Kudos to a pop idol trying to pursue simple pleasures
The premise of this variety/talk show revolves around Fukuyama Masaharu's pursuit of quality items that are either inherently valuable or capture some sort of simple pleasure. Every week he invites celebrity guests to his television "factory" where they conceptualize, design and create various goods. Given his diverse interests, Fukuyama dreams up varying themes for each show. Past items have included everything from synthesizing his own brand of sake and spices under the watchful eye of masters; the building of a customized, souped-up scooter; planting himawari (sunflowers) and eating regional dishes in his native Nagasaki as inspiration for a new recording; designing luxury bath goods; building a guitar from a motorcycle gas tank; recording new songs in his studio; and cooking outside under the stars. Admittedly, some seem a little silly when taken out of its Japanese context (a spiffy, portable ashtray?) but it's clear that Fukuyama, who is now in his 30s, is trying to pursue things of quality and substance.
The set of Fukuyama Engineering is a hip workshop that pays homage to American iconography. Wall items include a Texaco sign, Rt. 66 pics, license plates, and an enlarged PMRC warning label. Despite the set, though, the show's truly about pursuing quality elements and goods that are of Japan; a rare (and admirable) quest in an entertainment industry full of those pursuing trivialities.
In addition to producing goods for general sale, Fukuyama Engineering has also led to a new album of classic covers called The Golden Oldies.
Celebrity guests and collaborators so far include Yusuke Santamaria, Kato Haruhiko, Issa from Da Pump, Koji Imada, Yuzu and Yamamoto Taro.
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