Though there are professional competitive eaters, one doesn’t have to be certified to participate in such contests. The TV personalities on this week’s two-hour special edition of the variety show “Ikinari! Ogon Densetsu” (“Out of the Blue! Gold Legend”; TV Asahi, Thurs., 6:53 p.m.) are all comedians known for their appetites.
Two teams, one male, one female, will find the best 12 tabehōdai (all you can eat) restaurants in the Tokyo area for this ōgui (big eating) “marathon,” during which each team attempts to consume 100 kg of food. The first to reach that nausea-inducing goal is the winner. On a previous special, the first team to reach 42.195 kg of food — the weight equivalent of the distance run in km in a real marathon — was the winner. On hand to help the men’s team is pitcher Koji Uehara of the Boston Red Sox.
Rieko Saibara, who writes the popular manga “Mainichi Okasan” (“Daily Mother”), is famous for her candor, which recently got her fired from commentator duties on an MXTV talk show. Saibara often says that her personality was mainly shaped by her stepfather, who committed suicide when she was 19. Her adolescence is dramatized on “Jinsei wa Saitei Oyaji Kara Osowatta” (“I Learned About Life From the Worst Father”; BS Premium, Feb. 10, 10 p.m.).
Saibara’s real father was a violent alcoholic, and her mother left him when she was still pregnant with Rieko. She moved back into her parents’ home, but seven years later married a gambling addict who would hold more than 30 jobs over the course of his life. Though her stepfather, whom Saibara has always been reluctant to talk about, made her life miserable, he also made her laugh.
CM of the week
Choya: For years alcoholic-beverage maker Choya has pitched its umeshu (plum wine) to young women with ads showing pretty actresses getting tipsy on their product, and always in the afternoon. They take a different tack in their latest CM, which shows sultry Manami Higa dressed in a diaphanous white gown turning slowly in a stark white room with a breeze blowing through sheer white curtains. She holds the glass of the plum nectar up to the light reverently while a singer intones the usual jingle as if it were a hymn. Higa turns translucent. It’s not just a tipple, it’s an elixir of the gods.