I confess I’m a drama addict. But hey, I’m an auntie, I’m allowed. But I have a weakness for Japanese drama, or commonly known as jdorama. It’s a bit passe since I know the whole world has moved on to Korean or China-made shows. But I like the quirkiness and inventiveness of Japanese drama, although it can sometimes border on the bizarre. They are also good at building up characters and their relationships, which draws me into the shows.
I thought I’d mention some of these shows since they can be found on Youtube and I can link them easily. The English subtitles are excellent and I really marvel at the people who are dedicated enough to do them. Some even explain the Japanese slang. Japanese series are mercifully short, usually 10-11 episodes, so their stories aren’t dragged out. On the other hand, some are so engrossing I miss them when they end. Yes I know, I have no life. Some of the links are to parts of the show but if you follow the recommendations you can usually find the next segment. Some are also movies and not series.
Around 40 centers around Ogata Satoko, a psychiatrist in a hospital who’s 39 going on 40 and not married, so you can imagine the societal pressures she faces. They even have slang for her, arafo, or “around 40”. She has two good friends, one who’s a housewife with a teenaged son, and another who’s younger and ambitious, trying to juggle marriage and career. One day she meets a man who has strange habits and it turns out that he’ll be working for her as a clinical psychologist. Not only is he younger, he also earns less than she does so any relationship is fraught with angst. The show does portray women in a rather stereotypical way, but it also highlights the many issues and pressures that women face. It can also be rather amusing with some light moments. The actress who plays Satoko is lovely, very elegant and I enjoyed watching her.
Hotaru no Hikari shares the same actor from Around 40. I typically follow the recommendations that Youtube gives and so a lot of them will be linked to the same crop of actors and actresses. This is a lighthearted comedy with a young office lady who one day finds she has to share her home with her manager after he gets kicked out by his wife. Many hilarious moments ensue as he’s a neat freak and she’s very untidy, with her laundry hung up all over the house. Their contrasting personalities add to the chemistry and fun, one very clueless and the other sober and practical. The show can get quite silly but it also has quiet, reflective moments where both of them ponder their lives as he tries to help her snare the guy she likes and her effervescent presence helps him get over his wife. It’s lighthearted and yet tender, one of my favourites.
Code Blue follows a group of young trainee doctors who are sent to a helicopter medical emergency team. I’m a bit out of the age group of the youngsters. However, it promises lots of exciting moments because of the nature of a hospital ER. And if you like cute young guys with floppy hair, this is the show for you because the lead, Yamashita Tomohisa, is a popular young thing, er … born in 1985.
The Queen’s Classroom (Jyoou no Kyoushitsu ) has the lead actress from Around 40 as a really scary schoolteacher who terrorises her classroom in an effort to make them realise that it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there. Those who don’t excel will become the minions of those who do is her philosophy. We should let our children watch this! She’s called the devil teacher. The children in the show acted really well.
Amalfi is a movie that has a rather far-fetched plot. But it’s a fast-paced thriller with a so-called diplomat sent to Rome to beef up security for the Japanese at a G-8 meeting. He gets sidetracked by a Japanese woman whose child has been kidnapped and the kidnappers lead them a merry chase, right down to Italy’s Amalfi coast. The movie allows the viewer to vicariously enjoy the major touristy sites of Rome and the beautiful scenery of Amalfi, even though it’s shown only briefly, despite the show being called Amalfi.
G@me is a twisty pretzel of a movie. An advertising executive who’s angry with a client after he’s dropped from an account decides to kidnap the man’s daughter as a lark. But he finds he’s not really in control. The movie is taken from a novel written by a prolific and well-known crime writer whose plots are usually quite fascinating.
There are other various sites that have dramas on them but I’ve chosen to put YouTube links. I’m sure you will be able to find more. Happy exploring and happy watching!