TV | 'Terrace House Tokyo 2019-2020' Recaps

Ep. 14 'Just a Moment, Please'

by Tom Hanaway

Staff Writer

It was a week of surprise twists, tearful goodbyes and shocking news, but before we get to the good stuff, we have to go over one exhausting subject: Ruka.

Again, Ruka is going on about his dream of being Spider-Man. Not becoming a comic book artist or even an actor, just becoming a real-life Spider-Man. Haruka is fed up hearing about Ruka’s childish plan and even mentions how she met a third grader who had the same dream as him. It’s cute when a child says it, but it’s not cute when a 20-year-old says it. She also chastises him for doing next to nothing to reach his goal. Ruka isn’t taking acting classes, didn’t land a job at that Marvel-themed bar and hasn’t even bothered to learn English for his Spidey debut. Ruka counters by saying that he’s learning English by speaking to the tourists that come to his store, but he doesn’t even know what the words “it” or “please” mean.

Speaking of Haruka, she’s still hanging out with “Aloha State” alum Yusuke. The two go on a friendly outing grabbing some bubble tea and strumming on ukuleles. While the date is very sweet overall — Haruka did mention before that she wanted to learn how to play the uke — it looks like Yusuke is out of chances with Haruka and out of airtime on “Terrace House.”

He confesses he’s romantically interested in Haruka and wants to go to a fireworks festival with her before he goes back to Hawaii. Haruka, who has previously said that Yusuke is her type and she could see herself dating someone like him, shoots him down and says they can go, but only as friends. Yusuke strikes out with yet another model slash actress. (I’m looking at you, Lauren Tsai.)

Meanwhile, Kenny and Risako were once again the source of drama. The man of the hour is days away from moving out of the house, so now is the time for Risako to finally decide whether or not she wants to date him. She talks to Kaori and Haruka who seem to be all for her going out with Kenny, but for some reason Risako still isn’t ready to take the plunge.

Everyone gets together for Kenny’s goodbye party, and it’s pretty emotional as he is the first member to leave the house this season. During the shindig, Risako pulls Kenny aside and asks to speak to him on the roof because she has some news.

Risako blathers on about how she doesn’t have an answer for him on whether she wants to date or not, but she does have one important announcement: She has decided to move out tomorrow morning, the same time as Kenny, so that she can spend more time with him. Kenny is obviously taken aback by the news but is thrilled that Risako wants to be around him more. But isn’t spending more intimate time with someone you like considered, well, dating? Whatever.

The house is shocked by the news. Ruka and Kaori can’t believe what they are hearing, Haruka begins to cry while Shohei remains typically unfazed. The next morning, the unofficial couple depart as a melancholy version of Chvches’ “Graves” plays them out. As sad as this double whammy of a departure is, it does mean one very good thing: New people are moving in.

As usual, we only get brief glimpses of who will be moving in next. Taking Risako’s place is a young woman (in a leather newsboy cap!) who tells her family she’s looking for love. And in the closing scene we see an Italian man in a bedroom full of manga telling his mother that he’s moving into “Terrace House.” This is a big twist as we have only had one other non-Japanese person on the show, which was Lauren Tsai back in the “Aloha State” season. Now I’m dying to know: Is he a Japanophile? Will there be any language barriers? And, most importantly, what will he cook for everyone?

What is ‘My First Errand’?

During this week’s episode, the commentators have a field day making fun of Ruka while Tori-chan tries her best to paint him in a good light. Everyone agrees that he’s somewhat of an airhead and immature, and Yama-chan compares Ruka going to the Marvel bar and asking for a job to an episode of the hit Japanese reality show “My First Errand.”

For those who don’t understand the reference, “Hajimete no Otsukai” is a popular TV program that has been airing in Japan since 1991. The show features a camera crew following a young child, usually around the age of 4, as they try to complete their first ever chore. The task can be as simple as mailing a letter, buying flowers for Dad or picking up Mom’s tennis racket from the repair shop.

Audiences eat this show up, as it’s a reminder of just how safe Japan is and also how brave and precocious kids can be. There’s also plenty of hilarious footage of the parents back home pacing back and forth as they wait for their kids to return. There’s even one episode where an anxious mom watches her child with a pair of binoculars from the balcony.

The episodes always end on a high note, of course. The TV crew that follows the child gives the kids pointers on where to go and makes sure they stay safe, and Mom and Dad always burst into tears when their little ones come back with shouts of “you did it!”

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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