Thank the drama gods for the arrival of a new episode Kyou wa Kaisha Yasumisu right after a particularly dreadful K-drama just ended. Sure the wonderfully warm nuanced KwKY would stand up on its own as a thoughtful well-executed romance drama, but the comparison to much lesser fare only serves to illuminate clear what makes this story so well crafted. Episode 4 was actually not really romantic at all, instead it was all about love. Familial love, that it, as a dorama dares to put the two hottie males leads on the backburner so that time is spent on Hanae and her amazing parents.
I’m truly grateful there are storytellers still daring to treat the audience as intelligence multi-faceted consumers who don’t need to be force fed manufactured angst leading to inane resolutions. Hanae’s growth through dating takes big steps forward on both fronts, whether it’s her starting to take the lead with Yuto and also opening up the big crazy romance in her life with her parents. Yu took the backseat in this episode but did reveal enough to show me he doesn’t yet have a honest shot with Hanae, and then the ending was a doozy that kick starts his story in a new direction.
Episode 4 recap:
After the big scrunchie misunderstanding leading to a hug-and-make-up, Hanae has settled in comfortably in her dating relationship with Yuto. So much so that she smiles upon seeing his apartment key in her keychain holder while at work and can’t help but wipe it clean like something very precious to her.
Hitomi arrives at work in an equally happy mood and starts off by thanking Hanae once again for agreeing to go bowling yesterday with her and Yu. She then shares the good news that she ended up beating Yu at bowling for the second set and thereby won their bet. He had agreed to date her if she won but since they each won a set apiece then he’ll take her out to a nice French cuisine dinner. Hitomi is thrilled with the progress she’s making with Yu and Hanae is genuinely happy for her as well.
Hanae is in the storage room trying to each a box from the top shelf when Yuto does it for her. He brings up work matters first before whispering about having dinner tonight. Hanae can’t since her college friend is visiting tonight but she takes the initiative to suggest tomorrow night instead. Yuto smiles and readily agrees before walking back to the office while Hanae remains in the storage room adorably kicking her heels.
Best friend Ichika and her daughter Sayaka pay a visit to Hanae at her house and after dinner Hanae’s mom enjoys cradling the newborn while Hanae’s dad plays with 6 year old Sayaka. Mom enjoys having a baby around and sighs about how same age Ichika and Hanae’s lives are so different with Hanae still not having a boyfriend.
Sayaka blurts out that Hanae does have a boyfriend already and the news stuns her parents, with Mom laughing at the confirmation she’s been waiting for while Dad immediately turns silent and glowery.
Hanae tries to cover up by asking why Sayaka is talking nonsense while Ichika tries to literally shush her daughter’s mouth. Mom goes over to bribe Sayaka for the truth and hears from the adorable tyke that Hanae has a boyfriend because she asked Sayaka for dating advice at the hospital. LOL.
After Ichika and her kids leave, Mom washes dishes while telling Hanae that she’s relieved the truth out in the open since she already saw an apartment key in Hanae’s purse the other day. Hanae’s dad goes to bed early and Mom later tells Hanae that her dad is really having trouble dealing with this news. Mom wants to know about Hanae’s boyfriend but she plays coy and describes him as a man, you know, an ordinary Japanese man. Ahahahaha. Hanae wonders how to tell her parents the truth that he’s a 21 year old college student.
Hanae is at work and looks around at all her male colleagues and knows that if her parents were to guess which of her coworkers she’s dating, Yuto would be the last guy they would imagine. They would picture her with one of the dorky male employees over tall strapping and very young Yuto. Hanae has yet another of her hilarious fantasies and this one involves her dad having a apoplectic fit when she tells him that her boyfriend is 21 years old.
Hanae and her mom sit across from the treating physician who is Hanae’s boss and he describes her dad as suffering from “daughter dating a too young male” disease. Mom’s retort of “what kind of ridiculous illness is that?” had me in stiches. Doctor further warns that if Hanae’s boyfriend was even one year younger then her dad might have died on the spot. It could be cured if the guy was an unemployed 21 year old over one who is still in school. Doctor warns that Dad does not have the capability to accept a “student” in his mind.
