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Sunday, Dec. 6, 2009

CHANNEL SURF

Organ-transplant drama, Japan seen from above, and experimental mystery 'Sisters'

The issue of organ transplants gets pulled into service for the two-hour suspense drama, "Egao: Jugonenme no Uso" (The Smiling Face: Fifteenth Year Lie; TBS, Mon., 9 p.m.).

Hideo Inaba (Ken Ishiguro) drives a municipal street car for a living and spends his off-hours at a local hospital where he dresses as a clown and entertains sick children. It's his way of giving something back for the survival of his daughter, who needed a heart transplant 15 years earlier and received one thanks to the help of many people.

One of the patients in the hospital he works at is a girl named Tomomi (Yui Ichikawa), who is the same age as Inaba's daughter. Tomomi needs a liver transplant and can only receive one from a blood relative. However, her older brother is on death row for murdering their father 15 years ago. One day, a detective visits her in the hospital and tells her he thinks her brother is innocent.

T V Tokyo has taken the popular neighborhood exploration format to new heights, literally, with the series "Sora kara Nihon wo Mite miyo" (Let's Look at Japan from the Sky; Thurs., 7:58 p.m.). Each week the producers choose a self-contained geographical entity — usually a train line — and dispatches a helicopter to get a bird's eye view of it. When the helicopter finds something interesting, like an oddly shaped building or an incongruous patch of vegetation, a camera crew on the ground investigates.

This week's subject is the Tokyu Toyoko Line, which runs from Shibuya Station in Tokyo to Yokohama. From the air, some ancient kofun (sacred burial mounds) in the exclusive Denenchofu district are clearly visible, but when the crew on the ground checks them out they find that some tombs are actually in people's homes. They also look at the current situation at Sakuragicho Station, which was the terminus for the Toyoko Line until 2004.

N HK takes an experimental approach to the two-part mystery "Sister" (NHK-G, Fri., 10 p.m.), which stars Rosa Kato as Yui, a photography student who falls in love with her instructor.

Ikuma (Yukiyoshi Ozawa) is an internationally famous landscape photographer and his most celebrated photo happens to be of a place where Yui and her sister used to spend time as children. They even had a secret hideaway there.

Yui's initial attraction to Ikuma may have something to do with the photograph and her own history, but the viewer is constantly kept off-balance because of the shifting point-of-view. Sometimes we see the action through Yui's perspective and then see the same thing through the eyes of her longtime friend, Naota.

Everyone has secrets, and all will be revealed in Part 2 on Dec. 18.



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