Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Drama review- Zenkai Girl

Devoted to becoming an international lawyer, Ayukawa Wakaba is full of ambition. Her hard work pays off when she lands a job at an international law firm, but to her disappointment, the first prestigious assignment that is given to her is to babysit the boss' 5 year old daughter, Hinata. Wakaba loathes kids and nursing, but unwillingly takes on the job as she is fixated on wealth and success. One day when she goes to a preschool to pick up Hinata, she meets a man named Yamada Sota. Sota is a man without higher education, wealth, or a future goal, someone that Wakaba absolutely cannot stand, the complete opposite of her ideals. Once again, contrary to her will, she ends up looking after Hinata and a few other kids along with Sota. Despite being exhausted from all the first-time experiences in child care, Wakaba begins to realize what is truly important to her. A heart-warming comedy about work, relationships and love. (dramawiki)

Ayukawa Wakaba (Yui Aragaki) is the typical career woman, or rather wannabe career woman. The typical career woman would have to be her boss, Himejima Sakurakawa, who effortlessly manages to make huge deals and is a super achiever, and even manages to buy her daughter expensive things. Her daughter Hinata, whom Wakaba looks after, is actually a very mature kid, who can do everything on her own, so she hardly needs Wakaba's help. She has a bit of a princessy attitude, but is never annoying or tyrannical. In fact, she even schemes to help Wakaba with her love life and provides guidance and advice throughout the show to Wakaba (talk about reversal of roles). I really liked Hinata's character. She even has a cute little crush on Sota's (Ryo Nishikido) son, as they go to the same play school.

I found the drama very addictive and watchable, especially because I have been looking for this kind of drama for a long time. It is lighthearted, has enough romance to satisfy the viewer and also has touching and emotional scenes about parenting and life in general.

Wakaba's character is a very strong one, unlike the typical feminine, weak heroines. She has been fending for herself since she was young and as a result, is extremely materialistic and looks down on those with 'no achievement' like Sota. She is apalled to think that someone would be a stay-at-home dad even though her own father was one (I didn't really get this), but slowly warms up to Sota and the other dads and realizes the importance of family. As a result, she even reconciles with her father. Wakaba is very image conscious and struggles with the mind-heart conflict. This made her seem very real a women in her position would struggle with the thought of whether to marry for security and money or love because of her life circumstances. Of course, in the end love triumphs (expect a happy ending) since this is a rom-com drama after all. Her personality is a bit unlikeable at first, but even then, she is very hardworking and persevering and her personality slowly becomes much better.

I really liked the interaction between the kids as well, who were much more mature than their parents, for sure. They spot Wakaba and Sota's budding romance even before the leads and plot ways to get them together. The drama has funny parts, but I wouldn't say that it is a laugh-out-loud funny drama.

As the synopsis accurately says this drama is a heart-warming comedy about work, realtionships and love. I would definitely recommend it as I enjoyed it very much.


Happy ending
Strong characters

A bit unrealistic

NOTE- Images do not belong to me

Book review- The Professor and the Housekeeper by Yoko Ogawa

Professor and the Housekeeper by Yoko Ogawa was originally written in Japanese but has been translated into English. I for one, am glad that so many Japanese novels are being translated into English. I have always wanted to read Japanese novels but I don't know how to read Japanese.

'He is a brilliant math Professor with a peculiar problem—ever since a traumatic head injury, he has lived with only eighty minutes of short-term memory.

She is an astute young Housekeeper—with a ten-year-old son—who is hired to care for the Professor.

