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Sunday, Nov. 9, 2003


Channel surf

Since TV tarento aren't really required to possess anything more than a distinctive personality and a willingness to put up with silly programming concepts, it's difficult for individuals to maintain an edge. Gimmicks are necessary and right now a good one is to be a dog lover, since Japan is going through another of its cyclical canine booms. On Nov. 9 at 2 p.m., TV Asahi will present "Camp Da! Wan! (It's a Camp! Woof!)," which will feature a selection of second-tier TV tarento competing against one another with their beloved dogs at a campsite in Karuizawa. For the most part, the judges will be looking at how well these TV personalities have trained and disciplined their pets, but the contest will also feature obstacle courses and a white-water rafting segment.

Now that the season is finally over, the big local baseball news is the prospects for Nagashima Japan, the team of professional baseball players who will attempt to bring home the gold from the Athens Olympics next summer under the coaching of Mr. Baseball himself, Shigeo Nagashima. This week on "Super TV" (Nippon TV; Monday, 9 p.m.), Nagashima's lifelong dream of stepping out on the international baseball stage will be examined from the standpoint of his son, Kazushige, who over the course of 365 days watched his father put Japan's "Dream Team" together.

For Japanese viewers, the vantage point is an important one. Kazushige was once the heir apparent to Japan's baseball throne, but even under the tutelage of his wildly admired father he proved to be not much of a ball player and is now mainly famous for being a boke (dumb) TV tarento. For the elder Nagashima, the Olympics will be the final challenge in a life dedicated to baseball. Kazushige is thus understandably worried. What will happen to his father if he fails? He'll probably become a politician.

What does youth want? Apparently, more lovers. That's the topic on this week's edition of NHK's teen debate program "Shinken Judai Shaberi-jo (Serious Teenagers Discussion Forum)" on NHK-E; Friday, 11:30 p.m.

A young man named Sakai, who attends an elite private high school, is the person who raises tonight's question: "Why can't you marry more than one person?" For Sakai, the question is a personal one. Though he is still in school, he has dated 15 girls in his life so far. His success is credited to his smooth conversational skills, and he even runs a nampa-juku (class for picking up girls) for underclassmen. However, last year he had his heart seriously broken by one particular girlfriend. He was so distraught that he couldn't study for finals and eventually had to repeat a year. He and the other teenagers discuss whether or not it's possible to love more than one person at the same time.

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