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Sunday, Aug. 28, 2005

CHANNEL SURF

TV Asahi's "Matthew's Best Hit TV" devotes whole program to Japanese dialects, and more

Advanced students of Japanese language might want to tune in to the late-night comedy show "Matthew's Best Hit TV" this week (TV Asahi, Wednesday, 11:15 p.m.). One of the show's regular features is a segment called "Namari Tei," which translates as "Dialect Theater." Guest celebrities, who in most cases assumed a generic Japanese accent when they entered show business, demonstrate the regional accents that they grew up speaking in whatever region of the country they happen to be from.

This week, host Matthew Minami presents an entire special program about dialects, culminating in the "Namari Yoga Gekijo," or "Dialect Western Movie Theater." Guests, such as actor Toshiro Yanagiba from Akita and talent Reina Tanaka from Fukuoka, will supply voices for a dubbed version of the Demi Moore movie "Ghost" using their regional accents.


Sept. 1 is the anniversary of the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, and as usual there will be many events marking the tragedy, including public emergency drills. NHK's general channel will present two special programs that night about earthquakes.

In the first, "Rendo Kyodai Jishin (Successive Major Earthquakes)" at 7:30 p.m., the huge temblor that hit Indonesia last December is referenced as an example of what might strike Japan sometime in the first half of the 21st century. Large earthquakes are predicted to hit not only the eastern coast of the archipelago, but also the southeastern and southern coasts as well, perhaps in succession.

"Nanmon Kaiketsu (Solving Difficult Problems)," which screens at 9:15 p.m., offers suggestions to apartment dwellers on what to do to prepare for a large earthquake and how to survive one afterward. The show uses as an example a 14-story residential building in Soka, Saitama Prefecture, that contains 130 households.


The winner of the best documentary award at this year's Sundance Film Festival was "Why We Fight," a study of the American military-industrial complex and whether or not its existence has actually spurred the United States into conflicts throughout the world. On Sept. 4, NHK's BS-1 channel will broadcast the documentary, which has not yet been shown in the U.S. either on television or in theaters.

Part One (10:10 p.m.) features the famous 1960 speech by President Dwight D. Eisenhower at the end of his second term that warned America of the danger of the military-industrial complex. Without careful oversight, he said, this complex would be difficult to contain. The documentary then goes on to show how Eisenhower's worries became a reality, especially following the terrorist attacks of September 2001, when Americans' fears were exploited by certain political factions. Part Two (11:10 p.m.) shows how the militarization of American society directly led to the war in Iraq.



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