As I said in my first impressions last week, this show is definitely not going to be for everyone. Compared to the premiere, this one is even more slow-paced. We don’t even get the flashy moment of Papa upending the kotatsu and spilling dinner – the only fireworks this time are verbal.
The recurring theme developing seems to be the tension between older brother Taiichi and said father, who’s a thoroughly unpleasant fellow to be around most of the time. The source of conflict this time is Taiichi’s coming-of-age ceremony, which his father seems to take as an excuse to again belittle his son for his lack of focus and maturity. Meanwhile, middle child Yuko is finally showing some interest in boys – which lands youngest child Kouhei in a detective role, trailing her with his two sidekicks. This leads to Kouhei taking a solo adventure on the train to Ginza, where he loses sight of his sister but coincidentally runs into Taiichi leaving a hilariously dated dance party. Kohei’s mother is furious that he went all the way to Ginza by himself, but he manages to convince her it was Grandma’s idea.
It’s probably a good acid test to decide whether that sounds interesting to you, because it’s exactly as interesting as it sounds. The episode is, like the show, really about growing up in a simpler era. The concerns of Taiichi and Yuki and Kouhei’s naughty-boy antics seem pretty quaint by today’s standards, but this was a different time – I confess I do find it interesting watching the character dynamics unfold here. The tension between Taiichi and his father may, in fact, be the most timeless element of the show.
This time our “Casual Stroll” – again, perhaps my favorite part of the show – takes us through the creation of the famous Wako clock tower in Ginza, and the history of the famous Ginza Sembikiya, Japan’s oldest fruit store (established 1834) which inspires the coffee shop Yuko and her friends visit in the show. Unlike last week’s stroll, this is one I’ve actually taken – if you haven’t checked out Ginza, it’s a lot of fun. A real slice of old Tokyo blended with some of the swankiest shopping anywhere, and amazing sushi everywhere you look.