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Sunday, Dec. 5, 2004

CHANNEL SURF

TV Tokyo's "Totsugeki! Idobata 7" and more

According to a recent article in weekly newsmagazine Aera, 8,158 Japanese women are married to non-Japanese men (the largest national group is American), while 27,881 Japanese men are married to non-Japanese women. The article says that the divorce rate among these "international couples" is rising faster than the divorce rate for couples in which both partners are Japanese.

This week on "Totsugeki! Idobata 7" (Charge! Well-side Discussion 7; TV Tokyo, Monday, 7 p.m.), the subject of international marriages will be discussed by the usual complement of talent and comedians who will have at their disposal eight mixed couples to interrogate and make fun of. Certain stereotypes are addressed, including the idea that Western husbands are more outwardly affectionate than Japanese husbands, and the belief in Japan that Japanese people cherish family values and children more intensely than people in other countries.


The Kabukicho district in Shinjuku is the undisputed entertainment capital of Japan, with more bars, cabarets, movie theaters, massage parlors and hostess clubs per square meter than you'll find anywhere else in the country. According to TV Tokyo's weekly neighborhood research show, "Admatic Tengoku" (Admatic Heaven; Saturday, 9 p.m.), Kabukicho is also Asia's biggest entertainment district, since about 200,000 people work or pass through the area every day.

Though the purpose of the program is to promote the attractions of the neighborhood it is presenting, the infamous "dangers" of Kabukicho are not glossed over. The top 30 attractions of the district that have been selected by the program's research team are those that "even beginners" can appreciate "safely," but some even get to the "deepest part" of Kabukicho.


One of the conundrums of the new kaigo hoken (elderly care insurance) system is the use of "home helpers," who visit the residences of elderly people and assist with housework and other domestic chores. Some social workers are afraid that the use of housekeepers will mean that the elderly themselves will have less reason to move around, and thus they become physically weaker and more dependent on caregivers.

This wouldn't be a problem if Japanese housing was easier to get around. On this week's edition of the home-remodeling show, "Before/After" (TV Asahi, Dec. 12, 8 p.m.), the residence that receives a makeover belongs to a 73-year-old woman who lives alone. The house, which is located in Shinagawa, Tokyo, was built 36 years ago and the woman who lives there is finding it increasingly difficult to navigate. The biggest obstacle is the stairway, which happens to be in a closet. The width of the stairs is only 9 cm, and the angle of ascent is 60 degrees. Everyday life for this woman is perilous.



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