2013 11-episode Fuji TV drama that starred Yamashita Tomohisa as Mikuriya Asahi, a latent photographer living in a seaside town (Chiba) who arrives to photograph a wedding when at the last second, the groom bails.
Asahi runs into the bride, Karina as Chiyohara Natsuki, a popular and talented chef. Through trial and error, Asahi manages to talk Natsuki into visiting his sleepy little hamlet without officially explaining that he'd like her to take over a beach restaurant that caters to bathers and drinkers.
Natsuki has a no-nonsense personality and it would seem as if she sticks her nose in everyone's business, but that inability to keep quiet and let things be ends up having a huge impact on the town's residents - and Asahi.
In between her meddling is a lot of personal trial/error and self-sacrifice among the locals to include love triangles, love at first sight, latent affection, and lost love.
It's a romance drama as far as Asian romance goes.
Asahi is carrying a 3-year old torch for a girl who walked away.
A girl he grew up with has carried a torch for Asahi for 10 years.
A boy who likes to read and is very standoffish is secretly in love with that girl.
Asahi's close friend is in love with every woman he meets.
I can't, really go into any amount of detail with this one because no matter what I say, it will be giving away too much.
I can tell you, though, that I could only find this at GoodDrama.net, which sucked huge time. And then the subs were astronomically, abusively, insanely awful.
I started to get a headache, they were that bad.
But then a miracle happened
8th Sin showed up to save the day, bless his or her heart.
He/she still made a few errors,
I can't read Japanese at all, and the gray subs at the top weren't much help, but at least I could read a majority of what the actors were saying - even knowing as I do - that a lot of times that isn't quite true. What I'm reading and what they're saying are far from identical.
Still, it was a thousand times better than the first two episodes, so I was happy.
For the first, few episodes we are taken mostly on Asahi's journey even though Natsuki got dumped on her wedding day at the very beginning.
It wasn't so much about that as it was about she and he coming together to transform the seaside residents.
This was another of the creative Japanese writer dramas that managed to take me on a wonderful trip to someplace other than Tokyo and introduce me to people I'd like to hang out with on that beach and in that town.
I was content, though, to sit in the wings and just watch as they struggled through their dilemmas one by one until everything came together near the end.
It was the type of story where you know, deep down in your heart, that people like this just don't exist in real life and never will. There was just too much camaraderie and soul-searching, wisdom beyond their years, and accurate second-guessing about what everyone else was feeling to make this a realistic, believable scenario.
They are the kinds of people you wish you had at your side when you need them most - the true friend - who steers you in the right direction whether your realize it or want them to or not.
If stuff like this actually happens in your life, then that's awesome and I envy you to infinity.
Love is great, but it can wait.
That might be how you feel now, but something better is waiting in the wings.
You deserve much more than this.
You say you love me, but I can tell by the look in your eyes ...
Yeah, right, whatever.
Hindsight can never be foresight, and yet these dramas sometimes make me think it could actually happen - mind reading, predicting the future, and knowing even more about what someone needs, is thinking, or wants than even they do.
Um ~ no.
I think I've said this before, but, we could all use a script writer in our heads to guide us through life.
Too bad that will never happen.
I like these types of dramas, though, and for that very reason. Sometimes it's okay to escape reality and look at things from a fantastic perspective. Especially when you get to have the added advantage of dreamy, hot lead actors as a foundation for those fantasies.
I often wonder, too, about the leading ladies and how they feel when their manager calls them up to say they have been offered a part and will star alongside someone as classy, now, and handsome as Tomo.
Then she gets the script and finds out there's a kissing scene somewhere along the line.
(heaven) - Or awkward, maybe?
I'm sure they'll tell us how professional they are, and that it isn't like kissing a real guy or their lover.
Yeah, right. Mmm hmm.
There was humor in this drama, too, and a sideline story that confused the heck out of me with its inconclusive reason for even existing, but I didn't mind that it was there to ... distract us?
Which brings me back to what I was saying earlier about the lack of sex, touching, romance in these so-called romantic dramas/movies from Asia.
It's a-okay to flip the bird in a 13+ rating film, but don't you dare stand this close to the opposite sex, touch too soon, and God forbid you show your real emotions by grabbing the girl and planting your tongue about three feet down her throat, either.
I've decided its about time I got real serious here and started watching their porn.
I can't bring myself to do it, though. But, jeez am I curious to know how they procreate over there after having sat through years and years and YEARS of these silly, nonsensical, sappy, melodramatic, angst-ridden, cold-fish, unaffectionate so-called LOVE stories!
I also walked away with the feeling that Karina is seriously shy or extremely unsure of herself on and off screen. I've seen her in other dramas, and she exudes the same apprehensive qualities every time. It's not all character acting as far as I'm concerned.
She was dead-set on giving up her chef career to settle down and raise a family, which would indicate some amount of compassion, caring, and warmth on the part of this 'character', and yet it just wasn't there, and it never is. She's always tough, mouthy, and inapproachable. But she did a great job as Natsuki.
I gave this 5 pika's because of Tomo-kun, the story line, the setting, the co-stars, and the general theme. I liked this one a whole lot.