Documentary. Four senior citizens experience retired life in the historic city of Kyoto. They learn Japanese etiquette and, surprisingly, begin to look for jobs.
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This programme contains some strong language
Oh, yes, I could retire to this. Yes.
Four famous pensioners are on a brand-new adventure,
travelling the globe in search of the perfect place to retire.
It's an explorer's world from now on
and we want to explore the lot.
I mean, even the lavatory looks nice.
'A perfect place for me to grow old would be clean and comfortable, obviously.'
It would have to have excellent internet access.
That would be a complete must.
And I would have to have...servants.
I'm going for a wee-wee.
If you live in a bubble on your own,
you don't know what the other cultures in the world are like.
You don't know what the people are like, you don't know how they live,
you know - if you could learn off 'em.
Having sampled the American dream in Florida's gated retirement communities...
How many face-lifts have you had?
..now Miriam, Wayne, Rosemary and Bobby are venturing East...
..to try and discover the secrets of longevity in Japan.
If I lived here, I wouldn't be fat.
I think it would be very hard for us to adapt to live in Japan.
Well, I think they will think we're vulgar.
But there's nothing we can do about that.
"I've had an accident."
We're now having to rely on each other a lot more.
We're out of our comfort zone.
Does anybody know any Japanese here?
Japan. A land of ancient culture,
tradition and one of the longest life expectancies in the world.
Could it be the perfect place to spend your golden years?
Over there, tickets.
Kyoto. It's not "Key-oto", it's "Kyo-to".
-Oh, it's going to be a laugh, this, innit?
'When you're choosing where to spend'
the last years of your life,
it depends on many factors.
'The biggest problem for me being in Japan will be the language.
'But I'm very excited.'
I feel like a kid going on a trip.
The group have flown nearly 6,000 miles across the globe
and landed in Japan's third-largest city, Osaka.
From there, they'll be travelling on
to the historic former capital, Kyoto.
Tickets for Kyoto?
-It's these tickets.
Thank goodness you're here.
Can you speak English?
No English. No English.
Thank you so much.
I don't know what the word for thank you is.
JAPANESE VOICE ON PHONE
HE SPEAKS JAPANESE
That means "Have you got a boyfriend?"
I don't know any Japanese,
but I'm trying to surprise the others by learning a little bit
-What does that mean?
Good morning. Ohayo.
OK, guys, right, you're all responsible for your own tickets.
Oh, just go, just go.
Oh. We've got the wrong tickets.
It doesn't matter. She's putting them right!
Don't you tell me off like that.
-She's putting them right!
you were the one in charge of the tickets and you got it wrong.
I didn't think about that one! Kyoto.
Japan's railway system is famous
for being one of the most punctual in the world.
The 9.46 Osaka to Kyoto has just arrived on time.
-Are you all right, Bobby?
-Where is he?
Down here. Where's Miriam?
Arigato, arigato, arigato.
THEY MAKE JAPANESE-LIKE SOUNDS
Oh, my God.
You have to be so quiet about everything you do.
If we shout, they don't like that.
They feel it's very aggressive to them.
And anything like farting, perhaps, out loud
they wouldn't take to very much.
-I thought they did.
-Oh, no, I don't think so, darling.
Oh, no, that's China.
The group are basing themselves in Kyoto,
the cultural heart of the country.
With its vibrant ageing population,
a third of Kyoto's residents are over 60.
The ancient city is famous for its spectacular scenery and iconic shrines
and temples. But this morning,
a typhoon has just hit.
The weather is catastrophic.
It's like being at home, the weather.
It's pissing down with rain, bad.
Shall we get a taxi?
-Miriam, shall we get a car?
We need taxis.
We'll go in the one behind.
I'll go in this side.
Japanese people are extremely polite and they are also quite formal.
That's going to be a little bit difficult for me because I'm not formal.
'And I think we may need some guidance.'
Nice to meet you. Nice to meet you.
Nice to meet you.
Welcome to Kyoto.
My name is Isao Tanahara.
Say that again. Isao...?
Yes. Please call me Isao Tanahara.
Will it change? Driver, will it change?
How long does it take, raining like this?
A couple or three days and it's cleared up?
-I think so.
-Is it just seasonal or a few times a year?
Only today, you know.
-Just our luck.
Isao, do you always wear a hat and white gloves?
-So you have to wear that?
We have to wear, yes.
-Because in England, they don't do that.
It's very unusual.
-It's very unusual.
And very formal.
Formal! I hope you like it.
-I love it.
Is this a temple on the left?
On the left is one famous temple called Higashi Honganji.
See how the roof goes - I think that's lovely, how they do that.
Isao, you have a very elderly population.
-They live a long time.
-That's right, madam. That's a big issue.
