Freelance Announcer Aika Kanda Distributes Souvenirs to 150 On-Site Staff | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Freelance Announcer Aika Kanda Distributes Souvenirs to 150 On-Site Staff

Me, Pink, and Sometimes New York

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Illustration drawn by Kanda-san

150 lip balms, a souvenir from New York City, where I went for the New Year’s holiday. I wanted to give these to all of the on-site staff of Fuji Television’s “Poka Poka” – that’s what I thought. I decided to place them on a stand in the aisle where everyone would pass by and ask them to take one each.

When I found these lips at the famous chocolate store “HERSHEY’S,” I had no doubt that they would make a great souvenir! I had no doubt that it would be a great souvenir. But after returning to Japan, I suddenly lost confidence. Even when the lid was closed, I could smell the sweet scent. It was hard to believe that I would be able to handle such a smell in a place where more than half of the customers were men (and half of them were old men). Besides, I remembered that handing out toy-like lip balm as souvenirs was a scene I used to see when I was a student. Oh no. The …… is considered to be a tacky souvenir with old-fashioned taste. If this happens, the only way to make it look attractive is by the way it’s placed!

Monday (the first broadcast day of the year)

We arrived backstage and explained to the manager and makeup artist who are “Team Kanda. The quota for distribution is one per staff member, for a total of 30 per day. If there are any left over, the three of us will split them up. When I informed them that their lips would be sweet all the way until they ran out, the strategy meeting got down to business. On the pop, I wrote in red and blue pen, “A souvenir from NEW YORK. For dry lips this time of year! Please take it for all of you, regardless of gender ♡ Aika Kanda” written loudly. Then he put 100 bottles into a big pink container! It’s full of ″American feel″.

Then, before the show, several people called out, “Thank you for the lips!” (We might be able to handle it at the planned pace!). (Maybe we can handle them at the planned pace!). (I might be able to handle it at the scheduled pace!) I was excited and went to the show.

After the show, I checked …… and found “Huh? The number of bottles decreased by only 20. At this pace, we’ll end up with about 50 bottles left over. …… Team Kanda was horrified.

On Tuesday, the morning strategy meeting was held.

At the morning strategy meeting, we guessed that “Maybe he didn’t want to do it yesterday? We guessed that they might have held back yesterday. So this time, they piled them up in a heap inside the container to give the impression that there were plenty. I also asked a few people, “You can take some of them! I said to a few people.

When we collected the containers after the show, we found that the number of containers had decreased by 50. When we collected the containers after the show, we found that we had lost 50 bottles. At this rate, we won’t have enough until Friday! At this rate, we won’t have enough until Friday! Team Kanda was upset. From tomorrow, we decided not to tell anyone, “You can take some bottles with you.


The day of the fork in the road. The outcome of this day will largely determine the war situation for the remaining two days. At the strategy meeting, it was agreed that the speed of the decrease should be reduced for the time being. The containers were made smaller, and the number of bottles kept in them was reduced to make them look rather shabby. The strategy was to “make it harder to take.

Then, a shocking scene occurred. Old men were pulling my lip balm out of their pockets and applying it to their lips! Two or three of them. I had never seen them apply lip balm to their lips before, but I was so happy to see so many of them moistening their lips. I was happy. Even though their lips were dry, they were probably too busy with work and had no choice but to let it go. Then a lip balm appeared, and he tried it for “free” and was pleasantly surprised. I imagined that it was a good choice of souvenir (what a good choice of souvenir!).

The original plan of 30 for the day was reduced to 50 with two days to go. At this point, it was determined that there were 10 staff members who would not be able to receive them later in the week.


Last spurt! All 50 remaining bottles were put into containers. After a strategy meeting, the wording on the pop-up was changed to “One bottle per person, please! to “One bottle per person! This was an appeal to the audience that the number of bottles was limited. The strategy worked, and the number of bottles was reduced to 24 this day.


The last day. Only 26 bottles left. We are definitely short again today, but Team Kanda has already done everything it can. We’ll act jolly!” [Friday]. This was the last strategy. When we returned to the dressing room after the show, the manager reported, “We have 9 bottles left! He must have had a hard time getting them. It must have been difficult to get them. I felt sorry.

Thus ended the battle of wits between the staff and Team Kanda. The choice of souvenirs seemed to have been good, but I had misjudged the number of souvenirs to begin with. My mediocre mistake, as the leader of the team, was the cause of the somewhat unpleasant ending of the event. The rule is that the remainder is used up by team Kanda. I am sure my lips will be smelling sweet for the next six months.

©Kazuki Shimomura

Aika Kanda was born in 1980 in Kanagawa Prefecture. After graduating from Gakushuin University with a degree in mathematics, she joined NHK as an announcer in 2003, and left 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 “FRIDAY” February 16, 2024

  • Text and illustrations Aika Kanda

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