Aika Kanda [Serial #17] Bye-bye! The self who doesn’t get popped by “Poka Poka”. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Aika Kanda [Serial #17] Bye-bye! The self who doesn’t get popped by “Poka Poka”.

Me, Pink, and Sometimes New York

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Illustration drawn by Mr. Kanda

It has been six months since Fuji Television’s noon time slot program “Poka Poka” started. I am the MC with two members of the comedy duo Haraiichi. In just six months, I’ve had about three years’ worth of worries, and I’ve been working selflessly every day.

I was asked to appear as a “player” rather than an announcer. I had been wondering what I was supposed to do before I started. But to be honest, I thought that once I started, I would be able to get by somehow, but in fact, it was the exact opposite. Tasuku Sawabe, who progressed so brilliantly that I thought he was a petite Keizumi Ohashi, and Yuuki Iwai, who scored a laugh-out-loud goal so powerfully that I thought he was a black-haired Neymar. Moreover, the worldview of these two childhood friends is finished. As the days went by, I began to think that it was impossible for me, a shy person, to mingle with them. At the very least, I wanted to exchange lines! but he said, “I think we’re not ready for that yet.” and an adult response …… (laugh). I was afraid that I was exposing my inability to do anything to the whole country.

And then there was the relationship with the staff. Even though we had been preparing for the program until late at night every day since last fall when it was decided to launch the program, everyone seemed to be having a great time, and without exception, everyone was giving their all to the program. This attitude gave me a boost, but at the same time I felt lonely in a relationship where we only exchanged a few words of greeting. I wanted to get away from the days of not being able to shorten the distance between us, so I invited the director to dinner with me as if I were jumping off a clean slate. I don’t remember what we talked about. We just ate a lot of meat, laughed and drank a lot of alcohol. But the next day, I was able to look the staff in the eye and talk to them. How could such a change happen in just one meal? Were all of us actually shy? I felt like I had finally made my way into the circle.

Then in May, my first meeting with Mr. Kanda, who said, “You don’t look 43 years old, Kanda-san! I want to be told “Kanda-san doesn’t look 43 years old! I was planning to teach me about the trends of young people and hope that it would inspire the viewers as well! I hope it will inspire the viewers. The Korean idol group “SEVENTEEN” showed us their snappy dance moves right in front of our eyes. I was so excited by their aura that even I, who am not well-informed, had to focus my nerves on what was happening in front of me. I was incredibly exhausted after a few minutes of concentrating on what was happening in front of me and reacting without a moment’s pause to the continuous “How are you doing, Mr. Kanda? The next day, when I told the two members of Haraiichi how I truly felt, “I know it’s a lot of work ……, thank you for making it so much fun,” they smiled and said, “No, no.” I felt like we had connected more deeply than an exchange of lines.

Reform at noon in Japan!

Then, on the first Saturday in June. On that day, I was having a sleepover at a hotel in Tokyo with four of my best friends from junior high and high school. Suddenly, the three of us said, “I don’t have enough to drink,” and left. A little later, the opening theme of “Laugh It Up! The opening theme song of “Laugh It Up! He put on sunglasses and held a microphone while singing “Lunch Break is Watching ♫” to me. Pointing at the lyrics, he signaled to me, “Sing it! He would signal to me, “Sing! I did my own imitation of Tamori-san and sang, “Goshoukananame wa shoukei naku wa shoukei ♫” (I’m in a good mood, straight up ♫). Then my friend started dancing with me in between and began to do the Iitomo Seinen-tai. When the song ended and I pulled the string of the golden kusudama, ……″ celebration! Congratulations! ″ letters. And “Congratulations to Poka Poka MC!” they said together.

My heart was filled with emotion. We have been friends for 30 years. We have never talked about each other’s work. It is not that we are not interested in each other’s work. It doesn’t matter what kind of work we do, as long as it stays the same as when we met. It is because we have been bound by our bond. The girls held an event like this. It’s a buildup to what we’ve been doing!” Aihana at noon in Japan! Aihana tamori! Aihana tamorii!”

Many people have said to me, “Congratulations,” but I was so self-centered with my own worries that I could no longer look at the situation objectively. Why was I standing in front of the camera with such a narrow perspective? It would have been a waste if I hadn’t enjoyed myself to the fullest!

I want to convey the passion of this scene. I am creating Japanese lunch together with everyone. Wait for me, Japan! Now I am running and appearing at the opening with these thoughts in my mind.

© Kazuki Shimomura

Born in 1980 in Kanagawa Prefecture. After graduating from Gakushuin University, Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics, he joined NHK as an announcer in 2003, and left NHK in 2012 to become a freelance announcer. Since then, she has been active mainly in variety shows, and currently makes regular appearances as the main MC of the daytime TV program “Poka Poka” (Fuji Television Network).

From the July 14-21, 2023 issue of FRIDAY

  • Text/illustration Aika Kanda

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