Now that we have said arrivederci to Kenny and Risako, it’s time to say buongiorno to two new members of “Terrace House,” an Italian manga artist and a young romantic with a leather cap.
We kick off the episode with Kaori’s swanky art showing in Harajuku. She’s practically living out an Audrey Hepburn-esque fantasy with her show wedged right next to a Tiffany & Co. store and people are lined up around the block to get into the gallery. Haruka, Ruka and Shohei drop by to take in Kaori’s work, admiring one sketch in particular that was inspired by a cute New York moment.
Back at the house, Ruka and Haruka talk about the weather and what would normally be a snooze of a conversation topic actually makes me feel bad about how completely clueless Ruka is. Anyone who’s lived in Japan is familiar with typhoons, but the wannabe Marvel hero asks Haruka if typhoons are “the same as rain.” Haruka has to clarify that they in fact involve rain and wind. “Oh yeah, the windy kind,” he says. Thankfully, Kaori walks in dressed up in a cute frock to distract us from that depressing moment. She’s come home from a reception to celebrate her art show, which is a big milestone for her. She looks so proud of her achievements and she tells Haruka she’s excited to take the next steps in her career, which hopefully involve working with the fashion house Hermes. I support a dreamer who puts in the necessary effort to pursue her goals.
The next day, Haruka, Shohei and Ruka attend an acting class that turns out to be a lesson in stunt fighting. Shohei takes on the role of a guy who has slept with his friend’s girlfriend, and Haruka hilariously gets into a tussle with her sister over a missing dessert. The teacher instructs Ruka to play a punk who owes money but he can’t stop grinning even while he’s getting pummeled. The teacher is unimpressed but concedes by saying, “Maybe that’s a character choice.”
While we move on to a restaurant in Harajuku, the show refuses to move on from Yusuke. Avian, another alum from “Aloha State,” shows up to listen to Yusuke talk about how he was rebuffed by Haruka. Avian, bless her, uses her measly minute of screen time to advise Yusuke to cancel his plan to see fireworks with Haruka if he’s only going to get hurt, but Yusuke says he doesn’t want to go back to Hawaii with regrets. So, it seems Yusuke isn’t going away any time soon.
Meanwhile, Shohei and Ruka discuss their acting class. Ruka sounds frustrated that Haruka has been so hard on him about his career and Shohei asks him an important question: “What do you value most in life?” For Shohei, his focus is on his family and working just enough to support them, so he’s been disappointed that the women in the house put so much emphasis on men’s “professional accomplishments.”
Next up, we are properly introduced to Emika Mizukoshi, a 21-year-old university student who is not a model on the side. Everyone is a tad awkward and nervous about welcoming a new member. While preparing tacos for lunch, Kaori, Ruka and Shohei try to get to know Emika better. We learn that she doesn’t go to class very often, she wants to travel abroad, she hasn’t had a boyfriend in a year and a half, she tends to date older men and she likes being the chaser, not the one who is chased in a relationship. Oh, and she’s an Aquarius and her blood type is A. Discern from that what you will.
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Afterwards, Ruka takes Emika up to the roof but doesn’t succeed in creating a romantic mood. If anything, Emika looks turned off by Ruka getting spooked by a moth.
Later that night, while three of the original members are chilling on the living room couch, the doorbell rings. Ciao! It’s a very enthusiastic Giuseppe Durato, but we’re free to call him Peppe. Peppe makes the cliched mistake of forgetting to take off his shoes at the entrance (much like Arman’s introductory gaffe in “Boys & Girls in the City”) but he makes up for it by saying that the apartment is so spacious and fancy that he thought he was back in Europe for a moment. We find out that Peppe is working on a soon-to-be published rom-com manga series that’s loosely based on his life, the difference being that his protagonist is nerdier, better looking and less sexually experienced.
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When Emika comes home, the gang gathers in the dining room for welcome drinks. Kaori gets down to important business and says she would love for Peppe to cook for all of them, which Peppe warmly agrees to. Shohei gets closer to becoming my favorite snark master as he tells Peppe that Ruka is a bit of a pasta chef as well. “His signature dish is broccoli pasta,” he says. Ruka turns red with embarrassment but Peppe has his back. Carbonara started out as dish made out of leftovers, too, says Peppe. Ruka’s broccoli invention could similarly become a staple dish 100 years from now. After that sweet save and a quick (and slightly vulgar) Italian lesson, Shohei and Peppe seem to have become fast friends and I am thrilled with the lighter, sillier atmosphere the new members have brought to the house. Risako and Kenny who?
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.