Ueno Juri to join Ikuta Toma and Oguri Shun in Ouroboros

Ouroboros is an upcoming police thriller adapted from the famous manga by author Kanzaki Yuya. A while ago, it has been reported that both Ikuta Toma and Oguri Shun will act together for the first time after 8 years since their last drama, HanaKimi (remember this?). I was already kind of looking forward to this because I love and have a soft spot for detective dramas.


But today, things get even better when Ueno Juri is reported to join them as leading lady, Hibino Mizuki, a no-nonsense cop graduated from Tokyo University. She will be working together with Ikuta’s character.

So fans of Ueno Juri, REJOICE!!!

After that terrific suspense drama, Alice no Toge, I was waiting desperately for a new Ueno Juri drama or movie and now this. Awesomeness.

You see, this will be her first detective role so it’s going to be significant. I’ve been wondering for ages why she has never played a cop when most of her peers have at least done so once over the years. According to Tokyohive article, she has been resisting the role. So I assume that she has been offered detective roles before but rejected them. Apparently, she explained that detective roles often have the image of being serious and of one upholding justice. She agreed to this because she felt the character has inner conflicts of having to deal with liking Ryuuzaki but at the same time, suspecting him of doing something bad. I think I understand her reasons and I’d say, yes, most police roles are serious and it’s no fun but there are quirky, fun and eccentric cop roles too. Anyways, this just proves that obviously she had been offered detective roles before but she’s quite picky when it comes to accepting them. Guess she likes challenging fresh and different types of roles. Glad she gave this a shot.

Also, Ikuta Toma mentioned there’ll be romance but it’ll be a sad one. Thanks for spoiling it, Toma. I read all 5 volumes of the manga out of curiosity today right after I saw that Ueno Juri was added to this cast. There’s not much romance at all to be honest, if anything, probably only hints of fondness from Hibino towards Ryuuzaki. But nothing bloomed. So from what he mentioned, I think the plot will be slightly different and so we can look forward to some romance ^^

But anyways, let’s see. Her character has long hair. So does this mean she’ll grow her hair for this role? Has she got enough time to do so? Plus, she’ll be wearing glasses. I seriously can’t wait. You have no idea how excited I am for this drama. Such a star-studded cast, there’s no way I’m going to miss this.

 I just hope it won’t disappoint and please, at least let it have a good budget (something similar to MOZU will be nice, I mean the budget, not the plot).

So folks who have been following my blog, you can look forward to me doing reviews/recaps of this upcoming drama. Filming starts in December and it will air in January 2015.
* Judging from the dates, looks like they will face quite a challenge because it’s winter. Gonna be super cold ^^


VS Arashi – Hidamari no Kanojo cast

Watched this because Hidamari cast made an appearance.
Must not miss.

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I liked that they have their own T-shirts.

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The Arashi members gave the movie names like “Damakano, DamariOnna, Damajo” hahahha

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Apparently Juri-chan watched VS Arashi before.

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Although, she said that she won’t be able to play that Wall Climbing game.

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I like Okura-san lol…when asked how’s his combination with Tanimura-san, he was like “I really like her!” LOL And she replied “ganbarimasu” in a flat manner xDD So funny!

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 Arashi members asked about the movie so MatsuJun went on to explain a little. I thought it was funny when they were all cheering happily for MatsuJun like he won something huge when he was like “After sending mail to her, we started dating and that was how it began.” HAHA

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Then out of nowhere, Ohno suddenly got excited and asked whether there are any kiss scenes?

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MatsuJun said Ohno was acting like a middle school kid.

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When he answered, Yes….everybody got so excited!!! I was laughing like mad here

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I think Juri-chan got a bit embarrassed there xD

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Next the other team played.

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Arashi’s team got 125 points while Hidamari Team got 95 points. So Arashi was leading in the first game.

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Commentator said Hidamari Team had chosen a female runner. MatsuJun was like “Doesn’t she look like she can run a lot?” haha

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Tanimura said she likes running. She’d run for an hour like that. Then she said mostly during night time.

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Then Natsuki-san was like “That’d dangerous, yamenasai..” haha

Tanimura said she got scared by Natsuki-san’s loud voice in the first game, that was funny.

