Haiku reflections on Japan, International or other matters

Wastelands

Wastelands – physical

or emotional  – are not

pleasant to witness

 

Three more dramas I have watched since my last post are だから荒野 Wasteland, 恋愛時代  Love Generation and それでも生きてゆく I will still live on.

All three dramas were really good. Love generation was the only one with some comedy element, I will live on was grim, Dakara kouya was interesting.

Wasteland is the translation of 荒野.  Dakara generally means ‘because (… is the situation)’ so it translates as ‘because my life is a wasteland … (I’m looking for a new life)’ which fits the plot of the story and the description of her family life. She ends up in a city, Nagasaki, which at one time was described as a wasteland due to the atomic bomb.  For her this means her life can turn good because Nagasaki has turned into a beautiful city (or turned back into one depending on how it looked before the atomic bomb) as you will learn in watching the film (I’ve never been and I must say it does look really beautiful).  The way Tomomi’s husband and especially her youngest son speak to her is sad. I was shocked on hearing the son’s language but there must be plenty of such brats around the place, with mothers who put up with them (thereby making them worse).  There’s also the culture, I’m sorry to say, in Japan that treats Japanese boys like little princes (this is not exclusive to Japan of course).   Do they change their ways toward their mother/wife?  Even when she leaves so suddenly they don’t take her seriously but eventually they learn they’ll have to.   Watch it and see.  A parallel storyline in this drama is Nagasaki and how a survivor of it is saddened by how little young Japanese people he meets want to know about Nagasaki and Hiroshima, thinking it’s history and that he’s living in the past.  The person who takes care of him is also a bit of a suspect character, creating a subplot, but he is well-meaning.

The plot in Love Generation which had some comedic elements (mostly through the roles of supporting characters) was interesting.  A divorced couple (Riichiro and Haru) still on speaking terms vow to find each other new partners.  I had a feeling it would turn out how it did, not to call it predictable, but was surprised all the same.   The potential matches for both of them were an odd mix I must say – between obsessed, not open with the truth, slightly desperate to find partners (though their situations were slightly difficult and gave them little choice, their desperation would be off-putting to most people) – but an interesting mix.

The drama I will still live on worked on a grim plotline.  A young elementary school girl is murdered by one of the neighbourhood junior high school kids and the drama focuses on how the victim’s family, still struggling and wanting revenge, copes in meeting members of the offender’s family, 15 years after the murder.  Hiroki and Futaba come from the victim’s and offender’s family respectively and fall for each other.   I found it disturbing that not only was the offender remorseless (his emotional state was a wasteland you could say) but the offender’s family, while deeply sorry for the victim and the victim’s family, kept calling the murder ‘an incident’ as if it was something a lot less serious.  That said, I felt sorry for that family as well.  Why should a whole family suffer for the deeds of one of their own?   Hate mail, anonymous phone calls, vilification by the media, bullying of the younger siblings at school, the siblings or parents finding it hard to find permanent work.   The drama thus explores the level of responsibility parents are attributed for the behaviour of their kids, even adult kids, which affects not just the victim’s lives but their own lives.     Is it fair? Unfair?   I have read interviews with one of the parents of a US high school massacre and also the massacre in Norway a couple of years ago which came to mind while I was watching this.   I’m not a parent myself so I can’t comment from their point of view.  However, the offender is the offender at the end of the day and cannot truly blame anyone else for their actions, regardless of tough childhoods or whatever reason they give.  The actor Eita, from Orange Days, Last Friends, and Best Divorce, stars in this drama as Hiroki, and is quite good in it.  Hikari Mitsushima, who I don’t think I have seen before, plays Futaba and is also very good.

 

Well, that’s our drama fix for this week.  I’m off to watch some rugby now.  It turns out Eddie Jones is a bit of a pre-match winder-upper and maybe not so likeable.   He’s bringing the English team out of their depression but there are other teams I’d prefer to see successfully brought out of a depression. France for example, a team which is also recovering well under a new coach and some new blood as well (and I’m glad to say the player I mentioned before was brought on to the field last night for some action and did his bit as required, hope he gets some more).  Ciao for now

 

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