We are now up to Episode 3 in our story of Yo and Ren. I’m happy that they are both professional people! She is a manager of the design department of a shoe company, and he’s a real estate developer who specializes in customizing commercial properties.
The theme for this episode is flowers. Yo’s mom starts the day by talking about a houseplant, which she thinks is a cactus, and when it will flower. She asks Yo when she is going to bloom as well, and brings up her ex-boyfriends. Yo doesn’t mention that Jo Takao is now the fiancee of the ballet shoe girl and Mizusawa Ryusei told her she was too stubborn.
Ren’s sister, Makoto, starts the day talking about planting seeds of love and looking online for a new boyfriend. He objects that she was only divorced a month ago, and she retorts that it takes time, water, and plant food. His mom defends him and teases that they trained him to be a real man; they get him to give them shoulder rubs and make breakfast. They trained him, all right!
On the way to work, Yo stares at a flower shop wondering if she will ever bloom. A little later, Ren and Maki pass by the same flower shop and Maki buys a bouquet for the client they are visiting.
The next morning Yo shows up to do yoga with Makoto. She tells Yo three ways to plant the seed of love in someone. Use their given name, praise them for something no one else praises them for, and stare at them for three seconds and then look away.
Yo practices the three-second stare on an embarrassed Ren, noticing his perfect nose for the first time. (She should have noticed his dimples.) He breaks into her thoughts by telling her she’s up to 10 seconds already.
Later that day she tries out Makoto’s theories on different men in her office. She tries saying the given name of one of them, which makes her feel very awkward, especially after the funny look he gives her. Then she tries the three-second stare on another man, who gets angry because he thinks she is making fun of him.
Just to make her day, Jo Takao’s finacee, Manazuru Ai, calls her Otearai. Yo is very patient and explains how her name should be pronounced. Ai is horrified and apologizes profusely!
Things are looking up, though. Yo’s assistant, who is getting married and leaving, brings in her replacement, Narumi Yu. It’s the guy who caught Yo when she fell! (Man, if she marries him, they will be Yu and Yo!) She looks up his file; he’s only 22.
Yo leaves a phone message for Ren that she tried planting seeds but it didn’t go well. As soon as he hangs up, Maki appears and calls him Ren. (Ren-san, actually.) He invites her to dinner. Well…she’s much better at the planting seeds thing! The dinner turns out to be a company dinner, though. When they leave the group, she tells him she was disappointed and asks that next time it should be just the two of them. He agrees.
Over the next few days Yo gets to know Yu better. He is probably the only businessman in Japan who doesn’t wear a suit to work. He is flatteringly interested in her, and one evening he asks her if he can use her given name when they are not at work. To herself Yo thinks, “It’s planting the seed of love!”
When Yo gets home her mom is looking at the cactus. They are talking about what kind of flower it will have, when her brother steps into the conversation. It’s not a cactus, he informs them, but a starfish flower, with very bad-smelling blooms. Ever the entomologist, his enthusiasm is about flies being attracted to the smell and laying their eggs on these flowers. The first thing you know, Yo and her mom and dad are fighting to get away from that plant!
I like how well written this is, and how all the story parts fit together. Is the three-second stare the first crack in Yo’s armor? Right now Yu is distracting her from thinking about Ren. Meanwhile, Maki seems to be getting under Ren’s skin. We can tell he likes Yo but perhaps he will be swayed. (Don’t anybody look at the title pictures! They might be spoilers!) What will happen next?
Dramas With a Side of Kimchi