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Troop of 100In the United States, we have flashmobs, spontaneous gatherings of people organized on social media, meant to impress, irritate or astound unknowing witnesses and passers-by. In Japan, occasionally these flashmobs are organized to target one specific individual, just to mess with them. Just like the title states, "Troop of 100" features 100 people who appear out of nowhere to chase an unsuspecting stranger on the street. (See, it's funny, because they think they are about to be assaulted!)BUY @ amazon
In cases where the troupe actually catches the target, they celebrate by tossing the person up and down in the air, ritualistically, which may not necessarily make the victim feel all that much better. Unless he has recently had a Bar Mitzvah and it brings back happy memories. Then, just as quickly as they arrived, the mob departs, leaving the target dazed and confused, but no worse for wear. Except for the lingering feelings of paranoia and mistrust that may take a lifetime to conquer. But hey, it was funny for 30 seconds, right?
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Crazy Screaming GuyIt's hard to imagine the pitch meeting for Japan's Crazy Screaming Guy show.BUY @ amazon
"OK, so we take a man, dress him up in a ridiculous striped ensemble and then have him yell at unsuspecting people on the street... No, there's no story. No, why would he say anything to the people? He's yelling."
It's like the "Seinfeld" "show about nothing" concept taken to extreme new heights.
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How To Escape a FartSome of these shows aren't just about cruelty, but also educating viewers and giving something back to the community. In this case, how to fart and then...do something. The clip is called "How to Escape a Fart," but judging from the actual action, it seems like it's more about "How to Spread Your Delicious Farts Around for the Mutual Pleasure of Everyone in the Area." Essentially, players are put in an entirely black room and asked to break wind, which helpfully shows up dyed yellow for the benefit of the cameras. (Not to mention the comfortable digestion of our lunches.) Afterwards, the contestants must wave the gaseous release around, often mimicking a well-known physical activity, such as pitching a baseball. Hey, still...helpful...BUY @ amazon
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Downtown no Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende!!The title literally translates as: "This is no task for kids!" They ain't lying.BUY @ amazon
This popular comedy/variety series was hosted by the popular Japanese comedy duo Downtown (Hitoshi Matsumoto and Masatoshi Hamada). It featured segments called "Batsu" (roughly translated to "Torture!" Is it any wonder a US network grabbed this one?) During each Batsu, there's a task or question that must be completed. For example, the challenge might be "do not laugh at something funny." Fail, and you are punished...with pain! Just like on "Everybody Loves Raymond"!
The punishments themselves get pretty creative, provided you have a taste for the diabolical. A dart in the butt may not be enough of a disincentive to keep a contestant from laughing, but that's a lesson they'll remember the rest of their life. Which will be pretty short if they don't start acing more of these challenges.
Downtown went on to host the series that inspired the MTV show "Silent Library," "Hey! Hey! Hey! Music Champ."
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EnduranceUnlike modern definitions of the word, the '80s Japanese show "Endurance" does not put competitors through a long and grueling set of trials. Rather, they're asked to complete several bizarre tasks all at once. Though the English-speaking announcers with southern accents don't state what the grand prize is, one can only assume it's "not dying." Although honestly, the "Endurance" survivors may very well envy the dead.BUY @ amazon
Take, for example, one episode in which contestants are given a bottle of hot sauce. To chug. Followed by having a hefty glob of spicy green mustard placed directly under their noses while wearing a nifty piece of headgear. (Spoiler: This causes some of them to puke. Both contestants and those watching from home.)
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