Queer Eye: We're in Japan!: Season 1
November 1, 2019 6:18 PM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

I watched the first two of these & stopped on the third (I was working, so ...) and I was expecting worse and I'm glad it wasn't that. I do feel like they all approached these people with absolute cultural sensitivity (although ... maybe not completely ... I am a white American ciswoman so I'm carrying that perspective) and it was clear that the participants knew of Queer Eye (due to Netflix being a global brand, after all), so they knew what they were getting into.

Was it all perfect? No. But I love Queer Eye & its willingness to engage with complicated issues. I'm curious to watch the rest of this season and see how much everyone learns and grows.
posted by darksong at 7:26 PM on November 1, 2019

I watched all 4 last night - I was also braced for cultural missteps, but, it did seem like they did well at knowing what they didn't know and deferring to others. I wasn't sure about Jonathan's skills when it comes to Asian hair; I liked all the haircuts (especially the last, amazing how much better Makoto looked in the after), but it seemed like Yoko the hospice nurse's Hepburn cut was going to be pretty hard to maintain on a daily basis without a lot of styling.
posted by oh yeah! at 5:47 AM on November 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

I always look for updates on their lives afterwards - Yoko hired another staff, is happy and dating.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 5:56 AM on November 2, 2019 [10 favorites]

The Makoto episode stressed my best friend and I so much, we were seriously expecting a divorce. I did find his Twitter and he's released music with his wife!!!

Kan's episode, as someone who led a very similar life, hit me hard. One foot out the door because your country won't accept you...urgh.

Also Kei (manga girl)'s episode - I'm SO GLAD Antoni picked up on the mother being the problem and finding a way to address that. I was so annoyed at her family when her episode started, she deserved so much better.
posted by divabat at 12:26 AM on November 3, 2019 [2 favorites]

I've been low-key tearing up throughout the entire Yoko episode but when Karamo brought out the Roman Holiday -reminiscent Vespa, I totally lost it. That was just so freakin' NICE
posted by rather be jorting at 12:42 AM on November 3, 2019 [2 favorites]

Yoko + Antoni + apple pie 4ever
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 10:17 AM on November 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

For the first couple of episodes, I kept saying to my friends, "Are they going to end up guying everyone beds?" Because while Yoko's self-denying floor-sleeping was sad, I didn't think Kan's futon was quite as dire as they were making out., even though the pull-out did create more usable space.

Also, I'm still mystified by Makoto's whole deal. He seemed to be able to express so clearly what he wanted to the 5, but not to his wife, which made me wonder what had been edited out.
posted by pykrete jungle at 2:52 PM on November 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

The Yoko episode's a strong one to start with, especially when it came to discussing the cultural expectations of Japanese women to conform, else they be deemed to have "given up" on being a woman. With the understanding that more in-depth discussions would necessarily be constrained by the episode's time limits, I was pleasantly surprised that the episode engaged with that (and other challenging topics) so directly, especially when Karamo and Yoko discussed the underlying motivations behind her devotion to the hospice, and her views of herself after her sister passed. "That doesn't mean your life was any less valuable." Man. ;_;

Initially I was ambivalent about Yoko's conversation with Kiko during the fashion makeover, but ultimately I'm glad for it. Like, on the one hand, it's relatively easy for a model to talk about the challenges of dealing with people thinking her hair and clothes are unusual. But on the other hand, I'd imagine it's also pretty dang validating to have someone you recognize from tv and the media actually be there in person to cheer you on! Especially as you discover the fun in fashion for dressing up as yourself, instead of only permitting yourself to have fun with clothes via occasionally putting on a costume to purposely not look like yourself. Cosplay is terrific fun, but I think the ep did a decent job of tying in Yoko's previous disinterest in everyday self-expression through clothes as part of her struggles to acknowledge her own self-worth as a person besides the (very noble) work she does for others.

I'm about halfway through the Kan episode and really appreciating the work these episodes do to not only help their subjects, but also to address some significant facets of the challenges inherent in not conforming to to societal expectations of gender. Listening to Kan's voice break when he talks about the racism he experienced within the gay community? Fuck, that was hard. But I'm glad to see the show give him that opportunity to say it out loud, because, like Jonathan notes, though it's not obligatory and understandably can be very risky to do so, sometimes just being yourself is the kind of visibility that you and others need to see.
posted by rather be jorting at 9:52 PM on November 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

Also, though it's a bit of a cognitive dissonance for me to hear a conversation going on with one person speaking in English and one person speaking in Japanese, it's a pretty cool compromise to hear everyone speak for themselves, and hear everyone in their own voices, instead of having the focus shift to a translator on-screen speaking for someone else. (Still, I'm glad we got a chance to see her in front of the camera at the end of the 1st episode, when the Fab 5 explained they had a translator help them via microphone - now I'm no longer distracted by wondering 'wait, how's everyone understanding each other?')
posted by rather be jorting at 9:55 PM on November 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

My kids were baffled by the translation on-screen and when I went back to the first episode to show them the in-ear microphones, they went 'oooooooh'. The woman translating did a fantastic job with difficult cultural-emotional subjects, and the guys have great listening faces to body language. Huge props to her.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 10:45 PM on November 4, 2019 [4 favorites]

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