We at The Japan Times have described “Terrace House” on multiple occasions as the ultimate show to help you unwind after a long day. That’s mostly because there’s none of the intense, emotionally triggering drama that other reality TV shows tend to rely on.
Once in a while, our reverie is interrupted with “incidents” — the “girl fight” between Risako and Haruka, the “beer bottle incident” with Toshiyuki and, most recently, the double date in Kyoto. Now, the show’s much-lauded sense of serenity, the very thing it has been lauded for by critics overseas, has been tossed aside with the “costume incident.”
The house is still dealing with the fallout from a disastrous weekend trip that Hana, Yume, Toshiyuki and Kai went on during the previous episode. The biggest takeaway from their two days in Kyoto, besides Toshiyuki coming off as objectively creepy due to his treatment of Yume, is the fact that Kai has been unmasked as a bit of a freeloader. The trip was not a good look for the boys, with Toshiyuki displaying some pretty problematic behavior and Kai coming off like a bit of a freeloader.
Hana and Yume get Vivi caught up on what went down, including how Kai pitched in next to nothing for accommodation and meals. Toshiyuki shelled out, but Kai’s big contribution seemed to be chipping in ¥200 for purikura photo booth snapshots — whose total cost was ¥500.
The women are beyond annoyed, so they march downstairs to the living room and grill Kai. They praise Toshiyuki for his financial contributions — “Boss (Toshiyuki) can flex,” says Yume, but is Kai listening? He sits there and smiles, adding that he had fun, but he doesn’t mention money other than to say that Toshiyuki “has been very kind.”
The next day, Vivi tries to get involved to make sure Kai understands that his reputation has taken a hit. She also has concerns about his finances. When Vivi bluntly asks how he is doing, Kai reveals that he has almost no money left in his bank account.
When pressed to explain why he’s broke, Kai says that he’s working a part-time job, but he only works enough to get by. The rest of his days are spent going for walks or working on his stand-up act. Vivi points out that she has only seen him leave the house once or twice to go to work.
Speaking of his stand-up, after shaving his head and practicing his material, Kai is ready to go back on stage at the comedy club where he previously bombed. He wants to show that he’s gotten better and, more importantly, that he is funny.
Seconds into his act, though, he falls apart. Kai starts his routine with a bit about his mother telling him that he’s too sensitive, which he proves by turning away from the crowd and tearing up. The bewildered audience hoots and laughs nervously as Kai tries to pull himself together. He attempts to pivot by telling a joke about strawberry milkshakes that we heard in a previous episode, but after messing up the opening line, he thanks the audience and walks off the stage.
Meanwhile, Kai is not the only one crying. Hana is back at the house in tears because somebody didn’t notice her laundry in the washing machine, gave it another spin and ruined her wrestling costume. The cost? About ¥100,000. The culprit? Kai.
Hana shows Yume the ruined getup and the group message in which she asked who messed up her outfit, to which Kai didn’t even bother to reply. “Seriously unbelievable,” Hana says. “How disrespectful can you be?”
When everyone gathers in the kitchen to hear how Kai’s set went — he simply says it was fun — Hana walks in and slowly builds up to the titular “costume incident.” She becomes a regular Sherlock Holmes, trying to lure the culprit into confessing. Vivi makes the perfect Watson, asking questions that flush out the case.
Then Hana launches into wrestling mode, cracking her neck before unleashing a verbal beatdown on Kai. She screams at him for being ungrateful, lazy and useless. All the while Kai sits silently as Vivi tries to calm down Hana. “You only think of yourself in everything you do,” Hana yells.
And Hana doesn’t stop there. She goes even further by saying that Kai’s comedy career is the biggest joke of all: “You say you do stand-up because you want to make people happy, but you can’t even bring happiness to the people closest to you,” Hana says. That remark has to feel like a knife twisting in Kai’s heart, especially after the brutal night he’s had so far.
In between insults, Hana tells both Vivi and Toshiyuki, who have been doing their best to interject and ease some of the tension, to shut their mouths. Finally, she gets up, smacks Kai’s hat off his head and storms upstairs. Ladies and gentlemen, the match was a total knockout.
As the dust settles, we’re all left wondering what Kai should do next. Seeing as how he’s drained physically, emotionally and financially, it looks like there is not much he can do besides being Hana’s punching bag.
As far as “incidents” go, this one definitely beats the “tempura incident” from Episode 2. Man, that was a simpler time.
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.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.