When a joke falls flat, the best advice is to apologise and move on. And Our Man would have done the same, but...
Our Man saw a few tweets about some off-colour jokes on the BBC about the A-bomb and thought nothing of it Friday, but the story has more than gone viral, it's gone MOTHER-IN-LAW. By Saturday, his 68-year-old mother was grilling him about just what exactly the British find so funny about A-bombs. A-bombs? Ehhh?
(Allow Our Man to explain how Our Mother in Law forms opinions: she watches TV, which gets its opinions from the Yomiuri Shimbun which gets its opinions from Nagatacho Kisha Clubs (the guvinmint) which get their opinions from the Yomiuri Shimbun, which gets its opinions from their knowledge of the public, as viewed on TV).
So, it was time to see what all the fuss was about. After extensive review (he watched the video twice), Our Man can say this:
1. The A-bomb is quite understandably a sensitive subject for Japanese.
2. But no subject is beyond satire.
3. In no sense did the comedians take the piss out of the Japanese A-bomb survivor, other than not treating the A-bomb as a subject beyond satire.
4. The target was not Japan, it was actually crappy train services in Britain and their apologists - the bored platform announcers who will spout any old bollocks to the long-suffering British commuter. Our Man was once on a 9.10 train from Leicester to St. Pancras when the chief steward announced that free tea and coffee was available in the buffet car, but in the next breath said, "Unfortunately, due to a defective urn, no tea will be served on this train."
5. The jokes about "the right/wrong kind of bomb" are references to the famous excuse given that trains were cancelled due to "the wrong kind of snow."
6. Our Mother-in-Law was still in a state of Yomiuri-induced miffedness, but after Our Man tried his best to give a potted history of British satire, sense of humour, Stephen Fry's left wing credentials, the fact that the survivor was heralded both for being the unluckiest and also the luckiest chap, she sensibly decided the best course was to let it lie.
And then she went off to her bunker to watch TV.
7. For more on this (and you can even vote in a real live poll, folks), see Japan Probe here.
8. For a brilliant analysis and excellent translation into Japanese, you can do no better than clicking here. And show it to the next outraged Japanese person who thinks British viewers laugh at A-bomb survivors. But don't blame them, they only picked up their outrage from the Gomiuri.
Good work Agent Yuko. Extra rations for the cats!