Yes. Exercise and diet.
This is amazing!
This is just what I imagined Japan to be like.
To fully experience retirement Japanese-style,
the group will be living in a quiet suburb of northern Kyoto.
Gosh, it's certainly the back of beyond, isn't it?
But life here isn't cheap.
The average house is over £300,000,
with living costs some of the highest in Japan.
We're almost here, Bobby. Are you excited?
Apprehensive. That's a good one.
'I've been to Japan before, but only as a performer with the Royal Ballet.
'What you first experience when you arrive in Japan is a totally different way of life.'
There's only one way of doing everything and that is THEIR way.
'I'm not sure the rest of our group will enjoy that.'
I think Japan will be a big culture shock.
I think the chair's maybe a bit low down and I'm rather worried about it.
The group are moving into a house owned by 73-year-old twin sisters
Tetsu and Fumie.
Thank you very, very much.
-Thank you so much.
-The weather doesn't matter.
-YOU are the welcome.
-Thank you so much.
It's too heavy for you, don't worry. I don't want you to carry it.
It's too heavy.
Take our shoes off.
Bye-bye. Bye. Thank you so much.
THEY SPEAK JAPANESE
Oh, no, no, no, no. You can't do that. No, no, no.
Give it to me, no, no.
Hello, darling. All right?
-That your sister?
SHE SPEAKS JAPANESE
My name is Fumie.
-But how is it you're on your knees?
I'm not sure I could get on my knees.
Normal, it's normal.
What do you do in that room?
-Somebody sleep with a futon.
-With a futon?
Oh, this is a bedroom.
-This is where we're sleeping.
Great. Thanks. Thank God for that.
With space at a premium,
Japanese homes often have living rooms doubling up as traditional sleeping areas at night.
I've never been in a home like this.
When I'm in Japan, I want to be a Japanese person.
All I know is that I don't want to sleep on the floor.
I don't want to sleep on a futon.
On this occasion, upstairs there are also Western bedrooms
for the group to choose from.
You can choose.
I'm happy with this.
Very, very nice.
I'm happy with this one, if you want the other one?
I'm happy with this one.
-This is fine.
-I'm happy with this one too.
I'm not sharing... There's a two-bedroom there.
We're not sharing. Where's the loo?
I'm a bit funny about the toilet.
The toilet is quite an important part of my life and I want
to be sure that I've got a toilet near my bedroom.
No, no, I don't want that bedroom.
I don't want that bedroom, I want this bedroom.
-Rosemary can have that one.
This is perfect for me.
-This is fine.
-And you can have a friend to stay.
Nice and close.
That'll do me. Lovely jubbly.
When you're asleep, you don't see nothing anyway.
You don't see nothing when you sleep.
A bed is to sleep in, not to look round the room.
I don't look at the furniture when I get up here.
Thank you for your sweet welcome.
It's beautiful. You see, I have these socks.
I wear them because when you fly,
you have to keep your legs tight.
I was at, in Tokyo, Bunka Kaikan.
-Ballet. Yeah, yeah.
-I throw darts for a living.
-You know what darts are? Yeah?
Oh, my gosh.
All right, darling.
They bow all the time and...so grateful.
We haven't done nothing, they're putting us up.
And they're grateful for us coming in their house.
We're in Japan! I can't believe it!
Here we are. We made it.
Rosemary - chef, Miriam - actress,
Bobby - darts player,
Wayne - dancer.
What impresses me about this place is that it's so Japanese.
-We're in Japan!
We're in Japan!
I give dinner real Japanese style.
Tonight, Tetsu and Fumie have prepared a welcome dinner of cold seaweed soup,
tempura vegetables and steamed egg pudding.
Where would you like us to sit?
Oh, wow, this looks incredible.
What is that?
-And what's that?
-This is seaweed and cucumber.
That is very good.
The Japanese live longer than anyone else.
And they say it's probably what they eat,
so I want to find out what they're eating, so I can join 'em.
'I don't know if Bobby George will like the food.'
He's very traditionally English. Egg and chips, I'd imagine.
Mind, I shouldn't say that.
-Do you need a fork?
-Well, I might have a...
-Yeah, get me a fork, doll, yeah.
I can use these but I'd never get nothing in my mouth properly.
Do you eat sushi?
That sounds rude to me, to be honest with you.
That's fish, is it? "Shu-si"?
There's a few things I haven't tried, obviously.
Their menu's quite wide, isn't it?
They eat everything in the world that moves or flies.
This culture is so...
They're so polite, just respectful of anything anybody does.
But also, I think it's quite scary cos there's certain things you could offend.
I would love to know what you should not do here.
Well, I know that you shouldn't put your feet on the table.
Well, that's the first thing you've done.
