A Tale of Samurai Cooking A True Love Story 2013 (Review & Recap)

A Samurai Wedding

A Tale of Samurai Cooking A True Love Story 2013 (Review & Recap)

I have just watched this 2 hours Japanese film this cold Sunday afternoon/early evening here in London.  I must admit it is a perfect movie for a lazy end of the week.

There is lots of food, some samurai fighting, intrigues in the Edo period and of course a BIT of romance.  I have to point out that it was really tiny, small, minute romance.  Even the ending when they had sorted out their misunderstanding the hug was so sedate.  It was not even a full hug.  It was just a one shoulder hug between Haru and Yasonobu.

The story is that Haru ended up reluctantly marrying Yasonobu who is 4 years younger that her on the behest (pleading of Yasonabu’s father, the master cook from the Funaki Family who serves in the Kaga Domain)

Haru, played by Aya Ueto, is an excellent cook, who was orphaned  at a very early age of 12.  She was then taken in to cook for the concubine of the House of Signoria (whatever?) 🙂  She became a great favourite of the concubine and treated her more like a daughter.

During a gastronomy festival, Funaki Sensei presented the upper class with a mystery dish.  He then asked each of the diners to guess what the dish was,  Only the concubine was able to guess it correctly and she then confessed that Haru told her.

Funaki Sensei was impressed that he beg Haru to marry his son.  Haru said that she was already married though in a process of divorce.  Her husband’s family had to send her back because she was noisy and too assertive.

Funaki Sensei beg and beg and assured Haru that he will sort out the divorce. She had to marry Yasonobu to save the Funaki family.

Yasonobu, played by Kengo Kora, is a second son.  Being not the heir initially, he was more or less free to do what he wanted and he wanted to become a samurai warrior and marry the only daughter, Sayo, of the dojo.

He fell in love at first sight with Saya and hoped of marrying her and be the master of the Samurai dojo.

Unfortunately his elder brother, the heir to the Funaki culinary dynasty died in the plague.  He, therefore, had to forget Saya and continue his father’s legacy.

Saya ended up marrying Yasonobu’s best friend.

Though Yasonobu is now the heir, he was a terrible cook and rather a spoiled brat.

He was also cold to Haru.

Haru was patient and was caring and supportive to her husband.  She taught him the basics of cooking and for all it’s worth Yasonobu was quite an able apprentice.  So much so that he got promoted from the samurai school of cookery, eh???? 🙂

It was quite fraught during that time, uprisings were everywhere.

Yosonobu would have died if Haru did not take it upon herself to sabotage his mission to join a small band of men intent on assassinating the Lord of Kaga.

Yosonobu was so frustrated when he found that his bestfriend died during the failed assassination.  He blamed Haru for preventing him from joining the dead.  He was on the act of beheading Haru when his mother came up and slapped him; telling him that he was a thoughtless idiot.  He was self-centred not thinking that he was her only remaining child.

When everything has quietened a little bit, Haru packed her clothes and went. She left a letter saying that she is releasing Yosonobu from their marriage and now free to marry the woman, who he truly loves.

Haru has opened a little beach cafe (without the coffee – being the Edo period hahaha) and was contented until her next customer happened to be Yosonobu, who said that he had been looking for her and that his father advised him not to come back without her and that his mother wanted a grand-child but only if Haru was the mother.  And that he had no feelings whatsoever for Saya and likes being married to Haru.  Ahhhhhh

Haru run to his right shoulder for half a body hug.  Ahhhhh

And they happily trod on together back to the family house.

It was a cute drama.  The costumes are so lovely.  Aya Ueto was stunning with her geisha like make-up.  Kengo would have been drop-dead gorgeous if did not have that Samurai part shaved head. 🙂

Kwon Sang Woo – Korean actor

Kwon Sang Woo

Kwon Sang-Woo

Kwon Sang-Woo is a South Korean actor and entrepreneur.  He is gorgeous and charming.  He made a few tear-jerker dramas opposite Choi Ji-woo.

Here is the gorgeous Kwon Sang-woo singing


DoB: 5 August 1976 (41)

Civil Status: Married to Son Tae-Young (former Miss Korea)

2 Children

Educational Background: BA in Education Hanman University


Kwon Sang-Woo Films & Dramas


Doctor X (Japanese Drama Review)

You might have noticed that all I have been posting these last few days are Japanese dramas and Japanese actors and actresses.

Well I am currently obsessed with dorama.  There are plenty of good dramas from China, Taiwan, Thailand and not to mention, South Korea but there is something about Japanese dramas that is cut above the rest.  Their stories are usually never hackneyed.  There is always a surprise here and there.

