Arashi ni Shiyagare (嵐にしやがれ) is an hour-long variety show featuring Arashi and famous male guests from a range of backgrounds. The premise is that the guests are supposed to be like big brothers to the Arashi members, and teach them something during the course of the show. Lately, though, they’ve been trying to mix things up a bit and this week’s episode is part of a new segment in which Arashi has a showdown against a group of five guests – in this case, a cooking showdown.

Arashi ni Shiyagare TitleThe Showdown Logo

Which brings me to an observation: hasn’t Arashi been doing a lot of cooking lately? I mean, they’re cooking when they have a “share house” segment on Himitsu no Arashi-chan and then there’s this segment on Arashi ni Shiyagare. I’m not complaining – it’s better than watching them eat or just talk the show away – but it’s a definite trend. I remember the odd things they used to put in their mouths in the D no Arashi/G no Arashi days (twenty year old curry, anyone?). I guess they’re . . . growing up?

Anyway, I hope you like cooking shows, because that’s what we’ve got. The dish that they’re competing on is winged gyoza:

Winged Gyoza

Since it’s a showdown, Arashi and the opposing team (the “Music World’s Cooking Western” team) were dressed in some semblance of cowboy garb:

Arashi TeamThe Music World Team

The show’s announcer proceeds to go through each of the guest’s musical backgrounds (mostly from the eighties and early nineties so I don’t know them well) . . .

Guest 1Guest 2Guest 3Guest 4

. . . until he gets to Chihara Junior-san, who is one of the most famous comedians in Japan, but not at all known for his musical releases.

Chihara Junior

When Arashi expresses wonder at what he has released, he insists it’s a CD:

CD desu yo

And there it is:

Chihara Junior's Contribution to Music

I think I’ll pass on that one. Introductions out-of-the-way, the cooks get instructions and get to work. Matsumoto Jun-kun is, of course, quite serious about it:

MatsuJun Serious

Arashi did an elaborate “who’s next?” sequence before Ohno-san revealed it was him:

Who's Next?Who's Next? 2Ohno's Up!

But what really turned out funny was when the opposition’s representative just absent-mindedly stepped forward and said “it’s me” after Arashi went through all that trouble:

Hai, Watashi desu.

Sometimes, humor’s all about contrast. Ohno-san is praised for his cooking prowess:

Umai!

Through Nino-kun’s go, Arashi performs swimmingly while the opposition team is putting pressure on its own members:

Chihara's CD

While the rest of Arashi seem to be in a good mood, Sakurai-san seems a bit stiff:

Arashi AmusedSakurai Standing at Attention

And last up for Arashi was Aiba-kun, who was not stiff at all:

Aiba Steps ForwardAiba CookingAiba Checking

But before we got to see the result, the proceedings were interrupted by the “Encounter the Unknown” segment, with Aiba-kun as the member making the encounter:

Aiba's Encounter 1Aiba's Encounter 2Aiba's Encounter 3

The man Aiba-kun encounters is a specialist in suits, and is here to teach Aiba-kun about cufflinks (which is hilarious, because Aiba-kun looks like he’s in his pajamas – though that’s always an acceptable way to encounter the unknown):

The Cufflink SpecialistAiba and Mr. CufflinkHe's Really into Suits

Aiba-kun starts off by calling them buttons:

Botan

What happened after that was just Aiba being Aiba, which is to say, Aiba being adorable:

Aiba Sequence 1Aiba Sequence 2Aiba Dame

That last image was him mispronouncing cufflinks. Once in the store, he starts off considering catching-mitt cufflinks because he likes baseball, but ultimately faces a choice between handcuffs (in honor of his current detective drama, Mikeneko Holmes) and dogs (because he loves animals and especially dogs):

Yakyuu Daisuki NandeCatcher Mitt CufflinksTry to Match the TieI see!Dogs or Handcuffs?

So, which one does he pick? Watch to find out – his rationale is actually quite funny, and just like him (in other words, honest).

Aiba has a serious decision to make

How does the cooking contest end? Well, I’m not going to give that away either. After the conclusion, though, we find out what the tee-shirts for the 24 hour TV charity event hosted this year by Arashi (about three months away) will look like:

24JikanTV Tee Shirts

There’s Nino’s carrot-top again, and there was mention of his special drama for the charity:

Nino's Drama SP

Finally, we got a sneak preview of Arashi heading for the hills:

Arashi Head for the Hills 1Arashi Head for the Hills 2

It’s a special Arashi ni Shiyagare next week, and boy is it special! I mean, they haven’t done a single show entirely on location since the start of the show – it’s been almost all in-studio except for the “Encounter the Unknown” segment – so this is a real change of pace. It looks particularly good because we haven’t really seen all five Arashi members going out and exploring something in years.

For a cooking show, this episode was pretty good. It helped that I actually wanted to know how they made the winged gyoza, otherwise it would have probably moved a bit slow. The highlight was really the “Encounter the Unknown” segment, where Aiba’s mannerisms and idiosyncrasies can make anything seem interesting – even cufflinks.

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