I did that. I think we're much noisier than Japanese people are.
-Yes, we are.
-And we're more extrovert.
And we always draw attention to ourselves.
I don't think we do. One of us talks more than the other one.
Oh, really? Who you looking at?
I'm boss-eyed. I'm not looking at anyone, I'm boss-eyed.
Do you know what, you're going to give me a complex soon!
-It's all right, doll.
You can talk all the time. You've got a lovely voice.
I'm going to get very embarrassed and go all weird.
-You've got a lovely voice. I don't mind hearing your voice.
'We're all different. Everyone's different.'
Miriam, she farts all the time. It doesn't matter where she is
or what she's doing. "Ooh, sorry about that," she says.
And there's Wayne. He's very theatrical, you know.
And there's Rosemary shouting at me. So I quite enjoy the company.
You're redeeming yourself, but not enough yet. Oh...
You have to redeem yourself a lot more than that.
'She shouts a lot but she don't mean it.'
She's like a dog barking but you love the dog, don't you?
'I think there's room for everybody.
'And that's what makes it interesting,
'that we're all so different, isn't it?'
If I pull the chain in the night, is it going to disturb anybody?
THEY TALK OVER ONE ANOTHER
Retirees in Kyoto tend to rise early.
This is my beautiful bed on the floor.
And my back has never felt better.
Where's the milk, then?
-I'm just going to fart.
-Oh, dear, not again.
-Oh, dear. Who gets up at this time? 5.30?
-Well, they do, obviously.
We'll see how they do it, yeah.
Well, we're going to find out.
Are you lot coming or are you just going to sit and chat?
20 minutes from the home stay,
some of Kyoto's oldest residents are gathering.
-This is exciting.
Good morning. Do you come here every morning?
-Almost every morning.
Even in the rain?
Even in the rain? Do you think it keeps you young?
-Sure. Are you OK?
Every time I move, something creaks.
I don't know what we're going to do this morning,
I'm rather apprehensive.
But they're very friendly and they all commented how fat I am,
so that's very cheering for a girl.
Oh, yes. They went...
Across the country, millions of Japanese senior citizens,
some in their 90s,
start the day listening to a keep-fit broadcast known as Radio Taiso.
THEY SING ALONG:
Introduced in the 1920s to prolong life expectancy,
the ten-minute routine transmits every morning at 6.30 sharp.
Oh, I don't know if I can do that.
I can't jump.
If I jump, my tits fall out.
Obviously I'm overweight and it's ridiculous
that I'm overweight at 75.
I mean, you can be overweight at 20 and then I should have done
something about it, but I didn't, so that's my fault.
This develops the breast.
I take a blood-pressure pill every day.
My neck's stiff.
And I take alendronic acid once a week for osteoporosis.
I have asthma
and...what else do I have?
I think that'll do, for the moment.
-I can't do that.
-No, mind your knee.
If I could, I would live forever.
I would really live forever, but, relax, I'm not going to.
We're wasting away, by the way.
We all are, and if you face that fact and do something about it,
you'll achieve a longer life, if you're fit.
-ALL: Oh. Oh! Oh...
-Really good, really good.
There is something we don't do in our country.
We are missing a trick, somehow, somewhere along the line.
I mean, this is something to be taken notice of.
Look at the age.
Look at how old the men and the women are.
They're agile, they're fit. I mean, this is incredible.
I mean, whether I could live here or not would be another matter,
but I love it. At the moment, it's looking good.
-HE SPEAKS JAPANESE
Do you speak English? Do you speak English?
Despite Japan's high cost of living,
another popular national pastime is shopping.
Off we go.
Keen to tackle Kyoto's language and cultural challenges,
the group are splitting up for some retail therapy.
It's a beautiful little car.
Now, hang on.
Oh, no, it is automatic.
Rosemary's taking Wayne to a local market.
She's after supplies to make sushi this evening.
I want to get knives.
The language is not that easy, though.
Here, I've brought my little phrase book.
You tell me some words.
"I've had an accident."
Most Japanese retirees qualify for discounts on public transport.
Oh, there's the bus stop this side of the road.
Miriam and Bobby are heading for Kyoto city centre.
We're going to the gadget shop.
-What's the number of the bus? Do you know?
-I don't know.
I mean, I'm glad we're going in a bus and not a taxi because it's much
more like real people.
-I don't think you get the flavour of a place...
..do you, unless you live a bit of the life of the native?
I mean, I use buses all the time.
-Don't you get recognised?
-I like being recognised.
You know, if they said, "You were shite," or something,
then I wouldn't like it, but they always say,
"Love your work," and things like that.
You know, and they're nice.
I like meeting people... Are they onions?
What's the futon like?
-Is it comfortable?
