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Sunday, Oct. 2, 2005

CHANNEL SURF

TV Asahi's "Bakusho Mondai and Japanese Citizens Ask Sensei to Explain" and more

The term sensei is used quite casually. Though it is meant to mark someone of skill or learning, it is mostly applied to individuals because of their position regardless of how they obtained it. One can understand why doctors and teachers are called it, but politicians?

Finding out how much sensei really know is the theme of "Bakusho Mondai and Japanese Citizens Ask Sensei to Explain" (TV Asahi, Tuesday, 7 p.m.), where Bakusho Mondai, the ubiquitous comedy duo, and a panel of celebrities grill various sensei on their grasp of their particular subject. The political part of the show is highlighted by the appearance of former Liberal Democratic Party honcho Koichi Hamada, who is better known by his tarento nickname Hamako. Hamada will predictably blow his top while explaining controversial issues such as the dispatch of Self-Defense Forces overseas and post office privatization.


On Oct. 5 at 11 p.m., NHK's BS-2 channel will present a Czech documentary about Mitsuko Aoyama, the daughter of a Meiji Era antique merchant who married an Austrian diplomat, Heinrich Coudenhove-Kalergi.

Mitsuko is mainly known in Japan because a perfume was named after her, but since the Velvet Revolution that brought about the division of Czechoslovakia, Mitsuko has become a kind of icon in the democratic Czech Republic.

Mitsuko moved with her husband, a count, to Ronsperg, now located in the Czech Republic. Her life was hard and because she was a member of the nobility she wasn't talked about during the socialist era. Her most famous "contribution," however, was probably her son, Richard. Following World War I, Richard was the first person to propose a European Union. He is now considered something of a Czech hero. He is also believed to be the model for Victor Laszlo, the underground freedom-fighting husband of Ingrid Bergman's character in "Casablanca."


Hiroyuki Kitakubo's 48-minute anime "Blood: The Last Vampire" caused a sensation when it was released in 2000. Telling the bloody story of Saya, a teenage girl with a sword who slaughters a group of vampires hiding out at Yokota Air Base, the 3-D cartoon inspired Quentin Tarantino to include a similar character in "Kill Bill."

TBS will launch a new 3-D animated series based on Saya's adventures on Saturday, Oct. 8, at 6 p.m. called "Blood +." In the first episode, Saya is your average sailor-suited schoolgirl, involved in the track-and-field team and surrounded by a loving family. However, her memory does not extend for more than a year into her past. One evening, she returns to the school gymnasium to retrieve something she left behind and finds a monster killing her coach. Suddenly, her memory comes flashing back.



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