I think it’s perfectly fine for women to be portrayed as being supportive of the men they love. I think it’s fair to say that if you love someone you would want them to succeed and do whatever you can to see that they do. But I love it even more when it is a man who willingly supports a woman in fulfilling her dream or doing what she loves. That’s my favourite thing about this episode.
I have timed the softsubs to MQ raws I found. I will hardsub them once I get my hands on HQ raws, so in the meantime please do not take these to modify as captions/hardsubs/streams.
If anyone can supply HQ (720p/1080p) raws, please hit up my askbox, I’d be really grateful.
– Please do not steal these files and claim them as your own.
– Please do not repost. Reblog / Link people to this blog or to this masterpost.
*P.S. My family’s coming over for a holiday, and I haven’t seen them since I’ve moved to Japan so, I’ll be taking a couple of weeks break from subbing to spend proper time with them. I’ll continue midway in Jan.
Note: Due to some video compatibility issues with aegisub, around 12mins on the subs appear a split second faster than they should. This should not affect your viewing in any way, unless you are a perfectionist like me. But I just wanted to let y’all know in advance.
okashi is the umbrella term for sweets and snacks. As part of a Japanese tea ceremony, okashi usuallyrefers to confections or sweets that have a harder, dry texture or are crunchy. Sometimes they can also refer to jellies and other non-traditional confections. You can usually use your hand to eat them.
wagashi is the name of traditional Japanese confections. They are usually bigger, softer, and filled with bean paste. You will usually use a special pick to eat them.
Wow, a Jdrama romance that actually boasts thematic continuity?! Is more than a bunch of clichés strung together?! Includes non-romance related character development?! Is this real life?!
This week reveals just how similar Hina and Arare are as sisters. It intertwines their dilemmas together, while still managing to give each of them their own story. It’s pretty cool how this plays out.
Early in the episode Hina gets a fax (trust Japan to be the only first world country to STILL use fax) from Shoujuro. He wants to meet her in a restaurant at 7 that night. Receiving the fax, Hina gets the lipstick she got from him in Ep 1 and puts it on. From this simple act we can tell that she does have feelings for him. Yet later on in the episode, she tells Arare that it is not suited for her. Why the turn of events? Why is she pushing Shoujuro away yet again?
We get the answer in yet another well-placed flashback, this time of her delivering wagashi to her fiancé Hinoyama’s house. Hinoyama (Sandaime JSB’s Yamashita Kenjiro) invites her to stay for tea in his luxurious home (all the rich boys like Hina, eh eh).
However, seeing no one else around, Hina insists that Fukuyado’s reputation will be ruined if people catch wind of them being alone in his home and start gossiping about it. Chastised, he calls for his helper so that she knows that there’s someone. After tea, he sends her to the door, but just as she is about to walk out, he pulls her in for a kiss.
He asks her if it’s bad for the shop’s reputation that he kisses her. Then he tells her that she and the shop are two separate entities, and that it’s not guaranteed that she’d definitely ruin the shop’s reputation.
I went from “What the heck?” to “Wow this is actually brilliant!” in two seconds. It shed so much light on Hina’s actions and we learn so much about her. She’s still conflicted, but slowly chooses the route that would afford her the most freedom. I can’t help but think about Hina must have gone through growing up, thinking that she had no choice but to walk the path set out for her. I didn’t need her to tell me she hated the shop at every turn (once was enough), and the drama didn’t even need to show me a flashback of her as a child. Her current decisions spell it out well and clear, and as an audience, I am trusted to make an inference. Thanks writers!
Also, I have a feeling there is more to this Hinoyama guy than meets the eye.
Meanwhile, Arare (my dear stubborn mule child) has to deal with the fact that she loves the business, just as she loves Kenji. She makes a trip down to Fukuyado to catch a glimpse of Kenji, but pretends she’s there to help Hinoyama ask Hina where she wants to go on a honeymoon (Hinoyama actually intended for it to be a surprise).
