Sunao ni Narenakute Episode 1 Recap
Romanized title: Sunao ni Narenakute
English title: Hard to Say I Love You / Hard to be Honest
Broadcast station: Fuji TV
Broadcast dates: 15 April – 24 June 2010
Cast: Ueno Juri, Eita, Kim Jaejoong, Seki Megumi, Tamayama Tetsuji, Nakamura Yuichi, Igawa Haruka, Fubuki Jun
Theme song: “Hard to say I Love You ~Ii Dasenakute~” by WEAVER
Insert song: “Sunao ni Narenakute” by Sugawara Sayuri
Synopsis: 4 strangers meet on Twitter and become tweet-buddies. They decide to take the next step and meet each other in person to try to make their online relationships real ones. No one is what they seem, and they (at first) keep their real lives and jobs (except for Haru) a secret. Haru likes Nakaji who is her best friend on Twitter, Doctor likes Haru, Linda likes Haru’s friend Hikari (Haru brought her along to the meeting) and Nakaji has a girlfriend(?). This will definitely not be a simple story.
Wow. I wasn’t expecting a happy-go-lucky, lighthearted drama, but nor did I expect this. After only one episode, lives are entangled, relationships mangled, and you know there’s going to be more drama and pain to come as the show continues on with the next ten episodes. You know this drama, besides being geared towards people’s relationships with one another, will also showcase how different people appear to be online versus what their true reality is. Why? Some people are more likely to create a persona online than to reveal their true selves. Others use the anonymity of being part of an online community and show their truer, darker selves. Look at all those netizens who remain anonymous while posting harsh and vicious comments about others and celebrities.
This series opens up with Nakaji (played by Eita) running through the streets. He reaches an apartment and desperately tries to get the person to open the door. He happens to look down and notices a pool of blood spilling from under the door (shivers). He says that they didn’t realize when it all started just what was going to happen or what real love was. They all had no idea just how hard it could be. Then we rewind to the beginning of the drama. You know, some of these dramas that start out near the end and then rewind end up being completely different when you get to that point in the actual airing of the drama as you learn what you saw was misleading. I wonder how this will work in this drama?
We then meet Haru (played by Ueno Juri). She is a new teacher celebrating her first paycheck. She and Nakaji carry on a conversation on Twitter while walking around Shibuya, always near each other without knowing it. Haru buys a new bag to celebrate while Nakaji buys a camera that he’s had his eye on for a long time now.
We are then introduced to Linda (played by Tatayama Tetsuji – I loved him in Nana). He works in a magazine office and is working on a story about people forming relationships via social media. He has set up a meeting with is three Tweet-buddies to observe and gather information for his article. I’m not very happy about that, but I have a feeling that Linda will really value them versus just using them for work. He reminds them of the meeting that night. Haru replies that she is going as does Nakaji.
Little do Nakaji and Haru know they are sitting in the same coffee shop. Haru gets up and accidentally bumps into Nakaji, spilling his coffee all over his lap. Mortified, Haru tries to help him clean up the mess and accidentally touches him in a not-so-good place (I’m sure you know which one). He calls her a pervert, upsetting the innocent Haru. He walks off and Haru chases after him yelling that she isn’t a pervert. They then both tweet the incident, complaining they met the worst person ever (funny when you find out they are the closest tweet-buddies).
Haru goes to her best friend Hikari (played by Seki Megumi – I’m not too familiar with this actress) and asks her to go to the meeting with her. Hikari isn’t interested, not understanding why Haru uses Twitter, nor why she wants to meet these online friends of hers. Hikari does cave in and go with Haru in the end. Hikari hopes that Haru can meet a guy and actually have a relationship for the first time in Haru’s 24 years. Haru puts on a lot of makeup for the meeting saying she doesn’t have the luxury of Hikari’s good looks to impress people. You know that Haru must be crushing on one of her Twitter friends to be making herself up so thoroughly. Any guess as for who she’s doing this?
Linda is the first of the group to arrive. He tells his boss not to worry that he will take care of everything. He then spots a man wearing a red rose (earlier Linda joked about using a red rose as a signal). He gets off the phone and approaches the man asking him if he is “Doctor.” Doctor (played by DBSK’s Jaejoong) replies in the affirmative saying he wore the rose like instructed (this amuses Linda). Linda is surprised that a young guy like Park is actually a Doctor. Yeah, if they are all relatively the same age and Haru is 24 and Doctor is 24, that is quite young by standards. Usually 26-28 is the average age I imagine for a full-fledged doctor.
