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Sunday, March 1, 2009

CHANNEL SURF

Retro name-that-tune comedy quiz, stain science at a dry-cleaning academy, portrait of a fashion icon

Nostalgia never goes out of style, and this week Fuji TV revives one of the popular game shows of the Showa Era (1925-89) for a one-night special. "DoReMiFaDon!" (Tues., 7 p.m.) was broadcast from 1979 to 1988. It takes its name from the musical scale that children learn in school and which was made universal by that song in "The Sound of Music." The game is simple. The first few notes of a popular song is played and contestants have to name the title.

The contestants are all comedians who have been divided into eight teams of four. The songs are divided into genres: chart hits, TV theme songs, movie music, etc. In one segment, the comedians have to incorporate jokes into the song titles. There's also a "Super Ultra Quiz" that challenges the contestants with melody fragments that get shorter and shorter.

This week on "Tamori Club" (TV Asahi, Fri., 12:15 a.m.), veteran emcee and funnyman Tamori, and his guests — comedy duo FUJIWARA and actor Taka Guadalcanal — visit a school for dry cleaners.

The main course of study that Tamori and company are interested in is Advanced Stain Removal. The students in this class learn not only how to remove these stains, but also the complex chemical makeup of both the stains and the tainted fabrics. Such knowledge will help them in choosing the right compound to remove the stain. In this particular school, there are 80 compounds to choose from.

Not surprisingly, the most difficult stain to remove is glue. However, other tricky substances include water-based inks, Indian ink (sumi), black molds and dried bloodstains.

The historical figure Jiro Shirasu has lately enjoyed a renaissance as an exemplar of high fashion. Born in 1902 to a wealthy family from Hyogo Prefecture and educated at Cambridge University, Shirasu embodied the ideal of cosmopolitan style that reigned in the 1950s and '60s.

NHK is currently broadcasting a drama series simply titled "Shirasu Jiro" (NHK-G, Sat., 9 p.m.), which mostly focuses on the years just before and just after World War II. Shirasu (Yusuke Iseya) and his wife, Masako (Miki Nakatani), a well-known writer, evacuated from Tokyo during the war to a house in Tsurukawa. After the Americans took over, the prime minister, Shigeru Yoshida (current Prime Minister Taro Aso's grandfather), hired Shirasu as his aide and liaison with the American Occupation.

In episode 2, which airs this week, Shirasu's friend, Prince Fumimaro Konoe, who has been branded a war criminal, commits suicide; and in a scene that has been memorialized into legend, Shirasu loses his temper in the presence of Gen. Douglas MacArthur.



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