Archive for April, 2007

A Present Of Taste

Friday, April 20th, 2007

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Ainori #354

Thursday, April 19th, 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).

Current participants


new.gif righ-red_e0.gif Ex-participants’ blogs
(Japanese only)
JUST ADDED AYA, ISSY
AND NAGISA’S BLOGS!

Thanks to Renee Huen for the tip!
left-red_e0.gifnew.gif

Ainori’s BT downloads available @ D-Addicts

Streaming videos of Ainori are available on youtube.com.


Ainori #354

WARNING! THIS IS A SPOILER!

Bah! Again the producers overdramatized the so-called “incident”, which involved Bambi making requests for her diet, eventhough she couldn’t resist over eating. That pissed off some of the other participants, who had the guts to tell her what was on their mind. Please, what is this? Weight Watchers Nori? I really wish the producers stopped using the word “incident” everytime one of the participants sneezes and, may the Supreme Being running the universe have mercy on us all, there’s no tissue available. Unless the Love Bus is hijacked by intergalactic terrorists and the participants are held hostages and threatened to be killed unless a large amount of kryptonite is delivered by Superman himself, they should definitely stop using the word “incident”. Ok, now I’M overdoing it. I’m just saying that the time when Hide and Kouji got into a brawl, or when Outlaw left the group after the soundman’s “human error”, those were worthy of the word “incident”. I’m getting the bad impression that one of the participants will try to jump over a shark on water skis during the third lap! ;-) But I’m digressing here.

This week, the group got to visit “El Faro a Colón“, a memorial lighthouse where lay the remains of Christopher Columbus. At night, its numerous spotlights turned towards the sky project a huge cross on passing clouds.

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Gurasan

For the next two days, it became obvious that one of the participants was left alone on a regular basis when they got to pair up with one another – remember: seven’s an odd number. Indeed, when Gurasan joined the group, he told them that he thought romance was ruled by the law of the jungle. It seems Gurasan became a victim of his own philosophy. Too bad, he would have made a great match for Yankumi. At least he’s practicing his Spanish! Muy bien, muchacho!

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“And you, how are you?” “I’m good”

Bambirarrow2_e0.gifOga

The next day, Bambi was sitting next to Oga on the Love Bus, and again, his kindness got the best of her. First, he caught a fly with his fingers (no, seriously, who can do that!? Must be the years of karate training ;-) ), and released it out the window. Most people would kill the buggers if they had a chance – I know I would! Then, when Bambi told him she was cold because of the air conditioning (if those guys are anything like the Japanese I know, it was probably set to “absolute zero“), and he turned it off, without asking anyone else, saying if it got hot again they could always turn it back on. Now such an initiative is fairly rare among Japanese, especially if the decision affects the group, which is why I guess Bambi was so moved by his gesture.

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Bambi’s feelings were getting stronger

mdbgraham_e0.gifBambi mdbgraham_e0.gif

Then, the “diet incident” started to unfold, slowly. Apparently, Bambi had secretly started a “water diet” back in Iceland, i.e. she would drink lots of water in order to feel full so she could eat less. The result: she had managed to lose 2.5 kilos (5.5 lbs). Back in Iceland, the group was drinking tap water, which was not possible anymore in Dominican Republic. The group, on a tight budget as usual, had to buy drinking water. So she took Sanchan (the new treasurer) aside, and asked to cut back on her own lunch money to buy water when they’d go shopping. However, once they got to the supermarket, Gurasan argued that the jug of water Bambi wanted to buy was too expensive, and they all agreed to leave it. The next day just before lunch time, Bambi finished the last of the water, desperate. Unable to fill her stomach before eating, she started going at it like there was no tomorrow, under the unbelieving eyes of the others, who were well aware that she was on a diet. Realizing they were all staring at her, she explained about her water diet, and that she ate that much because she couldn’t have her fill of water before lunch. She asked them if they could buy water for her, even if it meant she had to skip dinner. As she was explaining that it might be selfish of her to think like that, she started crying, and the others told her that they had no idea she depended on water so much for her diet, agreeing to buy extra water for her.

