Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Happy Worker: Yui Aragaki stars in "We Got Married As A Job!"

Gakky is Back!
Like I’ve said before, this is a GREAT time to be a J-drama watcher, with a new show from just about all of my favorite J-actresses, and the latest up is the charming “We Got Married As A Job! " (Nigeru wa Haji da ga Yaku ni Tatsu), starring the sweet and lovable Yui Aragaki!
Yui Aragaki as Mikuri Moriyama
Nigeru wa Haji da ga Yaku ni Tatsu tells the tale of a hard-working and dependable girl named Mikuri Moriyama working as a temp in an office.  Though the job is menial and often aggravating, she gets satisfaction out of doing her job to the best of her abilities. Though there may not be any future on it, she considers it an adequate way to live her life!
The rug is pulled out from under her one day when she finds that despite her efforts, she is being let go by the company. The higher ups had to choose between her and another temp, and, as usual with Mikuri’s luck, she’s the one not taken.
"I Have Some Bad News..."
"I've Been Fired?"
Mikuri is shocked- true, the job wasn’t really anything one could call a life’s work, but it fulfilled a place in her, and without the satisfaction of job to work hard at, where can she go? For the first time in her life, Mikuri feels lost!
Talking it over with her Aunt Yuri (the always stylish and sexy Yuriko Ishida, stunning as ever), she moans that her Graduate Skills have done nothing to help her out in the real world and that there just aren't any jobs out there for her. Aunt Yuri says that she’s just too scared to go back out and do serious job-hunting.
Talking it over with Aunt Yuri
The Exquisite Yuriko Ishida as Yuri
Having dinner with her Mother and Father later that week, Mikuri still hasn’t decided what she’s going to do, when her father tells her about this guy he knows who lives alone, but, since he doesn’t want to spend his days off doing chores, hires a housekeeper to drop in once every week to do the chores.
"I know a man who hires a girl once a week to do the housework....
"That sounds good for her...."
Her father tells her the pay is good…and it’s here that Mikuri realizes her dad is talking about HER! Yes, he’s already made the arrangements for Mikuri to take the job as his co-worker’s housekeeper, and a flabbergasted Mikuri can only concede and meet up with this man. After all, she’s unemployed and she DOES like working hard! This could actually be worthwhile!
"You're talking about ME?"
The following Friday Mikuri meets up with the gentleman in question for the first time. His name is Hiramasa Tsuzaki and is an extremely picky and strict employer. He is so fixated on how things should be done that he’s already gone through a bunch of housekeepers before her, all of whom have lasted only a few days.
Ding-Dong, It's your new Housekeeper!
Tsuzaki (Gen Hoshino)
Meeting the Happy Housekeeper
Mikuri, however, who loves working hard and efficiently, is immediately agreeable and excited to be taking on the job! She loves bosses who explain things clearly and orderly and knows she can do a good job here.

Tsuzaki tells her that he will pay her up front because if for some reason she doesn’t meet his expectations, he can dismiss her without ever seeing her again. “I Understand!” Mikuri beams happily, “It’s like a trial period, right? VERY thoughtful!”
 She goes to work and is surprised at how quickly she takes to the job at hand. “I never thought doing housework could be like a real job!” she says to herself as she realizes how exilarated she is doing this cleaning. She does so pride herself in a job well done and when she is done, the house is spotless, shining and gleaming with her handiwork!
 Tsuzaki, a computer programmer by trade, spends all of his day in the office dealing with the myriad of problems that come with the job, but when he gets home, he is completely impressed with Mikuri’s work. She recieves a text from him that night, instructing her to come back again for the following week! She’s been hired!!!!And from that point Mikuri makes it her mission to go beyond the call when it comes to taking care of the house, even going as far as cleaning the windscreens outside! For one happy month the two go about with their arrangement and Mikuri even feels like this is a job she could see herself working at forever!
Once again the bad Mikuri luck strikes, however, when her eccentric father announces over dinner that they are moving the whole family to a old-fashioned house out in the countryside! Mikuri is devastated because she had come to love her job, but as the new house is far away, she must either find a new job there, or get full-time employment here so she can find a place to live.
"We're all Moving??"
"What about my Housekeeping Job?"
Mikuri has lunch with her best friend Yasue (Erina Mano) who is seemingly happily married, but she's shocked when she tells her confidentially that her husband is cheating on her.
Meeting up with friend Yasue (Erina Mano) 
She grouses about how she cooked and cleaned and slaved for him, and if they divorce, she will have nothing. “At least if you work for 3 years, you have your career. But if you’re a wife for 3 years and divorce, there’s nothing!”!”

