JDrama: Gokusen 3

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Once again, Nakama Yukie comes back as everybody’s favourite character, Yamaguchi Kumiko (Yankumi) in Gokusen 3! I had actually watched Gokusen 3 first, after I learnt that there was no continuation in the stories, although later I found out that there were a few characters that were from previous seasons. But there is nothing to worry because it can be watched as a standalone season. I watched this season first because Gokusen The Movie was coming, and I’m glad I did because after I had finished season 3, I went on my Sydney Trip and I watched Gokusen The Movie on the plane!

Gokusen 3 takes place in a new school called Akadou. Once again, Yankumi had to take care of the delinquent class (Class 3D, again!), and teach them about loyalty and friendship. About respect for elders and about fighting and violence. You know it already.

I had nothing to compare when I watched Gokusen 3 first. But after watching Gokusen 1 and a little of Gokusen 2, I feel that Gokusen 3 is relatively boring. There were more fight scenes and it always ends with Yankumi coming and defeating everyone. For Gokusen 1, there are more parts dealing with non fighting things. There are times when it doesn’t end with fighting and rescuing.

But I guess it is always good to watch Gokusen 3 first if you’re thinking of watching Gokusen The Movie. The main character came from Gokusen 3, and it is a story about the same school but the class has graduated and Yankumi is teaching a new class 3D. Hence it is relevant to watch Gokusen 3 to get an understanding of the story.

JDrama: Gokusen

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This is actually the first season of the Gokusen series. At the moment there are 3 Gokusen drama series and 1 Gokusen movie that has just been showing in theatres. Before I watched Gokusen, I didn’t know what it was about but I have heard about it. Initially I thought it was once of those Meteor Gardens kind of style of dramas. It was because Gokusen the movie came to Singapore and I heard the story over the radio, and hence I got interested.

Gokusen is about this teacher called YAmaguchi KUMIko, whose nickname is formed from the letters that I deliberately made upper case (YANKUMI). Her parents died early, and she was taken care of by her grandfather, who is the 3rd generation head of the Oeda family, a prominent Yakuza group. Basically it is like a gang but more professional and organized. Kind of like the godfather kind. So she is going to be the 4th generation head, but she is only interested in being a teacher.

This drama series is like the Great Teacher Onizuka type, where the teacher is not any normal teacher, but one with compassion, passion and feelings for the profession. One that bothers to understand the students and bonds with them so they felt that they were needed, and hence steering them to the right path. Due to Yankumi being the “heir” of the yakuza group, she is actually very strong and always fights to protects her precious students.

Gokusen 1 takes place in Shirokin High School, where the class 3D is full of delinquents. The “boss” of the class is Shin, a student who is super smart but ended up in a bad school due to him punching a teacher. There are also some of his friends, including Kumai, better known as Kuma, whose family owns a ramen shop. Kuma is a recurring character in all Gokusen series, with the 1st season being part of the class and the rest as the owner of the ramen shop.

The series shows how Yankumi gets into the hearts of her students and how she taught them important things like the difference between fighting and violence. She taught them to made friends that they can depend on, and as a result, she build an impressive class that graduated together, all these done whilst hiding her identity as a Yakuza heir.

There are smaller sub stories in the drama, providing some comedic relief. Whenever Yankumi suffers some humilation or hurt, her yakuza members would one by one get angry until Yankumi calls their name. Then something will happen and the second person will get angry and it goes on.

This is a light hearted drama, but occasionally it gets slightly dry. At this moment I have only watched Gokusen and Gokusen 3, and I think Gokusen 3 is repetitive and more dry. Gokusen is not always about fighting, and has much more plot and content that varies. This is a good drama, although in my opinion the guys there are not that handsome, except for Oguri Shun, who acted in Hana Kimi.

Atashinchi No Danshi – Jdrama

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I have waited quite a long time for the high quality HD subs to be released, and the reason why I started watching this drama is because Maki is the lead actress. I admit that I did not know about the plot before I started, so it could be some potentially lousy drama, but I am happy to say that it is not.

Indeed, it has some traditional lame Japanese elements inside especially when one of the ways to distract someone goes like this:

“You’re a girl”
“You’re not a boy”
“I got a second thing to tell you”
*Waits a while*
“You’re human”

Seriously makes you think HUH but it adds abit of comic element in the drama.

