Arashi ni Shiyagare (嵐にしやがれ) is an hour-long variety show normally featuring Arashi and famous male guests from a range of backgrounds. However, this week we have an extra-special Arashi ni Shiyagare, in which all five of them are going on location. While Arashi’s early programs (C no Arashi, D no Arashi, G no Arashi, and stuff before those) were all predominantly focused on them going outside the studio and doing stuff, there was less and less of that in their more recent programs. Until this episode, they had done on-location work for this show individually, but never as a group.

First Time on Shiyagare

I make the point because on location episodes are always better than studio episodes. They just are. I imagine it’s hard for Arashi to get around like they used to without drawing a crowd, so I understand why they don’t film outside as much anymore. But that only makes this episode even more special.

Yay!

But their foray into the mountains isn’t all that’s different about this episode. Every year, there is a major 24 hour television charity event in August. I was lucky enough to see it in its entirety last year – it was extremely moving and entertaining. This year, Arashi is hosting it, and the marathon runners for the event will be revealed in this episode. I’ve always held the marathon runners for this event in high esteem, (especially Itte Q’s Imoto Ayako, who actually tried to run three consecutive marathons – 78 miles – in 24 hours) and I get the feeling that the Japanese viewers must do so as well, or this announcement of who it is this year wouldn’t be such a big deal. Throughout the show, Arashi will be given hints about who the runner will be, and they try and guess.

Marathon Runner Announcement

So it’s a double special:

Double Special

The mountain adventure (climbing 高尾山 – Takao-san) is guided by the ever-popular Ariyoshi Hiroiki (有吉弘行), whose head floats in a bubble in the upper right hand corner. He’s basically there to give wry remarks and to complain that the other guest is too loud. That guest was Katsumata Kunikazu (勝俣州和), who’s normal speaking voice could cause an avalanche:

Katsumata 1

And Nino-kun immediately puts his finger to his lips:

Quiet Please

I still remember a VS Arashi episode where Katsumata’s kid left a note with Arashi asking his father to please not be so loud on the show. So, yeah, running gag. I don’t think he ever manages to get below jet engine volume, though.

Shhh!

To make the climb, Matsumoto-kun notes that they got up at 3:30 a.m., but he’s all smiles.

It was 3:30

Meanwhile, Ninomiya-kun still hasn’t changed from his pajamas yet.

Nino Still in Pajamas

Aiba-kun’s in charge of taking pictures, and his first attempt ends up something like this:

Aiba Taking Pictures 1Aiba Taking Pictures 2

They are given an allowance of 20000 yen (roughly $250), and their journey starts with a cable car. Before they can board, though, Katsumata-san insists that they try out the conductor caps, which gives another opportunity for some camera foolery and great screencaps:

Taking Pictures 1Taking Pictures 2Taking Pictures 3Taking Pictures 4Taking Pictures 5Taking Pictures 6

After the ride, they are confronted by their first chance to taste local food and, of course, they decide they have to do janken (じゃんけん – rock-paper-scissors) to see who can eat. This, of course, is an absolute Arashi tradition. I won’t give away who got to eat, even though I got a great screenshot out of it.

Janken suru?

Fortified with food, they took in the wonderful views:

Wonderful View

And proceeded to holler out at the world in what is a presumably traditional manner:

PoseHoller

Of course, all of them shouting together were still not louder than Katsumata-san speaking normally, though Aiba-kun gave it a serious try:

Aiba Trying to be Loud

With a photo for his troubles:

Photo of Aiba Hollering

Then, we went back to the studio for the first hint about who the marathon runner was. I’m going to leave out all the clues and guesses, since some of you might want to enjoy all the suspense.

Back to Takao-san, we were introduced to a guy who plays leaves:

Guy Who Plays Leaves

It’s no joke – he performed in Carnegie Hall:

Guy Who Plays Leaves in Carnegie Hall

And he proceeds to perform “A-RA-SHI” on a leaf, doing so better than the guy singing in Himitsu no Arashi this week. Of course, he then tries to teach Arashi how to do it. How will they do?

Arashi Learns to Play Leaves

Next, they played a game involving janken and staircases:

Race RulesRace Janken

Basically, for each win in janken, they got to move up six steps, and after the prescribed number of rounds of janken, they raced to the top, with the three who reached the top first the winners. I won’t say anything about how anyone did, but I have to note that one member of Arashi is phenomenally fast compared to the rest.

After another marathon runner segment, the winners of the race got their prize, which was, of course, food:

Food 1Food 2Food 3

There was more janken, then the requisite visit to the shrine, complete with humorous romantic oracles (fortunes):

Visiting the Shrine

In accordance with Ariyoshi-san’s rules for them, they did not go up to the summit of the mountain. Deciding they had seen enough, they headed back down. A VTR with the scene from the summit played instead:

Summit VTR

And there was more food, this time for everyone at a restaurant founded in 1837.

A Meiji Era Restaurant

At this point, I realized I had been swindled. It was a show where they spent their time eating food, wasn’t it? I mean, okay, there were some bright spots in between, but basically they went on location to eat, right? They spent almost all their money on food, so . . . yeah. That said, even though it was my least favorite type of Japanese programming – a food-eating program – Arashi managed to sneak it by my radar until the very end. So I guess that makes it a good episode. Not quite as special as I would have liked it, but good.

It was really a food fest, wasn't it?

All that was left was the marathon runner announcement. Don’t miss it!

It looks like the next Arashi ni Shiyagare will be back in the studio, but the guest will be Arashi’s senior in Johnny’s, Higashiyama-san, and there will be craziness.

Higashiyama Next Week