Category: Japan

Good Morning Call Season 2 Review

Good Morning Call Season 2 Review

Yes, finally Good Morning Call Season 2 (Our Campus Days),  is being shown by Netflix.

It has 10 episodes altogether with some new characters.  This series two continues on from their middle school days to university life; campus days.

The new series is apparently a Netflix original and they only started showing it yesterday.  So whilst agogly waiting for this Japanese drama’s second series, I rewatched the original one and enjoyed it once again.  Lots of giggles!

I was rather unwell yesterday so what better than curl up in front of the telly and binge out on a cute little drama with a big box of chocolate.

And I binge-watch all 10 episodes.

Series two is still as kawaii but more mature.  I had a few tears a few times.  Poor Nao!

 

New Cast:

    • Shiraishi Shunya as Uehara Hisashi.
    • Fukuhara Haruka as Yoshikawa Nao.
    • Sakurada Dori as Shinozaki Daichi.
    • Sugino Yosuke as Natsume Shu.
    • Sagara Itsuki as Nanase Rin.
    • Takahashi Maryjun as Kumanomido Saeko.
    • Arai Moe as Konno Marina
    • Nagashima Shugo – Micchan
    • Nagasawa Koya – Abe Jun

Good Morning call, Our Campus Days follows on from when Uehara and Nao were forced to share an apartment and lived together. They were a a victim of a scammer who rented the same apartment to each of them. For months they lived together secretly. It was a school taboo for two kids to live together by themselves even it was platonic.

Uehara was a popular boy with his stunning good looks, intelligence of 200 IQ and being athletic to boot. He is one of the top three most gorgeous (popular) boys in their school. Girls were swooning everytime he walks by. But he is beyond cool. He was cold. He does not like all the fuss.   This made him even more desirable.

Nao on the otherhand is ordinary and rather clumsy but has got a pure heart and perseverance.  Her innocence made her a boy magnet.  Gorgeous guy were falling for her in a big way.  Daichi (one of the three popular boys) loved and pined for her for 8 long years.

Before long Uehara and Nao developed feelings for each other but the school found out about their housing situation. In the last episode of the first series, Uehara and Nao promised to be still together but they had to live separately. On moving day, they found that their estate agent/landlord put them into two flats, which were next to each other.

Series two continues on from this.

It now the big school, university.

Uehara met Natsume, who he really gets on with. Natsume is very gregarious and very popular with everyone, especially with the girls.

Uehara admired Natsume’s openness and helpfulness.  He perceived Natsume as a male Nao.  Natsume, like Nao, Uehara thinks, would go a long mile to help others, even if it means inconveniencing himself.  He was rather envious of Natsume’s friendliness, so much so that he developed a bit of inferiority complex when comparing himself to Natsume.

Natsume is flirty and in touch with his feminine side. He loves handicrafts and embroidery. No Uehara and Natsume do not have a gay thing. LOL 🙂

In fact Natsume kissed Nao, which Uehara witnessed. Nao was so distressed that she was spinning like a top, but Uehara forgave Natsume almost in a heartbeat. What kind of a boyfriend is he?

In the end Natsume truly fell for Nao.

Nao and Uehara’s relationship was undergoing a very uncertain phase.  To comfort the aggrieved Nao, Natusume kissed her which Uehara found out. Uehara was waiting for Nao to confess about the kiss but Nao was too embarrass to say anything at first until the moment for confession has passed.

But before judging Nao, Uehara was not a hard done by boyfriend.  He went on a date with his boss, called Saeko, who is aptly named as she was slightly psychotic.  LOL.  Uehara and Saeko even shared a kiss which Nao witnessed.

There are plenty of things that are going wrong as well as misunderstanding between Nao and Uehara so their relationship became rather awkward that Uehara said that he wanted space and asked Nao not to go into his flat or contact him for now. Nao understood and did what Uehara wanted. She is not confident about the relationship anyway. She was thinking that her relationship with Uehara was purely accidental, that if they were not ‘forced’ to live together Uehara would not have given her even a second look. Thinking this she finally accepted that they are not really right together and told Uehara that they should break up.

Though they had broken up, Nao said that she would only ever love Uehara and she put Natsume properly in his place that she cannot have a deeper relationship with him.  She was very upset too because Natsume had been a crutch to her in facing all her troubles.

You might get the impression that this drama series is full of angsts and heartbreaks but actually there are plenty of cute and heart warming moments that you can’t help but fall in love with Nao and Uehara all over again.  You would also like Natsume for being a good friend and a ready shoulder to cry on for Nao.

Spoiler Do not Read

Uehara was also missing Nao but he kept thinking that Natsume is better suited to be with Nao.

Natsume is a good guy and really cares for Nao and her happiness. So he told Uehara where Nao would be at.

