When I started watching Japanese dramas about four years ago I made a special effort to remind myself that this was not a realistic representation of Japanese life. For the most part, it was easy. I was pretty sure that time didn't stop just before death, nor that university lecturers were solving clever mysteries. Even programmes that talked about everyday issues, such as Anego or At Home Dad, seemed too exaggerated to be taken seriously.
So now I've just started watching this show, and I find myself thinking "Is this how things really are?" This drama follows the life of a single woman in her forties as she buys a house outside Tokyo, and how this effects her life, work and friendships.
It's very well written and acted. I can't quite express how nice it feels to have a show which would rather have small things happen naturally than big things be forced into the story. The subplots are quirky enough to be unexpected, but small enough to be easily accepted. For example, a daughter inviting herself to her mother's o-miai meeting for a prospective husband. Or setting up fake profiles on dating agencies to see how popular your real profile is in comparison.
Plus, it's very refreshing to have a series about people my age talking about the kind of things that people my age talk about. I recognise some of these conversations from my life, despite the different culture in which they're set. Koizumi Kyoko is a lot of fun to watch and completely different from her lead role in Shokuzai. The rest of the cast are good too, but to list them would take too long. I'm yet to find a bad performance. This is a very enjoyable show, and I wish I'd started watching it sooner since the torrents are quite old now, and not as quick as they could be.