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Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011

CHANNEL SURF

Twentysomethings looking for love; modern day home drama; CM of the week: JRA

The girls get the coveted getsu-kyu (Monday, 9 p.m.) time slot on Fuji TV this season with "Watashi ga Renai Dekinai Riyu" ("The Reason I Can't Find Love"), featuring three of Japan's biggest under-30 female stars: actress Yuriko Yoshitaka, fashion model Karina and Yuko Oshima of the idol collective AKB48.

In the first episode, Emi (Karina), who works for a company that designs lighting for events, goes to her high school class reunion. During the party she reconnects with Saki (Yoshitaka), who works part-time at a hostess bar, though she tells her parents she's employed by a publisher.

Emi and Saki decide to become roommates, and later a younger woman named Mako (Oshima) moves in with them. It's a new situation for Emi, who has always gotten along better with men than with women.

A new series by the comedy writer Kankuro Kudo premieres this week. "Juichi-nin mo Iru" ("Wow, There's Eleven People"; TV Asahi, Fri., 11:15 p.m.) is what used to be called a "home drama," only this one focuses on a poor family with 10 members.

The head of the household, Minoru (Seiichi Tanabe), is a photographer who only brings home about ¥90,000 a month. His wife, Megumi (Yasuko Mitsuura), runs a coffee shop with no customers. Eternally broke, they are raising eight children, several of whom were borne by Minoru's first wife, who died. The only responsible member of this family is the eldest son, Kazuo (Ryunosuke Kamiki), who works two jobs and carries out the unpleasant task of begging for money from relatives. Things couldn't be any worse — and then somebody else moves in.

CM of the week

JRA: Yuriko Yoshitaka also stars in the latest series of TV commercials for the Japan Racing Association, which promote the charms of racehorses — and, by extension, the charms of betting on them — to young people. She's joined by two other chipper young actors, Kenta Kiritani and Ken Saito.

In the latest ad, the trio are in an izakaya (Japanese-style pub) near a race track as Saito bends the ear of an older stranger with his theory of why the horse he picked did so well. He then apologizes to the stranger, who he assumes isn't interested in horses, though in reality he happens to be Shugoro Izaki, Japan's most famous race-track pundit.



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