Archive for the ‘Ainori  あいのり 戀愛巴士 恋爱巴士’ Category

Sayonara, Ainori…

Thursday, November 1st, 2007

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I guess some of you have seen it coming for a while, but unfortunately, I won’t be able to write my weekly Ainori summaries anymore. I just posted my last Ainori summary (Ainori #375 & #376) since the rough draft was almost done anyway. It’s not that I’ve lost interest, on the contrary, but I simply don’t have the time to concentrate on this on a weekly basis. Work at school and an increase in private lessons are partly responsible, but there are personal reasons, too. Of course, I’m always busy studying kanji and vocabulary to take the Japanese Proficiency Test Level 2, but for the past few weeks, my wife and I have been exercising for at least an hour everyday, something we vowed to continue until we are old and gray. We’ve also been busy preparing for our next trip to Vietnam in December. Last but not least, we finally made the decision to stay in Japan indefinitely, so we started thinking about buying a house, something notoriously difficult and time-consuming for foreigners in Japan.

It’s been a fun ride (no pun intended), and I’d like to thank all the Ainori fans who supported me during the past 2 years by reading my summaries, and posting comments. I really appreciate it. 長い間、大変お世話になりました。m(_ _)m I will still post on MY BLOG intermittently, and I hope some of you will keep coming once in a while. Sayonara, Ainori…

Ainori #375 & #376

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

Ainori is a popular reality show in Japan, aired on Fuji TV on Monday nights at 23:00.

In August 2005, I discovered that Ainori was not only popular in Japan, but also all over the world thanks to Bit Torrent technology. I decided to write a summary of each episode, and do a translation of the weekly photo captions from the official site. What do I get out of this? I get to improve my Japanese, I get more traffic to my blog, but above all, I get the satisfaction of knowing many non-Japanese speakers all over the world can appreciate a truly unique reality show. Enjoy, and don’t hesitate to post any comments or questions you may have.

Ainori’s official homepage (Japanese only).


new.gif righ-red_e0.gif Ex-participants’ blogs
(Japanese only)
JUST ADDED OGA’S BLOG
left-red_e0.gifnew.gif

Ainori’s BT downloads available @ D-Addicts

Streaming videos of Ainori are available on youtube.com.

First of all, I’d like to apologize for the lateness of my summary. Exams at school and personal matters have kept me busy. The good news is Ainori wasn’t on since that last episode, so I’m not tons of summaries behind like it has happened before.

Unfortunately, this is my last Ainori summary. I’ll explain in more details in a subsequent post.


Ainori #375

Ok, I didn’t write a special post for this one, as it didn’t deal with the participants’ relationships. Ainori #375 was featured as a special episode, mainly devoted to global warming and sea level rise. The reason Ainori addressed the subject is because Tuvalu, the country Ainori was in, would apparently be one of the first archipelagos to disappear if sea levels were to rise substantially.

In a nutshell, they explained that contrary to popular belief, the melting of the northern polar icecap, which is much like a huge piece of ice floating in the ocean, didn’t contribute to sea level rise. To prove this, they showed a floating ice cube melting in a glass of water and confirmed that the level of water remained unchanged when the ice had completely melted. Sea levels are not rising due to melting icebergs already floating around, but rather due to melting ice which is resting on the ground, like glaciers in Russia and Alaska, and the melting of the Greenland icesheet.

Another part of the problem comes from a relatively new business, called “Emissions Trading“. Simply put, companies who have reached their pollution limit, set by international agreements like the Kyoto Protocol, can buy “pollution credits” from foreign companies who haven’t reached their limit yet. In effect, although some companies do produce less emissions, global pollution remains virtually unchanged.

The Tuvalu First Secretary didn’t miss the opportunity to point out to the participants, citizens of one of the most industrialized countries in the world, that although Tuvalu had virtually no cars and no industries whatsoever, they would be among the first victims of global warming.

That night, the group had a discussion as to what they could do as individuals to help solve the problem, and they came up with things like not using plastic bags, implementing what is called in Japan “idling stop” (buses, many company vehicules, and more and more individuals stop their engines while waiting at traffic lights), and concluded that changes would come from individuals rather than from companies.

This episode was obviously used to bring awareness to Japanese people. Although change is slow, I have seen a suddle transformation in local habits since I came here 9 years ago. You can now buy reusable grocery bags made of strong materials in supermarkets, and you even get points for using them. I’ve been using such bags for years, and I try not to use the infamous disposable chopsticks. Hell, my friend Yuri goes as far as to carry her own chopsticks around even when she goes to a restaurant – something virtually unheard of in Japan. What do you do to help the environment?


