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Sunday, April 23, 2006

CHANNEL SURF

Dietician Sonoko Suzuki's life dramatized in Nihon TV's "The Diet Queen" and more

Everybody is excited about this summer's World Cup in Germany, but before that takes place there is another international tournament being held in the same country.

The World Table Tennis Championship opens April 24 in Bremen and continues until April 30. Table tennis is a professional competitive sport in China and Europe, and many teams in those regions have Japanese players.

The most famous Japanese competitor is Ai Fukuhara, the intense teenager who played for a time in China and who will be the star attraction of the Japan women's team in Bremen. Most of TV Tokyo's extensive coverage of the tournament, which begins April 24 at 7 p.m. and continues nightly at different times, will be of Ai-chan's games.

The highest that the Japanese women's team has ever placed at the world championships is third. The favorite at this tournament is said to be China, who is very strong. But to achieve glory, the Japanese have to get past the Russians, whom they play first in the opening round.

The life of Sonoko Suzuki, a dietician who for better or worse helped spark the "diet boom" of the last two decades, will be dramatized this week in "The Diet Queen" (Nihon TV, Tuesday, 9 p.m.).

Sonoko, who died several years ago, was famous for her pale makeup and numerous television appearances.

Her face used to tower over Ginza from a billboard on the top of the building that housed her weight-loss products business.

Her dieting rationale was based on experience. Sonoko (Mariko Kaga) loses her mother to diabetes and her son to anorexia. In college, she studies nutrition, and utilizing what she learned from her family's food-related tragedies, she opens a restaurant based on her own unique nutrition system.

People who want to lose weight, she asserts, should not cut their food intake, which is the common method, but rather eat more selectively.

Most publishers were not interested in her theories, but when one takes a chance, her diet book becomes a huge best seller. Then the backlash begins.

One of the teachers on this week's installment of the popular education quiz show, "Sekai-ichi Uketai Jugyo (The Most Popular Lessons in the World)" on Nihon TV, Saturday, at 7:57 p.m. is Soichi Noguchi.

Last year, Noguchi was one of the astronauts on the American space shuttle Discovery.

Noguchi's lecture is on "life in outer space." He shows some footage of his time in the shuttle, including film never shown before. He also brings along a space suit and explains its functions and characteristics.

More interesting to the guests in the studio is his explanation of the food that is eaten in the shuttle and his demonstration of how to go to the bathroom.



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