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Sunday, June 5, 2005

CHANNEL SURF

"Charisma housewife" gives her secret on NHK's "Eigo de Shabera-Naito," and more

Since English is the lingua franca of the international business community, it follows that anyone who really wants to make a global impression should be able to communicate in English.

Harumi Kurihara, a "charisma housewife" whose recipes and cooking advice are well-known here in Japan, wanted to convey her knowledge to people abroad, and so she studied English assiduously and wrote a cookbook, "Harumi's Japanese Cooking," in English. It went on to win the award for best cookbook at the 2005 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. Kurihara's idea was that non-Japanese tend to think that Japanese cooking is very difficult. What she did was show how it is actually very easy.

On this week's edition of NHK's English language-learning variety show, "Eigo de Shabera-Naito" (NHK-G, Monday, 11:15 p.m.), Kurihara will talk about her experience learning a foreign language from scratch, and also show us a recipe described in English.


Japanese consumers are supposedly obsessed with shinhatsubai (brand-new products), which explains why people tend to buy new cars every three or four years. And because Japanese consumers tend to take good care of their automobiles, Japanese used-cars are in demand the world over.

The subject of this week's "Gaia no Yoake," TV Tokyo's business-related documentary series (Tuesday, 10 p.m.), is used cars, which have suddenly become very popular in Japan as new-car sales drop. The program visits Russia, where Japanese used cars are worth so much that recently a group of citizens held a demonstration to protest the government's plans to ban right-hand drive vehicles in the country.

The auction company USS is also profiled. USS has enjoyed huge profits in the last few years auctioning lots of used Japanese cars to foreign buyers, mostly from Asia and the Middle East.


Ken Matsudaira, the jidaigeki (historical drama) actor who has made a bigger name for himself as the singer and performer of "Matsuken Samba," will star in the TV drama "Odoru! Oyabun Tantei (Dance! Gangster Detective)" (Fuji TV, Friday, 9 p.m.). It will be the actor's first leading role in a modern-day drama in 20 years.

Matsudaira plays Kenji, a former yakuza boss who disbanded his gang when his wife died and has since operated an oden shop. But when a former subordinate is arrested for murder, Kenji is suspicious, and he reunites his old gang to carry out his own investigation.

Matsudaira's Matsuken stage image isn't overlooked. In one scene the actor dons his famous gold-lame kimono and does a "friendly" cameo as himself, dancing his dance and singing his song.



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