Sunao ni Narenakute wallpaper

19 09 2010

Exactly as the title says ;))

Couldn’t tell you how much I abused the series OST whilst I was making these three wallies. It may not necessarily appear like it but I did put quite a bit of time & effort into them… & they’re definitely some of my personal favourites to date (if I do say so myself lololol) Second one is currently gracing my desktop.

Guess I’m not quite over Nakaji+Haru yet xD

sunao ni narenakute,eita,ueno juri sunao ni narenakute,eita,ueno juri sunao ni narenakute,eita,ueno juri

******
BONUS:
Some ones of Eita I made a while back. Kinda wishing the guy would announce a new project soon (though I get the feeling he’s hanging free waiting to become a first-time father… Wish him & Kimura Kaela all the best <3)

Eita Eita Eita

Have a nice Sunday! (*´ー`*)

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My favourite Nakaji+Haru moments

7 08 2010

[[[ ※ Related post: Why can’t these two just be together forever? ※ ]]]

This is a countdown of my 9 most favourite Nakaji+Haru moments in Sunao ni Narenakute (#1 being the one I love on the most. Btw, why 9, you ask? Because 9 is the symbol for eternity in my language MUAHAHAHAHa I bet you threw up on that one *peace sign* I hold no shame…)

***Spoiler-meter: skip moments #6, #5, #4 if you plan on watching it & only don’t want major turning points in the plot revealed to you. Skip all if you want these moments to keep their maximum spontaneity, thus pertaining to greater enjoyment as you are watching them. I know sometimes some things are better left unexpected (how nice am I? xD)***

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#9 I’m not honest either.

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When: Somewhere in episode 08…
Experienced emotions: Shock, followed by lmao, followed by silent emotion.
Lasting image(s): The moon.
The 411:So Haru & Doctor are officially dating & going pretty darn well, Peach practically made a move on Nakaji (which Haru found out about) but he didn’t succumb to it (thank fudge.) Some scenes later, it is night time, we come to Haru & Nakaji sitting down at the park that they often stop by together, talking about everyone & everything. Nakaji brings up how Peach told him the story of how the girls became best friends (read the Haru section of my other SnN post,) making reference to his admiration of Haru‘s strength. Haru goes on to talk about Peach, how she is so much more frail than herself, & then, acknowledging Peach‘s feelings for Nakaji, she chimes out something like, “So, Nakaji, please take care of Peach.”

His immediate reaction? Mad slash hurt (!) He gets up & inches his face in front of Haru‘s, grasps her shoulders, shaking her & blurts out “Is that okay? Is that really okay?” Haru is completely gobsmacked, confused & totally lost for words (& seriously, I was like, Ommagawd, he’s gonna do it!! He’s finally going to admit to how he really feels!!!!!!) but suddenly, Nakaji erupts into laughter, egging & pretending to her that it was all an act (my reaction->> Nakaji, you turd ><)

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Shocked & upset, Haru sucker-pushes Nakaji & sends him flying into the soil (this was when I LOLed) She said she couldn’t believe he would play w/ someone’s emotions at a time like this, & storms off. Nakaji is left alone, he muddles to himself, “I was just trying to talk my way out of it.” He slumps his whole body to the ground & looks up at the moon glowing in the pitch black sky.

“I guess I am honest either,” he aches.

Darn you Nakaji, why can’t you just friggin’ say it?

——————

#8 Finding beauty in an unexpected place.

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When: About a third of the way into episode 03.
Experienced emotions: Peace, warmth, & “Man, these two are so blind to each other’s feelings” eyeball churning activity.
Lasting image(s): The warm, serene hues of the sunset.
The 411: Haru is plodding along when she notices Nakaji on top of a bridge, pointing his camera away. She stops & watches him for a moment, smiling, then raises both her hands to her eyes to form an imaginary camera & takes “a photo” of Nakaji. He soon sees her & asks her to come up. “I have a secret to share w/ you,” he excites.

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When she gets up there & takes a look at the landscape in front of their eyes, she realises that this is where he took the photo from- the picture that she fell in love w/ so much that she permanently uses it as her cellphone wallie (btw, if anyone has this wallpaper, pretty please share w/ me ^_^.)

Haru: “Now I get it. The picture… I thought it would be a more… impressive? More of a special place?”
Nakaji: “The scenery always has an expression. It has makes alot of different faces. The scenery you see everyday can sometimes be so beautiful that  it makes your heart skip a beat. Oh. I’m talking about the landscape.”

There is a momentary WTF moment btwn the two.

Haru: “Can I tell you one of your bad points?”
Nakaji: “Bad points?”
Haru: “You’re too kind. You’re probably really nice to all the girls you meet.”
Nakaji: “That’s not true. Well, maybe it is.”

They go on to joke about & agree on forgetting what happened the other day (when Nakaji accidentally overheard Haru‘s feelings for him at the train station.) The scene pretty much ends w/ Nakaji saying something like-

“But… I will never get tired of watching you. Just like w/ this landscape.”

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He covers it up w/ a cackle but we know he knows he means it- he just doesn’t know he knows he means it yet. The camera pans out to an aerial view of the golden couple against the backdrop of the golden sunset. It’s possibly the most beautiful, most subtly romantic frame of the series & maybe even my favourite (yeah, I would hang it as art on my wall xD)

——————

#7 Ganbatte.

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When: A third-ish thru episode 10
Experienced emotions: *fist pump* Ganbatte!
Lasting image(s): The good luck charm :))
The 411: It is bright & early, the morning dew is still glistening on the greenery in the scene & Haru is off to take her full-time teacher assessment thing. From nowhere, Nakaji zips in on his bicycle & skids to a halt in front of the girl.

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Haru (delighted shock): “Nakaji!”
Nakaji: “I made it.”
Haru: “For what?”
Nakaji: “Here.” He pulls out a little yellow packet & gives it to Haru. “A good luck charm.”
Haru is touched & smiling: “Arigatou.”
Nakaji, crossing his arms, jestering: “I kinda feel like a middle schooler but anyway.”
Haru: “You’re right, especially when you are on that bicycle.”

They laugh about it then Nakaji suggests that maybe she should get going before she is late. She begins to walk off, & then he calls her name. She stops & turns around. Everything is crystal clear silent.

Ganbatte,” he says w/ the most earnest smile.

*blinks 228 times in like, a second* I may have lost all my shiz because this was the first time that Nakaji had verbally enunciated those words- to anyone <3 Haru returns a heartfelt smile & says “thankyou” one more time. She resumes making her way to her exam as Nakaji sits still on his bike watching her back, seeing her off towards the biggest moment of her life. You know he is hoping & praying for her dream to come true.

——————

#6 The final scene.

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When: Episode 11, the final scene (duh.)
Experienced emotions: *gags on Long Vacationness* + *mammoth grin*
Lasting image(s): The bridge; Eita‘s tan; Eita‘s grin; Eita‘s part-time 5 o’clock shadow.
The 411: It’s been one long whole year since they last saw each other, since they last heard each other’s voice. Haru was strolling down the street just after her reunion w/ the re-born Peach & the just-returned-from-Korea-&-totally-running-my-father’s-business-bigger+better-than-before Doctor. The sun is out, the birds are chirping, Haru has a spring in her step… out of nowhere, she hears a voice call out her name. It is the voice of a guy who she is familiar w/. Her eyes dart around, The Ting Ting‘s That’s Not My Name kicks into background play-mode & suddenly a tall, tanned, semi-grubby looking Troll-doll-haired dude beaming his pearlers to the max catches her eye from the other side of the street. Oh. Em. Jee. It’s everybody’s Nakaji! He is back from Iraq!

Haru dashes over to the edge of the road, smiling from ear to ear: “You’re late!”
Nakaji: “I just got back today.”
Haru: “Why didn’t you send me a reply?”
Nakaji: “I thought I’d come here instead.”