Then Mikuri says, “did you know that if they calculated a housewife’s labour, it’d be a salary of 3 Million yen!” “Yeah, but if you’re married, you have to do it for free!” “What if WAS a way to get paid for doing that? What if there was a contract marriage where you could just HIRE a woman to be your wife?” The gears start spinning in Mikuri’s head….
The following Friday Mikuri returns to her beloved housecleaning job with the bad news that this will be her final two weeks because her family is moving out of town. Tsuzaki is disappointed with the news, and tells her, “Just this morning I was wondering why the house seemed so bright…then I realized you’d cleaned the fly screens! The house was so bright, and it was then I thought…I’m happy when Mikuri is here.”
Hearing this, Mikuri leaps up and excitably says what’s on her mind: “I was thinking I could work here a live-in housekeeper! When Tsuzaki points out that as an unmarried man, living with a woman would be unthinkable, she blurts out, “Then won’t you MARRY ME? We can call it marriage, but it'd be just like a a contract marriage!! ”
"You Should MARRY Me!"
Tsuzaki: "..."
WELL! Tsuzaki is properly STUNNED to hear such an OUTRAGEOUS suggestion coming out of the usually level-heaed girl, and after an agonizing silence, Mikuri realizes what a CRAZY thing she’d just said. “J-joking!” she stammers, “It was a joke!” She hurries him out, saying ‘Don’t be late for work!”, then collapses in the foyer, cringing with embarrassment  for what she said! “Agghhh, this is all because of that conversation I had with Yasue!!!” she sobs, but what’s done is done.
It looks like the two will have a very rough last few weeks together, but just then Tsuzaki’s company gets hits with a massive reprogramming job, one that requires his to work day and night for five days without sleep or proper nutrition...
When Friday arrives, Mikuri is greeted at the door by a very, very sick Tsuzaki.  She takes it upon herself to help him out, running to the store for medicine and supplies as well as doting on him as he fights a fever, and by the time his fever breaks and she’s made him some soothing soup, he clearly has begun thinking seriously about this wonderful girl.
Finally, the last Friday of Mikuri’s employment is here, and Mikuri arrives with heavy heart.
"A Parting Gift. Though it's been short time, thank you."
"Moriyama, Can I show you something?"
When she gets there, the fastidious Tsuzaki has printed out pages of  numbers-crunching data with what a marriage would cost a person, what a housekeeper needs, and how much the costs would break down…

Looking at it logically as well as financially, Tsuzaki has decided that it IS in his best interest if he takes Mikuri up on her offer... "Mikuri", Tsuzaki asks, "Won’t you accept this “De Facto Marriage”? "I ACCEPT!" Mikuri yells!
Without a MOMENT’s hesitation, Mikuri leaps up into Tsuzaki’s face and agrees to the terms! The are already ready to face whatever obstacles are coming their way, and there’s gonna be PLENTY…but first…to explain to her PARENTS…and stop that Moving Van from driving away with all her things!
Awwww, Yui Aragaki is in FINE form in this show, so sweet and lovable as she always is, and this is a fun and quirky story as well, reminding me not just a little bit of the Kyoko Fukada /Dean Fujioka drama “Dame Na Watashi Ni Koishite Kudasai”, with the stern, stoic “husband” and the carefree and eternally optimistic wife!
With this wonderful drama as well as the sweet Satomi Ishihara show and the Keiko Kitagawa drama scheduled to be subbed, I must once again reiterate: It's a GREAT time to be a J -Drama fan!!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Fragile 終わり