Well, scrolling through various Japanese dramas on offer, I always see this Doctor X and continued on looking for other dramas.  I mistakenly thought that it was a porn/adult movie and I am not interested.

Well as you can see on the poster there is a vivid X and a sexy woman.  I thought this would be a doctor and nurses kind of kinky drama.  LOL

However I read in a profile of one of my favourite Japanese actors that he had appeared in Doctor X.  What?!!!  And before you know it, more and more actors and actresses with wholesome image seemed to have appeared in the drama as well.

Time to investigate for myself.

I am glad to report after reading the synopsis that Doctor X is a real medical drama and quite a popular one as well as it has now grown into 5 series!

For my real review watch this space for a blow by blow 🙂 🙂 🙂 account.  I shall start watching.

Here is the first of the blow by blow:

In the first 5 minutes, the leading lady pulled down the trousers of the man who was having an attack in the middle of the dance floor of a club.  The testicle was shown briefly!  Woah!

What are the 6 Ks of Surgeons?

  1. Kitsui (hardwork)
  2. Kitani (dirty)
  3. Kiken (hazardous)
  4. Koshi warui (bad back)
  5. Kakko warui (not cool)
  6. Kyurou yasui (low pay)

Just finished episode one and I must say I was very impressed,  Daimon Sensei has the best legs in dramaworld.  She makes me want to wear high heels all the time as well.

I was like her.  I finished work at 5:00pm exactly not even a minute extra.  Love this drama.


Hotaru No Hikari – JDoroma Review

Hotaru No Hikari

Hotaru No Hikari

Hotaru No Hikari is a comedy drama.

There are two series and a movie made for this drama.

It is about a late 20 something woman who has quite contentedly given up on social life.  She is perfectly presentable during the day at work but she’d much rather be lazing at home in her sweat pants and t-shirt, drinking beers.

This Hotaru series account the romance of a Himono Onna (Dried fish woman, who has given up dating or looking for a life partner) with her boss who is recently divorced and much older.

The romance started as they ended up unexpectedly living together in the same house.

It is really hilarious in parts.  I love it.  I have to admit that I have not seen the movie yet.

The leads Ayase Haruka and Fujiki Naohito have a good chemistry.  


Boukyaku no Sachiko (2018) – Japanese Drama Review

Boukyaku no Sachiko (2018)

Boukyaku no Sachiko (2018) – Japanese Drama Review

I just watched this drama today and was absolutely enchanted by Mitsuki Takahata all over again.

For such a young actress, she is showing so much versatility.  She was perfect as the pure and innocent overprotected Kahoko.

In Boukyaku no Sachicko, Mitsuki plays Sasaki Sachiko, who is a literary agent and very punctilious with her work.  She is much lauded for her hard work and perfectionism.  She was almost robotic with her attention to details.

Her boss and co-workers were absolutely flabbergasted when she one day announced that she was getting married.  They did not even know that she was dating.

On the day of the wedding, everything seems to run smoothly.  The groom, Shungo, is tall and slim, but his face was never shown fully and frontally.

When Sachiko went to change her western-style wedding dress for a traditional Japanese attire for the reception, she was informed by her mother that the groom was missing.

She was later handed a little note saying, “Sachiko, sorry”.

The next day, she went back to work as if nothing had happened and everything seemed normal but she was breaking down.

She was given a few days to think things through and calm down.

On her way home she happened to stop by in a ramen house where she had the most delicious miso soup and mackerel in miso sauce.  She was surprised that the delicious food made her forget about Shungo.

Good food can make one happy, even if momentarily.

This drama, which is based on a manga by Abe Jun is very enjoyable.  Hoping for the next part soonest!

Mitsuki Takahata – Japanese Actress

Mituki Takahata

Mitsuki Takahata is fast becoming one of GlobalGranary favourite actresses. She is lovely and fresh. Her acting is exemplary for still being such a young actress.

In fact, she was apparently awarded for being the Newcomer of the Year by both Elan D’or and Japan Academy Prize.

Mitsuki Takahata – Japanese Actress


DoB: 14 December 1991 (26)

Occupation:  Singer and actress

Films & Dramas:


Rich Man, Poor Woman – Japanese Version

I watched this drama series and also the film of the same title and same characters, early last year.

I heard that South Korea is about to bring out their own version of this Japanese drama.  I have to say, it would be hard, if not impossible, to better the actors of this Japanese drama.

Shun Oguri as Toru Hyuga, the Rich Man made the role his.  He was so good as the young IT genius who built an empire.  He was arrogant and cocky and yet really vulnerable at the same time.  Whilst Satomi Ishihara, played Makoto Natsui, with so much effervescent, innocence and bravado.

They had such a good chemistry.

