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Sunday, Feb. 14, 2010

CHANNEL SURF

Traditional Tokyo explored in mystery and quiz show; CM of the week: Docomo-Fujitsu

Traditional Tokyo gets the two-hour mystery treatment in "Yorozuya Chobei no Sumidagawa Jiken Fairu Sono Ni" (Chobei Yorozuya's Sumidagawa Incident File No. 2; TBS, Mon., 9 p.m.). The hero, Chobei Yorozuya (Kotaro Satomi), is a pawn shop owner in Tokyo's Asakusa district who has quit the police force following the killing of his best friend in the line of duty. He's a nice guy who looks after his late friend's daughter, Misuzu (Yumi Adachi), a traditional storyteller.

When Misuzu's friend, Ayaka, is found murdered, she decides to investigate for herself and goes undercover as a furisode, the Asakusa equivalent of what in Kyoto is called a maiko, or apprentice geisha. Ayaka herself was a furisode — which are in the midst of a comeback — and the community is afraid her murder will have a bad effect on the local economy.

Old Tokyo is also the subject of a special two-hour version of "Wafu Sohonke" (The Head Family of Japanese Style; TV Tokyo, Thurs., 9 p.m.), a quiz show about matters and things specific to Japan. The special highlights traditional handicrafts and skills still found in Tokyo's shitamachi (low city) district east of the Imperial Palace.

The program explores the history and industry behind various specialties, including the huge round mochi (rice cakes) that can be found in rice cracker (senbei) stores throughout the area. A traditional kobikki shokunin (sawyer), who skillfully cuts large, ungainly pieces of lumber, is profiled, and the people who take care of the district's famous sento (public baths) behind the scenes tell their stories. The elderly working women of shitamachi are also celebrated, especially those who get up extra early each morning to do something that nobody else in Japan does.

CM of the Week

Docomo-Fujitsu: Ads for the new line of Fujitsu's "Rakuraku" (convenient) cell phones for Docomo subscribers stress that the phones are waterproof. As the line's image personality, actress Shinobu Otake, explains the device's features, we see slow motion scenes of the phones being subjected to various trials by water: a fisherman dropping one on a wet pier, a gardener spraying hers with a garden hose.

What ties these scenes together is that the owners of the phones are all elderly — the target market for the Rakuraku series. The implication, of course, is that because older people are clumsy and forgetful, they need a phone that can withstand such lapses in mental acuity.

Then there is the use of Otake, who is in great demand for ads targeting older people, even though she's only 52 and looks younger. Maybe it's her popular image of being slightly scatter-brained.



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