Ahhh they confessed their feelings to each other.

The end was that they are finally together with a more mature relationship as they spend nights together in each other’s flat. Ahhhh Uehara has turned lovely dovey 🙂 🙂 🙂  Welll lovey dovey the Uehara way.

Salmon Sashimi

Salmon sashimi, photo by Arnold Gamboa

Salmon Sashimi

With sashimi, there are at least three things to consider:  The freshness of the fish, a good sharp chef’s knife or a miyabi and a solid chopping board.

Ingredients

  • 200 g fresh salmon fillet
  • 1-2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp wasabi sauce

Method of Preparation:

Clean the salmon first and then pat dry with paper towel.

Put the fillet on the chopping board.

Proceed to slice the salmon as thinly, about 1 cm in thickness maximum and as cleanly as possible.  A really sharp knife is a must.

Arrange the strips on a dainty serving plate with a little ceramic bowls of the soy sauce and wasabi sauce.

Enjoy!

 

 

Authentic Maki Zushi

Sushi platter, photo by Arnold Gamboa

Authentic Maki Zushi

I will not be telling porkies here but making sushi is somewhat difficult!  I am not only talking about the process of rolling these little babies but actually more on the ingredients and the preparation.

The rice!  It has to be cooked to perfection and the fish and vegetables should be at their freshest.

Before you say no to sushi making, please stop! 🙂 We should all be reminded that Rome was not built in a day, as the saying goes.  We have to persevere; make an effort and acquire new skill for a potentially delicious reap.

To be continued! 🙂

Daikon & Carrot Salad

Labanos, photo by JMorton

Grated Carrot, photo by JMorton

Daikon & Carrot Salad

This is a Japanese recipe called namasu sarada.  It is a very refreshing salad and a very easy one to prepare.

This salad is ideal as an accompaniment to meat and fish dishes.

Ingredients

  • 1 large daikon radish, peeled and grated
  • 2 carrots, medium size, peeled and grated
  • 1 tsp black sesame seeds
  • 1 cup rice vinegar
  • salt

Method of Preparation:

  • Put the grated radish and carrots into separate container.  Soak them in cold water for 20 minutes.
  • Drain them thoroughly.
  • Put them in a bowl and add salt, mix throughly.
  • Add the rice vinegar just before serving and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.

* This salad can be served as individual portion by dividing into smaller bowls or ramekins.

Kakiemon Elephant

Kakiemon Elephant

This Kakiemon elephant is on display at the British Museum.

This is apparently made between 1660-1690 in the Kakiemon style.  Kakiemon is the first to create the enamel porcelain.  What is interesting about this sculpture is that the artist has never seen an elephant.

You might have noticed that the elephant trunk in the photo is pointing downward.  There is a superstition in the east that pointing downward is for good luck.  In the west, it is the opposite.  It should be upward.  Another case of east and west not meeting.  LOL

What do we know about elephants?

  • Their gestation period is 22 months, 2 months short of 2 years pregnancy.  Ouch
  • Their life span is between 50 – 70 years but their was a recorded one of 82 years of age.
  • There are two types of elephants:

Asian (Indian) Elephants which smaller in stature, smaller ears and only the male have tusks.

African Elephants are larger with larger ears.  Both male and female have tusks.  They are               also  less hairy than the Asian elephants.

 

 

 

Ashi Girl (Japanese Drama Review)

Ashi Girl

Ashi Girl (Japanese Drama Review)

After Overprotected Kohoko, Ashi Girl is my new Japanese drama to follow.

I have just watch the first 2 episodes with English subtitles and the 3 one in a ‘raw’ form.  Well it was that good that I had to watch it even if I only barely understand it.  🙂

Hayakawa Yui is  a 16 year old girl, who lacks motivation in her studies.  She is a bit of a tomboy, the one thing that she excels in was PE (Physical Education) more specifically, running.  She can run so fast that  everyone comments that the only fast thing about Yui are her feet.

Yui lives with her house-husband father, a doctor mother and a brainiac younger brother.

One day, Yui went into her brother’s ‘boy cave’ to call him for dinner but found him looking like he was about to commit seppuku, which is better known, I think, as harakiri (belly cutting/suicide).

The brother told her immediately that that was not the case but he has invented a way of going back into the past.  He wanted to send all the bullies from his school to the warring era of the Senguko period.

Her brother showed her the device, which was the knife he was holding, that would send anyone to the past.  Before the brother could warn her to be careful, Yui unsheathed the knife, which catapulted her into the Senguko period.

She was so hungry that she was about to eat fungi growing in the forest.  But warned by a rather handsome young man that the mushrooms were poisonous.  Yui fell in love.

The young man happens to be the crown prince.  He was Hagi Tadakiyo.