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So Natsuki-san spoke in a more gentle way xD

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Then MatsuJun was like
“Then…should I also speak softer?”
He spoke in higher pitch like a girl LOLLLL

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When Juri-chan was asked in what kind of voice will be use to direct Tanimura, she said she’ll use a clear and easy to understand kind of voice. The only sane reply of the lot xD

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First to give directions was Juri-chan. Yea, her voice was crystal clear. Tanimura got quite a lot of balls.

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When Natsuki-san took over in her high pitched voice, I was like “I can’t even hear what you’re saying!” Haha She should’ve just used the lower vocals she originally wanted to use.

MatsuJun’s direction were fine. Overall, it ended up okay.

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That must be super tiring though but good job Hidamari Team!

Ohno was like “Can you really run?” HA!

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Arashi team’s runner was this guy below. He was hilarious.

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I love everytime they camera turned to show both MatsuJun and Juri-chan.

They look cute together.

Don’t ask.

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Arashi Team managed to get 130 points. I think in this episode Ninomiya had something against the guy, he kept ignoring his antics and expressed his unpleasant feelings towards him haha I know it’s for the sake of variety but it was hilarious.


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Cliff climb next!

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MatsuJun and Suda represented Hidamari Team. They acted as brothers in the movie.

Arashi members jealous when they heard Suda said that MatsuJun served them during filming (yakiniku etc).

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Next time MatsuJun should serve them at sushi store xDD

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Juri-chan was asked what she thinks about the combination, can they do it?
“Afterall, they’re brothers so the bond must be there.”

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Wow MatsuJun was quite agile.

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He was very swift!

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That overhang was tough.

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Juri-chan was leaping lol…

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Arashi Team

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I have this image of Aiba being a bit soft so I kinda doubt whether he can actually climb xD

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Aiba was quick! lol I underestimated him! He was even faster than Suda giving the other guy 95 seconds left to complete.

I thought this guy was doing well but he lacked stamina. He could’ve collected all the points but at the final step, he couldn’t climb up.

MatsuJun made it look so easy I guess if you don’t have stamina, you won’t be able to do it.

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I thought he did his best though!

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Dual Curling next! To be honest, I seriously do not get this game.

Lol this guy was saying he had the same pose as MatsuJun in all the games so far. *look at both small boxes below*

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Amazing observation.

 131010 VS嵐_Hidamari no Kanojo cast.mp4_snapshot_32.48_[2014.06.11_19.08.30]

Arghhh so close!
Yes, I’m rooting for Team Hidamari.

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 second round!

Suda: I’ll avenge for my brother!

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Juri-chan was responsible for the 2x points. She won’t lose to the bald guy xDDD

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Awww Team Arashi was still leading.

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They said Juri-chan’s 2x hit the 30 points and thought it was quite good.

But she said she still felt regrettable that they lost.

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LOL Team Arashi failed to gain as much points as they could during the Soccer game.

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Even Sho didn’t get a single point!

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Only Ohno got all the 170 points by himself!

There was still chance for Team Hidamari to overtake them!

I thought Team Hidamari would let all the guys to play this but Juri-chan was first kicker. Her distance was shortened (since she’s a female I think).

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Apparently, Suda played soccer before xD

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Can they make a comeback?

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Juri-chan  missed the first, Suda managed to get 20 points while MatsuJun couldn’t bring the whole thing down.

Second – Juri-chan actually hit the middle but didn’t have enough force to bring it down.

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Suda amd MatsuJun missed.

Suda hit the third one!

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MatsuJun brought the 4th down!

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As for the final one, Suda definitely used his experience to the fullest, he brought it down!

This meant Team Hidamari got a total of 460 points!!!

This is so awesome!!!

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Such a good episode. Smiles all the way. Team Hidamari was a pleasure to watch. Nice to see them showcase teamwork in the games.

MatsuJun x Ueno Juri

Since Ueno Juri’s comeback in the big and small screen alike, most notably, her romantic movie with MatsuJun last year and now, the ongoing Spring drama, Alice no Toge, I’ve been watching some of the variety shows she had appeared in.
Most of them were for Hidamari no Kanojo promotion. To be honest, the more I watch the way both Juri-chan and MatsuJun interacted with the each other in these shows, I just couldn’t help but go kyaaaaa~~~~!!!!

