Friday, 23 December 2011


The Masters of the Universe toyline started off as group of intergalactic barbarians in fur pants, and a year later had spiraled into such insanity that it made 'intergalactic barbarians in fur pants' sound boring. The cartoon was cancelled before the toyline ended, which meant that for a full six months the character creators were aware that their 'jobs' were coming to a close. 
All I can assume is that they decided that if they were going to have to explain to their kids why rat meat was on the menu for Christmas dinner, they sure as hell weren't going to make things fun for the little bastards whose parents could still afford toys.

In all 80’s TV shows there is an episode that features one of the main characters having an evil doppelganger. This plot device was favoured for two main reasons. 1: it allowed us to see how dangerous the hero could be if his morality ever slipped, and 2: the 80's. 
The Thundercats episode ‘spitting Image’ had an evil Panthro clone. The Knightrider episode ‘Trust Don’t Rust’ (wow) introduced us to KARR. In the ‘Scooby Doo’ episode ‘To switch a Witch’, a hilariously misjudged plot saw an evil twin trying to have her sister executed for being a practitioner of the black arts.
"I would have got away with it if it wasn't for you pesky kids (running in tears to your parents and pre-empting scores of complaints)" - John Meerson, Scooby Doo script writer and despiser of children

 The list goes on and on. Hell, BEWITCHED ran for 254 episodes and this was the plot to 255 of them. The only thing more popular then having an evil doppelganger in a TV show in the 80s was snorting cocaine off a prostitute and  hating yourself.
Masters Of The Universe executives saw this trope and wanted a big old slice. Unfortunately the imprisoned mental patient that they were forcing to write episodes at the time was trying to encode cries for help into every script, meaning a couple of bumps in a tried and tested format.
The He-man episode ‘The Shaping Staff’ brought us faker, a robotic He-Man clone. Faker is almost identical to He-man except in one very special way – he looks totally fucking different. 
SPOT THE DIFFERENCE FOR A PRIZE. (The prize is the knowledge you’re not colourblind).

Obviously, there has to be some kind of difference in looks for the viewer to be able to differentiate the hero from the evil version, and historically this was evil facial hair.  When Masters of the Universe came along they decided that this might be a touch too subtle for their target audience which was, apparently, congenital retards and instead made Faker an entirely different coloured skin, clothes, eyes and hair. 
Not even God knows how this was meant to work. 
As mentioned earlier, Masters of the Universe released the toyline before the new additions made it onto TV which meant that the characters were trialed a little. As the feedback for Faker was presumably just a graph with ‘fuck you’ scrawled across it, by the time he hit our screens the character had been altered to make him identical to he-man.
Hahaha, just kidding he had glowing eyes and a totally different voice. 

They’ll never know! Unless they look in his direction.

An average He-man episode started with Skeletor stirring some shit up by exhibiting a power he had never used before and would never use again, with THE SHAPING STAFF being true to form. Skeletor waves the staff about and simply creates Faker out of thin air and distain for continuity. Why he hadn’t tried this before is never really explained. Why he never tries it again becomes obvious the second any other Master of the Universe sees Faker. The only way this 'plan' could have worked was if Faker stayed as far away from the real He-Man as possible, which is why Faker instantly makes a bee-line for the real He-man. 
"Which one do we shoot? It's so hard to tell! Hahaha jokes - aim at that shitty copy."

His ruse is as transparent as a Nigerian email and has all the tactical cunning of going tiger hunting with a bacon rifle.  He gets the shit kicked out of him and falls down a hole becoming the only He-man villain to ‘die’. 
When the shows producers had to defend the decision to show a character being killed, they argued that as he wasn't technically a living creature, he couldn't technically die. Their argument should really have been that kids would have actually been mentally enriched by seeing such a redundant business plan be destroyed.
Even Skeletor had to admit Fakers' death was pretty funny.

Due to the fact that 'internet fan fiction writer' is almost synonymous with 'adult-diaper wearer', Faker has remained a fan favourite with limitless stories about his secret origins and adventures poxing the web. 
The Writers of New Adventures of He-man took this into account, with Faker apparently scheduled to play a big part later in the series. In the episode entitled THE COURAGE OF ADAM, Man At Arms builds a He-man replica robot. When it gets smashed and malfunctions it briefly flickers Faker colours (skip to 5.30) as a hint for the future.

Would Faker have been a robot like his original toy version? Or a magical creation, following his animated incarnation? Perhaps he would been given true He-Man powers and become a worthy adversary? Luckily, we'll never know: the series was cancelled before any of that happened, meaning a new generation of kids was spared exposure to the blue pile of shit.


Kung Fu, The Great Wall, Egg Fried Rice. Have you ever wondered what life would be like in that ancient land? I did, but the SARS happened so I went to Japan instead.

Five years later and I’m back.

Was Japan everything I wanted it to be? Well if I tell you that what I wanted it to be was a hilarious mish mash of every Asian stereotype Id ever seen and on the verge of creating a sentient robot dog, then I’ll let you imagine as to whether the answer is yes or no. (Benny’s hint: The answer is ‘yes’).

PICTURED: culture

When a figment of my imagination suggested I write an article that would help people learn Japanese, I only had one question – “How much money is in it for me?” Upon hearing the answer I only had one more question – “Why don’t you go screw yourselves?”

But then I got to thinking about all the words that would have helped me out had I known them. I mean, anybody can learn ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ right? But that’s not what you need…you need deeper, more culturally intricate words. If you’re going there you want to dive straight in and be able to express yourself with words that will communicate exactly what you want to say. Words that will earn respect from the locals.

