I was gonna compare “Tokyo Tarareba Musume” to summer season’s “Hayako-sensei…” because it features different women in the marriage mart. However, Tokyo Tarareba is a bit different because the girls were pretty comfortable with their single status, happy with just an all-girls’ night-out until one blonde ikemen reminded them that they are no longer girls and their “what if” (tarareba) stories no longer fits them.
Here is a quick recap of Tokyo Tarareba Musume : Episode 1
Kamata Rinko (Yoshitaka Yuriko) is having her annual hatsumode with her closest friends, Torii Koyuki (Oshima Yuko) and Yamakawa Kaori (Eikura Nana), at the nearby shrine. Rinko wishes for good fortune with her career and also to find herself a good man. On their way home, they passed-by the bridge dedicated to Tokyo 1964 Olympics and they recall that time in 2013 when it was decided that Japan will host the 2020 Olympics. They were joking on how they will probably have 3 kids and what kind of man they were going to marry. Rinko said that she’s not asking for anything extravagant, a good man will do, 4 years later, she still single.
Well, Rinko’s earlier wish must have been heard by the gods because a few minutes later, the girls bump to a blonde-haired ikemen that made them freeze on their tracks, haha. Kaori asks the girls to grab some drinks but Rinko has to excuse herself since she’s working on a manuscript that she plans to submit once the holiday is over.
Rinko is an unsuccessful scriptwriter and she really plans to get her big break this year. She goes to “jte” where she meets Hayasaka Tetsuro (Suzuki Ryohei), her senpai, who now works as a TV producer. Rinko meets a known TV director who has huge issues with her script and tells her to revise it again. Before Rinko goes home, Hayasaka was about to ask her about something when Shibata Mami (Ishikawa Ren) cheerfully greets her. Hayasaka excuses himself and Mami immediately teases Rinko that he must be interested in her and that he’s still single because he’s been waiting for Rinko.
Little did Mami knows, Hayasaka did confess to Rinko 8 years ago but she totally shut him down. Looking back, Hayasaka looked lame compared to his present self whose more confident and dependable. Rinko starts to consider the possibility that Hayasaka still has the hots for her and immediately sends an “alert no. 4” to her best friends. The said alert means they need to talk about a man.
So, the best friends meets at Koyuki’s father’s bar and Rinko shares that she got an invitation from the man she rejected 8 years ago. The quiet bar turns a bit rowdy with the girls chatter and so. They get more excited when Kaori tells the possibility that it won’t be just a confession but a proposal as well, but Rinko tells them that she never sees Hayasaka as a man, she never thought of kissing him and doing other things with him as well. Kaori tells her to just go with it and think about other stuff later.
Later on, Rinko goes to her dinner date while wearing something seductive. Hayasaka is so different from himself 8 years ago and Rinko notices that. She also notice that she’s having a good time and that they share the same interest with food. In fact, she’s seeing Hayasaka differently from the guy she rejected 8 years ago. After the dinner, the two walks somewhere deserted and Rinko asks him on what he wants to say. Rinko braces herself for the expected proposal, until Hayasaka asks her to help him with Mami. Woot!
Rinko felt like she got hit by a thunder but she quickly composes herself and gave Hayasaka a very adult reply. She tells him that Mami was singing praises for Hayasaka the other day so she’s sure that his confession will go well with her.
Rinko shares her disastrous night to her friends where they has another “alert no. 4”. Kaori and Koyuki consoles her and Rinko says that if she only accepted Hayasaka’s proposal 8 years ago then she would have been dating him. Kaori tells her that it’s okay, if she keeps on working her charms as a woman, a better man will surely appear. Rinko then says that if she gets on a diet and become more beautiful then a better man will also appear. The girls talk about more “if” stories, like “if you like that guy then you will get married”, or “if she’s serious about it, it will happen” and so.
Well, the girls get noisier until Rinko bumps to the guy behind her. It’s the blonde ikemen who still doesn’t have a name at this moment and he says what the other ossans at the bar wants to say. He tells the girls not to be noisy and that if they want to have their girls’ night, then they should have done that in somewhere more private. To add salt to the wound, he adds that they shouldn’t be having a girls night-out when they are no longer girls and that it’s amazing that they can cheer each other that much with their “what if” stories, which are so unrealistic and they can go on wasting their life with those “what if” stories.
