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Sunday, Oct. 15, 2006
Fuji's "Boku no Aruku Michi," TBS's "Kiraware Matsuko no Issho" and more
Japanese television gets around to the difficult subject of autism in the new drama series "Boku no Aruku Michi" (The Road I Walk; Fuji, Tuesday, 10:15 p.m.). SMAP member Tsuyoshi Kusanagi plays Te-ruaki, an autistic 31-year-old man whose emotional development is that of a 10-year-old boy. Teruaki lives with a large, loving family, but he has problems holding on to jobs. Though he's a hard, conscientious worker, he invariably upsets his co-workers, who aren't equipped to handle his situation.
In episode 2, which airs this week, Teruaki gets a new job at a zoo through the help of a friend. He is assigned to the rodent exhibit, and while he has no trouble with the animals, Teruaki finds it difficult to deal with the visitors to the exhibit. His colleagues try to help him, but again they never feel comfortable around him.
This fall, TBS has adapted one of last year's big box office hits, "Kiraware Matsuko no Issho" (The Life of Hated Matsuko; Thursday, 10 p.m.), as an 11-part drama series.
In the first episode, which aired last week, a 56-year-old woman named Matsuko is found dead of natural causes in her small apartment in a low-rent neighborhood of Tokyo. Her niece, Asuka, comes to clean up the apartment and finds an old photo album that intrigues her. She only thought of her aunt as a quiet schoolteacher, but she discovers that Matsuko's life was much more dramatic.
As a teenager, Matsuko ran away from home and worked as a waitress for six months, during which time she was harassed by one of her customers, who kept pressuring her to go out with him. A young man saves her and they start living together, but Matsuko has to support the two of them, and she has no choice but to seek work in the sex industry.
On Saturday, Oct. 21, NHK will start a three-part drama series called "Tamashii Moe!" (The Spirit Sprouts; 9 p.m.), which is about a 55-year-old woman who rediscovers life after her husband dies unexpectedly of a heart attack.
Toshiko (Junko Takahata) is reunited with her son at the funeral. The young man has lived in the United States for 10 years without ever writing or calling his parents. He tells her he is coming back to Japan to stay, and is bringing his wife and their children with him.
A week after the funeral, Toshiko receives a call from a woman (Keiko Takahashi), who says that she was her husband's mistress for 10 years. Toshiko had no idea and the news puts her in a state of shock. After she recovers, she decides that she should visit the mistress in order to find out about the man she lived with for so long and obviously knew nothing about. She goes to meet the woman, and her life is changed forever.