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Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010

CHANNEL SURF

Children chasing their dreams; falconry with Tamori; CM of the week: Solmac

The two-hour travel documentary special "Chikyu Show Gakko" ("World Elementary School"; TBS, Mon., 9 p.m.) presents children living under difficult circumstances while "working toward their dreams" in various places throughout the world.

One of these subjects is a 12-year-old boy living in New Orleans, where, life post-Hurricane Katrina is still hard for some. The boy, who was abandoned early by his mother, was raised by a nonrelative who has fallen ill. In order to make her feel better, the boy is learning how to play an old trumpet that is one of her most prized possessions.

Another segment follows the efforts of a 9-year-old boy in Bangladesh to learn how to swim. Every year, about 70,000 children die in water-related accidents in Bangladesh, and the boy has been terrified of water ever since he almost drowned a year before.

After a brief hiatus, NHK's Tokyo exploration show, "Buratamori" ("Tamori's Stroll"; NHK-G, Thurs., 10 p.m.) returns to the air waves. This week, the show's host, comedian Tamori, hits on a theme rather than a specific neighborhood. He goes to those areas in Tokyo where, during the Edo Period (1603-1868), the shogun would indulge in falconry. There were falcon hunting grounds in Meguro, Nakano and Shinagawa, and Tamori attempts to find some traces of the noble sport in those neighborhoods.

He also goes to the University of Tokyo satellite campus in Komaba, where a shogun once hosted a falcon expedition for 1,000 guests. He wraps up his own expedition with a visit to Hamarikyu Park in Tsukiji to learn how the shogun would return to his castle by way of the sea.

CM of the week

Solmac: Bonenkai (end-of-year parties) season is upon us, so the frequency of TV spots for hangover remedies is increasing. Herbal stomach tonic Solmac is one of the most popular.

This year's commercial shows a company enkai (party) at an izakaya (Japanese-style pub) being hosted by Teppei Arita, half of comedy duo Cream Stew. He interrupts the loud laughter to ask his female assistant what's next on the party agenda. She answers,"A stomach report."

The revelers turn around to see Arita's partner, Shinya Ueda, flip a panel on the wall to reveal a diagram of an inflamed stomach next to a lineup of sake tumblers and beer steins. Tomorrow's forecast, Ueda says, is for "nausea and other effects of a hangover," and concludes the bulletin by urging "caution," at which point he holds up a bottle of Solmac.

Arita turns back to his colleagues with a bemused expression. Then he raises his glass and shouts, "Let's drink!"



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