Ainori #365 to #371 (No, really)

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).


new.gif righ-red_e0.gif Ex-participants’ blogs
(Japanese only)
JUST ADDED MIYANEE’S BLOG

(Thanks to lala for the tip :-) )
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Ainori’s BT downloads available @ D-Addicts

Streaming videos of Ainori are available on youtube.com.


Ainori #365 to #371

WARNING! THIS IS VERY OLD STUFF!

WTF!? I just finished watching Ainori #365 to #371, and to my great surprise more than half of the group had changed, and completely new relationships had formed. That’ll teach me to miss Ainori for almost two months. Anyway, due to my long period of procrastination, here I am with seven Ainori summaries behind. As it’s been suggested by CM (thanks for your continuous support, I appreciate it), instead of writing about every single little detail like I usually do (which would be extremely time-consuming), I will give a general overview of what happened between participants over the last seven episodes.

The OGA – MIYANEE story arc


Miyanee

Oga

In Ainori #365, Oga revealed to Miyanee that among the 8 romantic relationships he had in the past, none of them had lasted more than 6 months, and he had been the one breaking them up because he realized he didn’t love the girls he was going out with. In Ainori #366, Miyanee, perplexed by Oga’s story and unwilling to get involved with him suspecting a lack of commitment, she confronted him with the problem. Oga explained that the girls liked him, and that he thought he would come to love them if he went out with them, but his failures prompted Miyanee to accuse him of not making enough efforts to keep his relationships going. Oga finally admitted he couldn’t trust women because he had been traumatized by the fact he was cheated on by his first girlfriend and had money (\500 000 – about US $4400) stolen from him by another. In Ainori #367, Miyanee decided to ask Oga, who finally had revealed his “weakness”, to go back to Japan with her. She told him she had seen his many good sides and his bad sides, how she thought he was wise and stupid at the same time, and how he was the coolest wearing his kimono and doing karate. She told him she had loved him all along, and that she was confident she could make him forget the bad experiences he had with other girls. The next morning, Oga turned her down, explaining he had joined Ainori to find that special girl, and that he thought Miyanee was the one. However glad that she had been the first one to confront him with his romantic shortcomings, she had enabled him to think about his own feelings profoundly, and had to turn her down realizing his feelings weren’t as strong as he thought, i.e. he couldn’t to lie to himself and get involved with her. After Miyanee left the group, Gurasan tried to comfort an obviously very upset Oga, but he finally announced to the group that he’d drop out, on account that he felt guilty for being unable to reciprocate to Bambi and Miyanee’s feelings, and for hurting them by turning them down. His leaving the group revealed the deep friendship that had grown between him and Gurasan, who never thought he could become friends with a guy like Oga, who was his complete opposite.

The HIDERINKO – NEKO story arc


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Hiderinko.jpg

In Ainori #365, Hiderinko was determined to show his masculinity to Neko, and they had a great time dancing together. However, in Ainori #367, when he saw how Miyanee’s feelings were serious towards Oga, he realized his feelings weren’t strong enough towards Neko, and in view of his already decided short term on Ainori, decided to drop out. In Ainori #368, the morning after Miyanee had left, he was ready to tell the group about his decision upon finishing breakfast, but Oga beat him to it. Feeling he couldn’t announce to the group that he was leaving too, he decided to wait for a better timing. During that episode, it was revealed that Neko was determined to go back to Japan with Hiderinko, but that she had decided to wait until their relationship got better. Unfortunately for her, while the group was gathered in the boys’ room to play a game, Hiderinko jumped on the occasion to tell the group he had decided to drop out, too. He explained that although he had indeed fallen for someone, he wasn’t ready to declare his love as passionately as Miyanee did, and that his short stay on Ainori didn’t give him enough time to do so anyway.

A NEW BEGINNING

With only four participants left, Hiroe got a bad case of the blues, and told the staff she was thinking about dropping out, too, disappointed by her trip so far and unable to see anything significant happening ahead. In a display of support rarely seen on Ainori, and most probably due to a moment of panic realizing the group might drop to an all time low of three participants, the staff managed to convince her to stay a little longer, on account that dropping out without having been involved at all was meaningless.

In episode #369, the group moved to Taiwan, Ainori’s 78th country. The Taiwanese are apparently very fond of all things Japanese, on account that Japan helped modernize their country and bring it up to speed with the rest of the industrialized world in the first half of the 20th century. Ainori is also broadcasted and very popular in Taiwan, and I actually started putting links to my summaries on Taiwanese Ainori billboards after realizing once that I got a sudden increase in traffic from Taiwan. Anyway, this explains why the participants are treated like stars in Taiwan, with crowds gathering around the Love Bus and people taking pictures of the participants all the time.