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“Is it ok to buy some?” “Sure, sure” “Go, go”

And that would have been the end of it, if Bambi had tried just a little harder…
That afternoon, the group was invited to Fidel (the driver)’s house, for a homecooked meal. Bambi could have paced herself a bit, but again she ate for two, even though she had already gorged herself during lunch. For a girl who was willing to skip dinner for water, I can’t help but wondering whether Bambi is not lightly suffering from some sort of eating disorder. I understand that when you’re dieting, sometimes you just snap and go for it, but is it just me, the way they edited the show, or is she really eating too much? I think I’m not the only one to be under that impression, because the other participants were staring at her in disbelief again, although they refrained from making any comments.

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From Moriken’s Diary: “I think she’s not serious about dieting at all”

Ok, so there they were, with a lot of delicious homemade food in front of them, and I guess anybody would have had a hard time staying on track – and I’m sure that’s why the rest of the group didn’t say anything. However, the next day Bambi made a serious error of judgement that opened a huge credibility gap between her and the group. They were in some sort of shop which had a bakery corner, and although nobody expressed the desire to eat, Bambi couldn’t resist and proposed to buy a couple of bread rolls. I know, they should have said something, but keep in mind that they have to share the same money, and if they thought she was hungry, as a group they couldn’t tell her not to eat. So instead they all agreed to buy two rolls for each of them, and except for Bambi, none of them could finish the second one. That would prove to be the last straw…

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Those two bread rolls were about to provoke a terrible incident

Yeah, yeah, yeah. They should say alcohol was about to provoke a terrible incident – or rather, a slight confrontation. Yep, it seems whenever the group gets drunk something happens, and this time wasn’t an exception. Anyway, the Love Bus was driving around at night, and they came across something called the “Bonche Bus” (itachi666, you’re Dominican, right? If you’re reading this, I’d like you to comment profusely on the matter – like, was that for real?), and dudes, that was one wild club on wheels – talk about the latino Dominican (big thanks to itachi666 for bringing cultural awareness) spirit! I think words cannot describe what it’s like, so I decided to upload that excerpt on YouTube.

WARNING! THIS IS SO NSFW!

As you can imagine, the group got off that bus high-spirited (no pun intended), and made it to the hotel, slightly drunk, where they started talking openly about what had seemed to be a taboo subject for a couple of days: Bambi’s diet. So Moriken started by saying how everybody was behind her when she explained about her water diet, but how getting two bread rolls was too much, as everybody thought one would have been enough. The funny thing is at that point, Bambi admitted that “one and a half” would have been enough for her. He then told her that Miyanee and Hiroe had told him they didn’t think she was dieting at all. Then Hiroe explained how she thought all that water business was so selfish of her. Gurasan continued by saying he had heard that one of the rolls Bambi had chosen was 10 pesos more expensive than the others’. Miyanee came to the rescue by saying that although she couldn’t put herself in the boys’ shoes, she knew how Bambi was trying to be careful with what she ate, so she couldn’t say anything about the situation. Bambi tried to explain that she had been feeling uneasy lately, and that she had been under a lot of stress as she hadn’t got used to the new country. Gurasan cut her off, telling her that they were all in the same situation, and that it was selfish of her to think it wasn’t hard for them, too. She tried to explained that she couldn’t hold back, and that she knew if she had complained like that she would have attracted attention. Gurasan left the table, saying he couldn’t listen to her anymore. Then Bambi started hyperventilating again, and had to start breathing in a bag.

bambibreathinginabagagain.jpg

Well, as I said, I don’t think the whole thing qualifies as a “terrible incident”, like the producers would like us to believe – give me alien invaders, please. The group is obviously under a lot of stress, due to a downgrade in accomodations, and the fact that they’re being strapped for money all the time sure doesn’t help. But they made too much of a big deal with that water business, and correct me if I’m wrong, but shouldn’t water be number one on their list of priorities anyway, especially in a tropical county – duh! Granted, Bambi made her case about needing water to diet, and then went ahead gorging herself, but hey, she’s only human. And that nit-picking about ten pesos, I mean WTF? We’re talking about US 30 cents here, and I’m sure she never noticed the price difference. Bottom line, all this happened because they got drunk, and they vented about things they would never think about twice if they were back in Japan.

