Well, I wanted to better diversify my content, as well as better introduce myself then the rather bland initial description. What better way to start then to start with something not too many people start talking about? Does that even make sense? Maybe not, but we’ll dive into it anyway!
When I started learning Japanese, I was wildly and enthusiastically looking for ways to better practice my Japanese. I had already started watching Japanese movies (a different post and different day), but figured something longer and more modern would be a better place to start. I wasn’t particular fond of any of the series that random searching and blog reading mentioned, as well as really popular ones (I know, so edgy). So I went and asked my tutor’s, sempai’s of sorts, what dramas they recommended or ones they were watching.
To this day, I still haven’t watched several of them, most notably SPEC. My tutor had recommended “Heartbroken Chocolatier”, which starred Matsumo Jun from Arashi. I watched the series in fits and spurts, mostly because the uploads were not consistent and I was not really hooked into the plot. It was an engaging drama towards the end, especially since also during that period of time I was also getting into Arashi as well. Being able to talk with my tutors about something from Japan that wasn’t anime/manga was a good change of pace and built up some vocab that way.
I did eventually finish it and started “Yasha”, which I found infinitely more engaging. It’s a lot easier to watch something that’s relatable (twins), and a genre you like. Again though, I watched in fits and spurts due to school, doing stuff in real life, etc. Eventually, I watched more series, one by one throughout college, which maybe I should consider re-watching and offering some commentary on.
I mostly watched them all on illegal upload sites, mostly since I couldn’t afford a Dramafever/Crunchyroll/Netflix/etc. Not the best practices, but J-Dramas are chronically under-subbed/licensed and the series I was interested in were only available on those sites if at all.
What really suckered me into dramas though, was of all things “Time Spiral”. Which, is not particularly a good series, long, or well watched in the drama community. However, that’s where I learned the importance of a few things in picking and watching dramas.
The first, and most obvious is watch dramas that appeal to the genre’s you like. I really love Sci-fi despite not being the most avid reader/watcher/etc. Time Spiral was not the really technical sci-fi series, but it is medical science, time travel and a few other pieces. I found it engaging enough, although not flawless.
The second, is that favorite actors are a thing, and having one or two helps out if you want to get into watching dramas seriously. I had completely forgotten that Gackt
(one of the most important people in my life and important to another aspect of this blog, but again, for another post), acted from time to time. He does not have a long cinematography, but enough where I eventually got around to watching more of it.
The third, is length of individual episodes, and the length of the series in total. “Time Spiral” is about a half hour per episode, which is good for me. The length helped from transitioning from anime to dramas. It was a lot easier to get into rather then diving into 45 minutes or hour long episodes.
On top of this, the series is only 10 episodes long in total. Which, personally is disappointing since I wanted more of the series, but ideal since it would not take me forever to finish if I got bored in the middle. Surprisingly, I did not get bored either. This drama helped solidify my drama watching habits.
It also helped that I stumbled upon the website My Drama List and started cataloging what I had watched, wanted to watch, dropped, etc. I’ve been active on and off of the site for a few years now. If you want to friend me or take a peek at my lists you can check me out here.
Since that series, and My Drama List , I’m an infrequent drama watcher. Rather then watching episodes as they come, I usually wait for the whole series to be subtitled either from an official source, or a subtitling team. If I have the time, I’ll binge watch an entire series in one weekend if it’s longer, or in one day if I can mange it. My biggest accomplishment is watching both seasons of “Hana Yori Dango” in two days. (When I binge watch a series I really binge watch it.)
It also helped that while living in Japan that both “The Love That Makes You Cry” and “Suki na Hito ga Iru Koto” aired and it were massive successes. I started watching “Suki na Hito” in Japan episode two, rewatched 1-2 online. And finished the series at home in America.
Aside from “Spring Has Come”, I haven’t watch a drama in a few weeks. I’m planning to start “Momoshike Fuyu Ie” starring Yamada Ryousuke or maybe re-starting “Cain and Abel”.
What’s your story for JDramas? More dramatic then my own? Having started yet? Let me know in the comments!