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Sunday, July 22, 2001

CHANNEL SURF

Tarento find beauty is only cosmetically deep

Tonight at 11:30, TBS's documentary series, "World Heritage," will cover the Hiroshima Peace Dome, which has symbolized the atomic bombing since 1945, when it partially withstood the blast that flattened the entire city around it. The dome has been maintained in its damaged state for 56 years as a monument to the people who died in the attack, but while everyone in the world recognizes it on sight, most of us know nothing else about it.

Tonight's program will explain the history of the dome, which was built as an example of European design in the early part of the century, and how it survived the blast as it did. In addition, diary entries from a young victim of the bombing will be read as a means of explaining why the dome was preserved.

Tomorrow night and Tuesday night at 2:07 a.m., NHK-E will rebroadcast two documentaries that were made jointly by the BBC in England and the Learning Channel in the United States. The first documentary was originally broadcast on NHK in 1999. The program, "Why Do People Become Obese?", counters the widely held belief that people become profoundly overweight solely due to poor eating habits or loss of will. In fact, obesity in the West is synonymous in many people's minds with a lack of control over one's life; which is why obese people often have difficult finding employment.

New research, however, has shown that profound obesity is often due to genes or hormonal imbalances. The program will cover the front line of research into practical treatment for obesity and will look at the lives of overweight people in a more even-handed way. The next night's documentary, originally broadcast on NHK about a year ago, is about eating disorders, mainly anorexia and bulemia. Unlike obesity, most of the recent research into eating disorders (undereating and overeating alike) has been in the area of psychology and neurology. Recently, doctors who treat patients for eating disorders are concentrating mainly on neuroses.

The documentary will explain new treatments, some of which involve patients sharing their experiences with other patients. NHK says it is rebroadcasting these two documentaries because of the overwhelming response NHK received after they were first shown. Most of the responses were of a practical nature: viewers wanted more information about diets and treatments explained in the show, and even the telephone numbers of the British and American physicians who appeared in the documentaries. According to NHK, the unusually heavy feedback showed that Japanese people "do not have access to this kind of information."

Speaking of diets, the new Nihon TV drama series, "Beauty 7" (Wed. 10 p.m.), takes place in a so-called "aesthetic salon" (beauty clinic) that has seen better days. In order to avoid bankruptcy, the L'Espoir Este Salon hires a veteran "aesthetician," played by salty actress Kaori Momoi, who learned her craft in Paris. The show has two gimmicks going for it.

First, the series' lineup of "beauty attendants" is portrayed by some of the most topical female "talent" on TV at the moment.

Former ballet dancer and variety show big mouth Uno Kanda plays a single mother (ha!). Yuko Nakazawa, who just recently "graduated" from the all-girl idol singing group Morning Musume, makes her drama debut as a peevish, smart-talking young woman from Osaka. Teenager Takako Uehara, who herself just left the girl group Speed, plays a naive beauty novice. And model Anna Umemiya plays a rival beauty consultant whose presence guarantees the requisite cat fights.

The other gimmick is that in many episodes a busu (ugly) young woman is transformed into a raving beauty by the team of Frankensteinian lovelies. The trick here, however, is not in the final makeover, but in the initial makeup, since the only reason the women in question are "ugly" is because they are purposely made up to look that way.

In last week's episode, a dastardly rumor-monger spread complaints about the salon's services all over the Internet , and business fell off drastically. This week, the attendants are charged with coming up with customers at any cost. Several of the girls hear about a beauty contest that involves big prize money and they fight over which one of them will represent the salon.

If the dog days are getting you down, you might want to check out Tokyo TV's travel show "Ii Tabi -- Yume Kibun" (Good Trip -- Dreamy Feeling; Wed. 7:00 p.m.). This week actors Jun Funato and Tomomi Iwai, who happened to be married to each other, will take a train to the North Alps in Nagano prefecture, which, according to a survey conducted by a prominent several travel magazine, is the number one summer travel destination in Japan. Our two hosts will take the train from Shinjuku Station to Matsumoto and then from there they will travel to the three best ryokan (inns) mentioned in the survey. The first is located in the Shirahone Hot Spring region, which is famous for its milky white waters. From there they will travel to Kamikochi and then on to Oku Hida. Prices and contact information will be provided, but considering it's already the end of July, it may be too late to make reservations. There's always next year.



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