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Sunday, Oct. 19, 2008

Channel surf

News you can use is the theme of the new variety show with the excitable title "Manaberu! News Show!" (You Can Learn! News Show!; TV Asahi, Tues., 7 p.m.), which premieres this week with a two-hour special. Hosted by comedian Hitori Gekidan, the show presents mostly stories about accidents and disasters accompanied by shocking footage. But the stories also come with advice on what to do if you find yourself in a similar situation.

One is about a bus full of people that went off the road during the big earthquake that struck Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures earlier this year. Though the bus rolled down a hill, miraculously none of the passengers were killed or seriously injured. An expert explains why.

In addition, advice is offered on what to do if you find yourself stuck in an elevator during an earthquake, and how to escape from a room that is quickly filling up with water due to flash flooding.

The detective-buddy movie "Aibo" is one of the year's biggest domestic box-office hits, and this week the seventh season of the TV series on which the film was based starts with a special two-hour episode (TV Asahi, Wed., 8 p.m.).

Often referred to as a crime drama for adults, "Aibo" features two very different cops: Kaoru (Yasufumi Terawaki), the cool intellectual, and Ukyo (Yutaka Mizutani), who's hot-headed and impulsive.

The two partners and their supervisor attend a fundraiser for a ruling-party politician. Across a crowded room, Kaoru recognizes the face of an old high-school friend, Kanedaka, who he hears is working overseas for a nongovernment organization, but he doesn't get a chance to speak to him. The next day, Kanedaka's murdered body is found in a hotel room. From the evidence, it seems obvious that the murder was well planned.

On Sept. 25, several crested ibises, Japan's national bird, were released on Sado Island. The last native crested ibis died some time ago, and these birds were hatched from eggs laid by Chinese ibises and raised in captivity in Japan.

The birds are native to Sado Island and haven't been seen there for more than 50 years, so the event was significant for the village of Niiboshomyoji, which has a population of only 160. This week, NHK's documentary series "Nippon no Genba" (Japanese Locales; Sat., 10:25 p.m.) profiles the village, where a third of the people are elderly and almost everyone lives off the land. The government has designated the area an "ecological model" that can show the rest of Japan how humans and nature properly coexist. The local farmers use no pesticides or chemical fertilizers. As the price of rice falls, however, they find their livelihoods are threatened.

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