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Ainori

, literally "Ride together", or "Car pool" but can also be read as "love ride", is a popular television program that runs Monday evenings from 11pm in Japan on Fuji TV. It debuted on October 11, 1999.

Show Description

Ainori is a reality program where seven young men and women travel the world riding a pink bus. The program is reminiscent of a travelogue; as of September 2008, the show has followed the bus across 88 countries as participants explore both famous tourist attractions and more off-the-beaten-path places. The participants are led across each country by a native who serves as tour guide, bus driver, and friend. Upon reaching the border with another country, the bus stops and participants head out to their next destination country to meet their new tour guide and get into their new bus.

The show's twist is that the participants are each young, single people whose goal is to find love with another participant and return to Japan as a couple. When a participant has decided they like someone else, they ask the driver for a ticket back to Japan. They then declare their love to the object of their affection, and ask that the two return to Japan together. After a night's consideration, the person who received the love declaration can either answer with a kiss, after which both participants leave the bus for Japan. Otherwise, the jilted participant is left to return to Japan alone. Besides the love declaration, participants are forbidden from talking openly about their love interests with other participants, but inform the TV audience of their feelings through diaries and confessions to the camera (shot when no other participants are present).

After people leave the bus, new people are added to the program, to keep the total at 7 members. They are seen on the side of the road with a painted cardboard sign (appearing to be hitchhikers) and brought aboard after a self-introduction.

The First Lap Around the World ended in May, 2003, and the Second Lap ended in March, 2007. After that, the bus visits the countries which has never been visited on the show, without the route. The 400th episode was aired on May 5, 2008.

As of March, 2008, 41 couples have found love through the program, and there have been 8 marriages (But 1 couple has got divorced). On March 1, 2005, the first "Ainori Baby" was born, and as of mid-2006 there have been 2 babies born in total.

