The members of Arashi enter the set of Arashi ni Shiyagare (嵐にしやがれ) wearing spiffy suits and not really knowing what else to talk about (Sakurai-san actually says as much by asking what they should discuss).

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Since it seems like any topic will do, Sakurai-san asks whether they’ve gone into an open air bath (露天風呂 – rotenburo) this season.

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Aiba-kun asks whether they know the difference between a public bath (銭湯 – sentou) and a hot spring (温泉 – onsen). He’s not talking about the obvious, of course, but rather the difference in the experience.

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Finally, they get to the guest. Sakurai-san seems to know that it’s an athlete of some kind . . .

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. . . but that’s too broad a category to capture the 70th yokozuna (sumo champion), Harumafuji-san (日馬富士). He captured the title in September of last year, and he’s still going strong with his matches this year.

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Right away, we get the sense that he’s a charming fellow. It would be so easy for someone in his line of work and of his stature to be a bore, but he’s quite personable, if soft-spoken.

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They quickly realize that he’s younger than all the Arashi members. Here’s his smile when Ohno-san notes that he was born when Ohno was four:

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Harumafuji-san didn’t bring any gifts, so they went right into the rumors segment.

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The first rumor said that really, chanko (the stew served to wrestlers) was a trauma. I’m not sure about his explanation for this statement, though.

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Turns out his favorite Japanese food is sushi. He’s Mongolian, so there’s not much fish where he comes from.

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MastuJun asked a side question about the sumo practice schedule:

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The next rumor said that apparently his daughter’s too cute and he absolutely doesn’t want to let her get married.

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Well, they’re still pretty young to be thinking that far ahead, anyway:

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They’re already softening his stance, though, asking him what his conditions for an allowable boyfriend would be.

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And then they go for it – asking who in Arashi he would choose as his daughter’s boyfriend.

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The next rumor was about getting into the influx of Korean dramas into Japan, and either said that it was too late for him because he was already addicted, or that it was too late for him to become addicted to it. From the explanation that followed, I think it was the former.

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I guess he also liked 24:

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Oh, did I mention that he paints?

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Not only does he paint, he paints big:

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It is, of course, Mt. Fuji. You can’t go wrong painting Mt. Fuji, right?

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Since that display of artistic prowess was clearly the best thing to end the rumor segment with, they moved onto the more active portion of the show.

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The yokozuna’s assistants were Hakata Hanamaru-Daikichi, making their first appearance on this show.

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The plot this time is to find out who will be the Idol World’s Yokozuna:

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First, they’ll need to change intro appropriate clothing and get their wrestling stage names (四股名 – shikona).

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The Yokozuna then gives them their wrestling names, but I can’t say the names were particularly imaginative or inspired (they basically got “fuji” tacked onto their names).

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Well, except for Ninomiya-kun’s:

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The main challenge for today was to decode the secret language of sumo – the terms they use peculiar to their business.

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To get a chance to answer, they have to hit buttons ten times. Sakurai-san asks if they should use a particular sumo form when hitting the buttons. Harumafuji-san answers yes, and they bring a punching bag out so he can demonstrate the right technique on Arashi, who all stand behind the bag to feel the shockwaves from the blows.

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After that, they are given the secret sumo language in sentences and they have to guess what the terms highlighted mean from the context (while pushing those buttons).

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The winner will get a surprisingly expensive prize from the Yokozuna.

The next challenge isn’t one at all – it’s to eat Mongolian cooking.

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Ohno-san does the set change this time.

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And there’s the food (doesn’t really look like something what would be out-of-place in the Japanese diet, but I guess perhaps the meat used is novel):

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Then we leave the main events for an Encounter the Unknown segment. The unknown this time is a pastry chef (more food again . . .).

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But it’s not just eating this time – MatsuJun has to make a Mont Blanc!

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It sure doesn’t look like the ones Takaki-kun and Chinen-kun had when they went to France and visited the real Mont Blanc (the mountain). What gives? Shouldn’t there be some sort of standard about what you can call a Mont Blanc and what you can’t? (I’m not much of a pastry gourmet, so I genuinely don’t know.)

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The chef demonstrates . . .

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. . . MatsuJun gets a taste . . .

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. . . and then he has to make one for real with a top-notch chef acting as the judge.

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Can Matsumoto-kun make a satisfactory pastry? If he fails miserably, would they really say so?

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He looks somewhat intimidated as his judge looks on . . .

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. . . and his results are inconsistent.

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Discarding the failures, he emerges with his best effort.

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And he only claims that it is a Mont Blanc-ish food, hesitant to actually call what he’s done a proper Mont Blanc:

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That was basically it for the episode, except for a scene where Sakurai-san had a claim to make about the scoring in the sumo term challenge.

I rarely say this, but I think the Encounter the Unknown bit was actually more interesting than anything else that happened in the episode. Instead of having three challenges, they only had one – guessing what the words meant. Comparing that to Matsumoto-kun’s Mont Blanc challenge, it’s pretty clear which was the better part of the show – at least for someone who doesn’t understand enough Japanese to play along with the guessing game.

So, I’ll give this episode’s Most Omoshiroi (Interesting) Arashi to Matsumoto-kun for his Mont Blanc challenge. Otherwise, it was either Nino-kun or Sakurai-san in the main body of the episode, but I wouldn’t be able to decide between them, anyway.

From the preview at the end of this show, the episode that aired today (February 23rd) sounded promising. There was monomane (imitations) involved, and I always enjoy monomane (as long as it’s not the really easy ones like Rola-san or Bobby-san), so I’m hoping Arashi ni Shiyagare will keep up its streak of great episodes for 2013.

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