I normally don’t do that. In fact, it’s rare that I actually like romantic movies at all.
First up, let’s just briefly go through some of the variety shows. Just a note, MatsuJun is an idol/singer first followed by an actor so it’s a given that he’s a natural in variety. On the other hand, Juri-chan is an actress, first and foremost so I definitely have already expected her to be more quiet and laidback.

I think you can see the most difference when she appeared in Arashi ni Shiyagare last year. I’m not familiar with Arashi’s shows so I don’t know the format or what they usually do. I basically only watched this because she appeared.

Arashi Meshiagare - Ueno Juri.mp4_snapshot_02.26_[2014.06.11_13.33.29]
There’s this waiting room before the actual show began where they talked for a bit with the guest. It’s an enclosed room, hidden from the live audience. After she came in, they were trying to think of how to greet Juri-chan since it’s their first time meeting. Suddenly, Ohno was like “Juri”. Juri-chan was like “Ehh” the rest burst into laughter xD

Arashi Meshiagare - Ueno Juri.mp4_snapshot_01.38_[2014.06.11_13.35.02]They asked MatsuJun how he called her. The others have not met her before so this was the first time they met. MatsuJun said he just called her as Juri-chan. That’s less formal and he wanted to create a more friendly atmosphere since Hidamari no Kanojo is a romantic movie. They asked how long did it take for him to go from the formal “Ueno-san” to “Juri-chan”. Apparently, he felt like he never even called her “Ueno-san” from the beginning lol…

Juri-chan said she called MatsuJun as either “Matsumoto-san or Matsumoto-kun”. The rest were quite surprised as that was very formal. Someone asked why didn’t she call him as “Jun-kun” instead. Then she was like taken aback and shook her head, smiling. She couldn’t do it.

“Matsumoto-san deshou?” She said. I think in this regard, MatsuJun is the more friendly type who can speak with anyone or more open while Juri-chan is more formal towards someone she’s not close with. Don’t mind! She did afterall go to Arashi’s concert xDD

I’ll just pinpoint the more interesting parts of the show. They had to tell what kind of image they think of Juri-chan.

Ninomiya: Although she appears on TV with this makeup, actually when she’s in the ‘off’ mode, her makeup is outrageous.

 Arashi Meshiagare - Ueno Juri.mp4_snapshot_08.36_[2014.06.11_12.28.40] Arashi Meshiagare - Ueno Juri.mp4_snapshot_08.38_[2014.06.11_12.28.48]

MatsuJun: She’s the type that would act on something once the thought comes to her.
Lol just look at that approving smile…

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Ohno : She has various types of costumes at home where she’d try on and act out different characters.
Lol yea, she’s an actress but I doubt she’d do that xD

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Sakurai (the most long-winding one): She’s the type that will pick up a flower and said “So pretty! Maybe I should make a hair floral accessory with this)” So she’ll make one and think “let’s make a bigger one, necklace maybe” and before she knew it, she’d made a huge floral decoration etc..”
That was hilarious xD

Aiba : She’s the type that can go to karaoke by herself.

Among all their answers, it was seriously OBVIOUS that Juri-chan was going to choose MatsuJun’s reply. You don’t even have to guess lol, she was already nodding her head in agreement with a sheepish smile when she heard MatsuJun’s reply.

MatsuJun should know Juri-chan more since they’d spent time together during filming. I bet they would have talked about their private life at some point. Anyways, I’m glad he got the correct answer. This just proves their chemistry ^^

They went on to ask how she spends time alone. She said she can eat alone outside on her own but if it’s just for tea or coffee, she’d stay home lol…she only does that if she’s traveling in foreign country but not in Japan. During holidays, she’ll meet up with friends. If she’s alone, she’ll watch different channels, movies or listen to music at home. She does go shopping for clothes alone.

Does she hate being alone? – Apparently, no. She likes alone time. (lol Aiba was doubtful and asked “honto?”)