-It's very comfortable.
It's soft but hard at the same time.
I do love the house, don't you?
I think the thing is, we've all got our bedrooms at night,
you can close the door, because living in such confinement
with each other every day is bound to have pressure in certain areas.
And you know, we're all going to get a bit irritated.
I think we're getting on remarkably well.
-I tell you, Miriam's curbed her swearing.
-Yes, that's good.
-Have you noticed it?
-I'm very pleased.
-So am I. She didn't swear once this morning.
This seat is quite warm.
That seems to me to be centrally heated...
-..under my bottom.
-It might be the size of your bum keeping you warm.
You watch your mouth!
Watch your fucking mouth, mate.
That's better. That's the way I like it, love.
Are we too loud? Do we speak too loudly?
-They don't make a noise, whereas we go...
You know? We make a noise.
Good thing Rosemary isn't on the bus.
-Oh, it's a real market.
-Oh, what fun.
Set in the grounds of an historic Buddhist temple,
local pensioners with an eye for a bargain flock to Kyoto's largest
-Look at the temple.
-Gosh, it's huge, look.
Oh, these are bonsai trees.
-Yeah, they're bonsai.
-How old are these?
Nan nemo kana?
Do we need any bed linen?
Don't worry. Let's look... We'll come back.
-Come on. We'll come back.
Thank you. Thank you.
What I'd love to do is find some knives.
Is it for the way you cut the sushi?
-Yes, you cut it at an angle.
-At an angle.
-Slice at an angle.
-You need a knife that would slice that way.
-You need the right knife.
-Here you are.
-Oh, my gosh, look at this.
Oh, Rosemary, you're so butch.
-Oh, no, you've cut yourself.
-No, I did that earlier.
-I'm going to take the smaller one.
-Yeah, that's better.
-That's a big old shop, isn't it?
-Bring it on.
-This is my kind of shop.
75-year-old Miriam is keen to explore Kyoto's six-storey
Blimey. Have you ever been in a shop like this?
-This is a drone.
-See this? These are marvellous.
This is a drone. I think when you get to be the age that I am,
there are new things coming out on the market all the time,
which makes life easier.
I've never seen anything like it.
But I tend to get in a mess and have to ask for help.
Excuse me, please.
Is it upstairs, not phones?
Sorry, I am make a... There is counter.
-He didn't want to help.
I do want a watch strap, because this watch is fucked... So.
Oh, that's nice. That's charming, that is.
I'm not a technophobe, I'm a technophile.
I love it.
How do you...?
Press that one.
Oh, crikey. It's a bit personal.
I like that. That's like fingers.
-Are you all right, Miriam?
-Oh, look, these are nice.
-You wanted to buy a dressing gown, didn't you?
Yeah, but I'd rather look for a sword.
OK, so where's the sword?
Aido? Aido? Samurai.
I'm studying Samurai sword fighting in London and I'm choreographing a
ballet incorporating Samurai sword fighting and classical ballet.
Well, it's all to do with technique.
So, as you walk and you slice the person across his body, you...
Mind away. Mind away. You don't go there, you see, you go to there,
because anybody could attack you, and you go the quickest way up
but the hardest way down.
Look them in the eye, flick the blood off, get into your hilter,
wipe your hand and retreat.
As you get older, and I'm 68 now,
you realise that time's getting less and less and less and the end is
creeping up on you. Well, it can creep as long as it likes.
I'm not finished yet. I'm very ambitious to get the most out of
life I can, so in fact, life's become more exciting now I'm older.
Very nice, thank you.
Thank you. Very impressed.
I'm actually driving in Japan.
-Well, this really is something.
Less than 2% of Japanese residents are foreigners.
Struggling to master all the etiquette dos and don'ts,
Miriam and Rosemary need help.
-Do come through.
Carolyn, originally from the UK, has lived in Kyoto for 23 years
and helps run a cultural support group for expats.
The thing about Japan is there are so many customs here and I
think if one was considering retiring in a place like this,
you have to embrace their customs in a big way,
because one thing you wouldn't want to do is to find yourself in a
situation where you're alienating yourself from society.
Thank you, first of all, very much, for coming.
We're floundering a bit, I think, because...
We're friendly and they can see that we're friendly,
but it's just such a different culture.
Give us some really good tips on how to sort of...act.
You know, please and thank you, of course.
When should we bow and when should we not bow?
Oh, all the time, really. I mean, don't hesitate to bow.
-Well, it's about being humble.
It's like being humble, that's right.
Yeah. Can you laugh loudly?
For women it's, you know...
-You put your hand in front of you?
-Behind your... Yeah.
You and I had better do that, then!
Attracting attention is not something to do.
That is hard for me.
