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Road ~Taiwan Express~

Road ~Taiwan Express~ (路~台湾エキスプレス~/路~台灣EXPRESS~) is a drama produced with collaboration with two countries’ public broadcaster – Japan’s NHK and Taiwan’s PTS, themed around Taiwan’s High Speed Rail (HSR), and its accompanying love story between a Taiwanese and a Japanese. (A comprehensive information can be found at J Drama.)

This mini-drama, which lasts for 3 episodes, is broadcasted until the end of this month. Apart from watching the story regarding the birth of Taiwan’s HSR, its love and human drama that transcends national border, it also showed the awesome sceneries of Japan and Taiwan, especially the HSR.

The Taoyuan HSR station board. (2019/12/27)

Due to COVID-19, plans for Taiwan for this year had to be postponed. However, that doesn’t hinder the feelings and urge to travel to there! I have fond memories riding on the HSR to travel north-south in the island. Definitely comparable to that of Japan’s shinkansen bullet train.

Cannot wait for the last episode scheduled to be broadcasted this Saturday. Of course, I cannot wait to go to Taiwan again!

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Parallel Tokyo: a devastated metropolitan

I grew up watching disaster movies, like The Day After Tomorrow and Sinking of Japan. Watching Sinking of Japan, I wondered how life is like in a disaster prone country like Japan. Having being living in it for quite some time, I feel that no one can always be adequately prepared should a disaster strikes, like the recently happened Typhoon Hagibis (commonly known in Japan as Typhoon No. 19).

NHK General TV is currently showing a drama series depicting a devastated Tokyo after a huge earthquake struck the metropolitan. The first episode of the series showed hours after the earthquake hit metropolitan at a few minutes after 4 p.m. at December 2, a fictitious television station and its reporters trying their best to report what was going on in Tokyo.

I was lucky to reach home early to watch the premiere episode at 7:30 pm. My first impression was its realistic depiction of a television station should a disaster happened. It instantly reminded me of Sinking of Japan.

A tweet promoting the drama series.

Titled “Parallel Tokyo”, this series depicted a disaster stricken Tokyo where it suffered a large magnitude of earthquake that rivaled 2011’s Great East Japan earthquake and its coming aftermath.

Trailer for the drama series “Parallel Tokyo” showed in the morning show Asaichi.

There is a 70 percent chance that a major earthquake will hit densely populated central Tokyo in the next 30 years. Millions of lives could be affected by collapsed buildings, power outages and other major damage.  … Official estimates show that about 23,000 people could be killed, and nearly 2 million homes destroyed, if a magnitude 7.3 earthquake strikes central Tokyo.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/backstories/614/

Echoed by the statement above, various Japanese agencies are doubling their efforts to prepare for the disaster, including conducting drills, educating the public and raising awareness in general. 30 years might sound like a long time, but it might happen at anytime. For the Japanese, they may have no where to escape should a disaster with this scale happened. I can’t help but wonder, will the scene where the Japanese people seek refuge at other countries in the movie Sinking of Japan happen in the event a large scale disaster occurred? I sincerely hope not.

The drama series “Parallel Tokyo” premiered today at 7:30 pm and shows a new episode everyday throughout the week at 10:00 pm until Thursday (December 5). After episode 1 finished broadcasting, the announcer made remarks that I strongly agreed upon:

We’ve decided to broadcast this drama during this hour (7:30 pm time frame). Many people will find shocking scenes in this drama, including children who might be scared while seeing these scenes. Shocking as it may be, we felt that it is better to expose these now, and to facilitate in creating an atmosphere where family members can begin discussing how to take cautionary measures and making preparations in the event this disaster strikes.

If you are in Japan, and are interested in things related to disaster and disaster mitigation, I recommend this drama and its related documentary, scheduled to be broadcast in this Saturday (December 7). Be sure to turn on your television’s closed captions (CC) for the subtitles.

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English

He Who Can’t Marry

Recently, I watched “He Who Can’t Marry” (結婚できない男; Kekkon dekinai otoko; translated in Chinese as “结不了婚的男人”) on Netflix, a drama produced in 2006, which tells the story of a rich, lonely architect bachelor who is in his 40s named Shinsuke Kuwano, and the characters surrounding him, including a doctor, a car’s salesperson, the main protagonist’s subordinate, a pug (!), and more.

This is a comedy/romance drama, which is lighthearted to watch. I chuckled and at times, laughed at almost every episode of this show. From moments where Shinsuke enjoyed his private time in his apartment listening to the classics while pretending to be a conductor to the chit chats and happenings between the characters and topics surrounding Shinsuke , as well as events surrounding Kaneda, Shinsuke’s rival architect (including moments where Shinsuke periodically checks Kaneda’s website for updated happenings surrounding him), I enjoyed every moments of the show.

“Oh! Kaneda updated his site.” while browsing through the contents

After a tiring day, or just feeling stressed and needing a hearty laugh, or just searching for a classic Japanese drama, I can wholeheartedly recommend this show. Being a new fan of this show, I also found a site dedicated to showing the places and set in the drama, which are mainly based in Tokyo. Bookmarked to visit the places someday.

Its sequel, “The Man Who Still Can’t Get Married“, which aired in October 2019, doesn’t look too promising. Airing new episode at Tuesday every night at Fuji TV, I watched episode 3 of the show and found it somewhat disappointing (Japanese TV drama nowadays are a bit of lackluster, in my opinion).

With that, I wrap up this post with Shinsuke who’s very particular with his living style — enjoying his steak alone.