THREE NEW PARTICIPANTS

TeppeiTeppei “Teppei” Maeda, 28, from Saitama prefecture. Working for an IT joint venture, he wrote on his profile that he was looking for a love “provider”. Apparently a heavy drinker (but then again, that is a cultural biased ;-) ), he got into a drinking contest with Gurasan, which resulted in a draw when the other new male(?) participant couldn’t hold his own alcohol.

PochiTatsuya “Pochi” Okada, 20, from Osaka. He works as a pet shop manager and wrote on his profile: “Take the lead and take me for a walk”. The first kanji for his given name means “dragon”, which is paradoxical since the guy is the most effeminate male participant to join Ainori yet. Pressed by Hiroe to reveal his sexual orientation, he strongly denied being gay. With his “Take me for a walk” statement and his personality, I can’t help but picture him wearing a dog collar…

KuuKumi “Kuu” Atsuda, 21, from Chiba prefecture. An ex-airline employee, she wrote on her profile that “she would play (as in playing a musical instrument) the fruit flute (thanks to anonymous for pointing out my mistake)of love”, whatever that means. With that statement and seeing her blowing, eeeerrr, playing the flute, I can’t help but picture her… oh, never mind. Although she said she always gets dumped by the guys she likes, she immediately proved to be very popular among the senior male participants.

The HIROE-MORIKEN-KUU-GURASAN love rectangle

Hiroeyellowarrowright.gifMorikenKuuyellowarrowleft.gif

When the group had the welcome party for the newcomers, Moriken noticed Hiroe was kind of down, and told her he never had a chance to think about her. She acknowledged that they never really got together and that they never confided to each other. He told her that although he found her annoying sometimes, he thought she had a charming personality, comments which Hiroe appreciated.

When the group visited the Japanese-like maid café, the girls tried on maid uniforms and Gurasan suddenly fell for Kuu, telling the staff later on that she looked like a porn actress, which he thought was really charming (keep your pants on people, this is just another cultural bias – at least they weren’t wearing high school uniforms!).

In Ainori #370, when the group visited a shopping area, Hiroe decided to take Moriken shopping for a wallet, as he was the group’s treasurer. They had a great time shopping, and Hiroe obviously started to like him. That night she put a string on the wallet and the next morning put it around Moriken’s neck, who noticed she was wearing make-up.

That night, Gurasan invited Kuu for a talk, and told her he’d like to get to know her better. The next day, while they were on the bus, they talked about what they wanted to do with their lives, agreeing with each other about their respective goals.

The next day, Hiroe and Moriken got together again, and when he asked her about her work as a designer, she replied that it wasn’t design, but “creation”. So he tried to confirm that she was indeed a designer, and she replied fuzzily that she wasn’t really sure. He asked her if that subtle that difference was something she really thought about, and she told him that she’d think about it from then on, that it was her way of life. Moriken. understandably puzzled by her answers, later told the staff Hiroe was always replying incomprehensibly.

The next day, Moriken and Kuu got together for the first time in a park, and under the worried eyes of Gurasan, realized they had very similar opinions about romantic relationships, namely that freedom was important. They both agreed that there were a lot of things they wanted to do, and that a relationship shouldn’t be constraining and should allow for plenty of private time.

In Ainori #371 while riding on the Love Bus, Moriken didn’t seem to feel very well, and Kuu, who was sitting next to him, started giving him a seemingly very enjoyable hand massage (acupressure).

The next day, they sat together again on the Love Bus and during lunch, and seemed to be really hitting it off. All that obviously fun interaction didn’t go unnoticed by Gurasan and Hiroe.

A couple of days later, Hiroe invited Moriken again for a talk, but couldn’t get the conversation going. When Moriken pointed out that she wasn’t very talkative, she replied that she’d rather “feel the atmosphere” of the situation. Moriken asked her whether she had some questions on her mind, and again, Hiroe told him she relied on her sixth sense instead. Moriken told her he couldn’t make sense of what she was saying, and that she was too deep into her own world. He then excused himself, telling her he had something to talk about with Neko. While Hiroe returned to the Love Bus to cry by herself, Moriken went to see Neko, and they both agreed that Hiroe was weird and hard to follow.

