After eight days as the first journalist in space, Toyohiro Akiyama safely touched down Monday with down-to-earth cravings for beer, good food and a smoke.

"It seems like I came back as a mass of desire," Akiyama, 48, said after emerging from the Soyuz space capsule that landed on the frozen tundra in Kazakstan, the Soviet republic in Central Asia.Akiyama, a news director for the Tokyo Broadcasting System, was the first Japanese in space. He returned with cosmonauts Gennady Manakov and Gennady Strekalov, who were concluding a four-month stay aboard the Mir space station.

TBS paid the Soviets $12 million for Akiyama's rocket fare and spent an additional $25 million on the project.

The saturation coverage by TBS of Akiyama's mission reached a crescendo with Monday's all-day live broadcast of the landing, which came at about 3:05 p.m. local time.

TBS had rented four helicopters with cameras mounted underneath to cover two possible landing sites.