Saturday, November 11, 2017

Please Love the Useless Me (JDrama) * * *

Please Love the Useless Me (Dame na Watashi ni Koishite Kudasai) isn’t one of my favourites. It was very sweet and cute, but the main character can be annoying. Okay, she’s also very sweet, and when she clutched her meat pillow, I was reminded of her cat. This is obviously not a serious drama. It’s sometimes funny, but sometimes ridiculous.

This drama is about growing up. Although the main character never seems to, she’s not alone. I’m well over 30, and sometimes I feel like an impostor as well, just playing being an adult. Being an adult is hard. There are jobs to find, relationships, people out for our money, etc. We have all probably felt that we are way in over our heads. Michiko, the main character knows she is. She’s unemployed, and hopelessly ensnared by her younger boyfriend. She needs help, and her old boss, Ayumu decides to help. Though actually, he could use some help himself. His restaurant is just starting up, and I think having a waitress as cute as her around for room and board is not a bad deal.
Relationships are important in this drama. Most people feel that they are not fully adults until they have settled down and got married. Therefore, many people in the story are actively seeking this. However, telling you if they succeed would mean spoilers. It’s also about friendships, as they often help each other out. Family is a part of it too.
Jobs are also a theme. Ayumu left a job that was well-paid and respected to pursue his dream of being a chef. While this is a gamble, he walks forward relentlessly. Michiko also doesn’t have a job, but after the suggestion of finding something she actually likes, she manages to land a position that can take her far. I actually found this idea in the drama useful.

Michiko (Fukada Kyoko) is not a smart woman. She’s too kind and trusting, the realities of life not seemed to have jaded her yet. However, she does grow a lot in the drama, and I was quite impressed by it. Even though she says at the end that she’s useless, I feel that it’s because she says that she is not. In fact, she becomes quite capable. Oh, and she constantly eats meat. She makes me want to eat a juicy steak.
Ayumu (Fujioka Dean) is a stoic man. He shows his feelings through his cooking. He’s also dependable and capable. The kind of person you wish you had in your life, because you know you can always count on him. He’s also a man of few words. Fujioka Dean is of course good at these characters, and his presence is always felt.

When discussing this drama one more thing I need to mention. Omelette rice. You will be looking up the recipe if you don’t know it yet. I haven’t tried it yet, but I will gather my courage and go for it.

Overall, this is a cute drama, and will make you think about your own growing-up process. I know that Michiko will be kind of annoying in her naiveté, but her character does have a point, I promise. Happy omelette rice cooking!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Hapimari: Happy Marriage!? (JDrama) * * * * *

After I saw this series, I started to read the manga, because I fell in love with the characters so much, I wasn’t ready to let them go. Therefore, I will make some references to the manga as well, though I haven’t read it all yet.
Hapimari is about a lot of things. Fathers, marriage, love, happiness. It starts out with a strange event. A man proposes marriage to a woman he doesn’t even know. Interestingly, in the manga he’s actually her boss, which complicates things further. However, in the drama he’s not. I think they took that part out as it was a bit disturbing, almost bordering on a kind of harassment. It was also a conflict not closely related to the main story, which in the manga takes places over several more years than in the drama.
So getting back to the story, a woman accepting a proposal by a strange, but wealthy man seems equally improbable. However, just as the man has a good reason for the propositions, so does the woman for accepting it. That doesn’t mean they both don’t have their doubts, but once they start playing with open cards, all falls into place. In a way, such a marriage is even cleaner than the usual ones. There is no promise of eternal love, though there is one of fidelity. They both step into it with open eyes and clear intentions. In a way, this drama would be dull, if not for the chemistry between them, and also the sexual appeal that I felt coming from Hokuto.

Hokuto (Dean Fujioka) is the wealthy man. He is not an ordinary guy. He’s very intelligent, though a bit cold, but that actually makes him kind of sexy. He’s very driven, but also lonely. His childhood was plagued by tragedy, and he grew up in a household where he didn’t trust anyone. The reason for this is the murder mystery that is also a plot line in the drama. However, Chiwa, his new wife relieves his loneliness like no one else before her. Probably the main reason is that he feels he can trust her.
Chiwa (Seino Nana) is also an interesting character. She’s the caretaker type of person. She even looks after her dad, whom I would have left to his own devices long ago. She is also very smart, though she hasn’t had many opportunities in life. Choosing to marry a stranger is not easy for her, but she wants to do her best in everything. I’m actually of a similar philosophy, as I think that if you do something, you should give it your all.

This drama is a lovely journey into love and trust. I recommend it a lot. The manga is good as well, though that is actually rather adult, while the drama is toned down for TV. However, why you really need to watch this is at the beginning of episode 9. It wasn’t explosive, nor passionate, but makes every woman clutch a pillow in a hug.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

From Five To Nine (JDrama) * * * *

First of all, I have to say that I mainly started to watch From Five to Nine for Ishihara Satomi, whom I just adore! She’s not only incredibly beautiful, and I sometimes find myself staring at, but she also brings such warmth to all her performances. I also started to watch it as I’ve worked as an English teacher myself. I tried once to get a job in Japan, but apparently it’s impossible if you didn’t grow up in an English speaking country.

This drama starts out a bit strangely, and frankly, throughout the story it was hard to understand Takane’s attraction to her. Sure, Junko is a lovely, vivacious, beautiful woman. Like I said, it’s very hard to not stare at Satomi sometimes, she’s that gorgeous, but one would think a monk would go deeper than that. Also, frankly, Takane’s very annoying, and I would probably have been more drastic in my refusal of him.

So this drama is about a monk falling in love with an English teacher inexplicably fast and deep. He relentlessly pursues her. However, her dream is to go and live in New York. Complications include families, other men, a surprise man – and that was a surprise, though I did have my suspicions -, among other things. The biggest complication though is that Junko is not at all interested in marriage, especially not to a monk.

One surprising aspect of this story was a monk getting married. I did do a bit of research on Japanese monks, and found a very interestingblog that is well worth reading. So the only really off thing about the story was Takane having his hair, but I guess Yamashita Tomohisa didn’t want to have his head shaved.

I also have to comment on the English. Junko’s is okay, though she has a very strong accent. Takane, on the other hand, has such a strong accent, it was often difficult to understand, and sometimes I couldn’t even tell that he was speaking in English. Actually, some of the supporting cast had a lot better pronunciation, than the two main characters.

The really interesting thing about this story is why I kept watching it. I didn’t like the start of it much, nor the insta-love, but it was very funny, and after a while the romance kind of grew on me. So I really recommend this, as by the end it’s a very warm, loving story. Also, you’ll really want to eat crabs.