Konbanwa! It has been a long time coming but the international popularity of Netflix’s “Terrace House” can no longer be denied. The show is a hit, and we’re still reeling from the Karuizawa-based “Opening New Doors” season and all of the drama that ensued there. (Kissing after vomiting! Fights about socks! Loud snoring!) Now that the show returns to Tokyo with a brand new cast, The Japan Times is hitting the intercom and moving in with weekly recaps of the show.


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The first member to step into the swanky apartment is Kaori Watanabe, an illustrator for Fudge magazine. Kaori seems to be the most down-to-earth cast member and my gut tells me that she doesn’t have much interest in creating a brand or chasing fame — she’s there for the experience.


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Next up is Shohei Matsuzaki, an actor who recently wrapped up a stint in Taiwan. Shohei has an air of mystery about him, returning to Japan just in time to join the show. Also, his biography on the official “Terrace House” website was previously completely blank, adding to his mystique, but has since been updated with his likes and dislikes. (His favorite food is curry!)


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Haruka Okuyama is another actor, perhaps hoping to broaden her fan base and appeal. It’s “Terrace House” law to have at least one model or actor on the cast at any given point, and we are now blessed with two. However, Haruka proves that she can do a lot more than strike a pose as she takes the wheel when the group goes out shopping for groceries and confidently cooks dinner for everyone.


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Out of all the housemates, musician Kenji Yoshihara seems to be the most guarded. He hasn’t divulged too much about himself yet, besides his hope to “be forthcoming” about his love life and start a family.


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Viewers have seen plenty of snowboarders, surfers, kickboxers and trainers appear on “Terrace House,” but Risako Tanabe is breaking the mold as the first person to do parkour. (That time Arman got hit by a car while skateboarding doesn’t count.) Risako doesn’t seem to have a shy bone in her body, so she’s sure to give us plenty of memorable lines.


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And finally Ruka Nishinoiri has already won over viewers by wearing his heart on his sleeve. Ruka has a tendency to turn red whenever he talks to women, a condition that caused the female members to squeal, “kawaii!” He might not be as confident or experienced as Shohei or Kenji, but his bashfulness could easily become part of his appeal.

True to form, the opening episode was a slow burn that left me wanting more. Once the introductions were over, the new roomies explored their bedrooms, discussed their dating preferences and went shopping for food. The drama only picked up at the last possible moment when Shohei asked out Kaori in front of the other women. Kaori looked genuinely shocked by his bold move, later wondering out loud if the outing was going to be a date. It was a satisfying final scene and a great reminder that “Terrace House” is indeed back in action.

The Japan Times is posting weekly recaps of “Terrace House Tokyo 2019-2020.” Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section. New episodes of “Terrace House Tokyo 2019-2020” stream on Netflix on Tuesdays, on Fuji TV on Demand (FOD) from June 11 on Tuesdays, and will air on Fuji TV from July.

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