Countries visited

The First Lap

# Country Air date Participants Couples
men women
0 Oct 11 1999 (#1) Hory, Takaya, Kazu, Kin-chan
1 Oct 11 1999 (#1) -
Nov 15 1999 (#6)
Hory, Takaya, Kazu, Kin-chan Okan, Midori, Ai Takaya ♥ Okan
2 Nov 15 1999 (#6) -
Jan 17 2000 (#13)
Hory, Kin-chan, Shingo, Inotchi, Fuku, Jun Midori, Ai, Tomo, Mio Hory ♥ Ai
3 Jan 17 2000 (#13) -
Feb 28 2000 (#19)
Kin-chan, Inotchi, Fuku, Jun, Shū Midori, Tomo, Mio, Kyōko Inotchi ♥ Tomo
4 Feb 28 2000 (#19) -
Mar 13 2000 (#21)
Kin-chan, Jun, Tā-kun, Satoshi Kyōko, Mie, Wakana Jun ♥ Kyōko
5 Mar 20 2000 (#22) -
May 08 2000 (#27)
Kin-chan, Tā-kun, Satoshi, Yūji Mie, Wakana, Sanae Kin-chan ♥ Midori
(Midori visited Thailand and met Kin-chan again.)
6 May 15 2000 (#28) -
Jun 26 2000 (#34)
Sen-chan, Hisashi, GYO, Sunatchi, Haru Mariko, Miyuki, Tanabē, Yuki Hisashi ♥ Mariko
(back in Japan)
7 Jun 26 2000 (#34) -
Jul 24 2000 (#38)
Sen-chan, GYO, Haru, Yassan Miyuki, Tanabē, Yuki GYO ♥ Miyuki
8 Jul 24 2000 (#38) -
Aug 07 2000 (#40)
Sen-chan, Haru, Yassan, Ken'ichi Tanabē, Yuki, Devi Haru ♥ Yuki
9 Aug 07 2000 (#40) -
Aug 28 2000 (#43)
Sen-chan, Yassan, Ken'ichi Tanabē, Devi
10 Aug 28 2000 (#43) -
Sep 25 2000 (#47)
Sen-chan, Ken'ichi, Fujiwara-kun, Gō, Paolo Devi, Nao, Chinatsu
11 Sep 25 2000 (#47) -
Nov 13 2000 (#53)
Sen-chan, Ken'ichi, Fujiwara-kun, Gō, Seki-chan Devi, Nao, Chinatsu, Eri Sen-chan ♥ Devi
Fujiwara-kun ♥ Nao
12 Nov 13 2000 (#53) -
Dec 18 2000 (#58)
Ken'ichi, Gō, Seki-chan, Tsune, Takashi Chinatsu, Eri, Yūko, Hitomi
13 Dec 18 2000 (#58) -
Jan 15 2001 (#61)
Gō, Seki-chan, Tsune, Takashi Eri, Yūko, Hitomi Gō ♥ Eri
14 Jan 22 2001 (#62) -
Feb 26 2001 (#66)
Seki-chan, Takashi, Ken, Sasayan Yūko, Hitomi, Ogu Sasayan ♥ Yūko
15 Feb 26 2001 (#66) Seki-chan, Takashi, Ken Hitomi, Ogu
16 Mar 05 2001 (#67) -
Apr 03 2001 (#71)
Seki-chan, Takashi, Ken, Naoya Hitomi, Ogu, Keiko Ken ♥ Keiko
17 Apr 03 2001 (#71) -
Apr 30 2001 (#75)
Seki-chan, Takashi, Naoya Hitomi, Ogu, Ringo Takashi ♥ Ogu
18 Apr 30 2001 (#75) -
