Classic Japanese Drama: Long Vacation

If you watch Japanese dramas you will soon discover Takuya Kimura, one of their most famous actors. He’s been in A LOT of tv shows.  I’m going to talk here about Long Vacation, his first starring role. He was informal and appealing and had a Mane of Glory before it was a thing.

Long Vacation aired in 1996, which is a ways back. I watched it on Youtube and the picture was a little fuzzy; ok for casual watching but not very good for getting screencaps. That’s why this first picture isn’t that clear. We begin strangely enough with a woman in traditional Japanese wedding attire running down a city street, holding on to her headdress, clopping along in geta – a kind of wooden sandals. That must be harder than running in heels.

She has been stood up at her wedding and is making a beeline for the groom’s apartment. He is permanently missing; all she finds is his roommate, Sena, who lives there with a grand piano. He has a degree in music and has been entering piano competitions in hopes of becoming a concert pianist. The jilted bride is Minami, a fashion model who means well, but is very pushy. She steamrolls over the poor guy and camps out in his apartment, since the groom took all her money and left her high and dry. Sena lets her stay, feeling somewhat responsible. This picture says it all: she is cheerful and ebullient whereas he is wary but trying to be nice.

The first couple of episodes are difficult to get through because Minami  is so obnoxious, but she does improve. Minami  takes no notice of anyone else’s feelings at first, and is pretty clueless in general. Neither losing her job nor her bridegroom bothers her very noticeably. Minami  doesn’t seem a good companion for Sena, who is the responsible type and worried because his professors complain he doesn’t put enough feeling into his music. Here we see Sena looking cute, Minami effervescent, and her brother Shinji just being hot. The other women are Ryoko, a pianist Sena has a crush on who is favored to win the competition, Minami’s best friend, and Shinji’s girlfriend who is trying to keep Ryoko away from him.

The plot revolves around the piano competition, Minami’s new job and boyfriend, and Shinji vs. women in general, but the most interesting thing is what happens as they all get to understand each other better. It is odd to hear Minami worry about Sena being too idealistic and unable to cope with the world. We are surprised by the advice Sena gives Ryoko when she talks to him about Shinji. I think some of Sena rubs off on Minami and Shinji as they start thinking things through and having some pretty thoughtful conversations. And Sena learns from the two of them how to open up emotionally instead of being a hermit with his grand piano. Underlying all this is the question: Do Opposites Attract? How does it work to chose someone with a similar personality vs someone very different.

I really liked this drama. It has funny scenes and touching scenes, and is well done with no overacting – the bane of Japanese comedies. The characters come across as real people, and I liked them all and cared what happened to them. The ending is pretty cute. Make sure you watch through the credits or you will miss it!

I have actually also finished another Takuya Kimura show called Hero; I’ll be talking about it next. I liked it even better than Long Vacation. If you have watched his dramas, please comment and let us know which are your favorite!

Happy watching!


Dramas With A Side of Kimchi

12 thoughts on “Classic Japanese Drama: Long Vacation

  1. Ooooooh have you watched Engine? It is one of my favourite Jdramas ever. In the world. KimuTaku is a has-been racecar driver who goes home and suddenly finds his parents have turned their home into an orphanage. Grumpy KimuTaku plus cute kids. SO ADORABLE. Plus it also stars Ueno Juri.

  2. I haven’t seen Long Vacation, but my favorite Kimura dramas are Ando Lloyd: A.I. knows love, The Hero series is classic, love it, I’m home, Engine, Priceless and Mr. Brain

    • Thank you for your suggestions! Ando Lloyd was the first drama of his that I watched because it is science fiction. I will have to check out the others!

  3. This was the very first drama I ever watched. I was about to go to Japan for a year and I was trying to learn some Japanese. It made me fall in love with Asian dramas. Kimura was fine, but it was Tomoko Yamaguchi as Minami that made me keep watching.

  4. I’m glad you enjoyed Long Vacation and also Hero. I find those two to be among Kimutaku’s best works, and they’re always good for a rewatch. You might also want to consider Sora Kara Furu Ichioku no Hoshi, for a darker Kimutaku. Most people also really liked Beautiful Life.

  5. My favourite works of Takuya Kimura would be Hero; even until this day, Hero still topped many of my favourite dramas as being top of my favourite dramas! I wish you could make a review on Love Revolution; this sweet yet endearing love story between a doctor and a reporter. Oh how i loved this drama; everything about it is beautiful, especially the OSTs! Kindly take an interet to it please, 😊

    • Thank you for the suggestion, I will look it up! It is kind of hard to find good Japanese dramas the way you can easily find Korean ones. It is nice to find out those that are the most loved.

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