Hanae and her mom hover over Dad’s beside and he hilariously shoves his wife to the side before clutching Hanae’s hand. He manages to say “College student……I can’t deal with it!” before keeling over dead.
Hanae is snapped out of her nightmare fantasy by Ryusei asking her to prepare coffee for the meeting with Yu’s team. Hanae delivers the coffee and overhears that the walnuts selected for this collaboration isn’t what the Italian chef has in mind. Yu asks the team to find a very specific and hard-to-acquire type of walnut and “no, can’t be done” is not an option. Hanae’s boss agrees to try to get it in the short time remaining before the food exhibition.
Everyone at the company grumbles about how difficult it is to work with exacting Yu and it’s Hitomi who speaks up for Yu and reminds the team that he’s the one who is giving their company the chance to collaborate on this big event. Hanae just gets to work sending out emails to all walnut producers around the world to find an immediate supply. She looks at Ryusei working across from her and wonders when he’s going to finally show the team what he can do.
Boss asks Hanae to work late tonight to help out the entire team and she readily agrees but shoots a look at Yuto since they had a dinner date planned. Yuto sweetly walks over later with a document he needs Hanae to look over but in reality he has a sweet post-it note telling her not to worry about the cancelled dinner and just work hard tonight. Hanae is all muffled smiles after getting that note from her understanding boyfriend.
Ryusei turns out to be the one who pulls through right before the deadline and finds the walnuts and the entire team happily high five and dance around the conference room.
Hanae rushes out to catch the final bus but just barely misses it. Yu pulls up in his fancy car and offers to drive her home. Hanae naturally declines but ends up accepting when he reminds her how much it’s going to cost to take a taxi home.
Hanae is all coiled nervousness during the ride home but denies it when Yu tells her to relax. He asks if she’s considered his proposal to date? Hanae points out that she rejected him already. Yu wonders if her boyfriend really is that wonderful and Hanae absolutely thinks so. He’s not like “someone” who would always force her to do things and doesn’t take into account her feelings.
Yu can accept her thinking this way now but what about the future. He’s still just a college student at the end of the day. Hanae retorts that she knows that but clearly Yu hit a nerve. Yu pulls up outside Hanae’s house and she thanks him for the ride home. She brings up his upcoming dinner date with Hitomi and how much Hitomi is looking forward to it. Hanae’s dad turns the corner just in time to see Yu drop Hanae off and understandably thinks rich older Yu as being Hanae’s boyfriend.
Dad goes home and immediately asks Hanae to bring her boyfriend to meet the parents. Mom likes the idea as well but Hanae is clearly freaking out about it. Dad tells Hanae not to worry because he doesn’t want to meet the boyfriend to lecture him or anything like that. He wants Hanae to trust her parents once in awhile and bring the guy over.
Hanae goes to brood with Mamoru about whether to bring Yuto to see the parents. Poor Mamoru ends up carried off on yet another late night walk.
At breakfast the next morning, Hanae can’t fathom how to bring up meeting the parents so early to Yuto. He’ll think she’s a marriage-crazed woman. She spots in the newspaper a story about a woman entertainer marrying a man twelve years younger than her. Hanae checks her planner at work to confirm that she’s only been dating Yuto for two weeks, asking him to meet the parents is way too early. She overhears newbie Ryusei already discussing year end bonuses with Boss and equates that with her own situation as overreaching.
Hanae asks Hitomi for dating advice over lunch for her “friend” and this time Hitomi just pierces through the veil and knows Hanae is asking for herself. But she still thinks Hanae is dating Mamoru. When asked if Hanae should ask the new boyfriend to meet the parents already, Hitomi has no problem with that. She always asks her new boyfriends if they are willing to meet the parents because those who aren’t just want to play around.
Hitomi doesn’t think asking to meet the parents would freak the guy out, even scarier for Hitomi is dating for years and finding out the guy has no intention of marriage. Hanae wonders why people need to date before marriage and hears that it allows a couple to get to know each other. She then wonders if all dating is the prelude to marriage and Hitomi tells Hanae to stop being so old-fashioned in her thinking. Marriage and dating can be separate but she has to figure out which one she wants.