Ainori #376

WARNING! THIS AIN’T NO SPOILER!

A loooot of things happened in Ainori #376: The group moved to a new country where they met a new male participant. Chaba lost her attraction for Moriken, who managed to send a bad vibe to Kuu, who in turn seemed to develop feelings for Teppei. Yep, hell broke loose, again!

CURRENT SITUATION
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The group moved to Samoa, Ainori’s 80th country, and I must say I’m quite delighted at this Pacific island streak! :-) 20 minutes after they found the Love Bus, the group met the new male participant, so let me introduce him.

carbonara.jpgThis is “Carbonara” (This is the second participant in a row whose full name is not disclosed – a new Ainori policy, maybe?), 25, from Shiga Prefecture. A so-called “freeter“, he wrote on his profile that he wanted to experience a burning romance. He seems to be the all brawn, no brains type of guy, as he answered “Carbonara” to all the questions he was asked when the group met him. Ok, he might have tried to be funny, but his “shortcomings” became more obvious when it was time to register at the hotel, and he suddenly realized he couldn’t spell “Carbonara”. Looks like we have a new TK on board. In any case, I hope he finds happiness on Ainori.

As soon as he got on the Love Bus, the conversation turned to the difference between the Japanese East (Tokyo, or more generally Kantou) and West (Osaka, or more generally Kansai). Apparently, asking a convenience store empluyee in Tokyo to warm up yogurt in the microwave attracts strange looks, whereas in Osaka they’d ask you for how long you want it to be warmed up, i.e. it wouldn’t be such a strange request.

The next day, Carbonara (and Moriken)’s affinity for physical prowess became clear as they both quickly mastered the basics of fire dancing.


ChabaMoriken

Chaba’s almost infantile infatuation for Moriken (she went as far as smelling his feet on the Love Bus – eeew!) came to an abrupt end when she realized Moriken had “betrayed her”. Indeed, when she overheard a conversation between Moriken and Kuu, Chaba realized Moriken had had Kuu give him a haircut right after Chaba had given him her friendship letter. She told the staff that if those two had feelings for each other, she didn’t care for the misanga Moriken had given her.

Right. I’ve said it before, Chaba got into a fantasy romance when Moriken gave her that misanga, although he made it clear that the gift was to apologize for not fulfilling his promise to wash that towel of hers he used to clean up the mess he did while drunk. Moriken never gave her any reason to make her believe he was attracted to her, and Kuu giving him a haircut was never a secret, either. All this “you romanced me and then betrayed me” thing is all in her head, but given her history, I wonder if she’s thinking of shaving his head in his sleep! “You like haircuts? I’ll give you haircuts!” ;-)


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Teppei

And just as everything seemed to be going perfectly well for Moriken and Kuu, Moriken’s indecisiveness started giving her some doubts about her feelings for him.

The day following the fire dancing lessons, Moriken and Kuu were seen on the beach talking. Kuu told Moriken how cool she thought he was performing fire dancing, and suddenly asked him how his attitude would change toward someone if he were to fall in love with her. He replied that he wouldn’t change much, although he would feel pretty excited about it. She told him that it wouldn’t be so good to hide his feelings through an unchanged attitude. She then asked him if he had discovered some of her qualities, and he told her he thought she was cute sometimes, and she asked him when, to which he replied it wouldn’t be appropriate for him to say (it would probably have sounded something like: “Actually Kuu, I must say you make me feel pretty aroused sometimes”). Later that day, Moriken admitted in front of the camera that he Kuu’s way to reply to him really cute. The way he said that made it clear again that his attraction to Kuu was stronger than ever.

So far, so good, these two seemed on their way back to Japan after a long, hot kiss on the beach. However, the next day the group went scuba diving again, and as usual, Moriken and Kuu seemed to have a great time. But at one point, Moriken went exploring a bit, leaving Kuu by herself. In a previous episode, it had been revealed that Kuu wasn’t such a good swimmer (she could have drowned if it wasn’t for Moriken’s help!), and she didn’t seem to appreciate being left alone. She later told the staff that although she was the type to commit to a relationship, Moriken seemed to be proned to do his own thing, and that lack of commitment made her feel uneasy.

A couple of days later, the group went to a market, and Moriken ask Kuu to go shopping with him. Although he was determined to buy something that suited Kuu, as a token of affection, he couldn’t find anything even after 30 minutes. Obviously unable to make up his mind, Kuu asked him if he was the indecisive type, to which he replied that he was indeed pretty indecisive. Kuu told him she didn’t like the indecisive type. That night, Kuu went to the staff’s room and told them how she thought Moriken was not acting maturely enough. She explained she wanted someone able to wrap things up, someone understanding who would listen to her. She added that she didn’t mind someone who made her feel dependant, but that she couldn’t understand younger men.

