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Sunday, July 10, 2005

CHANNEL SURF

NTV's "Otona no Natsu Yasumi," Fuji's "Rodo Kijun Kantokukan" and more

Several years ago, actress Shinobu Terashima won a Japan Academy Award and lots of overseas critical praise for her portrayal of a troubled young woman in the movie "Vibrator."

This summer she is starring in her first TV drama series, "Otona no Natsu Yasumi (Adult Summer Vacation)" (NTV, Wednesday, 10 p.m.), in which she plays housewife Miyuki who is also a part-time caregiver for an elderly woman. When the elderly woman dies, she leaves the license to her beachside food-stall to Miyuki, who decides to run it for the summer. Her husband isn't happy with her decision, but she talks two friends into helping her operate the business.

In the second episode, which airs this week, Miyuki's friend, Sumiko (Tomoko Nakajima), changes her mind about working at the stall for the summer. A career woman, Sumiko had been told she might have cancer and have to quit her job. Now, she finds out that she doesn't have cancer and wants to return to work, but doesn't know how to tell Miyuki. However, Miyuki has her own problems. Her 8-year-old son has been diagnosed with a form of depression.

Murder takes a paid vacation in "Rodo Kijun Kantokukan" (Fuji TV, Friday, 9 p.m.), which, as the title says, is about a labor-standards officer. Wakura (Chizuru Azuma), a labor ministry official who takes her work very seriously, makes sure employees work under the safest, healthiest conditions. She raids businesses suspected of violating standards and gives advice to people who question their working conditions.

After getting involved in a disagreement between a part-time supermarket employee and her boss over paid leave, Wakura is visited by the supermarket chain's district manager, who invites her to give a lecture to the company's part-timers. However, after the lecture, all the part-timers who attended are fired, and one of the supermarket's store managers is found dead. Was it over-work or murder?

The sea has always been a source of limitless inspiration for artists, especially painters. On NHK's art appreciation program, "Meikyu Bijitsukan (Labyrinth Museum)" (BS-2, July 17, 11 p.m.), actor Yasunori Danta acts as a sea captain-guide on a journey through some of the world's most famous sea paintings.

Among the European painters discussed are the German Caspar David Friedrich and the Frenchman Raoul Dufy. However, Danta mainly talks about the legendary Japanese painter Shigeru Aoki, who was born in Kyushu during the Meiji era. With a burning ambition to become "the Alexander of the art world," Aoki traveled to Tokyo at an early age. He became most famous for his painting "Umi no Sachi (Marine Bounty)," which depicted fishermen in Chiba Prefecture. He only completed a few more paintings before dying at the age of 28.



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