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Jun Ikeido’s “Roosevelt Game” gets drama; dancer Ebina profiled; CM of the Week: Lawson

by Philip Brasor

Special To The Japan Times

In baseball parlance, a “Roosevelt game” is one where a team wins by one run. The new TBS drama series, “Roosevelt Game” (Sunday, 9 p.m.), is based on a novel by Jun Ikeido, who wrote last year’s smash series “Hanzawa Naoki.” This one is also set in the corporate world, but in manufacturing rather than finance.

Aoshima Seisakujo Co. makes precision instruments, and since the 2007 recession has been badgered by customers to cut prices. President Hosokawa (Toshiaki Kawasawa), who did not reach his position “the traditional way,” is under great pressure from his board of directors. During a meeting he drops a bombshell. He has decided to disband the company baseball team, which costs the firm ¥300 million a year. The directors are shocked since the team is a pet project of the founder and chairman of the company (Tsutomu Yamazaki). When Hosokawa tells the chairman of his decision, the old man is angry and tells him his iron rule: You never cut personnel.

Kento Nakajima of the boy band Sexy Zone is the host-reporter for this week’s installment of “Challenge: Yume no Sono Saki e” (“Challenge: Beyond the Dream”; NHK-Premium, Wed., 8 p.m.), which profiles Kenichi Ebina, a dancer who outlasted all other competitors on the eighth season of the U.S. audition series “America’s Got Talent.” Ebina is especially lithe and limber, and his act isn’t limited to dancing but incorporates martial arts, magic and pantomime.

In April, Ebina had his first-ever solo performance in California and Nakajima and a video crew were on hand to watch it and interview the dancer. He tries to find out what sort of personality could create such a dynamic, unique show and how Ebina developed his unusual talents.

CM of the Week: Lawson

The convenience store chain hired actor Hidetoshi Nishijima for a series of ads to promote its new line of packaged rice balls called Onigiri-ya. The commercials take place in a restaurant that only sells rice balls.

In one spot Nishijima is sitting at the counter and mentions that whenever he returns from overseas he eats white rice and red snapper. A middle-aged woman sitting next to him asks where he went, and he stammers, “I’ve been in Japan the whole time.” 

The woman obviously didn’t see the All Nippon Airways CM from last month featuring Nishijima going on an overseas business trip.