May 08, 2007
My interest in cooking is pretty much limited to what can be fried, boiled, or microwaved in ten minutes or less. Except when Miki Yamamoto comes on the screen to host Cooking Today. She doesn't actually cook anything. Her job consists of introducing the day's guest cook, looking admiringly over his or her shoulder, playing the attentive student, and sampling the final product.
She may well be the cutest "announcer" (as the occupation is known in Japan) in existence. (The graphic above does not come close to doing the live version justice.) Though it is possible that she's an android manufactured in a secret laboratory beneath Mount Fuji, where thousands of high-speed centrifuges spin away 24/7, distilling the essence of the adorable into weapons-grade kawaii-ness.
The same factory made Kelly Ripa, though the Japanese version cranks the demureness factor up to eleven (she doesn't have Regis to put up with). I'm not talking "gorgeous" in the otherworldly Grace Kelly/Audrey Hepburn sense (yeah, that dates me). I mean, there's "pretty" and then there an inconceivable beauty (imagine Wallace Shawn saying that) that causes rifts in the fabric of spacetime.
Miki Yamamoto isn't that. And, frankly, the thought of that in real life is rather terrifying (my basic problem with Densha Otoko). Rather, I'm talking about the human form of whatever it is that makes grown men with no interest in cooking watch cooking shows while saying, "Awww."