There’s a great single from (I think) the early 1980s, by a Japanese band called 米米CLUB (Kome Kome Club). The track is ‘Funk Fujiyama’, and the lyrics and accompanying promo video take a humorous look at foreigner’s ideas about Japan (and at their attempts at speaking Japanese). I find it laugh-out-loud funny, and although some of the humour is lost if you don’t speak Japanese, the refrain is mostly comprehensible in English (the third line translates as Hello, Goodbye, How much does it cost?):
Everybody samurai sushi geisha
Beautiful Fujiyama Ha! Ha! Ha!
Konnichiwa sayonara kore ikura
Kamikaze harakiri Ha! Ha! Ha!
Here’s the video, courtesy of YouTube, the great cultural reliquary of our age:
goo has the lyrics in Japanese if you’re interested.
Anyway, the reason I bring it up is this news about London’s handover segment in the Olympic closing ceremony:
London’s set will start with a symbolic red London double-decker bus driving around the Bird’s Nest chased by Hoy, Pendleton and Reade on their bikes.
When it slows down at a bus stop, the three groups of dancers will surround the double-decker.
Afterwards the bus will transform itself, with the top half folding down in segments to show a hedge cut into shapes of the London skyline such as Tower Bridge, Battersea Power Station, the Houses of Parliament, and a phalanx of black umbrellas beside will be unfurled, BBC reported.
Sure, we have double-decker buses in London, but it’s a hackneyed old cliché, isn’t it? Besides, they have double-decker buses in regular service in Xi’an, too! I’ve been on one. And a ‘phalanx of black umbrellas’? I thought they were trying to encourage tourists, not scare them off by reinforcing London’s (statistically unjustified) reputation for rain. I think I might have to kill myself if they’re wearing bowler hats as well.
Maybe I’m wrong, and it will be a self-deprecating, humorous event, like Funk Fujiyama. The prospect of some urban reworking of the national anthem prefigures a po-facedly, toe-curlingly worthy affair to me. We’ll see soon enough.