The Queen of Asian Drama is Back with more Irreverent Reviews and Snarky Commentary.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Kougen e Irasshai / 高原へいらっしゃい / Welcome to the High Plains




2003 TBS drama that stars Sato Koichi as Omokawa Seiji - a man with 'hotel' in his blood.

I had a feeling when I chose to watch this that it would make me cry, but it didn't happen quite the way I had expected - and not as helplessly as it turned out, either.

This is one of them 'feel good' dramas with no one ultra-cool, super-hot, or entirely too popular starring in it, and probably because of the simple storyline, and the fact that it didn't hail from an anime or manga series, it flowed brilliantly while remaining true to itself.

At the moment, I'm stuck in my writing, so I took a break to watch another drama online when the idea to steer clear of anything dopey, sappy, or kitschy made me choose Kougen e Irasshai.
It's sometimes easy for a writer to get sucked into someone else's tale, and we'd never want to 'borrow' when we put so, much effort into what we truly believe to be our own, best work.
In this respect, I'm glad I chose this drama - because it helped me to understand that what I am trying to do isn't a waste of effort at all - and it certainly isn't the residual effects of someone else's ideas, either.

Kougen e Irasshai was written by a man, and not for the anime crowd, either.

Omokawa is a Japanese businessman struggling to find himself after failing miserably at a previous attempt to run an upscale hotel in the big city.
He had the rules, regulations, and protocol down pat, but he ignored the human aspect of the industry, and that was what caused him to lose face, so to speak.

He's married to a woman whose father buys property cheap and then sells it for a profit, and that includes hotel chains.
The marriage failed, but the wife still believes in her husband's inner potential for greatness, so her father offers Omokawa a position at a small chalet in the foothills of a beautiful mountain.

The chalet has been vacant for awhile and in bad need of repair/renovation.
Omokawa has already scoured the city in search of the perfect hotel staff, and now they converge on this peaceful dale only to have their expectations dashed upon first glance.

The staff want to do their job and not scrub floors, dust cobwebs, paint wood, and struggle to master carpentry in a few days' time.

Omokawa, being charismatic, determined to succeed, and humble after his past failure manages to convince everyone, including the locals, that he means business and that they are all a part of a special team designed specifically with the hotel in mind.

They struggle at first and have to get used to living together, but eventually, things start to run smoothly until the hotel gains a reputation for being hospitable, warm, and with delicious food as well as a magnificent view.

Looming over the stodgy accountants head, however, is the private and unexpected news of the front office' decision to sell the chalet in the fall.

There was a line from one of the guests that helped me to realize that my dream is still possible:

"Most hotels cater to young women today, but this is nothing like that."

Most stories today cater to the young set as well, but what I'm trying to do is nothing like that, either.

This was a refreshing change from the norm in every sense of the term, and I highly recommend it if you have a day to kill.


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