Ainori #361

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)
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Ainori’s BT downloads available @ D-Addicts

Streaming videos of Ainori are available on youtube.com.


Ainori #361

WARNING! THIS IS A SPOILER!

This week’s episode started with another unnecessary, futile attempt to make an already perfectly good show seem more interesting. Baaaah! The group also moved to Surinam, Ainori’s 76th country, where they unexpectedly got treated as stars. Miyanee seemed to enjoy Moriken’s company, but obviously still had Oga on her mind. Gurasan and Neko’s relationship seemed to concretized, although neither of them made their feelings known to the staff, yet. The rest of the show revolved around descendents of African slaves, who had escaped and perpetuated their original way of life in the middle of the jungle.

flyingrodgoingright.jpgGurasanflyingrodgoingleftjpg

Apparently, “proof” of cryptozoological non-sense, that had gone “unnoticed” in last week’s footage, suddenly surfaced this week. Right, like they didn’t see that when they incorporated the subtitles. It seems a “flying rod” had flown right in front of Gurasan’s face while he was talking with Neko, and of course, they jumped on that pseudo-sensational BS nugget to put a little excitement in the show. The problem with “flying rods”, whose presence has been detected almost exclusively through digital video recordings, is that their existence has already been discredited by a bunch of scientists, who actually “caught” some in a net. They turned out to be just regular moths and whatnots, who appeared to be something else due to an optical illusion created by the limitations of video recording technology. I swear, they’ll have us witness the group being abducted by aliens some day. Wanna bet it’ll be a pink flying saucer with cameras and mics conveniently set up aboard? “This week, Ainori reaches its 23rd planet, and the new female participant falls in love with an out of phase life form made of pure energy!”

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A flying rod

Back to reality (because that’s what it’s supposed to be: a “reality show”) the group arrived in Suriname, Ainori’s 76th country. Suriname is apparently known for peacefully co-existing religious groups who in other parts of the world are often antagonistic, with mosques and synagogues built next to one another. Another thing that was brought home to the participants and the crew rather quickly, is the rareness of Japanese visitors. Indeed, it didn’t take long before a camera crew from a local news program was dispatched, and got as far as to interview the participants one by one. That night, the group was eagerly waiting to see themselves on TV, and although Ainori came number two in the top news (right between a story on educational reform and international news), none of the interviews taken that day was actually shown. They basically explained what the show was about (mistakenly describing the Love Bus as being red) and that they were currently in the country, to the disappointment of the participants.

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(In Suriname) Japanese are an object of curiosity

However, the broadcast had been seen by no other than the vice Prime Minister, who was nice enough to extend an invitation to these impromptu Japanese ambassadors. The group was quite surprised, as they learned the identity of their host only after they got to the luxurious property. Wined and dined like no other Ainori participants had ever been before, they started engaging in small talk with the vice-PM through an interpreter. When asked what was their first impression of Suriname, Moriken scored some points by answering he was looking forward to learn a lot in Suriname, a country where many religions could co-exists peacefully, has there weren’t that many large religious groups in Japan. But when the host asked what they thought about the newly elected Prime Minister Abe in Japan, Hiroe put her foot in her mouth by saying she didn’t think he was the right man for the job. Consternation was clearly visible on the vice-PM’s face, who probably expected no less than respect for elected officials during a dinner party conversation. Hiroe’s blunt honesty had struck again!

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Oga Miyanee Moriken

After dinner, the hosts and the participants started dancing, and Miyanee and Moriken seemed to have a really good time. Later, she told the staff that when she was with Oga, she felt she could become someone who could make better efforts. However, she admitted that when she was with Moriken, she felt she could do crazy things without second thoughts, which was much easier on her. Over the next couple of days, Miyanee and Moriken hung out together, and Miyanee even wrote in her diary that she felt excitement when she was with him. However, Miyanee kept glancing at Oga, who seemed to be mostly hanging around by himself. Although she may look attracted to Moriken, I think it’s clear she still has Oga on her mind, and there’s this obvious tension between them. I bet Miyanee will talk to him again real soon, and try to make him understand he should be more lenient towards wild girls on party buses (read: her).

