show went through a complete revamp this past fall, so all the games were updated and whatnot, but I haven’t really kept up with it yet. This show does get repetitive, as it’s always the same games, the same concept… However, the repetitiveness can actually help when it comes to learning Japanese. (Ex. before almost every game the announcer says “dewa, mairimasu.” I heard it so often that I learned that phrase without even thinking about it)

Arashi no Shukudaikun
This show is also currently airing and features different guests in almost every episode – actors, singers, comedians. They do a lot of talking with the guest, and usually there are a couple of entertaining activities. In most of the episodes, the guests have a favorite food or a food they would like to try out, and so lots of crazy dishes are brought out and generally there are a lot of funny reactions to it. They also play silly games and whatnot that usually have something to do with the guests’ hobbies or interests. The structure is repetitive – it’s always the same set, they often ask guests similar questions and do the food thing, but I personally like the repetitiveness as it becomes familiar and, in my opinion, doesn’t really get boring.

Himitsu no Arashi chan

This last one is another show that is still airing. There have been so many different corners on this show over time that it’s hard to pinpoint a specialty of the show. I’ll just list a few examples of the games. VIP Room: A special guest is invited to chat about topics that are important to her (mostly when it comes to men or dating), and at the end she decides which Arashi member she took notice of and be interested in dating (all of this is just in theory, of course). Mannequin Five: The members (and sometimes male guests) wear an outfit based on a theme, and have to stand still and act like mannequins while female guests are brought in and judge them based on what they’re wearing. Mote Arashi, Dame Arashi: Based on a series of questions of “what would you do in this dating situation”, the boys are judged by a panel of women comedians, and the most “dame” (no good) member gets dunked into a vat of ice water. This is just a tiny sample, but generally, this show consists of several different games that are just fun and crazy.

So there are some ideas of shows for you to check out and immerse yourself in! Have fun with it!

And discover Sho's amazing artistic abilities...

What variety shows do you watch that are fun and interesting?


  1. LOL how the majority of japanese variety shows feature Arashi! I ❤ Arashi my favorite varity show has to be Mago Mago Arashi.

  2. The good thing about J-Dramas is that they often star japanese celebs... if you like watching japanese variety shows you'll be pleased to know that most members of Arashi have been in dramas too!

  3. Haha I warned you! XD And I really love Mago Mago~ Have you seen D and/or G no Arashi? If you like the group, I think those are especially great!

  4. You really should! I love dramas too, and it's nice to have a few different options when you're searching for what to watch. What's great about variety show is that the speech is even more natural as most of the time they're not speaking from a script (which can help a lot if you're studying Japanese ^^) Definitely mess around with it - there's so much fun Japanese material out there!

  5. Jdramas are great, as are variety shows - depends on what you feel like watching at the time. Happy watching! ^-^