Soon all of the tweeters (minus Nakaji) are gathered. They make their introductions. Linda works as an editor in a magazine, Doctor works as a doctor (obviously, ne? but still a lie), Hikari says she works as a cabin attendant (another lie), Haru states that she is a high school teacher (much to Hikari’s disappointment as she wanted Haru to lie as well). After the introductions, Haru is disappointed. She wants to meet Nakaji who she feels she just might be fated to fall in love with. Ah, what is that phrase? “Koi no Yukan.” It doesn’t have a direct translation, but it is the belief that when you meet someone that you are destined to fall in love with them. This is not to be confused with love at first sight. You are not instantly loving this person, but believing you will inevitably come to love them in the future.
Linda looks around and spots Nakaji and brings him over to the group. Haru is looking at a menu so neither notice each other right away. But she is horrified when she hears Nakaji mention he was late because he had to buy a new pair of pants thanks to some perverted woman. Nakaji introduces himself as a cameraman (not a lie, but he glorifies his job, he doesn’t really work for major magazines). He then guesses who everyone else is. He mistakes Hikari for Haru, but Hikari introduces Haru to him, pulling down the menu in front of Haru’s face. Nakaji is shocked to see the perverted woman from earlier is really Haru.
Doctor wishes to commemorate their first awkward in-person meeting and has the group gather for a picture. Really, it isn’t complete since he isn’t in it, but someone has to take the picture. He takes it and then apologizes saying he needs to try again (the first picture turned out perfectly fine). The group poses once again, but this time Doctor zooms in and takes a picture of Haru alone (aw, he has a crush on her, too bad she only has eyes for Nakaji despite their earlier misunderstanding). I do have to say for this being Jaejoong’s first drama, he’s doing very well so far.
The group leaves the restaurant. Doctor asks everyone to go karaoke with him. Linda and Hikari agree readily but Haru and Nakaji turn him down in tandem. Doctor is disappointed, but goes with Linda and Hikari. Nakaji says let’s go to Haru who turns him down. Then they both head in the same direction. It is eerie just how close these two people have been all of this time without knowing it. They actually don’t live very far from each other.
Hikari makes a comment to Linda about Nakaji and Haru getting a hotel room after their first meeting. This annoys Doctor who says that there is no way that Haru is that kind of woman. Hikari says it was just a joke (truthfully, a rather tactless joke). Doctor is embarrassed, but he gets a call from work and has to rush out, leaving Linda and Hikari alone. Now those two do end up in a hotel room at their first meeting (nothing happened, though as Linda is currently suffering from impotence).
The group leaves the restaurant. Doctor asks everyone to go karaoke with him. Linda and Hikari agree readily but Haru and Nakaji turn him down in tandem. Doctor is disappointed, but goes with Linda and Hikari. Nakaji says let’s go to Haru who turns him down. Then they both head in the same direction. It is eerie just how close these two people are without knowing it. They actually don’t live very far from each other.
Hikari makes a comment to Linda about Nakaji and Haru getting a hotel room after the first meeting. This annoys Doctor who says that there is no way that Haru is that kind of woman. Hikari says it was just a joke (truthfully, a rather tactless joke). Doctor is embarrassed, but he gets a call from work and has to leave, leaving Linda and Hikari alone. Now those two do end up in a hotel room at their first meeting (nothing happened, though as Linda is currently suffering from impotence).
Meanwhile, Haru demands an apology and Nakaji refuses to give one. Haru then tries to pay for the pants she ruined, but Nakaji won’t accept her money. Haru then tries to take the pants to clean them, but Nakaji won’t let go. How mature, a tug-of-war over a pair of pants (eye roll). Haru ends up falling and hurting herself. Nakaji then piggyback’s her to his apartment to treat her wound. They get to talking and Nakaji tells Haru about his new camera while fixing up her leg. He then kisses Haru who pushes him away. Her phone rings and she gets ready to go home. Nakaji notices that Haru’s background is his photo. He tells her that he took that photo after she had made him feel better after a bad day (aww, how sweet!). These two definitely have an intangible connection to one another, but will their real-life misunderstandings keep getting in the way?
While Doctor’s crush is getting closer to Nakaji, poor Doctor is being mistreated (by a real doctor). It turns how that Doctor is in the medical profession as an equipment salesman (not a very good one at that). I guess…why would you want people to know just how small and insignificant you are in your work. Haru makes it home safely. Her father is gone because of business and her brother is having problems (apparently he had bad friends and has been involved in drugs). Meanwhile, Hikari is desperately trying to get in touch with someone (her boyfriend?).
