Ainori (“Ride Together” or “Love Ride”) is a popular reality TV show in Japan. Seven young people tour the world in a pink bus, hoping to find love with a fellow passenger.
When a contestant finds someone they like, they must make a public confession of their love. If this is reciprocated, the new couple go back to Japan together. If the lovestruck contestant is turned down, they must return to Japan alone, having humiliated themselves in front of millions.
It is strictly forbidden to enter Ainori if you’re already in a relationship, and producers to their best to filter out coupled people looking for a free holiday. However, some slip through the net, and more than one contestant has been forced to leave the show when it emerged they had a relationship back in Japan.
The show has also had problems with contestants falling in love with the wrong people. One girl fell for their guide in South Africa (a millionaire playboy), and decided to stay with him when the bus moved on to another country. Another professed a severe crush on the show’s (married) audio technician (who she had never really spoken to), which resulted in both of them being sent home.
All in all, Ainori is an entertaining and effective (albeit expensive) matchmaker. Since the start of the show in 1999, there have been 39 Ainori couples, 7 Ainori marriages and an Ainori baby (as of February 2007).
- Ainori (Wikipedia)
- Official site (Japanese)
- My Blog: Ainori
Summaries of each episode in English
- An English page dedicated to AINORI
Screen caps and English description of Ainori episodes from 2004.