After 40 episodes, “Terrace House Tokyo 2019-2020” has gone on hiatus to protect the cast and crew amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s still unclear when, if or even how the show will return, but we’re filling the “Terrace House” void by looking back at this season and selecting some of the most memorable moments from the show, whether they delighted or shocked us.
#5: Kaori and TKG (Alyssa)
Kaori didn’t kick up a lot of drama while she was in the house. In fact, I’m pretty sure there were some episodes in which she barely made an appearance. For me, though, she was one of the only cast members I could actually see myself being friends with. She was like the reasonable, calm older sister of the house, playing mediator to Risako and Haruka, and doing cool things like collaborating with fashion brands and showing her artwork at a trendy gallery.
When she had her first taste of tamagokake-gohan (raw egg mixed with rice and soy sauce), a classic Japanese comfort food also known as TKG, she had a mini revelation over how good it was. It was delightful to see her get excited about something so basic, and points go to Ruka who tried to impress her by taking her on a date to a restaurant that specializes in the dish in Episode 10. Did I go to that restaurant after seeing it on the show? You bet I did. It was delish.
#4: Speaking from the heart (Tom)
Tupas was quite a character. A somewhat awkward personal assistant who worked for a famous Japanese actor, the thing I’ll remember him for was his emotional breakdown in Episode 28. There have been plenty of teary scenes in past seasons of “Terrace House,” most of which involve someone leaving, offering their sincere thanks or, in one special case, rejecting a Costco date.
Tupas was able to elevate the shallow conversations we often hear on the show to make some pretty deep observations, my favorite being “Are we worth being loved?” Fueled by a couple of cocktails, he cried over his fear that no one would ever truly love him because he wasn’t capable of showing love to others. Tupas and Vivi had an honest heart-to-heart about his insecurities before he realized that he had been beating himself up for no reason. It was a rare and vulnerable moment where I had to stop myself from ugly crying while watching it on the subway.
#3: The “date me” bombshell (Alyssa)
OK, I’m cheating a bit, because I’m combining two moments in one entry, but Risako served a one-two punch in one episode. First, she made the bold move of letting Ruka pierce her ears with a needle. Then, she followed it up by blurting out “date me” to Ruka after a few giggly rounds of a card game. Even though I had been warned beforehand, it was still one of those moments that had me yelling at my screen.
What made these scenes even better is that they happened during Episode 4, when the housemates were still in the early stages of getting to know each other. Risako had me convinced she was smitten with the aspiring Marvel hero but then, in the following episodes, she was like, “Ruka, who?” and ended up moving out of the house with — but not officially dating — smooth crooner Kenny.
#2: Peppe achieves his dream (Alyssa)
“Terrace House” has featured a lot of career-minded people who work really hard to accomplish their goals. Peppe, an Italian manga artist, made it clear that he was dedicated to his dream of getting his own work published. He even sacrificed time with his crush, Haruka, and the other housemates to achieve a career milestone that meant a lot to him. In Episode 25, after experiencing a minor emotional blow by being rejected by Haruka, Peppe headed to a local convenience store to pick up copies of his newly published manga. Holding the result of his hard work for the first time, he took a moment to savor his success. Then, unable to contain his joy, he proudly told the cashier that he was the author of the comic she was ringing up. She gave him a huge smile and told him she’ll be his “biggest fan.” Peppe may have moved out of the house without a girlfriend, but he definitely stole a few hearts in that touching scene.
Honorable mention: Kenny, Kaori and cash (Tom)
Before we get to our No. 1 moment of the season, there was a quick scene in Episode 5 that may have gone unnoticed by most viewers, but definitely made an impression on me. Kenny the singer and Kaori the illustrator have a pleasant lunch date during which they discuss a taboo topic: money. Dig around the internet a bit and you can find horror stories about Japanese workaholics who die at their desks, but these two had a different view of the corporate world. Kenny talked about making good money writing songs for commercials, and Kaori said she was never drowning in her work. It was such a breath of fresh air for the show to devote airtime to a conversation between two accomplished professionals who seemed to be simply content with their jobs and didn’t feel the need to push themselves to their physical limits to reach a career goal.
#1: That sushi date (Tom)
One of this season’s juicier moments was Ryo and Emika’s glamorous Ginza date in Episode 24. The sushi dinner had so many layers — humorous and scandalous — and I still think about it. The very first scene of the date had me laughing out loud as Emika popped out of the subway expecting to knock Ryo’s socks off. Instead, he barked at her for not being on time — clearly someone was hangry. Later on, Emika broke the cardinal rule of Japanese television: If you eat food, you have to scream “Oishii!” (“Delicious!”)
The best part of the episode, however, happened online afterward when amateur TV sleuths analyzed each scene to see if the pair hooked up out of sight of the cameras. “Terrace House” fan threads turned into messy conspiracy boards as the detectives posted screenshots of clocks in the background (“They left the restaurant around 8 p.m. but got home at midnight!”) and Emika’s outfit (“She wore earrings when she left, but not when she got back home!”). It was indeed a night to remember.
From our readers:
In our last recap, we asked readers to vote on whether Shion’s tea ceremony date with Vivi was “a gaijin-hunting mess” or “a sweet date.” Well, 46.5 percent of the respondents felt that Shion’s attempt to woo Vivi with a cultural experience was a mess, while 42.3 percent said they couldn’t fault Shion for whipping up a sweet date. But, almost everyone seemed to be in agreement that there was no spark between the kimono-clad couple.
We also asked readers to tell us their favorite moments from “Terrace House Tokyo 2019-2020.” Some of you were moved by Ruka’s personal growth, which culminated in his farewell speech in English. And whether it was at Tokyo Dome or in the kitchen, others were thrilled by Hana’s fighting spirit. Peppe came up quite a bit as a favorite member and overall, the dates the housemates went on (with a few horndogs pointing out the kissing scene between Vivi and Ryo) were the most memorable parts of the show so far.
The Japan Times is posting weekly articles on “Terrace House Tokyo 2019-2020.” Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section. “Terrace House Tokyo 2019-2020” is on hiatus due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Past episodes of the show are available on Netflix and Fuji TV on Demand (FOD).
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