2010 World Cup preview; Ryuichi Sakamoto on drum-and-bass; CM of the week: DoCoMo

Nobody expects the Japanese national team to go very far at the upcoming FIFA World Cup in South Africa, but that isn’t going to stop television stations from dreaming. TBS will get the ball rolling, so to speak, on Thursday night with a special two-hour preview, “2010 FIFA World Cup Kaimaku Zenyasai” (2010 FIFA World Cup Opening Eve Festival; 7 p.m.).

The program will explain all the teams competing this year and their prospects. Countries that have figured prominently in past World Cups will be described using footage from history-making matches. There will also be lots of humorous anecdotes from members of Japan’s team, including superstar Shunsuke Nakamura.

Several months ago, NHK launched an ambitious music appreciation show hosted by keyboardist- composer Ryuichi Sakamoto called “Sukora” (Schola; NHK-E, Sat., 11:45 p.m.). Every month, Sakamoto surveys a specific genre or subsection of music over the course of four weekly half-hour programs. He explores the roots of the musical topic in discussions with guests who provide special insight.

Previously, the series has looked at such disparate subjects as jazz and the works of J.S. Bach. This month the subject is drum-and-bass, a brand of electronic dance music that emerged from British clubs in the 1990s. Last week, with the help of Yasuhiro Takahashi, the drummer in Sakamoto’s old group, YMO, they discussed the “drum” component of drum-and-bass. This week, they talk about the “rhythm theory” of the bass line.

CM of the week

DoCoMo: DoCoMo’s “Walk with you” CM shows J-pop singer Kaela Kimura on the street telling us that she is not, in fact, Kaela Kimura but “this girl’s cell phone,” whereupon she points to a young woman at a crepe shop.

In a series of brief scenes Kimura tells us how she is with her owner “when she’s happy and when she’s down.” She’s even shown sharing a bed with her, indicating the level of intimacy by saying, “Her face is really cute when she cries.”

And just so that we don’t misunderstand her real role, Kimura at one point stops walking and begins “ringing” with a sing-song melody. The young woman then answers her phone. “Your boyfriend?” Kimura asks after the call. “No!” the woman says in exasperation. Obviously, Kimura’s model is not a smart phone.

Another spot in the series features actor Ken Watanabe as the cell phone of a young salaryman. “I’m with him at work and during private time,” says Watanabe, but unlike Kimura he “vibrates” when there’s a call, which in the case illustrated happens to be from the young man’s boss, who wants to know where he is. He lies but it’s OK, Watanabe has his back.