The TW Pop Culture Weekly: Nozomi Sasaki Not Divorcing Despite Ken Watabe’s Infidelity (Inside Public Restrooms)

Tokyo Weekender deep dives into the latest news from Japan's world of entertainment

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There’s something ironic about Ken Watabe, co-host of a program called Love Music of all things, being outed for cheating on his wife Nozomi Sasaki from the time they were dating until well after the birth of their son. Whoever is writing this reality is really starting to phone it in. Although, the news of Watabe’s infidelity, which was broke by the tabloid Shukan Bunshun, wasn’t as surprising as the recent announcement that the couple would not be divorcing.

Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

Ken Watabe might be confused at first glance with Ken Watanabe (Batman Begins, Godzilla) who too went through his own cheating scandal some years back. That’s where the similarities between the two end, though, seeing as Watanabe’s infidelity ended in a divorce. According to his agency, Watabe is not prepared to do that yet, despite the published details of his liaisons, which are sordid.

According to the anonymous office worker with whom Watabe was having the affair, the two met just 30 minutes after he and Sasaki got married, and would have sex about twice a week, usually in a public restroom somewhere in Roppongi Hills. Watabe would allegedly scout out buildings with underground parking, then text the woman and wait for her inside a handicapped toilet (chosen because of their size).

In the wake of the allegations, Watabe has halted all of his TV appearances, and his wife, the one and only undisputed victim in all of this, ended up apologizing for his actions on Instagram. Hi, welcome to Japan’s popular entertainment scandals. They tend to suck for women.

Most Popular Japanese Musicians Revealed

Billboard Japan recently tallied up the sales, downloads and streams, etc. in Japanese music during the first half of 2020 and discovered what bands your hipster friends will be most likely to pretend that they’ve never heard of. Coming in first place is the band Official HIGE DANdism, with “hige dan” translating to “facial hair men” despite the band being notoriously baby-faced. Their songs “Pretender” and “I LOVE…” dominated the top two places on Billboard Japan’s Hot 100, with the former currently having been viewed over 216 million times on YouTube.

Another band that did very well is King Gnu, the members of which actually do sport facial hair and don’t lie about it in their band name. Their “Hakujitsu” is the third-most popular song of the year, with their CEREMONY being the bestselling album of 2020.

New Ultraman Series Premieres

Although we today associate Japanese sci-fi shows about a robot fighting rubber-costume monsters amongst a scaled-down model of a city with Power Rangers (or, to be more precise, with the original Super Sentai series it was based on), that’s not where it all started. One of the earliest shows of this type, known as tokusatsu, was Ultraman, a show about a robot-esque alien that grew to massive size to fight kaiju monsters threatening the Earth. Ultraman Z, which premiered on June 20 on TV Tokyo, is the latest incarnation of the character. It undoubtedly might seem difficult to get into the franchise now after it has been on air for 54 years, but the new series is fairly gentle to newcomers, not expecting them to know the entire Ultraman mythos in order to enjoy Ultraman Z.

Also, you mainly watch Ultraman for the super inventive-hilarious monsters, and you can do that without knowing the previous series. Discover that for yourself by checking out the first episode of Ultraman Z, available legally on the official Ultraman YouTube channel with English subtitles:

“One Drink and I’m Going Home”

When it comes to alcohol, Japan can offer so much more than just sake. For one, “sake” simply means alcohol, and what the West calls “sake” is actually nihonshu or shochu in Japan. Second, the world is simply not talking enough about another Japanese happy juice: umeshu.

The best place to get this sweet and complex plum wine in Japan is apparently Wakayama, which the prefecture has reminded everyone of by setting up a gigantic kishu umeshu dispenser filled with thousands of plums at the Nanki Shirahama Toretore Market. Twitter user @teodoro_m9 recently posted a picture of the umeshu bathtub in a tweet that has been liked nearly 100,000 times, most likely by people who suddenly found themselves very, very thirsty.

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