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Sunday, Nov. 23, 2003

Channel surf

Superhuman emcee Monta Mino brings another new advice show to your living room: "Daijobu! Wagaya no Zaisan (Don't Worry! Our Family Estate)" on TV Tokyo, Monday at 9 p.m., follows the formula of other hit advice shows by soliciting families who are experiencing financial difficulties. The selected family receives a visit from a team of financial experts ("zaisan doctors") who go through all their possessions and assets and come up with a net worth of the family's property. This team then devises a financial plan that will help the family get out of its economic rut.

This week, a family from the mountains of Nagano Prefecture asks for help. They previously lived in Kyoto, but the father's dream was to live deep in the countryside and run a pension. He had been a long-distance truck driver and was only able to spend one or two days a week at home with his wife and two daughters. But country living is not so easy. The pension is losing money, forcing the father to go out and work as a truck driver again.

The zaisan doctors conclude that in order for the pension to attract more guests it will need to be remodeled. But where will they get the money for the remodeling work? The team comes up with a novel solution.

Mino is also the host of the long-running variety show "Gakko e Ikko (Let's Go to School)" on TBS, Tuesday, at 7:54 p.m. It contains a number of school-related comedy segments. One of the most popular segments is "Tomodachi Oyako," where reporters go out on the streets to find mothers and daughters who look more like schoolmates. Sometimes the mother-daughter pairs are dressed identically, and sometimes completely different, but the main idea is that they look more like sisters than parents and children; which is especially surprising when you consider that the daughters can be as young as 12.

This week, the program will present the Academy Awards of Tomodachi Oyako. Past winners of weekly awards will come into the studio and be judged by Japan's most famous celebrity tomodachi oyako, Claudia and Anna Umemiya, whom, it should be pointed out, no one would mistake for sisters.

This Thursday at 9:15 p.m. on NHK-G's irregular life-consultation program, "Nanmon Kaiketsu (Solving Difficult Problems)," the subject is pets living in apartment buildings. Residents of a building in Yokohama are in disagreement. Thirty percent of the tenants keep pets, and those that don't complain about the noise and the mess that the pets make. There is no stipulation in the housing contract about animals, but the two sides are locked in a battle of nerves. Different tenant associations who solved similar problems in the past come into the studio and explain their solutions, which includes measures like sound-proof carpeting and stricter rules for people who keep pets.

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