Hayako-sensei is one of the dramas this spring 2016 (alongside Watashi-wa) that talks about marriage for single women in their mid-years (35-40 y/o). A perfect josei drama for those who are searching for the one without being overly desperate and still proud of their single status.
Here is a quick recap of Hayako-sensei, Kekkon Surutte Hontou desu ka : Episode 1
Tatsuki Hayako (Matsushita Nao) is being surrounded by a bunch of kids, her students, who loves to tease their Hayako-sensei while she checks on their works. The cute conversation turns to guessing her age and when Hayako proclaims that she’s 34, everyone was surprise and some with a degree of horror. Haha.
Later on, Hayako and her co-teachers goes to the nearby riverbed to fish a plate from the river that they claimed is a kappa (kappa is Japanese mythical creature). Hayako tries to retrieve the kappa while the kids cheer her on with a “34-year-old Hayako, ganbatte!” The teachers were doing that kappa thing for the benefit of one of their co-teachers who is having a problem with one of his students. I didn’t really get the entire scenario but the kappa alliance will continue.
Well, it’s no secret that Hayako is single and one of her married co-teacher, Hongo-sensei (Yamauchi Takaya), is pitting her to his single friends or relatives. However, Hayako is quick to turn it down so one of her co-teachers decided to stash the photo in her bag. [In Japan, most omiai (arranged meeting with a view of marriage) starts with an exchange of photo where the photo is placed in those leather booklet]
Well, it’s not only Hongo-sensei who feels obligated to see her married but also her parents, although her parents know better than force her and they treat an omiai like a big joke for their eldest daughter.
If Hayako is flat-out in not getting married, her other co-teachers are so into it particularly Mika-sensei (Kanjiya Shihori) and Umeko-sensei (Sato Hitomi). Mika is a serial goukon (group blind date) attendee and instead of asking Hayako to join her, she chose to go with the older Umeko.
Hayako goes home to find her parents gone, she panics for awhile after her mom left a cryptic note, only to learn that her dad broke his back so he needs to recuperate. So she gets to spend the night alone and she decides to buy some drinks. Upon arriving at the conbini, she sees Umeko together with a guy whose obviously leeching from her. Hayako promises to keep it a secret.
While Hayako spends the night all alone, drinking beer and eating ramen, she sees one of the cabinet drawers slightly ajar. She tries to re-arrange the contents and sees a marriage photobook inside, Hayako recalls her mother’s words last night and how a certain Tachigawa obasaan gave her something else aside from the selfie-stick. Hayako rolls her eyes and place the photobook back.
Anyway, Hayako’s little sister, Moriyama Fuko (Kawaei Rena), goes home to pay their father a visit (whose still at the hospital). Well, Fuko married ahead of Hayako and the sisters talk about her married life, and Hayako opens up how she wants their father to stop running the tofu shop since he strained his back for the 3rd time. Hayako says that they’ll be able to live well from her salary even if they lose the business. So the two of them tells their mother about Hayako’s plan and their mother seems to agree. However, they woke-up one morning to see that their mother is doing their dad’s job in his stead and this irks Hayako. Fuko pulls Hayako inside and tells her that their dad actually promised on her (Fuko) wedding day that when Hayako gets married, he’ll shut down the shop. That’s some pressure! Fuko tells Hayako that their parents will be making tofu until they die since she doesn’t want to marry and Hayako defends herself that she never said anything that she doesn’t want to get married and the two fight over the photobook. Later on, the sisters patch things up by arranging a wedding photo shoot for their parents.
Anyway, the goukon ended with Umeko getting sad since she wasn’t able to exchange contact with anyone. The guy she thought who likes her turns-out to be a jerk while Mika calls Hayako to lament how the goukon was a failure. However, Mika originally intends to call her best friend, Harumi, but she dialed Hayako’s number instead.
Mika immediately ends the call upon learning that she’s getting emo on the wrong person but Hayako called back. Anyway, to ease Mika’s embarrassment, Hayako shares that she also gets lonely at the middle of the night for no reason at all. She also thinks about going somewhere, in a place where no one knows her, somewhere definitely far.
Back at school, the kappa problem of Minato-sensei’s student is hereby solved with Sendagi-sensei’s (Yashima Norito) help. However, he has one more pressing matter to tackle and that’s doing back flips. So the female teachers enlists the help of Minato-sensei (Mamiya Shotaro) to help Sendagi in mastering back flips. I really don’t understand the logic behind this.
Elsewhere, Mika introduces Hayako to Mai (Maihane Mimi). Mai is Mika’s friend and she shared that just like Hayako, she also yearns to go somewhere far. Her everyday routine that includes riding the same train and taking the same route to work can be exhausting so she yearns to just leave and that’s what she did. Mai shares that she took a time-off and wander to some town that she’s never been before and had the best fruit parfait ever.
That night, Hayako goes home and she chose to take a detour, just to have a slightly different path from what she takes everyday. Anyway, Hayako ends-up joining Mika and Mai for a beer goukon and she ended-up drinking a lot, and no one exchanged numbers with her.
The next day, Umeko announces that the guy have left her, she announces this in front of Mika and Mai and even refers to the guy as her pimp. haha. Umeko shares that she has wanted to break-up with her pimp (sorry, let’s call him that), but at the same time, she’s also afraid of spending her days alone considering her age.
Feeling low, the three women ordered cake sets while Hayako goes with beer. Mika suggests that instead of forming those weird alliances (kappa alliance etc), they should form the “Marriage Hunt Alliance” to find that one man as their destiny. While Mika talks about the alliance, Mai excitedly sees the rainbow and the three other women looks up in the sky. Hayako then wonders if under the same sky, is there someone they are destined to meet?
Speaking of destiny, Hayako goes to meet her omiai partner the next day wearing something more suitable for a job interview. She came across her students, who had a soccer game, and they can’t help cheering for “34 yr old Hayako”. The kids are even surprise to hear that a 34 yr old can still get married.
Well, the 34 yr old Hayako is having her date, after a long time, with a man she presumed to be called “Mr. Dandy”.
Comments I abhor stigma against singles as much as I dislike women being pitied just because they weren’t married no matter how successful and contented they are. Despite that, Hayako-sensei played the marriage card in a funny way, making the search for “the one” less strenuous and more that of a self-discovery. Oh, those kids are so cute and hilarious and their innocent comments on Hayako’s age and her marriage prospects are really funny.
Hayako is someone I can relate to when it comes to turning down future prospects. Yep, I like to say no without preamble. haha. Despite that, I admire the courage these women have shown when it comes to looking for their destiny, they really make time to meet people unlike those who simply wait for magic to happen. Aside from that, I like that they don’t have any other hidden motives for wanting to get married, they simply want to get married, period.
Anyway, Hayako’s parents are so understanding and respectful of her decision to stay single, but I guess that the lack of “parental coercion” also makes her too comfortable with her life to even bother in making it complicated because relationships are complicated, #bitter. I can only hope that Hayako finds someone whose really right for her because Mr. Dandy isn’t really what I have in mind.
All in all, I’ll watch more of Hayako-sensei, it’s a feel good drama with characters radiating with positivity despite the odds. I bit of office romance can also be a good thing.