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My Experience with Inagawa Motoko (IMO) Talent Agency

After getting laid-off from my IT job in the summer of 2009, I decided to sign up at Inagawa Motoko Office (aka "IMO") hoping to at least make some money while searching for a new IT job.  The full-time job market was in shambles at that time due to the "Lehman Shock," but I had heard that entertainment work was a readily-available work avenue for foreigners living in Japan.  Fearing I was facing an arduous and time-consuming job hunt, I hoped entertainment work could counterbalance my income blow, holding me over until I found something more stable.  Since my schedule was quite free, I was available for just about any work that came my way.

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Why Japanese TV Sucks

If you're in America right now, I'm really jealous of your horn of plenty that is American TV.  I took my home country's TV for granted, and now I realize how good I really had it.  The USA makes the best freakin' TV shows in the world, and to quote the most awesome guy in the universe Joe Donatelli, "right now is the Golden Era of Television."  I soon realized shortly after moving to Japan that Japanese TV sucks ass.  Let me explain the primary reasons...

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Q & A About the Japanese Entertainment Industry

Recently a friend of a friend contacted me with questions regarding my experiences in the Japanese entertainment industry.  Below is my reply.

How hard has it been for you to break in?
The biggest advantage with my comedy has been simply being a foreigner.  This obviously really helps in getting me noticed.  People remember me, and I stand out at auditions.  I've never met another foreigner doing comedy in Japanese, and I'm always the only non-Japanese at comedy auditions or live shows.  There are a few I've seen on TV, but almost never consistently.  The biggest one I can think of is "Bobby"--an African guy that speaks fluently.

But there have been major challenges with breaking in.  I certainly don't fit "the pattern" often seen on mainstream Japanese media.  I sing funny songs in Japanese, and sometimes they're about taboo topics.  Japanese comedians rarely reference politics, but I dabble in political satire as it provides a well of comedic sources (How could you NOT make fun of the drunk Japanese finance minister!?).  The one time I got on a major Japanese variety show, I had to read a script and could not do my own material.

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