好きな人がいること [2016]

01e8nBo4_f1f9da_c2xRomaji: Suki na Hito ga Iru Koto
English title: A Girl & Three Sweethearts
Director: Hiro Kanai, Ryo Tanaka, Tomonobu Moriwaki
Writer: Sayaka Kuwamura
Runtime: Mondays 21:00 starting July 11, 2016

Mirei Kiritani as Sakurai Misaki
Miura Shohei as Shibasaki Chiaki
Yamazaki Kento as Sibasaki Kanata
Shuhei Nomura as Shibasaki Touma
Sakurako Ohara as Nishijima Manami



Plot (asianwiki):
Misaki Sakurai (Mirei Kiritani) has not dated in a long time. She has focused on her work as a pâtissier to eventually run her own business. One day, she gets fired from work. She then meets her first love from high school Chiaki Shibasaki (Shohei Miura). Misaki Sakurai works part-time at Chiaki’s restaurant and also stays there. While she lives with Chiaki at his restaurant, she realizes that Chiaki’s two younger brothers Toma (Shuhei Nomura) and Kanata (Kento Yamazaki) also live there.

I Say…

I don’t care what Yamazaki Kento bashers say about him. Die green with envy. He’s going to be everywhere inthe coming years cos he just keeps on getting better and better with his craft. He’s gone so far since I first saw him in Love for Beginners and LDK. I just saw a more mature Yamaken in Suki na Hito ga Iru Koto, and his character Shibasaki Kanata will be one for the books. A handsome tsundere sous chef slash surfer boy. Stop the swooning. He even looks good clad in tees and folded jeans.

Miura Shohei is Miura Shohei… expect those hearts to beat for the guy. He nailed the aniki role too well. Don’t get too distracted by the guy.
I can’t help but notice the chemistry among the cast; they’re too comfortable working together which is quite hard to fake. You can see it in their BTS and IG posts. FYI, Sakurai Misaki’s account exists so go check it out for proof.

Setting is always important in every drama. It makes you feel at home the entire series. In the case of this dorama, it’s Enoshima. Enoshima is love.

Though it may be more of a love story, the drama is also about family. The conflict isn’t limited to the blossoming love triangle which the title strongly suggests, but also among the owners of Sea Sons. The strong bond shared by Shibasaki kyoudai will be threathened by a family secret that will change their lives in ways they never imagined. To sum up my feelings, it is one unforgettable summer drama. Summer is indeed a good time to fall in love.


Review: Nodame Cantabile [2006]

Nodame_CantabileTitle: のだめカンタービレ
Romantic Comedy
Broadcast network:
Fuji TV
Broadcast period:
2006-Oct-16 to 2006-Dec-25
Opening song:
Symphony No. 7 in A major by Beethoven, arranged by Hattori Takayuki
Ending song:
Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin, arranged by Hattori Takayuki
Original writing:
Ninomiya Tomoko
Etou Rin
Wakamatsu Hiroki, Shimizu Kazuyuki
Takeuchi Hideki, Kawamura Yasuhiro, Tanimura Masaki
Music: Hattori Takayuki


51st Television Drama Academy Awards: Best Drama
51st Television Drama Academy Awards: Best Actress: Ueno Juri
51st Television Drama Academy Awards: Best Director: Takeuchi Hideki
51st Television Drama Academy Awards: Best Musical Arrangement: Takeuchi Hideki
51st Television Drama Academy Awards: Best Opening: Hattori Takayuki
2nd Seoul Drama Awards: Best Miniseries
2nd Seoul Drama Awards: Best Director: Takeuchi Hideki
2nd Seoul Drama Awards: Best Music

Episode Titles:

Ep 01: Rhapsody of the weird pianist vs. the self-centered conductor
Ep 02:
An orchestra of failing freaks! The start of trouble!?
Ep 03:
The puny orchestra’s in a pinch!! Can love rescue the poor?
Ep 04:
A successful kiss!? The moving battle of a regular perfomance!!
Ep 05:
Goodbye Maestro! The love battle of school festival orchestras!!
Ep 06:
Goodbye S Orchestra!! A tearful farewell ceremony and a two-piano performance of love!
Ep 07:
The start of a new orchestra! A storm on the horizon for a romance passing by!?
Ep 08:
The first battle for a new orchestra! A romance that wavers in overcoming trauma
Ep 09:
Competition vs. studying abroad! Could the decision mean farewell!?
Ep 10:
A competition of ups and downs! A final chapter of confession and tears!!
Ep 11:
Goodbye Nodame!! A tearful Christmas performance
Special: Nodame Cantabile Shinshun Special in Europe


Ueno Juri as Noda Megumi aka Nodame
Tamaki Hiroshi as
Chiaki Shinichi
Takenaka Naoto as Franz Stresemann


Based on the hit comic book by Tomoko Ninomiya, this is a fun-filled quirky romantic story of two very opposite people.

Megumi Noda, or “Nodame” is a piano student at Momogaoka College of Music. An extremely talented pianist who wants to be a kindergarten teacher, she prefers playing by ear rather than reading the music score. She is messy and disorganized, takes baths several days apart and loves to eat, sometimes stealing her friend’s lunchbox when it is filled with delicacies.

Shinichi Chiaki, is Momogaoka’s top student. Born into a musical family, he is talented in piano and violin and has secret ambitions to become a conductor. An arrogant multi-lingual perfectionist who once lived abroad in the music capitals of the world as a young boy, he feels mired in Japan because of a childhood phobia.

They meet by accident. Nodame quickly falls in love, but it takes much longer for Chiaki to even begin to appreciate Nodame’s unusual qualities. Their relationship causes them both to develop and grow. Because of Nodame, Chiaki got the opportunity to lead a student orchestra and begins to have a broader appreciation of people’s musical abilities. Because of Chiaki, Nodame faces her fears and enters a piano competition. Opportunities open up as both begin taking risks, stretching themselves far more than they ever thought possible.

I Say…

Nodame Cantabile created quite a stir in the world of J-Dorama & it was only now that I got the chance to finish it. It was highly entertaining for me, and slowly it got me interested in also reading the manga (also famous now) & see the anime version as well. The story itself was quite addictive, and it’s making me wonder how they’ll make the follow up as successful as it is. Ueno Juri seems to be quite a moving actress in spite of a few irritating ways of playing the heroine. Well, Noda Megumi is supposed to be clumsy, not-a-care-in-the-world person anyway. But halfway through it I wished she didn’t exaggerate that much. As for Tamaki Hiroshi who’s very handsome by the way, it was my first time seeing his acting so I have no idea really how he acts or if he’s any good. On Nodame Cantabile, he compliments Ueno Juri’s exaggerations and it’s a good thing. Maybe from the beginning they were already instructed to do lots of exaggerations to make Nodame Cantabile sensational, don’t you think?

Last but not the least…the Oke perfs are worth the watch. So if you’re a fan of classical music and a lover of romantic comedy, I recommend Nodame Cantabile for your viewing pleasure.

Review: Strawberry On Shortcake [2001]

S.OAlternative Title: S.O.S. / SOS
Format: Renzoku
Episodes: 10
Broadcast network: TBS
Broadcast period: 2001-Jan-12 to 2001-Mar-16

Opening song: Chiquitita by ABBA
Ending song: S.O.S. by ABBA

Production Credits:

Screenwriter: Nojima Shinji
Producer: Ito Kazuhiro
Directors: Doi Nobuhiro, Matsubara Hiroshi (松原浩)
Music: Senju Akira


Takizawa Hideaki as Irie Manato
Fukada Kyoko as Misawa Yui
Uchiyama Rina as Sawamura Haruka
Kubozuka Yosuke as Saeki Tetsuya

Plot: (TBS)
At some point, Irie Manato (Takizawa Hideaki) began to withdraw himself from the world. Even when picked on, it’s not the real Irie, but an act. However one day he meets a strange girl – Misawa Yui (Fukada Kyoko). Yui, who finds the tedium of everyday life unbearable, teases Manato with her almost too upfront and honest manner. Alone and afraid Manato wavers but finds himself drawn to her. But his feelings for Yui are doomed to be unrequited.