Moriken leftmouth.gif rightmouth.gif Miyanee

Later, Miyanee asked to talk to Moriken. She told him she didn’t think it was right to talk about what they did while under the influence. Moriken argued that precisely because they were drunk, talking frankly was the right thing to do. Miyanee replied that because they were drunk, Bambi got upset. Moriken told her that he didn’t think it mattered if things got emotional, the important thing was that everybody said what was on their mind. Miyanee said again it wasn’t right, and Moriken asked her why not. He argued that he wanted to say what he said, and that if Miyanee didn’t say what was on her mind, that was her business. He continued by saying that if he hadn’t said what he wanted to say while he was drunk, it wouldn’t have been like him. Miyanee told him that she wasn’t trying to contradict him, that she merely wanted him to realize some people didn’t think like that. She pointed out that it was ok if they had opposite opinions, but that it was necessary to realize there was a gap between younger and older participants. She then told him that Hiroe was very direct, and as such she would probably clash with Bambi, which would result in Bambi feeling alienated, making her Ainori experience much harder. As such, she thought it was important to choose the right words when pointing out things like that, in order not to hurt anyone’s feelings. The conversation ended by Moriken saying he probably wouldn’t be able to sleep that night…

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“What? I just said what I wanted to” “That’s not right”

I like Miyanee, she’s the level-headed participant who regulates the others’ relationships, much like Yankumi used to do. I also agree with her that bringing up a delicate topic like that should never be done under the influence, although it isn’t easy to keep things inside while inhibited. I just hope Bambi will be able to recover quickly and make up with the others.

Next week, the group will have to deal with each other the day right after the argument, and we’ll learn about the moving story of a young boy apparently fond of baseball…

NEXT ON AINORI


Miki Andou’s Armpit a Hit?

Monday, April 16th, 2007

mikiarmpitnumber2.jpgAbout a year ago I wrote a post about Miki Andou, a Japanese figure skater who took part in the Turin Olympics with crappily shaved armpits. The strange thing is that post is the second most viewed one in my blog, and the only one of my top ten posts which is not about Ainori. Weird…

BoA

Friday, April 13th, 2007


BoA is a Korean singer very popular here in Japan. She doesn’t qualifiy as a Japanese babe, but she does qualify as a babe indeed. This is her in a commercial that’s been running for a while here in Japan. Dudes, in the second shot where she’s not smiling, she’s so pretty she almost gets me hypnotized!

Ainori #353

Thursday, April 12th, 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).

Current participants


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 #353

WARNING! THIS IS A SPOILER!

Finally, Ainori’s third loop around the world has started, and this time, it looks like there’s somewhat of a plan as to where the pink bus will end up riding. This week, the group arrived in Dominican Republic, where two new participants joined. The girls’ focus of attention rapidely shifted towards the new boy, who is a real gentleman, and Sanchan’s hopes to hook up with Bambi seem to have become bleak, not to mention a couple of, ahem, awkward moments.

During Ainori’s first two laps, the Love Bus simply went from one country to the next, and usually stayed in the same area of the world for a few months at a time, which made Ainori’s next destination somewhat predictable. However, after being to 73 countries, it seems the producers have vowed to visit countries they have never been to, regardless of the route the group would have to take. Although it is fairly expectable that they won’t jump from one side of the globe to the other due to budget limitations, it will still be much harder to guess what country the group will end up in next. That should be fun, not to mention that if Ainori has never been to your country, you should keep your ears open as to whether there’s a bunch of Japanese riding around in a pink bus and followed by a TV crew somewhere in your hometown. :-)

countriesainorimightgoto.jpg
If you live in one of the countries highlighted in yellow,
Ainori may be coming to a location near you sooner than you think!

