SMAP meets the "real" Lady Gaga; Tomoyo Harada branches out in "Kami no Tsuki"; CM of the week: La Vons

The five SMAP lads have saved their highest-profile guest of the year for last. This Monday, their weekly variety show “SMAP×SMAP” will feature not only Lady Gaga, but also her father, Joe Germanotta, who owns an Italian restaurant on Central Park in New York City. One of the regular segments of the show is Bistro SMAP, wherein the boys whip up culinary masterpieces for their guests. In this case they’ll try their hand at a fusion of Italian and washoku (traditional Japanese cuisine). The publicity materials for the show promise a glimpse of the “real” Lady Gaga that the public has never seen before.

Also on the show is a segment called SMA-shin High School, which features 100 “Takarasienne,” or members of the all-female Takarazuka musical theater company, who will be taking a “class” from Kaname Oki, one of the troupe’s biggest stars specializing in leading-man roles.

Not to be confused with the 1973 Peter Bogdanovich movie starring Ryan O’Neal, “Kami no Tsuki” (“Paper Moon”; NHK-G, Tues., 10 p.m.) is a new TV drama based on a novel by Mitsuyo Kakuta, who wrote the bestseller “Yokame no Semi” (“Eight-day Cicada”).

Tomoyo Harada plays Rika, a 40-something contract employee for a major bank whose salaryman husband has lost interest in her as a woman. When she meets college student Kota she falls madly in love, so much so that she loses all sense of proportion in her life, especially regarding money. She starts spending it recklessly, impulsively. She ends up embezzling ¥100 million from the bank where she works and runs away to Southeast Asia.

The role is a big change of pace for Harada, who has always been typecast as demure, unassuming and somewhat naive characters.

CM of the week: La Vons

Japan’s once and future “it girl,” Erika Sawajiri, reclines on a bed, presumably naked under snow white sheets, next to her seemingly French male friend. She languorously sings the old Drifters novelty bath song, “Ii Yu da ne” (“The Water’s Great”) a cappella, but with the repeated name of the “fabric freshener” La Vons substituted for the lyrics. Her bedmate sprays the advertised scented essence twice at the end of every phrase, as if it were a percussion instrument. It’s difficult not to wonder what sort of smell he’s attempting to cover up.

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