Well, it has been a LONG period of statis, but today I am stoked to say I have finally finished watching the Emi Takei/Tomoya Nagase medical drama FRAGILE, and it was as terrific as I expected it to be!!!
 As you may or may not know, Fragile has had the bad luck of being dropped by not one but TWO subbing teams in the course of its run- the first time it got dropped was at episode 4 and though there was a brief respite when someone else picked it up for episodes 5 and 6, they too dropped it, leaving us Fragile fans in unsubtitled limbo! From there I had listed Fragile as an "On Hold" drama on my viewing list, but as the months and MONTHS went by, I gave up hoping.
Not that I can really blame these subtitlers...they aren't getting paid for their work and in a case like Fragile, the stories are filled with SO MUCH medical terms and jargon, it would give ANY translator a run for their money!!! But it was that same reason that I really couldn't watch them without subtitles. I feel I can understand the 'basics" when watching regular shows, but a show so reliant on facts and procedures would just leave me in the dark if I tried to watch it 'guessing" my way through!
So I was stunned and happily surprised beyond belief when, a good 8 months since it went on hiatus, I just happened to visit the good folks over at Doramatique Subs and found that they had taken it upon themselves to translate and sub Fragile's final 4 episodes!!! Oh MY GOSHHH!!! I wasted NO TIME getting those subs and THANKING them before running for the snacks to sit down and watch the rest of the show to see just WHAT happened to Emi Takei and Tomoya Nagase's fate!
Have to say that picking this show up was like I'd never left it, the characters are so much fun and so likeable, and the stories themselves got downright intense at times!!! Such a great feeling to go back and visit, and now it's all over and I leave it once again...but this time with a warm sense of closure!!!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Satomi Ishihara is Back in Full Bloom with “Jimi Ni Sugoi”!!

Satomi Ishihara is BACK!
Just finished watching the first episode of the new Satomi Ishihara drama Jimi ni Sugoi~Koetsu Garu Kono Etsuko (Simpleness is Great!! Copy Editing Girl Kono Etsuko), and I already love, love, LOVE it!!!
Satomi Ishihara as Etsuko Kono
 Jimi Ni Sugoi tells the tale of a pretty young fashionable woman named Kono Etsuko who has dreamed all her life of becoming an editor for her favorite fashion magazine Lassy, unfortunately the company isn’t ever hiring new editors and it has been a solid six times since graduating that Etsuko has come in interviewing for a spot with the publishers with no luck! 
This time however, Etsuko manages to strike a chord with Shoon Takeyama, (the always fun and goofy Goro Kishitani) the head of the proofreading department, when she asks him where he got his unusual necktie pin. Such a strange girl, he thinks, but at least he'll remember her! Etsuko leaves crossing her fingers that the seventh time will be the charm!
When Etsuko gets the call from the company that evening telling her she’s been hired, she is in seventh heaven! She strides in to work the next day beaming with charisma and confidence, ready to meet the team...
A Dream Come True!
Finally at Lassy!
Here I am!
"Who IS this chick?"
...but she is rudely awakened when she finds that she HASN'T been hired for the fashion editing room at ALL...but the dour and drab dungeon of the company’s PROOFREADING department!
Etsuko finds her REAL department...
...the Proofreading Section!
Flabbergasted, she tells Takeyama that there must be SOME kind of mistake because she applied for  the FASHION section, but Takeyama reminds her that, as they said in the interview, they’re just not hiring for that department…
Takeyama (Goro Kishitani) explaining things.
But when he noticed that her name, Kouno Etsuko, sounded an awful lot like “proofreader” (Ko-etsu), Takeyama took it as a sign…and hired her for his own section! LOL!
Your name means you were MADE for this job!
Not Funny
After snickering at his own joke, Takeyama tells her that, while the Proofreading Section isn’t what she hoped for, with proper motivation she can work her way up in the company until she gets the position she really wants. Giving in, Etsuko decides to make the best of it, planning on staying there for only as long as it takes to get promoted and get out of there!