May 21 2001 (#78)
Seki-chan, Naoya, Daisuke, Match-bō(Yamasaki) Ringo, Yū, Tsutchy
19 May 21 2001 (#78) -
Jul 02 2001 (#84)
Seki-chan, Naoya, Daisuke, Match-bō, Yōsei Ringo, Yū, Tsutchy, Natchan
20 Jul 02 2001 (#84) -
Aug 13 2001 (#90)
Seki-chan, Naoya, Daisuke, Yōsei Yū, Tsutchy, Natchan
21 Aug 13 2001 (#90) -
Sep 24 2001 (#95)
Seki-chan, Daisuke, Yōsei, Yasu Natchan, Akky, Yūka Yōsei ♥ Akky
22 Oct 02 2001 (#96) Seki-chan, Daisuke, Yasu, Reggae Natchan, Yūka Daisuke ♥ Natchan
23 Oct 02 2001 (#96) -
Nov 05 2001 (#100)
Seki-chan, Yasu, Reggae, Tobi Yūka, Ai, Vivi Seki-chan ♥ Yūka
24 Nov 12 2001 (#101) -
Dec 17 2001 (#106)
Yasu, Reggae, Tobi, Yoshi-chan Vivi, Mizuho, Yukinē
25 Dec 17 2001 (#106) -
Jan 07 2002 (#108)
Reggae, Tobi, Yoshi-chan, Take Vivi, Mizuho, Yukinē
26 Jan 07 2002 (#108) -
Feb 18 2002 (#114)
Reggae, Tobi, Yoshi-chan, Take Vivi, Mizuho, Yukinē Tobi ♥ Vivi
27 Feb 18 2002 (#114) -
Mar 11 2002 (#116)
Reggae, Yoshi-chan, TAKA Mizuho, Yukinē, Mika
28 Mar 11 2002 (#116) -
Jun 24 2002 (#128)
Reggae, Yoshi-chan, TAKA, Tiger Yukinē, Mika, Megu Tiger ♥ Megu
TAKA ♥ Mika
29 Jul 01 2002 (#129) -
Aug 05 2002 (#134)
Nan-chan, Kōta, Keisuke, Tomokun Osugi, Yuri, Wakana
30 Aug 05 2002 (#134) -
Oct 14 2002 (#143)
Nan-chan, Kōta, Keisuke, Daijō Osugi, Yuri, Wakana, Yukachin Keisuke ♥ Osugi
Daijō ♥ Yuri
31 Oct 21 2002 (#144) -
Nov 18 2002 (#148)
Nan-chan, Kōta, Tetsu, Tsunayoshi Yukachin, Miho, Reika
32 Nov 25 2002 (#149) -
Dec 02 2002 (#150)
Nan-chan, Kōta, Tetsu, Kazu-kun Yukachin, Miho, Reika
33 Dec 02 2002 (#150) -
Dec 23 2002 (#153)
Nan-chan, Kōta, Tetsu, Kazu-kun Yukachin, Miho, Reika
34 Dec 29 2002 (#154) -
Feb 03 2003 (#159)
Kōta, Tetsu, Kazu-kun Yukachin, Miho, Reika Kōta ♥ Miho
35 Feb 03 2003 (#159) -
Apr 21 2003 (#168)
Kazu-kun, Miyaken, Takurō, Asa-chan, Dobokun Yukachin, Saki, Marippe, Gachapin Kazu-kun ♥ Yukachin
Takurō ♥ Marippe
36 Apr 21 2003 (#168) -
May 19 2003 (#172)
Miyaken, Asa-chan, Dobokun, Tazy Saki, Gachapin, Mikan Dobokun ♥ Saki

