Japan is enjoying a “walking boom,” with something like 28 million people taking up the habit as a recreational activity. The main idea is exercise, but there is also a cultural component. Walkers are seeking out scenic routes that have historical significance, thanks mainly to renewed interest in the late writer Ryotaro Shiba, who published several books about famous travel routes.
Olympic medal-winning swimmer Kyoko Iwasaki will follow one of these routes through the island of Shikoku. Her walk will cover 200 kilometers and take two weeks. NHK will go along with her and offer 15-minute reports on her progress every morning starting Nov. 14 on “Kaido Tekuteku Tabi” (Highway Hiking Trip; BS-2, 7:45 a.m.).
Iwasaki will note the many changes that have occurred to the towns and villages along her route, and look at the abundance of natural beauty and the special cultural significance of the areas she visits. She will start in Kotohina-gu Shrine in Kagawa Prefecture and end up two weeks later in Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture. Each day’s report will contain both taped footage and live interviews.
Last year, “Inu no Eiga (A Dog Movie)” was a big box-office hit in Japan. On Nov. 15 at 9:15 p.m., Nihon TV will present a special television version of the film with new episodes, some of which were directed by well-known filmmakers. Presented as an omnibus of separate stories that are linked soap-opera style, this “special edition” of the movie features real dogs in contrived stories, but also utilizes musical numbers, animation, and comedy.
In one episode, a TV commercial planner named Kentaro is making a TV ad for a brand of dog food featuring popular idol Misaki Ito. He is increasingly under pressure from both the dog-food company, who is asking for the impossible, and his boss, who insists he do whatever they ask.
In another story, a male pug accompanies his owner who likes to walk by the house of a girl he has a crush on. During one of these walks, the pug himself spies a female dog and imagines himself running away with her.
Enka singer Kenichi Mikawa exploits his famous androgyny as a fortuneteller of indeterminate gender on the mystery drama special “Abune Futari Uranaishi (Dangerous Fortunetelling Duo)” (Fuji, Friday, 9:30 p.m.)
Kei Ibuki (Mikawa) is a popular fortune teller who hires a bodyguard after he tells a client he feels a negative premonition about his future safety and the client later dies under mysterious circumstances. The bodyguard, an African man named Bobby (Bobby Ologun), teams up with Ibuki to solve another mystery when a businesswoman named Fumiko patronizes Ibuki’s services to find out how opportune are her plans to expand her curry restaurant. Later, her husband is found dead.