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Sunday, May 23, 2010


Snapping with SMAP in Setagaya; swordplay with Shingo; CM of the week: Sky Perfect TV

"Pussuma" (TV Asahi, Tues., 11:15 p.m.) started way back in 1998, making it one of Japanese TV's longest running variety shows. Eternally hosted by aging idol Tsuyoshi Kusanagi and loud-mouthed actor-comedian Yusuke Santamaria, the nonsensical title is meant to cash in on Kusanagi's membership in SMAP.

This week fellow SMAP member Shingo Katori and idol Satomi Ishihara join Kusanagi and Santamaria for the first half of a two-part tour of Tokyo's Setagaya Ward. The idea is to conduct a "one-day photography" excursion of the city's leafiest, most suburban ward. Each member takes pictures for a planned album. In a forest in the center of Setagaya they dig up bamboo shoots (with permission, we presume) and then impose on a nearby family to cook them up. They also explore the area's apiaries.

Shingo Katori is also the special guest on a special two-hour installment of the travel variety show, "Pittanko Kan-kan" (TBS, Fri., 7 p.m.). He and the host, TBS staff announcer Shinichiro Azumi, visit locations associated with Katori's new movie, "Zatoichi the Last" which opens in theaters the next day.

They take part in a sword training exercise session, which has become very popular lately among fitness-conscious young women. Katori also introduces Azumi to foods he discovered when he was shooting the movie on location in Yamaguchi Prefecture. Near the end of the show a "surprise guest" joins them and they all go to eat sirloin steak, which was the favorite food of Shintaro Katsu, the original Zatoichi.

CM of the week

Sky Perfect TV: Katsuya Nomura saunters out to talk to reporters after a game, just as he always did when he was manager of the Rakuten Golden Eagles. Wearing a red shirt and cap emblazoned with the logo of satellite service Sky Perfect TV, he gives the press a typically laconic boyaki (grumbling) comment about the "drama" of baseball. Sky Perfect is currently running a solicitation campaign centered on broadcasts of Japanese professional baseball games.

The spots have continued even though Nomura was reportedly admitted to the hospital following a stroke two weeks ago. Nomura's opinionated wife, Sachiyo, made a point of telling everyone that Katsuya was not in danger, and she was even spotted at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament two days after her husband fell ill. Concern mounted when she promised Nihon TV, which includes a weekly "boyaki corner" with Nomura on its Sunday morning news show, that he would call the show last week and he didn't. It would be ironic if the Sky Perfect ads turn out to be Katsuya Nomura's last word.

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