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World Cup opponent economies; riding a robot horse; CM of the week: Kirin Beer

by Philip Brasor

The FIFA World Cup is about to start, and the Japan national team will face the three teams in its group. Sports programs will analyze the team’s chances against these rivals in athletic terms, but, as part of the Nihon Keizai Shimbun group, TV Tokyo will look at the matter from an economic angle.

This week’s special edition of “Mirai Seiki Jipangu” (“Future Century Japan”; Mon., 10 p.m.) examines the economies of Greece, Colombia and Cote d’Ivoire. Greece, of course, is infamous for having sparked the euro crisis of several years ago. Colombia was also infamous as a major hub for the production of illicit drugs, centered on the Medellin drug trafficking cartel, but now it has become a vital South American economy. And Cote d’Ivoire has a special financial connection to Japan that most people don’t know about.

People probably think a successful jockey is a rider who becomes one with his horse, but in actuality the most successful ones are those who interact as little as possible with their mounts, as explained on this week’s installment of “Kokoro Yusabure” (“Shaking Hearts”; Nippon TV, June 14, 11 p.m.).

The guest is Yutaka Take, the most successful jockey in Japanese horse racing. Using a special simulation robot horse, Take shows his hosts how difficult it is to maintain a stable position while riding a galloping thoroughbred. The point is to make as little contact with the horse as possible. He also demonstrates how to use a riding crop and stresses the importance of memory. A jockey not only has to know everything about his own horse, but also those he’s racing against.

CM of the Week: Kirin Beer

In the latest spot for Kirin’s malt liquor, Nodogoshi-nama, Masato Sakai plays a salaryman wilting in the heat. He walks through the door of his house, and judging from the icicles dripping from every surface, his wife — the legendary white-haired yukionna (snow woman) — has the AC up full blast. Or maybe it’s the feeling he gets cracking open a brew, because, as soon as he does, he jumps from his living room into shorts and a Hawaiian shirt and onto an ice floe while screaming, “Otsukare-sama,” the conventional expression of appreciation for a hard day’s work, though in this case he pronounces “sama” as “summer” and starts laughing like a madman. That’s one way to beat the heat: Just stay drunk.