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With more than 25 years of working in broadcast journalism, Japanese newscaster Ichiro Furutachi has turned in plenty of fine on-air performances. Still, each time you go before the cameras you’re spinning that roulette wheel, and it’s only a matter of time until you end up with a flub or two.

Earlier this year, the 59-year-old Furutachi elicited chuckles with his comments that exposed his lack of understanding about PowerPoint. It wasn’t Furutachi’s lack of knowledge regarding the finer points of the ubiquitous presentation software that surprised the public, but rather his admission that he didn’t even know what PowerPoint was.

What’s more, if we take the words of Furutachi’s most recent gaffe literally, it would seem that he’s not just confused about computer programs, but how electricity works, when he suggested using a room fan to stay cool during a blackout…

Since 2004, Furutachi has served as the host of the news program Hodo Station, which airs on TV Asahi at 10 p.m. on weeknights. His considerable prestige means that several reports are followed with a brief editorial from the broadcasting veteran.

Hodo Station covers a wide variety of topics, ranging from hard news to sports and local interest stories. Last night, one segment dealt with the inclement weather in the Tokyo area, in which thunderstorms had knocked out power to a number of homes, obviously leaving residents unable to run their air conditioners. Even worse, the storms coincided with a sweltering heat wave, making conditions not just unpleasant but dangerous, as the threats of dehydration and heatstroke loomed.

In light of this, Furutachi offered the following advice.

“If you’re experiencing a lack of power, and you can’t use your air conditioner, you stand a real chance of being stricken with heat exhaustion. In order to cool yourself down just a bit, please use a senpuuki, or open the window to get some air circulating.”

In his delivery, Furutachi showed the genuine concern for his viewers one would expect of a consummate newsman, and most of his warning and recommendation is spot-on. There’s just one teensy little problem with his proposed countermeasure, which is the suggestion to use a senpuuki.

▼ Pictured: A senpuuki.

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Senpuuki is the Japanese word for, specifically, an electric fan. And while we agree that’s a great way to cool off, the fact that Furutachi was encouraging people to use them during a power outage presented a bit of a problem.

Furutachi continued along dauntlessly, but at the exact moment he says “senpuuki” at the video’s 20-second mark, co-host Ayaka Ogawa noticeably blinks in surprise. Gracefully, she limits her comment to, “Yes,” but as she turns to face her partner, we can see a bit of a crack in her professional demeanor.

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Japanese internet users, though, had no need for kid gloves.

“Can you do that without electricity?”
“Well, what do you expect? He used to be a pro wrestling announcer, after all.”
“Sure, they can just spin the fan blades by hand.”
“Looking at some of his other newscasts, I think Furutachi’s more of the kind of guy who lets his energy carry him through a story, rather than really thinking about what he’s saying.”

In Furutachi’s defense, it’s likely he meant to say sensu, the Japanese word for a folding fan.

Sensu, not to be confused with sempuuki

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This is actually a common mistake for native English speakers to make, since they’re used to just calling both cooling tools “fans.” Could it be that Furutachi’s position as a prominent journalist has him thinking globally so often that the linguistics of his subconscious have become rewired?

There’s also the possibility that Furutachi is far more techno-savvy than people are giving him credit for. He could just be assuming that every modern household has a laptop PC with a fully-charged battery and a USB-powered sempuuki ready to go for crises just like the one the newscast dealt with. Perhaps he’d just seen our article about the USB uchiwa, yet another Japanese word that generally translates as “fan.”

▼ If so, thanks for reading RocketNews24, Ichiro!

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Or maybe, just maybe, he got a little tongue-tied in the middle of a live-broadcast. If that’s the case, maybe we shouldn’t be too hard on the guy. After all, we all make mistakes somethymes.

Source: Jin
Top image: YouTube
Insert images: Dr. Wallet, YouTube, Hakuichi, Thanko