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Sunday, July 11, 2010

CHANNEL SURF

Comedy on difficult Japanese; a doctor who dances; CM of the week: Kappa Sushi

The new drama series, "Nihonjin no Shiranai Nihongo" (Japanese Language Japanese People Don't Know; NTV, Thurs., 11:58 p.m.), is based on a popular comic inspired by a real Japanese language teacher.

Haruko (Riisa Naka) is a "charisma salesperson" at a clothing store that caters to girls. She meets up with an old high school teacher who suggests she might make a good Japanese language instructor and offers to help her get a job at a public high school. However, the teacher has one requirement. First, Haruko has to work for three months at a private school. He hands her the textbook she will use, which is designed for elementary school students. Haruko figures it will be easy.

It isn't until she shows up for work that Haruko finds out the school is for foreign students learning Japanese. Her class includes people from Italy, Sweden, France and the United States, and their questions about the Japanese language make her realize she doesn't fully understand her native tongue.

Another young woman's preconceptions are challenged in the new TBS show "GM: Odore Doctor" (GM: The Dancing Doctor; July 18, 8 p.m.). Medical intern Momoko (Mikako Tabe) is traveling on an airplane when a passenger falls ill. Believing the symptoms point to a stroke, she orders the plane to land immediately, but a man named Hideo (Noriyuki Higashiyama) intervenes and the stricken man recovers. She asks this cool stranger if he's a doctor. "Actually, I'm a dancer," he says.

Momoko is doing her internship in a general medicine department filled with doctors who are preoccupied. She convinces Hideo, who she learns studied medicine in the United States, to join the department and he turns out to be a brilliant diagnostician. However, when he was a boy he was in a boy band, and his real ambition is to re-enter show business.

CM of the week

Kappa Sushi: A young office worker is walking through a parking lot when his cell phone rings. "I'm in front of Kappa Sushi right now," he says, and then his jaw drops: "Eh!?" In front of him three small extraterrestrials with silver skin and big black eyes hover while a theremin plays on the soundtrack.

But the young man isn't transfixed by these aliens. He's looking at the banners outside the restaurant advertising the fast food chain's special deal: Until July 16 on weekdays, every sushi dish is only ¥90.

The little men try to get his attention but he ignores them, saying things like "that's just like Kappa Sushi," which is one of Japan's largest chains of kaiten (conveyor belt) sushi restaurants. The aliens even change themselves into kappa (river creatures), but to no avail. They can't compete with cheap tuna.



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