Ainori #334

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

Ainori’s BT downloads available @ D-Addicts

Good News, people! It seems streaming videos of Ainori are still available on youtube.com.


Ainori #334

WARNING! THIS IS A SPOILER!

Holy cow, Batman, she said YES! Oh yeah, in a really unexpected turn of events, Junko accepted to go back to Japan with Tachi! Other things are happening, too. Sanchan is getting more confidence, and even went as far as preparing notes to engage in a conversation with Chaki. We finally got to see Yokomi speak more than one sentence, as he got into a meaningful talk with Yankumi. But first, let’s get into the specifics of the Junko/Tachi miracle.


TachiJunko

Now that really went against all odds, and sea gull droppings may have made a huge difference! As we saw in last week’s episode, the situation looked bleak, as Junko mentioned that she would have liked to get to know Tachi better instead of rushing into a relationship, and that she was thinking of how she would turn him down. Just before Junko went to give her answer to Tachi, they showed the staff talking to her, asking her how she felt about the whole thing. She replied that if they went back to Japan together, it would probably be a lot of fun at first, but that she didn’t she themselves as a couple in the long run. Although she mention she couldn’t realize Tachi’s returning to Japan, it was pretty obvious what her answer was. I thought that was pretty weird, as the producers don’t usually give such spoilers, and I should’ve picked up on that. Anyway, Junko finally met Tachi, and he made his desperate plea again. He told her that if they went back to Japan together, he would take her to places she had never been to, and show her magnificent sceneries. She replied that when she joined the group, he was the one who was the easiest to talk to. However, she wrongly thought that he was in love with someone else (Chaki), and she wanted to be there for him more like a supportive friend. Now up to that point, it was clear that she was building up towards a refusal and an apology, but at the moment she started explaining that she was so surprised when he declared his love to her, some seagulls made their business all over Tachi. So much so that he had to interrupt her (the voice sounded different, was it the director’s?) and started laughing, informing the staff that he had droppings all over his face. Junko started laughing too, and helped him clean up a bit.


Now I’m sure this unexpected event broke the tension, and sort of “reset” the kokuhaku (love declaration in Japanese), as when they got back to their respective positions, he started talking instead of letting her finish. But this time, he told her that if they went back to Japan together, he would like her to come with him to Niigata, which is exactly what he couldn’t ask his ex-girlfriend/fiancée two years before, and the very reason they split up. He then kept looking at her with a big smile, looking proud that he finally was able to utter what he couldn’t before. It looks like that really got to her, because she started thinking, replied that she thought if they went back together it would be a lot of fun, stopped, whispered “What am I gonna do?”, and finally said, “I wanna go back to Japan with you”. Man, that was really a big surprise, and I’m convinced the seagull incident not only broke the tension, but also gave Tachi a chance to say what he might never have said if that didn’t happen. As he said himself, it was a miracle. This one definitely is my top five kokuhaku! Sweeeeet!


“I want you to come to Niigata” “I wanna go back to Japan with you”
TachiJunko
Congratulations!

SanchanChaki

Well, Sanchan finally decided to make a move, and invited a girl for the first time in his life. The one who had the honor was Chaki, and Sanchan even prepared conversation questions on a piece of paper. The worst part is he forgot the paper, and got stuck with Chaki, who was waiting for him to say something. Personally, I think Sanchan taking out a piece of paper and reading questions off it would have been even more awkward, as you can see from the questions:


1: How have you been lately?
2: Did you get used to this trip?
3: How is romance going?
4: How was your love life until now?

Not that they’re such unusual questions on a show like Ainori (participants ask them all the time), but from a piece of paper? Anyway, he was really nervous when he realized he had forgotten his notes, and apparently too nervous to even remember these simple questions. So he was silent until they moved to another spot, where they finally got to talk. They talked about how inviting someone can be awkward, with the the fear of rejection and all. Then Chaki asked him: “Who’s the first person you wanna see when you go back to Japan?”, to which he replied “I wanna be by myself”. Typical! I’m not sure if Sanchan is cut for this, but at least he started trying, which is good. I sure hope the Ainori experience will help him come out of his shell.