The two are shouting ecstatically across street over the darn traffic, like two children in a playground. Haru suggests that they should go back to The Emotion &try to catch Peach & Linda. She does this left-to-right straight-line pointing hand-action thing, which Nakaji totally understands as “Let’s meet up on the bridge.” As they are bouncing along the sidewalk, Nakaji calls out “Haru!” again. Haru stops, becomes a little baffled & asks, “What?”

He leans up against the barricade on the sidewalk & calls out again, “Haru!”, still beaming.

Luckily for us, Haru doesn’t respond w/ an equally buoyant chant-back of “Nakaji! Nakaji!” (had this happened I v. well may have downgraded my love for this couple in this scene to a bonafide Sena+Minami wannabe status…) Instead, Haru coyly peers back over at him & simply smiles knowingly. Reminiscent of LV, yes; rip-off replica of LV, no (it’s a good thing these two can act.)

The camera follows Nakaji sprinting & dodging pedestrians up the stairs & then onto ze bridge where all of a sudden there are no people… not even Haruwhere the heck is she, I’m sure he is pondering. Bam! There she is! She pops out from the other end to give him a semi-fright cross semi-surprise. They’re looking into each other’s sparkly eyes. “Haru!” he calls out one more time. Haru finally says his name, “Nakaji. Let’s go.” She lightly grabs his forearm & momentums forward but….. he swings free &……… banzai ! He takes a firm hold of her hand xDD

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Dude, seriously, I’m grinning like a retard.

——————

#5 All I need is you beside me.

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When: Midway thru episode 10.
Experienced emotions: *chokes on tears* *loss for words*
Lasting image(s): The clear blue sky; Nakaji reaching over his shoulder to hold onto Haru‘s hand.
The 411: Haru is taking her teacher entrance exam as Nakaji frantically stands by Linda, watching the medical staff trying to save him. But impossibly, Linda leaves us. Haru comes out of her assessment, checks her phone & discovers the tragic news. She rushes to the hospital & finds her way to the rooftop of the hospital & sees Nakaji sitting on the ground all alone, shrieking in tears. W/ the softest look in her eyes, she faintly breathes out his name, “Nakaji.” She sits down beside him as he uncontrollably continues to sob, gasping for breath. She edges closer to him & places her hand onto his left shoulder, tenderly rubbing his back to help soothe his pain. He slowly regains his breath & his left hand reaches over his shoulder to grab a hold onto Haru‘s hand. The camera pans to a bird-eyes’ view of the two on the rooftop of the hospital, the clearest blue sky blanketing them (I like to think that Linda was there overlooking them.) I am choking on my own tears by now but I was completely drawn in by the fact that apart from Haru‘s uttering of Nakaji‘s name at the start, not a single other word was spoken during this entire scene. Yet, all the sorrow, grief & conflicting emotions were furiously perforating your heart. Can I love on their acting skills any more?

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——————

#4 Please pick up…

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When: End of episode 05.
Experienced emotions: Nooooo!!! Why??? Noooooo!!!! Why??? Nooooooooooo!!!!!! Whyyyyyyyy????
Lasting image(s): Haru‘s vibrating cellphone; the profile silhouette of Nakaji on his phone.
The 411: Well, technically, they’re not within proximity or in any sort of physical or dial up contact w/ each other but it’s a v. pivotal point in their relationship. This was the first moment we saw through Nakaji for good. Yeah he looks out for everyone around him but you can see it in his eyes- Haru holds a special place inside his heart *flashes Eita+Ueno Juri banner in Nakaji‘s face*

So Haru is surrounded by bunch of delinquents who are threatening her w/ narcotics, brute force, blades & other random weapons (seriously, these kids are lucky they were born into the right series & not the other one featuring a certain 4th generation heir to the Ooedo Group sensei.) She tries to escape but er, of course she is on the rooftop of some building & those boys have manned & sealed off THE ONLY exit.

But fortunately, she is up so high! Reception should be no problem! She manages to tweet ‘HEL’ before those brats woosh her phone out of her hands. Nakaji & Doctor see it & decode it as ‘HELP,’  & w/ the Twitter GPS tracking feature, they both go running wildly to her aid. You sense their fierce urgency as Weaver‘s Hard To Say I Love You kicks into high gear. In the middle of their sprinting escapade, Nakaji‘s phone goes off, he answers it & stops. Is it Haru on the other line? No, it’s freaking Peach (!) He looks as alarmed as he looks torn but soon resumes running- only it seems like it’s in a whole ‘nother direction.

Flash back to Haru & the rascals on the rooftop- there is alot of banging on the door. ALOT of banging. Someone is here to her rescue! Someone is on the other side of that door. Is it Nakaji? KAPOW! The door flings open. It’s…

(Noooooooo!!!!! jicks screams; Doktaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!! Why is it youuuuuu???) Ahem, yes, it is Doctor. He sacrifices his body & gets battered & bruised (& receives a self-willed gash to the palm.) While he is being beaten up, Haru finds her phone & pretends to call the police. The gang hear & make a dash for it, wussy-style. Haru pleads to go get an ambulance but Doctor pulls her to him.

Doctor: “Did I pass? Did I manage to protect your properly?”
Haru, in tears: “Baka.” And then, they’re hugging it out.

At the same time, Nakaji is tending to Peach, who he finds squatting down in pain, blood weeping from beneath her skirt. He escorts her to the hospital where they lay down the bad news, confirming that Peach has lost her baby. Emotionally & physically drained, Peach goes to take some rest. Once Nakaji sees that she is finally sound asleep, he takes out his mobile phone from his trendy lacey bum bag thing to call Haru, but mother of f**k, her phone is on silent. It’s vibrating, sure, but it’s on freaaking silent.

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It continues to ring, & he continues to hold (no joke, no one holds on the phone for that long these days.) The camera zooms up close to Haru‘s phone to show us Nakaji‘s photo if only to remind us that Nakaji is always just silently there *shakes head* Sugawara Sayuri‘s Sunao ni Narenakute is playing in the background & that guy w/ the fried hair is still holding, craving for her to pick up. This image of his silhouette w/ his phone up to his ear takes us out right through to the end of the episode where we hear Sayuri‘s melodic voice cry out the last two lines; ♫♪ I want to always convey how much I love you // I want to straightforwardly say “…I miss you.”

This is the moment we see how much Haru means to Nakaji but alas, it is also the moment Haru makes up her mind to finally let go of her feelings for Nakaji & accept another man *shakes fist @ Peach‘s badly timed miscarriage*

——————

#3 The “date” at the zoo.

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When: Midway thru episode 06
Emotions experienced: Spazzy girly giggling followed by giant fond tear.
Lasting image(s): Haru crouching down by the riverside; the photo Nakaji snaps of Haru, Nakaji acting like a gorilla (D for actual resemblance but an A+++++ for the effort ^^;); the Nodame bear lookalike mascot.
The 411: I don’t think anyone could ever be at the zoo & not be happy!

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Haru has had a bad day at work, so bad that she is beginning to question whether or not she should keep teaching (btw, top above piccie of her standing on the pebble rocks in the river- arguably the 2nd most beautiful shot in the series.) Maybe she’s not cut out to be a teacher after all? She wanders to the riverside by herself to do a little reflecting. She has her phone in her palm, she scrolls up & down her list of contacts, passing Nakaji‘s name over & over again & finally goes ahead to dial him. He senses her mood & rushes to see her, soon deciding to take her to… the zoo! *claps hands* (every couple totally needs a fun-time date!! See; zoo, aquarium, theme park, something to do w/ fireworks, something to do w/ icecream &/or gelati, anything to do w/ children xDD)

And so it begins. Chicago‘s Hard To Say I’m Sorry starts pedaling in the background, Nakaji snaps his camera away at Haru. They approach the penguins & he directs her where & how to stand in the composition of his photo.

