21:16

A show that I have been enjoying pre-lock down and also during lock down is Terrace House. I normally really dislike reality shows! Reality shows in the UK and US tend to be overdramatic, and scripted to make for good viewing. Terrace House may not be 100% ‘natural events’ but the relaxed nature of the show is refreshing. I read reviews of the Japanese show saying that ‘almost nothing’ happens but the build up is worth it. In comparison with other reality shows, yes Terrace House is slow and boring, however I find myself connecting with the individuals more through the mundanity of their everyday lives.

Pre-lock down I binged through all the newer series of Terrace House on Netflix. I was drawn into the friendships and relationships that developed over time, and also the goals that the housemates aim to achieve. Last week I started the original Terrace House series: Boys x Girls Next Door. It was strange to see the show start off so small and relatively unknown, and to compare it to how much it has developed and become a worldwide phenomenon. It is also interesting to learn more about Japanese culture and the way certain behaviours are analysed by the panelists. At around 25 minutes long, each episode is easy to get into and they often end in cliff-hanger moments for suspense.

For anyone looking for a relaxed yet entertaining show to start in this quarantine time I would strongly recommend Terrace House! Yes, the show is a slow burner and often situations are unresolved, but that is what makes the show so compelling to watch! A break away from the over-the-top American or British dramas/series, and a nice delve into Japanese daily life with likeable characters to root for.

00:33

I  finished reading Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. I think my brain is still trying to process the story as a whole rather than as individual plots.

I found the book quite a slow starter but as I got to the halfway mark it quickly picked up. I actually read the latter half within 3 hours on the same day whereas the first half I picked up and left off quite often over a week or so.

There were a lot of interesting ideas and cultural teachings to be gained from the book. There were times where I forgot that the book had been translated into English, and that is a wholly Japanese book. Notions of suicide and mental illness seem to be addressed more informally in Japanese culture in comparison to the Western world.

This is not your average love story. Expect to become attached to the main character, to feel the lulls when he does, and the highs when he does too. I thought it was fairly dark in some places and some concepts were difficult to grasp (due to my own inexperience and lack of knowledge).

I look forward to reading more from Murakami’s collection.