|

Journey to the land of Pashmina, Aya Ueto’s drama debut; CM of the week: iPhone 4

The final installment of the travel show “Gyakuryu! Shiraberu Toraberu” (“Against the Current! Investigating and Traveling”; TV Tokyo, Mon., 8 p.m.) spends the bulk of its two-hour running time in the Pashmina region of Nepal, which is famous for its cashmere wool. This wool is produced by a specific species of goat that can only be found deep in the Himalayas, and the reporters go to a great deal of trouble to find these animals.

The program also visits Peru to check out the habitat of another animal, the alpaca, which is popular in Japan thanks to a commercial featuring the llamalike quadruped. Finally, it’s off to Turkey and a tomato cannery that exports the bulk of its product to Japan.

TV commercial queen Aya Ueto makes her NHK drama debut in “Junen Saki mo Kimi ni Koi Shite” (“Even in 10 Years I Will Love You”; NHK-G, Sat., 10 p.m.) as Rika, a young editor who is successful at work but unlucky in love . . . so far.

Rika is working on a new book by a romance novelist named Hidaka (Hitori Gekidan), and during one of their meetings in a public place she notices a man in a trench coat, fedora and dark glasses hanging around in the distance. Over the next few days she sees this man often, and begins to fear that he is stalking her.

Rika has a crush on a young man named Hiroshi (Masaaki Uchino), and he finally asks her on a date. She is quite excited, but then the mysterious man finally confronts her and says that Hiroshi is not “the one you are destined to be with.” To her horror, the man looks just like Hiroshi, only older.

CM of the week

iPhone 4: The TV spots for Apple/Softbank’s iPhone 4 capitalize on the smart phone’s video-call capabilities using sentimental ideas that have already been exploited by camcorder makers. In one, a man on a business trip uses his iPhone to watch as his daughter celebrates her birthday. In another, a mother watches her grown daughter prepare for her wedding, presumably in a faraway land.

However, one spot, titled “Lovers,” promotes video-call in a way that makes such perfect sense that it goes beyond the sentimental to the sublime. Two people with hearing disabilities communicate using sign language over their iPhones. We know from the call information on the man’s phone that his female interlocutor is Japanese. The man appears to be in a foreign country. There is an air-mail envelope on the bed beside him. He removes an omamori (Japanese good luck charm) from the envelope and shows it to the woman. Obviously, she sent it to him.

Those of us who do not understand sign language can only guess what they are saying, but it only makes the CM that much more effective, and moving.