Arashi Meshiagare - Ueno Juri.mp4_snapshot_10.33_[2014.06.11_12.42.13]

There was also a part where they asked where she’s from. She’s from Hyogo Prefecture, so she speaks Kansai. However, ever since living in Tokyo, she doesn’t speak it much. They asked Ohno to try speaking Kansai with her LOL

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This was funny. I thought they were chatting quite well together. Juri-chan took a while to change to Kansai but after she warmed up, it was fun to watch although I had some hard time trying to figure out what Ohno was saying.

 Arashi Meshiagare - Ueno Juri.mp4_snapshot_21.25_[2014.06.11_12.54.09]

Then they went on testing Kobe beef, MatsuJun prepared steak for Juri-chan. I’ll leave it at that and move on to the next show.

This was just a short interview where MatsuJun and Juri-chan appeared again for Hidamari promo.

The funniest part was when they were to choose which sports they’d go back and join if they could.

MatsuJun was given 4 choices, including one called Kabadi which I’ve never heard of. I had the same reaction as Juri-chan when the host mentioned it.

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MatsuJun then explained about this kabadii and it was quite hilarious…Juri-chan was like “nani sore?” lol
And he was confident about his knowledge >.<

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He chose basketball anyway. He also likes Slam Dunk and watches Michael Jordan.

When it comes to Juri-chan’s turn, she was only given two choices. Piano or tracks. That’s because she did those when she was young.

She was like “Ah, only two for me?” lol

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“Then, how about including Kabadii in it?” – MatsuJun

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   She was supposed to go forward and pick the flag A or B, but she was like “Piano ka na..?”
MatsuJun immediately said “No, you have to go and pick the flag right?”


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Anyways, she picked piano because she feels like there are lots of genre in music and she can explore those different sounds.

“You can still do it now right?” – MatsuJun

This segment is short but I laughed a lot. MatsuJun has a way for comical replies while Juri-chan is a bit blur sometimes and him teasing her was funny.

MatsuJun Ueno Juri game.mp4_snapshot_07.45_[2014.06.11_13.57.12]

They also appeared in this TOKIO show where they tried some food and had to guess whether those food were made from the usual ingredient or not.

But before that, they also had these Death Letters thingy where they expressed something to someone.
Juri-chan had two death letters for MatsuJun.

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I think back in Kouhaku Uta Gassen 2010, Juri-chan was there (taiga drama Gou) and she heard him said in an unpleasant way “You nervous?” *something like that*

TOKIO - MatsuJun Ueno Juri.mp4_snapshot_03.26_[2014.06.11_14.02.17]

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So MatsuJun was desperately trying to explain himself haha
He was just trying to calm her down that time and he didn’t mean it in a bad way.

The second one
At the Arashi concert, “You look bored?” Was that actually directed to me? – Juri-chan’s death letter to MatsuJun.

Apparently, MatsuJun thought Juri-chan looked bored especially when he was performing Love So Sweet as he looked down at the place she was sitting.

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So Juri-chan told him “That’s not true! You were looking from above…” *I think she meant that he couldn’t have seen her real expression from above*


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Aha! The guy from TOKIO was like “Maybe it was really BORING?”

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Next, he asked whether MatsuJun had anything he wanted to say to Juri-chan.

He had something he was curious about. It’s regarding Juri-chan’s habit during filming.
During filming, he said Juri-chan’s a very focused person that she immediately forgot what the staff told her beforehand (from what I understand).

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There was a scene when they were told to count from 1-3 and the camera would move towards them or something like that.
However, when the director said “Start!” Juri-chan immediately rushed to the designated place.

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Tomoya Nagase said maybe for Juri-chan, she counted the 1,2,3 in a faster way than others haha

Juri-chan apologized for her mistakes xD

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Then they asked what type of person she likes in real life.
She likes guys who are direct and for gestures, she likes it when someone puts her hand in their pocket while walking when it’s cold/winter.

So they asked both MatsuJun and Masahiro to act it out and let her choose who did it better.

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Everyone was saying how natural they were! ^^

Juri-chan chose MatsuJun! hahaha saw it coming anyway…

She liked that he was very gentle in putting her hand in the pocket xD as compared to the TOKIO guy.

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I just got that VS Arashi episode where Hidamari cast appeared. Gonna watch that tonight xDDD

Hidamari no Kanojo [Deleted Scenes]

I finally got to see the scenes that didn’t make it into the cut of the final version of the movie. I also did an unboxing post for the Memorial Edition of the DVD boxset if anyone’s interested. You can see the postcards and booklet pictures.

