Today was the start of the 93rd NHK asadora. An asadora is a quite unique Japanese form of TV drama series; its name derives from asa – morning – and dora – short for dorama, the Japanese spelling of drama. Those asadora air daily except Sunday, and they are very short – only 15 minutes for each episode. Even if you miss one of them, there is always a rerun on the same day at noon, and if you miss that one too, there is usually lots of repetition included in each episode so that you can catch up easily. Altogether, the whole series takes six months, so there are two asodora each year.
Since the beginnings of the asodora in 1961, the plot almost always follows the same stereotype: It centres on a young female heroine who is going through great lengths and possible hardships in order to chase her big dream. In the end, she will fulfill all her desires, of course. Some of the stories are even based on real life events.
The nice thing about an asodora is that the heroine is usualy played by a young and hitherto unknown actess. I have heard that there are even public auditions, drawing thousands of young girls, something like “Japan’s next asodora girl” or so, and that this one single role can considerably boost a career.
Now you are probably wondering why I am telling you all this and how come I even know about such thing – after all, I don’t even have a TV. Well, the current asadora edition, called “Asa ga kita” (meaning either: “Morning has come” or “Asa has come”, Asa being the name of the main character), revolves around a young woman from Osaka who becomes well known because of her incredible skills with a soroban. And as young actresses don’t have to know anything about soroban these days, they need teachers. And it so happens that said teacher is the one I have been taking lessons from for the last two years. Yes, I do feel quite proud!
Thus, I know even more background: The shooting takes place in Osaka, and Sensei has been teaching there since June or even May. He says that the whole production is very flexible and that, if the viewers don’t like the direction it is taking, things may still be changed and redone. In the worst case this will mean that he will have to teach until the very end of the airing in March.
Although it must be very tiring for him, he is also very enthousiastic, and he has received permission to make some sort of fanpage for Asa ga kita, where he talks about soroban, of course. This webpage, by the way, is the reason for our last two soroban-related excursions. Most of it is in Japanese of course, but there are also little tweets and stories in other languages and lots of interesting, soroban related photos. There are also a few English pages, but I know that there are more to come – after all, the person responsible for those is yours truly… 😉