The preview of this week’s Arashi ni Shiyagare (嵐にしやがれ) at the end of last week’s episode left me pretty sure that I would barely be able to sit through it. Will the reality end up surprising me? Well, let’s find out.

Okay, we’ll find out after the Tokyo Ii Mise Kudoi Mise segment.

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The establishment highlighted this time didn’t involve any random musical instruments. As far as I could tell, it was just the way he wrote the names of the menu items using puns. Actually, it seemed to be just the anago-don that got this treatment.

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So . . .

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. . . here they are eating.

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And here’s 100 million yen in gold:

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With that welcome sight, we greet the guest for this episode – Kishi Hiroyuki-san (岸博幸). And here I have to give a disclaimer about why I was apprehensive about this episode – Kishi-san is going to talk about economics, which is a subject I have some knowledge of and opinions about. He’s also a former politician, bureaucrat and company director with very particular views on these things at a time when an economic experiment is going on in Japan. To avoid going into all that, I’m going to be a bit cursory when detailing what he talks about.

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I have to say, though, that Kishi-san got one of the better VTR introductions, including a picture of him rock climbing:

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They make a big deal of his nickname “long face” (ロングフェイス), though – it felt sort of immature.

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Bakarhythm-san was the helper for this episode, and he immediately listed everything that I want to avoid talking about – the mini-bubble in the Japanese market (ピチバブル), Abe-nomics (アベノミクス – the economic policies of the current Prime Minister, which I mostly support), the cheap yen (円安), and inflation (インフレ – which Japan needs more of).

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There’s some hesitation among the Arashis about getting into these charged topics, especially on a late-night show like this. Keep in mind, pretty much anything said about inflation, the cheap yen, and the prime minister’s policies are subject to debate and uncertainty, and yet Kishi-san will be presenting his views as fact.

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On the bright side, Kishi-san begins on a lighter note by saying that buying an apartment at the age of 18 provides the most benefit. True, but how many eighteen year-olds can take advantage of that fact?

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Kishi-san explains it on the whiteboard in terms of inflation. Sticking just to the facts, I can say that if inflation is expected to rise, it is better to borrow money as long as interest rates have not already adjusted to the new inflation expectation, because the purchasing power of that money will be reduced when you have to pay it back. Japan has been in a deflationary environment for over a decade, so people have been unwilling to borrow money to make purchases and instead saving, leading to sluggish economy. I’m not sure this is how Kishi-san put it, though.

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The Arashi guys were just left nodding in understanding as the professor did his work. I loved when the audience when “eh?!” because that was so obviously a sign lighting up that said “say eh~”.

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The last bullet point on this white board – the one he has a question mark next to – is Social Security.

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MatsuJun looks understandably grim. That’s why they call economics the dismal science (except it’s not a science).

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Actually, even Aiba-kun looks uncharacteristically grim:

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Kishi-san discusses the relative merits of taking out a loan to purchase a home versus renting over the long term. Apparently, there’s no real difference (and ideally there shouldn’t be, but the situation is not always ideal), and Kishi-san himself rents.

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Suddenly, Bakarhythm-san threw a question at Ohno-san, but Ohno-san remained stone-faced. Apparently his take-away from the conversation so far was that getting married quickly is good.

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The next topic was the blogs of entertainers and their economics.

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After sitting down briefly, Kishi-san was right back at the board. Interestingly, he pointed out that Bakarhythm’s twitter has 600,000 followers, which was sort of a surprise. That got Matsumoto-kun wondering how often he tweets, and he answered five to six times a day.

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Kishi-san then proceeds to base all this calculations on Bakarhythm’s numbers, much to the twitter phenom’s chagrin.

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The talk continued . . .

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. . . as Kishi-san talked about all the money that Japanese households have been unwilling to put to use.

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Then they rolled out some eyecandy.

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It’s gold!

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Now Ohno-san is interested:

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But really, I was at my limit at this point. It was just non-stop talk . . .

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. . . and simple calculations that don’t really have to be tediously shown in detail.

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I’ll give Kishi-san credit – he wasn’t as controversial as I thought he would be. Probably the sketchiest thing he talked about was where in Tokyo Arashi should like. His answer was Chuo ward (the central ward of Tokyo which contains Ginza and Tsukiji), which will probably get everyone in all the other wards up in arms.

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I have no idea what this was all about – something about marriage:

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There was a little Long Face Quiz . . .

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. . . then they ate.

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For the last few minutes of the show, we got a 24-hour telethon teaser:

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So, even though Kishi-san wasn’t as bad as I thought he’d be, and tried his best to try to make his subject interesting, this was still the slowest episode of Arashi ni Shiyagare in ages. It would have been better if Kishi-san had the guys do everything game show style instead of just lecturing them, but even then the activity level would have been quite low. Unless you’re interested in Japanese economics and can understand what they said, I wouldn’t really recommend this episode.

It’s really impossible to come up with a Most Omoshiroi (Interesting) Arashi this time. I’m tempted to say Ohno-san because he had the only funny moments, but he was also not as engaged with the topics as the others, who asked pertinent questions. So, I’m just going to call it a five-way draw for this one – there wasn’t enough of an opportunity for anyone to stand out.