It is time for a post about JAPANESE REALITY TELEVISION, because God knows my journal could do with being less accessible. I have watched all forty-six episodes of Terrace House: Boys & Girls in the City
. I'm very sorry.Terrace House
is a Japanese reality series in which six young people share a house: three boys, three girls. It's not quite Big Brother
. There's no competition element, and they're not locked in the house; they can go freely about their daily lives. So you're essentially just watching some people living normally in a shared house. Very little actually happens. It's bizarrely compelling.
There's a rotating cast; if one person moves out, someone else will move in. Below the cut I will write up my thoughts on all of the housemates. Spoilers for the entirety of Terrace House: Boys & Girls in the City
I'm making this entry and nobody can stop me.
- MAKOTO: my first huge betrayal of Terrace House
. He was my favourite housemate to begin with! He just seemed like a nice, calm guy! And then he had a weird jealous meltdown and tried to emotionally manipulate or romantically sabotage half the people in the house. You had a nice thing going on with Minori, Makoto, and it is entirely your own fault
that it imploded. The nicest thing I can say about him now is that he at least had the sense to go, 'Okay, I've pissed off everyone in the house, I suppose I should probably leave.'
- BARISTA MIZUKI: the best
. She didn't make much of an impression on me at first, but she caught my attention when she heard that Minori didn't think there was really a connection between the girls in the house, and her reaction was to try to fix
it; she invited Minori for a bonding bath. And then she went to scold Makoto for messing with the other housemates, and I immediately adored her. I was so sad that she left feeling she didn't really have a purpose in the house. She helped to keep the peace; she made everyone's lives run more smoothly.
- MINORI: the first of many, many models. So many models. Everyone's a model. I am not a model, but I recognised a lot of aspects of myself in Minori, e.g. her aversion to serious conversations. Our similarities simultaneously made me sympathetic to her and made her slightly uncomfortable for me to watch. Her sister was incredible and I wish she could have been a housemate.
- HAIRDRESSER UCHI: I still don't really know how I feel about Uchi. At first I didn't really like him; I thought he was a bit of a womanising arsehole. Over time, I came to realise he was just strange and awkward and saw 'I'm going to ask Mizuki out! And then I'm also going to ask the other two girls out in front of her after she's accepted' as a perfectly practical way to get to know people. He's fine, but I wasn't a big fan of his romance with Minori (there was nothing dramatically
wrong with it in the way there was with A CERTAIN LATER HOUSEMATE ROMANCE; they just didn't seem that well suited).
- TAPDANCER YUKI: OKAY, EVERYONE SIT DOWN AROUND THE TABLE AND TELL ME YOUR DREAMS SO I CAN SCOLD YOU ABOUT HOW YOUR DREAM IS VAGUE AND STUPID. Tapdancer Yuki would despise me for my lack of ambition and direction. I can feel him disapproving of me for writing up a frivolous Dreamwidth entry instead of drawing up a detailed plan for my entire life. Leave me alone, Yuki.
- YURIKO: both very cute and oddly manipulative. Went out on a few dates with Tapdancer Yuki and then had a scene where she sat with him in a restaurant and very seriously said, 'Yuki, I have something to tell you. I think I'm in love with... my ex, I'm going to call him and ask him to take me back, bye,' and I'm sorry, Yuki, but it was hilarious.
- ARMAN: oh, poor romantically doomed Arman. I'm glad his misfortune seemed to ease a little at the very end, even if it dramatically increased just before
the end. He stuck around in the house for much longer than anyone else, so we got to see the friendships he formed with all the different people who came and went. I think he made for a pretty good constant. (His continued presence also meant we could watch him increasingly collapsing under the weight of his romantic curse. It was sort of hilarious that, by the end, he was asking new girls out almost the second they walked through the door.)
- HAT GIRL ARISA: so busy she was barely in the house! I felt pretty sorry for Arman when she turned him down - she really seemed to like him, so it must have been a shock for him; it was for me! - but I also felt sorry for Arisa, who I think was in a pretty painful 'oh, no, I thought I liked this guy, I behaved accordingly, now he thinks I like him, but I've realised I can only really think of him as a friend' situation. It can't have been much fun on either side.
