Single mothers konkatsu; origin of toy poodles; CM of the week: Sekisui Heim

Once upon a time, single mothers rarely talked about their situations. Obviously, that’s changed, if the TBS special “Unmei no Konkatsu Tabi” (“The Journey to a Fateful Union”; Mon., 7 p.m.) is any indication.

A “documentary-variety” show, “Unmei” presents two single mothers trying to find marriage partners. Each is paired with two different “candidates” with whom they “simulate” a life together.

One woman is a 31-year-old “beauty designer” with a 4-year-old daughter. She’s matched with one man who runs a famous family-owned confectionery in Kawagoe, and another who is the vice president of a large hotel in the mountains of Nagano. The second single mother is a 29-year-old nurse with a 3-year-old son. Her potential mates are a single father who is currently working on the disaster cleanup in the Tohoku region, and a fisherman from Fukuoka.

The most popular dog breed in Japan is the toy poodle. They are the perfect size for Japanese condominiums, and their appearance reminds dog-lovers of teddy bears; that is, they look less like real animals than like stuffed animals.

NHK’s “Inochi Doramachikku” (“Dramatic Life”; NHK-Premium, Wed., 7:30 p.m.) explains how toy poodles were created. Poodles were originally large dogs bred for retrieving water fowl. Later, when they became popular as pets, owners shaved them in exotic patterns. Toy poodles are usually not shaved, and their smaller size makes it easier for them to live in smaller spaces. It also makes them cuter, another important breeding consideration.

CM of the week

Sekisui Heim: The home manufacturer Sekisui Heim shouldn’t be confused with that other home manufacturer Sekisui House. Though the two are separate business entities, in addition to almost identical names they also have similar jingles; but because Heim has been using actor Hiroshi Abe sporting a distinctive fedora in almost all its TV spots for years now, it may have higher name recognition.

A recent CM promotes Heim’s all-season solar setup by showing a cat — the housing industry’s go-to animal for conveying comfort — sitting on a couch and looking out a window at Abe suffering specific meteorological indignities: rain, heat, cold, pollen. The ad promises you’ll be sealed off from all that.