This episode of Arashi ni Shiyagare (嵐にしやがれ) began with the survey segment – in which approximately thirty members of the public who have something in common answer questions about that commonality. First, though, the Arashis had to try and guess what the topic of similarity was, and this time there’s more of a clue.

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At least, I think the fact that they’re all wearing suits is somewhat of a clue. It sure narrows things down, at least. Matsumoto-kun correctly guesses that they all have the same profession, and it turns out that they’re all high school teachers who roughly the same age as Arashi! Well, they sure dress more formally than the high school teachers around where I live (jeans are not uncommon), so I wouldn’t have guessed they were teachers.

Sakurai-san checks on the range of ages – the youngest was 24 and the eldest were in their thirties.

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Ninomiya-kun asked the youngest guy why he decided to become a teacher – the natural question – and Sakurai-san asked what was most worthwhile (satisfying?) about teaching. I wonder how much like a job interview this survey is going to be.

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Sakurai-san wondered if any of them had been inspired by dramas (and considering how many inspirational teacher dramas there are . . .). Teacher number fifteen said she had watched GTO and Gokusen.

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I’m not going to translate all of this, of course. Of all groups of people on the planet, teachers are the one I’m least curious about.

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Some of the teachers had special stories, though – like the former Olympic track-and-field athlete who participated in Sydney in 2000. His specialty was the 400m.

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It seemed like the Arashis weren’t too interested in the teachers either (except for the Olympian) because the segment only lasted seven minutes . . .

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. . . after which we did not get the usual entrance onto the stage with the guest. Instead, the guys appeared in front of a red curtain and Sakurai-san hyped up what was going to happen as the audience responded with “eh!”

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The guest was Kimura Midoriko-san, who has been in all sorts of dramas, including Akumu-chan and Gochisousan. I don’ t think she’s worked alongside the Arashis much, though.

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The clips of her from Gochisousan make it quite clear that she plays a rather nasty, bullying character. Since the VTR focuses on that particular role, it’s safe to assume that the special activity for the day will focus on it as well.

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Of course, Kimura-san isn’t really that horrible, but her drama role sure leaves an impression from the sound of it.

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Sakurai-san asked her which member . . . something about bullying, but my grammar failed me. Either the member who seems to susceptible to bullying or the member who does it. Since her response was Ohno-san, I’m going to guess it was the first option, but I’m not sure.

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In response, Ohno-san said “otsukaresama deshita” and started to walk away. Clearly, there’s some trepidation about what might be coming next.

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One thing’s for sure . . .

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. . . we’re not going to get any boring biography segment this time!

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Right away, the red curtain drops to reveal a TV studio control room set and announcer Masu Taichi-san (a favorite on this network).

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Apparently this is going to be a battle to see how nasty the members can act as producers berating a poor assistant director, and after she gives them some tips with Masu-san’s help . . .

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. . . Kimura-san provided a model of how to do it, playing the producer opposite Ohno-san playing the picked-on AD. When Kimura-san had told them how to look at the person they were picking on, Ohno-san did a hilarious rendition of it, and this already seems to be another episode where he’s got an early lead for Most Omoshiroi (Interesting) Arashi.

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As the others watched . . .

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. . . Kimura-san tried her best to make Ohno-san cry.

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They both played it seriously, and it sounded remarkably harsh.

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Which of the Arashis could possibly pull off the role of the scary producer?

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None of them sounded eager to go, and Masu-san introduced some complicated rules about how the  . ..  I guess it’s a competition?  . . . was going to go. Ohno-san would remain the AD and the target of abuse (don’t worry, he’s the eldest, so he can take it), there was a definitely line they had to conclude on, the judges were 100 guests who like Arashi, and I think the goal was to get more than 80 judges to press a button to say they were outraged (or something like that).

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So, as Ninomiya-kun put it, the victor will be the one who makes the fans most irritated with him . . . sort of a catch, isn’t it?

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Sakurai-san pointed out that Ohno-san would be the target all the way through, which gave him a chance to do another funny face (which you’ll have to watch to see – Ohno’s faces tend to be better in full motion than as screenshots anyway). Then the guys did janken to see who would go first.

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Sakurai-san was it, and as the producer, had to add the pink sweater to his wardrobe.

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I’m not going to give away exactly how each member did, but we’ve all seen Sakurai-san play this sort of character in the drama Kazoku Game and of all the members, his performance was the least surprising. He kept it low-key, though – nothing like the crazed shouting he did in Kazoku Game.

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Kimura-san assessed the performance with a somber eye, and had some tips afterward.

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Following Sakurai-san’s turn, there was further concern about how Ohno-san was doing . . .

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. . . but he should get a breather on this next one: Aiba-kun.

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These reactions say it all:

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And I guess the main challenge for Ohno-san was to avoid laughing. Aiba-kun, too.

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Do you suppose they managed it? No one else kept a straight face – not even Kimura-san. Sakura-san was laughing so hard he was in tears.

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So yeah, even though I said I wouldn’t give results, it was pretty obvious that Aiba-kun couldn’t pull this off, though I think he began by trying to give it his best effort.

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How about MatsuJun?

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It’s really between him . . .

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. . . and Mr. Hollywood, Ninomiya-kun:

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The challenge took up almost all of the episode, but they somehow managed to find three minutes at the end to eat. Can’t have an episode without food, can we?

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Oh, and don’t forget to squeeze in the plug at the end.

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This was a superb episode – exactly the sort of show I want to see every time. I thought the premise of Arashi ni Shiyagare was that the guest would impart some knowledge of their specialty to the Arashi members, and then the Arashis would try their best to take on the challenges that the guest set. That’s often been the pattern of part of the episodes, but sometimes we’ve had nothing of the sort. This time, though, it was the center of the episode, and I hope to see more of that. I’m sure this was fun for Arashi fans to watch.

Kimura-san was obviously a great guest – prepared to share a difficult area of acting and very open with her reactions.

The Most Omoshiroi (Interesting) Arashi could go to anyone except for Sakurai-san (whose performance was the most muted and least shocking). I think, though, it has to go to Ohno-san since he was part of every scene and bore the brunt of so many attacks. Still, MatsuJun and Nino-kun did some brilliant work here, and Aiba-kun . . . well, he failed in a very entertaining fashion.