One thing, can I ask about, what about farting?
Because... Is that impolite?
Yes. I don't think I've ever heard anyone farting.
You've never heard anybody fart?
Nobody in Japan farts?
Well, I think they do it in the privacy of their own...
They do it in private. See, they're not like you, Miriam,
-they do it privately.
They're not going to let it all out when it needs to be out.
-That's a problem.
Thank you very much for everything and, um, you've been brilliant.
-Look, she bowed.
-We must bow too.
Yes, we must bow.
-Well, that was...
-It was an eye-opener.
It's going to be quite tricky, all that business.
Well, not farting I can manage, but not...not being self-important...
-No, it's a bit of a worry.
-That's a bit of a worry.
Yes, because we're all rather loud, self-important people, really.
And we're used to, in a way, almost laughing at ourselves for being that.
Or, in Cockney, lovely jubbly.
Despite officially retiring,
it's not uncommon for pensioners in Japan to begin a new career.
For Setsu and Fumie, it meant starting their own home-stay business.
Lovely jubbly. Lovely jubbly.
The sisters have told the group about a job scheme which caters
solely for the over-60s.
The Silver Human Resource Centre employs over 5,000
of Kyoto's elderly residents.
There are 1,200 branches across Japan.
-I used to be so scared of interviews.
Today, the group have come to be assessed for their suitability to work.
We are very interested in what you have to offer and we are available,
depending on your requirements.
-When was the last job interview you had?
I've never had an interview for a job. Ever.
-What's your name?
-What's my name?
What, you want the whole name, or just...?
-What is your name?
-Well, Bobby. Bobby George.
Yeah, George, as in King George.
OK. You are related to King George?
Anybody who would employ me would be very lucky.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I'll probably be dead.
What are you capable of doing?
That's actually quite a serious question, because sometimes when
you're older, you think you can do more than you can.
Let's go and sell. I'll sell myself.
Oh, no, I didn't mean it like that. I mean I'll sell my personality.
I'm a team player. I'm a very good team player.
I don't ride horses, I can't drive a car and I don't wash up,
I don't clean, I don't iron, I don't do the laundry.
I have a degree in English literature
from Cambridge University, so I'm fairly well educated.
I am still hungry for success.
And I don't think that I've achieved what I'd hoped,
because I've never been at the National Theatre,
I've never been at the Royal Shakespeare Company.
How does that feel?
Infuriating. I feel infuriated that I haven't achieved what I'd hoped
but I still keep going.
I have no children, so, um, it would be good to do something,
not just sit at home.
-What job would you have in mind for me?
-If you did?
I think I'm unemployable.
Thank you very much.
-And I appreciate the opportunity to come today.
It's a very wonderful thing to use the skills of an old person
and I will remember this when I go back to England.
I'm going to tell them they've got to do what you're doing.
-When can you start?
Well, I can start tomorrow.
I can start straightaway.
Yes? Have I got a job?
Tomorrow, you find out.
With the assessments proving successful,
tomorrow, the group will start their new jobs.
The job centre was fun.
I really enjoyed myself there.
So, you take a bit of soy, then you put a little wasabi in it and dip it.
That radish is gorgeous.
So, you went to a gadget shop.
I got on the chair, the vibrating chair and massage.
I know, I went to town.
-It was lovely.
-I had a gorgeous time.
-It was really lovely.
-Oh, you can have a head massage. Oh!
-See you tomorrow.
See you tomorrow.
Goodnight. Thank you.
Bobby. Take that bit.
Do you know, this is the first time I've actually seen that view.
Isn't it lovely?
You can hear everything.
It's not... It's urban living but it's quite sophisticated
because people are considerate.
You don't hear screaming children and family rows and
that sort of thing. We are the noisiest people here, definitely.
If people are noisy, it disturbs me.
I just love the peace.
-You see, hear that scream.
I think that might be Rosemary.
I love these. I love these, actually.
You on the nuts again?
Yeah. You are filth.
You are pure filth.
What's it like living under the same roof again?
Well, I mean, it's challenging, I think.
I think we're all finding it challenging.
This morning, the group are getting ready to go to work.
The over-60s job centre has found them suitable placements.
Oh, you look terrific.
Rosemary and Wayne will be doing a shift in
a traditional Japanese restaurant.
I'm excited about it and I think it'll be a fantastic challenge.
You know, learning something new.
Sir, can I help you?
In Japanese, aso komenishewa.
Komisha. No, what is it? Konnishima, konnichiwa.
Bobby and Miriam will be sales assistants in a gift shop.
I'm looking forward to it.
It's good experience and I'll get into the way of it
and I'll take it seriously. I mean, I don't want to break anything.
-Are you all in?
-Take the brake off and off we go.
