Arakawa Kyokei’s Day Catch news show on TBS Radio is always entertaining, but the juxtaposition of news stories in their ranking of the day’s top stories (collated in Internet surveys and on-the-street interviews) is an intriguing snapshot of our interests and can be quite illuminating (you can listen to it here). For a few weeks, the breakup of the boy band SMAP was in the top three, beating out all geopolitical news. Today, the top three stories were Trump’s announcement that the US would pull out of TPP, followed by Prime Minister Abe’s request that the Diet discuss the emperor’s abdication, and then the news that Panasonic had developed a washing machine for the Indian market with a special function that will wash curry out of clothes (I found out more here). The show’s host and guest seemed particularly happy to abandon the serious tone apparently required for political punditry to delve into this exciting development. They hoped that Panasonic would also come up with washing machines that could tackle Japanese curry and soy sauce.

I was also amused yesterday to hear guests on both Day Catch and TBS Radio’s Session 22 try to explain the meaning behind the pink pussyhats that showed up in all the footage of the women’s marches… This kind of diversion makes all the years of studying Japanese worthwhile.