I Say…

It was like I just watched Honey & Clover and Wicker Park…it was torture. You know, I can’t imagine falling in love and hurting has all sorts of forms and instances. Strawberry on the Shortcake now belongs to my growing list of weird love stories done for TV/Movie.

S.O.S is not so new to me for I have known about it for ages. I just purposely restrained myself from reading reviews & synopses so as no t to spoil my longing to watch the drama. When my chance finally came, I thought that it was worth the wait. The moment I got to the middle (episode 5), I started tor read the comments and some of the synopses just to give myself some more suspense. It turned out that S.O.S also had quite a number of critiques.

Now I’m actually one of them. I had second thoughts of proceeding with it because at some point I was already beginning to feel sad for Manato. Then I reconsidered and said that how it will end matters more than how it began. (I learned that after watching Wicker Park long ago.) Now that I’ve finally got myself out of the tortuous viewing, I can slowly absorb S.O.S’ happy ending. Manato was always ending his narration with the phrase ” And because of that I will never forget you…”. You can’t blame me for guessing that maybe Yui might die or end up with Saeki or someone else in the end! OK, so much for spoilers… Just bear in mind that it was still Manato & Yui during the few seconds remaining on the display (I always display the number of seconds/minutes left every time I watch DVDs).

Despite negative comments about the entire story and calling it useless, I’m still convinced that it was intentional to deceive the audience, letting them share the sadness and then leave them feeling satisfied in the end. There are worse plots if you would ask me, and I think S.O.S is just fine. I personally do not think that it’s senseless in any way, because it actually opened my eyes to endless possibilities or ways of falling in love, discovering one’s feeling for another and letting the person know how you actually feel.

Although Yui succumbed to a painstaking strategy, she and Manato were still able to pull it through. So, being a writer myself…hail to the people who gave life to such a good story. I just hate the part when Yui pretended to be dead… I felt like someone toyed with my emotions when she opened her eyes and gave Saeki and Haruka a peace sign. She’s my least favorite character in the story.It was Sawamura Haruka who acted the real heroine, remaining a faithful friend and a real person in love. (Uchiyama Rina kind of looks like Megan Lai, don’t you think?) As for the two guys…well they did great too. Takezawa Hideaki & Kubozuka Yosuke were convincing actors.

S.O.S is really a “creative” love story It’ll surely leave you feeling like you watched suspense instead of drama. Interesting, isn’t it?

Credits to: JDorama.com: Strawberry On Shortcake

Review: Gokusen [2002]

gokusenTitle (romaji): Gokusen
Genre: Comedy, School
Episodes: 12 + Special (Graduation)
Broadcast network: NTV
Broadcast period: 2002-Apr-01 to 2002-July-03 and 2003-Mar-26 (SP)
Air time: Tuesday 22:00
Theme Song: “Feel Your Breeze” by V6
Original writing: Morimoto Kozueko (YOU woman’s magazine)
Screenwriter: Egashira Michiru, Yokota Rie(橫田理惠), Matsuda Yuuko (松田裕子)
Producer: Kato Masatoshi (加藤正俊)
Directors: Satou Higashiiya, (佐藤東彌), Oya Taro (大谷太郎), Takahashi Naoharu (高橋直治)
Music: Ooshima Michiru (大島ミチル)
Nakama Yukie as Yamaguchi Kumiko
Matsumoto Jun as Sawada Shin
Oguri Shun as “Uchi” / Uchiyama Haruhiko
Waki Tomohiro as “Kuma” / Kumai Teruo
Narimiya Hiroki as Noda Takeshi
Ishigaki Yuma as Minami Youichi