The next day, the group went to relax at a hot spring, and stimulated by Kuu’s bikini, Gurasan suddenly went up to her and offered to give her a massage. That night, Gurasan who somehow was able to requisition the Love Bus, took Kuu on a date at a very nice and romantic spot where they had a pretty good time, joking about going back to Japan together..

Two days later, the group had decided to climb a famous mountain to watch the sun rise, and Gurasan made sure he’d climb with Kuu. Against all odds, due to bad weather, a beautiful sunrise appeared, and Kuu was very happy as it was the first time she witnessed the sun rising. On that day, Gurasan wrote in his diary that he was definitely in love with Kuu, and that night went to the Love Bus to get the faithful plane tickets.

That’s it, folks, 7 episodes of Ainori compressed in less than 2000 words. Hell, I’ve had longer summaries just for one episode before! I think it’s just too bad that Oga turned down Miyanee, as she was the one girl he could have put his faith in, and through her regain trust towards women in general. I think the fact that he dropped out was quite revealing that it was a mistake to let her go. But the fact that Mr. Perfect finally showed everybody he was only human after all was an important step for him. Hiderinko shouldn’t have let himself be influenced by Miyanee’s passion. We’re all different, and his feelings towards Neko seemed genuine, and he should have acted upon them. He missed an excellent chance, as she was ready to leave with him, and I’m sure he banged his head on the wall when he saw Ainori on TV afterwards. Too bad! The new participants seem interesting, and I wonder if Pochi is not gay without realizing it. If he’s not, I’m worried he’ll have a hard time finding a girl who actually likes his effeminate side. I can’t wait to hear about his past romances. I had noticed Hiroe’s unintelligible conversations before, like when she was talking with Sanchan, for example. I think she put too much hope in Moriken’s innocent remarks, which were only meant to be friendly. Moriken and Kuu, however, really seem to be compatible. Gurasan rushing into a kokuhaku is definitely a mistake. He’s concentrating too much on his own feelings, without getting any vibes from Kuu at all. It’s way too early to declare his love to her, and I’m pretty sure she’s going to turn him down next week. Then again, we’ve seen seemingly “doomed” couples form before, which is exactly why Ainori is so fun to watch.

CURRENT SITUATION
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Next week, Gurasan will declare his love to Kuu, and get her reply in front of a crowd of fans, a unique and most unusual event in the history of Ainori. Now THAT should be fun!

NEXT ON AINORI


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8 Responses to “Ainori #365 to #371 (No, really)”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Hey, welcome back, Sylvain! Glad to still see you alive and kicking. Just a little note: 「フルート」 in Kuu’s profile still refers to flute, hehe.

    It’s always interesting reading your insights on each episode, so keep ‘em coming next week; your readers are cheering you on!

  2. Alex Says:

    Welcome back Sylvain! We have all missed you in the past few weeks or months!

    Next week should be a cracker! Can’t see Kuu going for Gurasan but you never know!

  3. shine Says:

    WELCOME BACK. I THINK WE CAN ALL SAY THAT WE MISSED YOU AND YOUR REVIEWS!

  4. Nathan Says:

    I don’t know. From the looks of the preview, Kuu might accept Gurasan. Otherwise there would be no reason for the fireworks to pop.

    That’d be nice. There’s been a long streak of Ainori rejections/dropouts.

  5. Ayumi Says:

    Thanks as always, Sylvain! We’ve missed you! I think Kuu will turn down Gurasan, he could have waited a little more. If Kuu is interested in any of the participants I think that’s Moriken. I noticed from the next week’s preview that there will be a lot of people watching the kokuhaku! I hope Gurasan and Kuu don’t get too nervous.

  6. Joey Says:

    Welcome Back!
    I think i relate to Gurasan the most, since he is usually a loner, so I hope his kokuhaku goes well next week. it will be a shame if he goes back to japan alone after being on ainori for quite a while.

  7. Marcelo Says:

    Sylvain:

    Sorry for beign away all this time… but since I came to Japan (Matsuyama) I’ve been studying most of the time… So much, that, ironically, I’ve barely had the opportunity to view ainori here, and after almost 5 months waiting, I’ve finally got an internet connection of my own.
    For what I’ve been reading, a lot has happened… so much that, all of a sudden, they’re already in Taiwan. And I thought Ainori would visit El Salvador this time… che… anyway, I’m looking forward to watch (and download) more ainori episodes during Natsuyasumi.
    Hanaki, darling, if you still show up here from time to time, let me tell you (of course, you already know this) that I miss you like crazy. I just… want you never to forget that… ne?
    Ijou.

    Marcelo.

  8. Victor Says:

    Thanks a lot as always, Sylvain!!