Words like:
(Bih – Me – Oh)
This word is great because it can be used as an answer for anything. ANYTHING. It basically means “Its hard to say exactly”, which may sound vague and obtuse, but Japan is the country of the Samurai were vague and indirect are symbols of depth and thought process. Openness and direct answers tend to be frowned upon, for example a sentence like “Ok, ok, it IS my kid” will just make you look like a total loser.

Follow along with these examples.
A: How are your Japanese studies coming along?
B: Bimio.

A: Which is your favourite of these two animes, the one where the space adventurer has to save the planet, or the one where the demon octopus shits all over that lady?
B: Bimio.

A: You have a class to teach. Where are your trousers and why do you stink of alcohol?
B: Bimio.

So that’s your ‘get out of jail free’ word. Figuratively speaking of course. Don’t actually use it in jail, especially in response to “Do you like violent butt sex?”
Sorry about the mental image I may have given you with that, but lets face it; from brutalist torture regimes to Speed 2: Cruise Control, appalling things that we have no control over happen in life.
That’s when you need a word like:

(sho – ga – nai)
Another extremely versatile word, an approximate translation would be ‘It cannot be helped’. The Japanese are great believers in destiny, inevitability and the will of the universe and as such believe that any circumstance they find themselves in is through the design of an unknown higher power. I’m surprised that this way of thinking hasn’t caught on over here – I know I certainly found it easier to believe that the reason I have no house, car, girlfriend or BFFs is due to events beyond my control and not a borderline personality disorder.

A: My son has his first birthday party this weekend but my boss has told me I must work.
B: Shoganai.

A: It’s my sons wedding this weekend, and although my boss first told me I could take a day off, he has now changed his mind and says I must work.
B: Shoganai.

A: I’m 70, my wife’s left me and my son never visits. I kind of feel like I wasted my entire life working 7 days a week at the SUPER-MEGA Corporation. I didn’t take a day off in 50 years and all they got me when I left was a watch.
B: Shoganai.

So now you can say let people know that A) You can’t explain yourself and B) It can’t be helped. If you ever come out of a ‘dream’ only to find yourself naked from the waist down and surrounded by police deploying pepper spray into your eyes, you’ll be all set.

But how about if you want to be a bit more aggressive with it? If you want to let people know that you don’t give a crap about their ‘suggestions’ and ‘advice’ and ‘hints on bathing effectively’. Well then you say:

(Oo – Roo –Sai)
This is an easy one. It means “Shut up”. But before you go throwing this at anyone that looks at you sideways, a word to the wise. The Japanese don’t have swear words. They have intonation. So a word like ‘urusai’, if used in casual manner would mean ‘shut up’. However scowling and shouting the same word would have the same effect as ‘Shut your damn, ape-like mouth’, with degrees in between.

A) Hey man, I know you’re a brand new couple, but have you done anything with Sarah yet besides kiss?
B) Urusai.

A) No dude, for real it’s just that…look, this isn’t easy to say...well before you and her got together I hooked up with her one night and things got really hot…
B) UruSAI!

A) She’s got a dick.
B) URUSAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII! (Screaming into pillow for an hour for every second you frenched optional).

So there we go guys. Three words that will undoubtedly be as useful to you as lying to girls in nightclubs about my personal achievements has been for me. I hope you enjoyed it, see you next time!



Sunday, 18 December 2011


Hi guys, thanks for accidentally coming.
When a mysterious tramp suggested I write a language based blog post, I only had one question – “What time is it and why are you in my bedroom?”
But then I thought, hey, I lived in Japan for almost five years and once saw a dildo shaped like a pokemon, so if I`m not qualified to write an educational language article then who the hell is?
 Now you have too.
After all, any chump can learn how to say “yes”, “no” right? You need words that will make you into a shining beacon of communication! Words that will open doorways to cultural intricacy and adventures in linguistics! Words that will get you laid!
Words like:

(suh – goi)
Basically this means ‘great’, ‘wonderful’, ‘totally super-rad’. Japanese girls say this A LOT. So much in fact that within the course of your first day in Japan it goes from being adorable and cute to making you want to stamp on Guinea Pigs.
A) I went to a Japanese hot spring for the first time this week.
B) Sugoi!
A) Really? I mean it’s not that great…it’s just a hot spring. In England we don’t have hot springs.
B) Sugoi!
A) What? Look…it’s nice that you’re so excited about what I’m doing but could you please not say that word for a while? It’s kind of making me want to hurt myself.

So there you go, when girls in Japan surround you and start screaming at you in shrill voices, just enjoy it; they’re complimenting you. If they start screaming at you in shrill voices and have red eyes and start biting you then it’s probably some kind of possession.

(kih – moi)
Another solid all rounder. It’s kind of a mix between ‘gross’, ‘creepy’ and ‘grabby uncle’. Japanese tend to use adjectives as a full sentence so you will hear this word murmured during a gory scene in a movie, when somebody steps in dog crap or when a creepy old man drops his pants in front of a bus-load of school kids.
A) How was the zombie movie?
B) Kimoi!

A) Look at this Polaroid.
B) Kimoi!

A) Have you ever seen one of these do this before?
B) Kimoi!

Got that? Ok then let’s move onto the last one.
The Japanese rely on intonation to do their effin and jeffing for them. So although this word means ‘annoying’ in principle, it can mean anything from that up to ‘effing annoying’.
A) Sugoi!
B) Uzai.

A) Sugoi!

A) Sugoi!

So there we go guys. Three words that will undoubtedly be as useful to you as using fake profile pictures for online chatting have been for me. I hope you enjoyed it, see you next time!