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.
JUST ADDED YANKUMI’S BLOG
WARNING! THIS IS A SPOILER!
This week, the group got to mingle with “politically-engineered” Venezuelan babes (no, I’m not kidding), they got to taste arepas, Neko and Hiderinko definitely fell for one another, Gurasan thought he had an encounter with fate, and things between Miyanee and Oga seemed to be going fine, until he performed a karate demonstration in a martial art school, with devastating results for Miyanee.
Am I gonna have to talk about hot Venezuelan babes? Aw, well, only for Ainori So the group was in Caracas, and they noticed that there was an unusually high proportion of beauties walking all over the place (I’ve been to Caracas, and it’s true – your eyes practically get tired from popping out all the time!). I never thought about it much, and I couldn’t verify the fact for sure, but apparently the reason why there are so many babes in Venezuela is actually the result of careful planning. “WTF?”, I hear you say? Well, it seems sometime in the 1950’s the Venezuelan government was looking for a way to increase the number of tourists coming from Europe. So some guy proposed that increasing the number of beauties would attract more tourists, and it soon became national policy. In order to do that, national institutions for models and esthetics were opened, and government sponsored beauty pageants were implemented even in elementary and junior high schools. As a result, Venezuela became a babes paradise, and has won the most titles in the Big Four Pageants (Miss Earth, Miss International, Miss World & Miss Universe), although Ainori only included three, excluding Miss Earth. The result is still the same, Venezuela has won the most titles. Wow, talk about political planning. Anyway, the group got to visit one of those babes school (looked liked it was a modelling school), and the boys especially really seemed to enjoy it.
Neko was on the offensive again, inviting Hiderinko for a talk, again. She started by saying how she wanted to visit Shikoku (Hiderinko’s native island), and try its most famous product, udon, but was complaining about how far it was from Kanagawa, her own prefecture. She then started saying how she wanted to take him to Yokohama’s Chinatown to eat some nikuman and drink tapioca juice. As she started saying how they could walk towards Yamashita Park and stop for confectionary, Hiderinko pointed out she was talking about food only. She started laughing and admitted her love of food. In her diary, she wrote that her present goal was to get Hiderinko to like her.
From Neko’s diary: “My goal now is to get Hiderinko to like me!!”
Wow, talk about being straightforward. She was practically planning a date. She couldn’t have been more obvious.
And here is a scoop: That night when Hiderinko went to the staff’s room, he told them how he thought Neko was the best (among the girls?) in character and appearance. He then said that he didn’t have to look anywhere else, and that he didn’t have much time anyway. No time? Right. Hiderinko is one of those participants who join Ainori for a predetermined amount of time, generally because of work. In his case, he would stay on Ainori for one country only (mmmh, is it a coincidence that Sanchan dropped out JUST before they moved to Venezuela?). He then told the staff he was ready to go for the “quickest couple” record.
Nobody can put out the flames of that love!
I’d call that the flames of pure madness! Is he insane? Are THEY insane? She loves him because he pays for the National Pension Fund and makes money, and he loves her because… she seems like a nice, cute girl who likes food and he’s out of time, so what the hell? I mean, seriously, how long have they known each other, a week, tops? I say they really shouldn’t accept participants who can’t stay for at least two or three months, otherwise we’ll keep seeing guys and girls rushing into relationships based on time rather than feelings. Besides, I don’t remember seeing a revolving door on the Love Bus. Aw, well, if they go back to Japan together and can make it as a couple, I’ll be happy for them, but chances are one of them will have skeletons in his/her closet that the other won’t like at all. Remember how Neko made a 180 on Gurasan?
Since he admitted to Neko he had no intention to pay for the National Pension Fund, Gurasan had apparently been spending a lot of time by himself. Ainori’s formula being based on an odd number of participants indeed usually calls for someone to be left alone while others pair up when they have free time. So Gurasan had time to mingle with the natives, polishing his Spanish skills (looks like he actually made a lot of progress, too). The day before Oga made his karate demonstration, the group was coming back to the Love Bus, where a Venezuelan babe was talking with the driver. When Moriken said “How cute” in Spanish, she replied in Japanese:”Who are you talking about?”. To everyone’s surprise (including mine), the girl, called Saeli, had spent three years studying at Ikue Senior High School right here in Sendai (dudes, it’s so close it could have been my school!) as an exchange student playing volleyball. As such, she used to watch Ainori and was delighted to meet the participants. Asking if she could get on the Bus, the group agreed and soon they were on their merry way.
