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!
This week, the group moved from Sweden to Norway, Ainori’s 72nd country, where two new participants joined them. Yankumi also revealed the reasons that lead her to become a gang leader in Hiroshima, and as
the producers I promised last week, a crappy suspense for something that turned out to be nothing. As usual, allow me to introduce the new participants first.
Yuuya “Gurasan” Yoshida, 26, from Ibaraki Prefecture. Working in a yakiniku restaurant, he is also an ex-gang member. Now this might confirm what many of the people who leave comments on my Ainori summaries suspected, i.e. that the producers, rather than choosing new paticipants randomly, seem to pick some of them to fit the profile of participants on the show. I mean, they never had ex-gang members since they started the show 6 years ago, and all of a sudden, they have two of them on the show? Can’t be just a coincidence. No doubt they’re trying to match him with Yankumi, if you ask me. Anyway, the way they met him was quite unusual, as they usually pick up new participants on the side of the road, and they met him in a restaurant. He wrote on his profile that “Love is the law of the jungle”, and when he said to the group that there’s no way he’s let a girl he likes go with another man, Sanchan swallowed as usual, which was pretty funny. So I guess he won’t leave any room for competition, which might prove interesting…
Yumi “Bambi” Banba, 21, from Kyoto. She works as a helper in an abacus calculation cram school. She wrote on her profile that she wanted to find a very exciting romance. She is concerned with her weight, which I didn’t think was an issue since she looks ok to me, but then again here in Japan women are excessively concerned with there appearance, and the medias don’t give them a shadow of a chance, either. For a moment, everybody thought Sanchan had a crush on her when he rushed to pick up her bag, but when asked he replied that he simply wanted to get back on the Love Bus because he was cold. I don’t know if it’s the experience of joining Ainori that gave her a boost, but she was extremely excited, jumping up and down, and singing on the bus like it was a karaoke box, without the music. She was so fired up that the others actually started to find her annoying, and so did I, to be honest. I hope that she calms down on her own, or I’ll be seriously thinking of writing a letter to Ainori so that they start to consider putting her on prozac. Lose a battery or two, “Energizer Bambi”.
Well, it seems that around the time Sanchan was being teased by the other male participants a few episodes ago, Yankumi sat down with him and revealed that she used to be bullied too, back in elementary school. When she was in the 5th and 6th grade, they would take her in the back and tell her unpleasant things, or wouldn’t include her with the rest of the group, and she even thought about refusing to go to school (a widespread problem in Japan). Nevertheless, she decided to attend junior high school, eventhough the kids who’d tease her also went to the same school. So she started hanging out with bad kids to give herself a bad image at first, and one thing leading to another, she eventually found herself at the head of a girls gang. Yankumi, who was in fact a timid and cowardly girl, had decided never to show how weak she was by becoming the worst possible person she could be. I guess we finally got an answer as to why she is so level-headed for an ex-gang leader. She’s just a normal girl who refused to let herself being bullied, a girl who made a much better choice than all those elementary school students who commited suicide lately because of bullying.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Apparently the big surprising thing that was supposed to happen this week was a hint towards the fact that Sanchan might fall for the new girl in the following episodes. Zzzzz, zzzzz, mh? Oh, sorry, did I just doze off at the keyboard? My bad – not!
It was the beginning of love!
Next week we’ll have one of those Ainori classes (about whales in Norway), which will waste precious airtime to tell us about something that is probably common knowledge instead of showing us the participants’ interactions, Nagisa will apparently tell Bambi to shut up (although if you watch it frame by frame they’re both laughing – more false suspense, anyone?), and Sanchan will try to get closer to Bambi? I gotta see it to believe it!