11 Apr 2019
13th January 2019
Home Sweet Tokyo season 2 airs
Home Sweet Tokyo, NHK's first comedy led by a foreign writer, has aired for its second season. The show was created by former JET BJ Fox, who was interviewed by JETAA UK about his experiences and inspirations last year.
Another run of four episodes, shown throughout December in Japan on NHK World, as well as on NHK 1, builds on the popularity of the first season.
The premise is that Londoner Bryan Jenkins, played by Fox, has to move unexpectedly to Japan when his Japanese wife Itsuki's mother passes away, becoming a stay-at-home dad in the process. While his own daughter Alice fits in effortlessly and his father-in-law Tsuneo seems bemused by his presence, Bryan has to learn to navigate life in Tokyo.
Fox says of the making of the second season, "It was actually more fun than the first season, as we were able to approach it with so much more confidence."
The show gently satirise aspects of daily life and foreigners in Japan, while exploring different themes running through Japanese culture. While Home Sweet Tokyo's subject matter is light, it is nonetheless groundbreaking TV: Japanese-made but mostly English language and with a foreign protagonist and perspective, airing on the equivalent of BBC 1.
The increased confidence this time around let the show's makers explore a wider range of locations such as batting cages and a ryokan. Fox also describes this season's themes as "a little more surreal", including calligraphy, Valentine's Day in Japan and Japanese horror.
Home Sweet Tokyo is fully a collaboration between the British Fox and NHK. Its Japanese Director Teruyuki Yoshida is behind hit Japanese-language comedies for NHK, including Salaryman Neo and the popular Ama-chan. The first season met with some criticism from expatriates in Japan who argued it played too heavily on stereotypes of the inept and bumbling 'gaijin'.
Fox described the overall response as, "Really positive again. I think a lot of people discovered the first season after the initial broadcast via the internet so there was more anticipation this time around. We once again blended the educational parts of the show with humour and a fairly heavy dose of heartwarming family drama in the end, and that formula seems to resonate with our audience."
Last time JETAA UK caught with him, Fox was juggling his day job at Visa in Tokyo with life as a comedian. He has now moved to a startup to faciliate more flexible working, as well as getting an agent. But he says, "the full-time comedy dream is still a dream at the moment."
Episodes of Home Sweet Tokyo can be watched in full on NHK World's website.
Details of BJ Fox's upcoming standup shows can be found here.