The story goes that Toru Hyuga is a high school dropout who started an IT company called Next Innovation, which made him a multi-millionaire and a president of his company.  The company became huge and was listed in Forbes; therefore everyone wants to join Next Innovation.

One of these was Makoto Natsui, who was on her last year of university.  She had been job-seeking for the last 8 months and had gone through more than 30 rigorous job interviews but no such luck.

By chance, she saw a notice that Next Innovation is doing a job fair.  She decided to attend,

During the job fair, the speaker was Toru Hyuga himself and made Makoto an object of his ridicule for the pathetic unemployable job-seekers.

Makoto did not take the insult lying down.  She showed him she has an exemplary memory by reciting verse and chapter of his company info.

Hyuga was not not excessively impressed but in desperation Makoto said her name is Chihiro Sawaki.  Hyuga was visibly intrigued. Nevertheless, Makoto was not considered for any position in the Next Innovation.

Hyuga was an affliction of prosopagnosia.   He has face blindness, he can’t remember face of people.

Anyway, Chihiro Sawaki is Hyuga’s mother, who abandoned him when he was still a little boy.  He grew up in an orphanage before he was finally adopted.  Hyuga has always been curious where his mother was and has obsessively looked for her.  It was over 10 years ago that Hyuga and Makoto first met in her village.

Hyuga was looking for his mother and asked the young Makoto if she knew a woman called Chihiro Sawaki, who was supposed to be living in their village.  Makoto knew but Chihiro previously said that she would not want to meet her son if one day he does come looking for her.  It was a close chapter in her life.  Makoto therefore denied any knowledge of Chihiro to Hyuga.  She always carried this guilt.

Makoto suddenly got a call from Next Innovation, about a project that they would like her to be involved with initially.

Actually, I was so surprised with this part of the drama.

I remember a few years ago, when mobile phones were just introduced, Peter (my husband) and I were talking about the possibility of having your own mobile phone number for life.  Also why not have a system where you can see your medical records, savings, pensions and everything else.

And surprise surprise, this is actually the premise of the system being developed by the Next Innovation which is called Personal Files.  How uncanny is that?!!!

When Hyuga lost his company completely leavin him without much money, Makoto was there to help and guide him to start over again.  He did, thanks to Makoto with her outstanding memory.

This drama is so good, quite fast paced.  Although I thought 10 episodes would have done it.  It drag a bit between 10 & 11.  Some scenes should have been cut as it did not really help or rather did low down the tone of the story.

Anyway happy ending with Makoto going to Brazil for her new job with a pharmaceutical company but Hyuga said that he can make the other side of the world like nothing with his IT expertise.

Their romance did not end here as happily ever after.  There is a film of the same title but in New York.

This was set a year or so later and Makoto is now working in New York.  She occasionally meets up with Hyuga very fleetingly and it seems this is the way Hyuga wants it.

Makoto has to go to Japan for a few weeks and stayed with Hyuga’s apartment which is so minimalist to the extreme of minimalist.

He has a huge open plan apartment but with no bed/futon and not a proper working kitchen. He has an American style fridge full of bottled water and beer and a leather sofa.

Makoto changed this and unknowingly used his prized kitchenware to cook and a rice cooker was now proudly sitting in his kitchen and hang towels in the towel rail in the bathroom.  He was raging.  He told her he wanted it the way it was.

Makoto and her things were confined in a little out of sight cubicle.

But this was not enough, he also told her that he wanted them to be just like before, living away from each other, preferably thousands of miles away, and not seeing each other so much,   Makoto moved out.

During a wedding, where they both attended, Hyuga finally said that they should break up.

Makoto is back in the USA, Boston and slowly getting over Hyuga.

Hyuga finally felt that Makoto meant the world to him but he was too proud to do anything. He was really evil to Makoto.

Out of the blue Makoto was bombarded by texts that Hyuga was in Boston.

They meet up again.  Initially it looks like this meeting was more of a closure as they still said really nasty things to each other.

However in the end Hyuga confessed that he will change for her.  Awww.

And he did, slowly.  So cute ending.

I don’t think the Korean version will be able to better this Japanese version and will be as likeable as Shun and Satomi!




Blue Monday

Blue Monday

There is a particular day in the year that is considered here in the UK as the saddest time of the year.  That day has been aptly called the Blue Monday.

After careful studies and consideration, it was reckoned that the third Monday of January is Blue Monday.

Factors used to determine this particular day were the following:

  • The weather, it is dank, cold and dark.
  • The euphoria of Christmas and New Year are definitely over.  Only memory left was extra weight in your belly and hips and cheeks.
  • Time for all the credit card bills to come in and the ability to pay the bills or incur debts.
  • Natural motivational level after the holiday season.

This year Blue Monday falls on 15 January.



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