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Sunday, June 22, 2008

CHANNEL SURF

Fortune-teller detective mystery, manga drama of the business world, Ethiopia trivia special

Misuzu Maruyama (Kumiko Okae) is one of Ginza's most popular street fortunetellers, but she's also an amateur detective. In the two-hour mystery special "Uranaishi Misuzu Jiken wa Unmei no Kanata ni (Fortune Teller Misuzu's Incidents Are Beyond Fate)" (TBS, Monday, 9 p.m.), Misuzu plies her trade in disguise, as Madame Belle, and her clients line up for a chance to look into their futures. Only her husband, Shotaro (Tsuyoshi Naito), a police detective, knows about the impersonation. Even her mother-in-law and her children don't know. So it's something of a shock when Misuzu's teenage daughter Reina seeks the advice of Madame Belle on behalf of her classmate Takumi, whose mother, Yukino, was pushed down a flight of stairs by an unknown assailant and badly injured. Yukino is not revealing much about the accident and seems to be protecting someone. Then the police find the skeleton of an infant in a trunk, and trace the trunk to Yukino.

"Kacho Shima Kosaku (Section Chief Kosaku Shima)" is one of the longest-running manga series in Japan, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Kosaku Shima is a "super salaryman" who works for an elite company — the epitome of the hard-working company man who never takes sides and is adored by all the women he meets because of his integrity and good looks. In fact, Shima is no longer a section chief. He was promoted to department chief in 1992, and has since made it all the way to the top as president of Hatsushiba Electric. Nihon TV's two-hour drama special (Wednesday, 9 p.m.) goes back a ways, when Shima (Katsunori Takahashi) was assigned to the post of showroom chief.

His friend, Kogure, tells him he has heard rumors about someone buying up a lot of Hatsushiba stock. Shima sees a crisis on the horizon and investigates, only to be blocked by different factions within the company. He is ostracized. Shima's private life is no less complicated. His wife, Reiko (Megumi Yokohama), wants a divorce, while pretty colleague Kumiko (Nao Matsushita) and bar mama Noriko (Saki Takaoka) compete for his attention.

The land now known as Ethiopia was once a kingdom that rivaled ancient Egypt in terms of culture and power. On this week's edition of the history quiz show "Sekai Fushigi Hakken (World Mysteries)" (TBS, Saturday, 9 p.m.), Ethiopia's past is explored through its many archaeological ruins.

The kingdom was one of the first in the world to designate Christianity as its main religion, and the land is dotted with many sites that had a religious function, including cave churches that were carved straight out of stone.

A modern relic of this past is Ethiopia's calendar, which maintains the ancient system. In Ethiopia, the present year is 2000, not 2008.



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