Drama Time

"Watching Dorama" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5, 1/110 sec, ISO6400
“Watching Dorama” Cedar Park, 2017

こんばんは。How’s it going?

It was a looong week for me at work. So busy and lots of things on the horizon. But it’s good and I am thankful that I have a career (graphic design and branding) that is interesting and I enjoy.

But after this week, I was looking forward to a night of relaxation, and so poured a glass of wine, put on a Japanese drama, and watched all five episodes.

Coffee-ya no Hitobito / 珈琲屋の人々 is a story of an ex-con who runs a small coffee shop in Tokyo, and the relationship that develops between him and the widow of the man he killed. It sounds like a bizarro plot and circumstance, but the way the circumstances are developed is such that it is not such a stretch. Anyways, besides the main plot, there are other characters from the same shopping street who have their own intertwined stories. It’s a good human dorama, but I was thinking there would be more emotional moments. I’d rate it as “Somewhat recommended”. 😌

After that, I did a little doodling using the Wacom tablet and Krita, which was fun but difficult. I can definitely see that it’s something I want to do more of.

I hope you had a nice Friday!


Internet up, a New Color, and More Dorama

"Current Palette" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/125 sec, ISO320
“Current Palette” Cedar Park, 2017

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Well, this morning was a busy one, in which I (with the help of a friend) figured out how to get the new ISP service to work concurrently with our existing television service. Basically, it involved putting the new router on its own cable circuit and keeping it separate from the television. So, we are up and running with a super-fast and strong connection! Yay!

With that solved, I took Bay to Jerry’s Artarama to buy a new brush and palette knife. The store was having a big sale, so I took advantage and bought a new tube of watercolor for myself. The new Pthalo Green rounds out my palette, which you can see in the photo at the top of this post. I think it will be useful to create dark shadows in trees. 🌳

On the way home, we stopped by Fry’s to buy a USB Wi-fi adapter, then stopped at the hardware store to pick up a flapper to fix the toilet, and finally returned home to finish setting up the network. And fix the toilet. 😀

And to finish the day, I had a glass of wine and watched a couple more episodes of Tsubaki Stationery Store. I really like it.

"Tsubaki Stationery Store" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/125 sec, ISO2500
“Tsubaki Stationery Store” Cedar Park, 2017

I hope you had a nice Saturday!


Beer, Gumbo, and Dorama

"Refreshing" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.2, 1/125 sec, ISO5000
“Refreshing” Cedar Park, 2017

こんばんは。How’s it going?

This evening was filled with tasty treats. Actually, just two but they were excellent. First, Mariko surprised me with the Yebisu beer which she had brought back in her suitcase all the way from Japan. So cold and refreshing! ❤️🍺

Next up, we made a big pot of gumbo for dinner. Mariko did most of the work, while I just literally stirred the pot. And of course, I am on dish duty, which I am happy to do! It’s a small price to pay for getting to eat like a king. 😊

"Gumbo" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/125 sec, ISO4000
“Gumbo” Cedar Park, 2017

After dinner, I watched a couple of Japanese tv shows. The first was “Kaettekita Ie Uru Onna / 帰ってきた家売るオンナ”, which is a 1.5 hour special follow-up to the 2016 series, “Iie Uru Onna / 家売るオンナ”. I really enjoyed the original series (Kitagawa Keiko is a favorite of mine) so was happy to see the continuation of the story. There wasn’t anything groundbreaking… was just like a long episode. But it was fun nonetheless.

And I just started watching “Tsubaki Stationery Store / ツバキ文具店”. It’s about a young woman who takes over the family store after her grandmother’s death. The main business of the shop is ghostwriting letters for people. I’m only one episode in, but so far it’s very interesting. Can’t wait to watch the rest of the series.

I hope you had a nice Thursday!


ひよっこ Opening

One thing I love about the new asadora ひよっこ is the opening sequence. Along with the 60’s-style pop song, there are really cool miniature toys and scenery with the feeling of the era. But the really neat thing is, the scenery is made up of everyday objects from the 60’s. For instance, the people watching the olympic torch sit on typewriters instead of bleachers, there is a person fishing over a waterfall that is actually a washing machine, and so on. When I first saw the opening, I thought that it reminded me of one of my favorite Instagrammers, Tanaka Tatsuya… I wondered, did NHK get the idea from him? Well, according to his Instagram page, Tanaka is the creator of the opening sequence! How cool is that?!

Anyways, be sure to check out his Instagram and Miniature Calendar site. The scenes are so clever and fun.

I hope you had a wonderful day!