The proofreading team themselves are not impressed with Etsuko’s flashy and outspoken demeanor, and are even less impressed by her proofreading skills!
Fujiwa (Noriko Eguchi) training Etsuko
Fujiwa Rion (Noriko Eguchi) is in charge of training Etsuko but after a headache inducing first day, she tells Takeyama that she doesn't think this dizzy girl is up to the task.
Takeyama tells her the story of his necktie pin- how Etsuko pointed it out and how he saw her later that day  investigating about it in a store, and tells her to give her a chance because this is a girl who notices details and will investigate questions until she gets the correct answers. And so begins Etsuko’s career as a magazine Proofreader!
Etsuko seriously applying herself
Boss tells her she must do things her own way.
Besides having to deal with her fellow proofreaders, Etsuko must also go up against the editors of the manuscripts they are given to correct, and almost immediately she butts heads with an editor named Hachiro Kaizuka (Munetaka Aoki). She doesn’t think much of her section, but when she sees him belittling the crew and making light of their work, she finds herself defending the proofreaders and verbally assaulting the man, calling him “tako” in front of everyone! Unfortunately for her, this is a higher up whom she will be dealing with on an almost regular basis, and can make things difficult for her!
Kaizuka belittling Yoneoka (Masato Wada)
Etsuko can't Keep Quiet!
...and who is THIS girl?
Mind your manners...TAKO!
Takeyama runs in to introduce the people to each other.
She does have a couple of friends she can rely on, one is a girl named Toyoko Morio (Tsubasa Honda), a fellow employee who is an old classmate who happens to work for the very Fashion Editing Section Estuko covets....
Toyoko Morio (Tsubasa Honda)
...and Cecil Imai, a cute and naive girl working as the company’s receptionist, (played by the squeakily adorable Rika Adachi), who immediately adheres herself to Etsuko’s side as her best buddy. Such a sweetie!!!
Above and Below: Yuri (Marie Soda) and Cecil (Rika Adachi)
 Together these two become friends Etsuko can have over for drinks where she can get drunk and "let it all out", passing out by the end of the night, LOL!
Etsuko also has the utmost support from the boss of the Okazuya she’s living above,who treats her much like a father (in fact, I first thought it WAS her father, their relationship is just like Anne and Ren Osugi in Hanasaki Mai ga Damattenai) as well as all the neighborhood regulars. They love and cherish her and do anything they can to help her get ahead!
Boss Oda (Hiromasa Taguchi) and the boys get Etsuko a gift!
A clearly touched Etsuko knows she is cared for.
There is also a sub-plot regarding Morio and her work- she’s tasked with looking for a new model for the company and sets her sights on a boy she saw online named Yukito Orihara (Masaki Suda).
"That's the look I've been looking for"
Orihara ( Masaki Suda): No interest in Modeling.
When she meets him, however, he has no desire to model but when he loses his job and then gets an eviction notice from his apartment, he changes his mind and agrees to work for her. The following day, he accidentally bumps into Etsuko who is literally AND figuratively knocked off her feet, it is LOVE at first sight! But as Morio seems to also show interest in this guy, I see some love triangles ahead…

One scene that really killed me and I laughed out LOUD was this scene where Etsuko is hobbling home, cheery and a bit tipsy over champagne when she spies an “Editor’s Bag” that she’s had her eyes on on sale.  She goes over and reads the details, but she is SO immersed in her job that before you know it, she’s taken out her editing pen and “proofread” the sale sign! LOLOL~!!!
MAN, i’m enjoying this drama so MUCH! As you all know, I’m a huge fan of Satomi Ishihara already, and her character of Etsuko Kouno is so bright, optimistic, sassy and charming, I fell in love with her before even 5 minutes had passed!!! She’s one of those quirky characters who dresses very casually at home but dresses up in five star STYLE when out on the town or at work, and the show does this very cute thing where after each scene is completed, a magazine spread pops up with Satomi as a model modelling the outfit! Not since “Hotaru No Hikari” have I seen a show care so much about the characters’ wonderful clothing, and I LOVE it!
Like shows such as “Underwear” or even “Ie Uru Onna”, the  show is very dense with actual facts and information about its business. Whereas Underwear introduced you to the world of Lingerie Designing and Ie uru Onna taught you the fundamentals about real estate, Jimi Ni Sugoi teaches you about proofreading, the procedures, the implementation and the research points of the job, and it is a thrill to see Etsuko not only learning the ropes, but finding she has a passion for it as well!
A fun, properly intriguing drama showing a dazzling Satomi Ishihara at her very best, this IS Satomi Ishihara in Full Bloom!
"The food is so yummy!"
"But who was that guy I bumped into?"
"Really, Sempai, he didn't seem that special to me."
Oh well...back to eating!!!! LOLOL
PS: An added bonus is the opening song to Jimi No Sugoi sung by a girl named CHAY which I immediately recognized as the awesome Yumi Arai (Matsutoya) song “12-gatsu No Ame” off her incredible “Misslim” Album! What a nice surprise!!! Looks like this show is off to a GREAT START and I can't wait to see MORE!!!!