I have been hoping to see a male guest on Arashi ni Shiyagare (嵐にしやがれ) for a while now – just to make sure that they were still keeping the door open to that possibility. I have to admit, though, that Sasaki Kuranosuke-san is a lot more laid-back a character than I was hoping for.

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He’s been in something like twenty dramas in the past five years, and I’ve seen precisely none of them. Mostly, that’s because I’m counting each season separately and he’s involved in the multi-season dramas Iryu and Hancho. I tend to avoid multi-season dramas if I haven’t already watched the first season.

In keeping with Kuranosuke-san’s personality, it’s a fairly mild and slow start to the episode.

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Once again, the editor tries to make things more interesting with the tabloid thing . . .

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. . . and once again I find it completely unconvincing.

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Aiba-kun asks Kuranosuke-san what he does in his off time, but they quickly confirm that no one present actually has much off time. As you can tell by the fact that he’s been in a drama practically every season for the past five years, Kuranosuke-san doesn’t really do vacation.

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He explains that he initially resolved to work as hard as possible through his thirties so that he would relax and have fun in his forties, but it turns out that he’s now forty-six and he hasn’t changed his working pace at all. Good man.

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I really, really don’t understand what Ninomiya-kun is doing with the camera again. I mean, we are getting plenty of good camera angles, and we rarely see the one out of his camera (because it’s wobbly, unlike all the other views), so could he just put it away? It’s distracting with him constantly trying to hold it in different positions.

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Kuranosuke-san talks about how he often has to juggle more than ten scripts. Ohno-san notes that he has enough trouble with one script.

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For some reason, after all this discussion of how busy Kuranosuke-san is, Aiba-kun went back to the question of what he does during his off days. I hope he was just joking. Kuranosuke-san quickly answers, “memorizing scripts!”

He does like to travel as a hobby, though, so I guess he must find some free time somehow. When he does go abroad, he travels alone, and since he isn’t good with English, he has to rely on body language.

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That’s sort of a dangerous way to travel and, as you might expect, Kuranosuke-san has some stories. Even though he’s been to places like Myanmar, he decided to highlight Amsterdam. Now, what crazy dangerous thing do you suppose could have happened in Amsterdam?

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They brought some water out to drink. That had been good enough in the previous episode, but here, Kuranosuke-san has other ideas.

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Fortunately, they have a fine array of alcoholic alternatives.

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While the atmosphere is very genial and relaxing to watch, I was waiting for them to do something interesting.

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Aiba-kun quickly became the one in charge of the sake.

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Well, if you’re interested in sake, then this might be the episode for you. I have to admit, it’s not a topic they cover very often. Actually, considering how much time they spend on food, they take hardly any time on drinks.

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They turn to food soon enough, though.

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Thankfully, there’s eventually a game of sorts. Kuranosuke-san competed with Ohno-san in trying to recognize sake from among the six they tasted earlier.

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Fortunately, I think Kuranosuke-san and Ohno-san were just a teensy bit tipsy at this point.

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Suddenly, in the middle of the episode, they changed to something completely different. The Arashis are in a bus, and they are met by Hirai Rio-san and Hirai Mao-san who . . . I have never heard of. According to the Japanese Wikipedia, Hirai Rio-san is a freelance announcer, and it looks like she has worked in that capacity since 2005, and is managed by her sister Hirai Mao-san in their own agency (which, in sort of a pun on Rio-san’s name, is named deJaneiro).

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As far as I can recall, they may be the most obscure (least well-known and accomplished) talents to appear on this show. It seems, though, that Mao-san was Sakurai-san’s classmate.

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The plot is apparently that the two Hirai sisters spent two years in India when they were young, and want to find the same curry they had while there.

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Matsumoto-kun calls up a restaurant and fails to ask if recording in the restaurant is all right. They’ll just find out whether it’s okay once they’re there.

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Sakurai-san necessarily has to take the lead in talking to the sisters – I don’t think the others really knew much about them.

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Credit to Mao-san – she at least remembers how to count from one to ten in Hindi. Not the greatest achievement in linguistics, but Sakurai-san is impressed.

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Since they don’t know if they can record, I guess everything except for the Arashis and the sign has to be blurred.

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Now, this is technically just an overblown food segment, right?

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They kill some time by playing a game. Once again, monomane is the penalty – the Arashis have been making that the batsu-game consistently even though it’s rarely even funny.

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I didn’t totally understand the game, and I don’t think the Hirai sisters did, either.

Is this the curry that the Hirai sisters remember from India? Well, the problem with that is how regional types of curry are in India.

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The sisters say that it’s close to what they remember, but not quite there.

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MatsuJun tosses in a totally random umai just to make me laugh.

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They decide to go to a different restaurant, but unless the sisters already know of a place that has the right curry, they could be at this for days. There’s no shortage of different variations on curry. Actually, the next spot they pick drew an immediate rejection, which led to this next one:

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So, here we go again. Will this place have the right stuff?

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And what the heck is MatsuJun up to?

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I think I’ll leave the ending of this as somewhat of a spoiler.

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Well, not quite the ending. The real ending of the show featured a performance of “Dare mo Shiranai”. Nice to see that they took at least this step to promote the single.

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Altogether, this episode could have been worse considering I wasn’t at all interested in the guests. It was rather entertaining in a very relaxed sort of way, and unlike the previous episode, didn’t have the stifling atmosphere of the hotel suite. The fact that most of the episode revolved around food was somewhat less painful thanks to the games they played while waiting for their food and some of the silliness. I also appreciated the ridicule of MatsuJun’s “umai!” If they could get that out of their vocabulary during food segments, I’d at least give them credit for that.

The guests were very amiable, so even though they weren’t people I’d be drawn to watching an episode to see, they did their part to make the show entertaining.

As for the Arashis, the Most Omoshiroi (Interesting) Arashi for the Kuranosuke-san segment was definitely Ohno-san for his drunken gorilla (you’ll have to watch to find out), while for the Hirai sister segment, it was Matsumoto-kun for similar silliness.