I’m literally pulling my hair out since I can’t believe that I actually decided to watch this drama. I like Yamapi but this drama is based from the same manga author as “Hot Gimmick” and that manga reeks of bad plot, stupid female character, and sexual harassment. Not to mention that I never liked Ishihara’s TV characters since she tends to lean on the annoying side. Nevertheless, I’m holding all pessimism aside as I start this drama and who knows, it might be worth my time and yours, too!
Here is a quick recap of 5-ji kara 9-ji made : Episode 1
The Sakuraba family are in one of the grandest temple in Tokyo to attend a funeral of one the temple’s priest. Sakuraba Mitsuru (Ueshima Ryuhei) looks so affected with the priest’s death that he matches the wailing of the late priest’s wife. Sakuraba Keiko (Toda Keiko) rolls her eyes with her husband’s wailing while her daughters, Nene (Tsunematsu Yuri) and Junko (Ishihara Satomi), looks forward to the end of the ritual. Sorry, I don’t know what to call this.
All of them are seated in seiza style and Junko can feel pins and needles on her feet. One by one, the Sakuraba’s stood-up to give their respects to the dead and when it was Junko’s turn, she staggered on her way to the bowl of ashes and before she can regain her composure, she fell and sent a bowl of ashes flying toward the monk’s head. Everyone was aghast, especially the recipient of ashes shower, who is none other than Hoshikawa Takane (Yamashita Tomohisa) who I swear glared at Junko.
Well, whatever event that transpired back in the funeral service are now forgotten as Junko heads over ELA (English Language Academy) where she works as an English teacher. The place is pretty laidback if you ask me, everyone speaks in English and they have cute accents. Momoe (Takanishi Rin) commented on how she smells like an incense while Masako (Saeko) receives another calling card that she quickly throws away. Masako says that of all the business cards she received, the one classified under “sss” is still the winner and that’s Mishima Satoshi (Furukawa Yuki). Mishima is also a student in ELA under Kimura Arthur (Hayami Mokomichi), which is unbelievable since I’ve heard Furukawa speak in perfect English.
Arthur-sensei is pretty popular with the mamas, matrons to be specific. Anyway, Arthur gives Junko a business trip souvenir, which is a chocolate from Matthew’s in New York. Arthur teased Junko for being a “New York expert” and for Junko, she’s willing to do everything for her New York dream and the news of an upcoming promotion exam excites her.
Arthur teases her to just get married to someone like Mishima and Junko immediately dismisses the idea. Aside from the fact that lecturers are forbidden to be in a relationship with their student, Junko knows about Mishima’s ex-girlfriend and I wonder who that is.
Speaking of relationships, the other girls at ELA are looking for prospective husbands and they compare notes. They talked about the unnamed new GM of ELA on how he is very capable. Then there’s Arthur-sensei; tall,dark,and handsome-I just made those descriptions. Then there’s a high school student named Hachiya Renji (Nagatsuma Reo) who is rumored to be living on top of a Shibuya’s mansion. Well, aside from he’s too young, he’s already dating Satonaka Yuki (Takada Hyoga).
Junko’s day have ended and she goes home to find her family being their boisterous selves. However, there’s a glint of mischief in their eyes and Junko seems to be the sacrifice. While the Sakuraba’s are having their dinner, they talk about celebrating Junko’s birthday on Sunday. Junko finds it weird since the family didn’t celebrate her birthday for the past two years so Sakuraba-mama says that they have to celebrate it before she leaves for New York. Junko then agrees to go with it especially when the talk about “crabs” came in since she loves crabs.
So, Junko goes to a luxurious Japanese restaurant and she can’t contain her smile on how grand the place is. She opens the door and immediately shuts it when she sees Hoshikawa sitting like a Buddha. She apologizes for opening the door in the wrong room and Hoshikawa tells her that it’s not the wrong room. Junko opens the door again and as she takes a good look on Hoshikawa, she remembers that he’s the monk who became a recipient of ashes. She immediately gets down on her knees and apologized.
