Watched a few episodes of The TETSUWAN Dash!!

The TETSUWAN Dash!! (ザ!鉄腕!DASH!!) is a Japanese TV variety program that airs on Nihon TV and stars the members of Japanese boyband Tokio getting up to various hijinks. I say “boyband” but the member of Tokio are all past 40 by now and one episode even had two of them figuring out ways to burn fat and stay trim even in their late 30s.

How did I discover this program? Mostly by chance. I was browsing around some Japanese media fansites and saw a comment somewhere mentioning how much Japanese fans hate Taichi Kokubun, one of the members of Tokio. I browsed about a bit more and found a thread translated from 2channel about how much they hated him. TBH 2channel is just a bunch of trolls who shouldn’t be taken seriously and AFAIK Kokubun is actually one of the most popular members of the group. But long story short, someone in that thread mentioned The Tetsuwan Dash, I started googling around and quickly found this:

Lots and lots and lots of old The Tetsuwan Dash episodes! Yay! The video quality isn’t the best so some stuff can be a little hard to see sometimes, but it’s more than good enough for keeping up my Japanese while watching stuff that isn’t completely inane (i.e. doesn’t involve AKB48 or the likes).

As a bonus it’s actually a very educational show. Parts of it are a little boring and just have two members driving around Japan in a solar car ooh-ing and aah-ing over the local sights, but the Dash Village (Dash Mura) sections teach me a lot about small-scale farming. The first episode I watched taught me about cross-pollination as the team attempted to crossbreed two varieties of rice. It was a tremendous amount of effort, especially since one breed was growing faster than the other so they had to rig a hothouse over the slower one and transplant the faster one to somehow regulate the speeds, then they had to manually pollinate some of the rice and in the end a lot of the crop was still lost to disease, and on and on. Lots of very interesting, very educational drama.

In another episode I learned about how corn is pollinated – I always wanted what those long silky fibers on the end were for. Turns out each fiber is connected to a potential grain on the cob. The fiber absorbs the pollen, passes it down to the cob and then a grain grows on that spot on the cob. Fascinating stuff, I had no idea. Furthermore, the point of growing all that corn on the farm was to create silage. I know the term “silage” and I’ve seen silos on farms and stuff but I had no idea what was actually inside. They cut up the corn, put it in rubber bags, buried it and let it ferment, and then dug it up later and fed it to the goats. I learned so much from that episode alone.

Unfortunately it turns out that Dash Village was located in Fukushima Prefecture. It became heavily irradiated after the TEPCO incident in March 2011 and has been evacuated. Even worse, the knowledgeable old farmer who does all the teaching passed away in 2014 at the ripe old age of 84. That means no more Dash Village episodes anymore, awww :-< But I haven’t gotten that far yet. The episodes I’m watching date back to 2008 or so, so I still have a while left to get there.

The other variety parts of The Tetsuwan Dash can be hit or miss. The driving around in the solar car bits are usually quite meh. The reactions of the guys in the car are so fake, it’s pretty obvious that everything’s been set up in advance and they aren’t just randomly happening upon random fishermen who randomly take them out for fishing. How young do you think we are. But other segments can be fun, especially when the guys get involved in doing something physical like the exercise segments I mentioned at the top.

Overall it’s a very enjoyable program with likable hosts (even Kokubun!) and a high educational factor for both Japan/Japanese and general knowledge. And Kokubun isn’t as bad as the trolls make him out to be, even though he does seem to do less work and eat more than the others, haha. Give it a try if you’re looking for a (relatively) intelligent Japanese TV show to practice your Japanese listening skills, especially at the advanced level. If you’re a fan of Tokio, all the better!

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2 Responses to “Watched a few episodes of The TETSUWAN Dash!!”

  1. Rafael Sousa says:

    Nice review. I was looking for more information about this show and found this review by chance. I am studying japanese, and right now i don’t understand very much, but as some parts of the show are very visual, it becomes easier to understand. There are a lot of shows to pratice the listening skills, but as you said, this a good show to pratice and learn another things about the japanese culture.

    • Animefangirl says:

      It is very educational, but maybe a little hard for Japanese learners because they use so many technical terms. I haven’t found any other Japanese show that’s this entertaining and informative at the same time, but I’m still looking. Good luck with the studies!

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