Next, let me introduce the first two participants of Ainori’s third lap (it has kind of an official ring to it, doesn’t it?).

HiroeMeet Yoshie “Hiroe” Hirose (the nickname comes from the first part of her surname and the last part of her given name), 25, from Hyougo Prefecture. Working as a designer in Kobe, she joined the group wearing one of her own creations (cool). She wrote on her profile that she would find love through inspiration. She definitly has the soul of an artist (she created a kanji from three components meaning: “to spend time together”), and she seems like the quiet type, but we’ll have to see about that. I wish her good luck finding love on Ainori.

OgaMeet Hiroaki “Oga” Ogasawara, 24, from Tokyo. He wrote on his profile that he was a warm guy, with a single mind for karate, and he isn’t lying: When he met the group, he started doing some kata, and at first I thought he was just showing off, but this guy is the real thing! He won the elementary, junior high, and senior high school national competitions. He also came in second place in the “Junon Super Boy Contest” (an event to discover young new actors), and came second to no other than Teppei Koike , Wentz’s partner in WaT. He is also a member of MUSCLE MUSICAL, a troup that has been performing since 2001. Not only that, but he behaved as a perfect gentleman, opening doors and waiting for the girls while they were walking, and at this point, I must ask the question which is probably on everybody’s mind: what the f*** is a guy like that doing on Ainori? He must have tons of women all over him at all times! Yeah, yeah, yeah, he probably wants to find a meaningful relationship, but as we all know, Ainori is not necessary the best place for that. Anyway, I hope he finds true love before the girls tear him apart or kill each other over him. Good luck!


Miyanee
Oga

So when they saw the new dreamboat, the girls started running to him, and they were so excited that Miyanee’s breasts even came out of her bra. After they met him, the staff asked Miyanee (who as you know prefers younger men) what she thought about him, and she replied that he was like a breath of fresh air. She added that if they were to become a couple and kiss, she would give him some tongue (see what I mean? He’s a babe magnet!). Wow, that was quick! Talk about giving a good first impression!

miyaneewillingtogivesometongue.jpg
“I’d give him tongue”

Sanchan rarrow2_e0.gif Bambi

Then, the moment everyone was waiting for: Sanchan and Bambi dancing the merengue. Although it would have been an excellent chance for him to get closer to her, it seems he never could hold her properly. And to think that just before that, Miyanee and Oga were going at it like there was no tomorrow. Poor Sanchan. He really needs to be more agressive, especially with the new competition. Granted, he must have been nervous and the difference in height must have complicated things, but I have rarely seen a more awkward moment on Ainori.

sanchancantholdbambi.jpg

Talking about awkward moments, the next day, while the group was having fun at Boca Chica Beach (lucky bastards), Sanchan decided to do a “funny” impression. So with his fingers he directed some imaginary beams coming out of his nipples and going towards Hiroe, while saying “Chiku-beam”. It’s a combination coming from “nipples” (chikubi) and “beam”, and from what I gather, I believe it is something used by an adult manga character called “Kurohime”. Maybe a futuristic dominatrix shooting lazers out of her nipples, mmh? I couldn’t find any official homepage (although I found this, from a page called “Rape Me.org” – WTF?), but if anyone knows what this is all about, please share the information. Anyway, that’s Japanese humor for you…

chikubeam.jpg
“Chikubeeeeeam”

MAJOR EDIT:Thanks to New York Jihen (Dude, you RULE! – From now on, I gotta remember to look up YouTube, too), the Chikubeam mystery is solved. Holly Molly! Is that TOTALLY WEIRD or what!?

