In the 1960s and ’70s, no foreign celebrity was more popular in Japan than the French actor Alain Delon. His name was synonymous with the idea of the perfect-looking man, and because he was popular in an era that was not as media-saturated as our own, he seemed even more unreachable. He was also the first prominent foreigner to appear in a TV commercial series, in his case for the clothing maker D’Urban.
This Monday, on the variety show “Smap X Smap” (Fuji, 10 p.m.), the 71-year-old Delon will be the guest of the “boy band” in their Bistro. Every week, the members of SMAP concoct elaborate meals for their guests, and they will try to recreate Delon’s favorite dishes. While the cooks cook, Delon will discuss things about his life he has never discussed before on Japanese TV, including why and how he became an actor, and which of his many movies he considers his best and which he considers his worst. Another foreign celebrity is the guest of comedian Sanma Akashiya on a special two-hour prime time edition of his talk show “Sanma no Manma” (Just Like Sanma; Fuji, Tuesday, 9 p.m.). Korean actress Choi Ji Woo is a superstar in Japan for being the romantic lead in the immensely popular TV soap opera “Winter Sonata,” which has already been broadcast in full a dozen times or more on NHK and other networks.
Sanma makes no secret that he harbors a deep crush on Choi, and is especially “crazy about her smile.” On this special show he tries to sell himself to the Korean beauty, but there’s one fundamental problem: he doesn’t speak Korean and she doesn’t speak Japanese. Obviously, that’s quite an obstacle for a talk show. So she teaches him some Korean on the show, and he uses it to ask her for her private cell-phone number. She gives it to him and he almost dies of a heart attack. Even if you’re not particularly poor you should check out “Onna Darake Redi Go (Only Women, Ready Go . . . or Only Women, Lady Go)” (Asahi, Oct. 14, 6:56 p.m.), a two-hour variety special about “the best recycling tips” you’ll ever need. A team of female celebrities explore easy ways to save money and recipes that produce zero waste.
One comedian shows how powder made from ground scallop shells can be used to remove graffiti from walls. Another one shows how plastic refuse can be converted into kerosene. There are also hints about how to change broken bicycles and burned-out fluorescent lights into new usable resources.
Former Minister of the Environment and Minister of Defense Yuriko Koike also appears as a reporter, which was one of the things she did before becoming a politician.