Well, I guess the infatuation has gone! Weird, everything was going so well, and all of a sudden he’s a selfish, hesitating, immature boy. I think that when Moriken left Kuu by herself eventhough he knew she wasn’t comfortable in the water might have seemed inconsiderate, and all that time spent trying to pick a gift might have been the last straw. Too bad. But it’s not necessarily over yet, and I hope Moriken will notice Kuu’s attitude and get a chance to redeem himself.

The day after the shopping blunder, Kuu and Teppei were found together talking. Kuu was seeking advice about her worries (Moriken?), since she wanted to find someone serious to get involved with, although she had a job and had many other things she wanted to do. She told him she felt uneasy because sometimes she’d want to see her boyfriend no matter what (note: in Japanese society, a lot of people work crazy hours literally devoting their lives to the company, and it is not so unusual even for “serious couples” to have only 2 or 3 dates a month). Teppei agreed that if he really loved a girl from the bottom of his heart, he’d probably be inclined to indulge such selfish feelings, too. Kuu asked if he thought she was that selfish, and he replied that he was used to such feelings from women, and that he had experience with really bad cases, too. So Kuu asked him what kind of a life he had led up to now, and Teppei revealed some of his dark past.

Apparently when he was a university student, he wasn’t studying at all, but was rather just having fun hanging out with “bad girls” in famous entertainment districts like Ikebukuro, Shinjuku and Shibuya. Her mom was telling him stop doing that or drop out of university, as it was a waste of money. Teppei’s behavior eventually drew a gap between his parents, who kept fighting because of him, until they almost split up. Eventually, his dad had to be hospitalized for a tumor of the stomach, and when Teppei went to see him at the hospital, he found a lot of people from his dad’s company, and relatives were already there, crying. Convinced that his dad’s condition was entirely his fault, he was really moved to hear from his father’s colleagues that his dad only spoke about him in the best of light, telling them how a good son he was and how hard he was studying. When his dad asked him to have a drink together after he came out of the hospital, Teppei finally realized was he was doing was wrong.

Next week, Kuu will apparently tell Moriken how she feels, that is, short of a kokuhaku, and Moriken will give a misanga to Chaba, gesture which will apparently start a love triangle of hell…

NEXT ON AINORI


Ainori #374

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007

Ainori is a popular reality show in Japan, aired on Fuji TV on Monday nights at 23:00.

In August 2005, I discovered that Ainori was not only popular in Japan, but also all over the world thanks to Bit Torrent technology. I decided to write a summary of each episode, and do a translation of the weekly photo captions from the official site. What do I get out of this? I get to improve my Japanese, I get more traffic to my blog, but above all, I get the satisfaction of knowing many non-Japanese speakers all over the world can appreciate a truly unique reality show. Enjoy, and don’t hesitate to post any comments or questions you may have.

Ainori’s official homepage (Japanese only).


Ex-participants’ blogs
(Japanese only)

Ainori’s BT downloads available @ D-Addicts

Streaming videos of Ainori are available on youtube.com.


Ainori #374

WARNING! THIS IS A SPOILER!

This week, a conversation between the girls revealed a side of Kuu’s character which could be interpreted either in a good or a bad way. It also became clear in this episode that Moriken had reciprocal feelings towards Kuu, although he has yet to voice it aloud. This episode brought them closer than ever, although a minor incident triggered a series of seemingly innocent events, which led Chaba to fall for Moriken, eventually giving rise to a new love triangle.

CURRENT SITUATION
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Chaba.jpgKuuNeko

The girls were hanging out in their room, when Chaba took out a book about palm reading. She started reading Kuu’s hand, and told her she was popular with men, and that she must have had plenty of boys around her from the time she was a student, which Kuu confirmed (duh, would a cute girl like that be unpopular?). When Chaba told Neko she didn’t have that trait, Neko said that Kuu was like an enchantress. To “prove” her point, they showed us flashbacks showing Kuu offering Teppei some rice and curry, telling Gurasan he was cool, and giving a hand massage to Moriken. Kuu admitted that it might have looked that way at the time, but that she did it naturally, and that it was just the way she was. Neko then said that such a habit was scary, and that if she were a man, she wouldn’t have her as a girlfriend. Chaba added that Kuu was the last one she would have as a romantic rival. Later, Kuu admitted to the staff that she had indeed some sort of antennas, and that she was being attentive to men around her, but that she was only responding naturally.