The Second Lap

# Country Air date Participants Couples
men women
37 May 26 2003 (#173) -
Jun 30 2003 (#178)
Miyaken, Asa-chan, Tazy, DAI Gachapin, Mikan, Yukky, Michelle
38 Jun 30 2003 (#178) -
Jul 28 2003 (#182)
Asa-chan, Tazy, DAI, Boxer Gachapin, Yukky, Eiko, Sakura
39 Jul 28 2003 (#182) -
Aug 04 2003 (#183)
Asa-chan, DAI, Boxer, Shima Gachapin, Eiko, Sakura
40 Aug 04 2003 (#183) -
Aug 11 2003 (#184) &
Aug 25 2003 (#186)
Asa-chan, DAI, Boxer, Shima Gachapin, Eiko, Sakura
41 Aug 11 2003 (#184) -
Aug 18 2003 (#185)
Asa-chan, DAI, Boxer, Shima Gachapin, Eiko, Sakura DAI ♥ Gachapin
42 Sep 01 2003 (#187) -
Oct 13 2003 (#192)
Asa-chan, Boxer, Shima, Sōta, Hassy Eiko, Sakura, Rii
43 Oct 20 2003 (#193) -
Dec 01 2003 (#198)
Sōta, Hassy, Hayato Sakura, Rii, Yūmin
44 Dec 01 2003 (#198) -
Jan 12 2004 (#203)
Asa-chan, Hassy, Hayato, Kōei Rii, Yūmin, Kaji
45 Jan 12 2004 (#203) -
Feb 16 2004 (#208)
Asa-chan, Hassy, Hayato, Kōei Yūmin, Kaji, Miki
46 Feb 23 2004 (#209) -
Apr 01 2004 (#214)
Asa-chan, Hayato, Kōei, Haolong Yūmin, Kaji, Miki
47 Apr 01 2004 (#214) -
May 17 2004 (#220)
Hayato, Kōei, Haolong, Hakase Yūmin, Kaji, Miki, Juri Hayato ♥ Yūmin
Kōei ♥ Miki
Dominic (Driver) ♥ Kaji
48 May 17 2004 (#220) -
Jun 07 2004 (#223)
Haolong, Hakase, Takky, Ryō Juri, Yuka, Numatchi
49 Jun 14 2004 (#224) -
Jul 19 2004 (#229)
Hakase, Takky, Ryō, Junpei Juri, Yuka, Numatchi Ryō ♥ Juri
50 Jul 19 2004 (#229) -
Aug 30 2004 (#235)
Takky, Junpei, Yū-kun, Hide Yuka, Numatchi, Seriha
51 Sep 06 2004 (#236) -
Oct 18 2004 (#241)
Junpei, Yū-kun, Hide, Itchy Numatchi, Seriha, Kayo
52 Oct 18 2004 (#241) -
Nov 22 2004 (#246)
Junpei, Yū-kun, Hide, Itchy Seriha, Kayo, Ōse
53 Nov 22 2004 (#246) -
Jan 27 2005 (#252)
Junpei, Yū-kun, Hide, Itchy, Haisha Seriha, Ōse, Salt Itchy ♥ Seriha
54 Jan 10 2005 (#252) -
Feb 14 2005 (#257)
Junpei, Yū-kun, Hide, Bukurō Ōse, Salt, Riko
55 Feb 14 2005 (#257) -
Apr 11 2005 (#263)
Yū-kun, Hide, Bukurō, Kōji Ōse, Salt, Riko Yū-kun ♥ Riko
56 Apr 11 2005 (#263) -
May 16 2005 (#268)
Hide, Bukurō, Kōji, Arashi Ōse, Mikarin, Omami Bukurō ♥ Ōse
57 May 16 2005 (#268) -
Jun 13 2005 (#272)
Hide, Kōji, Arashi, Susan Mikarin, Omami, Takano
58 Jun 13 2005 (#272) -
Jul 18 2005 (#277)
Hide, Kōji, Arashi, Susan Mikarin, Takano, Natchi
59 Jul 25 2005 (#278) -
Aug 01 2005 (#279)
Hide, Arashi, Susan, tk Mikarin, Takano
60 Aug 01 2005 (#279) -
Sep 05 2005 (#284)
Hide, Arashi, Susan, tk Mikarin, Omami, Takano
61 Sep 12 2005 (#285) -
Oct 17 2005 (#288)
Hide, Arashi, Susan, tk MIE, Ume-chan, Aya
62 Oct 17 2005 (#288) -
Nov 28 2005 (#294)
Hide, Arashi, Susan, tk MIE, Ume-chan, Aya
63 Nov 28 2005 (#294) -
Jan 16 2006 (#299)
Hide, Arashi, Susan, Alec MIE, Ume-chan, Aya Arashi ♥ Aya
64 Jan 16 2006 (#299) -
Mar 06 2006 (#305)
Susan, Alec, Tagami-kun, Outlaw MIE, Izumi, Hisayon
65 Mar 13 2006 (#306) -
Apr 24 2006 (#310)
Susan, Alec, Tagami-kun, Outlaw Izumi, Hisayon, Goki
66 Apr 24 2006 (#310) Susan, Tagami-kun, Outlaw Izumi, Hisayon, Goki
67 Apr 24 2006 (#310) -
Jun 19 2006 (#318)
Susan, Tagami-kun, Outlaw, Sōri Izumi, Hisayon, Goki Outlaw ♥ Goki
(back in Japan)
Susan ♥ MIE
(back in Japan)
68 Jul 03 2006 (#320) -
Jul 24 2006 (#323)
Tagami-kun, Sōri, Tachi, Uekki Hisayon, Chaki, Yankumi
69 Jul 31 2006 (#324) -
Aug 28 2006 (#328)
Sōri, Tachi, Uekki, Yokomī Hisayon, Chaki, Yankumi
70 Sep 04 2006 (#329) -
Oct 23 2006 (#334)
Tachi, Uekki, Yokomī, San-chan Chaki, Yankumi, Junko Tachi ♥ Junko
71 Oct 30 2006 (#335) -
Dec 04 2006 (#340)
Uekki, Yokomī, San-chan, ISSY Chaki, Yankumi, Nagisa Uekki ♥ Chaki
72 Dec 11 2006 (#341) -
Jan 29 2007 (#346)
Yokomī, San-chan, ISSY, Gla-san Yankumi, Nagisa, Bambi
73 Feb 12 2007 (#348) -
Mar 19 2007 (#352)
San-chan, ISSY, Gla-san, Moriken Nagisa, Bambi, Miyanē ISSY ♥ Nagisa

