‘Rich Man Poor Woman in New York’; getting into Todai; CM of the week: JCB

One of the popular drama series last summer was “Rich Man Poor Woman,” which was broadcast in the coveted Monday 9 p.m. time slot on Fuji TV. Shun Oguri played Toru, a young IT billionaire, and Satomi Ishihara was Makoto, who despite graduating from the University of Tokyo was not from a well-to-do family. Their different outlooks on life made for romantic tension.

On Monday at 9 p.m. their saga continues in a two-and-a-half-hour special, “Rich Man Poor Woman in New York.” Makoto is now working as a researcher for a pharmaceutical company in Brazil, but manages to maintain a long-distance relationship with Toru. She returns to Japan for a one-week break but has no place to stay until Toru’s assistant makes a novel suggestion.

Speaking of the University of Tokyo, Nippon TV is airing a special 90-minute documentary entitled “Todai Juken Monogatari” (“University of Tokyo Entrance Exam Stories”; Wed., 10 p.m.), which closely follows three high school students trying to enter Japan’s most esteemed school.

One is a young man from Sendai who wants to get into Todai so that he can become a civil servant and return to his hometown to work on reconstruction. A young woman from the Kansai area challenges the theory that only applicants from certain schools can get into Todai. And a boy from Kagoshima sets his sights on Todai’s difficult premed program. The camera stays close, right up to the day the school announces who gets in and who doesn’t.

CM of the week

JCB: The funniest TV commercials are those that don’t take seriously the appeal or usefulness of the thing being advertised. The new spots for credit-card company JCB featuring Arashi’s Kazunari Ninomiya and a sarcastic frog have it easier in this regard since credit cards, by definition, can be used for anything.

In one, Ninomiya wakes up with bed head and, wondering if he’s somehow related to Beethoven, consults a geneticist, who informs him he’s actually related to Bach, so he uses his JCB card to pay for a Bach hairstyle, which his froggy friend ridicules, thus bringing on a crying jag that floods his apartment and gets Ninomiya evicted. Rejected and disappointed, he uses his card to book a flight to London, where the new ‘do gets him a job as a judge, presumably because the British judiciary thinks it can save money on wigs.