I’ve never actually watched Shark Week, I confess.
But then again, I’ve never watched Jersey Shore, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, The Glee Project, or Project Runway – and have a pretty good idea what each show is about (not to hate on tv shows – sometimes the title is all you need)
Shark Week is about sharks. It’s about sharks eating fish, sharks swimming around in the ocean, sharks poking at people suspended underwater in metal cages, and horrific flashbacks of shark attacks. But as far as I can tell, they don’t have shark week in Japan.
So here is a (short) practical guide on how to explain shark week to a Japanese person.
(The Japanese people I tested this guide on. Suzu-chan is on the left, Moe-chan is on the right)
1. Hook them (no pun intended). Drop it casually into conversation.
“What, you like puppies? That’s awesome. Do you know what other animal is awesome? Sharks.”
In my case, we happened to be doing a fun drawing game I learned as a child (with three people, fold a piece of paper each into three sections. Now you use ‘teamwork’ to draw a ‘person.’ (teamwork and person are in parenthesis, because you don’t really use teamwork – you try to draw the weirdest ‘person’). Let’s pretend you start with the sheet of paper. On “your” sheet, you draw the head in the first section, then cover it up and pass it to the right. The second person has to draw the body, without looking at the head you drew. Then they cover their section, and pass it onto the third person. The third person draws the legs, without looking at either of the first two sections. Then you uncover the sheet and laugh at the weird person you drew together.
Anyways, while we were drawing, the youngest girl, Suzu-chan, drew a shark that was about to eat our “persons” foot. So I brought up shark week.
2. Explain that America devotes a week to sharks, shark attacks, and everything relating to sharks.
3. When they ask why, exactly, America devoted a week to sharks… try to explain that America has a lot of weird TV shows that don’t exactly make sense (Jersey shore, Toddlers in Tiaras, assortment of Gypsy Weddings, ect). You can also try to explain how interesting sharks are.
4. Eventually realize that you don’t have the Japanese skill to explain why shark week is so popular (if the person you are speaking to only speaks Japanese, and if you aren’t fluent in Japanese). If the person you are talking to DOES speak English, skip this step and go straight to step 5.
5. Come to the conclusion that you really don’t, and never did, understand why shark week was so popular.
6. Spend the afternoon getting the person you were talking to (in my case, Suzu-chan) to teach you how to draw sharks.
|One of Suzu-chan’s sharks. Sadly, I never got this good…|
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