Video Series “Only in Japan”: Part 2 – Magic Hand

Magic Hand - The Artistic VersionIt has been more than a week since the first “Only in Japan” video, apologies for that. This week (keeping the weekly thing going notwithstanding), we would like to bring the second in the series, aptly named “Magic Hand” (マジックハンド). Have you ever been so lucky to be involved with such a hand?

We believe that this is the first ever footage of a real uninhibited “Magic Hand” in its natural habitat. However, what is not so commonly known, is that you can find magic hands in the dark grimy corners of almost any train station in Japan. Unfortunately though, they are usually hidden away under lock and key, and only come out for the eyes of the lucky… Oh, but just in case you are misunderstanding me, I don’t mean this type of Magic Hand, (WARNING: Link may not be safe for viewing at work, or if you are easily offended) so get the dirty thoughts out of your skull!

Do you remember when you were a kid, and you played with those extendable claw things that when you squeezed them they extend out and can pick something up. I thought they were totally useless, but they never failed to amuse me for hours.

Yes, the magic hand placed in all Japanese stations is one of those contraptions that the rest of the world thought was nothing more than a gimmicky toy for kids. Well, for the Japanese 駅員さんs (station staff) it’s a serious tool for solving “situations” like those that may arise on the train station home platform. Simon Adams shows us the mystery of the magic hand, creating one of those situations, on location at Koshigaya station in Saitama.

Click on the dumbfounded ekiin-san below to see what happens!

Download Quicktime for Mac or WindowsQuickTime is required for this video, in order to view in full H.264 Quality.

Enjoy “Magic Hand” in Quicktime (click image above) for best quality, or there is a (bad quality) Video on YouTube version here.

10 thoughts on “Video Series “Only in Japan”: Part 2 – Magic Hand”

  1. What a classic video!

    I was getting on the JR Yamanote-sen during rush hour one morning with a visitor from overseas. In the midst of us all being squashed on, he accidently stepped on the back of the high-heel shoe of the girl in front of us. It managed to drop right between the train and the platform. I have never seen such a look of helplessness as she watched her shoe drop….

  2. Trains sometimes annoy me, but they are an integral part of life in Japan. There are so many happenings at train stations that make tsukin that little more interesting. Nice video!

  3. It’s culturally insensitive and downright obnoxious for you, a gaikokujin, to be disturbing Japanese people the way you do — asking them questions in English and trying to get them to play along with your banal little skits. News to you: the Japanese don’t like being treated disrespectfully like this, and their smiles or laughter are signs of embarrassment, not enjoyment.

    Learn some manners, or go back to Britain. You give other Igirisu a bad name.

  4. I think you’ve missed the point… being culturally insensitive can most definately be humourous you only have to look at the sucess of Borat http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borat (this guy takes being culturally insentive to the stratosphere!). Its been a real surpruise that he is proving very popular in the US, it a real credit when people are able to laugh at themselves.

  5. These videos will keep me coming back here for a while I suspect!

    Robert, you need to lighten up dude. The Japanese frequently visit foreign countries and make “documentaries” about gaikoku. But it generally ends up being some pretty girl and some oldish Japanese guy, roaming around the country side, being outlandish, and stridently ignoring the culture of that country. They make bold comparisons and often speak Japanese behind the backs of the people in that country saying how primitive the Nigerian tribal people are, or what big noses the Norwegians have. It doesn’t seem racially intolerant to the average Japanese, but is no better than this video on this site. If you cant have a laugh about how people do things in a different way, then you should stay in your country maybe.

  6. This video might be leaning (pretty heavily) on the juvenile side, but culturally insensitive? I wouldn’t go that far. Maybe a little obnoxious, but still funny.

    The Japanese have a long tradition of skits that make people look silly – have you seen the one posted on this site about the otaku in Akihabara? Funny stuff!

    When you think about it that way, maybe this video is actually in touch with the Japanese sense of humour? Of course, hitting the eki-in on the head with a big fan would have been a better way to finish :-)

    I think the only cultural insensitivity going on is the suggestion that the guys in the video are British!

    Gotta agree with Brit6 – lighten up and laugh at yourself – then you can laugh at other people without feeling guilty!

    Give that man a zabuton!

  7. Whatever, this video was just lame. There’s a long claw to pick stuff up dropped on the tracks, how’s that even funny?

  8. This video didn’t look so bad, still I wouldn’t try to emulate Borat. I didn’t see his last movie, but there were some real heart-breaking reviews on how he misrepresented himself to poor villagers in a small Romanian town. He asked them to do many stupid things on camera, and the poor villagers complied, thinking he was going to put them “on the map.” Well, he sure did! Using those scenes to depict “his hometown” in the movie, he portrayed the villagers as little better than animals and incestuous, heaping humiliation on top of their misery, all so he could get some (well-paid) laughs. I think that is going too far.

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