Instead of answering her apology, Hoshikawa congratulated her and adds to let him take her as his wife. Okay, I thought that monks are supposed to be humble. Junko gets up on her knees, goes outside, and calls her family. The family is enjoying a barbecue and casually tells Junko that, unknowingly, she went to an omiai. Sakuraba mama defends their side and says that the Ikkyouji’s chief priest personally asks them so they agreed. Anyway, they couldn’t care less that they put Junko in a bind, they hang-up, so Junko has to go back to face Hoshikawa again.
Junko tells Hoshikawa that she came without knowing that it’s an omiai and that she have no intention of getting married. However, Hoshikawa is not listening to her since he starts talking about Junko doing ikebana classes and the like so she can be the perfect Temple’s wife. Junko gives up with their one-sided conversation and she’s about to leave when the food arrives along with the huge crab, so huge that Junko can only sigh for betraying herself. She stays and tries to split the crab’s tentacles as demurely as possible but she can’t do it. So, Hoshikawa sits beside her and crack it himself. He gives Junko her piece and she eats it with gusto.
Hoshikawa can only stare as Junko happily digs in and when she notices that he has been staring at her, she tells him that she can do it now so he can go back to her seat. While they were eating, Junko asks him if it’s delicious and Hoshikawa answers her with “I don’t dislike it”. Junko finds his answer weird, so she asks him again and he gave her the same reply.
Back at the Temple, Takane’s grandfather asks him about Junko and he can only say that the crab is delicious. At Sakuraba’s household, Junko tells her parents to refuse any contact with Hoshikawa.
At work, Junko receives two good news, one is that there will be a welcoming party for ELA’s general manager and that Junko has a new pupil. New pupil means increase in salary that Junko can add to her 1 million Yen goal for New York. Anyway, all of Junko’s excitement goes downhill upon seeing that her new student is none other than Hoshikawa. Hoshikawa starts his greeting with another “congratulations” since Junko earned herself a new student.
Junko is fed-up so she tells Hoshikawa to leave when Hachiya and Yuki arrives. Hoshikawa introduces himself as their new classmate so Junko decided to just start with the class and reminds everyone not to use Japanese. While she’s erasing some writings on the board, Hoshikawa stands-up and asks her if she needs some help- in English. Junko was surprise and Hoshikawa proceeds to talk about their wedding ceremony, honeymoon, having a private jet, and how he can support Junko’s dream of living in New York. Fed-up, Junko tells him not to talk about things that has nothing to do with the lesson- in Japanese. So Hoshikawa rebutted her with “I thought we can’t use Japanese in this class?”
At the welcoming party for the new GM, Junko is still seething from frustration over Hoshikawa’s arrogance, who is for some reason is also invited in the party. Arthur takes the mike and introduced their GM from New York and it’s Kiyomiya Makoto (Tanaka Kei). Kiyomiya gives a speech in English and frankly, how did he become ELA’s GM?
Junko obviously knows Kiyomiya before and she’s happy to see him again. Hoshikawa sees her looking differently at Kiyomiya so he goes to her side and offer her some fruits. Junko declines his offer and casually tells him that he’s English is good. Hoshikawa says that he learned it in university and Junko is surprise to know that there’s a Buddhism college who puts that much effort in teaching English. Hoshikawa corrects her and says that ToDai’s Literature Department…Upon hearing Todai, Junko congratulates him and says that she has nothing to teach him.
Junko walks over to Kiyomiya to greet him. Apparently, Junko used to be Kiyomiya’s student and the two got to talk about the past when Kiyomiya got distracted with Hoshikawa. He asks Junko if Hoshikawa is her fiance, she denies it and bid them farewell since she needs to catch the last train.
Hoshikawa offers to bring her home but Junko declines, well, Hoshikawa insisted and tells her that he needs to follow her for the sake of the Temples offsprings. Okay, the Temple is now becoming a huge altar for sacrifice. Junko tells Hoshikawa that for once, think for himself. At the office, Junko gathers her belongings and Mishima asks her about the monk that has been following her. Junko tells him about the omiai but she can’t talk longer because she has a train to catch. Before she leaves, Mishima tells her that he’ll make time for her upcoming birthday.
