I've watched a few Japanese Rom Coms now and I really like them! They're a great way of learning about Japan, and improving your Japanese! I remember the very first time I watched a Japanese anime only being able to pick up the word demo ('but'!), and I can tell how far my language skills have come by how much I can now understand!
These rom-com dramas are very cute. I guess the nearest association I can think of is they're a bit like Richard Curtis movies - think Mark Darcy in Bridget Jones saying, 'I like you, very much - just as you are'. It's true that the protagonist is often a Bridget-Jones type character who isn't perfect (perhaps this makes her relatable), but after a series of trials and disappointments she often gets the oji young man who she loves in the end :)
The locations are often glamorous Tokyo, with the Sky Tree and Tokyo Tower every bit as romantic as the Eiffel Tower in Paris. They're often beautifully shot, and it's fun to spend time among the bars and streets and offices of the capital! Why not take a look?
Oh My Boss! Love Not Included
Oh! My Boss! Koi wa Bessatsu de
This story starts with a premise that is familiar through the Meryl Streep movie Devil Wears Prada. An ingenue from out-of-town, Suzuki Nami (played by Mone Kamishiraishi from Love Lasts Forever), lands a job in the glamorous Tokyo world of high-end fashion magazine Miyavi. The chief editor (Reiko Horai) is a monstrous boss, and Nami is her dogsbody, running errands, calling her taxis, but terribly put-down and put-upon.
Things become complicated when Nami-chan, our every-girl, discovers that the boy she is attracted to is the younger brother of her fearsome boss! Incidentally, Juunosuke is played by J-pop idol Tamamori Yuta from band kis-my-ft2, and the theme that runs through the 10 episodes is their song Luv Bias! It's a neat tie-in!
And so our cute drama unfolds, with Nami trying to protect herself from falling in love and being rejected, while rising to the challenge of her work at the glamorous Tokyo publishing studios.
A Warmed Up Love
Talking of Japanese idols, this J-drama, A Warmed Up Love begins with a disillusioned young woman Inoue Kiki (Nana Mori), who didn't quite achieve her dream of becoming a popstar idol before being replaced by someone younger.
Now she works in a kombini - a convenience store, and is floating through life aimlessly.
However, Kiki does Instagram the new sweet desserts that regularly come into the store with the critique of an expert, and her Instagram account soon comes to the attention of the Desserts Division of the corporation who operate the chain of kombini!
This is a light fluffy tale, just like the confections Kiki goes on to make in the corporation kitchens! But it's nearly Christmas, and Kiki's in love, and will she end up with the right man in the end?
Please Love the Useless Me
Dame na Watashi ni Koishite Kudasai
This great drama was recommended by our friend Maria - thank you so much! It's my favourite of the three!
We're beginning to see that many popular manga are made into a drama, after all, the manga is the perfect storyboard! What I love so much is how close the action is to the original drawings. This manga is by Aya Nakahara, and it translates into a very cute drama!
The premise is that a 30 year old woman (played by Fukada Kyoko) who has no home, no job, and no boyfriend builds her life back up with the help of the kind Shunin – her ex-boss – who now runs the himawari café!
He collects an odd assortment of people around him – people who didn't achieve so well at school, shy people, lonely people. Without them even realising in his quiet way he makes somewhere where they belong – the café becomes a community – a family almost. In the same way, Shunin is a guardian to Shibata san, giving her a home, feeding her up, and giving her a part-time job. Shibata san is just like the little stray cat that she looks after. This crucial support allows Shibata san to get a better-paid office job, where she begins to excel, and where she meets the first man that she has ever been asked to date.
Life is looking so much better for Shibata san. But the sparky banter she shares with Shunin continues to grow. We begin to learn about the sadness of his back story, which makes his quiet, unobtrusive care for everyone around him even more poignant.
We hope that you've enjoyed discovering three new Japanese drama and that you're watching them along with us! We really appreciate your recommendations too!
Thank you for reading, and see you next time!
Cathy and Yukki
Oh my Boss poster: mydramalist.com
A Warmed Up Love: themoviedb.org
Please Love the Useless Me poster: imdb.com
Please Love the Useless me Manga Art: pinterest.com