Yankumi Yokomi

Finally, we got to see the two forgotten participants in action! Well, we saw Yankumi interact with the others before, but never in this way, and Yokomi was like, “who?”, since he joined the group, so I think this is a big development. I think everybody was under that impression, and indeed it seems Yankumi has been worried that the male participants weren’t seeing her as a “woman”. Why with her being an ex-gang member and her special looks, I guess it takes a guy who’s into that type of girls. This is probably the reason why it took her so long to make a move, and it seems that conversation with Yokomi got her thinking about him. Not that he was trying to charm her or anything: he started by saying he was talking to the girls in turns – which came across as a bit rude. Indeed, he wasn’t talking to Yankumi for who she was, but just because it was “her turn”. When she told him he was the one among the boys who seemed most understanding of women, he replied he wasn’t, that he just had a tendency to see women not as members of the opposite sex, but as friends. She said he was trying to appeal to women with his attitude in general, and he replied he wasn’t trying to appeal to all of the girls (à la Tagamikun?), that friendship develops naturally. Yokomi added that he was saying frankly what was on his mind. He continued by explaining that he was more into foreign women, that he didn’t like girls with small noses. Well, Yokomi may seem rude and too brutally direct for a Japanese, but at least he’s honest, and it seems that side of him kinda got Yankumi thinking. Is she about to fall for him? We’ll see…

Next week, two new participants will join the group: a 19 year-old girl, and a boy apparently so cute the girls will have trouble identifying what his gender is at first glance! Can’t wait to see that! Then, an “unexpected development” between Chaki and Uekki, which should also be interesting.

:-) Ainori #334 – Special treat for non-Japanese speakers :-)
:-) Ainori #334的英文譯文 :-)

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9 Responses to “Ainori #334”

  1. Stephen Says:

    Wow, great episode! Not only one of the most magical and spontaneous moments we’ve seen on the show but also really deftly edited in. Rewatch the episode and you’ll see all sorts of little hints they snuck in, in clever ways. I just hope that Junko really finds happiness with him, because it was SUCH a spontaneous decision (has anyone else ever changed their mind mid-scene like that?) that I hope it doesn’t turn out backfiring on her when they go back and she realizes that she doesn’t like Tachi as much as she thought she would.

    About time they managed to include Yokomi on the show! For such an enigmatic and non-present figure, he sure didn’t reveal his cards much on first meeting. Nevertheless I find his brutal honesty and frankness to be refreshing and I’d like to see more of him and Yankumi, as they are sort of the odd couple left out in the current group.

  2. Drew Says:

    I rode my scooter home in the pouring Tokyo rain last night to get home in time to see the show. After Junko’s answer, I was cheering so much that my neighbours must have thought I was crazy. Way to go Tachi and Junko! Actually, there was really no other choice for Junko than Tachi.. And the couple did seem to be tailor-made, though I expect when the casting director chose Junko for Tachi, that they didn’t expect Tachi to kokuhaku so soon.

    I got to thinking about this.. Junko was only on the show for such a short time, that actually probably by the time that they were editing her very first show, the editors already knew what the result of last night’s show would be. (We already know that there is an about-4-month lag time between the events and the show, so the events of last night’s show happened in mid-June, well before Junko’s first appearance).

    That would have given the producers an amazing amount of power to play with the viewer’s minds. For all we know, she might have said to her diary “I wish Tachi liked me instead of Chaki” or any other such thing, but since the producers knew what would happen in the end, they would be able to edit the show so that the audience never ever saw any of the signs that Junko may find Tachi interesting. Similarly, all of Tachi’s “stupid over-the-top in-love” moments would have been hand-chosen to create the illusion of an absolute impossible romance.

    I’m not saying that it wasn’t impossible, of course, but for the first time in a very long time, the producers had carte blanche to write one of the story lines in exactly the way that they wanted it, since they knew the ending before they even had to show us the beginning.

    Other points:

    1) Sylvain: “special looks”? Well, I think she’s cute. Then again, as I’m sure I’ve said before, feathers in the hair are a great look for any woman, and she does look very cute in her Pikachu kigurumi.

    2) I wonder if the girl next week will be a shy geek-girl hand-picked for San-chan. Uekki has Chaki, Yokomii’s an ass, and Tachi is gone, so maybe it’s San-chan’s turn.

    3) Way to go, San-chan. He’s certainly getting better; he did manage to say a few complete sentences there. And damn, he picked the cutie of the group!

    4) Still not liking the new theme music. I wish they’d go back to Chotokkyuu.

