The doctor shows just keep coming, but the two-part “Kyokuhoku Rhapsody” (NHK-G, Tues.-Wed., 10 p.m.) borrows a current issue from the headlines to make its dramatic point.
Eita Nagayama plays Dr. Imanaka, the only full-time physician working at the Kyokuhoku Municipal Hospital in Hokkaido after a purge of staff due to budget cutbacks. His new boss, Dr. Sera (Kaoru Kobayashi), is determined to reduce the institute’s debt even more by closing down certain departments. He announces to the community that the hospital will no longer provide emergency services. These measures affect Dr. Imanaka personally, since he will have to discharge his girlfriend’s grandfather, who is a long-term patient. But when the media start reporting that a patient has died because Sera denied him treatment, Imanaka puts his foot down.
Sometimes it seems as if foreigners who have made their home in Japan love the country more than natives do. Or maybe not. That’s the premise of the two-hour variety special “Nippon Daisuki Gaikokujin Sekai no Mura ni Satogaeri” (“Foreigners Who Love Japan Visit Hometowns Around the World”; TBS, Thurs., 7 p.m.). Comedians accompany TV personalities who are long-term foreign residents of Japan when they return to their home countries for visits.
So we have deadpan comic Hiroshi tagging along with mixed martial arts fighter Bobby Ologun on a visit to Nigeria, where he meets Bobby’s family; and former boxer Yoko Gushiken hanging out with Latvian TV personality Erizabeeta when she drops in on her hometown of Riga to sample that Eastern European capital’s attractions. Other destinations include Italy and Nepal.
CM of the week
BeeTV: BeeTV is mobile communications provider DoCoMo’s video-streaming service, and to promote the fact that movies are available the company is airing a series of spots featuring actors Ryuhei Matsuda and Robert De Niro in various New York City locations, talking obliquely about cinema.
In one that takes place in a bar, De Niro talks about being married “29 times, and the women were amazing.” Matsuda replies, in Japanese, that he’s only been married thrice. “You got a long way to go,” De Niro says, and then later, “Do you understand English?” Matsuda replies, again in Japanese, “There are subtitles.”