The atmosphere got icier and the blonde ikemen began to notice that he spoke too much. He immediately gets up to leave and makes his adieu to the girls by calling them, “tarareba women”. The ossans at the bar laughs at the blonde guy’s witty remark but the girl have been unfrozen from shock and starts shooting daggers toward the poor ossans. The girls goes back drinking and they start to think where they have seen the blonde ikemen until they deduce that he was the guy they bumped into during their hatsumode.
While Rinko is pissed to be called a “tarareba” woman, she’s also impressed. In fact, being called a tarareba got into her that she has to stop herself every time she mentions that word. Rinko gets frustrated thinking about it that she goes to Kaori’s nail salon to perk herself up. The girls start talking about how that blonde guy criticizes their girls night-out as if they never went to a goukon, and it hits them that it’s been a long time since they went to a goukon. So Kaori decides that they’ll be having a stylish night-out where they will drink with men in a certain french restaurant where you share a table with single men and drink.
The three looks glam as they arrived in the restaurant where they fill-up a form with their preferences. The three weren’t choosy and they check that they prefer men in their 20’s to 40’s as a drinking partner. Some time later, the girls table is still empty with men while the other tables have been filled. The waiter informs them that most men who arrived for drinks prefers to drink with women in their 20s, which totally writes off the girls since they are in their 30s. Looking at how other girls are having a great time, the three decided to just drink their wine-straight up.
The girls decide to continue their night-out at Koyuki’s place and they have to run into the blonde guy of all people. The blonde guy apologizes for what he said the other day before asking the girls if they had another girl’s night-out. Rinko was about to answer him, but Kaori beats her to it by saying that it’s his fault in the first place, because if he didn’t criticize their girl’s night-out then they wouldn’t have gone to that place then they wouldn’t be humiliated. Rinko agrees to Kaori’s logic and proceeds to explain how their feelings got hurt and when she took a step, she didn’t notice the pots on her footing and she fell.
The blonde guy didn’t do anything to help her and when Kaori lectures him on how he should be helping those that have fallen, he kneels down to bring-up the plant that fell together with Rinko, ouch! He tells Rinko that she’s no longer a girl so she should pick herself up every time she falls, double ouch!
Later on, Rinko starts to reflect that when she was in her 20s, she didn’t think that it would that hard for her to find a boyfriend when she reached her 30s. She imagines if she’ll reach her 40s and still doing a girls’ night out and that’s when those liver and soft roe starts talking again, haha. They tell her that when you reach your 30s, that’s when it’s easier to fall of the hill, they ask her if she wants to have a boyfriend and get married and Rinko says that she does but she there’s no one good. So the liver and roe raises Hayasaka’s beaming picture to tell her that there is someone good and if Mami rejects him then she can make her entrance and try to comfort him. In fact, if she didn’t reject him for being lame then they probably have one child by now and if she repeats the same mistake again then she’ll surely find herself alone in the coming Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Rinko finds that thought of being alone in the Olympics horrifying, seriously?
Well, thanks to Rinko’s imaginary conversation with the liver and soft roe, she decided to try confessing her feelings to Hayasaka. With that resolve, Rinko heads to jte and talks to Hayasaka, however, she’s too late. Hayasaka have confessed to Mami and she accepts it. If Rinko got hit by a thunder earlier, now she felt like arrows have hit her especially when the new couple thanked her for pushing Hayasaka to confess to Mami. Afterward, Rinko asks Mami if she likes Hayasaka, Mami says that she doesn’t like him yet, but she doesn’t hate him either so why not date him?
Rinko suddenly has this urge to find a hole to hide, she wants to call her friends for another “alert no. 4” but upon recalling the blond guy’s words on she should learned to pick herself up, she decided against it. However, even though he said that, Rinko has no idea how to pick herself up.
