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Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012

CHANNEL SURF

Is the whole world worrying about Japan?; "Villain"; CM of the week: Ezaki Glico

Does Japan suffer from an inferiority complex? That's one way of interpreting the title of the variety special "Nakayoshi Terebi: Nihon no Ima wo Sekaiju ga Shimpai Shite Iru zo" ("Friendly TV: The Whole World is Worrying About Japan Now"; Fuji, Tues., 7 p.m.).

It's not clear if other countries are actually concerned about some of the "issues" that are discussed on the show, such as whether Japanese children should start studying English compulsorily at a younger age. American expat TV personality Dave Spector provides the non-Japanese perspective, while a team of Japanese celebrities debate with him and among themselves. To keep things light, a hidden camera records their own English capabilities when confronted by native speakers.

Other topics include elderly people dying alone and the ongoing pension crisis.

Hideaki Takizawa is a member of the Japanese debate team on the "Nakayoshi" special. He assumes a much darker demeanor in the drama "Akuto" ("Villain"; Fuji, Fri., 9 p.m.), where he plays Saeki, a former policeman working for a private-detective agency.

Saeki is assigned by his boss, Kogure (Tetsuya Watari), to a special case. The family of a murder victim has hired the agency to observe the man convicted of the killing, who is now out of prison. They want to know if the man is truly rehabilitated. Is he now "a better person"? The assignment strikes a bitter chord in Saeki, whose own sister was killed years ago by a trio of men who were never caught. While working on the assignment, he secretly searches for the killers of his sister, and finds one of them.

CM of the week

Ezaki Glico: Snack maker Ezaki Glico's new campaign for its iconic Pocky chocolate sticks promotes sharing, so we see idol Kazunari Ninomiya wake up in the morning transformed into a devil, complete with horns and tail. He is told by an ancient spirit that he will return to normal when he learns to share.

Cut to Ninomiya lounging on a park bench with a box of Pocky and a bunch of little kids staring at him. His attempt to scare them, however, is met with laughter and they crowd around as he passes out chocolate sticks. A young mother shows up and thanks him. So much for not taking candy from strangers, especially ones who look like Satan.



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