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Little Demon – Kuu

Sure, they were all joking about Kuu’s kindness, but I think they were mildly overreacting. She’s nice, so what? I don’t think offering Teppei some food or telling Gurasan he was cool was so remarkable. Granted, the hand massage to Moriken actually involved physical contact, but she’s been clearly interested in him from the beginning. I think Neko might have said that out of jealousy, and I didn’t approve of the way the producers attempted to twist reality to show Kuu was indeed trying to put a spell on men around her, and even went as far as to label her picture with the caption “Little Demon”. When she said she was being thoughtful towards men, the show hosts got all worked up, which again I think was overreacting. Until there’s some sort of evidence that she’s being manipulative, I don’t think it’s even worth mentioning. This is just another “engineered plot device“, to spice up the emerging love triangle. Sigh!


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Moriken Chaba

Oh yeah! Kuu and Moriken are in business. Kuu and Moriken got together and were talking about the fact that Moriken wasn’t the type to compliment girls, as he found it embarrassing. He explained to Kuu that it didn’t come easy to him, as had gone to a boys’ high school, had been in karate club with boys only, and that there weren’t many girls at his technical college, either. Kuu was trying to show him how it was pleasant to be complimented, and started saying how he was social, cheerful, responsible and reliable. However, the ambiguity of the Japanese language (e.g. dropping subjects, lack of 1st, 2nd and 3rd person inflection) led Moriken to believe Kuu was actually talking about herself up to that point, and when he pointed out how self-confident she was to be saying that, she started laughing and told Moriken she could never talk about herself like that, that in fact she was describing about him. He asked her to continue, and she finished by saying how kind he was, and that she loved his smile. Although he said he was embarrassed, Moriken also admitted he was glad. And thus, Kuu made her point about the importance of compliments.

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She’s casually touching him

Wow! Correct me if I’m wrong, but this was no less than a kokuhaku (love declaration in Japanese), only without the tickets. And all the while, Kuu had her hand on Moriken’s knee, which added to the intensity of the whole situation. She’s on fire, people, and he didn’t seem to hate it, either.

That night (or the next one), the group was treated to a nice meal comprising traditional Tuvalu food, and some homemade alcohol. As the group was eating and drinking, the driver was insisting that they eat more, and Kuu started eating from Moriken’s plate. That didn’t go unnoticed to Chaba, who still thought she wouldn’t like to have Kuu as a rival, as she was sure she would lose to her if they were to be compared.

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“Kuu is the one I wouldn’t like to have as my rival”

And then the first domino fell. Moriken inadvertently spilled some alcohol on the mat they were sitting on, and Chaba passed him a towel (many Japanese like to carry a towel around) she had to clean his mess. As he was apologizing to her, she told him he didn’t have to, as she could simply wash it. So Moriken told her he would wash it himself and give it back to her. And here’s the thing: in Japanese culture, keeping one’s word is extremely important, even for trivial things such as cleaning a towel before giving it back. A westerner forgetting to do so would probably go: “Oh dear, I forgot, sorry” and that would be the end of it. But not here in Japan…

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“I’ll wash it and give it back to you”
“Seriously? Thanks”

No doubt Moriken spilled the alcohol because he was a bit drunk, and no doubt he was even drunker when they left later, so it’s not surprising that he completely forgot about the towel. So naturally, when Chaba found the towel and had to wash it herself, she was offended. She told the staff that she was shocked at such behavior, and that men, who have a habit of being unfaithful (?), should make more effort to be trusted.

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“I was shocked. What kind of a person is he?”

Although this was shown only later, it appears the staff made a point to call Moriken to their room and remind him he had left the towel behind. Moriken, horrified at his own “unspeakable act” (don’t forget, you don’t break a promise so lightly in Japan), was obviously disturbed.

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“It’s horrible…”

So the next morning, he got together with Chaba, and apologized for forgetting all about the towel. So in an apologetic gesture, he gave tied a misanga around Chaba’s wrist, and she suddenly went from “What kind of a human being are you?” mode to “I’m the happiest girl on Earth” mode. He told her she could throw it out if she took it off, something she said she could never do. Later, she told the staff how exciting Moriken was, giving her butterflies in her stomach, and how she loved his being straightforward.

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Chaba was already in love with Moriken

So the next day, she decided to give him something back for the misanga, and went to get a banana leaf (?) on which she wrote a message telling him she wanted their friendship to grow. She then asked to meet him that night, and gave him the present, and then went to the staff’s room. She told them how she bashfully gave him the gift, and how Moriken’s eyes were so bright it made her melt.