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From Miyanee’s Diary:
” I really wonder if things are fine just the way they are”


Gurasan Neko.jpg

Over the above-mentioned couple of days, Gurasan and Neko really seemed to be hitting it off, hanging out and having fun together, even acting like a couple at times. I think they might be falling for each other, although they haven’t shown any of them actually saying what was on their minds. Come on, guys, give us something here! I don’t think they know each other well enough to become a couple yet, but things look good and I’m definitely rooting for them.

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The next day, the Love Bus rode on the Ahobaka highway, which even though is a dirt road, is apparently the only highway in Suriname. The name came a bit as a surprise to the group as in Japanese, “aho” and “baka” both mean “stupid”, and for a second there, they all thought the driver was calling them names!

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“Aho! Baka! Aho! Baka!”

So they drove to the Suriname River, where they got onto a boat taking them further into the jungle. At one point, the participants were really surprised to see half-naked people on the river banks, and soon they arrived to a small village which had seemingly been protected from the influence of modern civilization. The village had an African look, because it had been indeed originally built by African slaves who had escaped and taken refuge in the jungle.

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At this point, they showed us yet another “Ainori Lesson”, but for once, they went a little further than what could usually be considered common knowledge (I had no idea some of the descents of African slaves in South America had not been completely culturally assimilated!). In the 17th century, Europe was swept by a wave of new products, such as tobacco and tea, the latter for which sugar demand rapidly rose. In order to provide for the increasing demand, it was decided that huge fields of tobacco and sugar cane were needed, and South America was a perfect spot with plenty of space. In order to supply the manpower necessary to operate the plantations, slaves were brought in from Africa and forced to work on the plantations. Apparently, the logic at the time that “as human beings, blacks were not equal to whites” was influenced by people like Montesquieu, a French philosopher who wrote a book called “The Spirit of the Laws“, in which he wrote that if Christians recognized blacks as human beings, Christians would stop being recognized as such (Note: This didn’t mean Montesquieu actually condoned slavery, because it seems he didn’t). So in 1674, the Dutch West India Company was founded, with the mandate to trade slaves. At the time, small wars in Africa were raging, and losing tribes were often sold for cheap to the company instead of being killed. These prisoners were taken to the Americas, and since Suriname was at the time a Dutch colony, many of them were sold as slaves there. Sold for about 500 dollars each, they were separated from their loved ones forever, chained and branded with an iron by their new owners. Ill-fed and forced to do hard labor, they were harshly punished for the smallest mistake, and the women were often raped. These crimes went unpunished, as the owners were in their right to conduct such atrocities. Naturally, many slaves tried to escape, and as the consequences for escaping were usually terrible if they got caught, they flew far into the jungle. Known as Maroon people, they made a life for themselves in the heart of the rain forest, too far to be influenced by modern civilization even today.

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When the group asked the head of the village if they still held a grudge towards white people for doing such terrible things to their ancestors, he replied they didn’t, as long as they could perpetuate the African way of life.

That night, the villagers threw a welcome party for the group, with lively African dancing involved. They say that about 15 million people were taken from Africa, and that some of their descendents live in more than 100 different places in the heart of the rain forest.

Next week, Sanchan will confide his uneasiness to the staff, presumably because he still has feelings for Bambi. Hope he won’t quit. Hang in there, little dude!

NEXT ON AINORI


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8 Responses to “Ainori #361”

  1. New York Jihen Says:

    Note to NYJ: I took the liberty to move your comment to the proper post.

    Cheers,

    Sylvain

    I agree with Enchanted about Oga, I think he’s just using the Bonche thing as an excuse… with my little addendum “because he’s jerky”.

    And I’m glad to see Gurasan found someone to talk to finally.