“Can I get a ride?” “Sure. Sure”
Once on the bus, the girl started explaining that the first word she’d learn upon coming to Japan was “kimoi” (short for “kimochi warui”, which means “disgusting”, “sickening” or “revolting”), and that she kept saying it all the time, not knowing what it really meant. As they were all having fun, Moriken and Gurasan started saying that it was great she wasn’t wearing a bra, and Saeli laughing, asked them what they were looking at. Everybody was having a great time with her, and soon it became obvious that Gurasan had a thing for her. So he told her “Muy bonita” (”you’re very cute” in Spanish), and she asked him where he had learned his Spanish. Gurasan said a few more things in Spanish, and later admitted that it had been 4 or 5 years since he had felt this way, convinced that it was fate. However, about 30 minutes later, the girl suddenly got off the bus, and it became apparent that she had only hitched a ride to her university.
“Here we are” “?”
Later that night, Gurasan went to the staff’s room, and asked them if he couldn’t send a letter or give a phone call to Saeli. Poor Gurasan. In the past, there were a couple of cases where a Japanese-speaking local had got on the bus for a few days, and I guess that’s what Gurasan was expecting. A Japanese-speaking Venezuelan babe, him being interested in learning Spanish, I’m sure it was all falling into place in his mind. But when he asked the staff about contacting her, they never gave a definite answer, as he finished his sentence saying that it wouldn’t be possible. Who knows, maybe the staff will secretly contact Saeli so she can resurface later? Now that would be great!
“A letter, or a phone call would be impossible… impossible, right?”
Existential crisis, anyone? It seems Miyanee had some sort of an epiphany about how insignificant she was and how meaningless her life had been, eeer, that is, compared to Mr. Perfect, Oga the Great.
But let me start from the beginning. Everything seemed to be going fine, with Miyanee and Oga sitting together. As she kept throwing rocks, Oga asked her what was up with that, and she replied that she liked such moments. Oga pointed out that she seemed restless, and she told him she felt excited. Then Oga said he tended to be daydreaming when he was with her, which slightly insulted Miyanee. She told him to be more talkative, and more considerate. But then she started throwing rocks again, telling him that it was ok to be daydreaming. Just two happy campers hanging out, spending time together doing nothing. Sounds like something everybody needs once in a while…
And then, all hell broke loose. The next day, the group got to visit a karate dojo, where as a national champion (no shit, he won all national competitions at elementary, junior and senior high school level), Oga was naturally asked to make a demonstration. When he came out wearing his kimono, the rest of the group – including Miyanee – was practically in awe, telling him how cool he looked. Oga had been trained by his father since he was a kid, and to Oga, karate was a way of life, and his father the most prominent figure he ever had. I have to say, I was a lot more impressed that the first time I saw him make some moves when he joined the group. His movements were as quick, precise and graceful as expected from a champion. Indeed, perhaps too perfect…
On the way back from the dojo, Miyanee was conspicuously quiet and pensive. Back at the hotel, she took a shower, and when she came out of it, wrote as follows in her diary:
After taking a shower, I watched myself from head to toes.
31 years old!
I watched myself standing in a revealing nakedness.
I thought:”Is that me?”
Looking at myself from the outside, for the first time I thought:
“Is this what my face, my eyes, my nose look like?”
I’m a failure. What will happen from now on? Is my pride wounded?
Am I so awkward? It doesn’t make any sense. I can’t go on.
Aaaaaargh! Miyanee was one of my favorite girls in a long time. No, not a girl, a mature, level-headed woman, and pretty at that. How can she let Oga’s flawlessness get to her like that? Because this is what it’s all about – she started comparing herself to him. Of all the participants, she’s the one who should have enough wisdom to understand that we can’t compare people, because we’re all different, and other people’s achievements cannot become criterions upon which we can base our lives. Besides, with the career she had, she has nothing to envy anyone. I suspect the problem comes from her feelings towards Oga, i.e. she probably thinks she can’t live up to his high standards and expectations. Poor girl. Now that Oga was finally coming around, I’m starting to wonder if she wouldn’t be better off with Moriken… Hang in there, girl!
Next week, the group will go through some sort of ritual, we’ll have yet another Ainori lesson about “The secret behind the huge gap between social classes being threatened” (oh, come on!), and something about Oga’s past will be revealed. I told you he must have some skeletons in his closet.
HANG ON, PEOPLE!