Ugh Monday

"Dreaming" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4.5, 1/20 sec, ISO3200
“Dreaming” Cedar Park, 2017

こんばんは。Ugh… Mondays! I woke up feeling not-so-great and decided to work from home, which was great because I could keep the room dark (easy on my eyes) and the temperature warm (the office is always so cold). And I got a ton of work done! By the end of the day, I was feeling a lot better, and I’ll get some good rest tonight and hopefully be 100% tomorrow. I’m planning on sleeping as soundly as the cat in the photo above. 🐱

This evening I finally finished the final two episodes of Tokyo Tarareba Musume (東京タラレバ娘). I was pretty disappointed with how the story went, or rather I should say that the story seemed to just go around in circles. People breaking up, getting back together, breaking up… over and over. It seemed like it would never end! I really enjoyed the first few episodes, but man, it went downhill in the last few episodes. 😞

In other dorama news, the new asadora Hiyokko (ひよっこ) is in its second or third week, and I just finished watching week 1. It seems like it will be pretty good! I like all the actors in it so far, and the setting of the story is really interesting: Tokyo in the 1960s. Actually, it is split (so far) between the Japanese countryside in Ibaraki prefecture and the capital, but that time period is really fun. I think the fashion of the time was pretty cool. We’ll see how the story progresses, but as you might know, asadoras last for half a year, so it’s a long haul. 😅

Okay, it’s now time to sleep. Have a good Tuesday. (I am planning on having a great one!)


Weekend Watching – Tokyo Tarareba Musume (東京タラレバ娘)

It’s been a while since Yoshitaka Yuriko has been on tv, but finally she’s back starring as Rinko Kamata in Tokyo Tareraba Musume (東京タラレバ娘). It’s a fun romantic comedy about three 30-year-old unmarried women and their relationship adventures. The story is just so-so, nothing new (so far), but the acting is good and there are some really funny scenes, where the character’s emotions are visualized with CGI effects, such as lightning coming down from the sky to vaporize the person who pissed Rinko off, or Rinko being shot with an arrow when she gets back-stabbed by a co-worker. The timing is great, and Yoshitaka Yuriko’s expressions are perfect.

As of episode 4, it’s a must-watch for me, but of course I tend to like these not-too-deep doramas. I love Japan so much, and I especially enjoy the scenes of the city. The izakaya that many of the scenes takes place in looks so great. My favorite type of restaurant/bar!

Please take a look at the teaser for the show below:

And lastly, I love the ending theme song by Perfume. It’s great! Enjoy:

Nigeru wa Haji da ga Yaku ni Tatsu / 逃げるは恥だが役に立つ

Hi! I finished watching Nigeru wa Haji da ga Yaku ni Tatsu (逃げるは恥だが役に立つ) a couple weeks ago (and it’s showing on TV Japan now) so I thought I’d write my thoughts about it.

First off, I enjoyed it quite a bit! It’s got a sort of “underdog guy gets the pretty girl” thing going on like Densha Otoko, but it’s a little more nuanced in that the woman, Mikuri, played by Aragaki Yui, has her own flaws. The plot is basically that the two main characters enter into a contract marriage out of convenience, but over time they develop feelings for each other. It’s a predictable story, with the inevitable break-up and reuniting, but it’s fun nonetheless.

There were some really funny off-the-wall parts, with parodies and references to other shows and celebrities. My favorite was when the couple were traveling by train to a ryokan and she does a mini-parody of a JR ad. It was pretty clever. Also, the supporting characters are funny and do a good job keeping the plot interesting. I think the final few episodes dragged on a little too much, but still, it wasn’t too long.

Nigeru wa Haji da ga Yaku ni Tatsu also had a really popular theme song, sung by Hoshino Gen, who played one of the main characters. At the end of each episode, the cast dances to the song, and it became a mini-sensation in itself. Even the US Embassy in Tokyo did their own version! If you watched the 2016 Uta Gassen, you saw Hoshino Gen performing the song.

If you have the chance to watch Nigeru was Haji da ga Yaku ni Tatsu, I recommend it! Aragaki Yui and Hoshino Gen are great in it. It probably won’t win any awards, but it’s a fun show!

Cold Case / コールドケース

My second dorama to watch this year is Cold Case (コールドケース) which is the Japanese version of the US crime/detective show. It’s a 10-part series, centered around a group of detectives who take up unsolved cases from years ago. I enjoyed each episode because the plots were so varied, and there’s a ton of nostalgia too because some of the episodes flash back to the 80’s and 90’s and occasionally play pop songs from the era. なつかしい!. But, there’s also an episode in which the crime happened in the 50’s, and then an overarching story which takes place in the present. So there’s a ton of opportunity for the stories to go in many directions.

One of the things I really liked about コールドケース was the casting. Yoshida Yo (吉田羊) in the starring role did a great job, and the other detectives were strong and believable, each with their own mysterious pasts. None of them were explored deeply except for Yoshida’s character, but I’m hoping for another season so we can find out more!

If you like serious crime/detective shows, I highly recommend コールドケース. There’s no comedy or lighthearted moments, so if you are looking for hijinks you will be disappointed. But if you want good acting, believable characters, and a clever plot, give it a watch!

Lastly, check out the Instagram feed for the show to see photos of the cast which includes many guest actors. It’s fun to see them enjoying behind-the-scenes moments which is a huge contrast to the serious plots!