Auto Culture

James May: Our Man In…Japan – Season 1, Episode 2 – Review


In the second episode of “James May: Our Man in…Japan”, entitled “Cabbage Roll”, we have James starting off in Tohoku on the Japanese island of Honshu.

James has a new translator – Makiko – for this episode and begins with a visit to a crazy robot-maker who has constructed a robot that appears similar to the AT-ST walkers in the “Star Wars” movies and allows James to hop in and pilot the slow-moving robot. After that fun, the crazy robot-maker unveils a gigantic Transformer-like robot that is too big to exit his warehouse home. With some assistance from the crazy robot-maker, James hops in the driver’s seat of the giant Transformer-like robot and engages in a brief battle with the AT-ST robot piloted by Makiko. Makiko’s defeat is followed by a brief in-car explanation of “cabbage roll” as a Japanese slang term for describing men.

James then moves on to a walk with a monk/priest that ends with the both of them sitting naked in a hot tub and James explaining why he has deposited a towel upon his head.

The episode moves to Sendai where James attends a 7AM J-Pop boy band concert with a gaggle of Japanese teenage girls and then receives a ceremonial hairstyling from some of the members of the boy band, followed by a trip to the local clothing shop [called Sperm] for an attempt at clothing styling for James.

A brief side trip is then taken to Minamisoma where James meets with a descendant of the Soma Samurai clan and gets dressed up in an actual Samurai warrior suit.

Now it is back to Sendai for a couple of beers and a lunch of grilled tongue with Makiko before moving on to Matsushima Bay where he meets a calligrapher who helps him write his name as well as compose a haiku about the Matsushima islands.

James then takes a solemn drive-through of the Fukushima restricted zone district which was devastated by the combination earthquake-tsunami a few years ago and now resembles an abandoned war zone with only a few residents choosing to return.

And now, for something completely different – a man with three buttocks! No, actually, James ends the episode by taking the Shiki-Shima luxury train to Tokyo. The 10-car, 34-passenger Shiki-Shima train debuted three years ago and can cost $12000 for a four-day excursion. James causes a minor kerfuffle by eating what was intended as a showcase lunch and must profusely apologize.

The second episode moves significantly slower than the first and is not as exciting [priest in a hot tub] and certainly more sober [Fukushima] so there is somewhat of a letdown that will hopefully be lifted back up in the next episode [Tokyo]. We give it a 77 out of 100.

About Alex Bean

Recommended for you