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Japanese cult-worthy shows to watch apart from Terrace House: Midnight Diner, Million Yen Women, Hibana: Spark and more

Japanese cult-worthy shows to watch apart from Terrace House: Midnight Diner, Million Yen Women, Hibana: Spark and more

Binge away

Text: Azrin Tan


Whether it was a show that merely appeared in your Top 10 list on Netflix earlier this year or one that fuelled pure, passionate commotion from your daily conversations, Terrace House is undeniably one of cult status — beyond its reach in Japan. Everything did however come to a screeching halt, in light of a sudden suicide by one of the participants, Hana Kimura. The shocking tragedy exposed the reality TV series as real-time fodder for cyber-bullying and even talks of a scripted direction by producers on the show. It too questioned the interactions surrounding the ordinary lives of six Japanese adults — or at least, as ordinary as anyone being filmed on camera can be.

While there has been no talks of the series being cancelled for good just yet, here are a couple of other Japanese alternatives to fill the gap.

Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories

This popularised Japanese cooking drama is set in a fictional 12-seat izakaya called Meshiya in Shinjuku, Tokyo. As in the name, the diner is open from midnight till the wee hours of the morning with a minimalist menu of only four items. The customers go in for the comfort food, whilst the audience is met with vastly different stories from the myriad of people that pass through the diner in the middle of the night.

The Many Faces of Ito

Japanese cult-worthy shows to watch apart from Terrace House: Midnight Diner, Million Yen Women, Hibana: Spark and more (фото 1)

Rio Yazaki, a screenwriter in her 30s, is on the search for her next big story. Along the way, she finds herself in the midst of four other women who are all experiencing relationship issues — with the same man. She makes up her mind to find out more about their relationships and the mysterious Ito, in the hopes of turning their personal lives into a series.

Kantaro The Sweet Tooth Salaryman

Sweet desserts — from souffle pancakes to the classic mochi — are really no stranger to the Land of the Rising Sun. And it definitely isn't to office-man Kantaro — an otherwise ordinary salary worker who does his work diligently and efficiently. But his daily priority? A trip down the streets of Tokyo to sample various desserts to review on his blog. The concept may be simple, but it's a quirky little pick for those who'd like to see themselves in Kantaro; a man who knows how to enjoy the daily joys of life.

Million Yen Women

One day, five women appear on the doorstep of Shin Michima — a struggling novelist. They pay him a million yen for rent and living expenses, and in return he's expected to not find out any information about their personal lives. Right from the get go, this suspenseful series sets the stage for a revelation of mysterious characters and of course, some living-under-the-same-roof drama for you.

Hibana: Spark

This 10-episode drama is based on an award-winning novel by Naoki Matayoshi and tells the story of two Manzai comedians who search for their meaning in life through the medium they know best; jokes and sarcasm. Of friendship, love, and what it means to be left behind, this comedic drama unfolds the emotions behind the misunderstandings that play a part in our untold, regular lives.

Hit up the shows and movies to watch this month.

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