The drama is actually about this girl who is running away from a 100 million yen debt. (Reminds me of Hayate the anime). Her father gambled and borrowed that sum of money and defaulted. The yakuza now hounds the girl, Chisato, for payment. A mysterious man came from a helicopter and paid the 100 million yen for Chisato, and Chisato leaves with him in a helicopter. On the helicopter, she signs a contract to agree to pay back the 100 million yen eventually.

Once she reaches their destination, she was told that the contract includes a clause that says she will be his wife. Now, Shinzo (the man) is actually old enough to be Chisato’s father. Chisato cannot escape from the contract unless she pays up the 100 million yen in a day, so she agreed to be his wife. Please don’t think of those kinky stuff because all she did was to keep him company as his wife for one month till he passed away.

Soon the one month passed, and the lawyer brings the contract. She then realizes that there is more to the contract. She has to live in a house with 6 “adopted” sons and be their mother. These sons do not get along well with each other, and keep to themselves. They think of themselves as people who just happen to live together. As their mother, she has to complete 10 goals, of which she started with needing to get the entire family to eat together.

Funny things continue and Chisato always finds out there is more to the contract. Eventually, she has to complete those tasks, find out her real identity, and create a family out of 7 people who are not blood related. Will she manage to complete the goals? Will she remain homeless after she finished her job as their mother? Will they learn to show care and concern as a family?

Atashinchi No Danshi is an 11 episode drama that is heart warming and funny to watch. It is not like those uber pro drama like Code Blue, but it is also not as lousy as some boring dramas Maki worked on before. Hence it is a must watch for people who is thinking of watching dramas but do not know what to watch.

Attention Please

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I’ve recently watched Attention Please, a drama about cabin attendants, or air stewardess as most of us would be familiar with. I watched this drama after I set my goal to get into SIA, and it has further given me an insight into the airline industry, although it may only be a slight insight.

This story is about this boyish girl called Misaki Youko, who decides to be a cabin attendant because the guy she likes commented that he would like to see her in the uniform. However he didn’t really mean it, but Misaki took it very seriously and went to join Japan Airlines. She was initially very unsuited to be a cabin attendant, and she meets a very capable and responsible instructor Mikami who would rather fail her than allow her to fly without proper training.

Mikami always asks an important question, “What does it mean to you to be a cabin attendant”. Everytime she asked that in the drama, I would ask myself “What does it mean to me to be an engineer in the SIA”, and I would have more and more answers telling me why it would mean much to me to be an engineer there.

Back to the drama, Misaki has totally no idea why she wants to be a cabin attendant, and has no idea what being a cabin attendant truly means. When she finds out that the guy she likes is cohabiting with another lady, she feels miserable. Mikami told her to take a look at her own failure. Misaki didn’t want to lose, so she continued with the program.

Along the way, Misaki matured a great deal, learning about the airline industry along the way. She recognizes that the engineers put in much effort, and that it is a very serious job. She ended up learning from it and becoming serious about her job. She realizes that cabin attendants are not only waitresses in the sky.

Even when she progressed to the On Job Training, she still manages to be not good enough in her senpai’s eyes. However when Mikami opened her eyes to the reasons she isn’t doing great, she realizes that she has much to learn, and eventually managed to graduate properly and become a full fledged cabin attendant.

I think life is a journey of experiences, and you never know where it brings you. However, if you really want to accomplish something, put in effort and you can get what you want. I look forward to my beautiful journey working in SIA in the future, learning and growing and contributing to making it the best airline in the world.

Celeb To Binbo Taro

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I’ve just finished watching this very entertaining JDrama titled “Celeb To Binbo Taro”, which actually means Celebrity And Poor Taro. Taro is the name of the guy who’s very poor. His own wife died, leaving him with 3 kids. His kids are all very adorable and obedient, and are easily contented and optimistic when all they may eat are bread crumbs from the local bakery. He tries hard to work and earn money, but it is always only enough to pay part of the bills.

The celebrity in the title is Alice-san, the 23 year old fashion designer born with a silver spoon in her mouth. She has never lived poorly, and always has good meals. She lives in a hotel suite and she is worth 7 trillion yen. She has two people waiting on her full time and hires Taro as her driver one day.

What happens is the journey of getting to know Taro better and seeing how he lives. No matter whether he has money for food or not, his family is always happy and optimistic. Throughout the whole drama, a side topic is on Alice’s own previous love story and it links to the crux of the entire drama, when her parent’s company got took over by someone else and she becomes Binbo Alice.

Even then, Taro is still like a friend trying to support her and tries ways and means to think of how to get the money back for Alice. He ends up, expectedly, falling for her.

