JLC: Turning Japanese

Thursday 27 January, 9:00pm on Five

This hilarious three-part documentary series follows Justin Lee Collins as he heads east and attempts to get to grips with Japanese culture. In the opening instalment, Justin takes a look at love and relationships. On a quest to find out what makes Japanese men and women tick, he visits a ‘love doll’ emporium, attends a dating college and spends an evening as an escort. Justin arrives in Tokyo on a mission to learn more about the people and customs behind Japan’s often baffling image. Tokyo, Japan’s hectic capital city, is home to 13million people, but Justin readily admits that his perception of their culture is entirely caught up in clich�s. “I don’t like robots, I don’t have an MP3 player and I hate manga,” he confesses. “So I hope there is more to Japan than that.” The Bristolian adventurer’s first port of call is one of Tokyo’s most fashionable hangouts, the bustling Harajuku district. Every Sunday, young people dressed in a range of outlandish, theatrical costumes congregate in the area to promenade and socialise. To Justin, Harajuku appears to be the perfect meeting ground for lovers. But translator Mai explains that the sexes often remain separate because increasing numbers of strong, ambitious Japanese women have begun to view the male of the species as too foppish and effeminate. Justin’s next stop is a shop beloved by many of these men, to whom the women disdainfully refer as ‘herbivores’. The store specialises in women’s underwear made especially for male proportions. Justin’s portly physique causes much merriment among Mai and the manager, who take it in turns to grope his chest. “They feel nice, like a girl’s,” the proprietor giggles, before offering Justin a pink polka dot bra. “The frills and the pink suit you,” he informs his baffled visitor. “They match your face.” After this strange experience, Justin is determined to find out how Japanese singles go about attracting a partner. The intrepid host soon finds himself in a college that specialises in dating classes. Each lesson starts with a series of facial exercises designed to make the smile more attractive, and Justin quickly becomes the star pupil. “Justin, you’ve been working very hard,” the teacher exclaims. “Your face is red.” Buoyed by the praise, Justin heads to the front of the class to demonstrate his pulling technique. “These people need to see British charm and sophistication in action,” he declares.

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