June 3 through 10 is Eco Week on Nippon TV, so it is airing some specials emphasizing environmental issues. One is “Chotaiken! Time Warp Ryokosha Oedo-hen” (“Super Experience! Time Warp Travel Agency Oedo Edition”; Tues., 9 p.m.).
The Time Warp Travel Agency sends customers on journeys back in time. A family of four is transported to old Edo, the capital before it became Tokyo, when the citizens had to use their imagination to get by. It was a simpler, more environmentally friendly era.
The father becomes a sushi chef and the mother learns to appreciate fresh food that isn’t processed. The kids find out how people lived in nagaya (traditional townhouses), and everyone discovers the wisdom of surviving with less.
In case you hadn’t heard, AKB48’s new single, “Manatsu no Sounds Good,” sold a whopping 1.17 million copies on its first day of release, setting a new record. One reason for the huge sales is that each purchase allows the purchaser one vote in the upcoming “election” at the Nippon Budokan arena, which will be broadcast live on Fuji TV (Wed., 7 p.m.)
The elections will decide which members of the all-girl idol collective will participate in the next “project,” but more importantly it shows which one is the most popular, so the drama will be in seeing the “rankings” play out. There are also sideshows: members arriving backstage, a history of the group, and comments from former winner Atsuko Maeda, who recently announced her retirement from the group.
CM of the week
Kao: Until several years ago, Masami Hisamoto was one of the most ubiquitous comedians on television, and even though her star lost some of its glitter after she turned 50, she still appears regularly on two or three variety shows.
Right now she can be seen more prominently in ads for Kao’s cosmetic line Sofina, specifically its Primavista Dea foundation. As a comic, Hisamoto’s brief was making fun of — and allowing others to make fun of — her supposed homeliness. “What a surprise,” she says after applying the makeup in the ad.
Actually, making her look beautiful isn’t that difficult. What’s harder is getting advertisers to hire her at all, because of her close involvement with the religious organization Soka Gakkai. Such associations tend to make them nervous.