The Indefinite Travel (after the Second Lap)

# Country Air date Participants Couples
men women
74 Apr 09 2007 (#353) -
May 07 2007 (#357)
San-chan, Gla-san, Moriken, Oga Bambi, Miyanē, Hiroe
75 May 21 2007 (#359) -
May 28 2007 (#360)
San-chan, Gla-san, Moriken, Oga Miyanē, Hiroe, Neko
76 Jun 04 2007 (#361) -
Jun 18 2007 (#363)
San-chan, Gla-san, Moriken, Oga Miyanē, Hiroe, Neko
77 Jun 18 2007 (#363) -
Jul 30 2007 (#368)
Gla-san, Moriken, Oga, Hiderinko Miyanē, Hiroe, Neko
78 Aug 06 2007 (#369) -
Sep 03 2007 (#373)
Gla-san, Moriken, Teppei, Pochi Hiroe, Neko, Kuu
79 Sep 03 2007 (#373) -
Sep 17 2007 (#375)
Moriken, Teppei, Pochi Neko, Kuu, Chaba
80 Sep 24 2007 (#376) -
Oct 22 2007 (#378)
Moriken, Teppei, Pochi, Carbonara Neko, Kuu, Chaba Moriken ♥ Kuu
81 Oct 29 2007 (#379) -
Nov 26 2007 (#383)
Teppei, Carbonara, Danny Neko, Chaba, Remi
82 Dec 03 2007 (#384) -
Mar 10 2008 (#394)
Carbonara, Danny, Miya-kun, Ryō, Seiji Remi, Momo, Kuro Ryō ♥ Remi
83 Mar 10 2008 (#395) -
Apr 14 2008 (#398)
Danny, Miya-kun, Seiji, Umi Momo, Kuro, Yokko
84 Apr 14 2008 (#398) Danny, Miya-kun, Seiji, Umi Momo, Kuro, Yokko
85 Apr 21 2008 (#399) -
May 26 2008 (#403)
Miya-kun, Seiji, Umi, Kōsuke Momo, Kuro, Yokko
86 May 26 2008 (#403) -
Jul 28 2008 (#412)
Miya-kun, Umi, Kōsuke, Shrek Momo, Kuro, Yokko
87 Aug 04 2008 (#413) -
Aug 25 2008 (#416)
Umi, Kōsuke, Shrek Momo, Yokko, Yamaji
88 Sep 02 2008 (#417) -
 
Kōsuke, Shrek, Umeo, Gōya Momo, Yokko, Yamaji

Memorable Incidents

Although relationships between staff and participants are forbidden, some incidents involving staff have occurred:

  • A female participant fell in love with the tour guide, and when the bus stopped at the country's border (and she realized she'd never get to see him again) she begged the producers to let her confess her love. She did and the two became a couple
  • In spring of 2006, a female participant became smitten with the audio technician (even though the two had never talked, and the audio technicial had a girlfriend). This incident resulted in the female participant, a male participant who was in love with her, the audio technician, and a cameraman all returning to Japan

Other memorable incidents include:

  • In January 2006, a female participant broke down in tears and explained that three days before leaving for her Ainori trip, a male friend who she had long been harboring feelings for had finally confessed his love for her. She explained that she missed him terribly, could not get him out of her mind, and would likely not find love with any of the participants on Ainori, and thus left the show.
  • A female participant developed a physical ailment for which the doctor prohibited her from riding on the bus, or any other prolonged sitting position. Because of this, the only solution seemed that she would have to be sent home, and be eliminated from the show. However, the group came to the decision that they would ditch the bus, and walk for the rest of the trip (while carrying around all of their baggage), just so the girl could remain with them.
  • In the summer of 2006, during a break in shooting when participants were on vacation back home in Japan, a female participant discovered that the male participant that she was in love with had a girlfriend in Japan, and indeed had had a girlfriend when he left for his world trip (strictly against the rules of Ainori). After all the participants were back in Europe shooting the show, the man was confronted, finally confessed the truth to his bus-mates, and left the show to return to Japan.
  • In December 2006, a male participant proposed marriage to a female participant. She declined his offer, but did agree to go back to Japan with him to let their relationship develop.

Commentators

  • Masami Hisamoto - October 11, 1999 -
  • Kōji Imada - October 11, 1999 -
  • Haruhiko Katō - October 11, 1999 - March 20, 2006
  • Eiji Wentz - April 10, 2006 -

Trivia

  • To help prevent relationships between the staff and the participants, only staff members who are married or are already involved are chosen to work on the show.
  • Year 2000 saw the most couples born (8 couples), followed by Year 2001 (7 couples). 2007 has seen the lowest number of couples born (2 couples).
  • Hit tunes such as ELT's "fragile", GLAY's "Way of Difference", and I WiSH's "ashita e no tobira" are used as the main theme music
  • The "Love Wagon", as the bus is nicknamed, is typically a Toyota High-Ace, painted pink with Ainori logos on it. However, when the bus breaks down, or local traffic regulations prevent the love wagon from being used, a locally-purchased Japanese van painted in the same way will often be substituted.
  • Although typically the couples are "born" on their world trip, in the summer of 2006, two separate couples (Goki/Outlaw and MIE/Susan) were formed after the participants went back to Japan and realized their feelings for each other there, and in February 2007, an "Ainori news special" told the story of another couple (Hide/Kayo) who got together after returning to Japan.

References

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