- HIKARU: I liked him at first, but then he was such an arsehole to poor Misaki! If you don't want to be romantically involved with someone, just tell her you'd rather be friends! Don't avoid her and act cold and say 'oh, she's fine, but she's just not that bright' IN FRONT OF CAMERAS WHEN YOU KNOW SHE'LL WATCH THE EPISODE A FEW WEEKS LATER. (To be fair, he was only eighteen years old, but still
.) I do look fondly back on the emotional farewell he had with Arman before moving out, though; I hadn't realised they had become such close friends.
- NATSUMI: the worst. Constantly causing discord and unhappiness in the house. Stop judging people, stop getting angry and defensive over imagined slights, stop needling people until they snap and then acting like the victim, stop pursuing Hansan when you know very well he already has a girlfriend!
- MISAKI (TAMASAN): I liked her! She was spirited and fun, and her relationship with Yuuki (more on that later) was easily the cutest romance to come out of the house. I'm glad she had a good experience after the Hikaru disaster. Her friendship with Arman was cute, too. I was really touched by her reaction after his accident.
- HANSAN: everyone's dad. Such a good guy! Such a stabilising influence in the house! Everyone around him is so confused and immature, and he's constantly giving helpful advice and smoothing things over. My housemates and I all got slightly tearful when he left.
- RIKO: I felt so sorry for Riko at first! This eighteen-year-old girl entered the house, and the atmosphere was constantly hostile because Natsumi and Misaki were always clashing. For her first few episodes, I was just going, 'Oh, Riko, I hope you get some good experiences in the end.' And then she kept going out on strained dates with Hayato, and I was going, 'Oh, poor Riko, she obviously doesn't want to be in this relationship, but she feels trapped.' And then... well. Well. More of this in the Hayato section. I still feel very sorry for Riko.
- BALLERINA MOMOKA: I'll be honest: I forgot she existed until I looked up a list of housemates just now. Her interactions with Arman were very cute. It sort of broke my heart that Arman, after his romantic woes, finally found someone who seemed to like him back
, and then she had to leave the house before it could go anywhere. But I'm glad she found professional work!
- CHEF HAYATO: I said that Natsumi is the worst, didn't I? I was wrong. Hayato is the worst. I was particularly furious with him because I didn't trust him at first - his repeated insistence that he likes girls who are 'pure' put me on edge - and then he started to win me over, I started to feel sorry for him because he was trapped in this cycle of stale dates with Riko when clearly neither of them actually wanted to be in a relationship. And then BAM, PLOT TWIST, TURNED OUT HE AND RIKO HAD BEEN BANGING ALL ALONG AND PRETENDING TO BE RELUCTANT IN FRONT OF THE CAMERAS. And then he went, 'Oh, well, I don't want to be in a relationship with you any more now that it's not exciting and secret and it'll have to be a proper
relationship, bye.' I WAS RIGHT NOT TO TRUST YOU FROM THE START, HAYATO. You are twenty-nine years old. She's eighteen. You dragged a girl eleven years younger than you into a secret sexual relationship and then dumped her the second it came to light. I'll be honest: that's not great behaviour. We all cheered when he asked Riko to take him back and she didn't.
- KRUMPER YUUKI: ahahahaaaa, bless him. He says or does thoughtless things sometimes, but you can tell it's out of genuine thoughtlessness. He doesn't have a malicious bone in his body; he's just compelled to say whatever comes into his head aloud. We were all screaming 'WHAT ARE YOU DOING, WHY ARE YOU SO STUPID' when he was going 'ah, I'll take Misaki on a surprise date to the place where she was rejected, this is a nice gesture that definitely can't backfire!' He's so lucky that actually worked. (His relationship with Misaki was really, really cute.)
- MARTHA: She wasn't around for very long, so I didn't get that clear an idea of who she was as a person, but I liked what we did see of her. Arman was perhaps a little too desperate at first and he made her uncomfortable, but their relationship shifted into a good place, even if, you know, he had to get hit by a car for that shift to happen. Seeing the romantic curse broken at last made for a nice end to the series.
Well, I definitely just typed 1,500 words on the Japanese equivalent of Big Brother
. Excellent work, me.
Anyway, if you want to inflict this on yourself, it's on Netflix.