Talk about falling into a job. Meet comedian Nozomu Sato, Japan’s “official” Obama impersonator:
Caption: “What do you think of the President? And America?”. I don’t know if this is referring to the likeness, or if they’re asking him for his political insights. He is sufficiently qualified after all, wearing a suit and all.
Any time I’ve happened to turn on the TV of late, this guy has invariably been on, whether it be a talk show, quiz show or cooking show. Celebrities on Japanese TV (“talento”) seem to be like that – once you get noticed for your thing, whether it be some stupid catchphrase or looking like the POTUS, prepare for some super-overexposure. Does Mr Sato say “Yes we can” a lot? You bet!
In Japan, President Obama is called “Obama Daitouryou”, which can be literally translated as “Big Chief Obama”. People in Japan love Obama, but perhaps for more than the obvious political reasons. In a country where studying English can give you a big leg-up career-wise, every bookstore I walked into during and after the presidential election last year was playing (and selling) a CD with Obama’s speeches. Not a bad idea, actually – those crisp, lawyerly tones would be an excellent model to learn from.
Ah, so extrapolating from that, then: perhaps if I were to model my Japanese on Fake Big Chief Obama’s, my Japanese would get…. weird. Weirder.