  3. jennycubachi Says:

    I know that in my Cuban culture (and maybe others I’m quite sure) having bird droppings come down on you is actually a sign of luck. So it came as no surprise to me that Junko said yes to Tachi. Congratulations Tachi and Junko! I hope their relationships continues to grow.
    I can’t wait to see the new participants on the show. Obviously Chaki has her interests. Sanchan needs a companion. Although it would be cute to see both of them together. Uekki just gives me a weird feeling. I am glad Sanchan is starting to break out of his shell. He just needs to talk to more people. Albeit the premise of the show is to garner a love interest, Sanchan is a special case in where he could gain a love interest and some experience in formulating friendships. Go Sanchan!!
    As for Yankumi, hopefully the new guy can spark some interest because the honesty of Yokomi may be a gesture to Yankumi of “I’m not interested in you so forget about it.” Yankumi seems to good for him anyway. Maybe the conversation might spark her to tweek her image a bit. Who knows, this show has so many curves and twists and I love it!!

  4. cm Says:

    sylvian,

    Why dont you have your students translate the Ainori dialogue into english for the non japanese speaking viewers. Its a good way for them to improve their english and also you dont have to labor with the translation and just have to look over their work and proof read it.

    This way we will get our translatoins on a weekly basis and you save some time.

  5. New York Jihen Says:

    NO WAY !!!

    I can’t believe she said yes. I haven’t actually had a chance to see the show, I’m still waiting on the torrent. Yeah, we probably got played by the editing for shock value. The producers might be manipulating things a bit (for instance the Outlaw incident) but I don’t think the members are ever in on it. It wouldn’t be possible to get consistently good actors, it would come off as fake. But truth is stranger than fiction… you can’t stage bird droppings.

    I am eager to see the Yokomi / Yankumi conversation. They are definitely the mysterious ones in the goup. Is he playing the bad boy? Is he trying to appeal to the tough girl by acting rude? Or is he just a jerk or maybe suffering from a case of the foot in mouth?

    What’s the incident between Chaki and Uekki? I think a new guy might cause some conflict, as a cute, young guy might be of interest to Chaki. And with Uekki being cast as a perv, there could be some rising tensions.

    A match for Sanchan? Can’t be. He’ll provide us lots of entertainment without spoon feeding him a match. He needs time to hone his skills before a real candidate shows up. Lots of time.

    But talk about manipulation! Our honorable host, Sylvain, is playing us like the “huge incident” with Outlaw… Special treats coming soon? Entire post devoted to the subject? Subtitles? Dubbed, voice over actors? Sylvain jihen?! Stay tuned, readers! (I’m just kidding of course, I’m grateful for the synopses, and thrilled for any news about translations.)

  6. laurent Says:

    Bonjour Sylvain, Depuis plusieurs mois, je regarde ton site, et notamment Ainori… Je connaissais cet emission car mon amie japonaise m’en avait parlé, mais le fait de pouvoir lire ton résumé, puis de le regarder avec mon amie en japonais me permet de suivre mieux les episodes. Et puis j’adore tes commentaires sur le show. ET bien sur j’aime aussi les autres articles de ton blog. Donc un grand grand merci pour ce boulot super que tu fais avec ce blog.

    Hi Sylvain, for now many months, I have been reading your site, and especially the Ainori part. I knew about this show, because my japanese girlfriend mentionned it to me. But being able to read your spoiler, then to watch it together with my girlfriend in japanese helps me to follow better the show. I really enjoy your comments on the show. Of course I also like the other articles of your site. So a real thank you for teh great work you do with your blog.

    And to finish not to tell I am addicted to the show, even if I miss some members like mie, suuzan or goki

  7. Miriam Says:

    I just watched the episode and I can’t wipe the smile off my face now. I felt like an idiot applauding watching tv, but it was just so great. Definitely one of the best kokuhaku I’ve seen. I hope they become really happy together.

  8. :) Says:

    this episode was azmazing.. i guess anything is possible.

  9. gambaru Says:

    many questions on this one.

    did she change her mind in the middle? or did she just hold out the possibility of changing her mind?

    did he actually DO or SAY anything to change her mind or did she do that all by herself? if there had been no bird dropping would the result be the same?

    my guess is he had nothing to do with it.

    is it normal for the bus to be that far away, on the other side of the bridge from the camera?

    thanks for blogging.