Of course, Mr. Sato was also intrigued by their stories about performing overseas, but the weird noises were priority.

Recently, Japanese performers have been gracing the stages of the Got Talent shows all over the world. Of course, there is an “Asia’s Got Talent“, but talented entertainers like comedia Yuriyan Retriever and tablecloth stuntman Mr. Uekusa have dreams that expand far beyond Asia.

So does Japanese physical comedy duo Yumbo Dump. Having been on talent shows in countries like the U.S., France, Romania, and, most recently, Germany, the pair, who specialize in making weird noises using their bellies and random props, are quickly collecting fame throughout the world.

Luckily, we got the chance to interview them and hear all about their exploits. They even taught us how to do one of their signature tricks!

But first, an introduction. The two members of Yumbo Dump (pronounced “yoom-boh duhmp”) are Cashew Nuts (Go Kashuu) and Daisuke Fujiwara, who are both from Osaka. They met at their management company Shochiku Geinou’s training center, and soon after they joined up as a duo and moved to Tokyo to make a name for themselves. They’ve been doing their belly-noise act since 2014.

They got their major break when they appeared in and won the “It’s so specific no one will get it” Impression Competition in 2015. Gradually they began to appear more on television and have achieved a good level of fame. Given that they were having good success in Japan, Mr. Sato wanted to ask them what was their motivation for trying out for international talent shows, and what kinds of struggles they had working overseas.

Mr. Sato: Your talent is using each other’s big bellies to make all kinds of noises. I’m sure you must have some trouble in different countries because you have to be half-naked.

Cashew Nuts: That’s true, when it comes to comedy, Japan is fairly open-minded. The first roadblock we had was at Asia’s Got Talent, which is filmed in Malaysia. This was two years ago, in 2017, and Malaysia is pretty strict about nudity and cleavage. I’ve heard stories about foreign tourists getting arrested for showing too much skin at tourist spots.

Mr. Sato: In that case, did you change your act?

Cashew Nuts: At first we were told by a producer that as long as we didn’t show our belly button, we could go shirtless. But even without showing the belly button, shirtless is still shirtless, so what’s the point? (laughs) Well, anyway, they wanted us to cover our belly buttons, so we planned to put stickers over them and do our best that way.

Fujiwara: But you know, covering the belly button doesn’t really allow for good noises. So we were a little worried, and we e-mailed the producer to negotiate it.

▼ Cashew Nuts is on the left.

Mr. Sato: Ah, because before even arriving in Malaysia they told you you had to hide your belly button, right?

Cashew Nuts: That’s right. So we tried all kinds of things, and told them what we were thinking and communicated with them numerous times. I guess they got annoyed with us and gave in and said we could do it without the stickers!

Mr. Sato: What? In that case, why not just not say so from the start! So what happened at the actual show?

Cashew Nuts: That’s the funny thing. At the filming, there’s a person on set over there whose job is to monitor the “morality” of the production. They told us that once that person goes home late at night, we can take the stickers off. Then they’ll record us.

Mr. Sato: I don’t know whether I should say they’re strict or lenient (laughs).

Fujiwara: Right? Well, we were able to take off the stickers and make some great noises with our belly buttons (laughs).

▼ Yumbo Dump on Asia’s Got Talent.

Mr. Sato: I’m sure you’ve met lots of interesting people and had lots of strange experiences overseas.

Fujiwara: We have! There was a really amazing judge on Israel’s Got Talent!

Mr. Sato: What, really? I don’t know any Israeli celebrities, but do tell!

Fujiwara: It was Uri Geller!

Mr. Sato: Uri Geller? The guy who could bend the spoons with his mind? I didn’t know he was Israeli!

Fujiwara: He is. He was really popular in our generation so we were super excited. He was also happy to hear that we are Japanese!

(Uri Geller was a famous psychic who appeared on television numerous times in the 1980s. Mr. Sato fondly remembers seeing him live on TV when he was little and getting in trouble for being inspired to forcefully bend one of the spoons from the kitchen.)

Fujiwara: When our performance was over, before even giving his decision he beckoned to us and said, “Come here, you guys.” Then he showed us a picture of someone on his smartphone and said, “This is my friend.” You’ll never believe it, but it was Prime Minister Abe!

Mr. Sato: Whaaat? Uri Geller must be an important person! Or is Prime Minister Abe the important one because he’s friends with Uri Geller? I’m not sure anymore…

Fujiawara: Seriously. Then he said, “In spring, Abe’s gathering all of his friends for a party. I’m gonna tell him to invite you guys!”

▼ Daisuke Fujiwara on the right.

Mr. Sato: A party? I wonder if he does it every year…

Fujiwara: I’m not sure…

Mr. Sato: So what made you decide to go on international talent shows in the first place?

