The guest in this Arashi ni Shiyagare (嵐にしやがれ) is Dan Mitsu-san, who I last saw in the drama Hanzawa Naoki, but more importantly remember from an appearance on VS Arashi. In that VS Arashi stint, I criticized her for not being at all prepared for the show despite being the ‘plus one’ guest – wearing clothing that wasn’t really suited to the games and otherwise having very little to say. This show, however, seems like a better format for her to make a better impression. The key will be what new experiences she has planned for the Arashis.

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And as far as her in-studio clothing is concerned, it’s certainly seasonal and therefore top-notch – MatsuJun immediately complemented the look, so we know his assessment. I feel like that particular issue has been addressed. The Arashi members didn’t look too bad, either.

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The guys seem to be expecting an adult/mature episode this time, and Sakurai-san asks whether the time slot (10 p.m.) will be all right. Their guest repeated “10 p.m.” sounding surprised, then she says that they’ll aim at 10 p.m. ( I guess, set the mood for that time? Or was there more innuendo there?).

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Fortunately, the Arashis seem like they’re loose and in a good mood – ready for action, if you will.

There was something about Dan Mitsu-san’s mother, watching Arashi concerts, and uchiwa, but I couldn’t put all the pieces together. Oh, and something about Dan-san’s mother, Shoko, having MatsuJun’s 2012 calendar. MatsuJun gave Shoko-san a special message about changing to a 2014 poster. That got Mitsu-san to crack up. I have to say that she’s already broken my bad impression of her from VS Arashi.

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And rather than going to the biography segment next, they did the mini-cooking segment they had once before. Dan-san wanted to show them how to make mitarashi dango – rice dumplings in a sweet soy glaze. I wonder if she picked the dish because of the name (Mitsu+Arashi=Mitarashi?).

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As I’ve often said, I don’t mind food segments if they make the food themselves, so full marks for this. Interesting that she made the dumplings with tofu.

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She’s a lot more chatty here than she was in VS Arashi – it’s like night and day.

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The dish wasn’t at all complicated . . .

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. . . but it led to some entertaining antics as Dan-san fed them one each. I don’t think it was her idea to do it, though, since when they said it was a bit embarrassing, she said she was the most embarrassed. It wasn’t mortifying, though – they successfully made the scene funny (though in Nino-kun’s case it was a tad scary).

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They did go on to the biography segment – Ninomi-ya – next. Nino-kun introduced Mitsu-san, and we found out that her real name is Saito Shizuka. Well, at least with a name like that I know how to refer to her – you might have noticed, but I still can’t decide between Dan-san and Mitsu-san.

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After a bit of talk . . .

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. . . they turned to baby pictures. Can you tell she had a future in show business?

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What’s this about a marriage proposal at the age of 7!?

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I really can’t translate all the details, but Dan-san sure seems to have an interesting set of topic to discuss. How about her first kiss with a girl at the age of 15?

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She sure looks lively in her pictures:

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I wonder how she’d look with her hair loose and shorter now.

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Actually, she’d probably look a lot like this:

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Interestingly, she got her break playing voicing a game character in a 2010 game that Aiba-kun apparently knows about – she was credited under her real name, Saitou Shizuka. These pictures are from her audition after that, so only from three or four years back. She worked as a gravure idol between 2011 and 2013, and it looks like she’s hit the big time now.

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Ninomiya-kun always has a twist built in to his segment, and that was true this time as well – he decided that the Arashis could do with some advice from Dan Mitsu-san. So, the segment concluded with a consultation session – a love consultation session specifically.

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Aiba-kun decided to go first, and asked “Is there a way to ask for (a girl’s) phone number without seeming like I have an ulterior motive?” Oh, Aiba. The laugh Sakurai-san got out of this was monumental, and Nino-kun chastised him – saying that they were supposed to be asking adult questions – not stuff a teen might wonder about.

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Dan-san answers anyway, and notes that the problem here is that he wants to hide something he considers an ulterior motive when, in fact, sincerity would be better. Good advice. Aiba-kun was totally cute during this, as you’d expect.

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We got questions from Ninomiya-kun and Sakurai-san, but they didn’t seem quite as interesting (though hopefully some kind subber will tackle this segment so we can know for sure).

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Some text at the top of the screen promised a question from Ohno-san later in the episode, so we can look forward to that. For now, it’s time for Mitsu-san to introduce the Arashis to a new experience – ascetic practices at a temple. I bet you didn’t see that coming (unless you watched the preview at the beginning of the episode).

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Costume change!

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The first task? Yoga!

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No point talking or writing about this – the screencaps say it all, and it really needs to be watched to be appreciated.

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Their instructor isn’t going to go easy on them, but makes no comment if they have trouble doing the poses (and they do to a surprising extent – clearly they need to do more yoga).

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The instructor gives them a helpful push:

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Now, you’d think they have plenty of stuff to show us, but instead of just continuing with the Arashi temple experience, they turned to a Tokyo Ii Mise Kudoi Mise segment. Hakata Daikichi-san took Watabe-san’s place for this one, and MatsuJun and Aiba-kun were the members being fed.

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Otherwise, I don’t have much to say about the segment.

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Back to the temple, the natural thing to do after yoga postures is zen meditation.

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But how will they make sitting still entertaining? What do Arashis contemplate when meditating?

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Why is it that people don’t smile when they meditate?

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I don’t understand the stick slaps on the back, either.

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There was food at the end of the temple experience, but it matched the ascetic lifestyle:

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Somehow, Aiba-kun made substantial noise while eating in the otherwise quiet atmosphere, and it first drew Sakurai-san’s attention, then Dan-san’s amusement. Finally, Matsumoto-kun broke out in laughter.

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Back in the studio, Ohno-san asked his question: “at what time is it all right to fart?” Oh, Ohno – only you could come up with a question more juvenile than Aiba-kun’s.

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Dan-san’s answer was interesting – she put farts in the same category as kappas and UFOs. The phenomenon might exist, but in practice she hasn’t seen it. In other words, if at all possible, don’t fart. If it’s not possible to control it, then there’s hardly any point in figuring out the correct timing, is there?

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The Mise segment interlude aside, I think this was a great episode. Certainly the special activity – yoga, meditation, and meal in a temple – was an excellent choice. There was a lot of food in the episode (the mitarashi dango, the mise segment, and then the temple food at the end), but in each case the experience was very distinct.

Dan Mitsu-san was a wonderful guest – in particular because she did her part to amplify the humor in the episode by laughing at all the Arashi antics, but also because she was chatty and expressive.

Among the Arashis, Sakurai-san seemed a bit nervous to me. The others might have been as well, but I didn’t notice it as much as with him. It was good that they saved Ohno-san’s question for the end, because that was really his best contribution to the show. Matsumoto-kun had a number of good moments and so did Ninomiya-kun. I’m . . . hesitating to give Aiba-kun the Most Omoshiroi (Interesting) Arashi because it feels like I’ve been picking him all the time the past few weeks, but he did have the interesting reaction to the first dumpling, first question during the consultations session, and did some classic humor with his loud eating at the temple. Honestly, though, Matsumoto-kun deserves the M.O.A., because he was engaged and doing silly things from start to finish – from saying that Dan Mitsu-san looked beautiful at the very beginning to his antics during yoga and laughing at Aiba-kun’s munching. He consistently seemed like the most relaxed member throughout the episode.