The Controversial Annual Red-White Songfest

I had been down with a cold through most of the year-end holidays we have here in Japan, so I didn’t really do much but sleep. Given my already fragile looking built, I really ought to eat more but living alone means I didn’t get to eat much either.

I remember we used to get to catch the Annual Red-White Songfest in Singapore during the Chinese New Year. I’m not sure if that is still true now but being in Japan means New Year Eve is filled with interesting programs to watch, so I was mostly at a lost what I should catch. But I was certain I didn’t want to spend the whole time watching the Annual Red-White Songfest because, let’s face it, most of it is not interesting. Downtown’s Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende, more commonly known as the “No laughing show” is a lot more interesting to watch. But I spent most of the evening catching a quiz program by Hayashi-sensei and Cream Stew, and then the no laughing show from 9pm onwards. It was hilarious.

The only part I had wanted to catch on NHK’s Red-White Songfest was X Japan’s return to the show, and even that part alone was a disappointment. There was a theme about Godzilla attacking the city and somebody had to stop it. Yoshiki came on and said, “we’ll stop it!” And the band proceeded to play Kurenai. At the end of their number, Godzilla is defeated. WTF? That was an insult to TV. It looked like a children’s school project that shouldn’t have been allowed to go on national TV, what more in a major annual event. I was disappointed X was involved in it.

I switched channels after X’s performance and then switched back again around midnight to see who won. I had expected the White team to win again because they haven’t lost in such a long time when Arashi had been the host, and I wasn’t expecting it to be any different this year. But to the contrary, the Red team won, which is good because White team winning again and again is just boring. But there, the controversy began. Home viewers voted for the White team to win in a landslide vote. Audiences at the auditorium voted for the White team to win as well. But when the judges cast their votes, the Red team won. Viewers were furious that their opinions were not respected. Even Red team representative, actress Arimura Kasumi, was taken aback when her team won.

This is all very funny to me. If the judges had to “respect” audience votes by voting according to viewers’ preferences, then there is no need for judges to vote at all, isn’t it? Just decide based on viewers’ votes. This is like the US Presidential Election all over again. The same system runs for years and years and nobody complains about it. But when the popular vote doesn’t get its way, suddenly the system is problematic and “ought to be changed since a long time ago.”

Change your mentality and understand that not everything goes your way. Unfortunately, the people who would listen to this advice don’t need it, and those who need it wouldn’t listen. And if I continue looking at the world this way, I might just sink into depression.


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