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Nakaji: You’re cutting the penguins out of the shot. A little to the right. A little more- ah, too far! To the left, to the left (jicks‘ note: Beyonce style? lol) You’re walking like a penguin. Heregoes.”

*vomits from part laughing, part aawing* “You’re walking like a penguin.” lol (Oh my. Eita, can I marry fan after you?)

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Anyways, he presses the shutter button & then chuckles. Haru looks perplexed.

Nakaji: “The crow that was crying a little while ago is already smiling.”
Haru: “You were the one who told me to smile.”
Nakaji: “No I didn’t. All I did was point the camera.”
Haru: “Oh.”

She continues to look sad & Nakaji fires a few action shots of her pouty face.

Nakaji (smirking): “You look pretty good when you’re frustrated.”

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They resume their rounds visiting all the happy animals, they get approached by a v. Nodame bear looking mascot who hands them balloons & Nakaji gets all goofy & makes a v. adorkable attempt at mimicking a gorilla. And he lets her take his camera. Let me repeat that- Nakaji lets Haru take his camera. His real camera. For someone who loves & cherishes his art so much, the symbolic magnitude of Nakaji‘s gesture here is like, lhjalkfsjalifhl to the power of 623million. To put his prized possession in her hands is like entrusting a piece of himself to her. During the reel of these scenes, their conversation is being voiced over the music. We hear Nakaji talk alot about himself to Haru, everything from his work to his relationship w/ Kiriko-san, but he spoke about it all w/ a v. positive attitude. There was one line when Haru said, “It makes me feel better when you are being optimistic.” There is no doubt Nakaji knows this, & so by making sure he kept on a sunny face, he felt like he was able to help take Haru‘s mind off her own problems.

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By the end of their “date,” she is smiling (if Eita tried to cheer me up by, er, going ape, I’d be happy too xD) They go to sit down & scan thru all the images on his camera together, laughing & teasing like a couple who just also happen to be the best of friends. Without even thinking, Haru unguardedly says, “It’s so strange. When I’m w/ you, even if I start out crying, I always end up laughing.”

Nakaji looks at her, his expression changing to an attentive closeness- “You were crying?”

Haru stutters, ” Oh, no- well, just a little. Even the toughest heart will sometimes be moved to tears.”

He looks at her again but keeps the mood lighthearted. They go to part ways, not before a quick “let’s both do our best” kinda talk. Nakaji walks off first, but not long after, Haru calls out to him. He turns around to her smiling face- “Arigatou,” she says, waving him off. Nakaji returns no words, only an encouraging grin. The sun is glimmering down on them, giving them hope & giving them life. Best friends, soulmates, fated for each other… whatever you wanna call it, whenever these two are together, they always feel better about themselves. And I automatically feel better, too (´ー`)

——————

#2 How many square metres?

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When: End of episode 06.
Experienced emotions: *boots Kiriko-san out of Tokyo*
Lasting image(s): The two of them sitting at the same table but not facing one another; Ueno Juri blowing her nose ( -_-)
The 411: So Haru is going thru some isshuuuues w/ her star student & her boyfriend, Doctor is not being so empathetic. She tells Doctor about how she spoke to Matsushima-kun, who is now in the juvenile detention centre but Doctor can’t side w/ the kid at all. In fact, he can’t side w/ anyone who voluntarily involves themselves w/ drugs, unforgivingly proclaiming it to be a weak, irresponsible act. Fair enough everyone is entitled to their own opinion but can you pls at least try to understand where your girlfriend is coming from? For goodness sakes, he is her student! Their meeting is basically summed up w/ him strongly asserting to Haru, “Don’t get involved w/ him anymore.”

Meanwhile, Nakaji & Kiriko-san officially break up… Hallejuah ! (Chance? xPP) *Mexican wave* The husband enlisted the talents of a detective, busting them w/ secret photos of their liasons. She pretty much asks Nakaji to dump her, essentially electing to stay w/ her hubby. All I can say is, this is certainly one of the greatest moment of my life *evil laugh*

Later that night, Nakaji & Haru bump into each other at their local convenience store (I love all their encounters there! Convenience stores always remind me of A Moment To Remember *loves on Choi Chul Soo*) Haru, in a v. unenergised tone of voice, points out that something is “weird” about Nakaji & asks him if there is anything wrong, to which he denies. I’m thinking he is doing so because he doesn’t want to worry Haru since he senses she isn’t in the highest of spirits either.

They walk home together (they live in the same direction, & OMG, Haru apparently lives near Ikea!!! jicks‘ note: So there is one thing I didn’t like about you!! xP) & arrive at Nakaji‘s house. He sees that her mood is still pretty fragile, & half hesitant of Haru‘s response, he offers-

“If you want, I’ll listen to  you.”

Haru: ” “But… it’s your house.”
Nakaji: “I don’t mind.” (Hmm, if I were Haru, I would’ve pounced even w/o an invitation ^O^)

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They sit down in his bachelor pad & she begins to let out all the feelings & thoughts she had towards drug users that she couldn’t express to Doctor (or rather, Doctor didn’t allow even the tiniest gap for her to do so *deletes all DBSK songs from hardrive*) She speaks solemnly about how she perceives drug users as people who really just need our help. Nakaji picks up on how close the topic is to Haru‘s heart & asks, “Did someone close to you do drugs?” Haru, fighting to hold in her tears, confesses yes, her ototto was once a drug user. She admits to Nakaji that she always worries about her brother & struggles to trust him all the time.

Haru: “Are you going to look down on me now?”
Nakaji: “Why do you think I would?”
Haru: “Well… that’s  the kinda of family I have. And I’ve never told anyone before.”
Nakaji, shaking his head- “No. Not at all. I will not look down you at all.”

Haru is further moved by his words, & unable to contain her tears anymore, she turns her face away. Nakaji moves closer to Haru, & w/o looking at her directly because he knows she is trying to hide her tears, pushes his box of tissues over to her. He attempts to cheer her up- “Aren’t you going to say ‘That isn’t good’? (N.B.: Haru’s favourite saying used whenever Nakaji does something kinda sensitively caring for her.) I like that. Your ‘That isn’t good’.”

Haru, still unable to pick her mood back up, says, “I’m so disappointed in myself.”
Nakaji, pauses: “You don’t have to be happy always, little Haru-chan.” He pauses. “Someday you’ll be happy again.”
Haru: “Really?”
Nakaji: “Really. I guarantee it.”
*rolls eyes a million times*

Finally, a hint of a smile is back on Haru‘s face. She then asks if she can blow her nose in front of Nakaji (blowing you nose in front of others is customarily considered rude in Japan) & of course, he’s like, go for it.

So her nose is cleared & slowly, she says “This place… is comfortable” & Nakaji is like, “What?” She goes on to express that she feels like she can talk to Nakaji about anything. He smiles, comfortingly-

“You can come here whenever you want. I will always keep a place open for you.”

Haru: “How many square metres? How many square metres will that place be? ”
Nakaji, chuckling, “You mean your place? As in surface area? Weirdo… you can have as much space as you need.”
Haru: “It’s fine, it’s just temporary… it’s just until I get back on my feet.”
Nakaji: “No. The duration… it’s limitless.”
Haru, trying her best to be somewhat upbeat again, uses her favourite saying & goes to Nakaji, “That’s… That’s not good.”

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He laughs, then chotto matte! We have a message! Haru‘s phone goes off & she flips it out to see who has sent her a text at this hour. She opens it up & sees on her screen-

[ Ganbatte.] –Nakaji.