Cashew Nuts: After we appeared on the Impression Competition, Mr. Osamu Shitara from the comedy duo Bananaman said that he thought we might do well in other countries. Since our act doesn’t rely on language, we thought maybe we could do it, so we immediately uploaded videos to YouTube that had subtitles in ten different languages. Then the tambourine master Gonzo suggested we go on Asia’s Got Talent.

Mr. Sato: Gonzo! He’s a pioneer of the Got Talent shows. 

Fujiwara: He really is! He taught us a lot about what it’s like to go on those shows.

Cashew Nuts: We also asked the dance performer Kenichi Ebina for advice, since he won America’s Got Talent in 2013. He said that if you don’t assert yourself overseas, you’ll end up being told what to do for everything. He taught us how important it is to voice your opinions.

Mr. Sato: Appearing in other countries must be confusing because of the different cultures, just like your experience in Malaysia. It must be really helpful to get advice from someone who’s been there. 

Cashew Nuts: It’s even helpful to hear the opinions of people who don’t go overseas, too. We’ve learned a lot from the performance groups that appear at Shochiku’s Shinjuku Kadoza theater in Tokyo. Every day we learn something new!

Mr. Sato: So you’ve been in shows in Malaysia, Romania, the U.S., and Israel, among others. What kind of culture shock have you experienced in areas other than television production?

Cashew Nuts: I guess it’s not really culture shock, but being overseas really made me glad to be Japanese. No matter where we go, when I tell people “I’m Japanese” they are always so welcoming.

Fujiwara: Exactly! And when we say we’re Japanese, people like to tell us their favorite anime or video games, like Naruto and Dragonball. And Asian men always like to bring up sexy Japanese female celebrities (laughs).

Cashew Nuts: We form a mysterious bond then, and exchange a firm handshake (laughs).

Mr. Sato: I think I understand (laughs). 

Fujiwara: When we were in Malaysia, the crowd got so excited just from us saying “Arigatou!” Every time we said it, the crowd would shout it back. We could have gone the whole time just shouting “Arigatou” back and forth without even doing our material (laughs).

Mr. Sato: That is pretty weird (laughs).

Cashew Nuts: In other countries, we felt respected just for standing on stage. It depends on the country, but people seem to respect comedians and entertainers. We were so happy to be welcomed that way in all the places we went.

Mr. Sato: I think you’ll be welcome wherever you go. Good luck in the finals of Das Supertalent in Germany!

Mr. Sato learned much about Yumbo Dump’s experiences, but he hadn’t approached them for an interview just to hear their stories. He had something else to learn from them: how to use his (and our editing team’s Yoshio’s) belly to make “the sound of a drop of water falling on a surface of water.” You may have already had the privilege of witnessing this act, but if you haven’t, it’s composed of Yumbo Dump using their two large bellies to create the satisfyingly gentle “plop” of a drop of water.

▼ They weigh 286.6 pounds and 264.5 pounds, respectively.

While Mr. Sato and Yoshio’s bellies were not quite on the level of Yumbo Dump’s, they were determined to put a valiant effort in.

▼ They weigh just 143.3 and and 138.9 pounds.

There are two very important points to executing this trick. The first is that you must align belly button to belly button. To make sure they meet, this requires some adjustment of the height of the hips. Ideally, this would be done with two people of the same height.

The second important point is that you must not only touch stomachs, but you must also be conscious of the sound of them rebounding off of each other. There are two components to the sound of a water droplet hitting water; the initial “plop” of the droplet in the water, and the resounding “splash” of the displaced water. Our bellies are the same way. Once they have touched, you must hold them together for just a moment before pulling them apart, otherwise you’ll lose the rebound noise.

And so, having learned the method, it was time to put in practice. First, Cashew Nuts sprayed their stomachs lightly with water.

Then Mr. Sato and Yoshio carefully arranged the height of their hips so as to align their belly buttons.

▼ “Shh….” Silence is required to hear the sound.

▼ *slap*

Sadly, no matter how hard they tried, all they could make was the sound of two damp stomachs smacking against each other.

▼ Here’s a video, for your viewing pleasure. First Yumbo Dump will demonstrate it, and then you will see our intrepid reporters give it a try. Pay special attention to Yoshio’s face as he does it!

Mr. Sato believes that the reason Yumbo Dump could make such a perfectly clear water droplet sound was because of their big bellies. But, on the other hand, even if you’re skinny, it’ll still make some kind of sound, so this might be a good trick to break out at your next drinking party!

▼ *slap*

In any case, we wish them luck on their future endeavors overseas! And if you’re on the other end of the spectrum and are trying to get into the Japanese comedy game, just know that it can be done. Just ask Atsugiri Jason!

Photos © SoraNews24
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