My daughters love this new viral video.
When I first watched it, I steeled myself. I was used to Japanese comedy. While I was certain I couldn’t influence my kids too much, I was hoping that I could show them that Japanese comedy was at best low brow. Confronted by this insurmountable task, I chose instead to learn to love the water torture.
In 2011, I saw a movie called Another Earth. It is an indie flick, worth watching but not an nail biter. Trust me, watch it, even if you’re not a fan. Anyway, in the movie is a dialogue in which the main character talks of the first Russian cosmonaut in space. He’s in this tin can, and there’s this ticking. Maybe it’s a machine. Maybe it’s parts settling. Anyway, he thinks he’s going to lose his mind. A direct quote:
He’s got 25 days left to go… with this sound. So the cosmonaut decides… the only way to save his sanity… is to fall in love with this sound. So he closes his eyes… and he goes into his imagination, and then he opens them. He doesn’t hear ticking anymore. He hears music. And he spends the sailing through space in total bliss… and peace.
It is a piece of fiction. I want it to be real. I believe that I have convinced myself of its reality because it helps me in life. It is me and Japanese pop culture.
Why is this viral video viral? Hard to say. I tried hard to find a reason. My logical self comes to the following. Japanese have all grown up with English in school. They all have the same patterned response lessons. Everyone, I mean EVERYONE has learned, “I have a pen.” EVERYONE knows, “I have an apple.” It taps into the cultural subconscious.
That may be why it is just as- maybe even more- popular in Korea. They’ve learned the same lessons, studied in the same way. It strikes the same chord.
I watched it with my kids. They were rolling on the floor laughing (I refuse to use the acronym). I thought it was kind of funny. As an English teacher in the 90s I taught those patterned response lessons, “Is it a pen? Yes, it is a pen.” I might have been carried by their enthusiasm, or maybe I just learned to love the ticking in the capsule.
And, perhaps this is another reason it is viral, it is short. A minute. Check it out. Let me know if I’m losing my mind.
The scene from Another Earth