Despite her school uniform, the men thought she was a boy and she got recruited to be one of them as a foot soldier.  They thought she was Yuinisuke, the son of one of the villagers.

When she got to the village, Yuinisuke’s mom pretended that she was her long lost son.  The mother knew immediately that she was a girl and she sort of protected her.

From then on, she met a lot of adventure but her raison d’etre was to be closed to the crown prince.

She was back into the present by the second episode.  She found that she was missing the crown prince.  She dreams about him all the time.

So in the third episode, she opted to go back to the past and save the crown prince, who was said to have only 6 months to live according to history books.

Ashi Girl is apparently a manga story.  I have to admit that it is really quite endearing to watch.  Yui and the crown prince are so cute.

So looking forward to more adventures of these two.

I think this drama is composed of 12 episodes.

 

 

Overprotected Kahoko (Japanese Drama Review)

Overprotected Kahoko (Japanese Drama Review)

I am watching this Japanese drama and I cannot recommend it highly enough.  If you want to watch just one drama for this week, make it this Jdrama.

It has everything: laughther, pathos, angst, first love, being rejected, nuclear family, children who had flown the nest coming back to roost, ungrateful family members, desperation, filial love, everything.

Overprotected Kahoko is a story about a girl who in normal circumstances should be confident and knew how to navigate the world or at least her surrounding environment with independence and boldness typical of young adult.

Kahoko is 21 years old and in her last year of university and at this point should have a job to go to after graduation.  But Kahoko is a different sort of girl.  She has the pureness and innocence of a 12 years old.

She was overprotected by her parents, especially by her mother.  The mother does everything for her.  She was Kahoko’s human alarm clock, she wakes Kahoko every morning, she cooks and makes the girl’s bento for school, she was the driver, she takes Kahoko everywhere.  She also chooses all of Kahoko’s clothes and what to wear each day.  Kahoko relives her life everyday by watching from her library of videos of her ‘growing up’ everyday.

One day Kahoko met a young man, a young painter who is rather ‘upset’ with the world, how unfair the world is.  He lectured Kahoko about her ‘princess’ complex and its effect to Japanese progress.

Their relationship is so cute.

There are so much going ons in this drama as it is a nuclear family with maternal and paternal family members are having issues of their own.  But kudos to the actress playing Kahoko, she looks so pure and innocent, she is so watchable.

This drama is really one to watch.

It was like seeing the world in the eyes of a child.

Pure

Dokushin Kizoku (A Swinging Single) Japanese Drama Review

Noble Bachelor

Dokushin Kizoku (A Swinging Single) Japanese Drama Review

As a Sunday treat, I am watching a Japanese romantic drama called Dokusjin Kizoku, I am not really sure what is the exact translation in English but this drama is also called A Swinging Single as well as Noble Bachelor.

This drama is really quirky.  I love it.  The noble bachelor is Mamoru Hoshino (Tsuyoshi Kusanagi), the president of a film company.  He is a confirmed bachelor as he can’t abide living with a woman.  He said that if he does get married, they have to live in connecting apartment of even better separate buildings. 🙂  He is eccentric with a fetish for polishing his many pairs of leather shoes.

He was currently living with his ‘homeless’ brother, Hoshino Susumo (Hideaki Ito) who is undergoing a divorce proceeding.  He is a bit of a womaniser, thus, his wife is taking him to the cleaners.  She got the house, the car, the savings and asking for more compensation.  Susumo works in the same company as his brother and is in charge of the business side, in which he excels.

The woman that these brothers are attracted to is Yuki Haruno (Keiko Kitagawa), who is a young scriptwriter.  She too is wary of marriage.  She is a modern woman who does not want to be tied to doing housework.  She wanted to pursue her ambition.

Having said that, she still believe in romance.  She was surprised to hear Mamoru saying that being in love is like having a temperature of 40 degrees centigrade, which is being out of your mind, mentally incompetent and must not make decisions like buying a house and getting married. LOL

Susumo is a bit jealous of his brother.  He aspires to be the president of the company but deep down he thinks his brother is really better suit.

Audrey Hepburn singing the background music, Moon River, adds poignancy to the film.  Love it.

The only thing about this film that makes me uncomfortable is that both brothers, who are both adorable, are attracted to the same woman.

During Yuki’s birthday both brothers tried their best for her. The look on Momoru’s face seeing Yuki being snogged by Susumo is just heartbreaking. 🙁  Finally Momoru’s fallen in love and it was so sad.

Yuki ended up dating Susumo but she remained rather attached with Momoru.

Momoru felt that to forget his feelings for Yuki, he needed to do something drastic.  That is he allowed himself to be persuaded by his aunt to go on a blind date and get married.

The last 10 minutes of the whole series shows that Momoru and Yuki are meant to be.  At last they finally shared a tight embrace and a kiss among drying fish! 🙂

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