I suppose some of you might already know Takeshi Kitano as a filmmaker, who shot great movies like Sonatine and Kikujiro.
Here in Japan, he is very famous, but not for his movies. More that a filmmaker, he is popular as a comedian and appears a lot on TV, know as Beat Takeshi.
But what you might not know, even living in Japan, is the Math Kitano the mathematician. Indeed, during his childhood, Takeshi's mother was very strict concerning education. He went to the renown Meiji University and usually says that he would have liked to become a mathematician if he didn't become a comedian.
This passion for mathematics gave birth in 2006 to the TV program "Takeshi's Komanechi University Mathematics" (たけしのコマネチ大学数学科).
Aired every Thursday between 25:15 and 25:45 on Fuji Television, this program aims at showing the charm of mathematics while being as well an entertainment program.
Every week, three teams are trying to solve a problem (of university entry level): Takeshi, aka "Math Kitano", two pretty student girls from Tokyo University, and a a group of four comedians.
Surprisingly, Math Kitano performs very well and sometimes outperforms Tokyo University students, especially in geometry related problems, which must be one of the reasons why the way he shots his movies is so geometric.
On the other side, the team of four comedians always use very weird but funny ways to solve problems, and it is quite enjoying to watch, even from a mathematician point of view.
After discovering this TV program, I just became addicted, and found myself solving these problems every week. I think this is one good way to keep one's mathematics abilities, and I would recommend it to any people living in Japan.
To give you a taste of it, here is a link the some problems on my Picasa galleries:
And here's a link to a YouTube search results page.
I hope I will find some time solve problems in the next posts.