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Sunday, April 25, 2010

CHANNEL SURF

Marijuana addiction special; running commentaries of ordinary events; CM of the week: Hakugen

The discussion show "Heart wo Tsunago" (Linking Hearts; NHK-E, Mon., 8 p.m.) always focuses on a social issue involving young people. This week, the program broadcasts part one of a series on marijuana addiction.

Though there are a number of self-help orgnizations dedicated to helping drug addicts, very few address marijuana. Several young people who have received help from one such recovery program discuss their experience in the studio with singer-actress Sonin, writer Ira Ishida, and a psychiatrist.

They talk about the "darkness of the heart" and their inability to cope with society that led them to marijuana and a dependent existence.

Live running commentary, or jikkyosho, is a staple of sports reporting, and in Japan it has been elevated to an art form. Some of TV's most popular personalities started their careers doing play-by-play for everything from horse racing to boxing.

The variety show "Nandemo Jikkyosho" (Running Commentary on Anything; TV Tokyo, Tues., 7:30 p.m.) takes this idea to new frontiers. Popular announcer Akira Fukuzawa, who used to cover professional wrestling, and veteran announcer Kazuo Tokumitsu, who started out in baseball, offer play-by-play descriptions of prosaic situations, including behind-the-scenes activities at a wedding, an automobile parts factory, fighting over bargains at a discount store, and TV personalities putting on makeup before the taping of a show.

A commentator is also put in a cage that is deposited among some wild animals in a "safari park" in Gumma Prefecture.

CM of the week

Hakugen: The nameplate on the gate informs us that we are at the Higashio residence. Inside, former Seibu Lions manager Osamu Higashio is complaining to his daughter, professional golfer Riko Higashio, about shirts that have been in the wardrobe all winter because they tend to smell. Riko assures him that they will smell fine, and opens the wardrobe to reveal Hakugen's Mrs. Lloyd Floral moth repellant hanging among the shirts and suits. "It smells nice," Osamu says as he buttons a shirt, and Riko replies that he "smells just like Junichi-san."

Osamu replies in a shocked voice, "What?," but he is no longer Osamu Higashio. Instead he is now famous playboy actor Junichi Ishida. Riko embraces him as he tries to wriggle out of her grip, crying, in Osamu's voice, "Don't call me Junichi!"

The commercial takes advantage of Ishida's recent marriage to Riko, which caused raised eyebrows, not only because of his reputation as a womanizer, but also because he is only four years younger than Osamu. Supposedly, Osamu was not happy with the marriage, but that seems to be in the past.



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