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Sunday, Sept. 27, 2009

CHANNEL SURF

Yuri Geller tells all about M.J., adventures with Tamori and kyabakura drama

If you can't wait for the Michael Jackson concert-rehearsal movie that opens next month, maybe the three-hour special, "Sekai no Chokettei-teki Shukan! Ai to Yuki no Maruhi Eizo" (World Super Decisive Moments! Secret Images of Love and Courage; Nihon TV, Tues., 7:58 p.m.), will hold you over a bit.

Buried somewhere in this hodgepodge of "shocking" and "dramatic" video footage from all over the world is a segment with psychic spoonman Yuri Geller, who shows some home videos he made with Jacko, a close friend of his. Supposedly, these videos have never been shown before, and Geller says he will reveal the "truth" behind Michael's death.

Most of the other videos are nature-oriented: lion versus giraffe, leopard versus zebra. However, the "exploding whale" sounds interesting. Veteran emcee-comedian Tamori hosts one of the longest-running shows on television, the ribald and racy "Tamori Club," aired late Friday night on TV Asahi. With his reputation for off-color humor, he's probably the last person you'd expect to see hosting a series on NHK, but on Thursday, he starts a new show for the public broadcaster called "Buratamori" (NHK-G, 10 p.m.).

"Bura" implies wandering aimlessly, which is something that Tamori likes to do on "Tamori Club" — get out of the studio and explore. He's a big fan of railways, maps, and the history of old Tokyo; and happens to be the vice president of the Nihon Sakamichi (sloping paths) Academy.

On the first show, he, a gardener and a landscape designer take to the streets of Waseda, one of the oldest "college towns" in Japan. However, as its name implies, it used to be one big rice field, and though it's in the center of Tokyo now, 150 years ago it was a suburb of Edo. It may be a frivolous distinction to some, but there is a difference between a kurabu (club) and a kyabakura (cabaret club). Both drinking establishments offer female companionship, but the women in kurabu are seasoned pros, while kyabakura hostesses tend to be young and inexperienced.

The new drama series "Jo-o Virgin" (Miss Royal Virgin; TV Tokyo, Fri., 12:12 a.m.) takes place in a Tokyo kyabakura, where sweet, innocent Mai (Mikie Hara), just out of high school, has gotten a job. The ruthless owner of the kyabakura, Junichi (Akira Nagata) has recently fired all his hostesses and hired an entirely new "cast." Now he's going to hold a contest to find the number one "Kyabakura Queen." Mai has decided to compete as a way of bolstering her self-esteem. She grew up with a psychological complex about her larger-than-average breasts, which drew snickers from boys and jealous resentment from girls.



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