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“I’m totally melting, he, he, he”

I knew she was nuts, but I can’t believe the flip she made in that instant she received the misanga. In her mind, he went from horrible to exciting in a split second, which is kind of sudden, don’t you think? And as far as Moriken is concerned, I’m sure he is completely unaware of what’s going on. The misanga was strictly meant as an apology, and the gift Chaba gave him in return probably means to him exactly what it said, i.e. let’s be friends.

Right after he met with Chaba, Moriken and Kuu got together, as apparently she had promised him she would give him a haircut when they were still back in Taiwan. So she started cutting his hair, and he pointed out how sexy her shorts were. He then started talking about gym class, when he could see the girls’ bras through their white t-shirts. She then said that it must be tough for men, as they are “ready” anytime, anywhere. He agreed, and continued by saying that after gym class, if girls met some guys who seemed unwilling to greet them, it was probably because they still had a hard-on, and he suddenly stopped, saying: “No, no, what am I talking about?”. But Kuu didn’t seem to dislike the topic, as she continued by saying that it must be surprising for men to wake up in the morning with a full erection. He agreed, but then added it was proof for men they were healthy, to which Kuu replied that being that healthy for a long time was desirable. Then the conversation shifted to how Kuu would like to be told the same thing Yuukun had told Riko (Yuukun and Riko, two ex-participants, became a couple in Tunisia, Ainori’s 55th country – aaah, the good old “Hide” era), i.e. “No matter how many times I joined Ainori, I would still fall in love with you”. He thanked her for the haircut, which apparently made him look like Golgo 13

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The two of them had forgotten the time

Hello? When boy meets girl and girl starts talking about the benefits of being able to get a morning erection for a long time, it does raise some red poles eeerrr, flags (no pun intended). Your shorts are sexy? It must be surprising to wake up with a boner in the morning? Why, they were almost talking about sex. Better not leave those two alone out of camera range, he, he, he.

Anyway, it seems they really had a good time, because apparently, Moriken had been completely oblivious of the time. When the staff later asked him how much time he thought he had spent with Kuu, he was surprised to learn that it wasn’t the 40 minutes he had thought, but indeed one hour and 40 minutes! But hey, I would probably forget the time too, if I were to talk about sexy shorts, bras and erections with a cute girl like Kuu giving me a haircut. ;-)

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“One hour and forty minutes!?”
“Yeah”

The next day, Chaba wasn’t feeling well, so she stayed behind when the group went for a boat ride. Unfortunately (or not), it started raining really hard, and after a while, Kuu told Moriken to close the umbrella he was holding for them, as it was obviously ineffective. So she took the opportunity to stretch the towel she had around her shoulders to include Moriken, too, and oh, surprise, he discovered that she was wearing a white t-shirt through which her bra was showing.

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Later, Moriken admitted that although it was embarrassing, he was very excited and couldn’t help peeking at her breasts, and really noticed how sexy she was, not wearing any make-up and being all wet like that.

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“I thought she was sexy!”

At this point, I have to wonder whether Kuu jumped on the opportunity to get Moriken’s attention with the semi-transparent t-shirt or if it was simply a coincidence. She probably couldn’t predict the weather, but that improvised wet t-shirt contest sure caught Moriken’s eye, and although he hasn’t said it in so many words, it’s obvious he’s very attracted to her. I’m telling you people, I can’t wait to see a kokuhaku on one of those kick-ass beaches. But with Chaba now getting in the way, anything can happen!

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This love triangle will develop in an unpredictable way!!

Next week, there will be a special Ainori episode dedicated to global warming, which is apparently directly responsible for the Tuvalu peninsula’s slowly disappearing into the sea.

NEXT ON AINORI


Ainori #373

Tuesday, September 4th, 2007

Ainori is a popular reality show in Japan, aired on Fuji TV on Monday nights at 23:00.

In August 2005, I discovered that Ainori was not only popular in Japan, but also all over the world thanks to Bit Torrent technology. I decided to write a summary of each episode, and do a translation of the weekly photo captions from the official site. What do I get out of this? I get to improve my Japanese, I get more traffic to my blog, but above all, I get the satisfaction of knowing many non-Japanese speakers all over the world can appreciate a truly unique reality show. Enjoy, and don’t hesitate to post any comments or questions you may have.

Ainori’s official homepage (Japanese only).


new.gif righ-red_e0.gif Ex-participants’ blogs
(Japanese only)
left-red_e0.gifnew.gif

Ainori’s BT downloads available @ D-Addicts

Streaming videos of Ainori are available on youtube.com.


Ainori #373

WARNING! THIS IS A SPOILER!

During this episode, Hiroe finally made the decision to drop out, the group moved to a new country to discover they’d be traveling with a new vehicle, and a new female member joined the group. Kuu finally revealed how she felt about Moriken, after a little adventure that might have been fatal.