Off we go.
-Well, folks, we're onto our first day of work.
Kyoto attracts over half a million visitors a year.
-Well, we'll see you later, guys, then.
Have a good time.
The group have been found work on Kiyomizu-Saku,
the busiest tourist spot in the city.
-Nice to meet you.
-Hi, I'm Koichi.
Koichi, my name is Miriam.
68-year-old Takako also found work through the job scheme.
She'll be assisting Bobby and Miriam on their shift.
So, to work here you have to wear an apron.
Good. Have you got a big one?
Well, we'll have a look.
I'm a little bigger than that.
How long have you been working here?
-About two years.
I like always connecting with people.
-Make me young.
-It's interesting, isn't it?
-And that's why you do it?
-Otherwise you stay at home alone?
I actually look after my mum, who is nearly 90 years old,
but if I stay home all the time, I will be...
-..a little bored.
-Or go crazy.
-So, that really helps my mind to keep young.
It keeps it young. Active. Active, keep active.
It's true. It's true.
So, you talk to the people who is looking for memorial items
of Kyoto and make them happy.
Hello, would you like to have a look at some of the things in the shop?
Yes. Would you show me your bestseller?
Well, everything is a bestseller.
Have a look at some of the purses,
because I think they're really beautiful.
This is rude.
These are the sumo wrestlers.
Oh, and you take Visa, that's good.
Oh, yes, we take all credit cards here.
You will have to pay her more. She's a very good sales lady.
Goodbye, Ann, it was lovely to meet you.
I think I would have been a good saleswoman
because I want to please them.
My mother had her own dress shop and hat shop,
so I've inherited some of her skills.
But it was good. Now we've got to get the next customer.
It's never over, you know.
Retail never ends.
What was them people you was talking to?
It's not so bad when they talk the lingo.
All right, girls? How you doing?
Down the road, Rosemary and Wayne are about to face
the lunchtime rush hour in one of Kyoto's busiest noodle bars.
-There's lots of people.
-And am I out there?
Rosemary is in the kitchen. Wayne will be waiting tables.
I'm not going to be able to serve all this lot.
-No, we'll be all right.
-I just want to get going...
-We've been through worse things.
-..because I'm actually getting a bit nervous now and I need to get going.
Excuse me, what's your name?
-Who are you?
-My name is Yasu.
-Yasu? My name is Wayne.
Yasu is 69.
He's been on the silver jobs scheme for the last three years.
-OK, you're going to help me, yes?
-Thank goodness for that.
-You speak good English?
-Oh, do you?
Oh, thank you. Good.
That's very good. Thank you.
Service. We normally say, "Service."
-Go for it. Konnichiwa.
My heart is palpitating 20 to the penny.
I'll just have to wing it. But I've got Yasu to help me.
Meshe agare. Meshe agare.
Very nice. How do you say bon appetit?
-No, in Japanese.
-No, I want Japanese.
-Dojo. Meshe agate o kudasai.
-Dojo. Meshe agate o kudasai.
-Meshe agate o kudasai.
-You must go slowly for me. I can't hear.
Am I doing all right? Am I doing all right?
Am I doing all right?
Although Rosemary is self-taught, she's previously worked
at a three-star Michelin restaurant,
but today is her first time in a Japanese kitchen.
I feel like a goldfish.
And she'll be making tofu tempura with the head chef.
I tell you, that's quite stressful.
This is new to me. This is a challenge.
I'm in my element. This is where I'm happiest.
I am cooking in a Japanese kitchen.
I mean, how good can it get?
I'm doing blooming tempura.
I mean, look at it. I'm... OK, OK.
I think the most important thing is just keep going for as long as I
possibly can. So to think about retirement now is not on the books.
Do you have lots of older people who work here? People like me?
That's good. That's really good.
Well, look, I would like to die on the job, OK?
I would like to die when I'm in the middle of cooking in the kitchen
and just go.
The restaurant pays silver-scheme workers a basic rate of nearly
£6 an hour.
Why do you do this in old age?
Because you could just relax, put your feet up.
That's right. I cannot fooling around in the house every day, so...
You just couldn't play around the house every day.
-Is it good money?
Well, I don't care for...
-That's not the point?
-Not the point.
I get minimum wage.
-So it's not for the money?
-It's to keep active...
-..in old age, it keeps you going.
Well, here we go, then. I'm getting loads of exercise.
Watch this. Here we go.
In the UK, you reach your sell-by date at the age of 65 years old.
Well, that's ridiculous.
In Japan, you can go until you drop, apparently.
Thank you so much.
-I think if you have good health,
you should be able to go on as long as you can.
It's a bit of a tight fit, isn't it?
Sort of sideways into the washroom.
