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Water issues around Asia; the world of solo karaoke; CM of the Week: Recruit

by Philip Brasor

Special To The Japan Times

Monday is Marine Day, a national holiday, and as has been its tradition for a decade, Nippon TV will air a 90-minute afternoon special about sustainability hosted by Osaka-based announcer Seiji Miyane. “Nippon no Shoku no Mirai” (“The Future of Food in Japan,” 2:55 p.m.) attempts to project the future of Japanese food culture by looking at how other countries address their own food issues.

This year, the theme is monsoons, which are vital to the ecology of southern Asia. TV personality Mari Hoshino goes to Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia to talk to fishermen and learn how they prepare their catch as preserves that can be stored indefinitely. In addition, reporter Kazuki Namioka goes to Cenderawasih Bay in Indonesia and Akinobu Shinoyama visits Guangzhou in China to learn about their respective food cultures.

A new TV drama by beloved scriptwriter Taichi Yamada premieres Friday at 9 p.m. “Yoso no Uta, Watashi no Uta” (“Someone Else’s Song, My Song,” Fuji TV) stars Tsunehiko Watase as Takashi, a retired university professor who tries to find meaning for the rest of his life.

He hits on the idea of an anthropological study centered on people who partake in hitori karaoke, meaning they go to karaoke parlors and rent rooms to sing by themselves. He discovers a wide cross-section of individuals, from widows and widowers, to people who are tired of their jobs, to terminally ill individuals. Eventually, he establishes a choral group with the subjects of his study, and with the help of his wife, who studied classical music, he gets the group to try out for a competition. In the process, the members not only have a good time, but find a new reason to live.

CM of the Week: Recruit 

Recruit takes advantage of the worldwide fascination with cat videos in its latest series of TV spots for travel magazine Jaran. Titled “Matatabi,” which can mean both “catnip” and “yet another journey,” the ads feature two orange-and-white tabbies with mini-suitcases around their necks traveling Japan by train, doing what normal tourists do: taking pictures of sights, making new friends (a doll-like Pomeranian), enjoying the beach and, of course, eating — or, at least, buying food. Because of the cats’ fixed expressions, though, it’s difficult to tell if they’re enjoying themselves.

  • Jack

    Two cats with curiosity written on their faces.