Episode Titles:
Ep 01: 「熱血先生大暴れ!!」 / Nekketsu Sensei Dai Abare!! / A Teacher’s Fiery Zeal Rampage
Ep 02: 「友達見捨てんなよ!!」 / Tomodachi Misuten na yo!! / Don’t abandon your friend!!
Ep 03: 「見た目で決めんな!!」 / Mitame de Kimen na!! / Don’t decide only by appearance!!
Ep 04: 「失敗したらやり直せ」 / Shippaishi Tara Yarinaose / Once you fail, start over
Ep 05: 「ケンカと暴力は違う」 / Kenka to Bouryoku wa Chigau / To fight is different from violence
Ep 06: 「イジメに負けんな!!」 / Ijime ni Maken na!! / Lose to torment it!!
Ep 07: 「自分の子を信じろ!!」 / Jibun no Kodomo Shinjiro!! / Believe in your own child!!
Ep 08: 「あんたは母親だろ!!」 / Anta wa Hahaoya Daro!! / Aren’t you the mother!!
Ep 09: 「人のせいにすんな!!」 / Hito no Sei ni Sun na!! / A person makes his own consequence!!
Ep 10: 「私は生徒を信じる!!」 / Watashi wa Seito o Shinjiru!! / I believe my students!!
Ep 11: 「お前は一人じゃない」 / Omaera Ichi-nin Janai / There is no one person
Ep 12: 「さよならヤンクミ」 / Sayonara Yankumi / Goodbye Yankumi
Special: 「さよなら3年D組~ヤンクミ涙の卒業式」 / Sayonara 3 nen D gumi ~ Yankumi Namida no Sotsugyou Shiki / Goodbye Class 3D ~ Yankumi’s Graduation Tears

I Say…
While everyone’s into the Hana Yori Dango mania in the Philippines, I kept myself busy watching Gokusen the past few days. It’s a touching story about a devoted teacher, [despite being the next generation Oedo Yakuza clan successor], and her misunderstood class of 3rd year section D. She taught them about math and life lessons in her exciting, “Yankumi” way. Every episode left me teary eyed.

Their Gokusen adaptation’s actually good, turning it into a drama & giving more emotion to the characters who seemed to be tough on the outside. For the Sawada Shin role, Matsumoto Jun bagged the best supporting award and I think he deserved it. I remember mentioning before in the Hana Yori Dango review that he’s overqualified to be Domyouji Tsukasa. Now that I have seen Gokusen, the more I believed it. It’s also funny to see Oguri Shun playing the role of a thug Uchiyama Haruhiko, comparing it to the refined and calm Hanazawa Rui. He and Jun are so different in Gokusen versus their acting in Hana Yori Dango. On the other hand, this is the first time for me to see Yukie Nakama, and I think she’s a pretty funny actress as well. I can’t wait to see her in a serious flick/dorama.

To conclude, Gokusen is a great series. No wonder it became Japan’s # 1. It’s not only entertaining but also overflowing with values. We may have a very different culture compared to the Japanese but the importance of friendship, being honest to one’s self and having a heart to care for others doesn’t make us different at all.

Review: Hana Yori Dango/Hana Yori Dango Returns [2005/2007]


Alternative Title: Boys Before Flowers / Boys Over Flowers
Format: Renzoku, across two seasons
Genre: Romance
Broadcast network: TBS


Inoue Mao as Makino Tsukushi
Matsumoto Jun as Domyoji Tsukasa
Oguri Shun as Hanazawa Rui
Matsuda Shota as Nishikado Sojiro
Abe Tsuyoshi as Mimasaka Akira
Nishihara Aki as Matsuoka Yuuki
Kato Natsuki as Okawahara Shigeru
Sada Mayumi as Toudou Shizuka
David Ito as Nishida
Kato Takako as Sengoku Sachiyo
Tomiura Satoshi as Makino Susumu (brother of Tsukushi)
Kobayashi Susumu as Makino Haruo (father of Tsukushi)
Ishino Mako as Makino Chieko (mother of Tsukushi)
Matsushima Nanako as Domyoji Tsubaki (sister of Tsukasa)
Kaga Mariko as Domyoji Kaede (mother of Tsukasa)

