Before the recent rise of sappy Korean drama serials, the region was ruled by the thespian forces of their East Asian neighbours.
Back in those days, Sunday mornings were reserved for the viewing of Japanese drama serials (known as J-dorama) on Channel 8 with the Sista.
Nevermind the fact that it was all dubbed in Mandarin. I had loved, loved their take on the modern lives (then) led by young adults in Tokyo. They lived their lives fully and loved wholeheartedly and had, seemingly, so much fun. When the characters fell out of love and cried their hearts out, I shed a few tears in commiseration.
Take “101 Proposals” for instance. The leading man was a bus driver (if I remember correctly) and he was quite dreadful looking for a leading man. But he won over all our weepy hearts with his determination and heart of gold.
The show grew popular and the theme song, Chage and Aska‘s “Say Yes”, managed to make the jump into our local radio stations and were played on the airwaves for quite a bit. I found it in my iTunes tonight by sheer luck – being stricken with flu leaves one with very little things to do.
And you know what? The song still sounds darned good after all these years.
It then brought me back to the rest of the J-dorama that shaped my life so.
“Heaven’s Coins” was the show that gave me my first Japanese crush in Takenouchi as the wilful and passionate Takumi.
“Tokyo Love Story” taught me that women are no longer passive players in a relationship and that even if the love affair ends in disappointment, it is still possible to keep a smile on while the tears flowed.
And who can forget “Over Time“? The charismatic Sorimachi Takeshi as a photographer and the hilarious Esumi Makiko as his love interest. The ending, which saw Sorimachi giving Esumi up to Kugata the doctor, turned me into an unintelligible, sobbing mess. “Over Time” also introduced me to the brilliant green, one of the best Japanese rock bands of all time.
For those who still remember, here is the brilliant green’s “Sono Supido De”.