WARNING! NSFW (or your sanity, for that matter)


THIS is the horrifying truth about “Chikubeam”

More Edit: This is a link to a video on Youtube in which Mari Yaguchi performs her “Sexy Beam” routine (pretty close to what Sanchan did) over and over again – thanks to jay for the tip. WARNING: I didn’t post the video itself because as jay said, it is really annoying, not to mention Yaguchi herself.

Bambirarrow2_e0.gif Oga

And then, the “Oga Magic” started having quite an effect on Bambi. While the group was on their way back from the beach, it was revealed that Bambi had written in her application letter to Ainori that she always had this inferiority complex due to her physical appearance, which had become an obstacle and prevented her from having self-confidence. Bambi started to explain to the other participants that as a high school student, she couldn’t stand looking at herself in the mirror wearing a mini-skirt and the mandatory loose socks at the time, finding herself so ugly that she would go as far as refusing to go to school sometimes. Furthermore, she had had a boyfriend who after leaving her started going out with a skinny girl, which gave her the conviction that being plump made her worthless. From then on, Bambi had held the belief that she wouldn’t find love unless she lost weight. Since she had joined Ainori, the male participants, unaware of her state of mind, either told her or hinted repeatedly that she would look better if she lost weight. At that point, Miyaken told her how her face looked thinner, and as Bambi pointed out that she was on a diet, the others started encouraging her, except Oga, who told her that she didn’t need to be on a diet at all. That was too much for her, and she started crying tears of joy. It’s too soon to tell whether Oga is sensitive or just being nice, but he sure hit it right on the nail! As I explained before, I’ve been struggling with an agressive belly myself for a while (you know how they tell you how your metabolism slows down when you get older? That’s an understatement: mine feels like it has completely stopped!), and as much as I welcome encouragement, I can’t help but feel that people who say “I don’t need to lose weight” are just trying to be nice. In any case, Bambi seemed really happy to be finally told she looked fine.

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Oga’s words had filled Bambi’s heart

The next day, Oga acted like a real gentleman, opening doors for everybody, and waiting for the girls while the group was walking around town, contrary to the other boys who kept walking ahead at their own pace. That afternoon, Bambi invited Oga to have a talk beneath a tree, and they talked about his passion for karate. He explained to her that in senior high he was in a school where it was forbidden to hang out with girls, and he kept on concentrating on his practice, totally absorbed. After graduation, he hardly knew the meaning of having fun at all, although he reckoned that was the reason he could be number one all the way. She told him how modest he seemed to be, and he replied that he had learned from his father since he was young that strong ones should be nice. He explained that he thought he should be as nice as he was strong, which really impressed Bambi. Mmmh, he really seems too good to be true. If he’s not pulling an act, I must ask again: How does a guy like that ends up on Ainori? I sure hope for Bambi that he’s not another Tagamikun, because he’s gonna break her heart. Talking about heartbreaks, I wonder how Sanchan is gonna deal with the situation…

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Unexpectedly, Bambi had started to be attracted to Oga, the kindhearted one

Sanchan

Sanchan seeked advice from Hiroe, the new girl, about love relationships. He asked her if real happiness could be reached when going out with someone, to which she replied that yes, being with someone could be fulfilling. He asked if it was hard to break up with someone, to which she replied that it was a bit like loosing a part of yourself. And when he asked if it was appropriate to think about mariage with the first person you go out with, she expressed surprise at his innocence, and told him that those were ways of the past. When he asked her if it wasn’t undesirable to have too many lovers, she replied that such experiences were good for personal growth. He should really bring a notebook and write some of that stuff down…

Next week, some horrible incident involving lascivious dancing, angry boys and food (?) is supposed to happen. Usually I’d say it was another cheap set up by the producers, but apparently it will be serious enough to have Bambi breath in a paper bag, again…

NEXT ON AINORI