At Hoshikawa’s residence, Hoshikawa Hibari (Kaga Mariko) tells Takane about rejecting the omiai with the Sakuraba’s since she found a more perfect girl for him, well not really perfect for Takane, but the perfect woman for the temple. Takane wants to disagree but Hibari tells him that if he won’t abide to her rules then the chief priest position will go to his younger brother. That statement didn’t bode well on Takane so he tells Hibari that he’ll break the omiai with Junko.
Hoshikawa spent the night writing his apology letter for Junko. He plans on giving it to her the next day so she follows Junko who is on her way for lunch. There must be something on how Junko enjoys her food that when Hoshikawa sees her enjoying a simple rice ball for lunch, he stops on his tracks and just looks at her from afar. At class, he tries to give the letter to Junko but he didn’t have the will to continue.
Later on, Junko finds herself as the temporary teacher for Arthur’s “matron” class. The madams aren’t happy with their female teacher that Junko decided to have a free theme lesson and one lady asks her about helping her write a speech for a Canadian acquaintance party.
Meanwhile, Hoshikawa is having a cleansing ritual under a waterfall and let’s all marvel at this monk’s moobs. Seeing his grandchild’s dilemma, Hibari concludes that Junko has become a problem. Wait, they have a waterfall at home?!
At Junko’s residence, she wakes up to see Hoshikawa’s grandmother along with 10 monks outside her door. The view is quite intimidating and scary if you ask me. Well, Hibari is there for one thing and that’s to ask Junko to let go of Takane since she has found a better woman for her grandson. As if Junko was clinging to him all along, Junko goes to work in a foul mood, so it’s a good thing that she sees Kiyomiya and they got to talking about the upcoming promotion exam. Kiyomiya tells her to try and even though Junko was hesitant at first, she agreed later on. Junko’s sweet moment with Kiyomiya was witnessed by Hoshikawa who I think is slowly turning to a stalker.
Hoshikawa goes to Junko’s class and tells her that he saw her meeting with another man while Junko tells him about his grandmother and the 10 monks that she brought with her. Junko is really fed-up, she tells Hoshikawa to stop invading her private space.
At home, Takane tells Hibari that he’s agreeing to her choice of omiai while at the Sakuraba’s, Junko will finally use the shoes she brought with her first paycheck. Junko decided to wear the shoes for the party she’ll be attending with Kiyomiya, which could be her ticket to New York.
The next day, it’s Junko’s birthday and the fated day for her New York dream. However, she gets a call from work informing her of an unfortunate event. At Hoshikawa’s side, he meets Ashikaga Kaori (Yoshimoto Miyu), the woman that Hibari likes for the Temple.
As for the unfortunate event, one of Arthur’s matron students filed a complaint against Junko on the speech she prepared for her. Honestly, I didn’t get the whole thing, but Kiyomiya said something about the speech being outdated and that the madam wants a lecture refund and for Arthur to come and apologized.
Arthur wanted to go with Junko but Junko wanted to go alone since it’s her responsibility. She left with a heavy heart coupled with a heavy feet since the madam’s villa is so far, as in really, really far. Junko goes to give an apology but she was mocked by those matrons and Junko can’t find the courage to answer back since she’s supposed to be apologizing. She even beg for the matrons to come back and learn English with them no matter what they’re reasons might be (even though her reason for studying is to see Arthur).
Afterwards, Junko tries to catch one of the few buses in the area but one of her shoes heel got broken. I guess its given knowing that she haven’t worn the shoes since she bought it. She didn’t catch the bus and has to wait two hours for the next one to arrive, she calls on Mishima, but Mishima has to hang-up due to an urgent matter. Junko sits in a dilapidated bus stop and she’s so frustrated with the turn of events on her birthday that she even started talking to a frog. To add more to her long list of birthday misery, it starts to rain and she starts crying.