By now, she is crying w/o regrets, “Baka,” she sniffles to the silly guy sitting right next to her. He looks over at her, finally, & asks, “I’m not an idiot am I?” Haru tells him off, “Say it out loud sometimes- ‘ganbatte.’ ” They’re looking at each other, she’s just sobbing away & his eyes are welling up, too. He gets up & walks over to hug her. And we have Sayuri‘s gorgeous vocals again singing us along to this v. yearning moment.

——————

#1 Fireworks at the beach.

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When: About two thirds of the way into episode 09.
Experienced emotions: This was the moment I coined the phrase for my other SnN post; Why can’t these two be together forever?
Lasting image(s): The flame; Eita‘s gaze.
The 411: The SunaNare gang have taken a day trip to the seaside to eat, be merry & play right into the night w/ fireworks on the beach (how v. Kitagawa Eriko <3) However, their supply doesn’t last forever, so they action the ever-reliable “Rock! Paper! Scissors!” decision-making game to determine which two get to journey out to buy more sparklers & other various fireworky gadgets. As fate would have it, Nakaji & Haru get the honours.

On the way back, Haru tells Nakaji that Doctor has asked her to move to Korea w/ him. My poor Nakaji is still trying to hide his true feelings but manages to mumble something like, “So this may be the last time I get to walk w/ you like this.” He looks up into the night sky & vocally basks in the beauty of the moon & moves to sit down by the riverside for a while to admire it (but really, we all know that he just wanted to make the most of this final span of time of him & Haru being alone together. I did get the feeling that Haru was like, huh, why now? But she coincides anyways ^_^)

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And I know Nakaji was thisclose to saying something mushy but he suggests that they have a competition instead to see who could hold onto a lit sparkler for the longest. “The first one to let go loses,”  he says. I feel like this line kinda reflects how he is feeling- why the eff did it take him so long to acknowledge that Haru is the one he doesn’t want to let go? But for the love of leather pants (which Nakaji is totally sporting in this scene xD,) it’s all too late now (or… is it??)

W/ a sparkler each in their hands, they light them up at the same time & the “game” is on. Haru takes it all v. seriously, focusing her attention solely on the flames all the way, muttering silly things such as “I’ll definitely win- that’s if I don’t drop it first.” All of a sudden, Nakaji is like, “Let’s join them!” He connects his flame w/ hers to form one (symbolic much?) Nakaji‘s eyes during this entire scene, NEVERleave Haru. She is freely content in the present, completely oblivious to Nakaji‘s longing as he is taking a mental picture of this girl for the last time, forever burying her innocence into his heart.

Mother of crap, I think I’m in love.

Stuff Chiakisenpai.

I swear to be an Eita+Juri fan for life*

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<333333333333333333

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*By ‘for life’, I mean this is super unlikely to change, but still, we should never say never, right? It’s a fan’s prerogative (^^;)
[ Again, pics from the series used in this post were capped by me from Querbeet Subs goodness :)) ]





Why can’t these two just be together forever?

29 07 2010

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I fuuuuureaking love Eita+Ueno Juri.

———

^^I would love to use the single above line as my full review for the series Sunao ni Narenakute, but alas, if only things were that simple.

“Back then, we didn’t know what real love was. Nor did we know that it could hurt someone this badly.”

Sunao ni Narenakute, aka Hard To Say I Love You, opens w/ a bloody scene where Eita‘s character, Nakaji, is banging furiously at a locked door. He is trying to get to someone. The scene ends w/ Nakaji‘s voiceover narrative of the above quote & then, we flash back to the start of it all.

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April 12, the day it all begins.

SnN is the story of five young adults- Nakajima Keisuke, Mizuno Tsukiko, Nishimura Hikari, Ichihara Kaoru & Park Seon Soo (or, as per their online names, Nakaji, Haru, Peach, Linda & Doctor respectively)- who meet through the worldwide social networking program that is Twitter. They soon learn that the identity that one another has created for themselves isn’t quite what they illustrated it out to be in the cyberworld. But everyone is accepting, & through mutual honesty, lenience & support they become extremely good friends. In fact, they become the best of friends, there to laugh together but there also to nourish & take care of each other when the hardships hit. Of course, no co-ed group would be complete without someone liking someone else within the bunch & in this case, it’s one giant love quintangle. We watch through their eyes how love can- & does– affect us & our relationships, whether this is btwn family, friends or lovers. At its worst it can rip you apart, changing & marring lives relentlessly, but at its best it can bring you unequivocable strength & liberate you to be who you are. It’s up to you how to embrace it.

*****SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!****** I will not be holding back, so be warned ;O If you plan on watching this, I’d definitely be sidestepping what I am about to say…******

The first thing I did after I finished SnN was check in on the global village to suss out the general reaction to the series & maagawd was I given the shock of my life.

There is a monsoon of negative criticism- people are tearing the series apart, sledging w/o remorse from the plot to the characters to Eita‘s tight black leather pants (& of course his hair but come on, as if we didn’t all foresee that), condemning it as an abominable waste of the super-talented superstar cast…

…Hontou ni? Honki deska? Is it wrong that I actually liked- perhaps even loved– it? Is it tasteless of me for feeling an abundance of good in the series? Am I losing my senses? *sprints across Tokyo like a lunatic grabbing onto Eita‘s frazzled hair*

I know. I know the series was far from perfect. There were unfilled gaps left, right & centre, but that was one of the things that I liked about it. Maybe I am eternally under Kitagawa Eriko‘s spell, but throughout this series, it was one of those rare occasions in my dorama life that I was at peace w/ not having everything making complete narrative & logical sense. I realised, especially after SnN (& resigning myself through those six seasons of LOST,) sometimes not everything has to add up.

I never really needed explanations as to why the characters were the way they were. Sure I was curious at times but for the most part, I was able to accept them just as they are. Nor did I ever get too obsessed w/ where & how they would end up, rather, I was simply content seeing them right there at that moment in time. Seeing them not knowing what it was they exactly wanted, seeing them trying to work out what they were doing w/ their lives, seeing them live day by day, trying to keep up w/ the rest of this world, trying to stay true to themselves… it was all truly pinching me at the flesh.

It’s true, SnN isn’t Kitagawa Eriko‘s best piece of work in terms of the originality & sensibility of the plot; in fact, she recycles several sequences from her previous series- for instance, how Doctor grabs the blade w/ his bare hands when he tries to save Haru from those rascals is practically cookie cutter Hiroto in Tatta Hitotsu no Koi; or in the final scene where Nakaji repeatedly yells out Haru‘s name jovially from the other side of the street is v. reminiscent of Sena+Minami in Long Vacation. But there upholds a universally binding relatability to the characters in SnN. The setting may be modern day Tokyo, but the complexes these five friends are faced w/ exist through all of time. I think this is one of Kitagawa Eriko‘s absolute gifts- she creates people who aren’t necessarily perfect but it is through their faults that we naturally grow an attachment to them. It’s either because we see a part of ourselves in them, now or in the past, or it’s because they remind us of a person around us. They feel real. They feel raw. We’ve seen it, done it, been through it ourselves & by the end of the series, you’ll realise that you’re perfectly complacent w/ having known them & gone through this chapter of their lives w/them. And really, you shouldn’t need anything else.

Nakajima Keisuke // Twitter name: Nakaji (played by Eita)
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What is it about Nakaji? What is it about this hobo-dressing, Troll-doll-haired, soft-porn photographer that drew in the in-house good girl, the bad girl, the married woman & the gay magazine editor (& I swear on my apples that Linda‘s cougar boss  woman was eyeballing Nakaji‘s goods whenever he was within proximity, too -_-;)?