Oh, Christ. I haven't got a clue how to do this.
It's all in Japanese.
And I can't read what it says here.
Oh, God, getting old is such a fuck. Oh, dear.
That's better. I put my clothes in.
Do I then... Is there powder? Can we?
OK, let's have a look.
-Have you put the washing powder in?
How did you know it was there?
Oh, I see. OK, got it.
After a hard day's work, the group are planning a big night out.
They're leaving the quiet suburbs of Kyoto and travelling an hour away
to the bright lights of Osaka.
So many lights, you can't focus on one thing, can you?
I know, yeah. It's bizarre, isn't it?
There's a smell of soy sauce everywhere.
Bob, look at that crab.
The modern city is a mecca for young people,
attracted to its vibrant nightlife and contemporary culture.
I'll e-mail that to you, OK?
This is weird. But actually...
I love it. It's like Piccadilly Circus but better.
Having been to Japan before,
Wayne has one big concern about living here.
I'm a bit wary of coming out and saying I'm gay to anybody unless
I've already done my homework.
Are they accepted in the community?
Do they have to hide themselves or can they just be as they are?
-This is what they call a rendezvous.
-I think it is.
Wayne and Miriam are meeting 45-year-old Tadashi,
who came out to his parents two years ago.
Wayne and I are both gay and we'd love to hear what things
-are like here in Japan.
-Here in Japan, um...
In Japan, um, I think we're still behind about being gay.
Yes, I've heard it's not an easy thing to be gay in Japan.
No, most of my friends, including my partner,
they cannot tell their sexuality so they are hiding,
because I think many Japanese people have many prejudice.
I feel that you are at the same stage as we were in 1966,
because I had to hide it.
It was not acceptable at all.
I was an only child, no brothers and sisters, and we are Jewish.
A very strong family...
..will for the girl to get married and have children.
I knew that I was gay
but when I told my mother directly, I told her,
she told my father, who was a doctor, and he made me go to
the drawing room of the house and on the Bible...
..our Bible, to swear that I would never sleep with a woman again.
That is outrageous.
I knew that I would have to make that oath and I knew that I would
break it, because the sexual feeling that you have is stronger
than any oath could ever be, so I felt no guilt.
-To please your father.
I lied to please him and I said,
"No, I will never sleep with another woman again," knowing that I would.
And I did and I was lucky, because I met the right person fairly early on
and we've been together for 48 years.
So I was lucky.
If I had to live in Japan, would I have to tone myself down?
Sometimes you need to hide.
Sometimes you need to hide. Well, I ain't doing that.
-Well, then don't live here, mate.
-I can't live here if I have to hide.
That's not me.
This is who I am and if you don't like it, tough titty.
What's that supposed to be?
Known as the nation's kitchen, the group have picked one of Osaka's
many modern barbecue restaurants for dinner.
This is exciting, isn't it?
-It's brilliant, Rosemary.
-Down the hatch.
-And I want a tea towel.
Big lady. Fat lady.
I don't know what they're saying.
The food is completely different in Japan.
I didn't expect it to be how it was.
This is how I expected it.
This is the bee's knees.
-I eat what I know.
-Are you playing safe, mate?
-I'm playing safe, yeah.
-At least you tried it.
I tell you what, when you live with people, it's quite interesting,
because they see you in a different way to how you see yourself,
and I think I'm far too enthusiastic.
And I say words that... now obviously I'm going to, so everything's brilliant.
You know, I'm going to curb that one.
That's a good move.
The fact is, I never feel I can keep still.
I know, and that's why I find you irritating sometimes.
-Am I irritating?
Just like I'm irritating sometimes.
I think we all are sometimes.
Because we're living in very close proximity to each other.
I love this scissor attack, don't you?
I think the scissor attack is wonderful.
-I love the scissor attack.
It's 6:30am and another early start in Kyoto for Rosemary and Miriam.
They've headed out to a traditional public baths just 20 minutes from
Every day, millions of Japanese people choose to soak in
the therapeutic waters of a traditional hot spring
known as an onsen.
Oh, so we do have to go naked.
-OK, well, we've come here early, so there's nobody here,
thank goodness. Don't get me wrong, I love going to health spas,
I love that, but this is different.
This is not my thing, to go nudist.
Japanese people are slender and therefore they're not embarrassed
about their bodies, whereas I am, and I suspect that you are too,
because you're overweight, so, you know, there it is.
Why are you doing it, then?
-Because it's experience, isn't it?
-It is an experience.
I'm happy. I don't mind doing it at all.
My mother was a nudist, actually.
She always used to do the housework in the nude, which confused
the au-pair girls a little bit, but we all managed.
I can't imagine my mother naked. Oh, God, no.
-Let's do the deed.