This episode introduces way too many problems in these young people’s lives from the get go. The reality of their jobs, their personality and personal issues in regards to family and love, and their interactions and impact on each other. The next day everyone has problems with work. Doctor is berated for not selling enough equipment, Nakaji gets demoted to photographer’s assistant as his pictures are too “artsy,” Linda gets taken advantage of by his female boss (eww!), and Haru gets scolded for not being a “proper” teacher.
To make matters worse, it looks like Haru will be facing some serious problems (besides her brother’s drug use, Nakaji’s girlfriend, and Doctor’s crush) in the future. A student seems to have a pretty serious crush on Haru. Which in turn angers a female student who likes the male student. Oy, talk about complicated plots. Well…that’s just my guess for now as the male student shows quite the interest in our young student teacher much to another female student’s dismay. Whether that actually plays out or not is up in the air for now.
Haru and Nakaji meet up after their equally disappointing days. She gives him a new pair of pants as she couldn’t get the stain out of the other ones. He apologizes (finally!) for calling her a pervert. While things are going well, a woman approaches them. She calls out “Keisuke” and Nakaji replies. Kiriko (Igawa Haruka) asks him if he is on a date with Haru and he immediately denies it (hurting Haru). Haru tells him to go after the girl, but Nakaji says he won’t. Haru then asks him about the kiss and if Kiriko is his girlfriend. Nakaji apologizes, making Haru mad so that she storms out on him.
The next day, Doctor is feeling down and invites them all out for a drink where they met for the first time. Linda and Hikari decline saying they are busy, but Haru and Nakaji agree to meet up with him. Doctor is excited to be able to meet up with Haru. He rushes to get to the meeting spot. Haru arrives first and just as Doctor is about to go in he gets a call and has to leave. Haru is saddened by this, she was looking for something to cheer her up after her fight with Nakaji.
While she is sitting alone, Haru notices two of her females students with some questionable-looking boys. She approaches the students who immediately run off. The boys try to get them back, but Haru blocks them letting the girls escape. Not happy, the boys grab Haru and begin pulling her with them to compensate them for losing their dates. Enter Nakaji who saves the day and manages to get Haru away from the delinquents. They then run for their lives.
Linda wants to know why Hikari went with him to the hotel when she has someone else. Hikari says that she was ready to give up and that’s why she went. Her boyfriend doesn’t return any of her calls and she is afraid that she might be pregnant. She asks Linda to go with her in case she really is and she has to have an abortion. This way he can sign for her. Linda listens and says that Hikari should definitely try to get in touch with her boyfriend again. Afterwards (they have to wait another week to see if she is pregnant), Hikari tells Linda she is going to join Twitter as she finally understands why Haru and everyone else does it. It is scary to be alone and tweeting with others makes you feel less lonely. Personally, I don’t get it. Twitter boggles my mind, but people are addicted and love it for some reason.
Doctor’s urgent call had to do with his little sister getting in trouble for stealing. He finds out she has been trying to steal reference books to study since she doesn’t have the money to buy them. He scolds her and tells her to ask him for money next time. His sister agrees and looks out at Tokyo Tower which Haru and Nakaji had just been looking at after their escape from the delinquents. Nakaji tries to explain about the kiss, but Haru ignores him. She tells him about her bad day and also tells him that she won’t trust him as he has a girlfriend. Later, as they go their separate ways, Nakaji tells Haru to start trying to be honest with herself and throws a can of some drink at her. She catches it and after Nakaji has boarded his train, notices that he had written an encouraging message. Energy renewed, Haru heads home and does finally manage to get the stain out of his pants.
Haru goes to drop of Nakaji’s pants. She was just going to leave them on his door, when she hears movement. Happy that he’s awake, she rings the bell. However, the door is answered by Kiriko and not Nakaji. This shocks Haru and Nakaji looks uncomfortable when he sees Haru there.
My thoughts: And thus ends the first episode. Complicated indeed. It amazes me how much they managed to cram into 50 minutes worth of time. There is even a mysterious stranger who seems to be connected somehow to both Haru and Nakaji. Previews show things heating up even more. I am really curious as to how everything will lead to the opening of this episode. Who is dead? Is it one of the friends? Is it murder or suicide?
Yeah, so didn’t see this coming, but I can’t wait for the next episode.