39-year-old Ogata Satoko is a highly capable psychiatrist who is single. She's forthright, a caring older sister and reliable in her job and in private. Her interests are staying in luxurious Japanese inns and watching stand-up comedy videos.
Satoko hasn't had a boyfriend in the past five years. Nevertheless, she derives satisfaction from work and isn't worried about her finances. Among her good friends that she hangs out with are 35-year-old Morimura Nao, her junior who proclaims that she won't marry, and 39-year-old Oikawa Sadao, her peer since high school. Satoko is happily enjoying the single life.
At an alumni reunion as everyone is on the verge of 40, Takeuchi Mizue, her good friend since high school who is now a full-time housewife, rushes Satoko into action. "If you want children, you should marry now" and "It's women's happiness", but both are lost on Satoko, who isn't convinced.
One day, Satoko attempts to cheer up Nao, who is downcast over a shocking incident, and goes to her favourite hot-spring inn. There she coincidentally encounters a breakup between a handsome but somewhat odd man, Okamura Keitaro, and his girlfriend.
Cast & Credits
The main characters are three women, friends since their school days, and we follow them during their work lives and private lives, for example at the restaurant where their friend Ma-kun works. This set of characters is, I believe, not unusual, but it is an interesting drama, if a little bit predictable.
It is a love story, sure, but even more than that, I think it is about what a Japanese woman can and cannot do, in the eyes of those around her. This topic is also not unique, but this drama deals with it seriously without too much silly nonsense. Living up to gender roles can be a burden; this drama doesn’t try to make a joke out of it. I liked that. One of the women learns that her position at work is directly related to her marital status. Another one is a housewife whose husband can’t understand that she longs to feel “a connection to society”. The last of the three friends isn’t married and everyone is worried because she’s already 39, and a woman’s “market value” decreases rapidly after 35. Because what you learn here (if you didn’t know already from other j-dramas) is that marriage is extremely important. On the other hand, there’s this idea about freedom, independence, personal choice and the right to decide for yourself what “happiness” means…
As for the romance in this drama, I like it! The main focus is on Ogata Satoko (Amami Yuki) and Okamura Keitaro (Fujiki Naohito), who are colleagues.
However, Ogata is a psychiatrist and Okamura is a younger psychologist… so they are different when it comes to social status, income and age. Okamura is also very much into ecology, to the point of being called “stingy” by workmates and ex girlfriends, and at first, it looks like he doesn’t have a lot going for him. They have this relationship where they are constantly irritated and bickering with each other, but in a “good” way. Because even if that guy can be very nit-picky about certain things, he’s honest, smart, caring and gentle, and he’s cute and he likes kids… The more I watched him, the more I liked him, and I enjoyed how their relationship played out.
If I would mention any weak point, then it would be that the “twists and turns” of the drama are a bit too simple and obvious (but I was never bored because I liked and cared about the characters), and also the lack of, well, passion. I’ve learned not to expect j-dramas to be “hot”, but still; a little bit more intensity and chemistry between the two leads (who are both hot and excellent in their own ways) shouldn’t be too much to ask for, and it was perhaps what was lacking for me to give this a higher rating. (I could give Fujiki Naohito a 10 for being impossibly cute when he smiles, but I don’t think that would be fair…)
I’ve got nothing to say about the music, it was okay I guess. And although I enjoyed watching this, I don’t think I would be interested in rewatching it.