The wives of celebrity athletes; a summer bicycle tour through Hokkaido; CM of the week: JR East

As the saying goes, behind every great man is a woman, and this week’s installment of the variety show “Bakuho! The Friday” (“Explosive Information! The Friday”; TBS, Fri., 7 p.m.) looks at wives of prominent professional athletes.

The first is the proprietress of a sumo stable, whose husband, the stable master, was once a yokozuna (grand champion). The couple opened their stable just this spring. The segment profiles a day in the stable landlady’s life, and explains how she met her husband, how they’ve spent their lives together and how she helped him shed 90 kg.

The other profile is of the wife of a famous baseball player who retired years ago. They have been married 37 years and appear in the studio to talk about their relationship.

Most of Japan is sweltering now, but Hokkaido is relatively comfortable and thus the perfect place for a cycling trip. Five TV personalities, including Mitsunori Fukuda of the comedy group Tutorial, who last year was cited for riding his bicycle in Tokyo without sufficient brakes, will take a 100-km bicycle ride from Biei to Furano to Shikaribetsu Lake to Obihiro on the afternoon special “Bakuso Jitensha! Hokkaido 100 km Hashitte Undameshi” (“Wild Bike Ride! Hokkaido 100 km Running for Fate”; Sat., Nippon TV, 2:30 p.m.).

Though a camera crew will follow them, the five will receive no “transportation assistance.” They will also be competing, not by racing but in various “tests of luck.” The winner will enjoy a lavish Hokkaido feast.

CM of the week

JR East: Japan Railway’s Suica IC card has been in the news lately because it was discovered that data about users was being sold to marketing companies without users’ knowledge. The kind of information being collected is illustrated inadvertently in a new ad featuring comedian Takahiro Azuma, who wants a cold drink from a vending machine but only has a ¥10,000 bill. Actress Kaho runs up with a Suica card and just by touching it against the sensor panel gets the drink she wants. Azuma suddenly understands, or thinks he does, and attempts to get a drink by pressing the ¥10,000 bill against the panel — to no avail, of course. Embarrassed, he wipes the sweat from his brow with the bill, which is Azuma’s trademark joke.