This week’s episode of “Terrace House” starts off on a sad note as Kaori gets ready to move out to pursue her career in London, leaving Haruka and Ruka as the last original members still living in the house. To mark Kaori’s departure, Ruka does what he does best — invents a new dish and prays that it tastes OK. This time it’s noodles with fried tofu and tarako (salted cod roe) sauce. “I hope you remember this dish,” he says earnestly to Kaori.
A person leaving always leads to the most exciting part of the show — a new member moving in. We’re teased with images of pink braids flopping around in a wrestling ring before it’s revealed that the new addition to the house is 22-year-old Hana Kimura, an Indonesian-Japanese professional wrestler whose personality is as bright as her hair.
I jumped to conclusions and assumed a big personality would be joining the show — a la Seina Shimabukuro from past seasons — but instead Hana comes off as very bubbly but polite. When she first arrives, she tries to draw attention away from herself by asking Peppe questions about his background, but the conversation keeps turning back to her and her unique career. Eventually, she caves and shows them a photo of her covered with fake blood in a wrestling match and obviously makes a big impression.
While Hana acts very sweet by using polite Japanese and washing the dishes, there is one subject that she gets a little aggressive about: love. Working in a female wrestling league means she never gets to meet men, so “Terrace House” is her big chance to finally fall in love with the perfect guy.
She already has her dream dates planned out: aquariums, picnics and wearing a yukata (light cotton kimono) to a summer festival. Her only issue is finding Mr. Right, but first she has to figure out the dynamics of the house.
When she talks to Ruka and Emika, she asks if they have a crush on anyone, but both of them deny having any fuzzy feelings. The big grins on their faces are pretty suspicious, though. Then, at Hana’s birthday party, she uses her birthday wish to make everyone close their eyes and raise their hand if they have a crush on someone. Peppe is the only one who does, or is at least the only one brave enough to admit it.
Afterwards, Hana whisks Peppe to the roof where she tries to get the dirt on him, but he stays quiet, only saying that it’s a very feminine woman. That’s not helpful, Peppe.
But wait, there is still one man Hana hasn’t met yet: Ryo, the basketball player who moved in last week. Hana looks him up on Instagram and is amazed by his looks and his goatee. Haruka later piques Hana’s interests by telling her that Ryo is a very active and “industrious” man.
The hype builds and builds, until Hana finally gets to meet Ryo after he finishes a basketball camp. Her giddiness is obvious as she describes her job as a professional wrestler to Ryo, and her nervousness surfaces when she invites him to her next match. If anyone in “Terrace House” has a crush, it’s definitely Hana.
Later, while playing video games, Ruka calls Hana out about her clear infatuation with Ryo. “You were sparkling with excitement,” he says. Hana confesses and admits, “He made my heart race.”
Right now it looks like there is not so much a love triangle in the house, but a love tangle. Try to follow me on this: Hana likes Ryo. Confirmed. But Ryo also had a great first date with Emika last week. Emika had one so-so date with Ruka (who obviously likes her), but she admitted to her friends that she finds Peppe attractive. Meanwhile, Haruka is catching Pokemon pretty frequently with Peppe, who admits that he has a crush on someone but won’t say who it is. Heavy exhale.
Now the big question is who will end up happily in love, or will everyone chicken out and end up alone?
Does Japan have wrestle mania?
Professional wrestling really hit its peak in Japan in the 1970s and ’80s, but the sport isn’t ready to tap out just yet thanks in no small part to charismatic athletes like Hana. The Japan Times staff writer Kaz Nagatsuka reported last year that the New Japan Pro-Wrestling league took in nearly ¥5 billion from sales revenue in 2018, up dramatically from ¥1 billion in 2017.
“The promoter’s success has been primarily driven by an influx of female fans, with almost 40 percent of crowds at New Japan Pro-Wrestling events now estimated to be women,” according to Nagatsuka.
The internet has also changed Japanese wrestling by bringing in viewers from around the world. More than 100,000 people have signed up to the league’s streaming service, the report said. It looks like Hana has a long career of crushing it ahead of her.
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.