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Sunday, Jan. 31, 2010

CHANNEL SURF

Stitch in Japan, strolling through Okubo, and this week's CM: Aderans Hairclub

Since he's cute and mischievous, the Disney character Stitch, introduced in the 2002 animated feature "Lilo and Stitch," is perfect for the Japanese market, and the locally produced TV series "Stitch" (TV Asahi, Tues., 7 p.m.) transplants the little blue extraterrestrial from Hawaii to the fictional Japanese island of Izayoi, where his companion is a little girl named Yuna.

Stitch's handlers, who initially dispatched him to earth as a fighting machine, are always trying to neutralize their creation, and this time they send Amnesio, who has the power to take away memories. After another argument with Yuna, Stitch runs away and encounters Amnesio. Then he goes on a destructive rampage. Yuna is forced to work with another bunch of adorable creatures, the Hamstervilles, to capture Stitch and restore his memory. O kubo is one of Tokyo's most diverse districts, with residents from many different countries. Its identity as a foreign mecca started some years ago when many Koreans called it home, but its history is even richer.

This week on the neighborhood exploration show, "Buratamori" (Tamori's Stroll; NHK-G, Thurs., 10 p.m.), our peripatetic host, Tamori, still finds signs of Okubo's beginnings as a residential area for the samurai classes. The neighborhood called Hyakunincho was originally the home of the Hyakunintai, a "100-member army" that acted as the guards for the ruling Tokugawa family during the Edo period (1603-1868).

During his wanderings, Tamori also visits a musical instrument repair shop, where he demonstrates his trumpet-playing skills, and brings his camera crew into a mosque.

CM of the week:

Aderans Hairclub RF-1 The wigmaker Aderans ran a TV commercial during January that showed actor Mikihisa Azuma, retired baseball star Tsuyoshi Shinjo and comedian Tomomitsu Yamaguchi sporting formal attire and ridiculously serious expressions as they strutted in sync down the hallway of a high-class hotel. Each man was shown in closeup once before the phrase "Which one is Aderans?" was superimposed over the scene.

In other words, Which of the three celebrities is wearing a toupee? Viewers could go to the company's Web site and submit their guesses for the chance of winning ¥1,000,000. The answer would be revealed on Jan. 24, thus guaranteeing lots of free media coverage.

The answer was Shinjo, as revealed in a followup CM that started airing last week. At the end of the new CM we see the former New York Met smiling under a hairless dome, but it's obvious from the buzz cut that he isn't, in fact, going bald. He just shaved his head for the commercial.



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