First Love: Hatsukoi (JDrama) (2022)

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Drama: First Love (First Love 初恋)
Network: Netflix
Episodes: 9
Release Date: November 24, 2022
Language: Japanese
Country: Japan

Plot: They were each other’s first loves, but a tragedy broke them apart. Years later, they meet again as adults.

Main Cast:
Takeru Satoh / Taisei Kido – Harumichi Namiki
Hikari Mitsushima / Rikako Yagi – Yae Noguchi

Review:
Wonderful leads. I love the high school version – they were full of love and passion and energy. You will just think where did it all go wrong?

Using amnesia as a plot device to keep them apart for years. They had their first major fight but why is it so shocking as to cause severe amnesia? And her friends and her MOM did nothing to tell her that she has a boyfriend!!! The mom even told Namiki to go away and she burned all his letters.

Her mom was selfish, wanting her to marry the rich doctor and look what happened to her! She had to drop out of school, get married young and have a kid, get insulted and divorced at a young age. And lonely for the next 20 years.

The adult version were great too but they were both broken and sad. Can you imagine if the mom didn’t keep them apart, they could have fallen in love all over again when they were still in their 20s? Because it’s fate.

I also liked the small bonding between Namiki and Yae’s son, even when they didn’t know who they were.

I realized that Tsunemi was also a wonderful person, when we finally get to see how they first met. It’s just too bad Namiki never got over Yae, and she will never be able to get his heart.

Eps 8 and 9 had me crying so hard, tears won’t stop falling.

I also loved the ending. Together, their dreams finally came true!! 🥰

It was a little confusing that the timelines kept jumping from past to present.

Rating: 8.5/10


Love is Blind Japan (2022)

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Show Name: Love is Blind: Japan
Producer: Netflix
Date Released: February 8, 2022
No. of Episodes: 11
Country: Japan

Plot: This is a dating reality TV show where a group of men and women tries to find their future partners for marriage. Each contestant goes on pod dates without seeing each other. If both decides they like each other, the guy proposes and the girl accepts, and they get engaged. The engaged couple then lives together for 3 weeks and decide if they want to push through with the wedding or not in the final episode.

Review:
I’m so happy my 2 favorite couples from the pods actually made it to the end!!! I thought they both had chemistry and something special from the start and I was right!

Ryotaru and Motomi were so cute together. When I saw Ryotaru dye his hair black to meet her parents, I also felt his sincerity. No wonder Motomi’s strict father accepted him. And funny that three months later, Motomi’s hair was blonde too and she had another color change later. Nice to have a hairstylist husband!

I loved Midori and Wataru out of all the couples. They were so similar and looked so good together. Up til the end i was worried that Midori was going to say no! Good thing she said yes! I think Wataru will take care of her and Lupin.

I also liked Mori, too bad he wasnt able to handle Minami who was a little different and quirky. I also think Minami should not be afraid to show her true self but she also needs to learn to listen and change when needed.

The rest of the couples looked like they really weren’t going to make it because they were all too different. They probably just got caught up in the pods and pressured to choose.

I think judging a person not by their looks is a good thing but a lot of them also decided with their hearts in the pods and not using their heads.

Like accepting a proposal from a 23 yo because he said he wants a family then getting disappointed when he said he’s not ready. She should have taken age into account and not just because he said all the right things.

Another guy also lied to the girl to make him seem better than he really is.

The older guy (i was even rooting for him at the start) who expected too much from the younger girl and wasnt very tolerating. Even the way he speaks during the interviews were harsh and put all the blame on the girl. I thought the girl had relationship issues due to her trauma and he didnt understand her. So im glad they didnt marry. I like her and hope she finds her partner too.

Looking forward to season 2!

Rating: 8.5/10

Fishbowl Wives (2022) JDrama

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Drama: Fishbowl Wives (金魚妻)
Network: Netflix
Episodes: 8
Release Date: 2022
Country: Japan

Plot: This is a story of six wives living in the same condo tower and their marital issues that resort them to having affairs.

