This is a cute show about three sisters with a problem. One of them will inherit a 450-year-old family business called Fukuyado Honpo…but the problem is, it comes as a package deal with a husband.
Hina is the oldest sister, who has been brought up to take over the business, since their family has no sons. For a long time she has gone along with this idea, but increasingly feels like she is suffocating from the pressure. Finally she rebels and gets herself engaged to a man she hardly knows, just to marry out of the family and get out of the situation.
Arare, the second sister, has always been interested in the fancy traditional sweets their family makes. Under other circumstances she might not have been upset at her mother designating her as the heir, but she has also always resented getting her sister’s hand-me-downs. She reacts badly to suddenly having to give up her own career and take a job Hina has rejected.
Hana is a middle-school student who is particularly close to Arare. She is pretty much excluded by her mother from inheriting the business, because of her age. Their father already died, and their mother is having health problems and wants her successor trained and ready to take over if anything happens.
This family has been making traditional Japanese candy for seventeen generations. We see the chefs working on them, and they look amazing! Strangely enough, none of the daughters has learned to make them; Hina seems to only do the accounts and make fancy lunches for the staff.
The mother feels it is important not to break the family line in the business, and has decided to follow an old Japanese custom that is often used by families with no sons: adopting a man into the family who will marry one of the daughters and be head of the company. She tried to force her oldest daughter and her most talented young chef into cooperating, but now that has fallen through and she turns to her second daughter.
The Husband…or Husbands
Kenji is the lucky guy chosen to be adopted in. He has felt unable to voice his opinion or argue with his boss over this, but he went to Paris to study for a couple of years hoping to avoid the issue. We can’t tell at first if he likes either of the sisters, but when Arare objects to the plan he asks her, “what exactly do you hate, succeeding the business, or marrying me?”
The man Hina chose is from a wealthy family and very formal. He seems to have fallen for her at first sight, and says he wants a family. Then she finds out he regularly visits a geisha, and that doesn’t go down well.
Hana makes friends with a boy at school. Their shy beginnings of liking each other makes a sweet contrast to Hina having already chosen someone, and Arare sparring and bickering with Kenji. Several episodes are structured with parallel stories of the three couples, which is fun to watch play out
Strengths and Weaknesses
This show is light and fun to watch. It has a lot of beautiful views of Kyoto and a large dose of Japanese culture. They filmed it with an eye to promoting tourism; showing off shrines and little side streets, while avoiding a big crowded city look. We watch people using formal reserved manners, preserving tradition, and fitting it in to the modern world. We get to see tea ceremonies, Kabuki theater, and lots of beautiful kimonos. My husband enjoyed hearing the Kansai dialect, because this is the part of Japan he lived in.
One thing that is frustrating is that too many characters just can’t seem to talk. It might be because this is taken from a manga and is several years old. But if they would just talk to each other and explain themselves, they could solve their problems in half the time! Kenji, I’m looking at you. Tell your boss if you don’t want to marry her daughter! Well, but he might want the firm. But then Hina and her fiancee are both like that. Arare is a breath of fresh air, because she brings things up and tries to get answers. The cutest couple anyway is Hana and Tomo, because they are honest with each other. But at least Kenji is hot.
Is this show for you?
This show is low-key and an easy watch, and only has twelve episodes. I enjoyed the story and following these characters, and getting a little virtual trip to Japan. I was looking for something with a love story, and liked the way this turned out, but would have liked to see more of the couples doing things together instead of all the silences. I found this on Amazon Prime, and they don’t have many Japanese dramas, so I think this was a good one to try. Let us know if you like it, or if the non-talking trope is too much for you!
Until the next love story,
Dramas With a Side of Kimchi