Living Today For Tomorrow

Reviewed by: sukting

July 23, 2012

Rating: three

How long
11 episodes

Yumi is a normal office worker. Out of the blue, she is fired from her job. A few days later, wearing kimono, she rushes to an interview for a part-time work at a publishing company. She is at a friend's wedding that went on a bit longer than expected and she has no time to change from her kimono.

In another room of the publisher, popular comic book writer Reijiro Sakurai is having an editorial meeting with some staff. He is planning to lock himself away at a hot spring for the next three months to concentrate on his next project. Yumi stumbles into the room, looking for somewhere to change out of her kimono. Sakurai comments that if Yumi is to join him, he will not mind being away for so long. Will things work out between them as they stay in her brother's workplace?

Story/Introduction on characters
1. Takeuchi Yuko as Kurasawa Yumi
She becomes Sukurai's assistant without knowing why. Wanting to help Koichi, she volunteers to work with Sakurai at the resort. She is half-hearted on the job but later becomes serious to find out his likes and dislikes under Misako's advice. Seeing her to be so last minute, Misako wants her to be more presentable before she leaves for work. When Sakurai finishes his drawings, she has to hand deliver them personally to Tokyo.

Seeing her so careless and also making noises at her quiet resort, she frowns. Yes, indeed, she learns a lot from her. She is touched by Sakurai and makes sacrifices for him. He must get the prize in order to get recognition and she is willing to resign if he gets to work overseas. Seeing the resort in trouble, she seeks the help from the ex-staff to help. She also gets the staff to write to previous guests to request them to stay in the resort.

Slowly, she likes her job but still resigns in the end to look for a better one. Takeuchi is very lively and positive towards life– it is hard not to like her in this drama but why always the same sweet person again repeatedly? I think many are already sick of this.

2. Abe Hiroshi as Sakurai Reijiro
He is a popular comic book writer who is 14 years older than her. He is very temperamental and burns his works when he isn't happy. Yet, he burns Misako's resort flag by mistake and that can't be replaced as it is done by her late husband. To remind himself of the mistake, he hangs the torn flag in his room and pushes himself to come up with more ideas in order to prove his ability.

Misako has never read his work before but in order to understand him, she reads his comics and finds him really good at it. Yet, he is very inexperienced in love. After being hurt once, he doesn't know how to love again. He is talented but he plans to escape as he runs out of ideas.

He will not eat anything raw and prefers burgers. So the poor Yumi has to go out frequently to get for him. Inspired by Yumi, he does better and wins a prize. He is grateful to her for her help. He is interested in Yumi. He is anxious to look for her in the forest when she gets lost on the way to deliver his work to his workplace despite hurting his leg the day before.

He carries her all the way back despite his discomfort and even discloses that he can't live without her when searching for her frantically. At first, he decides to change an ending to his comic but later decides against it due to popular request and also hoping to keep her job. However, Yumi encourages him to make the closure as she thinks that it is the best ending.

But you will tear your hair when both part by shaking hands to return to their job positions back in Tokyo. Abe does well but isn't as good as in other dramas. He looks as a lunatic at times with the pencil in sketching and comes across as a spoilt child.

3. Nogiwa Yoko as Yuzuhara Misako
She is the owner of the vacation resort. She wants perfection and will not hesitate to fire staff who does not meet her expectations. She wants all to dress in the kinomo like her. To her, guests come first. Funny as it can be, they return to help her when the resort runs into loan trouble. She teaches Sakurai to be professional and in return, he uses his money to buy over the shares to prevent the bank from getting the resort. This actress is excellent as the stern and thoughtful senior.

4. Nishijima Hidetoshi as Yuzuhara Kazuya
He is Misako's son who isn't interested to take over the motel. He prefers to work as a DJ but later helps in the resort. He is often at odds with his mother. It is so hilarious – Misako doesn't know that he loves Yumi and keeps guessing who the person is.

He doesn't know why Misako prefers to stick to tradition ways of running it. He only knows how sentimental the guests are when they return to stay with them. He admires Yumi's vigour at work and learns from her. Slowly, he falls for her and declares that openly at the shrine. That makes her blush and doesn't know how to face him. Sakurai has a good laugh initially but later he can't help feeling jealous.
You will be amused to know that this actor acts as Takeuchi Yuko's love interest in the 2012 drama Strawberry Night again. Is the director the same person who thinks that they pair well?

5. Jinnai Takanori as Kurasawa Koichi Yajima Kenichi
He is Yumi's elder brother who works as a chef. Sakurai doesn't dare to try at first as he has a weak stomach and he dislikes the smell. His skills make Sakurai change his mind on raw food. He dotes on Yumi as she grows up in an environment with unhappy parents.

And he can't imagine if Kazuya or Sakurai becomes his brother-in-law. He begs both guys to take good care of her. His love interest is Megumi but he has no guts to tell her. Yumi and Sakurai have to help him out instead. His acting is horrible! Although he tries to conceal his usual comedian ways, he fails! The drama works better without him.