No, it’s not because of his cool Aztec-y lace tasseled bum bag thing (btw, I did love his style *blindly hearts on Eita‘s leather pants*) nor is it (completely) because of his despicable good looks. The bottom line is, Nakaji a good man. He is a good friend & a good son, not so much in an outwardly obvious way, but he is so gravely committed to looking out for the people around him. At times he tends to blurt out some rather insensitive comments (like in episode 8 when Peach confesses her feelings for him & he asks her if it’s a joke- I mean, come on, Nakaji, it’s the super brittle Peach here) but over the course of time, you learn that this is simply his defense mechanism. Even whenever he is w/ Haru & the situation presents itself for him to express just how much she means to him, in the end, he always covers it up w/ a half-hearted one-liner or a teasing laugh. But you can’t blame him because you know that’s not how he feels inside. He is someone who cares for people from a distance & it is this lonely warmth about him that makes you want to be near him. And when you are w/ him, he makes you feel like you are the only person in this world. As Linda best describes Nakaji in episode 5;

“You take pictures of people kindly, as if you’re engulfing them. You look at people closely while keeping your distance.”

Of the group, he is probably the most concerned for the well-being of the people around him, which is why it cut him so deeply when he finally realised that Linda had been silently & painfully harbouring feelings for him all along. You could see that, in the scene after Linda passes away (see, I told you I would ruin it for ya) & Haru goes to find Nakaji by himself on the rooftop of the hospital, alone, hunched up & crying, the thought of himself being that close to someone all that time yet not knowing they were in suffering really pierced his heart. It was as if he thought that made him a bad friend & a bad person. If he had it his way, Nakaji would be the one always watching over them, & never the other way around.

I think alot of people would query the point of the affair btwn Nakaji & Kiriko-san. As someone who would have no problem at all picking up any date, why did Nakaji voluntarily keep himself as this married woman’s secret lover? Was it really for love?

Nakaji & Kiriko met by chance years back, falling wildly head over heels for one another. But as you’d have it, Kiriko-san’s family crashed into financial distress & because of this, she was forced to marry a man for his business capital & rescue her family from economic doom. However, this does not stop Nakaji from liaising w/ Kiriko behind the husband’s back.

I’m not sure that they did ever whole-heartedly love each other in the sense that they would both want to give up everything else & spend the rest of their lives w/ one another, but I do believe Nakaji & Kiriko were once in that moment where the line btwn lust & love becomes absorbingly blurred. And now, to me, Kiriko-san was hanging on because she needed to feel like she was still “wanted,” that, as a married woman she was still attractive to the opposite sex. Nakaji, I feel like, was hanging on because he believed he needed to look after this one time woman-of-his-life, even when Haru enters the picture & he starts to develop feelings for her, he still feels this sense of care for Kiriko‘s fragile personality. There is a scene of Nakaji, post break-up w/ the married woman, he prepares to toss the ring he was going to give to Kiriko into the river before a kawaii little girl strolls by. He decides to gift the ring to this girl & tells her to take care of it because, in his words, it’s “kind of like a toy.” I personally felt like he realised that, as much as he & Kiriko valued each other in the past, the affair was always immature & headed nowhere. Things change, people grow & sometimes you just have to let some things go. They really didn’t owe anything to one another.

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Also compelling was the evolution of the father-son relationship btwn Nakaji & his oyaji (as Nakaji called him,) because again, it felt so true-to-life. There was a silent admiration btwn the two, as indicated by the photo taken by the Dad that Nakaji had hanging on his bedroom wall & the neighbour letting slip that his Dad is always boasting to her about his son’s photographic talents. But their times together often resulted in impassioned bickering- it was like they were both putting up a wall to guard themselves from the other. They didn’t want to, or know how to, show any affection. They didn’t know how to be honest w/ ea other or themselves. To them, expressing their vulnerable side was like exposing a weakness, & by exposing that “weakness” they felt like they would lose their strength to protect the people close to them.

Even when Nakaji‘s Dad is diagnosed w/ cancer, he chooses to hide the news from his son. His thinking was, Nakaji doesn’t need to know because there is nothing he can really do & if anything, it will only trouble him. It’s as if these guys think that a man shouldn’t cause worry for others. Eventually Nakaji finds out, but the two continue to butt at each other.

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On the same day Nakaji learns about his Dad’s illness, Peach goes to Nakaji‘s bachelor pad (to try to, em, exhibit her feelings for him) & she notices a pile of reference books on the subject of cancer on his bed. He later compiles an extensive list of hospital information, goes back over to his  father’s box of a house & w/ an outstretched arm, hands them over to his father. Later on, they go down to the riverside & have a heart-to-heart talk about life & their mutual love for photography. The Dad senses Nakaji‘s mood is low & prompts him why, to which Nakaji responds by telling him that a close friend had just died. At long last, the two are talking openly to each other-

Dad: “Well, things like that happen.”
Nakaji: “If you’re going to act like a father, at least say something more considerate.” There is a brief moment of silence.
Dad: “…I’m not going to die just yet. But I will some day. And so will you. Well, it will be a long time from now but you will. Everybody dies.”
Nakaji is sitting down on the ground, & as his Dad says this, he looks up at him. “Well, if you put it like that, it’s true.”
Dad: “Everybody dies one day. Staying alive is a battle.
As long as we’re alive, we should give it our all.”

Something goes off inside your heart. For all of Nakaji‘s seemingly self-centered mannerisms, he still looks up to his father. You can see here how much his father’s words mean to him. And you see it black & blue here w/ your own eyes that he is exactly the way Linda describes him. Forget all the showy acts of being proper you see from so many supposedly kind people in this world, Nakaji is the real deal. He is the type of man you can depend on.

And to refer to Eita‘s acting as f**king awesome would be a dangerously gross understatement. I’m insanely thrilled & grateful that the producers have (*touch wood*) permanently established him as a leading man in the dorama world. In the scene I mentioned earlier w/ Nakaji grieving over Linda‘s death at the hospital, Eita‘s body language was so convincingly real I didn’t even need to see his tears to feel his pain. The way he curled up his limbs, the way he was banging his wrists against the ground, the way he just let that mess of hair drop past his eyes & then the way he gripped it all back spoke much more than any amount of wailing could ever inflict. But when he did audibly let out his cry, I joined him. Eita, you are my favourite (Japanese) actor. Even w/ your newest Daddy duties, I still freakin’ love you (especially the way you would just longingly gaze at Haru, in person & in photos *waves ❤ Eita+Ueno Juri ❤ flashing hearts banner under starlit midnight sky*)

Mizuno Tsukiko // Twitter name: Haru (played by Ueno Juri)

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I’m going to start off by saying that I love Ueno Juri.

I love the fact that she doesn’t scream princess syndrome. I love the fact that she seems like the girl-next-door (albeit a little koo-koo… but def in a cool, upbeat way ^_^) I love the fact that when she dolls herself up, she looks like a million dollars. But most importantly, I love the fact that she can act.

Her character in SnN, Haru, was the most naive of the bunch. She was pure in the sense that you could pretty much take her at face value & she also didn’t have as much of a backlog of issues to hamper her. The only hiccup comes from her darling little ottoto, Shu, who had already gone through rehabilitation for drug abuse (gosh they start young these days *shakes head*) & well, is now getting back into it again, thanks v. much to Haru‘s genius star student, Matsushima Kenta. We get a light insight into Haru‘s self-willing responsibility in supporting her younger brother but they never really elaborate on Shu‘s story, which I think is a shame because it really could’ve brought another layer to Haru‘s character. Seeing how she dealt w/ adversity in her single-parent family def would’ve given both Haru (& challenged Ueno Juri) extra dimension as the big sister.