-Don't pee in the pool.
Well, don't fart either, Miriam.
I'm in there with you, so for goodness' sake, restrain yourself.
-Farting is fine.
-Not with me in the pool.
-What's it like?
I don't know what to do, now.
I've got my boobs. They've come too.
Oh, my giddy aunt.
I forgot that boobs float, and they're floating.
I hope they'll stay with me.
I think this is quite liberating but I'm not sure...
I'm not sure this is something I would do
normally because this is nudist and I'm not a nudist person.
When I was a child, I was very fat so I've always been fat.
And it's not feeling sorry for myself, I don't at all.
I never did. But I was always the personality.
I was always the personality.
I can see why people live longer here, because it sort of keeps you
de-stressed and calm.
Taking the exercise, OK, it's compulsory...
Rosemary, just for a minute, don't say anything.
Oh, really? I thought that was rather interesting, actually.
Well, just for a minute...
I learnt that it's really wonderful to have new friends late in life.
I learned from Rosemary that I can cope with a whirlwind because
Rosemary is a whirlwind.
Miriam, I'm not going to say a word and I'm going to let you enjoy
the trees and the rainy day, OK.
Is that all right?
Oh, you've gone to sleep, OK.
In a way, she's quite childlike, and I think that's adorable.
Honestly, Rosemary, I could fart and it wouldn't affect you because
-you're in another bath.
-I know, honestly, I'm so happy about that.
You can fart to your heart's content as far as I'm concerned.
I honestly don't need to.
It's the group's last day in Japan.
The worst thing, of course,
is that I have to put these bloody flight socks on.
I've got a book and that most essential
of extra things in your carry-on, an extra pair of knickers.
Before they leave, the group are taking the chance to visit one of
Kyoto's most famous sites...
..the Kiyomizu-dera, a 17th-century Buddhist temple.
-Thatched roof as well.
Yeah, that's a thatched roof, that is.
-I'm going to go to that...
-I'm going to go to there an' all.
-..to the railing.
That's quite a view. I wouldn't like to fall down there.
-Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Kiyomizu Temple, welcome.
The temple is known for its ancient waterfall.
It's believed that drinking the spring water
increases life expectancy.
-Six steps to go.
-Thank you very much for trying.
-I have to try.
No, I will be fine, because that's my journey.
The end is in sight...
..in every way.
I want to go and drink some.
-Do you just drink it from here?
-No problem. No problem.
-This is for another 60 years.
-Another 60 years, please.
It helps you live longer, they say, and if we can do this and live for
a lot longer, that's a very good thing.
Japan is very specific in how they deal with old age.
The fact is, if they want a job, they can get a job.
It's all to do with living longer and doing the right thing.
It's a huge lesson.
It's a massive lesson for us.
I'm going to live to 109 now.
-Not sure about that, dear, but give it a go.
-Oh, I'm sure.
When the moment comes and I know that I'm going to die, I want to
do it with a kind of radiance that I've seen other people have.
Friends of mine who've died have died so well, and I think,
"Oh, God, if I could do that."
I don't know if I can, because I'm a frightened little fart, really.
I am very happy that I have stopped being scared of death.
I'm not scared of it at all any more.
I know that it's inevitable, so why worry about it?
But, if you can keep yourself healthy by keeping the brain active,
joining a club and doing physical exercise,
eating the right kind of food, then you will have done your best.
How old are you, young man?
-How old? What's your age?
-How old are you?
-I'm 38, sir.
If you can live a long while, then great.
That's my thing in life, to live a long while.
Look, there's a goldfish there.
See the goldfish? As long as I die old, I don't mind.
I'm glad I didn't die young,
but I don't feel old myself unless I look in that mirror.
-Thank you so much.
Thank you. Lovely jubbly.
-Look at the little kids.
-It's been a real education, hasn't it?
It's been lovely. Thank you for your gorgeous company, all of you.
But I had such gorgeous bowel movements today.
-I had two.
I had one last night.
And it was so lovely. I just loved it.
I must tell you, the loos are wonderful.
Miriam Margoyles, Wayne Sleep, Bobby George and Rosemary Shrager experience retired life in Japan, a country with one of the longest life expectancies in the world.
They move in with 73-year-old twin sisters in historic city of Kyoto, where Miriam immediately struggles with Japanese etiquette.
The group join elderly residents across the country in a nationally broadcast morning fitness class, and also look into gaining employment - many retired people in Japan actually keep working into their seventies and eighties.
Bobby and Miriam look for work at an OAP job centre, while Rosemary and Wayne get jobs in one of the busiest noodle bars in Kyoto.
Another traditional activity is taking a soak in the communal hot springs dotted around the country, though the idea of being naked does not appeal to Miriam and Rosemary.