CURRENT SITUATION
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Hiroe

That’s it, Hiroe is gone. While the group was having its last meal in Taiwan, Hiroe was obviously really down, despite the other’s efforts to cheer her up. When the group reached the airport to leave for the next country, she suddenly announced that she wouldn’t be joining them, to their great surprise. When she was asked to explain why she was leaving, Hiroe replied in an obscure manner, as usual. She told them that she had been thinking about dropping out for a while, but that she stayed longer because she had started falling for someone (Moriken, of course). She explained that he was really neat and pure, and that he had shed a light upon her. However, that light had been so strong it had made her realize her own dark side, and that instead of light she had preferred water instead (see what I mean by “obscure”). So Moriken, obviously aware she was talking about him, asked her what she meant by water. She explained that to her “water” would have been words to acknowledge and accept her as she was, which is what she really hoped for. So the group said goodbye, and thus ended Hiroe’s Ainori.

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“Bye-bye!”

Right. Her final speech was as obscure as she ever was, and it’s not surprising that she never could make a real connection with anyone. It is worth noticing that her leaving was far from being emotional, as opposed to when other members leave the group. Nobody shed a tear, not even Hiroe (not in front of the camera anyway), which gives me the impression she had become deadweight for the last few episodes. Although I wasn’t surprised by her decision, I felt pretty indifferent, as I’m sure most of you did.

So the group got on a plane, and made a stop in Fiji, where they picked up a new female participant, and a pretty, ahem, “colorful” one at that. Please bear with me, as this will be an unusually long introduction.

chaba.jpgAlthough she failed to mention her real name, she told the group to call her “Chaba”, which is the name for some tea from her native Shizuoka Prefecture. 25 years old, she works for a firm dispatching independent contractors to other companies. She wrote on her profile that she had the best smile ever, and I have to give that to her, she does have a nice smile. But the fact of the matter is, she’s the leading contender for the worst nutcase on Ainori, ever!

First thing she told the group was that she was looking for a “serious man”, as apparently, she has a history of unfaithful boyfriends, on whom she exerted herself in order to get back at them. In a parody of “The Best House 1 2 3” (a show on Fuji TV, you can watch an excerpt on youTube), they showed us her top 3 “Love Revenge” (and allow me to point out that a “Top 3” hints at the fact there were probably many more), just to show how crazy she is.

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Number 3: One time on New Year’s Day, her boyfriend had told her he couldn’t go to the shrine with her to pray for the fist time of the year, as it is customary here in Japan. Wondering why he hadn’t been able to go, she found by accident an incriminating “purikura” with the date on it, showing him and another girl holding an “omikuji” (a kind of Japanese yearly horoscope one can get only at a shrine), and the “omikuji” in question. Angry, and thinking “If you like omikuji that much, I’ll give you some”, she went to his cigarette stock, and pretty much in the same fashion as some omikuji were traditionally made, she wrote “extreme bad luck” on the end of every single cigarette but one, on account that she found in herself some pity for him.

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Chaba’s revenge on her unfaithful boyfriend
Number 3: Bad Luck Cigarettes

Number 2: One night, her boyfriend had told her he couldn’t go to see some fireworks because he had to work. However, she got a phone call from a friend telling her she had seen her boyfriend with another girl at the fireworks. Angry, and thinking “If you like fireworks that much, I’ll give you some”, she went to the supermarket and bought lots of fireworks shaped exactly like incense sticks. She then proceeded in coloring them in black with a marker to make them look like fireworks, and replaced her boyfriend’s incense sticks with them. .

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Chaba’s revenge on her unfaithful boyfriend
Number 2: Fireworks Incense

Number 1: One day, as she was cleaning up around the house, she found a letter (again by “accident”- or is it? I can easily picture her going through her boyfriend’s stuff frantically) addressed to his boyfriend from another girl, telling him how much she had a good time and asking him if he had liked the pasta. Angry, and thinking “If you like pasta that much, I’ll give you some”, she went to the supermarket to buy lots of pasta, filled the bathtub with hot water and put the pasta in it, apparently enough for 50 people.

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Chaba’s revenge on her unfaithful boyfriend
Number 1: Pasta à la Bathtub

So when the staff asked her what happened after that, she told them they split up, or more accurately, that he dumped her. No? Really? Of all the unbelievably immature, insane shit I’ve ever heard in my life, this has to be some of the best (or worst, errr, you know what I mean). It’s the means she used to get back at him that gets me the most, but rather the amount of whatever she used to get her deed accomplished. I think one pack of cigarettes would have been enough to get the message across, but three cartons? One or two incense sticks might (and I insist: might) have made sense, but again, three boxes. Serving him some pasta generously laced with Tabasco might have served him well, but filling up the bathtub with enough pasta for 50 people? That shows a dangerously suspicious level of mental instability, if you ask me. And te way they tried to make it sound like those were like “good ideas”. Shit, no wonder the guy was cheating on her, and it’s even more amazing to me that he put up with her for so long. I wonder what’s in store for the (poor) male participants who will dare to cross her path on Ainori. Now, she’s gonna be fun to watch!

