It was back in 2012 when “Terrace House”, a Japanese reality TV series aired on television.
And as many people have been glued to Netflix watching “Terrace House: Aloha State” and “Terrace House: Boys & Girls in the City”, a new series titled “Terrace House: Opening New Doors” will be debuting on Netflix Japan next month in Japan.
But the “Terrace House” that I want to discuss is my favorite, “Terrace House: Boys & Girls Next Door”. This was different than others in the fact that it featured numerous people who are involved in the music, modeling, sports and entertainment scene. Many who would become even popular after the series was over.
With a total of eight seasons and 97 episodes, this series was entertaining.
Every episode kicking off with Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” as the opening theme and songs such as Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars” and Sublime’s “Santeria” to name a few, music and style played a big part in the first season.
Unlike American reality TV where people want to see so much drama and in-fighting, “Terrace House Boys x Girls Next Door” focused on young adults focused on their transition in life or finding out about themselves through living in the Terrace House.
All the show provided was a house and car, so they would have to make their own money through part-time jobs or other means.
The show has little narration, at the beginning which started off with model, singer and TV personality You (Yukiko Ehara) and then fashion model Reina Trendle joined You a few episodes later, while they drove in a car discussing the series. And then later, the two were joined by a few comedians and TV talents such as Yoshimi Tokui, Azusa Babazono, Ryota Yamasato and Kentaro.
And the main member who stayed all eight seasons was Tetsuya Sugaya, a shy guy who joined the show at first as an aspiring firefighter but the more he lived with other adults, he started to pursue his dream and would eventually grow from the experience. He was honest and pretty much a pure guy who spoke out his true feelings and he won over most of the house members. Many hoping he would find true love in the house.
The First Season
The first season featured the Tetsuya Sugaya, Seina Shimabukuro (model), AKB48 idol Rie Kitahara, pro surfer Masato Yukawa, university art student Shota Nakatsugawa and aspiring author Momoko Takeuchi.
Speaking of Momoko Takeuchi a.k.a. “Momochan”, it’s so interesting because she was a fangirl when she saw Rie Kitahara enter the house. The two became cool friends but I think the coolest thing is that Momochan would eventually become an idol singer herself and she is a member of the idol group BAND JA NAIMON!
This was about discovering one’s path and also will these people find love? Tetsuya is the shy type and likes Rie Kitahara, but in Japan, AKB48 members have a strict rule, they are not allowed to have any relationships (“Love Ban”) while they are members of the group.
Meanwhile, Masato and Seina show possibilities of having a relationship but Seina is focused on establishing her model career, especially since she is the oldest member of the house at age 25.
While Shota provides the more big brother to the guys, Momoko feels distant as everyone is established in some way, while she is trying to get used to being part of a new family, which is difficult for her, after losing both parents.
But this season is rather touching and I recommend checking it out!
And just looking at the houseguests…they brought style and flair to the show and they had fun!
My Favorite Seasons
Season 1, Season 4-6 are my favorites.
This group featured Tetsuya Sugaya, Daiki Miyagi (a professional kickboxer) and Yosuke Imai (musician/photographer) and for the women, there was Miwako Kakei (gravure model), Rina Sumioka (musician) and Mai Nagatani (musician). This season was interesting as past members are still involved in the series, may they show up from time-to-time or they meet with a house member for lunch or dinner.
As Season 2 introduced Daiki Miyagi, many watched this kickboxer become successful but then a brain scan showed some unfortunate issues that would end Miyagi’s chance at the sport ever again and having to change his life. Now Daiki is starting over, trying to learn about himself and what he can do and this give us a different perspective of him compared to season 2 when he was the fighter that was interested in roommate, gyaru model, Hana Imai.
Tetsuya remained consistent throughout the series but he is a young man still trying to find his own way, pursuing life as an actor but also gaining confidence in trying to get closer to the women. Unfortunately, these women that moved in are out of his league and you have two other guys who are also looking for love and it doesn’t make things easy at all.
The series does introduce some drama, courtesy of Yosuke Imai. Yosuke, a popular house member, unfortunately would die months after the series ended but in the house, while a cool guy, he had this issue of trying to get close to too many women and just when you think he is going for one and focusing on one, he starts asking another girl out in a relationship and this starts some drama in the house.
The other is with housemate Maimai, who goes by the name Chay now in the music industry. In the house, he would seem as if she is getting close to Tetsuya and likes him. But because the series is watched every week by the group and some often read the comments, there were nasty comments of Maimai not being sincere and her behavior in the house was all an act. And needless to say, it brought up a few dramatic moments. Even when she left, one of the roommates questioned her on why.
But I remember the season mainly for the brotherhood between the three guys and also everyone jamming to music.
This is very interesting and probably led to the departure of how the series is in the next “Terrace House” because people felt that “Terrace House Boys x Girls Next Door” focused on too many entertainers.
In the eight seasons, almost everyone had some tie to the entertainment industry. The only one who didn’t was painter, Frances Chi and university student Chie Onuki.
But it was also fun to watch the group, even though they are just sitting, having fun, playing guitar. This season of housemates were fun to watch.
And a song that will no doubt touch viewers is Rina Sumioka’s goodbye song “Kotoba ni Shitainda” to her housemates, which became a CD single.
And as the final episode was tearful, as Tetsuya would be the last person to leave the house, right at the end credits, you see him surprised when he is about to leave the door.
Why was he surprised? It was revealed that Tetsuya would spend more time at the “Terrace House” as a movie titled “Terrace House: Closing Door” would be released.
If you love “Terrace House: Boys & Girls in the City” or “Terrace House: Aloha State”, definitely check out the first series!
Especially if you love Japanese pop culture, you’ll love the first series!