Hitomi sits down to her dinner date with Yu and conversation starts with how he came CEO of this company. Turns out he’s not the owner andis just a hired executive, with the company’s owner offering him the job after working as his client at his last job and impressing him. Sometimes Yu can’t believe he’s the CEO either. Hitomi is happy that Yu is willing to share so much with her tonight so she pointedly asks why he purposely lost the bowling match to her?
Yu lost to Hitomi’s persistence but Hitomi knows he still lost on purpose. Yu admits it’s due to pity and asks if that bothers Hitomi? It’s doesn’t bother her as she’s happy just to be around him, and furthermore her personality makes it hard for her to ignore a wounded man. Yu is all “who are you calling wounded?” and Hitomi brings up how Yu got rejected by Hanae.
Yu takes the reject as a temporary thing because in the long term it’s not necessarily set in stone. Hitomi wants to know what Yu likes about Hanae and sincerely asks him to tell her. Yu likes her candor in love, the fact that she’s 30 years old yet dives into romance like an innocent wearing her heart on her sleeve. More accurately, Yu is attracted to the Hanae who is in love. That’s why part of him wants to help her succeed in her relationship. Hitomi points out how contradictory that is which she thinks makes Yu come across as a sad person. Yu laughs that no one has ever said that about him before.
Hanae’s mom wonders what got into her husband to have him make the initiative to have Hanae bring her new boyfriend home. Dad reveals he accidentally saw the boyfriend drop Hanae home and tells Mom that he was driving a nice car.
Hanae stares holes into her beef stew potato vowing to ask Yuto to meet the parents the moment she finishes eating it. Chef wonders if something is wrong with the potato with the way she’s giving it death glares. Yuto then asks if Hanae wants to stay over at his place next time which makes Chef drop his pot and chide Yuto for openly discussing that in front of him.
Chef then inadvertently helps Hanae by telling Yuto that he needs to go meet Hanae’s parents sooner rather than later. Chef’s advice is for Yuto to not slack off, like cooking he needs to prepare everything with an eye to detail and that includes nurturing a relationship. Chef wonders what Hanae thinks which gives her the perfect opening to suggest that she would like Yuto to meet her parents.
Yuto easily agrees and is happy to meet the parents especially if that will make Hanae feel even more at ease dating him.
It’s meet the parent day at Casa de Aoshi. Hanae’s dad is anxiously doing stretches out in the courtyard with Mamoru while Mom prepares the house for Yuto’s visit and Hanae’s runs out to meet Yuto and bring him home.
Hanae nervously welcomes Yuto to the house while Dad is sitting all upright waiting for the boy. He paces a few times when he hears voices but then quickly regains his composure and sits back down. Hanae introduces Yuto to her dad and his jaw drops to see a different guy than the one who dropped Hanae home the other night. He even takes off his glasses to squint a few times to make sure he’s not seeing things. Later Dad hides in the corridor watching Hanae introduce Mamoru to Yuto and he’s still feeling really confused.
The group sits down to lunch and Yuto compliments Mom on her delicious home cooking and reveals he hasn’t eaten Mom food in a long time since his family lives in Kyoto. Dad suggests bringing out alcohol and Mom wonders what Yuto prefers. Yuto likes sake which pleases the parents since that’s what Dad likes too, though it’s odd for young guys to like it.
Mom uses the opportunity to ask Yuto how old he is and both parents are stunned to learn he’s only 21 years old. Hanae visibly cringes while Yuto can’t quite believe that Hanae didn’t tell her parents beforehand. Hanae tries to change the topic and goes to grab a bottle of wine but Dad continues to query Yuto about where he works. He hears Yuto is still in college and Hanae quickly adds that Yuto works part time at her company and is very highly praised by all the employees.
Dad directly asks why Yuto wants to date his daughter? Why does someone his age wants to be with a girl so much older? Yuto sincerely tries to answer all his questions, that he became attracted to her personality while working together and then later he accidentally helped her celebrate her birthday and got to spend time together. Dad finds fault with all his answers. Dad then remembers that Hanae didn’t come home on the night of her birthday which never happened before. He wants to know what Yuto and Hanae did that night but Hanae cuts her dad off from further questioning.