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So after meeting the nutjob, the group left Fiji (dudes, I would have loved to see Ainori in Fiji, as I dream to retire over there :-) ) for Tuvalu (which, by the way, is just as much of a paradise :-) x2), Ainori’s 79th country, and apparently the fourth smallest country in the world. It’s actually a small group of islands, and the one the group arrived at was Funafuti, which is shaped like a thin stripe, no more than 10 meters wide in some places! Since a vehicle like the Love Bus would be pretty much useless in a country made of tiny islands, the group got on board a small, pink Love Boat, fully equipped with a camera at the top of a mast. The group immediately moved to a deserted island, where they got to enjoy snorkeling.

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The Love Boat

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And this is where Kuu finally confirmed her feelings for Moriken. Apparently a bad swimmer, Kuu was unwilling to try, but Moriken offered to help her, and they started enjoying the crystal blue water. However, they started going further and further, and at one point Kuu took a pretty good sip of sea water, and started panicking. Obviously in trouble, Moriken grabbed her, and brought her back to the beach. That night, Kuu told the staff how she admired Moriken’s reliability, leadership and kindness. She then acknowledged how cool he was, and how she liked his smile.

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In the dreamlike paradise of Tuvalu,
Kuu, the pretty flutist, fell in love!

I think this was to be expected. It’s been clear that there was good chemistry between Kuu and Moriken since she joined the group, and I’m pretty sure Moriken feels the same way towards her. I think they go well together, and I sure hope we can see a successful kokuhaku on one of those paradisiacal beaches. ;-)

Presumably the next day, the group got to visit a place where they keep stamps, which are apparently famous worldwide among collectors. Indeed, the Tuvalu stamp business at one point accounted for about 25% of the national economy.
That night, they had Chaba’s welcome party, and the conversation quickly started revolving around her use of the Shizuoka dialect. I won’t go into any linguistic details here, but for those of you who have some knowledge of the language it should prove quite interesting. Anyway, the funny part was when Moriken tried to reproduce one particular intonation, and was told by Chaba that he sounded gay, which he didn’t seem to approve.

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“Yeah, but, that sounded a little gay, do you mind?”

That night, she told the staff how she had fun, and that’s when we got to learn about how lunatic she really was. She told the staff she was glad she had joined Ainori, no doubt in search of her next victim…

Next week, Kuu will apparently tell Moriken how she feels, that is, short of a kokuhaku, and Moriken will give a misanga to Chaba, gesture which will apparently start a love triangle of hell…

NEXT ON AINORI


Ainori #372

Thursday, August 30th, 2007

Ainori is a popular reality show in Japan, aired on Fuji TV on Monday nights at 23:00.

In August 2005, I discovered that Ainori was not only popular in Japan, but also all over the world thanks to Bit Torrent technology. I decided to write a summary of each episode, and do a translation of the weekly photo captions from the official site. What do I get out of this? I get to improve my Japanese, I get more traffic to my blog, but above all, I get the satisfaction of knowing many non-Japanese speakers all over the world can appreciate a truly unique reality show. Enjoy, and don’t hesitate to post any comments or questions you may have.

Ainori’s official homepage (Japanese only).


new.gif righ-red_e0.gif Ex-participants’ blogs
(Japanese only)
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Ainori’s BT downloads available @ D-Addicts

Streaming videos of Ainori are available on youtube.com.


Ainori #372

WARNING! THIS IS A SPOILER!

Well folks, that’s it! Gurasan prematurely rushed into a doomed kokuhaku (love declaration in Japanese), and lost. Kuu turned him down in front of a crowd of more than 500 fans, which must have put incredible pressure on both participants. But let me explain from the beginning…

CURRENT SITUATION
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Kuu

Gurasan

What first transpired from that episode is that although it seemed Gurasan was a loner during his time on Ainori, he actually was most popular with the male participants. Indeed, all the other guys who traveled with him acknowledged the fact that Gurasan was very kind and supportive, the kind of guy who could become friends with anybody, despite his Japanese biker image.

