This episode of Arashi ni Shiyagare (嵐にしやがれ) is entirely different. The members of Arashi find themselves not on stage in front of a studio audience, but in a bar.

The bartender is Ijuuin Hikaru-san (伊集院 光) and the floating letters in the upper right corner suggest that we’re going to get some frightening rumors (怖い噂 – kowai uwasa). Right away, it looks like subtitles will be essential for this one.

The first person with some rumors for them is Shimada Shuuhei-san (島田秀平). The first rumor had to do with the famous statue of Saigo Takamori (西郷 隆盛) and the bronze statue of faithful dog Hachiko (ハチ公).

Apparently, the statues protect Tokyo. I’ve never been interested in urban legends like this – always found them a waste of brainspace. I eventually figure out that he’s talking about geomancy, which is even worse than urban legends.

Shimada-san sure makes it very elaborate, and he tells it well.

He somehow connected it to Momotaro and the Chinese zodiac. I have no clue what it was about, though.

Somewhere between 牛の角 (cow’s corner? – whatever it is, it has to do with tiger-striped pants, if you can believe it) and 風水 (Feng Shui – Chinese geomancy), they totally lost me. Not my cup of tea.

I loved it when MatsuJun checked that it was just a rumor and asked Shimada-san to put a percentage confidence level on it. That totally threw Shimada-san off. He threw out 62%. I can’t bear to put it kindly – he really did pull that out of his ass.

If it hasn’t come across already, I hate this sort of thing. Anyway, the next rumor was about Disneyland and Feng Shui, and I’m already getting impatient twelve minutes in.

He decides that the confidence level on the Disneyland thing is 63% . . . right. Ninomiya-kun follows up by asking what the confidence level on palm reading (手相) is, and Shimada-san shouts in an unhinged voice that it’s 100%.


It made them laugh, but it made me very, very sad. At least Japanese television balances this stuff out by having scientists on TV as well.

Sure enough, they start doing palm reading. It’s somehow tied to the attractions at Disneyland.

Something about strong power spots and places you can’t go carelessly into:

Then came a weird diagram with women (女性) on the left side and shrine (神社) on the other, and in parallel to お宮 – the shrine building – the image ultimately has 子宮 (womb) on the left side. Why do I feel glad that I don’t understand what this guy is saying?

Anyway, having hit the pinnacle, Shimada-san quits while he’s ahead, and turns things over to Teshima Ryuuichi-san (手嶋龍一) – a former NHK Washington bureau chief and foreign journalist. Well, this should be a change of tone, at least.

 

His first topic is the leaking of confidential information – certainly something a Washington journalist should have plenty of expertise on. He talks about the secret agencies like the CIA and MI6 and spies gathering in Tokyo. Neat.

He notes that Japan is unique among the G8 nations in not having a foreign intelligence agency.

Okay, but what’s this about?

 

Oh, a beautiful Russian spy. I see. Somehow, I don’t think that’s typical.

Of course, spies don’t have to be humans:

 

Seems a bit behind the times, though – we’ve got those bloody drones, right?

Then there was something about a major leaguer spy – a spy who played as catcher for the Red Sox in the 1930s. I wonder if he used hand signals to convey the information to his contact?

Then there was the obvious question – who in Arashi would make the best spy? I’ll leave the result out for your amusement. The Arashi members each pointed at who they thought it should be, and Teshima-san gave his own assessment.

Well, the Arashi guys seem to be liking the place:

We get our final guest -Karasawa Shunichi-san (唐沢俊一).

Karasawa-san is the worst of the lot, from my point of view. You see, he writes about UFO theories. I’m a science fiction writer. There are few things I hate more than the UFO conspiracy people, who twist something that is firmly in the realm of science, turning it instead into a cult-like matter. The result is that they undermine real efforts to search for extraterrestrial life by leading the public to associate the serious scientific effort with wild-eyed nonsense. And don’t get me started on how people react when I answer by saying “yes, I write about aliens.” I could give a much more detailed condemnation of them and their net effect, but this is hardly the place for it.

In place of me actually commenting on what he has to say (I really had to bite my tongue when he started talking about missing children in America), here are some more screencaps:

To end the show, Matsumoto-kun had his own scary rumor to share:

The story was about a personal experience he had in America. UFOs were involved, and apparently, MatsuJun might be an alien.

I think, with that, the Most Omoshiroi (Interesting) Arashi has to go to MatsuJun. There was that question about percentage confidence to Shimada-san, too.

What can I say? This episode was definitely not for me. The Arashi members spent the time sitting around talking, and I didn’t particularly care what the guests had to say. Feng Shui, spies, and UFOs. On reflection, “scary” might not be the right way to translate “kowai” in the context of this episode. Maybe “kooky” would be a better word.