This episode of Arashi ni Shiyagare (嵐にしやがれ) had just one segment – I can’t remember the last time we’ve had such a focused and well-planned episode – but we’ll get to that in a moment. First, the members took the time to congratulate Ninomiya-kun on the start of Yowakutemo Katemasu, to say that it was interesting, and to wonder about whether there’ll be any romance in it. As usual with members in dramas, they ask whether he kisses anyone, and Matsumoto-kun proposes that maybe he kisses Ichikawa Ebizo-san.

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MatsuJun also takes the liberty of throwing in a “Shitsuren” in, hinting at his own drama from last season. Nino-kun has a good comeback for that one.

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The guest for this episode was NTV announcer Miura Asami-san (水ト麻美 – I would never have guessed how to read her last name if she hadn’t made it clear). She was voted the most-liked woman announcer, and judging from the crowd reaction when she entered, the voting was likely accurate.

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She was remarkably nervous at the start, which was totally endearing. The segment had her acting as a teacher with the Arashi members as her students. The only person she’s really worked with was Sakurai-san during the Olympics. There’s a definite thing between Sakurai-san and her throughout the episode – some sort of announcer connection.

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Miura-san announces that they have a special plan for the episode – the “will win although foolish and plump female teacher special” (おバカでもポッチャリでも勝てます女教師スペシャル!). I’ve . . . seen longer titles for a special, I guess.

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Apparently she is known for having a pocchari (plump) character. This seems to be more in reference to the roundness of her face than anything else, though I really don’t have a clear grasp on how the word pocchari should be taken – obviously the translation “plump” can be taken in a number of ways. I think Miura-san notes that she has never even once accepted that she’s pocchari, but she’s saying that even if people ascribe that characteristic to her, she’ll win (a play on the title of Nino-kun’s drama, of course).

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It’s pretty evident already why viewers would enjoy watching her – she’s got some remarkable energy.

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She introduces the topic for the day as things she’s obsessed with/picky about (こだわり – kodawari) during the course of her work.

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The first topic actually has to do with her trip to work – on the crowded trains. She asks the Arashis to guess what she does on the standing-room-only commuter trains.

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Matsujun was close when he said that she drew in her abdomen a bit – suggesting that she was doing exercise, but then Sakurai-san went a bit too far by saying that she did pull-ups. Aiba-kun went in a different direction by saying that she practices live coverage (not a bad idea, but wrong).

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The answer was that she does waist exercises. I’m sure we all want to see how she manages to do this while also reading a book or the news (she says that just reading the book or the news would be a waste, which gives you a sense of her work ethic) . . .

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. . . so they bring in a bunch of extras to simulate a crowded train . . .

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. . . and she does a brilliant bit of acting when she boards and squeezes her way on.

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What she does, apparently, is try to remain steady on the train while standing on her tip toes and reading her book – so she’s not holding on to anything. Well, I can definitely see how that would require some effort around the waist area.

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She gets some of the Arashis to try it. Matsumoto-kun stumbles first, then tries it again, and lasts for longer but finds out it really is tough. Ohno-san is confident in his balance, and shows it when in the thick of the crowd.

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The next subtopic in things Miura-san is obsessed with is that she will absolutely not lose when it comes to knowledge about something. She asks her students to guess what that thing is. They note that her handwriting on the board is superb, and she says that a long time ago, she wanted to become a teacher.

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The first answer is food, but she concedes that she has senpai who specialize in food, so she would probably lose to them.

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Ninomiya-kun asked who among the Arashis would be most competitive with her in this area of knowledge, and she answers Matsumoto-kun would be, so that started a discussion of what MatsuJun knows a lot about. Even MatsuJun doesn’t seem to know.

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Ninomiya-kun eventually asked for a gesture hint, and when she obliged, he got it immediately – the Beatles. She even does intro quizzes on her own – setting Beatles songs on shuffle and seeing how quickly she can guess them – it looked like she was even timing herself with a stopwatch.

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The other members point out that Matsumoto-kun is pretty impressive in his Beatles knowledge, too. She doesn’t seem to take it seriously at first, but when she goes on to say that she recently acquired a complete box set of the Beatles releases in the U.S. and MatsuJun said he also bought it, the game was on. She challenges him to a Beatles intro quiz on the spot.

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Now this is a game I can play along with! I am, of course, a lifelong Beatles fan and I even have bootleg recordings of their concerts and rehearsals – beat that, Miura-san and Matsumoto-kun! Anyway, I think I would have done pretty well if not for the fact that my reflexes are so slow that I would never be able to push the button before they did.

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Sakurai-san conducted the quiz. I will not, of course, tell you the final result. After saying that she could not lose in this area, Miura-sensei had better prove herself here.

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I can say that it was tied after four rounds. Most obscure song featured in the quiz? Probably “Mother Nature’s Son” – I was very impressed when Miura-san managed to answer that one right after just a single note.

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This quiz was hilarious, by the way. It helped that it was easy to follow along, but everyone contributed some humor into the proceedings.

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For the next bit, they simulated a homeroom situation, where the teacher invited the students to ask her a question. Sakurai-san started things off by asking what she would have become if not an announcer.

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By the time she graduated from elementary school, she had already started to aim to become an announcer, but while in university she got a part-time job as a cram school teacher, and found that she really liked working with young people. So her alternate profession would be language arts teacher (the language being Japanese).

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They asked her some follow-up questions . . .

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. . . and Sakurai-san ultimately ended up testing her ability to make a self-introduction in thirty seconds. He even pulled out a stopwatch. She couldn’t see the time, but she managed to end her introduction (which largely focused on the peculiarity of her surname) in 29.33 seconds. That’s practice for you.

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Aiba-kun also asked her what her preferred type of guy is, and she answered that she likes the shy, gloomy type. That came as a bit of a surprise, and it seems like that while Miura-san appears very extroverted, she has another side.

She then moved on to another one of her obsessions – a policy that she has. As before, she asked them to guess what it was.

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The classroom was getting a bit rowdy at this point (honestly, they were acting more like teenaged boys by the minute!) and their guesses were . . . well, when Sakurai-san said that her policy was “can’t lose weight”, she had him stand in the back corner.

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Actually, her policy is that she can’t stumble on words.

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She demonstrates by reading out a tongue-twister at lightning speed . . .

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. . . and then having each of the Arashis try it out in turn. Sakurai-san went last, possibly because, as an announcer himself, there was some expectation that he might be able to do it. How will the Arashi members do? Watch and find out!

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The episode unfortunately ended with the requisite food – a food report, if you will.

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So yes, she showed us her best “oishii”.

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It was sort of a soft way to end the show – at least for me, pretty much any other part of the show was more interesting than this. Japanese viewers clearly have a different opinion about these food features, though.

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Anyway, Miura-san was a brilliant guest – absolutely fantastic. The activities were all well-conceived and the episode flew by. The crowded train challenge was okay, but things got real interesting with the Beatles quiz and the tongue twister. Of course, the key to everything was Miura-san’s quick pace and amiable nature.

The members all participated and there was smooth banter between them and the guest. Sakurai-san still handled most of the conversation with Miura-san, though. Ohno-san had his best moment in the crowded train bit. Matsumoto-kun was obviously in the spotlight during the Beatles quiz. Aiba-kun got to chow down in the food report bit at the end. Ninomiya-kun . . . well, he made plenty of comments along the way.

The Most Omoshiroi (Interesting) Arashi? Well, the Beatles quiz was definitely the part of the show during which I was most engaged, so I’m going to give it to Matsumoto-kun this time. Any time MatsuJun finds a way to work his love of the Beatles into a show, he’s probably going to get the M.O.A. from me.