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Five Thoughts on Terrace House: Tokyo’s “I Can’t Be Here”

By | July 25th, 2020
Posted in Television | % Comments

The new kids on the block are getting settled, which obviously translates into making romantic waves on episode 27 of Terrace House: Tokyo. Can’t a guy sprain his foot in peace?

1. Where did these people learn to cook??

This could be a topic every episode, but I’ve decided to make it one for this week. This show is literally just cooking with a side of light drama, am I right? Like I understand we’re all in it for the ~romance~, but really, is there anything more satisfying than watching someone on this show carefully slice a vegetable? I think of them constantly as I dice garlic in my own life, squaring my knuckles to my knife as each of them has shown us how to do countless times. Is Home Ec still taught in Japan, or are these people just better at life than we could ever be? Either answer would not surprise me.

It’s during one of these cooking scenes that Vivi, a true westerner, tells Kai, “Cheese saves everything. When in doubt, add cheese.” To which I say, yes.

2. The prodigal son returns

After spending an entire episode absent, but very much the main topic of conversation, Ryo makes his return. He skulks back into the action basically as if he never left it, appearing like a specter from stage right. It’s almost like he’s returning from a bath instead of several days away from the house, the way he casually slinks into Kai and Vivi’s conversation (who, might I remind you, he hasn’t even met yet).

Ryo very casually lets everyone know that he twisted his ankle, but hasn’t been to a doctor yet, which is exactly how I’d expect a man and/or athlete to handle an injury like this. I’m generalizing here, but it’s been my experience that people who should not be stupid about injuries for reasons like, oh, I don’t know, their entire life and career depends on the use of that limb, are very often stupid about their injuries. I’d like to give him the benefit of the doubt, though, because up until now Ryo has shown to have a very level head on his shoulders. Also, I would assume his coach or a trainer, some sort of person with medical training, at least gave it a once over (hence the bandages and crutches).

3. Hana makes a move as Vivi enters the ring

Ryo’s injury gives Hana the perfect opening to spend more time with him. While it hasn’t been discussed on the show much recently, she is a pretty accomplished athlete in her own right; she’s been there, can sympathize, and knows what he needs. Hana spends a lot of time doting on Ryo, fetching him ice and asking how he is emotionally. It’s really sweet and I think that even if she didn’t have a crush, Hana would be doing all this for him. Immature or not, she’s always struck me as a very loyal, caring person. It makes watching these scenes all the more difficult, because it becomes pretty apparent (definitely to the viewer, but I think a small part of Hana is starting to feel it too, though she doesn’t want to admit it) that there’s a lack of chemistry between the two. Ryo is just not feeling her that way.

Up until now I’ve kind of been supportive of Ryo’s passive aggressive attempts to dissuade Hana’s affection. It seemed a good tactic to not hurt her feelings while letting things stagnate. However, Vivi’s appearance is causing Hana to ramp up her efforts and it’s making Ryo’s aloofness backfire in its attempts to not hurt her. There’s a stark difference in the way her interacts with Vivi (more on that in a minute). It’s very obvious he’s interested.

Meanwhile, sparks are flying between Ryo and Vivi. She comes prepared with her list of all the things they have in common. Besides basketball, the two of them both moved to a foreign country without knowing the language and they bond over their experiences in California. Vivi compliments Ryo on his English, noting that his use of phrases like “fingers crossed” means he’s much better at speaking it than he admits. Vivi is, unsurprisingly, much more forward and familiar with Ryo than both Hana and Emika have been, and it’s a cultural difference that I think Ryo responds to well. It definitely sets off alarm bells in Hana, who finally admits to Ryo that she has “fuzzy feelings” for him that she’d like to sort out. I’m sure it’s not going to work out well for her, but we’ll see.

Continued below

Either way, Vivi is definitely going to cause problems for Hana on multiple levels beyond just her ability to distract all of the boys. I can definitely see these two having it out soon.

4. A ceramics date

We’re treated to one date this episode, courtesy of Vivi and Kai. It almost doesn’t happen once Vivi realizes she’s fully invested in pursuing Ryo, but I’m glad she goes through with it. There’s a part of me that always wants to remind these people that going somewhere one on one with a member of the opposite sex doesn’t always have to be so serious. You’re allowed to get to know people! Anyway, I don’t think Kai has developed any sort of interest in her beyond the “you’re really pretty” stage, so what could it hurt?

I’m always fascinated by the types of dates people choose on this show beyond going out for meals. They’re always so creative and completely not what I would have come up with at age 24. I’m not even sure if I thought to go on a date now, at 32, that a pottery making class would necessarily pop into my head. Terrace House is truly the life I aspire to lead. Remember last season’s glass making class?! Who are these mature, inventive 20-something year olds and where did they come from!

5. The Terrace House butler

The most interesting connection made this episode, however, is the one between Emika and Tupas. It ends up they have a lot in common personality-wise and are looking for similar things in a partner. They make plans to go on a date in what is probably the most tepid conversation the playroom has ever seen — the panel jokingly describes it as witnessing a tea ceremony.

It’s hard to tell if sparks will eventually fly between them, though Emika does admit to the girls that she can see herself dating him. Part of the issue is that it’s difficult to get a read on Tupas. He’s so overly formal (the panel dubs him “the Terrace House butler) that it’s hard to imagine he’s really being himself. I’d love to see him come out of his shell, if not in the house than at least on their date.

If nothing else, though, I’m just glad that we don’t have all three girls fighting it out over Ryo.


//TAGS | 2020 Summer TV Binge

Kerry Erlanger

Kerry Erlanger is a writer from New York whose accolades include being named Time Person of the Year 2006. She can be found on Twitter at @hellokerry.

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