    Skyfish?! That’s the biggest BS ever. A bug flies past the camera. Wow. It must be aliens.

    Oh no! Sanchan Jihen! What did he say? I really hope he doesn’t retire! Maybe Hiroe will give him good advice and the strength to hang in there. I know it won’t happen, but… maybe she will confess to him! I don’t really see her falling head over heels in love with him or anything, but really, who else on the bus right now would she be interested in? Maybe her cryptic talk was a hint that she’s looking for someone deeper.

  2. blink Says:

    wow I really love how I could check back with your site after I complete my report. So thats what Miyanee said. Arigatou sensei!

    I think Neko and Gurasan are about to get off the love bus together. Goes to show that you can’t force love but when it is something mutual, it’ll be so easy. I love how Neko makes subtle moves to advance the relationship (like sharing a towel). They like each other for sure.

  3. CM Says:

    Is there really no clips of the interaction between the participants to show? More than 50% of the show was about the history of the places they visit. I’ve been watching this show since it began and dont remember them covering that much about the places they visit. Maybe the participants are just really boring and the producers find no need to show their clips.

  4. Charmaine Says:

    Hello! I just discovered your site after searching Ainori on the web and have started watching Ainori on youtube from the farthest episode I could find. I started using your translations as a guide but I could not find another after 334, did you stop making them or are they in a different section? Thank you for all the recaps they definitely help as well!!

  5. Sylvain Says:

    >Charmaine

    I’m glad I can help. Unfortunately, my work load has considerably increased since I started writing about Ainori, not to mention my interest in many other things, too. I simply gave up on translations, as they were too time-consuming. People seem to be satisfied with summaries, so I concentrate on them.

    Cheers,

    Sylvain

  6. Mattias Says:

    Hi Sylvain,
    First time I post something, but I’ve been reading your ainory summaries for quite some time now, thanks for all the good work and keep it up!!

    Anyway, I would like to comment that the translator is doing a bad job when it comes to the Dutch sentences translated in Japanese subtitles. And I haven’t even watched the episode a second time to check other stuff yet.
    First of all, the woman reading the news clear says “een roze gespoten bus”, meaning a PINK painted bus, not a red one as the Japanese subtitles claim. The word for red, “rood”, doesn’t sound even remotely close when pronounced.
    Furthermore, when the vice Prime Minister raises his glass to toast, instead of the cliché Japanese subtitle translation that I think means something like: “a toast praying for a good trip in Suriname”,
    he says: “ik merk aan de gezichten dat ze het begrepen hebben”
    meaning something like: “From the look on their faces, I can tell that they probably understand”

    O well, it may be small things, but when there’s so little spoken text to translate, you’d expect them to do things right…

  7. Ayumi Says:

    Wow, I didn’t know they made so many mistakes. Maybe they did it in purpose? Because in the last example you gave, its a totally different phrase! I wonder why they do this.

  8. Enchanted Says:

    Wow. This episode was so awkward. I find it funny how the group was all excited to be shown on television, when ironically, they already are. Lmao. I thought it was pretty lame that they were interviewed for no reason. I mean, I can see how the reporters would just want to record something, perhaps for future reference, but it was disappointing for both the ainori crew and for us, the viewers.

    And while I find it great that they would want to incorporate the history of the people they come across, I felt that this time, they overdid it. I’m not watching this show to relive my high school days, lol. I just want to see realistic interactions amongst the ainori cast (as CM pointed out).

    I don’t like this forced pity stuff they’re stringing along each time they meet people with harsh histories and living conditions. It’s not a pity tour they’re on. It’s a show to find love.

    But I digress…what I really meant to post was how I’m happy with the Gurasan and Neko interactions. I take back the harsh things I said about Neko-san, lol. She was just trying to fit in with an already established group, and I think she did great. The pair are so cute together; it’s like puppy love….or cat.

    Anyways, my new ainori episode is downloading…can’t wait to see what’s up with San-chan =]