She chats with Hina, who asks her to come home because she obviously cares about the shop. Arare refuses and once again, she’s asked about whether it is taking over the business that irks her, or marrying Kenji. Arare tries to deflect the conversation, but is angered when Hina offers her the lipstick that she doesn’t want anymore. It angers her because this is exactly what she hates about the situation. When Hina doesn’t want something, she pushes it to her. It was the same with the clothes she used to have as a kid, and it is the same with Kenji. Hina by no means meant to say that Kenji was inferior, but to point out what exactly it was that irked her in the situation. Hina and Arare’s disagreement is complex, because both of them have every right to feel the way they do. That’s another thing I love about the show – neither of the sisters are villains.
Unfortunately Kenji walks by just as Arare was giving her impassioned speech (but of course…), and comes to think that Arare doesn’t want to marry him. He calls her out the next day, and brings her to a café which gets their desserts from Fukuyado.
It’s nice how they both talk about the change in business strategy that her mum put in place. For all their childish arguments they are two individuals equally invested in Fukuyado.
Flipping through the menu, Arare spots a new dessert which is named after her.
It’s such a sweet moment. She’s obviously happy but the girl loves to front, so she asks him what he means. Pleased, he tells her that the dessert Arare was created with her image in mind. The look on his face when he told her that and when she finally digs in…I swear I melted.
I’ve said it before, but it is the moments where love for wagashi and admiration for each other intertwine that makes watching the Kenji-Arare romance so satisfying.
Walking back, he asks her to return to Fukuyado. Then he says pretty much the same thing Hinoyama told Hina earlier in the episode – Taking over the business, and marrying him, are two separate things. But of course the same sentence has different implications for the two sisters. I love how Kenji says tells her that because he doesn’t want her to feel coerced into marrying him. He knows she loves Fukuyado, and he doesn’t want her to feel that she couldn’t inherit it without marrying him.
But Arare wants to know his feelings. She knows how he feels about the shop, but she wants to know, definitively, what he feels about her. Kenji doesn’t realise it but it’s because she has feelings for him that she wants to know. Proud Kenji (Arare and Kenji are really a case of pot and kettle) tries to talk about the shop again, saying that it’s not like he would definitely get it anyway…Arare sees right through his BS and says, “You told me that you’ve liked me”.
The start of a relationship is often tricky. You want to protect your own pride but you also want to be open and honest. Kenji and Arare’s story details the vulnerable balancing act, and the push and pull, that comes with blossoming romance. They both want the best for each other and they both want each other to be candid about what they really want, but that can be scary to admit as well. I also like how straightforward Arare is in this scene. She’s not some sobbing mess in the corner. When she can tell Kenji isn’t being honest with her, she calls him out, just like he does when she pretends that leaving the shop is ok with her. This show is doing my favourite trope right and I am loving it!
Then there’s how #relatable Arare was all episode! Last episode Kenji told her that he didn’t have a problem with marrying her instead of Hina, because he never wanted to marry Hina anyway. He then surprises her by saying, “I’ve liked you.”
#relatable Arare spends the next day contemplating what on earth he meant by that, even typing in his words in an online dictionary. As a self-confessed over-thinker I was like, “Wow I might do something like that”.
It also makes for a hilarious scene between her and Hinoyama. Hinoyama tells her that guys don’t tell women that they like them easily. So Arare debates with him on whether Kenji’s “I’ve liked you” meant he used to like her and doesn’t anymore, or that he liked her and continues to do so. She pretends she’s helping her ‘friend’ ask, and she’s disappointed when Hinoyama believes that it’s used as a past tense.
There’s also the part when Kenji calls her and she goes into full on panic mode, wondering about what to text him when she misses his call – #totallyme #relatable
Another sweet scene would be when Kenji spots Hana when she walks home from school. It’s cute how he is so doting and protective of her, but she rebuffs him when he fails to give her good advice about boys. In a huff she states, “You’re not a guy!” And he has nothing to say because of course this junior high girl doesn’t see him as a ‘real guy’, aka someone she would feel attracted to. I felt so sorry for him but it was also hilarious. The classic “You don’t understand! It’s not so simple! You’re unreliable!” teenage lament.
Next episode will be a little more Hina-centric I think. It seems like Hinoyama has something going on with a geisha. Hmmm…past lovers? Current affair? I would love to know.
I don’t usually do recaps because I am a self-aware person, and as a self-aware person I know that the chances of me recapping every single episode of a 10-11 episode long series is as good as catching a unicorn. Still, I’m doing this because this show seems to have gone suspiciously under the radar, which surprises me because it’s not like it has completely unknown actors. Also, it’s a romance live action drama, so while it’s not been picked up for subbing, I thought it would have at least generated a little buzz. No such luck, this Amazon original remains undetected by most radars.
