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Brain Clinic: IQ Supplement


Seventeen matches are arranged to make the number 300. Can you make the number 1 by moving just two matches?
(You must not bend or break the matches!)


(from Brain Clinic: IQ Supplement by FUJI TV)

> Answer

Many families in Japan enjoy gathering around their TV in the living room in the evenings to watch quiz shows. Kids and parents love to say the answers and compare their performances. One recent smash hit among kids and their families is a program called Brain Clinic: IQ Supplement.

Brain Clinic is a popular one-hour program shown on Saturday evenings on Fuji TV. It began in April 2004. This is not the kind of game show in which contestants answer difficult questions in an attempt to win lots of money or fabulous prizes. The point of Brain Clinic is to help everyone think clearly by exercising their brains. The quiz acts like a vitamin supplement for the mind, as well as entertaining viewers of all ages.

Solving the problems set on the show requires skills like intuition, arithmetic, and creativity. The problems are not particularly difficult, and anyone can solve them with a bit of thought, but sometimes you need to think creatively to get the answer. In many families it is the kids, who are more flexible in their thinking, that figure out the correct answers first. In fact, one of the reasons the show is such a hit is that kids can enjoy and take pride in saying the correct answers before their parents can.

Many of the problems involve word play or puns. Japanese words or phrases are sometimes made into illustrations or matchstick drawings that contestants try to decipher, and when, for example, one matchstick is moved, the meaning will be different. While the problems seem very simple, they often involve the kind of lateral thinking that some adults find hard. Another type of problem involves trying to spot the differences in two nearly mirror-image animated images. There are also puzzle-like challenges in which people combine a series of kanji characters to form other kanji or words.

Of course it is difficult to come up with the answers to every problem. The most important thing is to understand the solution after it is given, which helps you to think clearly the next time. When contestants on the show are stumped, they throw a special "stumped ball" to break the tension. People watching digital broadcasts at home can take part in the fun themselves by answering the questions using their TV's remote control.

It is not just on TV where Brain Clinic has been a hit. So far there have been six books published collecting problems from the show, and these popular titles have sold a total of 800,000 copies. Additionally, there are DVDs of the problems, as well as video games that users can play on their mobile phone or handheld consoles. One way to enjoy these games is to take turns solving the problems with a friend.



(from Brain Clinic: IQ Supplement by FUJI TV)

(Updated in January 2007)