This week’s Himitsu no Arashi-chan (ひみつの嵐ちゃん) was completely overshadowed by the 24-hr TV event Arashi hosted only two days after this episode – at least in my mind. I spent my entire Saturday watching the live NTV feed of the event over KeyholeTV, choppy as it was, and taking notes on what I’m going to write about in articles this coming week. Screencap-worthy video is starting to trickle in, and . . . oh, yeah, I’m supposed to be talking about Himitsu no Arashi-chan.

Himitsu no Arashi Title

It was actually a good episode, especially because the main guest – Yonekura Ryoko-san (米倉涼子) is about as unconventional as Japanese actresses get. How unconventional? She’s the first Japanese performer to star in a Broadway musical as an American character – in “Chicago” as Roxie Hart. She has played the role for years in Japan before taking on Broadway, and knowing that is essential for understanding what goes on in this episode.

Ohno-san and Ninomiya-kun are the hosts, and they start things off on a light note . . .

OhnoNino

. . . until Ninomiya-kun fails to laugh at a (supposed) American joke from Ohno-san:

Ohno's Joke 1Ohno's Joke 2After Nino's Reaction 1After Nino's Reaction 2

Ah, it seems Ninomiya-kun didn’t follow the script:

The Plan 1The Plan 2

The doorbell rings and, sure enough, Yonekura-san doesn’t miss a chance to be different:

Yonekura at the DoorYonekura at the Door 2Even Closer

She notes that the slippers are too small, but Ninomiya-kun bites back right away, telling saying her feet are too big:

Nino and Ryoko 1Nino and Ryoko 2

That was so expected that she doesn’t even respond. Instead, she heads for the couch, but then points at it and says that everyone is always sitting there, and Ninomiya-kun does the standard sit-anywhere-you-like thing. Yonekura-san was totally prepared for this, and found a comfy place on the stairs:

But Everyone Sits on the Couch . . .A Place on the Stairs

And that’s how it is when they start talking. I told you she was unconventional. The talk immediately goes into her experiences acting in “Chicago” on Broadway.

About Broadway 1About Broadway 2

Ohno-san, of course, recently went with Matsumoto-kun and Aiba-kun to watch musicals in New York, so he carries on the conversation with Yonekura-san while Nino-kun heads for the fridge, then plants himself among the couches and encourages the other two to take more normal places around the coffee table.

Yonekura-san stops short of the couch, though, and mentions that Nino-kun got a drink from the fridge for himself but neglected to offer something to drink to his guest. Do you get the feeling that she’s seen the show before?

Nino Didn't Offer Her Anything to Drink

Almost as soon as Ohno-san opens the fridge, she points out the Aiba Tea (which didn’t play a part in the previous episode):

At the FridgeAt the Fridge 2

She reveals that she saw it in the Ueto Aya episode. They proceed to play the “which one is Aiba Tea?” game:

Which one is Aiba Tea? 1Which one is Aiba Tea? 2Which one is Aiba Tea? 3

Yonekura-san looks at Ohno-san to see if she can tell by his expression, but Ohno-san tries to put on his characteristic blank face. Soon, though, a smile forms at the corner of his mouth, and he loses the struggle.

Which one is Aiba Tea? 5Which one is Aiba Tea? 6

Yonekura-san picks a glass and Ohno-san takes the other. Who got the Aiba Tea?

Who gets it?Who gets it? 2

After that, she hands them gifts – candles – but Ohno-san isn’t impressed by the candle’s smell:

Candles 1Candles 2

They also got Chicago tee-shirts:

Tee-shirts 1Tee-shirts 2

Nino-kun urges Ohno to decipher “Not Guilty.” First, Ohno-san has trouble pronouncing it. Then Yonekura-san gives him hints about what it means, both in English and Japanese.

Then Ohno and Nino bring out their gifts to Yonekura-san, congratulating her on her birthday (three weeks late, but who cares as long as there are gifts?). The first one is a huge book about Broadway musicals:

First Birthday Gift 1First Birthday Gift 2First Birthday Gift 4

Ohno-san proudly announces that it has 355 pages:

First Birthday Gift 5

Nino-kun’s gift to her is bit harder to understand. I can’t imagine what would make anyone think of it:

Second Birthday 1

Yonekura-san is totally amazed when Ohno-san manages to do it on his first try . . .

Sugo~i!

. . . and her reaction is even funnier when he does it a second time.

In Awe 1In Awe 2

She manages on her first try, too:

She Can Do It, Too 1She Can Do It, Too 2

Around this point, I was ready to declare her my favorite Japanese actress even though I haven’t watched any of her dramas. Things only get better, as they break out the party goods:

Party Stuff 1Party Stuff 2Party Stuff 3

What an interesting take on a birthday cake – an “Omedetaiyaki” (I think there’s a pun involved somewhere) that costs a remarkable 6800 yen ($85):

Omedetaiyaki 1Omedetaiyaki 2

The interior looks tasty, though.

Inside Omedetaiyaki

It’s also a lot more convenient to eat than regular birthday cake – no plate or utensils necessary.

Convenient

It actually has a variety of fillings depending where you cut it, including red bean, vanilla creme, and chocolate creme.

Red Bean FillingChocolate Filling

Yonekura-san has a soba craving, but just as they’re making plans, the staff informs them that they talked too long and the shop closed fifteen minutes ago:

It Closed Already

That was probably the fastest-paced “share house” segment ever. It was followed by a “mannequin must-item” segment featuring the style choices of Ohno-san, Nino-kun, and the following guests:

Mannequin Must-Item Guests

That’s Sawamura Ikki-san (沢村 一樹), Jaru-jaru’s Fukutoku Shusuke-san (福徳秀介), and Oriental Radio’s Fujimori Shingo-san. If history is any indication, Sawamura-san will have a slick, grown-up look, Fukutoku-san will be the unpredictable one, and Fujimori-san will sport a blinding mess of colors.

The must-item for this episode is a short-sleeve shirt:

Short Sleeve Shirt

Oh, come on! That is so easy! Which means that they have so much freedom, the styles will probably be disastrous.

Here are the judges for today – Nishikawa-sensei, Sumire-san, Suzuki Nana-san, and Kikuchi Ami-san:

The Judges

After that, it’s just the reveals and the judging, which I’ll leave out as a surprise.

So, it was a great episode of HNA, mainly because of Yonekura Ryoko-san. The mannequin segment was smooth, but nothing special.

The Most Omoshiroi (Interesting) Arashi for this episode was Ninomiya-kun, for a host of little things, including his style in the mannequin segment.