Somehow, I’ve managed to review VS Arashi and Himitsu no Arashi every week, and have never gotten around to Arashi ni Shiyagare – Arashi’s third show. Well, that ends here with a two-part special featuring guest Kitajima Kosuke – the famous swimmer, gold medalist in the 100m and 200m breaststroke in the past two Olympics, and the man who popularized “cho kimochi ii” to the rest of the world:

Kitajima Kosuke 1Kitajima Kosuke 3

Cho Kimochi Ii

Arashi’s reaction on his entry showed more than the usual surprise:

Nino 1Kitajima's EntryOhno Speechless

Call it awe, in fact. So, I really couldn’t pass these episodes up. The best part of having an athlete on any of the Arashi shows is, of course, that we get to see the members sweat a bit, which sure beats seeing them eat or just sit around talking. With the Olympics coming up, we’re getting more and more athletes on (like the Women’s Volleyball Team and Athlete Team on the past two VS Arashis), and I hope that trend continues. It’s only once every four years, after all, and Sakurai-san will be one of the lead casters.

They took care of all the talking in the May 12th episode, so if your Japanese skills are anything like mine, either skip it or, like me, have your finger over the pause button and your dictionary handy. I’m not going to say much about it because I’m not confident enough in my translation skills, but I can say with certainty that you’ll at least get to know Kitajima Kosuke a bit better if you watch. Even if you don’t understand everything, you’ll get a sense of his character just from watching his reactions to the crazy stuff the Arashi members say.

The Talk Segment - May 12th

The Arashi members were definitely excited and upbeat. You got a sense that this was a guy they were genuinely thrilled to meet.

Moving on to the May 19th episode, we get what I was really interested in seeing: the tasks Kitajima-san was going to put Arashi through. For those who haven’t watched Arashi ni Shiyagare before, the structure is very simple: half the episode is a talk show between the five Arashi members and the guest, and in the other half, the guest puts the members through three tasks that relate to his background or vocation. The guest on this show is always male, just like the guest on Himitsu no Arashi is always female.

So, of course, we get to see Arashi undergo Kitajima-san’s physical training regime – more specifically, his “dry land” training:

Dry Land TrainingDry Land Training 2

The first exercise involved the dreaded big rubber ball:

Exercise 1-1Exercise 1-2

And Arashi was not enthusiastic . . .

Pretending Not to Notice?

. . . requiring the comic assistants (the duo Oriental Radio) to do a lot of comic shouting:

Comic Shouting 1Comic Shouting 2

Ninomiya-kun, the member who probably needs the exercise the most, went first – once with help, then on his own:

Nino's Try 1Nino's Try 2Nino's Try 3

He was actually quite persistent about trying it out, which was nice to see. After some more comic shouting, Nino volunteers Ohno-san:

Nino volunteers Ohno

Ohno's Try

The next exercise is a bit hard to describe, and even the screenshots probably won’t do it justice:

Exercise 2-1Exercise 2-2

Calling it “wiggling with a huge ball between your legs” probably isn’t the best idea, but it sure describes it. For something like this, surely we can rely on Aiba-kun to make it funny:

Aiba's Try 2Aiba's Try 4Aiba's Try 5Aiba's Try 6Aiba's Try 7

Yeah, we can always count on Aiba. But how would Matsumoto-kun handle it?

Matsumoto's Try

It looked so hard, I wish I had a ball like that to try it out. The next exercise required no special equipment, but more muscles than I would likely be able to muster (I’ll probably try it out later anyway, and fail miserably):

Crocodile Walk 1

It’s called the “crocodile walk”, and let’s have Sakurai-kun give it a go:

Sakurai's Try 1Sakurai's Try 2

With the warm-ups done, they decided to go swimming – in the studio:

In-Studio Swimming

Getting their gear on, Sho-kun had some difficulty, but Matsumoto-kun seemed all right – if you call looking like that all right:

Sakurai Wardrobe Malfunction 1Sakurai Wardrobe Malfunction 2Sakurai Wardrobe Malfunction 3MatsuJun Ready to Go

And Aiba looked slick:

Aiba Streamlined

Meanwhile, Nino-kun even had the “funky girl” laughing:

Nino GogglesFunky Girl Laughing

And a slap on the head from MatsuJun left him with a hair all over the place:

MatsuJun and Nino

After that bit of humor, they got the arm motions down, with MatsuJun getting praise and Ohno condemnation:

Arm MotionsMatsumoto-san ii desu ne!Ohno!

But the real big deal turns out to be the leg action, not the arms, and for that they need to . . . well, see for yourself:

Practicing Leg Motion 1Practicing Leg Motion 2Practicing Leg Motion 3

Matsumoto-kun and Aiba-kun get the highest marks for this one. Unfortunately, the third task involved eating, but before getting to that, we got a real rocking surprise in the “Encounter with the Unknown” (michi to no souguu) segment:

Nino Meets KravitzNino Meets Kravitz 2Ah- Nani Kore!

Yes! Ninomiya-kun got to meet guitarist Lenny Kravitz! Now, I’m not a Lenny Kravitz fan, but he had a great attitude (and even tried to say a few phrases in Japanese) and it sure beat what they often do in this segment (namely, eat). I loved Nino blank pausHai!

There’s no way I can convey how cool this encounter was: you’re going to have to watch it. The task Kravitz gave Nino? Buy a “Flying V” guitar.

Flying V Guitars

That was all except for the eating. The meal was the old favorite – tamago kake gohan.

To wrap up, definitely don’t miss the May 19th episode, especially if you’re an Arashi fan, but also if you like swimming, the Olympics, or happen to be an exercise fanatic. The next Arashi ni Shiyagare is a cooking showdown, so I don’t know whether I’ll review it. It’ll probably depend on how funny it is.

Most Omoshiroi (Interesting) Arashi for the May 19th episode? Definitely Ohno-kun, for showing the “Oriental Radio” duo the real essence of comedy.

Ohno Without Room