Himitsu no Arashi-chan (ひみつの嵐ちゃん) is an hour-long variety show hosted by Arashi. This week’s episode is composed of two segments – Share House and Otona wa Dekite Touzen Show (オトナはできて当然 Show) – and Matsumoto-kun and Ninomiya-kun are the hosts.

I don’t think they even get comfortable in the share house before the doorbell rings. MatsuJun and Nino-kun comment that the guest for this week is a rarity (珍しい – mezurashii – a word you’ll hear a lot in this scene). Apparently, Chara-san doesn’t do many shows like this. They’re skipping the seating arrangement confusion bit these days, so she gets settled in without delay.

Right away, I realize I’m going to have trouble with Chara-san, because she speaks softly and slowly. Sure, that makes it easier for me to understand her, but she was putting me to sleep. MatsuJun points out her low volume, but it doesn’t improve things much at all. Things get even worse when MatsuJun actually asks what they should talk about, and it’s such a difficult question that Nino-kun puts on this face:

MatsuJun decides to go for the basics, asking her age (44) and whether she’s got kids (yes, two – a 17 year-old daughter and 12 year-old son). You know, if they know who’s coming, it wouldn’t kill them to do a bit of research. Getting surprised when they find out their guest has two kids is a bit sad.

Chara-san moves on to talk about how she prepares bento for her son every morning as proof that she lives a normal motherly lifestyle. She wakes up at 5:30 to get the bento ready.

Trying to keep this thread of conversation going, Nino-kun asks what her son calls her, and she answers “Kaa-chan.”

This is going nowhere fast, and with a question about her house making things move even slower, Ninomiya-kun moves to get them started on cooking. The dish is mapo tofu – much-loved by Chara’s son.

Chara-san handles the cooking duties (though Nino-kun helps a bit):

So far, Chara-san has been a singularly uninteresting guest. Of course, if you’re a Chara fan, I guess you’re happy to see her.

With the food ready, they dig in. Nino and MatsuJun say “umai” as often as they can and make like they’ve never had mapo tofu before (you know, the usual pattern).

While they’re eating, they talk about entertainers Chara-san knows, and she mentions Oniyakko-san, who does an impression (monomane) of Chara that Chara is thinks is totally accurate.

Guess who arrived:

Yup, it’s Oniyakko-san. Speak of the devil. Well, at least this makes things a bit more interesting. Only after they do some chatting, and Oniyakoo-san chokes on Aiba Tea, though. Unfortunately, reactions to Aiba Tea aren’t what they used to be – Oniyakko-san just coughs while smiling.

Finally, Ninomiya-kun brings the topic around to the subject of monomane, and Oniyakko-san reveals that she’s been doing the impression since before she was an entertainer – she did it in karaoke.

Without further ado, it’s time for a performance, but it takes them a while to figure it out:

 

Once they get started, I quickly discover that I really, really don’t like Chara-san’s singing style (though Oniyakko-san’s monomane is spot-on). Sorry Chara fans.

At least Ninomiya-kun got to have some good fun with his drum.

I was thankful when we got to move on to the Otona wa Dekite Touzen Show. Takada Nobuhiko-san (髙田延彦) was the third member on the Arashi team, and his trademark yell “Dete Koiya-!!” (出てこいや-!!) became their team name.

Suzuki Taku-san (鈴木拓), Suzuki Nana-san (鈴木奈々) and Tsukaji Muga-san (塚地 武雅) were the opposing team.

The first challenge went to Ninomiya-kun and Suzuki Taku-san. Their task was simply to name the buildings on five photographs, but Ninomiya-kun seems to be flustered.

Suzuki-san seems confident, but Nino-kun actually takes a closer look at the photographs to see if the name is written on the buildings. Not a good sign. MatsuJun comments.

Will Nino-kun be all right? Next up were Takada-san and Suzuki Nana-san, and their challenge seemed even more straightforward at first glance: they just had to write their own names.

Silly thing to challenge them on, right? Ah, but they have to get that last test of kanji skill – stroke order – correct. And not only will they lost a point if they’re wrong, but they’ll be totally humiliated.

I was surprised when the other team members debated the stroke order on the simplest kanji in Takada-san’s name – the 田. Will Takada-san turn out to be right about his own name?

Last up in the 1-on-1 matches were Matsumoto-kun and Tsukaji-san, and their challenge was far less conventional.

They had to name the four hairstyles, but Tsukaji-san couldn’t resist trying the wigs on while he thought about it.

And neither could MatsuJun:

 

Will trying them on really help them to remember the name of the style? Well, it was amusing, anyway. The final challenge was the 3-on-3 team challenges. This was an interesting one – they had to list as many four-kanji idioms as they could while facing a fifteen second shot clock. I’ve always liked the four-kanji compounds , since they’re so colorful and compact – little nuggets of language – so it’s nice to have a chance to learn a few more. Just as an example, take one that got adopted into English – 一石二鳥 (isseki nichou – literally “one stone, two birds”) which, of course, is where we get “kill two birds with one stone.”

So, this is what it all comes down to: can Arashi name more of these clever compounds than their opponents?

In conclusion, it was a good Otona wa Dekite Touzen and an extremely quiet share house. I hate being so harsh on the share house segment all the time, but it looks like I’m at least not going to be bored by the next one:

That’s right – Momoiro Clover Z is going to invade the otherwise sedate set, bringing a totally different atmosphere to the next episode. Even better, we’ll be getting a “Last Mission” segment, as well. So next week should be fun.

As for this week’s Most Omoshiroi Arashi, it was a close call between Ninomiya-kun on the drums and MatsuJun in the wig. I think the wig was more daring, and funnier, so I’ll give it to MatsuJun.

Until next time!