Dad tells Yuto that he raised his daughter with all his heart and is proud of her in every way. That’s why he’s so shocked to hear that she’s dating a 21 year old college student, to see that there is a side of his daughter he never knew existed. Dad wants to know if Yuto wants to be with his daughter, i.e. marry her? All Yuto can say is that he’s still in college so he isn’t considering marriage, but he is serious about being with Hanae. Dad stands up and asks Yuto to leave now.
Mom sends Yuto off and keeps apologizing for how her husband behaved. She wants Yuto to come by for dinner another day when Hanae’s dad is not around. Yuto smiles and assures Mon that it’s fine before leaving.
Hanae grabs her purse and is running out to catch Yuto when her dad stops her in the hallway and asks what the heck she’s doing when she’s all of 30 years old now. Hanae stubbornly pushes past her dad and leaves the house only to find Yuto waiting at the corner for her with a big smile. Yuto understands where Hanae’s dad is coming from and isn’t upset at the confrontation. Hanae can’t let the rudeness go even if Yuto is fine with it. Yuto wants Hanae to go back now and have a good talk with her dad.
Hanae goes home and hears her parents talking in the living room so she stands in the corridor to listen in. Mom doesn’t know why Dad was so harsh to Yuto without giving him a chance. It was the first time Hanae brought a boy home and she must have gotten up her courage to do it. Mom reminds dad that their household rules were always strict for Hanae but she never complained. Hanae knew how exacting her dad is and still brought the boy over.
Dad quietly tells Mom that he knows, he treasured Hanae since she was small and told her to treasure herself and not date randomly. Hanae took his words to heart which is why she hasn’t dated anyone until now. He was actually worried about her not finding a guy and felt guilty that this happened because of how he raised Hanae.
Hanae goes back to her room to brood and sees her dad take Mamoru out for a walk. Mamoru is seriously a piece of work as he just lays down flat on the pavement and refuses to move an inch which gives Hanae enough time to catch up. Hanae takes Mamoru’s leash and the three of them continue on the walk.
Hanae and her dad sit by an overlook and she wants to answer all her dad’s questions about Yuto. Dad isn’t interested in hearing the details of how they started dating and whatnot but Hanae wants to tell Dad. Yuto celebrated her birthday with her and took her to hit baseballs and on a night cruise, all things she never did before. Initially she thought he was toying with her since he was young and handsome, just like her dad must be thinking now. But after they started dating she realized that he was sincere about her and he’s the first guy she’s ever liked.
Maybe they won’t get married anytime soon but she wants to date him and see where it goes. Dad remains silent the entire time as Hanae talks. She gets up and asks him sincerely for his blessing to date Yuto and thanks Dad for raising her well. Dad grumbles that he never asked her to break up with Yuto which is basically tacitly agreeing to let her date Yuto going forward.
Dad watches Mamoru wolf down his meal while Hanae calls Yuto to assure him that she talked with her dad and everything is fine now. Hanae wants to go over to his place now and Yuto is happy for her to come over as long as it won’t be a problem. Hanae assures him it’s fine.
Hanae packs up to go spend the night when Mom brings an expensive bottle of sake to Hanae for her to bring over to Yuto’s place. She reveals that Dad wanted her to take it. Hanae solemnly says goodbye to her parents before walking out but she stops and bows low to thank them while blinking back tears. Awwww your girl is all grown up now. Mom shoots a small smile over to Dad sitting on the sofa.
Hanae rings Yuto’s doorbell and gets a text that he’s out buying food so she should just let herself in. Hanae immediately freaks out about being alone in Yuto’s apartment but then gets up the courage to take out her key. She initially can’t put it through the lock until finally she gets it to work and opens the door.
Hanae walks inside and turns on the lights to wait for Yuto. She tells herself not to look around the place because that’s what caused problems last night, but then a second later she looks under the bed and smiles to see nothing weird. Yuto comes home and wonders why Hanae is sitting so formally on the ground. Hanae gives Yuto the sake from her dad and he marvels at the present which is much too nice to drink without an occasion. He puts it on the table for a later time.
