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Sunday, July 9, 2006


See the "Kekkon Dekinai Otoko on Fuji's drama series and more

Model-turned-actor Hiroshi Abe is the perfect person to play the title character in Fuji TV's summertime drama series "Kekkon Dekinai Otoko (The Man Who Couldn't Marry)" (Tuesday, 10:15 p.m.).

Abe's classic good looks contrast starkly with his comic awkwardness, making him one of those rare hybrids: the dreamy leading man who can succeed as a character actor.

Here he plays Shinsuke, a successful architect with a streak of eccentricity.

His fussy attention to detail makes him an unsatisfactory mate, and he decided a long time ago that romantic love was a pointless undertaking. However, after he turns 40 he starts to change his mind.

In episode two, which airs this week, Shinsuke comes down with a stomach ailment and decides to consult a doctor friend, but it turns out his friend is not working at the hospital that day and instead he gets a female physician named Natsumi (Yui Natsukawa), who, following treatment, warns him to cut down on his meat consumption.

The suggestion offends the dedicated carnivore, and he rushes right out for some Korean barbecue.

NHK's "Professional" (NHK-G, Thursday, 10 p.m.) is similar to its very popular "Project X" series, but has a narrower scope since it focuses on the accomplishments of one person rather than a group.

This week's subject is professional shogi (Japanese board game) player Yoshiharu Habu, who has the distinction of being the first Japanese to win all seven major shogi tournaments by the age of 25.

A prodigy, he had also won every major junior contest in the Kanto region by the time he was 11.

The program, in an attempt to find out what shogi players actually do with their time, follows Habu around for an average day. His main extra-shogi pastimes are swimming and, unsurprisingly, chess. In fact, he was judged the best chess player in Japan last April.

The theme of Nihon TV's Friday night variety show "Mirai Sozodo (A Place for Future Creation)" (11 p.m.) is realities that were once considered only dreams by people in the past.

The program approaches this concept from a purely practical standpoint. For instance, last week it explored how the lowly tawashi (scrubbing brush) helped increase the life expectancy of the average Japanese person by providing an effective way to clean the kitchen, a notorious breeding ground for deadly germs.

This week, the development of the Washlet is pondered. The Washlet is the super-modern toilet bowl devised by manufacturing firm Toto that includes a cleansing shower for the posterior.

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