Season 1

Episodes: 9
Broadcast period: 2005-Oct-21 to 2005-Dec-16
Theme song: WISH by Arashi
Insert song: Planetarium by Otsuka Ai

Production Credits

Original writing: Kamio Yoko
Screenwriter: Satake Mikio, Fujimoto Yuki, Takahashi Natsuko, Arai Shuuko
Producer: Setoguchi Katsuaki
Director: Ishii Yasuharu, Yamamuro Daisuke, Katayama Osamu
Music: Yamashita Kousuke

Episode Titles

* Ep 01: Declaration of war! The thing which is absolutely more important than money
* Ep 02: The worst first kiss!
* Ep 03: Tears! Good-bye to the person I like
* Ep 04: First time coming home in the morning
* Ep 05: Confession of life-threatening love
* Ep 06: A love triangle of a roller-coaster ride hair-trigger crisis
* Ep 07: Battle F4 dissolution!
* Ep 08: Now the female high school student’s “Top of Japan” decision war
* Ep 09: The greatest last present

Season 2

Screenwriter: Satake Mikio
Producer: Setoguchi Katsuaki, Miki Shinichi
Director: Ishii Yasuharu, Tsuboi Toshio, Takei Atsushi
Music: Yamashita Kousuke

Episode Titles

* Ep 01:
* Ep 02: The strongest rival
* Ep 03: Bye bye, stupid guy
* Ep 04: Perilous Battle
* Ep 05: We like you
* Ep 06: Confession turns Chaotic!!
* Ep 07: Once-in-a-lifetime First Love
* Ep 08: The Love Square is Settled
* Ep 09: Painful Goodbye in the Rain
* Ep 10: Lost Memories
* Ep 11: The World’s Best Proposal Ever

I Say…

Hana Yori Dango has been adapted so many times and this live action is the latest of all. For over 10 years the shoujo manga by Yoko Kamio captured hearts of people not only in Japan but also the farthest corners of Asia and some parts of America. Since the Taiwanese were the first to adapt the manga and bring F4 to life, it’s unavoidable to compare it to Japan’s very own version. The actors, the set and the entire production is being compared by fans everywhere. I am not doing this review to prove which version is better, but I would like to stress on the things that made the HYD J-Dorama different from the renowned and loved Meteor Garden.

Starting from their actors, they have gathered their aces and most popular J-Dorama stars to complete their line up of characters. We all know Matsumoto Jun’s popularity and he’s actually one of Japan’s hottest male actors of today. He bagged an award for playing Sawada Shin on his performance in Gokusen (3rd Television Drama Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actor) .Abe Tsuyoshi might be a bit too old to play Mimasaka Akira, but still attracted attention. I found it funny that Matsumoto Jun was chosen to play Domyouji Tsukasa. He’s overqualified for the role, by observation. and physically they could’ve chosen someone taller. It’s not much of a big deal, but I just think he’s too good to play Domyouji. Oguri Shun played it fair, being Hanazawa Rui, as well as Matsuda Shota who did Soujirou. He could pass as a real playboy with that charming smile! Lastly, Inoue Mao, who really impressed me with her acting. She gave a less tough portrayal of Makino Tsukushi, but it was cool that she made her into an emotional heroine for a change. In the anime, Makino is really one tough weed.

How the parts of the story were mixed up is also one of this adaptation’s strong points. There were limited number of episodes and they tried to really make the most out of it. It didn’t ruin the story or made it look like they tried to compress everything in. With that, HYD returned for another round beginning with what was left from the previously successful first season.

With that I can say that this J-Dorama also has an edge over Meteor Garden, with their experienced cast and creative production staff.