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.
Good News, people! It seems streaming videos of Ainori are still available on youtube.com.
WARNING! THIS IS A SPOILER!
Two major developments this week. First, Nagisa’s true character has been revealed: She’s a spoiled little brat! Then, Uekki and Chaki not only made peace, but a Sami tradition drove Uekki to make what possibly could be one of the most important decisions in his life.
So there was this cold again between Chaki and Uekki, due to his behavior last week, and although Chaki asked him to say something on the bus, he couldn’t. That afternoon, Uekki was talking with Yankumi, and she convinced him to try and talk to Chaki. Well, he didn’t say much, as he only apologize that he couldn’t talk, because he had too much on his mind. It seemed it was enough to make Chaki really happy, as the next day she finally disclosed her past, something she had refused to do until now with anyone (some of you may remember how she got mad at Souri for insisting that she talked about it), and I think that gesture is revealing of how much she likes Uekki. Well, it seems Chaki was romantically involved with one of her superiors at work, and when he was reassigned at the Hiroshima branch, he asked her to come live with him. So she quit her job to do so, but once the transfer had occurred, the story changed and the boyfriend asked her to come visit for a week at a time, once a month. It’s only the fifth time that she realized something was wrong, and her boyfriend finally admitted that not only he had been two-timing her, but that the other girlfriend was pregnant with his child, and that she was asking him to marry her. Now this guy was the first she had ever fully believed in, and that betrayal understandably made her untrusting of other men.
I’ve been suspecting that much since she joined the show, but this week we finally got confirmation: Nagisa is a spoiled, over-pampered, selfish, fresh out of high school bitchin’ Ojousama (and I work in a SHS, so I know what I’m talking about). I thought it was weird when she revealed she had turned down her career launch, but now I get it. For a couple of weeks they showed how uneasy she felt since she had joined the group, and personally I assumed it was due to the new environment, the fact that she was the youngest in the group (as a matter of fact one of the youngest participants to join Ainori ever), culture shock, bla, bla, bla, but nooooo. Miss if-things-are- not-exactly-the-way-I-want-them-to-be-like-they-have-been-since-the-day-I-was-born-and-as-they-should-be-until-the-day-I-die-in-a-perfect-world-custom-made-only-for-little-moi Nagisa is bored, and she’s pouting, period. I mean, what was she expecting? Did she think a trip around the world with only the bare necessities of life would include karaoke nights, purikura machines, and fast-food restaurants thoughtfully placed at regular intervals so she could relax and entertain herself after a hard day of posing for the camera? Did she think the producers would pass a questionnaire every night asking what the participants would like to do the next day, what they’d like to eat, and at what time? So when the group came to a small village to try sleeping on deer furs in traditional Sami tents, a once in a lifetime experience – one that not too many people have a shot at and that I personally would kill for, Nagisa Sama didn’t help to pitch the tents, was just standing there waving her hand in front of her face because of the odor, and started complaining about how it was no fun at all to be there. When she said “What are they gonna do if my clothes get stunk up?”, Yankumi lost it, and dragged her behind one of the buildings to talk to her. You see, one thing Japanese people cannot stand is someone behaving selfishly in a manner that might affect how smoothly the group they’re part of works. Surely Nagisa’s behavior fell into that category, and when she told Yankumi how she was bored by the group’s activities, the ex-gang leader warned the little wretch that she’d better lighten up quickly and start making some efforts to enjoy herself. “Gaki” (brat) is what she called her. Yankumi is my hero! I hope Nagisa drops out and goes back to Japan to find out it’s too late to start her career anew. Bitch!
When the group learned from a local about the Sami belief that if one gave a piece of reindeer antler to the person they liked, their love would come true, Yankumi and Uekki both went on a quest to find the prized object, a notoriously difficult endeavor even for the Sami people, as they have to find naturally fallen antlers. The funny thing is that Nagisa, Issy and Sanchan, who are the ones seemingly not in love with anyone else, were the first to find antlers. Yankumi, who had the intention to give antlers to Yokomi, even got lost for about an hour, but was very happy when Yokomi found her. She had found antlers (actually, a whole skull with the antlers attached to it), but was very disappointed when she was told that her find and everyone else’s were not good, as the tradition calls for big male antlers, which are even more difficult to find. When they were told of a moe likely, remote place for such antlers, Uekki got up early the next morning, and walked for 5 hours to get there. Lucky enough, he did find the precious antlers, and apparently made his decision right there on the spot: he would ask Chaki to marry him!
Uekki had made his decision. “I want (you?/her?) to marry me”
Well at least that’s what it looks like. They showed him heading towards the Love Bus at the end, where he will probably ask for the fateful plane tickets, and they showed him talking to Chaki about marriage in next week’s episode. Now they didn’t show him actually ask her to marry him, but the producers played on the ambiguity of the Japanese language to make it look like that. He may just be telling Chaki about what kind of woman he would like to marry, but I sure hope he’ll pop the question, which would be a first on Ainori. Imagine, not “Would you go back to Japan with me?”, but “Would you marry me?”. The suspense is excruciating!\(^O^)/