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Sunday, Sept. 19, 2004


TV Tokyo's "Umi o Koeta Kazoku Ai #5" and more

On Monday at 8 p.m., TV Tokyo presents a special program that ranks "The 10 Best Villages in Japan Where You Can Live Comfortably on 100,000 yen a Month."

The two-hour special is actually Part 2 of an ongoing project. The idea of surviving on 100,000 yen in Tokyo is difficult to fathom, but according to the special, if you're willing to go way out of the way, you can live like a king without breaking your piggy bank.

The criteria used for judging a village other than those dealing with money are: 1) an abundance of nature; 2) all modern conveniences must be within easy reach; and 3) friendly neighbors.

Among the villages that will be featured is a community that offers newcomers up to 300 sq. meters of land for free; a village where you can rent a house that is right on the ocean; a village that provides its residents with as much free spring water as they want; and an entire island that you can rent for a measly 10,000 yen a month.

Last month we mentioned the long-running comedy show "Tunnels no Minna-san no Okage Deshita (The Tunnels, Thanks to Everyone)" (Fuji, Thurs., 9 p.m.), and the segment called "Kuwazugirai, (Food Prejudice)" where two celebrities must eat a series of dishes and guess which one of those dishes the other really hates.

On this week's two-hour special, the "Kuwazugirai" guests are singer Hikaru Utada and soccer superstar David Beckham.

Beckham, who is a friend of the Tunnels comedy duo, was in Tokyo last summer for an exhibition game with his team, Real Madrid. Utada is busy promoting her new, all-English album "Exodus," which was released in Japan on Sept. 8 and comes out in the U.S. the first week of October.

Hikki and David will probably have fun confounding their hosts by chatting in English (Utada was born and raised in New York), but according to the press kit, what the Tunnels most want to know is how much money each earns.

Announcer Kazuo Tokumitsu is known to weep profusely at the drop of a hat, and nowhere are his waterworks wetter than on the family reunion specials he hosts every so often.

Tokumitsu will have plenty to cry about on "Umi o Koeta Kazoku Ai #5 (Family Love Beyond the Seas #5)" (TV Tokyo, Sept. 26, 7:54 p.m.), which solicits people who have lost touch with loved ones years ago and wish to see them again. As the title indicates, in these cases the family members don't live in Japan.

Among the reunion hopefuls is a 73-year-old Japanese woman who married a U.S. serviceman many years ago but divorced him. Their daughter left Japan when she was 5 to live in America with her father, and the mother plans to see her for the first time in 43 years. A 29-year-old Japanese woman travels to Ghana in Africa to locate her father. A Turkish woman and her Japanese husband go to the Netherlands to try and find her mother, who moved there after she remarried.

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