|

Share house lovers; “Tonbi”; CM of the week: Open House

A “share house” is a relatively new concept in Japan: unrelated people sharing a rented residence. The new drama series, “Shea Hausu no Koibito” (“Share House Lovers”; Nippon TV, Wed., 10 p.m.) puts the inevitable romantic spin on it.

Shio (Asami Mizukawa) is 30 and unmarried, probably because she’s so low-key. Forced to move because of her job, she takes a room in a share house with some strangers, including the outgoing clown Kawaki (Yo Oizumi).

In episode two, Kawaki prods Shio into making a move on Yukiya (Shosuke Tanihara), the convenience-store clerk on whom she has a crush, but Yukiya, who is even more low-key, doesn’t pick up on her interest. Meanwhile, Shio’s brother, who’s convinced she’ll never marry if she stays in the share house, hatches a scheme to get her to leave.

The title of the drama series “Tonbi” (TBS, Jan. 27, 9 p.m.), based on the bestselling novel by Kiyoshi Shigematsu, refers to a Japanese expression about a tonbi (kite) giving birth to a taka (falcon), thus describing a person of distinction born of a humble family.

Akira (Ken Sato), a graduate of prestigious Waseda University who works at a major publishing company, was raised by his father, Yasuo (Masaaki Uchino), a hard-drinking, crude-talking truck driver, after Akira’s mother died. The drama is presented as two parallel story lines, one in the present and the other chronicling Akira’s difficult childhood.

In episode three, Akira befriends Kensuke, the son of his colleague, single mother Yumi (Kazue Fukiishi), who finds Akira’s interest odd, not knowing that he identifies with the little boy.

CM of the week

Open House: When we last saw actor Yuji Oda he was romancing fatty foods in a Pepsi ad. This week he’s reduced to playing a dog named John whose owners are fretting over the cost of real estate in Tokyo while he snacks on dog kibble out of the bag. The dad shoves him away from the dining room table, so he settles on the couch in front of the TV and sees an ad for Open House, a home-search service. He barks to his masters to get their attention but they’re just annoyed. “John,” says the mom, “house!,” and points to the door. Of course, what she means is “dog house,” which is where Oda’s career seems to be headed.