I liked this drama because I find it heart warming. The plot may not be a very solid plot, but it is already better than some station’s dramas. It is the process of having a rich girl learning many things like how to say thank you even for simple things like Asako’s (the chicken) egg every morning, as well as learning to get adjusted to poverty. Maybe it is the process where you get to understand each other better, get involved in each other’s lives, and suddenly finding that you’re worried about each other, that is the sweetest thing to me.

Maybe it just seems like a fairy tale and we all need fairy tales from time to time. But in reality, YES fairy tales can come true.

YES WE CAN. (Hmm..Only people who watched it can understand why I wrote it)
YES YOU CAN.

Binbo Danshi

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Recently I began to watch this comedy drama called Binbo Danshi. In english, it just means the poor man. The lead character Kazumi (acted by Oguri Shun) is this really stupid idiot who started off lending money to everyone who needs it. He treats everyone for meals even when people offered to pay. How did he finance this expenditure? He borrowed money from the loan company. In a way this is fitting since I am reading up on finance related stuffs this holiday.

When he discovered that he had owed a million yen, he got a huge shock of his life. He just got accepted into a company and if the company learns of this, he would be fired. With this problem, he went to make a loan to this rich man nicknamed Omuomu who loaned him the 1 million dollars. In this way, the loan company can be repaid and the loan company will not go to his company.

Over the few episodes, he actually returned the 1 million dollars, but had to reborrow the money due to stupid reasons. Even when he returned the 1 million in the end, he continued to borrow a larger sum of money to help this guy that he knew. Although he is a stupid idiot, he is actually very cheerful and helpful, and changed the lifes of the people around him.

This drama gave me some things to think about.

Firstly, debt is a very bad thing. When you add in insanely high interest rates, the money can never be returned. Sometimes when you just happen to spend and spend without checking your credit card debt, you can rake up a huge bit of money which is extremely hard to repay.

Secondly, there is a story narrated by Omuomu. He cares about money the most, more than human relations because of this girl he loved. The girl worked hard and supported him whilst he was studying to go into law school. Eventually his girlfriend needed money for an operation, and the poor him had no money. His girlfriend passed away due to him being poor and then he worked hard to have a lot of money. I felt upset because I do not ever want to end up in a situation where I have no money to give my loved ones the operation that they need. In this world today, money is really an important thing. It is always better to have the money to afford the best medical treatment, than to have no money and watch your loved one die in front of you. Even Kazumi had the same problem when he was young. His elder brother died of an illness and even young Kazumi took out his piggy bank to save his brother, but the brother passed on before Kazumi had the chance to give his mother the piggy bank.

Binbo Danshi, although a comedy, actually has many lessons of life regarding money. It is always important to learn about money and how to have effective money management.

Love Shuffle

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I’ve just finished watching this very nice JDrama, which I categorise to my favourites list for it’s good and unique plot. It’s along the lines of Code Blue and Nodame, which are very good dramas which only come out rarely. Most JDramas entertain, but they don’t hit the favourites list because their plot isn’t that strong. But Love Shuffle is totally different from what I’ve seen so far.

Four different people, who live on the same floor but never met, happened to meet in the lift and it got stuck. They made friends after introducing each other, and the first episode was on leading the main character nicknamed Usatan to the concept of Love Shuffle. Basically, each of the four, Usatan, Aiai, O chan and Kikurin have to bring a partner each into the game so it’ll be 4 guys and 4 girls. The idea is simple, like it’s name. Basically they shuffle partners every week, so everyone will get one week of time with 4 people from the opposite sex. So at the 4th week, they shuffle back to their original partners.

It is not necessary that the couples be attached. Usatan brought in Mei, who is his fiance. They have been having some problems so Mei was the only who wanted to join, though Usatan didn’t. Aiai brought in her boyfriend. O chan brought a friend and Kikurin brought his mentally disturbed patient.

What follows is 8 weeks of shuffling around. Yes, the Love Shuffle is conducted for 2 rounds since there wasn’t a clear conclusion after the first. Through the different experiences that they have, each and everyone began to learn more about themselves and what makes them attractive to the other person, and in the end they find out whether their original choice was the right one. The ending was that everyone shuffled after learning who they are more attracted to.

What I find enjoyable in the show was how they experienced different things and grew to know themselves more. And the process of coming to terms that you fell for a new person who’s more suited for you. I find the love between O chan and the mentally disturbed patient very touching.

In short, it’s a great drama to watch if you haven’t done so.