Under the pretense of learning Nihongo, i have been binging on J-dramas. I thought it’d be fun to have a Japanese counterpart to Odessa’s Hook on Hallyu post.
Itazura Mischievous Kiss Love in Tokyo 1&2
The series is about a persistent girl, Kotoko (acts a lot like Yaya Dub), who declares her love for Naoki Irie. After a series of unfortunate events, (ehem spoiler alert) she ends up marrying him. Naoki is supposed to portray a cool handsome genius who is a bit aloof and unfeeling, almost condescendingly so. Acting wise, he played the aloofness part pretty well which left me wondering why Kotoko was so in love with him. The handsome part, errrr, I’m probably not the target market (aka too old for this na?!). The actor was also in another series “Rich Man, Poor Woman” and he played a fun, loud student .
Season two felt like it was an extended series of unfortunate events meant to milk the popularity of the show. I read that this show has a Korean, Taiwanese and Thai version plus an anime so it’s really popular. But, I wont be watching those–ehem, trying to learn Japanese you know!! Oh, this isn’t the first Japanese one! A 1990s version exists and the original Naoki and Kotoko did a cameo in some hospital scenes of the new one.
Kotoko, my dear Kotoko, you crazy! She’s so optimistic yet so hopeless at the same time! I feel the same way about the shopaholic movie/book–eye-rolls all throughout yet I can’t seem to stop watching.
One surprising part of the second season was how they incorporated transgender acceptance! It wasn’t necessary in the story but they put it in anyway.
I think Naoki’s mom in the series deserves a mention. She’s manipulative but funny, cheerful and a super supportive mom in law to the spaced out sometimes annoying Kotoko.
This series is about a woman who got fired because she threw water at this rude customer but, ended up getting a wedding proposal from him then actually agreeing to marry him. Gasp! Watch why! I noticed though that a lot of smart, well-off, successful women in the jdramas throw themselves at unavailable married men. They even ask the wife for the man! Makes me wonder if it’s the norm in Japan.
Matsumoto Jun cooks for an Italian restaurant in Fukuaka. His boss gives him an opportunity to work in Tokyo for the summer while school is out. He proceeds to be an arrogant a-hole who thought he knew everything about being a chef. He doesn’t. Drama ensues. He learned hard lessons. Pasta dishes weren’t extraordinary though.
Hana Yori Dango 1&2
This actually set off the j-drama binging. I’ve watched the Taiwanese version of this a lifetime ago and realized I should watch the Nihongo version. The story revolves around a poor girl studying in an elite school run by F4 with Jun Matsumoto (again! he’s quite popular!) as the leader. Bullying is rampant in the school, even the teachers were afraid of F4. Essentially this series is a love story with love triangles, unrequited love, poor vs rich issues, and stereotypical angle about an evil future-MIL.
This series was based on a manga of the same title, adapted in Chinese, Japanese and Korean television. Widely popular in Asia.
Sukina Hito Ga Iru Koto
Most series would have Tokyo as the main location but this series showcased Enoshima -which is about an hour away from Tokyo. Summer in the seaside, baking for a popular restaurant, and three goodlooking boys make for a good summer vacation, right? I think so, too!
Patisserie Coin de Rue
A movie about another patissier who goes to Tokyo to bring back her love Umi. She went to Coin de Rue but apparently the guy worked there for just two days. With no where to go, she decided to ask the owner of Coin de Rue if she could work for the bakery. Her interview cake was a bomb and she was told to go back home. Insisting she wanted to learn, the chef relented and took her in. A short and sweet story of a baker’s life.
Rich Man, Poor Woman
A story about an eccentric genius in the techworld and a new graduate looking for a job. The genius guy cannot remember names and faces and the gal has super memory so richman hires poor woman. This series reminded me of Steve Jobs– booted out of his own company, his supposed harshness, and his eye for design. Entertaining series!
What’s interesting is Japan rolled out the same tech (unifying record system) last year. I wonder if the core group underwent the same drama
After watching the shows, I think my vocabulary did improve a little bit…but just a little bit. The plan is to watch the episodes again without the subtitles and at least partially understand what’s being said. There’s probably a better, faster, more efficient way to learn but this is more entertaining, yes? Yes.