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Sunday, Dec. 20, 2009


Rakuten's Nomura spills the beans; big family special; Christmas tales of unmarried women

When Katsuya Nomura left the Rakuten Golden Eagles baseball team as manager recently, he was celebrated by the mainstream press as one of the greatest leaders in the game while at the same time derided by the tabloid press, which claimed his players were happy to get rid of an old grouch.

Nomura will supposedly discuss this and other "taboo subjects" on the sports-talk special "Charisma Hakusho II" (Charisma White Paper II; TBS, Tues., 7:55 p.m.), and reveal what happened behind the scenes at Rakuten when he was asked to submit his resignation. The program promises to cover everything about his tenure at the club "from the bedroom to the field office."

In addition, the show will feature Ichiro Suzuki and Korean pitching ace Lim Chang Yong, who will talk about their roles in the last World Baseball Classic and touch on related taboo topics.

If it's New Years, it must be time for another "big family" special, those reality shows in which a camera crew spends weeks or even months with a large, usually poor family, and records their joys and travails, the more sentimental and sordid the better.

Normally we don't expect such programming from NHK, but in the case of "Toshi no Sa Nanto Hyaku-sai" ("The Difference in Age is 100 Years"; NHK-G, Thurs., 7:30 p.m.) the number of family members isn't as significant as the range in age. The oldest of the Abe clan of Shinjo, Yamagata Prefecture is 101-year-old Hisa, while the youngest is her 1-year-old great-great-grandchild.

The Abes' nine members comprise five generations, which makes for a wide range of experience, not to mention a greater variety of relationships. How do five generations of one family live under the same roof?

Christmas in Japan has a special meaning for couples, which may explain the two-hour special "Honne no Dendo" ("Hall of Fame of Real Intentions"; Fuji TV, Fri., 7 p.m.), which brings together a collection of unmarried female TV personalities to talk and joke about their unmarried status.

The host is acerbic comedian-emcee Shinsuke Shimada, who says he has never understood the special meaning that Christmas holds for women who "can't get married." Of course, some of the women who appear on the show make the most of their unhooked situation in order to sell themselves as comedians. If they get married, they lose work.

Among the segments on the special is a contest to determine which of the women is the "most unmarriageable." The guests also have conversations in which they reveal the worst dates they ever had.

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