At the start of Arashi ni Shiyagare (嵐にしやがれ), there’s some Valentine’s Day talk, and the revelation that during his heyday, today’s guest received 2-3 boxes of chocolate.

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I’m not sure about the counts the Arashi members give (I think it must be from their school days) . . .

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. . . and for some reason Aiba-kun has trouble with this one.

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Anyway, enough of that talk – time for the guest himself to appear. He does so with a shout, and then kicking a soccer ball (and with serious force, too). This is one passionate fellow.

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It’s former pro soccer player Nakayama Masashi-san (中山 雅史), also known as Gon Nakayama. This is his first variety show appearance since his retirement. I think he holds the record for the most goals in the J. League. More importantly, he’s extremely energetic and even more high tension than Aiba-kun.

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Sakurai-san convinces Nakayama-san of his Gon enthusiasm by declaring himself part of the Gon Generation (ゴン世代 – gon sedai).

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Nakayama-san says that his daughter is a big Arashi fan, and that that was why he came, leading to the obvious question from Sakurai-san – who in Arashi is she a fan of?

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Nakayama-san dodges this one effortlessly, saying that it’s him. Apparently his daughter thinks highly enough of her father to consider him an honorary member of Arashi?

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He then shows how well he knows Arashi by literally starting to tell their story from their inception, beginning with their Hawaii debut and their roles as World Cup Volleyball supporters. I’m still not entirely sure what percentage of the Tokyo public would know these basic facts about Arashi, but it’s always impressive when someone like Nakayama-san knows, considering how busy he’s been over the last 13-14 years.

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And like a good aniki (big brother), he comes bearing gifts, and he brings them out with probably the most eccentric call to the “funky girls” ever.

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The gifts are sneakers – laugh inducing sneakers. In particular, the laugh comes when Nakayama-san tosses the sneakers to their recipients (well, it’s supposed to, but Nino-kun gives a comically forced laugh to satisfy Nakayama-san and Ohno-san laughs early).

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You see, the sneakers are extremely light-weight, so when he tosses the sneakers to them, they’re expecting much more heft than they actually feel when they catch. The low-cut sneakers are only 164 grams, while the mid-cut ones are 195 grams. I’d like to see specs on how well they stand up to wear-and-tear, though.

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After that, it’s time for the rumors segment, and Nakayama-san’s animated attitude already promises that this will be more interesting than usual.

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I think the first rumor either says that he’s never praised his wife if I’m getting the grammar right (if I’m not, it means he’s never been praised by his wife, which is a big difference, but a grammatically subtle one).

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He admits to being a domineering husband (亭主関白 – teishukanpaku). I wouldn’t take anything he says too seriously, though. Watching the show, it’s easy to see that he’s a lively guy prone to exaggeration, but that doesn’t come through easily when describing him in an article like this.

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Totally curious about this outspoken soccer star, the Arashi members feel free to ask him questions which deviate from the rumor-related topic. For instance, they ask how he celebrates his birthday:

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For his wedding anniversary, he at least gets his wife red flowers:

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I’m not going to detail all the questions, since they come pretty fast, and I’m not totally sure about how to understand the next sequence, anyway.

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The next full-fledged rumor was that while he could endure (我慢 – gaman) a bone fracture (骨折 – kossetsu), he can’t deal without sweetened buns (菓子パン – kashi pan).

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Because it’s about food, this will take some explaining.

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Oh, and perhaps a demonstration:

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The rumor after that was a contribution from school buddy, fellow pro soccer player, and variety show talent Takeda Nobuhiro-san that Nakayama-san was weak with women in high school.

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Nakayama-san and Takeda-san have known each other since elementary school . . .

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. . . so, since he’s generally available for shows, anyway, it made sense to bring him in:

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This sparks a reminiscence corner that I’m not going to attempt to untangle. Hopefully some stalwart translator will take this episode up.

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After a few minutes of this . . .

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. . . Takeda-san had to wrap things up . . .

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. . . which led to the comedy pair Audrey – Wakabayashi-san and Kasuga-san – entering as Nakayama-san’s assistants. As if there wasn’t enough star power in this episode already.

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They do a brief recap of Nakayama-san’s career highlights.

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Then it’s time for the challenges, and the first one had to do with seeing balls coming at them at 100 km/h.

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Ohno-san got to do the set change:

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And there the heroes are, all suited up:

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Aiba-kun is called up to go first, and is in good form with humor as he sees a ball launched at him at full speed for the first time (from behind a safety glass). The goal was for them to keep their eyes open (because that’s the only way they would be able to head the ball in for a goal).

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How will experienced soccer player Sakurai-san do?

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Then the professional shows what he’s made of.

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The next challenge is even more daunting – they have to do a do a diving header into a goal.

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Nakayama-san shows them how to do it first . . .

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Then it’s time for Ohno-san, Matsumoto-kun, and Aiba-kun to risk life and limb for TV glory:

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After using their head, they had to work out their lower limbs by cycling at 50 km/h.

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First up were Aiba-kun and Sakurai-san. They had trainers at hand to make sure they didn’t strain themselves.

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Ohno-san and Nino-kun were next:

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It was surprising to find out who was weakest at cycling.

And finally, they all drank something green (well, not quite all – you’ll have to see which member doesn’t go green):

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I’m not sure if it was more physically taxing than the other episodes where they did training, but it was still a great episode altogether. Nakayama-san was the best possible guest – if only everyone who came on this show had this much energy and quirkiness. I think Audrey should have been saved for an episode where they would have been more useful – you know, one where the guest couldn’t carry the day.

That said, Nakayama-san didn’t have to do it all on his own, and the Arashi members looked as if they were in good form. Aiba-kun gets the Most Omoshiroi (Interesting) Arashi for this episode because he was the only one involved in all the challenges, and he had a couple of good comic moments.

The next episode – which aired yesterday – should be good fun, too. They’ve got the sumo yokozuna (grand champion) on:

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Let’s hope they once again go into action!

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