In the end, Rinko decides to go to a coffee shop and later on, Kaori and Koyuki arrives. Unknown to her, Koyuki saw her earlier with a worried look on her face in the middle of the pedestrian crossing. Rinko shares her latest heartbreak and after that, she looks outside and says how everybody is so cool. She says that she used to think that those who go to family outings are so lame, but then she realized that falling in love and getting married is already a miracle. She starts to think that the blonde guy might be right, that they hold a girl’s night-out and complain on how there are no good guys for them to meet and laughs at other’s compromises. It’s just like the time they laugh at their beautiful friend who married a fat guy or their other friend who always invites them to goukon. At the end of the day, their married friend now has a child while their other friend have gotten married.
Rinko likens their status to those baseball players who got benched. They criticize those playing in the field, thinking that they’ll do better if they are the one there. However, once they get a chance to be in the field, they’ll find themselves getting out in three strikes. Rinko says that it’s no different now, she’s been thinking how easy adult love is, but now he’s with someone else. Koyuki tells her that it’s okay, at least she tried confessing her feelings, at least she tried to stand on the batter box and tried to hit the home run. At least, she got the courage to stand at the batter box since nothing will happen if she didn’t do so.
Well, the talk of baseball got Rinko interested to actually try to play baseball so the girls head to batting cages. Rinko tried swinging and swinging but she wouldn’t hit the ball, Koyuki and Kaori tried as well, but they keep on missing. Well, as luck would have it, the blonde guy is actually within the premises and he passed by those batting cages, Rinko thinks that she saw him, so Koyuki suggests that they try to imagine that they are hitting the guy’s face, haha.
So, each of them took turns in badmouthing the blond guy, haha, while at the same time affirming themselves that he’s wrong and that they (tarareba women) will eventually find a man. Well, the blond guy did hear the girls badmouthing him, and Rinko managed to hit the ball while saying, “well, you won’t hear me saying sorry for being me, bakero!” The girls rejoice for getting a hit and after their turn in the batting cages, they saw three beers waiting for them.
On her way home, Rinko stops by a convenience store where she sees a magazine that features “adult love” edition. Well, she gets a surprise after opening the magazine and sees the blonde guy posing like a top model and smiling at her misfortune.
*hatsumode – first visit to Shinto shrine during New year’s.
*Tarareba – “tara” and “reba” both means “if” but it sounds off to say “if if” so let’s just go with “what if”; however, in NTV’s site, tarareba is presented as “when if”
Ooh….I’m not saying this because I like SakaKen but his character is very mysterious. One thing’s for sure, he doesn’t have any friends that’s why he look down on others who rely on their friends, haha. Seriously though, when I watched “Hayako-sensei” and “Watashi kekkon…”, I feel bad at these successful women who got pitied for not being married, which is so lame in this so-called 21st century. However, if I say that, I’m just the same as these tarareba girls who makes excuses for not trying to get married or settle down.
This time around, I kinda understand the blond guy’s POV; Rinko, Kaori, Koyuki, loves to talk on “what if’s” but they just talk about it, they don’t do anything to make it happen when they could have done so. The girls obviously want to get married, they want to find a man, but they have gotten so comfortable with each other that finding the one seems like a chore that they chose to do later when the time is right. While they were busy drinking together, their friends are getting married, having kids, and time decides not to wait for them. I guess that’s the bitter reality of it, when you have decided to give it a go, you’ll find that it’s no longer there. It’s just like what happened between Rinko and Hayasaka! Though I admire Hayasaka for being cool about that rejection and still maintains his friendship with Rinko.
Drama aside, I’m hoping for good things to come to Rinko and the blond guy. Sorry, Hayasaka, you can keep Mami to yourself because I want Rinko to be with the blond guy, ha! I mean, I also want the blond guy to eat his words that for all the insults he threw to Rinko, he’ll eventually fall for her, haha. That would be sweet! Though frankly, wanting to snag a guy just so you’ll have someone on Tokyo 2020 is so lame, really.
Anyway, for first impressions, “Tokyo Tarareba Musume” is a feel-good drama that will give some much-needed laughs coupled with a dose of reality check. The girls are hilarious together and their witty remarks is cute. SakaKen sheds off his “boy next door” image by being cold and callous yet still a bit warm inside, while Suzuki Ryohei is just as he is. Surely, I will watch more of this drama.