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Sunday, Sept. 10, 2006

CHANNEL SURF

TBS's "The Truth Five Years After the New York Terror Attacks" and more

The fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks in America will not go unobserved on Sept. 11. TBS has been putting together a very ambitious two-hour memorial special with the equally ambitious title "A Complete and Exclusive Visualization -- The Truth Five Years After the New York Terror Attacks" (Monday, 9 p.m.).

Anchorman Tetsuya Chikushi and heartthrob TBS announcer Shinichiro Azumi will report from the site of the former World Trade Center. Using eyewitness accounts of survivors, the program will attempt to explain why most of the 50,000 people in the doomed buildings lived while some perished.

TBS has said it built a replica of the Twin Towers in a remote area of Hungary in order to illustrate how they fell. The special will also delve into the FBI's investigation of an attack on the WTC that happened eight years earlier.

Shinichiro Azumi usually hosts the popular TBS variety series "Pittanko Kan-kan" (Tuesday, 6:55 p.m.), but presumably because of the 911 special he's off this week. Instead, the show will feature evening weatherman Yoshizumi Ishihara, who also happens to be the son of Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara.

Yoshizumi grew up in the Denenchofu district of Tokyo, which is famous for its celebrity enclaves. He now lives in the slightly less exclusive neighboring area of Jiyugaoka. Both districts will earn his scrutiny as he visits the various retailers and businesses that have been instrumental in the upbringing of the Ishihara dynasty (Yoshizumi has three brothers, two of whom are politicians, just like their father), as well as some of his own personal favorites. He will be joined by comedian Junji Takada, who will go out of his way to embarass Yoshizumi every chance he gets.

One of the biggest domestic box office hits of 2005 was the movie "Densha Otoko (Train Man)," which will receive its network television premiere this week on "Saturday Premium" (Fuji, 9 p.m.).

The movie was the final incarnation of a tale told on an Internet BBS that evolved into a book, a manga, and even a narrated theater work. The BBS was a meeting place for the kind of "unpopular young men" (motenai otoko) who hang around Akihabara. One contributor to the BBS told of how he saved a young woman from the advances of a drunk middle-aged man on the train and was rewarded with an Hermes teacup. Breaking out of his (otaku) shell, he related how he used the excuse of thanking the woman for the teacup as a means of asking her out on a date. His BBS comrades gave him advice and later curious visitors to the site elevated him to the status of nerd superhero.



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