Main Cast:
Ryoko Shinohara – Sakura Hiraga
Takanori Iwata – Haruto Toyota
Masanobu Ando – Takuya Hiraga
Shizuka Nakamura – Yuka (Outsourcing Wife)
Yuki Kubota – Yuka’s ex boyfriend
Saori Seto – Noriko (Lunchbox Wife)
Shingo Fujimori – Noriko’s husband
Anna Ishii – Saya (Chaperone Wife)
Atsuhiro Inukai – Soto / Saya’s husband
Wakana Matsumoto – Hisako (Headache Wife)
Hidekazu Mashima – Baba / Hisako’s husband
Kyoko Hasegawa – Yuriha (Renovation Wife)
Yasuyuki Maekawa – Yuriha’s husband

Review:
This is not the usual wholesome Jdrama since this is Netflix-produced so there are a lot of nude bed scenes. But I like that the scenes didn’t look awkward but very natural and sexy. Affairs are supposed to be racy and that’s what we got in every episode.

This drama didn’t glorify affairs but shows us why women would have affairs, not that it’s okay to have an affair. Also, since the focus is on the wives, the husbands are always at fault or lacking here. I wouldn’t say I agree with the wives but I get where they are coming from. They’re not happy with their husbands but they don’t want to get divorced since that would disrupt their lives. They also don’t want to get together with the other guy – it’s really just a temporary thing. So they have an affair while still staying with their partners not knowing their naughty deeds. To some people, their logic may be weird and selfish, but I’m very sure these scenarios do happen in real life. I like that there was no preachy tone in the drama and one year later, the wives were definitely happier but still engaging in their affairs.

My main issue with this drama is the main wife’s story was so boring and took up most of the time. It was obviously rebound for the girl and she needed a safe space to stay while she hides from her husband. She probably fell in love/lust because finally there was this guy showing affection to her. And while I feel bad for the younger guy, I think he also took advantage of her. After recognizing her as the woman who helped his sister years ago, he has been looking for her and he believes he’s in love with her (very unrealistic). I think somehow they really did love each other, but I just thought it wouldn’t last. It was just odd that they stood up against the criticisms of their affair, yet in the end they broke up (they had to get one last sexy time before breaking up though haha). I’m very happy they didn’t end up together, which was for the best.

I like the side stories of the other wives (more than the main fishbowl wife) and if I had to rate their stories I liked Lunchbox wife the most. The coworker was so cute and he appreciated her cooking more than the husband did. I didn’t expect that the wife will leave her husband. I actually thought they will enjoy a threesome relationship haha. My next favorite is the Outsourced wife. Girls love bad boys, especially hot ex-boyfriend bad boys. The Renovation wife was annoying at first, for rubbing it in to the fishbowl wife that she is having an affair with her husband, but I felt bad for her when her husband always put his mom first over her – oh well, she’s got a sexy carpenter guy by her bed so she’s happily ignoring the mom.

Next is the Headache wife – the prettiest wife in the drama. I guessed it right away that she is having an affair with her own husband, and I’m glad they made up in the end. Last is the Chaperone wife – I didn’t like the wife because the husband tried to give her everything and she didn’t appreciate it because she felt left behind. I think it was mostly her self esteem issues although the husband could have been more attentive to her.

Rating: 8/10

Pretty Proofreader (2016) – JDrama

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Drama: Jimi ni Sugoi! Koetsu Garu Kono Etsuko (地味にスゴイ! 校閲ガール・河野悦子)
Network: NTV
Episodes: 10
Release Date: October 5 – December 7, 2016
Runtime: Wednesday 22:00-23:00
TV Ratings: 12.4%
Language: Japanese
Country: Japan

Plot
A girl who dreams of becoming a fashion editor at Lassy magazine ends up getting a job as a proofreader at Keibon Company.

Main Cast
Satomi Ishihara – Etsuko Kono
Masaki Suda – Yukito Orihara
Tsubasa Honda – Toyoko Morio
Munetaka Aoki – Hachiro Kaizuka

Review:
Yay! Absolute gem of a drama! I love Japanese dramas because they are short and sweet, but sometimes there are dramas where I wish was a little longer (or maybe with the special or season 2). This is one of them.