While the saying “if it rains, it pours” is true, it’s also true that there’s a rainbow after every rain since an unlikely help arrives. It’s Hoshikawa! He gets out of his posh car and walks toward Junko. It must have became a habit since Hoshikawa greets her with a congratulations (omedatou), recalling their omiai, Junko tells him that she won’t marry him; but Hoshikawa clarifies his greeting and says, “otanjoubi omedatou gozaimasu” (Happy Birthday).
Junko looks at him and he says that he only wanted to say that so he came to her. I wonder how he knew where to find her, did he put a tracker on her or something? Anyway, Hoshikawa stands-up and reaches for her hand, Junko holds his hand and before she can stand-up, her broken shoe gave way to the wet soil so Hoshikawa has to embrace her so she can regain her footing. However, Hoshikawa didn’t let her go immediately and proceeded to give her a hug. Awww…
Junko apologizes for making his stole wet and how he’ll get cold for it. Junko breaks the hug and closes her eyes as if she’s waiting for Hoshikawa to kiss her. Hoshikawa prepares to gives her a kiss until she sneezes. Frankly, I also thought that she wanted to be kissed. Hoshikawa helps her to the car and when he opens the door, Junko sees more than a dozen red roses on the passenger seat. Awww….Hoshikawa gives the roses to her and drives her home while she sleeps beside him.
At ELA, Mishima arrives looking for Junko but Masako tells him that Junko attended something urgent. Since Masako finally gets Mishima alone, she tries to stall him about something.
Elsewhere, Hachiya is in a party and he decides to pick-up a girl, the girl then agrees to have some fun with him. Geez, girl, are you that easy?! Hachiya goes to Yuki to tell her that he has to go out for awhile and Yuki gives him a card without looking at him because she’s busy zooming her picture with Junko. Back at ELA, Momoe was caught in surprise on Arthur’s arrival that she drops a book to his feet. Arthur picks it up and gives her a teasing smile while Momoe is clearly embarrass.
Back at our main couple, Junko woke-up to find herself not in her home but at Hoshikawa’s stately residence. Hoshikawa tells Junko that he has become weird since meeting her so he thought of this insane solution, he locks-up her at home. Literally.
OMG! The last few minutes of this drama gave me some sugar high though the ending reminded me on why I hate Aihara Miki’s works, it hurts the feminist in me.
Anyway, if you hate Yamapi’s “dead-fish eyes” then you’ll hate it more here; however, his dead-fish eyes matches his character’s personality. In short, he finally found a character to make those dead-fish eyes in use since he play’s a clueless and arrogant monk who has been in temple so long to associate with the Junko’s world. Yamapi as a monk and chief priest in waiting is not really believable, I mean, does huge temples has that much money that the successors act like young master’s of rich families? Oh well, I don’t really know much about their religion so I guess that’s that.
Ishihara as Junko is tolerable. I don’t find her annoying yet and I love that her character is not that weak. I just love career woman who depend on their self in getting what they want. That scene where the matrons are mocking her, ugh, I admire her willpower for not answering back because if I’m her, those matrons now have scratch on their faces.
As for the other characters, the ending is really a huge question mark. Of course, the producers have to leave that much hanging in the end so the viewers will want to tune-in. Mishima (Furukawa) is really mysterious, his smile looks sweet but his eyes looks sinister. On Arthur, I don’t know much about Arthur except that I wonder what was that book he picked-up from Momoe, is it yaoi? haha. On Kiyomiya, I don’t get his appeal except that he must be good enough to go to New York. On Hachiya and Yuki, well, I can only assume that girl is really the rich one here and that she likes or hate Junko.
Oh, Ishihara speaks better English than Yamapi, that or Yamapi doesn’t open his mouth that much so it sounds like he was just mumbling.
All in all, I like the romance side of this drama since they made it fun instead of the usual Aihara Miki’s romance that borders on sexual harassment. I didn’t see the chemistry between the two leads until the rain part where it just made me swoon and I’m looking forward to more of those kind of scenes.
For first impressions, “5-ji kara 9-ji made” has been worthwhile and I hope that it gets better.
Usual credits apply.