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Sunday, April 13, 2008


Environmental info show, romantic drama, comedy adventure cop-thriller

The "eco" movement gets the feminine treatment on "Asu Tsukaeru Eko Chishiki (Ecology Knowledge You can Use Tomorrow)" (TV Asahi, Monday, 7 p.m.), in which a group of female TV stars learn clever ways to conserve energy and recycle refuse.

The key word is "mottai nai," or "what a waste." Celebrities like comedian Edo Harumi, model Suzanne and competitive eater Gyaru Sone all bring kitchen scraps from their homes to the kitchen of idol-turned-TV chef Remi Hirano, who shows them how they can make simple dishes out of things like vegetable peelings and bread crusts.

Another report examines how plastic garbage on the southern island of Iriomote is now being turned back into petroleum, and regional female announcers from the TV Asahi network offer local suggestions for recycling and conservation.

Seasonal dramas have become monopolized by young actors and idols — the younger the better — which makes the new serial "Muri-na Ren'ai (Impossible Love)" (Fuji, Tuesday, 10:15 p.m.) something of an exception.

The protagonist is 60-year-old record-company executive and former "band man" Tachiki (Masaaki Sakai, the former lead singer of Group Sounds standard bearer The Spiders). Divorced for a number of years, Tachiki has settled comfortably into late middle age, and then he strikes up a relationship with Kaede (Yui Natsukawa), an "unsellable" 35-year-old actress, who is lonely just like him.

In Episode Two, Tachiki's new relationship with Kaeda has made him pay much closer attention to his appearance and his health in general, and he starts looking into home exercise devices being advertised in magazines. He also encounters Tatsuhiko (Yoshimi Tokui) on a train. In the past, he had seen Tatsuhiko and Kaede together quite often, and he invites the younger man out for a drink to try to find out more.

Masatoshi Hamada, half of the comedy duo Downtown, stars in the omnibus comedy-drama "Hamada Keisatsu Kinkyu Shutsudo Special (Officer Hamada Emergency Dispatch Special)" (Nihon TV, Thursday, 9 p.m.), in which the comedian plays a policeman responding to various incidents, all of which were inspired by real-life stories taken from "the back pages of the newspapers."

In one adventure, a salaryman is arrested for repeatedly breaking into parked automobiles and stealing homemade lunches.

The man tells the police that he is sick of convenience-store lunches and wants something that tastes "like it was made with love."

Another story features a female stalker who keeps trying to give pieces of her own underwear to the man she's obsessed with. There's also a tale about a woman who sent ¥100 million to a con man she met on a cell-phone dating site.

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