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Sunday, Feb. 3, 2008

CHANNEL SURF

Documentary on abandoned children, chocolate travel special

According to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), there are presently 2.2 billion human beings in the world under the age of 18, 300 million of whom do not exist in any sort of official capacity.

In many cases they were born into severe poverty and their births were not recorded, or they were displaced and orphaned by wars, natural disasters or economic upheaval.

On the special two-hour program "Chikyu no Ienakiko . . . Wasurerata San-oku-nin no Kodomotachi (Family-less Children of the World . . . The Forgotten 300 Million) (Nihon TV, Thursday, 7 p.m.), four television personalities each visit a community of abandoned or orphaned children in different regions of the world.

Aya Ueto goes to Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia, where street children, abandoned in the country's rush to capitalism, live beneath manholes in the city.

Katsunori Takahashi checks up on 35 children living in a facility in Sumatra who were orphaned by the 2005 Christmas tsunami.

Azusa Yamamoto goes to a village located on the frontier between Laos and Myanmar whose entire population are aged between 4 and 18.

Lastly, an actor who goes by the name Shoei visits Tijuana, Mexico, where he finds children who were left behind by parents who had sneaked over the border into the United States.

Valentine's Day is almost upon us, which means every young woman's thoughts turn to chocolate.

Once upon a time, the chocolate was meant for that special male someone, but over the years Valentine's Day chocolate consumption has become an end unto itself, which is why there are so many TV shows covering the trend.

On the celebrity travel show "Sekai! Dangan Torabera (World! High-speed Traveler)" (Nihon TV, Saturday, 11:30 p.m.), actress Sayaka Isoyama goes to Belgium, the chocolate capital of Europe, to luxuriate in everything cocoa-related.

Her purpose is to learn how to make chocolate sweets herself, but she also visits famous chocolate emporiums, enjoys a "full-course meal" that consists of nothing but chocolate, and even patronizes a beauty parlor that offers chocolate treatments.

Another young woman who wants to make chocolate from scratch goes even further in her quest on "Sekai no Hate made Itte Q (Going to the Ends of the Earth)" (Nihon TV, Feb. 10, 7:58 p.m.).

Actress Yuko Ito accompanies her to Ghana, where they actually pick cacao beans that they will later process into chocolate.

The popular competitive eater Gal Sone doesn't have a boyfriend at present and reveals why she goes to the world famous Godiva chocolate factory in Belgium on "Sekai Ururun Taizaiki (World Sojourns)" (TBS, Feb. 10, 10 p.m.).

She plans to make a dollhouse completely out of sweets and then eat the whole thing herself.



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