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Sunday, April 25, 2004

CHANNEL SURF

New Fuji TV series, "At-home Dad" and more

The new Fuji TV series, "At-home Dad" (Tuesday, 10 p.m.), takes the usual housewife drama and reverses the genders to comic effect. Kazuyuki (Hiroshi Abe), a 37-year-old account executive at a leading advertising firm, is a victim of downsizing, thus forcing his wife to go out and work full-time.

Kazuyuki is now the homemaker, and, predictably, a rather clumsy one. His first day on the job was a disaster, despite the fact that his wife, Miki (Ryoko Shinohara), left him detailed instructions.

In this week's episode, Kazuyuki, who was very careful about his appearance when he was a salaryman, has turned slobbish. His neighbor, Yusuke, who has been a house-husband for some time, warns him he better pull himself together or his wife will stray. Kazuyuki acts as if he doesn't care. That night, however, Miki works late and is driven home by a male colleague. Her late arrival is observed by the busybody neighbor, who starts spreading rumors.

Ryoko Shinohara also stars in another new drama series. In "Hikari to Tomo ni . . . (Along With the Light . . .)," on Nippon TV, Wednesday at 10 p.m., she plays Sachiko, the mother of an autistic boy named Hikaru. Sachiko, who doesn't understand autism, lives a stress-filled life that only adds to her son's stress. A new special-education teacher at Hikaru's school, Hidemi (Satomi Kobayashi), realizes Sachiko's ignorance about Hikaru's condition and decides to help her understand the boy's world.

In this week's episode, Hikaru is locked in a storage room at school by a cruel classmate and is injured. Hidemi takes him to hospital, but the frightened Hikaru resists the doctor's efforts to treat him. The doctor becomes angry and when Sachiko and her husband arrive, he scolds them for "spoiling" their son. The husband starts to apologize, but Hidemi breaks in angrily and tells him that he has no reason to apologize for his son's behavior.

On May 1, 10 countries will officially join the European Union, increasing its size to 25 member countries that are home to 500 million people. The ceremony will be held in Dublin and NHK will broadcast it live on BS-1 starting at 7 p.m.

The broadcast will last for five hours and in addition to live coverage from Dublin will include reports from various EU countries detailing the changes that will come about with the expansion and its effect on European relations with Japan.

Hungarian-born Peter Frankel will report from Prague about the Czech Republic, one of the new members that has already seen success in attracting foreign companies. There will also be many locally produced films (including humorous animated shorts) related to the expansion as well as live music from Warsaw and Berlin.



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