Then there’s the fact that I’m learning sado (Japanese traditional tea ceremony) right now, and I have a newfound appreciation for wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets).
But mostly I want to do this because this show actually has quite a number of story and character tropes that I am a SUCKER for. Stoic beauty, restrained desire, friends turned lovers, some comedy….In a nutshell, this could end really well or really badly for me. So far, so good, because it’s exceeded my expectations so far in terms of story development. I’ll explain.
It’s usually with trepidation that I start any show which has a narration in the beginning that goes something to the effect of “And it’s here that we fell in love.” My mind immediately drifts to cheesy plotlines, didactic rants on gender, and plain lack of logic. But so far Kyoto Love Story has shown itself to be different in a couple of ways. Mainly, the storylines in KLS seem to start midway. Sparing us lengthy narrations on the past or the conventional buildup, the first episode is instead peppered with timely flashbacks (not needlessly indulgent like say, Ouroboros, but just enough to perk your interest).
We’re plonked right into the conversation between the proprietress of a traditional confectionary and her three daughters, mainly her second one. She insists that Arare marry the confectionary’s young chef Kenji because she intends to hand over the production side to him, but wants to keep the business in the family.
That’s how they’ve kept the shop going for 17 generations, and it would be inappropriate to let it go to someone outside of the family. Arare loses her cool and tries to fight against it. At the end of the episode, she stomps out of the house in anger due to this issue.
But it’s not that simple. This main plotline is the convergence of many subplots that unfold as the episode goes on.
First of all, Kenji and Arare are in no way strangers. Though we don’t know this until midway through the episode, he’s grown up in Fukuyado. Arare and him are close friends, and the show makes it plain that for all her indignance, Arare has a curious sexual attraction to him.
Kenji on the other hand, is honest. He first says that it’s great that marrying her would mean he inherits the business, but not long after he surprises her by saying that it’s not like he hates her either. In a conversation that I found emotionally candid (and rare, given the genre I’m watching her), he asks her if it’s taking over the business that upsets her, or the thought of marrying him.
It’s only after this that we get a flashback to a young Arare crying and asking him not to go. It seems that Kenji might have had feelings for her longer than he lets on. In any case, I’m very interested to know what went down when they were kids that caused her to act that way.
What makes this whole thing more interesting is that Kenji was initially promised to Arare’s elder sister Hina. Hina, the charming and responsible initial heir, manages to get out of the family business by accepting a proposal. It seems like for all her dedication, Hina can’t stand being at the shop.
To complicate things further, it is revealed that Hina and talented kabuki actor Soujuro seem to once have been lovers and still carry a flame for each other, despite her accepting the proposal of another man. Not sure what’s going on there but I’m pretty curious about it.
One episode in and big sis Hina is already shaping up to be one of the most intriguing characters. She’s rather sweet and refined, yet cold, and there seems to be a lot of baggage she’s holding on to. Could she have hated being forced to learn the ropes of the business as an heir from a young age?
Which brings us, by the way, back to Arare, who for all her balking actually wanted to take over the business as a child!
I feel that mum must have realised how much more invested Arare was to making wagashi than her eldest daughter was, but also had to abide by the tradition of letting the eldest inherit the shop. We’ll know in time.
In any case, mum’s doing her a favour by giving her what she’s always wanted, and marrying her to a guy she is at least on some level attracted to (if not romantically so), but STILL she storms out of the house. You know why? Judging by what I see, it’s because she is as stubborn as a mule. And you know what? I actually find that really relatable. She’s not getting a bad deal, but the problem is that she’s given the deal in a forced manner. So she retaliates. Can’t tell you the number of times this has happened in my household *cough*.
There’s also little sister Hana, who is a lovely child, but not old enough to take over the business. So far she’s not done anything except to be coerced to do thing and/or nagged at by her elder sisters, which is also really relatable if you’ve ever had siblings. I’m not really interested in her as a character right now, but we’ll wait and see if her story shapes up differently.
So in conclusion, the acting in this one isn’t the strongest. But so far the story is making up for it. If they keep this up I’ll be satisfied enough with serviceable acting.