There wasn’t all that much love triangle drama this week and I am so okay with that. Instead, we got an eyeful of Shohei, Kaori dealing with a mini existential crisis and the appearance of an advice-dispensing silver fox.

But first, guys, is Shohei a low-key amazing chef? He’s always whipping up dishes in the kitchen and impressing his roommates. Maybe that could be another one of his jobs.

After flipping out a bit over Shohei’s amazing pasta, the roommates gather in the living room for a council meeting to discuss Ruka’s dreams of being a Marvel superhero. The obvious step would be to learn English and take acting classes, but Ruka is hesitant to even go to an acting workshop with Shohei and Haruka. Kaori steps into a mothering role towards Ruka yet again with the most mature professional advice: “You seem to think you can achieve success without any hardship. Without challenges, we can’t grow. We’ll never achieve success that way.”

Later, in the men’s bedroom, we get a glance of Shohei’s softcore porn film script (the title of the movie translates as “Virgin Concerto”) while Kenny and Shohei discuss next steps with Risako. Kenny figures he needs to be more assertive. I mean, isn’t that what everyone keeps telling him?

The next evening, Kaori comes home a little tipsy from post-work drinks with some friends. While I was hoping we would get some fun banter with a lighter side of Kaori, it turns out she’s dealing with a case of impostor syndrome and having doubts about her artistic talent. She reveals to her roommates that she’s been growing in popularity lately and getting a lot of illustration jobs, but she doesn’t know how much of that boost is based on the quality of her work. She sent an email to a former college professor asking for their take and got back a brutally honest response, so obviously she’s down in the dumps. Later on she confides in Kenny that the Beams clothing brand is only printing 50 shirts each of her two designs and she took the paltry order as a sign that they’re not really invested in her talent.

For a change of scenery, the crew is making okonomiyaki pancakes by the pool. Everyone agrees the food is tasty, but the most important thing we learn is that Kaori isn’t interested in a second date with Ruka. She doesn’t want the “cool” guy Ruka aspires to be, but the guy who tries hard to achieve his goals with a sense of purpose.

And oh my god, I didn’t expect the show to go there, but we actually see Shohei filming “Virgin Concerto,” and there is a lot more nudity and, ahem, action than we usually see on “Terrace House.” So if you’re watching this episode on your commute to work, hide your screen! Although, to be fair, Shohei seems like a respectful costar.

Back on the roof of romance, Risako and Kenny agree to go out on a date where they can dress up. They also decide they need to help out Ruka because he’s clearly floundering with his career and love life. Downstairs in the kitchen, Haruka lets a hint of bitterness show when she observes that “they’ve been up there for a while!”

The next morning, a beautiful spiritual guide for Ruka in the form of a gardener appears at the house to build a new deck. The owner of Kamakura Loco Mart & Garden is no stranger to “Terrace House” audiences — this is the same carpenter who has made appearances on the show since the first season, and gave Arman a job and words of wisdom back in the “Boys and Girls in the City.” With a new sense of purpose bestowed on him by the silver-haired guru, Ruka decides to cook himself a meal for the first time. The poor kid adorably fails at even making pasta (Who puts an egg in the pasta water?! I can’t blame Haruka and Kaori for snickering behind his back), but at least he’s trying.

When we cut to the commentators, their first reaction is total shock over Ruka’s original recipe for broccoli pasta, carbonara style a la egg water. They completely skim over Shohei’s porn scene and dive straight into describing him as a role model Ruka can look up to, unlike Kenny who is still having trouble expressing his feelings and actually making a move.

Final thoughts

  • “Terrace House” always takes it’s time getting to the first kiss of the series, but I don’t think ANYONE was expecting Shohei’s softcore porn scene to be it. This is a show where the most non-PG content is probably the commentators’ innuendo that has a tendency to veer into raunch (although Seina and Noah’s make-out session in the “Opening New Doors” series is a close contender). So it was surprising that we barely heard a peep from them about Shohei’s nude acting gig.
  • I’m not rooting for any of the possible romantic configurations at the moment, so a career-centric episode that revealed more of Kaori’s vulnerability and Ruka’s potential for growth was a nice break. I am definitely starting to hope for a new face to shake things up a bit.
  • As soon as I heard the Jack Johnson song play as we went it the porch wisdom scene, my mind went straight to Arman and, lo and behold, we were introduced to the gentleman Arman worked for in Kamakura. It made me want to see what our favorite Hawaii native and aspiring firefighter has been up to since his “Terrace House” days.

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 and Fuji TV on Demand (FOD) and air on Fuji TV on Tuesdays.

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