I love Kono, she was a happy little ball of optimism and energy that brought sunshine to everyone around her. I love how she is always smiling and passionate with her work despite the challenges, and not having a lot of experience. I also liked what she said that she is really learning a lot about proofreading, and it will help her in honing her skills when she gets to be the editor of Lassy someday. I like that she is able to see an opportunity even though some people may think her job is not what she really wanted.

You weighed your work as a proofreader and the chance of being transferred to Lassy, and you chose proofreading. And that’s because you know that you belong to the Proofreading Department. If you had treated your job as a proofreader as a filler until you could become an editor at Lassy, I would have looked down on you. But even though you have another dream, you still put everything into the work in front of you.That’s why everyone in the Proofreading Department took you in. You aren’t half-hearted.

Kaisuka to Kono, episode 10

Kono was also not afraid to speak up and do more than the work requires her to do. I didn’t really know what a proofreader’s job really is aside from checking for mistakes. I didn’t think and most certainly her colleagues also didn’t think to do fact checking and recommend if the plot or the book didn’t make sense. At one point, I was wondering if she was crossing the line and doing an editor’s role. But I guess if I were the editor like Kaizuka, instead of getting angry or jealous at the proofreader, I would appreciate her frankness and her suggestions because it will also make the editor learn and do a better job. I particularly liked the episode where Kono helped Ms Fujiwa shine. She’s the typical strict, stick in the mud colleague who hates change, but Kono was able to melt her heart and inspire her.

Since Ms Kono came, our PD has been changing bit by bit. This dark basement room used to be so dull, and you used to feel inferior and lacked confidence in your work. But little by little, you have gained that confidence…Our job is to find the mistakes in books and correct them, but when it comes to our colleagues, we find their strengths and learn to accept each other, instead of looking for faults.

Mr Takehara to the Proofreading Department

I loved each episode since they showed different types of writers and books. The first case opened with Mr Hongo’s book. I thought that was it, but he ended up being a significant character in the latter episodes. I also liked the episodes about the aspiring writer (episode 6), Takehara’s story (episode 8), episode 9 where they showed how there are some jobs that we take for granted but are necessary to our daily lives.

More than the story of Kono and her proofreading journey, this drama also tackled about dreams. We see Yukito, a writer who’s having a writing slump and trying to figure out what he wants to write about. We see Morio who used to be jealous of Kono and half-heartedly doing her role as assistant editor of Lassy Magazine. Then we hear the Japanese restaurant owner’s story of wanting to pursue this passion. I love the message of this drama, that we are allowed to have a lot of dreams, some may happen, some may not. As long as we keep doing our work well, while pursuing our own dreams then we can still have a happy and fulfilling lives.

You just said that you couldn’t make your dream come true, but you’re still writing novels, aren’t you? Then you’re still in the process of pursuing your dream.

Kono to Ishigawa, episode 10

For the romance, at first I was expecting Yukito and Kono to end up together. I thought they were so cute together. But as the drama progressed, I kept wondering that Kono liked about him, other than he’s handsome. He seemed boring and didn’t know what he wanted, so very different from her. Kono seemed to have more fun (less puppy love look) when she and Kaizuka are together. They are both cheerful and passionate and they matched well. Likewise, Morio and Yukito’s energy seemed more matched. They were more reserved and calm, and understood each other more. So while I’m surprised that the 4 leads didn’t end up together I’m actually happy about it.

In this world, some people’s dreams come true, but others don’t. Some jobs stand out, but others don’t. Among them, there are those whose dreams have come true, but the reality is not what they imagined. But no matter how they feel about it, or what kind of job they’re doing, giving everything to the work in front of them is the only way to turn the ordinary and repetitive daily life into something truly irreplaceable.

Yukito’s monologue for his non-fiction book.

Overall I loved this drama. I think Kono really suits being a proofreader than an editor but I’m rooting for her whichever career she chooses!

Rating: 9/10