Bust a move: Learning English the “Zuiikin” way…

Zuiikin Girls 随意筋英会話While showing reruns is the bread and butter of those little watched cable channels, recently, the subscribers of channel #739 have recently been lucky enough to re-live some wonderful memories from the golden age of Japanese broadcasting. You can almost feel in your bones the passion that the average Japanese housewife must have had to learn English back in the bubble era after a few seconds of watching the Zuiikin girlsEikawa lessons.

Produced almost three decades ago by Tongtong, the concept behind the Zuiikin girls is that by exercising while you are learning English, the muscles in your body will actually remember the new vocabulary for you. Not only did the producers aim to come up with practical lessons that prepare you for your next overseas trip, they seemed to be focusing on the kind of phrases that your average chikyu no arukikata will rarely tell you about. To watch the videos just click on the screens below:

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Zuiikin (随意筋) refers to the muscles in your body that you can consciously move yourself (and called “voluntary muscles” in English.) Anyone who is lucky enough to have a Japanese spouse will realize that this word really brings on new meaning in this next lesson:

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Just as you were reeling in your chair thinking about all of the extra ammunition your spouse now has against you, it seems as though our prayers were answered. In the final episode of this strange conversational calisthenics, the producer must have had a soft spot for we gaijin. Welcome the Zuiikin Boys and the nihongo version (Japanese language skills not required to enjoy):

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Despite their best efforts to sabotage their reputation, it does appear as though Tong Tong is still in business. If you’re convinced that you’ve got what it takes to be a new addition to the Zuiikin dancers, then perhaps you should check out their home page, after all they do seem to be looking for people here.

4 thoughts on “Bust a move: Learning English the “Zuiikin” way…”

  1. That’s great! I had seen one of these some time ago, but never realised there was a whole series! Thanks for the laugh! The gaijin guy at the front of the zuiikin boys in the last video cracked me up.

    Ahh.. and we wonder why all the people who are oldies now (and would have been in their prime at the time of these shows!) can’t speak English! If only learning a language was that easy.

  2. The Zuiikin Girls are FANTASTIC! I showed some of these clips to my wife and we just about died laughing! I love the friendly, joyful expressions on their faces as they strut and chant: “Spare me my life!” “Spare me my life!” “Spare me my life!”

    I have got to find a way to incorporate this into my AET job.

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