Arashi ni Shiyagare (嵐にしやがれ) is an hour-long variety show that features Arashi and famous male guests from a range of backgrounds who share their expertise with the five hosts.

2012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 001

Quickly after they enter, the Arashi members all notice the set design and start commenting on it.

2012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0022012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 003

The guest, Mogi Kenichiro-san, watches on a screen and actually has a lot to say in response to their reaction. He’s a neuroscientist (脳科学者 – nou kagaku-sha – literally, brain scientist), though judging from his English language websites, here and here, he sometimes takes on the role of cognitive philosopher as well, in that he’s willing to offer opinions that cannot be substantiated with experimental results. Still, his English-language blog is interesting and worth taking a look at – he’s definitely comfortable expressing himself in English.

2012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 004

He comes bearing lab coats, but they aren’t going to be doing the kind of experiments that I was hoping for when I saw the teaser at the end of the last week’s episodes. I was hoping for the messy and outlandish stuff that characterized the A no Arashi segments in the old shows – you know, the kind of thing that gets the Arashi guys a bit more animated. Really, if it’s all about psychology, the only reason for the lab coats is to get in the mood. The lab coats had color-coded trim, by the way, and Sakurai-san hands them out by calling their colors, except for Aiba-kun, who he saves for last and calls “baka-san”.

2012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0052012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 006

Aside from the lab coats, there’s this little figurine of a bear:

2012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 008

That little bear is going to play a continuing role throughout the episode. Apparently, it’s supposed to help stimulate the mind. Aiba-kun comments that it looks like the sort of thing you can pick up at a service area for 300 yen, but Nin-kun puts it at 80 yen. The real price? 9,450 yen. I smell a rip off. At that price, I’ll just carve it myself. Heck, if people actually buy the thing, I could make a good living craving two or three of those a day.

Of course, Mogi-san says there some sort of secret to it that justifies its price. Perhaps it was made from the wood of a really intelligent tree . . . .

It’s actually something to do with the shape of its back, and everyone is asked to think about it. They’ll reveal the answer at the end.

2012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0092012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 010

Time for the talk segment, which really stretches for the rest of the show with some demonstrations scattered throughout.

2012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0122012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 013

The first rumor is something about the internet (インターネット) and degeneration of the mind (脳を退化). Since Mogi-san blogs, surely he can’t think the internet is back for your mental health, right? Nino-kun links it to kanji. I couldn’t translate Mogi-san’s actual explanation.

2012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0142012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0152012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0162012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0172012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 019

After that, it’s time for more practical stuff (by comparison, anyway), so the duo from Oriental Radio step in to assist.

2012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 021

The first issue is remembering what you ate for dinner in the past week – an old favorite for memory research

2012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 022

Mogi-san makes a diagram on a white board, but I’m going to shy away from deciphering it. The region he labels “Feeling of Knowledge – F.O.K.” is intriguing, though. I guess that doesn’t really translate well into Japanese?

2012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0232012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0242012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0252012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0262012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 027

The task of remembering past dinner menus goes to Sakurai-san:

2012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0292012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0302012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0312012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0322012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 033

He actually does amazingly well. This is not the only time Mogi-san is going to be surprised by the mental prowess of an Arashi.

2012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 034

The next topic said “your memories are full of lies.” I have to say, so far, Mogi-san is on firm ground here – he’s not coming up with dubious stuff just for the sake of being sensational. It was tough for me to follow the conversation,  though.

2012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0362012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0372012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0382012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 039

Next, they did some IQ-up training. Step one – eat curry. Apparently it gives a temporary 7-8 point boost in performance on IQ tests. Maybe if they throw in some coffee, they could get that up to the double-digits. Anyway, I think there’s good research on this one, though a wide range of foods would also have some beneficial effect.

2012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0412012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0422012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 043

 

Mogi-san points out that India has had a lot of brilliant people. That’s certainly true, but I would also counter that India has a lot of people, and that there seem to be a healthy number of Nobel Prize winners from regions lacking curry. I’m not disputing the point about the curry, but the example he gave had bad logic behind it.

2012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0442012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 045

 

MatsuJun gets to try the curry, having his mental activity measured as he does.

2012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0482012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0502012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0522012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 053

Not too sure it was definitive, but that was some nice technology to bring into the studio, anyway. I don’t think we’ve gotten much high-tech on the Arashi ni Shiyagare stage, have we?

We get back to the topic of the little bear figurine and Mogi-san gives a little hint. Ohno-san suddenly gets it, whispers the answer in Mogi-san’s ear, and Mogi-san is taken aback. He didn’t think someone would get it so quickly. Once again, the genius of Arashi takes Mogi-san by surprise. It also takes Ohno-san by surprise, though.

2012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0542012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0552012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 035

The next point is that the idea we use less than 10% of our brain is a total lie. Yes! I’m so glad Mogi-san brought this one up. I really get sick and tired of hearing this little myth. He dashes back to the white board to say that the folklore comes from the distinction between glial cells and neurons. It used to be that we didn’t know what glial cells were for, even though they make up most of the cerebral cortex, and some people mistakenly assumed that they didn’t play a part. In fact, they have all sorts of critical functions – structural support to neurons, providing nutrients, destroying pathogens, and removing dead neurons.

2012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0572012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 058

 

Mogi-san then started talking about modes . . .

2012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0592012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 060

. . . leading to a little skit where Nino-kun has to help a foreigner find his way:

2012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0622012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0632012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0642012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0652012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0662012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 067

How about MatsuJun in childcare mode?

2012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0692012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0702012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0712012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 072

The Nino skit and MatsuJun childcare were serious fun bits, and after that, I sort of tuned out of the talk, looking for more little demonstrations like that.

2012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0742012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0752012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 076

The next interesting part involved a game played between the members of Arashi. I couldn’t get all the details, but from what I saw, Ohno-san was supposed to pick a book and basically wipe his hands all over it so that the other members would be able to smell the book and decide which one he picked. This is going to show that their sense of smell is a lot better than they think it is.

2012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0782012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0822012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 083

First, there are only two books, and the four other members have to pick out which one he flipped through just by sniffing (no touching).

2012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0842012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 085

I’m not going to tell you how it turned out – you’ll have to watch for yourself – but ultimately they went to three books, then four. The probability of getting all three rounds right would be one in twenty-four.

2012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0882012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 089

In the end, we definitely discover who in Arashi has the best nose.

The last demonstration is about the sense of touch. Aiba-kun was blindfolded, and he touched MatsuJun’s face, trying to figure out who it was.

2012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0942012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0952012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0962012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0972012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0982012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 099

He says he knows, but does he?

2012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 100

 

Ohno-san then demonstrates what’s special about the beat figurine, but I still don’t get it.

2012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 1022012.12.01 Arashi ni Shiyagare 103

In the end, this was a very good episode, but also language-heavy. There were many specialized terms that made it especially difficult. Mogi-san was better than I expected, sticking to more solidly scientific ground and not straying into philosophical ideas. As with the best guests, he had a clear idea of what he wanted to do with the episode, and we didn’t waste time on trivial stuff that had nothing to do with his specialty.

For this episode’s Most Omoshiroi Arashi, it’s really close. Ohno-san clearly got the best reaction out of Mogi-san, but then there was Nino-kun with his giving-directions skit. I think it has to go to MatsuJun, though, because he had three great moments. First, there was the curry eating bit, then he got to play with the kids, and finally he let Aiba-kun mess with his facial features.

Advertisements