And every morning, as the Professor and the Housekeeper are introduced to each other anew, a strange and beautiful relationship blossoms between them. Though he cannot hold memories for long (his brain is like a tape that begins to erase itself every eighty minutes), the Professor's mind is still alive with elegant equations from the past. And the numbers, in all of their articulate order, reveal a sheltering and poetic world to both the Housekeeper and her young son. The Professor is capable of discovering connections between the simplest of quantities—like the Housekeeper's shoe size—and the universe at large, drawing their lives ever closer and more profoundly together, even as his memory slips away.' (amazon.com)

The synopsis on the back of the book that I have reads a bit differently. The one line that attracted me to the book was the last line of the synopsis. 'With each new equation, three lost souls forge an affection more mysterious than imaginary numbers, and a bond that runs deeper than memory'. I wondered, is it possible for a bond to run deeper than memories? Aren't bonds built on memories? I was intrigued so I wanted to read this novel.

This novel is not a romance novel, in fact I don't think it fits neatly into any genre. In some parts, when the professor lectures about mathematics, it can actually seem like you're reading a non-fiction book. In other parts, the story is quite tender, a human drama.

Gentle and touching are good words to describe this book. The language is extremely simple but very beautiful and brings about the story and emotions in the book very clearly. Yoko Ogawa's writing style is an asset to this novel.

The story revolves around the housekeeper, her son 'Root' (because his head looks like a square root) and the sixty-four year old retired mathematics professor, who has only eightly minutes of memory. Even though this is quite a disturbing condition, in the story it seems just normal.

Throughout the story, the housekeeper, her son and the professor become closer through mathematics, such as when the professor describes the relationship between the housekeeper's birthday and his watch (they are amicable numbers). The housekeeper feels that there is a 'connection' between them through these numbers. The professor also acts as a grandfather-sort-of figure for her son Root.

I thought that the story was very simple and beautiful. The book is pretty thin compared to the standard length of novels.

I would recommend this book for those interested in deep and profound books, with simple language (like the Little prince).


Interesting characters and realistic relationship building
Makes mathematics seem like a language and relationships between numbers like poetry

Even though it was a gentle story, it lacks a bit of emotion. I never even came close to crying.

Book review- Salvation of a Saint by Keigo Higashino

I have recently become a Keigo Higashino fan after reading his book the Devotion of suspect X and watching the Galileo drama series. Salvation of a Saint is another novel in the Galileo Series that has been translated into English. The third full novel in the series, A Midsummer's equation will be translated in the future, I think. I can't wait!

The basic premise of Salvation of a Saint is the murder of businessman Yoshitaka in his apartment. He was poisoned after his wife left to meet her parents. Once again, we see detective Kusanagi and professor Manabu (aka Galileo), but joining them this time is rookie cop Utsumi Kaoru. I have seen Kaoru's character in the drama where she was the one who is always seeking professor Manabu's help rather than Kusanagi, and received more screen time. I was very happy to see her in this book. She adds a much needed 'female' dimension to the novel.

Like the previous book, most of the book consists of talking to suspects, visiting places and tracing leads connected to the time. Galileo comes up with a few theories that need to be discarded in the beginning. I really liked that he was failing and trying again, rather than everything just coming to his as a solved mystery at the end of the book.

From the beginning of the book, the murderer is known, so the focus is on proving how the murderer committed the murder since the murderer has an airtight alibi. However, I felt that the motive for murder was pretty weak.

The characters are also a bit boring when compared to Devotion of Suspect X where I found Ishigami's character quite intriguing. Ayane's character is among the better ones but I really liked Utsumi Kaoru's enthusiasm and drive. She trusts her feminine intuition completely, but is not illogical.

Overall, this book was a very solid mystery novel that will keep you turning pages. This is also in the same genre of 'intellectual mystery' where the detective figures out a very complicated method of murder with just their brains. I really like these types of mysteries. They are somewhat similar to Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes but set in modern times.

Galileo 2  drama is going to be airing in spring, by the way and I can't wait!



Great writing style that keeps you turning pages
Interesting plot thatw ill keep you guessing
Great conclusion

Characters are not very interesting
The whole situation seems a bit 'mundane' and 'ordinary' rather than 'spectacular'

NOTE- Images do not belong to me and have been taken from Google image search