Nevertheless, I could overlook this glitch because of who Haru was. She was a simple girl w/ simple, wholesome dreams. She never longed after anything too superficial or stupendously glitzy or glamorous. All she wanted was to do her best & be a good teacher to her students. She always tried to be honest w/ herself & encouraged everyone else around her to do the same. And this was what made her so easy to like. I think she somewhat represented the side in all of us that wanted to see the good in everything & willing to give everyone a chance, not in the fake Miss Universe “I want World Peace” way, but she looked at the world through a pair of child-like eyes w/o ever compromising on her set of morals & values.

As a teacher, she was inexperienced, but I liked that she approached her teaching through the eyes of the students. In her contemporary Japanese literature class, she encouraged her class to discuss & analyse lyrics from the songs of their favourite J-pop / J-rock bands (I remember they mentioned GReeeeN, Spitz & Mr Children~~ yea-ah!) She was later ridiculed & shot down by a senior teacher at the school (boo to the silly old woman who, really, should’ve been thankful that they were loving on real bands & not those rainbow fairy groups from JE Wonderland *de-CAPS the letter A in KaTTUN*) but we take notice that Haru is someone who adapts to meet the needs of the people around her.

We further see the extent Haru takes her duty as a teacher when she follows Matsushima-kun to fish him out of his drug-dealing activities. She becomes outnumbered, as Matsushima-kun’s gang emerge to make for some angsty dorama moments, but even so, she still tries to coax her student back onto the right path. And rather than crumbling into surrender, she tries to fight & looks for opportunities to escape those skinny-ass schoolboys. She isn’t cursed, er, blessed w/ Yankumi powers but, matte, matte! She is armed w/ a Twitter GPS function enabled mobile phone (!) which gives the carte blance to Doctor to track her down & come to her S.O.S. JaeJoong fangirls unite, this is your moment:- (*blocks ears from squeals* Dokta! Doktaaaaaaa!)

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Doctor gets beaten up. He gets beaten up good (btw, I had to totally LMAO when they were in the ambulance together; he’s lying on the stretcher in one mammoth helpless disaster & Haru still precedes to call him “Doctor.” ^^;;;;;;) Haru decides to go out w/ him after this incident despite it being blatantly obvious to you & I that she still has feelings for Nakaji. But I still found it difficult to judge her because after all, Doctor had done alot for her. She felt like she should give him a chance. And I agree, he earned it. Let’s also not forget that Nakaji was still playing fool (or tool depending on how you look at it *raises eyebrow*) for staying w/ Kiriko-san & had emphasised to Haru that Kiriko-san was the woman he loved (apparently.) So, if you were Haru, you wouldn’t be hanging around waiting endlessly for something that may just never happen either (well, maybe I would, because I do really, really like Mr Bad-Hair xD)

In episode 8, we get another glimpse into the quiet strength of Haru‘s character when we learn of how the friendship btwn Haru & Peach came about. It was in high school & Peach had became the subject of hate from a large number of female schoolmates. They lashed out at her apparently coy demeanour & blamed her existence for their boyfriends straying away from them. They isolated & psychologically bullied her. Nobody wanted to or was game enough to be her friend, except for Haru. Haru stepped out one day & stood up for Peach. She set the catty girls back in their place, making it clear that Peach had never tried to be take anyone’s boyfriend away & they only have themselves & their boyfriends to guilt. Haru is actually v. strong & I respect this righteous side of her. Unlike Peach, she is someone who can be alone & live well by herself.

# Nishimura Hikari // Twitter name: Peach (played by Seki Megumi)
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Peach was actually quite similar to Mizukawa Asami‘s character in Last Friends. On the surface, both appear to be sociable & full-of-life, the vibrant girl that men just tend to flock to. But this lighthearted facade exists only to conceal their unbearable solitude. They made it seem like they were fine floating from guy to guy but deep down their insecurities were boiling over. They were utterly afraid of being alone.

Peach‘s self-esteem issues however did not change the fact that she was a dedicated friend, esp to Haru. In the latter half of the series, there were moments when Peach could’ve made a hard move on Nakaji but she restrained herself. In her words to Haru, “I know I’m pretty loose around men but I kept myself under control last night… I was able to do so because I love you.” In spite of how she treated herself, Peach was fiercely loyal & loving to those who returned the same allegiance. She would give all to those who had given to her. She also proved that she was someone you could trust when Linda first revealed his sexuality to her- she didn’t run off immediately & broadcast it to the rest of the world. This was def the saving grace to her character. Even though she was promiscuously self-abusive, there was still this v. faithful side to her.

What I found most provoking about Peach‘s psyche was her battle w/ her numerous suicide attempts. In my eyes, she never really wanted to die but I think feeling pain was her way to feel like she was alive. She would cover up these scars everyday by wrapping a scarf around her wrist several times. In a sense she was camouflaging not only the physical blemishes, but also the emotional scars behind them, her tears & inner torment w/ seeking validation- she didn’t want to see it everyday.

I think Peach‘s pregnancy & subsequent miscarriage was necessary to urge the growth of her character. Following the loss of  her unborn baby, she could’ve gone back down the dark path but she didn’t (thankyou Kitagawa Eriko!) For the brief duration she was pregnant, Peach‘s heart opened up, as she said to Haru in episode 4, “Call it maternal instincts or what not” but having someone else to live for, having life growing inside her… it clicked inside that to be able to look after someone else, you first need to look after yourself. That coupled w/Linda‘s subsequent death really forced her re-evaluate the meaning of life. She finally saw how much of a miracle life is- & that you only get one shot at it. I guess seeing Linda wrestling something beyond his control (& ultimately losing) made her accept the things around in her life that essentially were only as bad as what she was making them to be.

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In the final episode, we see her reading the last eMail that Linda sent to her before he passed on-

Peach, these are the friends you’ve always wanted… I was a weak person. But I’m very happy I was able to meet such good friends. You’re the weakest one after me. So, let’s both do our best.”

She is walking across a bridge, stops at the peak of the arc, unties the scarf from her wrist & lets the wind carry it away. The sun is shining on her & finally, we safe for her. We feel that she has fully come to terms w/ being who she is & we know that from now on, she will appreciate life for what it is. I most definitely think Seki Megumi succeeded in conveying these graduating elements to her character. Despite not having a great amount of screen time, the transition in Peach‘s emotional conscience remained completely unobtrusive. I also liked that she didn’t overplay the girliness in front of the men (because you know, that can quickly get v. v. irritating *rolls eyes @Ariel Lin*)

# Ichihara Kaoru // Twitter name: Linda (played by Tamayama Tetsuji)
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I was surprised at how low-key Tamayama Tetsuji‘s role was in this series for someone of his calibre but that didn’t make me think any less of his character or his performance. I really appreciated that Tamayama Tetsuji didn’t even come close in trying to upstage Eita, but instead he assumed himself into fulfilling his role ingenuously. From what I’ve seen of him, he never overshadows but justly complements every other element of the production (& yeah he’s pretty fine looking ^^_.)

From the beginning, through Tamayama Tetsuji‘s delicate nuances in his actions & his looks, we are able to pick up hints that there is something afflicting Linda. By contrast to Ruka in Last Friends who was trying more to hide who she was, I feel like Linda was more trying to act like the person he believed others perceived (or wanted) him to be. For all those comparing the two series, it’s a fine line but this is the major difference I see (& it wasn’t just for these two, it was for all the characters.) Yes there are some similarities btwn them but SnN is much less about feeling ashamed & more about wanting to connect w/ the people around you.

Whether it’s when they first meet, or when Linda drugs himself so he can go through w/ sleeping w/ his cougar tramp of a boss (who is this 40+yr woman abusing her authoritative status in the workplace by wooing the younger male employees & promising them work benefits in return for sexual favours) in order for her to agree on using Nakaji‘s photography in their popular magazine, It, or when he grazes his face up against a sleeping Nakaji, somewhere along the line, you will realise that Linda has feelings for Nakaji. You realise, yes, the man is gay. You realise this poor guy has been feuding w/ his own identity. And w/ a single “moment of weakness” (as Linda himself labeled it) he decides to take his own life. Why did they have to make his homosexuality such a depressing, oppressing controversy?

I think it’s important to establish the perception of male homosexuality in Japan.  From my understanding, the Japanese are a culture who highly regard tradition & conformity, & while the idea of homosexuality is broadly accepted, from a person-to-person social standpoint, it is still a relatively conservative subject. According to a piece of text I came across, “Japanese gay men and lesbian women often conceal their sexuality; with many even marrying persons of the opposite sex to avoid discrimination.”[source] Even, for instance, “university students may discuss the fact that they are gay with their close friends in a relatively carefree manner, when they go on to enter employment, most will put on a straight face so as to fit in the workplace.”[source] It’s as if within society, they feel a need to conform to what is perceived to be “the norm” & “conventional.”

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So in Linda‘s case, we clearly see these effects coiling into his life. Fueled by his boss’ (inappropriate) courtship of him, Linda‘s colleagues have targeted him as the rival because he has all the physical attributes that make him the “type” of man who is stereotypically popular w/ women. “The good looking ones get it all,” they sneer behind his back (episode 2.) Can you imagine living an identity that isn’t your true self because you want to, need to conform; but then being spat at & satirised for being this person you’re not? And you struggle on, unable to express in fear of greater social implications? It would take much strength to maintain your dignity (& sanity.) By no means am I advocating suicide but I definitely don’t look down on nor convict Linda for his actions. I don’t think reasons behind suicide are for anyone to judge.

Linda‘s death was one of the question marks I had w/ Kitagawa Eriko‘s logic in her storywriting. It wasn’t so much that it did happen but it was moreso how it pretty much just happened. Somehow, despite gashing himself in the neck & losing all that blood, Linda survives. Which is fine, I guess. I can handle miracles. At this point, Kitagawa Eriko has us feeling comfortable. She has us believing that Linda will live on. But a couple(?) of days of sunshine zap by & Linda suddenly plummets into a critical condition. Before you know it, his heartbeat stops. This was pretty much my one & only “WTF?” moment. Why “bring him back to life” only to gun him down not long after?

But listening to Nakaji‘s Dad’s words about life & death steered me back into looking at the big picture- Linda had given it his all & in the end he was happy. I guess his temporary revival served as the path to lift the burden off Nakaji‘s heart, who otherwise, would’ve lived on blaming himself for Linda‘s death for the rest of his life; & also allowed for Linda‘s last messages to his four friends, which ultimately helped create closure for them & for the story.

#Park Seon Soo // Twitter name: Doctor (played by Hero JaeJoong)
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This is the first time I’ve watched JaeJoong act… & my verdict? Not too bad. I mean he’s no Eita or Tamayama Tetsuji & it did take him a little while to warm up but I think he did manage to bring out the earnestly positive side of the character pretty well. In the more dramatic moments however, being amongst the cast that he was, JaeJoong‘s young acting experience did peer through but I could forgive him because it wasn’t all that unwatchable, & well, he’s puuruty.

In a way I saw his character as the comedic relief; not in the HAHA!ROFL~~^O^;;;;; way per se, but many of his moments tended to help lighten the drama of the series. His sometimes goofy carefree courage, esp when he was around his love Haru, would send a smile or a chuckle or two to your lips. He did act like a boy, in fact, at times I did feel like Haru was kinda babying him, but nevertheless, Doctor was most unexpectedly endearing. This boyishness, his young-at-heart spirit, his brotherly loyalty, his all-out attitude to love- it felt unnatural to dislike him (although I may have cringe when we found out he was texting  Haru, like, 20 times a day; gaaaaahhh.)

But that’s not to say that Doctor didn’t have his obstacles though because you know he did. Being a Korean native, & constantly not achieving sales goals at work, he was early & often the pitiful target of cultural discrimination in his workplace. His seniors would frequently slur his existence in the company, humiliating him in front of his deriding colleagues. In episode 1, we see Doctor‘s boss slowly pour a full glass of water over his head. He stands there, dead-still & silent, copping the disesteem. I’m sure he could retaliate but the risk of losing his job when he has a younger sister to support through school, is not worth it in his eyes. He places his sister above everything else. So he swallows his pride & soldiers on. And I’m not sure if it was intentional, but the part vacant, part dolly-like look in Hero‘s eyes really worked in letting you feel his helplessness.

Outside of his work environment though, Doctor‘s Korean nationality doesn’t have that much of an impact, except for his apparently not-quite-as-authentic Japanese speaking skills (not that I could tell.) Even when he was at home w/ his sister, they spoke Japanese w/ only the odd bouts of Korean, which, unless I missed something, I did find rather unusual given that they had both grown up in Korea. But I guess, practice makes perfect, ne?

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My favourite Doctor moment came in episode 10 when he & Haru were just about to board the plane to go to Korea (Doctor had to return to his home country to take over the family business as his father was ill- how Korean, you may say.) Nakaji finally faces his true feelings for Haru, flees to the airport (Dear Eita, why are you always sprinting after Juri-chan?) & rocks up at the departure gate, screaming out “I love you!” to who was currently Doctor‘s girlfriend- w/ Doctor standing RIGHT there. No question Doctor conducted himself w/ alot of grace here. I mean, if I were in his shoes, I would’ve found it a steep challenge not to give the other guy a taste of what I was thinking in the form of a fist. Instead, Doctor handles the situation w/ the maturity you would expect from the heir to an affluent family business. He simply looks at Haru & says, “Let’s go.” This was the moment I first looked at him as a man (this & also in the brief glimpse of Doctor back home in South Korea, where all of a sudden he is walking w/ a slightly arrogant swagger. I may have thought he was going to break out in a dance xD)

As the seasons pass, we see how time heals but the memories live on, & through the thick & thin of it all, true friendships remain.

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In the final few scenes of the series, we are taken forward in time (a year maybe?) Peach is now working fulfillingly in a clothing store & Haru has become a full-time teacher. Doctor returns from South Korea to meet w/ the two girls at The Emotion Cafe. They anticipate Nakaji to join them but he doesn’t come. As much as Haru wanted to see him after these years, she’s okay when he doesn’t show. And while Doctor still likes Haru, he realises & accepts it is something that could never be & instead uses all his energy into making his family business thrive. You can see how much they’ve grown up, how far they’ve come along & how honesty has liberated their lives- even Linda‘s.

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Now to get this off my chest- the single biggest beef I have w/ this series is how they marketed the series as a Twitter drama but in truth, the social network only acts as a communication mode btwn the five friends- it never really shapes the way the story unfolds at all. W/ all due respect, I do wonder if Kitagawa Eriko gets the whole Twitter phenomenon, its power as a social network (or if she even has an account at all) because the essence & the importance of Twitter to popular culture isn’t truly reflected at all in SnN. This series could’ve been made 5yrs ago & instead of Twitter, it could’ve been MySpace. Or it could’ve made 10yrs ago & instead of Twitter, it could’ve been ICQ. Or it could’ve been made 500yrs ago & instead of Twitter, they could’ve used calligraphy ink on papyrus scroll paper & have their messages delivered to one another via intelligently trained, mystical pigeon. Or it could’ve been made 20000yrs ago & we could all be fist-banging our pectorals, howling like… er… okay, you get my point (山P def would’ve been cast as the main lead for the latter scenario ^^;;) What I am trying to say is, I wish they hadn’t highlighted the Twitter theme so much before the series even began & just let Kitagawa Eriko‘s style do the talking. She isn’t ever here to produce stories specific to one passing phase of time & that is why so much of her work is so loved & celebrated all around. I know I will be able to watch SnN years down the track & still feel akin to the story of these five young friends.

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I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been drowned by the poor v. average camerawork of the TVB series of late (TVB series are a family staple in my household; to us, it’s like food xD) but as I was watching SnN, I was taken away by the stylistic vision of virtually every single frame. The director crafted many camera angles that often made us feel close, giving us views that were as if you were standing in the scene yourself, watching them w/o them knowing. To me, the way we viewed this series was a juxtaposition of Nakaji‘s personality- we were keeping a close eye on them yet keeping our distance; we were watching over them quietly.

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The sweeping bars during the transition of scenes added a nice stylistic touch, perhaps suggesting the contiguity of time. I also admired the intricate use of light & shade. It seemed like no matter how many shadows there were, there was always a strong focal source of light. Almost always during the day scenes, we could see the sun. And it felt like the sun was always purposefully positioned. At night, we would either be faced w/ the delicate moodiness of the moonlight or be warmed by the glow of fairy-lights & fireworks. They say a picture tells a thousand words. I think the phrase is not only about the subject but also of the emotions of the person behind the picture. A picture reflects the personality of the photographer just as much as it captures the spirit of the subject.

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And now, please, can I mention the soundtrack already?

Fully, this is probably my favourite Japanese dorama OST, ever (do yourself a favour & check out my sidebar for a playlist of some of the tracks used in the series ^_^.) And that’s not “favourite” as in iHEART 嵐!嵐!嵐!嵐!嵐! *Arashi for Dream*, this is stuff that my music senses genuinely respond to. My shoulders sway from side to side, my head bops from soft to hard &, heavens, give me my Grammy, I am singing! *dusts off karaoke mic*

From the music to the lyrics to the timing of when the tracks are played, the OST to SnN is truly indispensable. To rip a passage from cr1st3ll3 over at her blog, the soundtrack really excels in using “distinctly English lite-rock music that accompany almost every scene in the series. Most of the soundtrack against which the story of SnN unfolds brims with melancholic charm, featuring raw, husky vocals and minimalist, acoustic instrumentals. Most of the songs seem like quite obscure and dated to the casual listener, yet lend a well-rounded contrast to the “modern-day Tokyo” setting, as if reminding us that the story of love, loss, and friendship that holds the many threads of the drama together is truly a timeless tale.” <<< I am definitely nodding my head.

The opening theme, Great DJ by the British indie pop duo The Ting Tings, spins off the hippest vibe you could possibly ask for. You know that this is a youth drama. Speaking of which, I’m glad that they cast who they cast as if the guys & gals were any older, it would’ve felt too forcefully contemporary. If they were any younger, it would’ve felt too pretentious. Or, heaven forbid, if there were any Johnnies, it would’ve been LMAO outta my chair.

A few of The Ting Ting‘s other songs; Be The One, Keep Your Head & That’s Not My Name, also feature in the series, as well as Stereophonics‘s awesome Maybe Tomorrow. But perhaps my personally most favourite choice of English song used in SnN is the classic Hard To Say I’m Sorry by Chicago. This is soft rock ballad work at its best. I feel like the lyrics so easily express the mood of the series, esp that of our main character, Nakaji. The loneliness, the longing, the distance… in fact, I would go so far to even say that they should’ve named the series word for word after the title of this song.

Then again, if that had happened, maybe we wouldn’t have had these two brilliant Japanese tracks (no, surely they could’ve made it work :)))

Every now & then a song comes along, you hear it & you’re like, “Yep, I’m gonna be playing this for the rest of my life.” And in SnN‘s case, they’ve given me TWO such treasures.

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Hard To Say I Love You by Weaver & Sunao ni Narenakute by Sugawara Sayuri <3333333333

To give you an idea of how much I like the song, the track from Weaver is officially my phone’s ringtone (bare in mind my last 6 tones have been Arashi &/or other JE *coughs*Akanishi “KAT-TUN no more” Jin* tracks ><;) I would dedicate an entire page to how perfect these two songs are for the series but I don’t think I would be able to dissect it any better than what cr1st3ll3 did HERE (´ー`)

All I can say is, they need to release the CD now so I can download buy it & forever relish in the memories of Eita+Ueno Juri.

Which brings me back to right where I started. Seriously, can I be greedy & ask for more?

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Decision made! A “My Favourite Nakaji+Haru Moments” post shamelessly coming soon your way <3

———
[ LOVE to Querbeet Subs for making it possible for me to watch SnN. Pictures from the series used in this post were capped by me from their hardsubbed files ^_^ ]





Sunao ni Narenakute [episode 1]

16 04 2010

The pilot episode aired last night!!

And I was totally streaming it. Do I understand Japanese? Er, no. I tend to do this for the first episode of any series that I really, really want to see but then spend the next few weeks (months even, fwoosh) agonisingly waiting for the release of subtitles to save my life. Sometimes it’s worth all the freaking buffering (& buffering & buffering……),  sometimes it’s not.

Was it worth it this time around?

Heck to the yes! They’ve already marked off some key checkpoints for me. Here are some quick screencaps to prove what I’m saying>>>

[✔] Piggyback ride :))
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[✔] Totally wanting Eita. Oops, no, sorry, that was wanting Eita‘s tee. Ahem.
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[✔] Guy bandaging girl’s wound xDD
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>>> Close up *fangirl giddiness* (seriously, someone grate my knee now ><;;)
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[✔] Swoop-in kiss!
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OMG, wait, is that a shower scene..??
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[✔] Oh yes it is (*^_^*)
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[✔] And if we get a little closer, there’s some interesting looking ink (w/ some special meaning perhaps?)
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[✔] I’m thinking some kinda dark-ish backstory ^_^
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[✔] The soundtrack is awesome, too.

Sub me now please ^^;; <3





You, me & a date w/ FujiTV (April 15 @10:00pm, baby)

28 03 2010

Seriously, someone tell me why I am so excited (@_@)!!!!!!

^^It’s only a 15s CM, but hearing Eita & Ueno Juri‘s voices here is already making me go nuts.

Somehow, the final shot gives me the same youthful freshness vibe as Orange Days ^_^ Good much? And am I right to say that our golden couple have matching hairstyles?? I’ve also been doing some thinking (because I am a thinking woman lol)- does a Twitter focused plot mean that physical Eita & Juri-chan on-screen together time will be significantly limited??? Noooooo!!! I don’t wish to spend half my time watching people text/type/bash keyboard keys!!!

*deep breath* I guess we can only wait & see. But I totally have faith in Kitagawa Eriko (no pressure at all, girl) ^_^

Photobucket[ My eyes are so happy xDD ]

Ooh, by the way, the fifth cast member is none other than Hero of DBSK fame (who, my gawd, is freakishly pretty in  the CM.) I haven’t seen Heaven’s Postman (& probably won’t get around to in the near future, for that matter) so I’m not really sure what to think of him as an actor. But time will tell. If anything, at least he will be serving as some pretty nice eye candy.

Now, shitsurei shimasu, I’ll be getting back to my Facebook ;O





Maybe I should start using my Twitter account

26 02 2010

OMG I think I could cry.

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Eita & Ueno Juri are reuniting!!! Yatta!!!!!!!!

They will be in the upcoming FujiTV series together, Sunao ni Narenakute, which translates to Hard To Say I’m Sorry.  Set to air in April. The plot revolves around 5 youths & the whole Twitter phenomenon. Also starring Tamayama Tetsuji <3 & Seki Megumi. Fifth cast member yet to be confirmed. Fingers crossed for someone else who really tickles my fancy. I’m willing to be thrown into total drama frenzy overload *holds breath*

And to make things even better, the writer is the awesome Kitagawa Eriko. I am so ready for some pure magic.

Read more about it here while I run off & do a little Twitter dance (^^)//