Once again, Arashi ni Shiyagare (嵐にしやがれ) began with a “Tokyo ii mise, kudoi mise” segment and let me just get it over with – I really don’t care for this segment.

The pair getting the meal this time was Matsumoto-kun and Ninomiya-kun. As usual, they were joined by Watabe Ken-san, who is apparently the first non-Arashi regular on this show.

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There’s no mystery about what’s kudoi about the restaurant they visit this time – the guy in charge is a dedicated baseball fan.

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And all I could do while watching was wonder why they didn’t send Aiba-kun with Nino-kun on this one, considering how enthusiastic he is about baseball. Maybe they were afraid the baseball enthusiasm would go critical, but that would have been more interesting than the conversation we got.

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Actually, I’d like to see how the manager operates when he’s got a full restaurant instead of one that only has two Arashis and a Watabe.

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For instance, would he still bring out his bat to demonstrate some batting stances?

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After that eight-minute ad for the baseball restaurant, we got to the main guest of the show – kabuki actor Nakamura Hashinosuke-san (中村橋之助).

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As they did last week, they got right into the guest’s appearance without any prelude. At least they didn’t go straight to sitting down this time, though, and had the proper part where they greet the guest and establish whether he has worked with any of them before. Turns out Matsumoto-kun has had some connection to another member of the Nakamura house (a kabuki house where the actors all take the name Nakamura as a stage name).

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We also get the proper gift-giving scene . . .

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. . . and Nakamura-san naturally brought something entirely traditional:

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So, what sort of rumors do they have on Nakamura-san?

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The first one was that, when it comes to curry, he eats it while wearing only one pair of underpants (パンツ一丁- pantsu icchou). Umm . . . I think I’m missing something here, probably regarding traditional Japanese garb.

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Nakamura-san explains that it’s because of the sweat generated while eating curry, and that’s about all I need to know about that topic. I swear, we got like three minutes of show time without food being at the center of the show.

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And when I say the center of the show, I mean it – they bring the manager of the curry shop out . . .

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. . . as well as the curry. I hope the Arashi guys have appropriate underwear.

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Let the “umai”s begin! (Nakamura-san said “oishii” instead, of course.)

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Thankfully, the manager of the curry shop is not without kabuki skills, and decides to give us a little performance.

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The next rumor for Nakamura-san had to do with personally reconstructing a new kabuki theater (歌舞伎座 – kabuki-za).

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Nakamura-san asks if the Arashis would like to go to the kabuki theater, and their reactions are priceless – they are absolutely shocked that they’re really going to be going to the kabuki theater. I don’t blame them – except for restaurants and solo ventures (esp. the Encounter the Unknown segment), they don’t really leave the studio in this show. There was about half a minute of “maji de?!”

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And after seeing them leave the studio, we find them in traditional garb, and Nakamura-san conversely in an outfit similar to what they had previously been wearing.

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I had mixed feelings about this location shoot. On the one hand, it’s nice for Arashi to get out of the studio. On the other hand, this made it less likely for them to do any kabuki themselves. So, while we got treated to some nice interiors . . .

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. . . and a bit of a surprise when one of the members of Heisei Nobushi Kobushi decided to join in as an assistant (I think Ninomiya-kun immediately won the Most Omoshiroi Arashi prize for repeatedly punching him (lightly).

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The H.N.K. assistant was responsible for giving them a kabuki quiz.

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He also handled red escalator trivial.

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And just as I was getting tired of the sight-seeing . . .

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. . . they went back to food.

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And more food.

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I was . . . sort of hoping . . . we’d see some kabuki. Even if it was just the ham-handed attempts of the Arashis. Instead, it’s all about the theater and its equivalent of a concession stand and gift shop.

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You might think this looks promising:

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But it’s just part of the gift shop – I think you get to have your picture taken in kabuki make-up and costume for a substantial fee (the basic rate cited at the bottom of the screen was 18,000 yen – around $200), or do you get the costumes? Couldn’t figure that out.

There’s also a simpler photo option, at 1500 yen, which is what the guys went for. Shame – it would have been interesting to see them in at least part of the kabuki regalia.

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They went on to a display room, which had an assortment of art and other items, including devices to make stage sound effects.

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In what was our only taste of Arashi kabuki, Ohno-san was the actor, and the other four used the sound effect devices to supplement his actions.

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Following a discussion of the floorboards, they went out to the theater’s garden. In the middle of this scene, they cued the theme song from the X-Files for some reason.

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The members of Arashi had a final task with a promised prize attached – they had to use binoculars to find something, but I couldn’t figure out what they were supposed to be looking for.

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And what was the prize?

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You guessed it – food. Since it’s close to the end of the show, it’s got to be desert:

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Right at the end, they brought it back to the studio, but without the guest. The others had noticed something unusual about MatusJun in the dressing room, and decided to talk about it. I expect this originally happened at the start of the show before Nakamura-san stepped out, but they decided to put it at the end in order to close the show in the studio.

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I’ll need to hope for subtitles to understand what they were talking about here.

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So . . . I can’t say this was an interesting episode of Arashi ni Shiyagare at all. It was pretty close to as boring as this show ever gets, especially for those of us who can’t play along with the quiz question portion. The main fault was that there wasn’t enough attempt to get into the subject of kabuki, as Nakamura-san was apparently appearing mainly to promote the theater itself.

Obviously, the episode also disappointed me because of the “Ii mise, kudoi mise” segment and the subsequent focus on food, which I understand others might like, but I find entirely boring. I really don’t care if a restaurant owner is crazy about baseball and likes to talk about it constantly.

I certainly preferred the location shoot to the alternative – a VTR where they saw the theater while pretending to walk – but I expect that this is the exception rather than a new pattern.

I’ll stick with Ninomiya-kun as the Most Omoshiroi Arashi of the episode, because that really was one of only two interesting points in the hour (the other was the sound effects test where Ohno-san was at the center, but all the members were involved).

Really, after a very strong first quarter of the year, Arashi ni Shiyagare has been sort of disappointing since April. I hope they get some solid guests – guests that can produce so much usable moments that the director decides that they don’t need to use the “ii mise, kudoi mise” segments to fill time.