6. Miyaji Mao as Isaka Megumi
She sells fish to the resort and is a single mother staying with her in-laws. Her in-laws own the fish stall. Her husband dies and she concentrates on bringing up her son. She goes for match making but finds no suitors. She is touched when Koichi offers to stay with her in-laws after their marriage. They hold their wedding at the resort with the staff as guests. All are happy for them.

7. Shibata Rie as Yoneda Yoshie
She works at the resort and is Sakurai's fan. She is overjoyed to get his autograph but is crushed to know that he has a ‘girlfriend'. She plans to make him sign more so that she can sell them for a high price. She loves to gossip and can be clumsy to make mistakes.

8. Takahashi Katsumi as Koizumi Eikichi
He is a tour guide and helps to organise tour groups to stay in the resort. Seeing how business is bad, he tries to help them out. He is touched when Koichi invites him to his wedding, treating him like his relative. He has wanted to help the resort but he doesn't have enough money.

9. Shintani Mayumi as Kano Midori
She also works at the resort and is dismayed when Kazuya shows interest in Yumi. She likes him all along. She is jealous of this and totally ignores her. Yumi is puzzled without knowing why. She also reveals Sakurai's whereabouts to the press and they get plenty of harassment. The supposedly quiet place is no longer quiet now and Sakurai has to walk out to settle this himself to tell them to stop.

10. Takizawa Saori as Kamogawa Satsuki
She is Yumi's friend and both are fired together. She hopes that she will work with her after she finds a new job. To her surprise, she prefers to stay with this comic company which is not her first choice.

11. Masu Takeshi as Muraoka Toshihiko
He is the comic company editor to give Sakurai the freedom he needs. He panics when Sakurai can't give him the work on time. Sakurai's works are very popular and he can't afford to miss printing an issue. A boy's parent complains of violence in Sukurai's comic and he tries to keep the matter rest for him. Needless to say, he gives in to Natsuko as she is too hot for him to handle.

12. Brother Tom as DJ Saito
He is Kazuya's buddy who also works at the radio station. He is also excited to see Sakurai and wonders why he isn't thrilled. He will be on cloud dnine if Sukurai stays at his home but Kazuya isn't as he is not his fan. In fact, he is regarding him as his love rival and treats his works as dirt.

13. Sakurai Atsuko as Oohara Natsuko
She is the company secretary and is displeased that Yumi can follow Sakurai for so long. She tries to seduce him every now and then. Yumi laughs upon seeing how he hides from her. She often chides Yumi for being incapable. When that fails, she turns to Muraoka instead.

14. Shiozawa Hidemasa
He is the assistant chef and is helpful when Koichi isn't around. He has learned the ropes from him and is very steady to be able to cook well even though there is a blackout in the resort by a storm. Misako is steady to bring candles to every room and get the guests to come to the hall to have mass dinner together. Koichi manages to return on time and both chefs create a great feast for the guests. It is also to make up to a guest as Yumi accidentally ruins her birthday cake when collecting it.

15. Yamaguchi Kaori
He is Megumi's son who longs to have a father. That is why he is so close to Koichi to want him to be his father. He will get disappointed if he does not get to see him. He once runs away from home and all search everywhere in vain for him. Koichi is the one to know where he is – by the river that they often go.

Most favourite character
Yumi, she is caring to everyone and tries her best to improve herself. She blurts this out while arranging a session to bring everyone together when drunk. All are touched and treat her better.

Most hated character
Natsuko – she likes to throw her weight around. She is a sexy kitten and knows who to depend on.

This is just an average drama about some people in a vacation resort. There are conflicts, challenges, and obstacles. It is like a daily routine on how people resolve the issues. Lesson is always learned at the end of an episode. There is nothing special with overacting from the supporting cast. The story line is quite routine but I must say that Takeuchi Yuko and Abe Hiroshi did a good job. This show shows the changing culture in Japan where there are differences in traditional and modern way of life.

But I still think the drama does not give them enough chances to show their ability. They will fail if they think it is enough to depend entirely on Yuko's smiles. Abe Hiroshi disappoints me as his typical humour runs out. Goldfish - that's what Takeuchi Yuko is referred to by Abe Hiroshi in the drama but I don't see the resemblance at all. Does she look like one or dress like one?

Some might feel that he is too old for her but I feel that he is just right. He is mature in the end and is no longer impulsive. With his tall build, he is like her bodyguard. Luckily, Izu onsen town for scenery saves the day. It is breathtaking and I believe many will wish to go there for holiday after watching it.

Also, I nearly crush my television remote at the ending – how can the two be going nowhere and are so formal after staying under one roof for so long? The producer is really lousy in story telling.Ending in a handshake is the worst ending that one can expect for. I believe many will dislike this ending as much as I do as there is no meaning conveyed.

If you say that it is a romantic story between the comic artist and his assistant, it is not so as she only helps him in his work. It is more like the love between Koichi and Midori instead since they hold a wedding. I really don't know what the director is up to – they are neither friends nor lovers. So what are they?

Sukting's ratings :
On acting : *** (Scale of 5)
On story : *** (Scale of 5)

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