Last night, Japan’s NTV aired a program called “Hajimete no otsukai”, which loosely translates to “First Errand”; this is a reality show that has appeared in several iterations over the years, not unlike Candid Camera, although with a much simpler set-up. The premise of the show is that real-life little kids get sent to the grocery store to pick up some items for their mother; the catch is that the kids are quite young, usually less than five years old. They are being filmed the whole time, and they clearly haven’t a clue that anything is out of the ordinary; they carry on much as you would expect kids of that age to do, getting sidetracked here and there along the way. Parents in North America will cringe while watching Masaki (five years and two months old) and his little sister Saika (two years and ten months old) going off on their own, crossing city streets (and even walking in those streets when no sidewalks are available), and doing Mom’s shopping in several different stores in their Suginami neighborhood.
They have been sent out for five items: meat for beef stew; some beef suet; potatoes; a kiwi; and a stalk of celery. This will necessitate their going to the butcher shop for the meat, a vegetable shop for the potatoes, a fruit shop for the kiwi, and so on. There are a couple of moments of minor consternation, as Masaki tries to figure out the correct amount to pay, or as the two walk off with something that looks remarkably like celery—but isn’t. Also, the vegetable in question (a butterbur) is a fair bit longer than normal celery, making the homeward journey somewhat problematical for the intrepid pair, albeit hilarious to those watching.
So, if you are in the mood to be thoroughly charmed, and if you’re up for a good laugh as well (and who among us does not fall into at least one of those categories?), check out these two links, which are conveniently subtitled in English, not word for word, but enough for you to get the gist of what’s going on: