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Sunday, June 15, 2008


Medical variety show, 'surprising' news stories, women's boxing

There's no cure for growing old, but you can slow down the aging process in a fairly painless manner. On this week's edition of the medical variety show "Shujii ga Mitsukaru Shinyojo (The Clinic Where You Can Find a Family Doctor) (TV Tokyo, Monday, 7 p.m.), guest physicians explain how rejuvenation starts from within the mouth.

About 70 percent of Japanese people over the age of 55 suffer from some form of gum disease, which can make it difficult to chew food properly. When one properly chews food, the facial muscles get a workout and the kind of sagging look that characterizes older countenances can be avoided. The guest doctors on the show explain how viewers can determine whether or not they have gum disease. They also demonstrate facial exercises that can produce more saliva, which is one of the body's natural disinfectants. They will explain how breathing through the nose rather than through the mouth can make you look younger, since breathing with your mouth closed prevents a lax-looking jaw line.

L ast week, the government passed a law that allowed people suffering from gender identity disorder (GID) to officially change their gender designation on official documents. This week, "Za Sekai Gyoten News (The World's Surprising News)" (Nihon TV, Wednesday, 9 p.m.) profiles a woman named Ayana Tsubaki who was born a male.

From a very early age, Tsubaki always believed that she was really a girl at heart. When she attended school she would often dress as a girl and as a result she suffered ridicule and bullying from her classmates as well as her teachers. When she turned 20, she flew to Thailand and underwent a sex-change operation. Since then her life has improved immeasurably. She is now attending college and is extremely busy working as a fashion model. Her mission in life is to give courage to other young people suffering from GID.

R ecently, a new professional boxing league for women started in Japan. The new six-part NHK drama series "Otome no Punch (The Maiden's Punch)" (NHK-G, Thursday, 8 p.m.) is about a young woman who takes up pugilism as a profession.

Hikaru (Shizuo Yamazaki) grew up in an orphanage in Kyoto.

After she graduates from high school she drifts from one unexciting job to another and never feels satisfied.

Then, one day she accidentally observes a boxing match and something inside her wakes up.

This is definitely the sport for her, she thinks. She takes the train to Tokyo and makes her way to the Morita Gym, but the owner of the gym (Keizo Kanie) won't even talk about it.

"Female boxers?" he sniffs. "Out of the question." But Hikaru is determined.

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