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Sunday, July 15, 2007

CHANNEL SURF

Documentary on global warming, breast cancer patient's last days, phenomena explained

Monday is a national holiday, and Nihon TV is presenting a 90-minute documentary special at 4 p.m. on the state of the global environment. "Tenku Kara Shinkai e (From the Sky to the Deep Sea)" is hosted by actor Satoshi Nakamura and other celebrities who travel to places in the world where global warming is having its most noticeable effect.

In Tibet, a new railway is threatening the fragile ecosystem, which is already damaged since global warming has begun to melt the permafrost. In the ocean off the coast of Tasmania, the "seaweed forest" that supports the entire underwater ecology of the area is dying out. The program visits a research center in Okinawa where scientists are trying to develop microbes that can consume CO2 Other solutions are also proposed.

On Wednesday night, TBS will rebroadcast a re-edited documentary that was originally broadcast in several parts on its evening news program. The public reaction to the series was so strong that the network decided to combine the parts into one two-hour program, which is entitled "Ai to Inochi to Namida no Zenkiroku (The Complete Record of Love and Life and Tears)" (6:55 p.m.).

The documentary follows the last month in the life of a 24-year-old woman diagnosed with final-stage breast cancer. The young woman agreed to allow cameras to follow her during her last days because she wanted to leave something lasting behind and convey her state of mind, especially to other women her age. She wants them to understand just how precious life is. In her final days, she is supported and comforted by her father and her boyfriend, who organizes a kind of mock wedding since it has been one of her dreams to wear a wedding dress.

The first anatomy book ever used in Japan was from the Netherlands. In Japanese it was called "Kaitai Shinsho," which means "Anatomy Book." It's also the title of an NHK variety show, though the title is meant to be a pun. "Kaitai" means to break apart, and "shinsho" in this case means "new show."

The purpose of the program, which is hosted by TOKIO member Taichi Kokubu, is to analyze, or pick apart, old mysteries and unexplained phenomena well-known to the average person.

The main subject of this week's program (NHK-G; Saturday, 10 p.m.) is kanashibari, or the feeling of paralysis that sometimes happens while falling asleep.

In Japanese culture, the phenomenon is often associated with the supernatural: people talk about being held down by ghosts.

The program visits a laboratory at Fukushima University where kanashibari is being studied. Researchers attempt to re-create the feeling in subjects to find out just what happens in the brain and the body during such episodes.



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