Hanae and Yuto wake up in bed together and this time Yuto gets up first and quietly goes to make breakfast while Hanae lounges like a happy cat in bed. She finds the sound of Yuto cooking breakfast for them the sweetest sound in the world.
Yuto goes to wake Hanae up when breakfast is ready and brings her some clothes to put on. Hanae is soooo cute wearing Yuto’s button down and shorts before sitting down next to him to have breakfast. Yuto suggests they skip work together and immediately tells a worried Hanae that he was just kidding. Hanae and Yuto say goodbye at the front door with her leaving first and him following ten minutes later so they don’t show up at work together. They are so sweet when they get to work and shoot these small knowing glances at each other.
The team doesn’t even have time to celebrate the arrival of the rare walnuts when news reaches them that Yu’s company is being acquired by another larger company. So wants to go upstairs to ask Yu what’s going to happen with their collaboration when Yu strides right past So into their office and goes straight to talk to Boss.
Yu informs Boss that he’s resigned as CEO and the collaboration between the two companies is terminated immediately. Yu gets on his hands and knees and bows low in apology for the financial hardship that will befall the company because of this. Everyone stares in open-mouthed shock.
Thoughts of Mine:
WHAT? Oh no you can’t end the episode right there! What’s going on with Yu and that company he works for? Will be have to sell his snazzy Tesla and auction off his perfectly tailored three piece suits now that he’s not in the corner office anymore? Will he turn into the 30-something version of an aimless loaf who needs to start from scratch again? Knowing how in control he is of every situation, my gut tells me he’ll be just fine. And I’m not saying this just because I read the manga up to the current chapter and Yu getting shafted from his company was part of the original narrative. While I love the dorama deviating significantly from the manga in most parts, there was one Yu-Hanae scene from the manga that didn’t make the transition to the small screen that had me fuming. It’s clearly not going to happen later because if Yu isn’t working at the company then he has no reason to run into Hanae in the same building. In the manga Yu accidentally causes Hanae to fall down a small set of stairs and sprains her ankle so he just princess carries her to his car to drive her to the hospital, which of course leads all the building denizens gaping at the uber-manly gesture. What I would give to see Hiroshi princess carry Haruka. *pouts*
With that said, episode 4 was everything lovely and heartfelt. There wasn’t a single scene with Hanae that didn’t feel organic and filled with tangible forward moment in her life trajectory. She’s fully revealed her personality to be someone who is conflict-adverse and shy but that doesn’t equal being subservient or incompetent. She feels three-dimensional in a way I’m seeing less and less of from drama characters, from her tiny smiles at work because of Yuto to the way she thinks about so much more than her new hottie boyfriend and relationship. Same goes with all the characters, the story doesn’t just treat the supporting cast like scene fillers but integrates the company situations with the life changes. I really do like Hitomi and appreciate that she’s got her own assertive personality the same way Hanae might seem simply docile. There’s more than meets the eye with both ladies and it’s the layers that continue to expose why I can easily root for them. I like Hitomi’s honesty and perceptiveness, she’s determined without being crass or sneaky. I have a feeling Yu appreciates her, too, but that doesn’t equal like. Same goes with Yu’s interest in Hanae.
Yuto remains the sole character that I really can’t read well other than I believe he really likes Hanae and is as sincere about her as a 21 year old college student can be. Perhaps its Sota’s acting that’s the limiting factor, but then again I have the same problem with Yuto in the manga as well. A nice guy who opens his heart to Hanae anytime she needs to see it makes me thankful he’s in her life, but it doesn’t leave me squeeing about them in the way I prefer to get really into the OTP. Taking a step back it’s easy to see that my preferences for romance means squat in a story where low-key Hanae and mellow Yuto have their own preferred partners and currently it’s with each other. The entire middle section with Hanae’s fear in telling her parents the truth about her boyfriend’s age coupled with Dad’s increasing agitation and then near meltdown at the dining table was perfectly done. It showed us how much the family members love each other, and that love comes with respect and faith. In the end Hanae’s dad realized Hanae wanted to take a chance with Yuto and was willing to give his daughter the space to pursue a love for the first time in her life. What a beautiful takeaway on top of giving us some morning after sweetness tucked away at the end. I love this dorama so so much.