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Sunday, Dec. 7, 2003

Channel surf

TV Tokyo's information series, "Oishii Joho no Rakuen (Paradise of Delicious Information)" (Monday, 8 p.m.), covers current cultural trends of interest to women. In the past, the show has included new desserts, department-store food bazaars and famous hair designers.

This week's program is about women's underwear. Right now, the foundation industry is enjoying a boom, and the show aims to explain this business phenomenon. Traditionally, Japanese women's image of underwear was functional: You spent extra money to get something that would last many years and fit snugly. Now, however, women approach underwear as both a fashion accessory and a kind of tonic. They will choose underwear that matches their mood. As one woman says, "A good bra can make all the difference in your day."

Brassieres, in fact, receive special attention. The foundation-company Trimp has enjoyed 16 successive years of rising profits thanks to its innovative bras, exemplified by the best-selling Angel Bra, which accentuates Japanese breasts. The program profiles the company's president, a 56-year-old man who has a reputation for being a dictator.

They also visit Peach John, another successful underwear company whose staff is made up of women.

To celebrate the release of the new Meowlingual cat translator device, TV Tokyo's weekly pet show, "Pochitama" (Friday, 7 p.m.), presents a special program about cats.

Unlike the popular dog translator, Bowlingual, the cat version does not use the voice of the animal, but rather the eyes. The program also features cats that can perform tricks; a series of famous kanban neko (storefront cats); several examples of odd cat-love stories (such as one involving an iguana); and how to read a cat's intentions without Meowlingual.

NHK has designated Dec. 13 as Panda Day and will present a three-hour program about pandas in the wild in China (NHK-G, Saturday, 3:05 p.m.). Famous animal photographer Mitsuwaki Iwago has spent a great deal of time in the Qilian Mountains photographing pandas in their natural habitat.

Despite their popularity, the lives of pandas in the wild are still shrouded in mystery, and one of Iwago's purposes is to clear up some of these mysteries through long-term observation using still cameras and video cameras. In terms of behavior, he wants to figure out the odd "dance" that the panda performs when mating.

The show will explain some other interesting facts about the panda: how the species is one of the few mammals to survive the Ice Age, and why they only eat bamboo.

Viewers with digital receivers can also participate in an interactive quiz.

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