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Sunday, May 10, 2009

CHANNEL SURF

'Insect crazy tour,' Rubicon decisons and comedian Edo Harumi's early days

The title character of "Dora the Explorer," the American animated TV series, is a bilingual Latina girl who often takes the time to teach Spanish phrases to the viewing audience. In the Japanese version (TV Tokyo, Mon., 6 p.m.), Dora and her monkey sidekick Boots speak Japanese and teach English when the situation calls for it.

Dora assists in other ways as well. In this week's episode Sun is looking for Rainbow, who should be stretching across the sky over Rainfall Mountain. Dora and Boots decide to help and stumble across the Rainbow hiding behind some large rocks. She tells the Rainbow that the Sun is looking for him, but the Rainbow is too shy to come out and confesses that he's never stretched across the sky as he's expected to do. Dora tries to persuade him to show himself, complimenting his colors and saying it would be a waste not to show them off. Finally, they depart for Rainfall Mountain together.

Actor Eita became a sex symbol when he appeared last year on NHK's yearlong historical drama "Atsuhime." However, his popularity among young women is based on his reputation as a soshoku- kei, or "herbivore," a relatively new appelation describing men who are not sexually threatening.

This week on the comedy variety show "99 Plus" (Nihon TV, Tues., 11:58 pm.), Eita and comedian-host Takeshi Okamura, who is also considered a "herbivore," square off to see if either can shed this imposed — and presumably embarrassing — label and reinvent themselves as "carnivores." What this means, basically, is that both men have to prove that they are decisive, mentally acute and aggressive. They have to show keen powers of concentration and assert their manly prerogatives. Exactly how they will demonstrate these qualities isn't clear, but that's how they get people to tune in.

This week, NHK's BS-1 channel will present several foreign-made documentaries about the lives of teenage girls in different countries, including "Parisa no 45 Nikkan" ("Parisa's 45 Days") (Wed., 12:10 a.m.), about a girl living in Tehran.

Parisa lives with her parents and sister. She is determined to pass the university entrance examination and studies up to 10 hours day. Her family has given up many things so that Parisa can fulfill her dreams, and she shows steady improvement in the series of practice tests.

However, as exam day approaches the pressure becomes too much. She has a violent argument with her sister and tells her parents that she can't wait to go to college so that she can move as far away from them as possible. She finds her only respite in prayer, but just before the test she develops a nervous skin rash.



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