‘Best Hit’ awards; Kyosen Ohashi tour of Japan; affordable rural real estate

The fifth annual “Best Hit Kayosai (Best Hit Pop Song Festival)” will be broadcast live Monday night at 9 p.m. on the Yomiuri Television network (Nihon TV in Tokyo) from the Osaka Festival Hall.

Formerly known as the “Zen-Nihon Usen Taisho (All Japan Cable Radio Awards),” the ceremony recognizes the most popular Japanese songs and artists of the year based on requests from listeners of the Usen cable radio service, karaoke rankings, and record sales.

Among this year’s recipients of the Gold Artist Award for record sales are the tenor Masafumi Akikawa for the single “A Thousand Winds,” which has shifted more than a million units since it was released in the fall of 2005, and the South Korean boy-band Toho Shinki, who sing in Japanese. The likely winner of the newcomer award is American pinup-turned-singer Leah Dizon. Another song that will be honored is “Oshiri-kajiri Mushi,” a novelty tune sung by the titular “Bottom-biting Bug” in a popular animated short that originally appeared on NHK and has since become an international hit on YouTube.

Veteran TV announcer and media gadfly Kyosen Ohashi, who has lived overseas since officially retiring more than a decade ago, is making one of his periodic whirlwind tours of Japan as evidenced by the fact that he’s appearing on numerous variety shows this week. On Tuesday, he will be the guest on the antique appraisal show “Kaiun! Nandemo Kanteidan (Good Luck! Team That Appraises Anything)” (TV Tokyo, 8:54 p.m.), where he will ask the experts to tell him if the Maud Lewis painting he bought for $8,000 is a forgery. Apparently, forged works by the Canadian “folk artist,” who died in 1970, are quite common.

Alarge number of people will soon be retiring and leaving Japan’s big cities for the rural life. The special program “Gekiyasu! Yume no Inaka Kurashi Akogare no Chi wa Koko da (Very Cheap! This is the Rural Place Where I’ve Always Dreamed of Living)” (TBS, Wednesday, 6:55 p.m.) offers some suggestions for places that offer superb rural real estate at very low prices.

Probably the most desirable property offered is a house on the Izu Peninsula overlooking the sea, which comes with its own hot-spring bath. Also profiled is a Yokohama family who want to live self-sufficiently in Niigata. Problems of such a lifestyle change are also explored with the case of a husband who wants to move to the countryside despite his wife’s desire to stay in the city.