So just before he went for his kokuhaku, he asked his good friend Moriken to give him a final haircut for the challenge (it is not uncommon for Japanese to get a haircut – or simply shave their head – when they want to change their state of mind before doing something testing). He then appropriately dressed in a white sweat suit and white shoes (the second character for kokuhaku indeed means “white”), which is also some kind of gangster fashion here in Japan (actually, since last year there’s been a lot of younger people walking around in sweat suits here in Sendai…).

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So he said goodbye to Moriken, and headed to the place where Kuu was waiting for him, i.e. the banks of what is called in Chinese the “Love River”. A new man by his own account, Gurasan met with Kuu, and told her he wanted to tell her something, and that he wanted her to listen quietly. He took a few seconds before he started talking, and after swallowing nervously a few times (yep, even Japanese gangsters get nervous), he finally gathered his thoughts and began his kokuhaku. He told her that in that one country, he saw many of her good sides, like the fact she was cheerful, kind, thoughtful and cute. He then told her that there were many things about him he should change, and that he wanted to do that with her. He finished by saying that he was still a small man, but that he would hang in there, find a better job and become better, and then he gave her the fateful tickets.

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“Let’s go back to Japan together”

He then left, and on his way back was saying out loud how nervous he was. Back at the hotel, a very confident Gurasan told the staff that he was pretty sure Kuu was ready to accept his proposition.

The next morning, the Love Bus arrived at a famous temple, where an amazing number of more than 500 fans had already gathered and were waiting for Gurasan and Kuu’s fate to unfold.

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“Good morning” “Good Morning”

Probably under more pressure than any other participant had ever been before, Gurasan told Kuu again that in that one country he had seen many of her good sides, but that he really liked her cute face the most. He continued by saying he had many flaws, but that he was determined to change and become a better man, and that he’d like her to come with him.
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“I’d like you to come with me”

Kuu replied that since she had joined the group, she had realized many of Gurasan’s qualities. She told him how she liked the thoughtfulness he had towards his friends the most, and the way she was moved by how he was straightforward with her, how he really tried to get to know her, and finally by his kokuhaku the night before. She concluded by saying she had thought it over all night, but that she couldn’t go back to Japan with him. She gave him back the plane ticket, telling him she was thankful he had fallen so much in love with her, under the disappointed screams of the crowd, and made her way back to the Love Bus.

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“I can’t go back to Japan with you”

Aaaah, excuse me, but she didn’t give him a very good explanation, now did she? “ I thought about it all night and I can’t go back to Japan with you”!? What kind of a lame ass answer is that? Who knows, maybe she couldn’t see herself with an ex-gang member. But still a little white lie like: “I’ve just joined the group and I feel it’s too early for me”, or “I would have liked to get to know you better” or something would have been much more palatable. I mean, she had all night to think about it and all she could come up with was that. Granted, the pressure of the crowd watching them must have been tremendous, but still…

Anyway, a seemingly imperturbable Gurasan started moving towards the Love Bus to bid farewell to his traveling partners, with the whole crowd following him. The other participants emotionally said goodbye, and even Moriken got off the Bus to hug Gurasan, who kept telling him not to cry. He told him he had a lot of influence on the others, and that he expected him to guide them for the remaining of his trip. He then tried to tell Kuu something, but obviously unable to put into words what was on his mind, just told her: “Thanks to you… Thank you”, probably meaning she had made his trip. He finally shut the door, and the bus left, leaving Gurasan surrounded by crying fans who started cheering him (in Japanese, mind you), telling him to “hang in there!”. At last, Gurasan screamed “It’s over, I have no regrets”, and then one of the fans screamed “You’ll find happiness”, phrase which became the title of the episode. I’ve watched it over and over again, and every time it brought a tear to my eye (I’m an old sentimental, so what?). And so ended Gurasan’s Ainori…

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You’ll find happiness”

I really liked Gurasan, and was hoping he could find a nice girl to go back to Japan with. I guess his apparent lack of seriousness probably prevented him to really attract any girl, but it might have been simply that cool image he was trying to project. Deep down, as the male participants admitted, he wasn’t as shallow as he seemed to be, and I still remember how supportive and philosophical he was when he had conversation with, say, Yankumi. The worst part is that I’m sure he could have won Kuu’s heart if he had given it more time. True, Gurasan proved to be a little hot-headed, falling for girls way too quickly, and not giving them time to get to know him. I’m sure he’ll do fine if only he learned to slow down a bit.

Next week, the group will move to another country (too bad, I would have loved to see a successful kokuhaku with Taiwanese fans going crazy over the new couple), which looks like some sort of tropical island. Kuu will apparently start falling for someone (no doubt Moriken), and Hiroe will continue suffering from her bad case of the blues.

NEXT ON AINORI