Memorial Edition [unboxing]

As for the deleted scenes…did some screencap.

Just a very very short scene of Mao dropping documents as she passed to her boss. Just another sign of her weakening situation.
Yea, the movie can do without it really…
Director’s comment: He thought he wanted to continue giving the sweet/happy “dating” period for both Mao and Kousuke so in the end he didn’t include this as this will somehow ruin the sequence.


This scenes was a little meetup between Okuda’s colleagues and both Mao and her senior, Minegishi introduced herself as a replacement for Kousuke. Basically, Tanaka joked he thought both Shindo and Mao were dating. To which Mao replied with a laugh “no…” and Shindo was like “Even though I actually wished for it..”
Then Minegishi was saying how she’d choose Shindo who then joked “then..shall we get married?” Tanaka the joker then said as he looked around the office “I wanna get married too…anyone?” LOL

Director’s comment: This was a scene after both Mao and Kousuke’s marriage. He wanted to focus on the marriage life of KousukexMao so this didn’t make the cut. Although I thought it’d have been a nice and quick comic relief.



Kousuke comes back and found the coffee stain on the carpet and broken glass in the sink. Mao is nowhere to be found.


Mao is seen sitting by the beach (my guess is Enoshima because she was wearing the same clothes as when she fainted at the office and Shindo drove her there as requested. This should be after she had that talk with the cat lady).

Mao looking sick and a call came for her from Kousuke but she said she’ll talk during the meeting. Shindo looked at her worriedly because he felt it was weird she doesn’t pick up his call.


Shindo then talked to her after work. He asked “You didn’t go back home to Okuda did you last night?” This is the day after he drove her to Enoshima. To which Mao brushed away saying she did properly go back home. However, Shindo wasn’t convinced.

S#63(7) S#63(8)

And then….before he could ask further, Kousuke appeared to find Mao.

S#63(9) S#63(12)


Mao gives an excuse that she was too tired that night and somehow just spent the night at her parent’s house.

HA! Kousuke was jealous! He thought Mao and Shindo had something going on. Mao told him to phone her mother to check if he doesn’t believe. Kousuke brushed it off saying he won’t do so…

Kousuke told her if she’s not feeling well, she should inform him first. Mao assured him she will in the future. Made up after that xD


Anyways, I can’t really get what the director commented on this scene, he explained the sequence and what those scenes represent and such but somehow it didn’t make it into the cut. I don’t quite understand what he was trying to say.

But I’d have loved for the Shindo scene outside the office and this park scene to be included. Then again, it won’t make much of a difference.

[Travel] Ueno Juri ga iku! Sakura Zensen Dai Tuiseki

So I just found out that back in year 2011 – 2012, Ueno Juri went to the Himalayas in search of sakura (cherry blossom) for some TV program. I’ve always loved Japanese travel shows, even though most of them that I’ve watched before didn’t have subs, I still found them very nice and made me want to go too. I suppose, it’s how they film certain things. Also bonus points when a certain actor/actress travel in the show xD

*Too bad I don’t have a good internet connection to get high quality of this show, this will have to do.
This is the official website


 To be honest, I didn’t know sakura also exists in these parts of the world. I’ve always thought that only Japan has them. However, I do think that Japan is more famed for sakura than places like Tibet or Nepal. From what I understand so far from this program, it seems that sakura is quite scarce but present in the mountains, even as high as 2000m.


Sakura in Nepal is used for firewood. While in Japan, you don’t see people chop them down and burn for fire right? Basically, sakura in Japan is more appreciated for its beauty especially for hanami events whereas in these places, they’re for living.

Different places have different perception towards sakura.


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 When she tried that thingy below, I wondered if it was really tasty like soba as she claimed haha…


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Wow…that view was breathtaking!

She told the guide it was her first time riding on top of a bus. Well yea, obviously, they don’t do that in Japan.


The guide taught her a local song that they always sing when climbing mountains. She asked why do they sing while climbing because normally, you’ll be out of breath already…but the guide said it actually makes climbing easier. She was still doubtful but later on agreed when they were climbing up the mountain ^^



Found a sakura tree at this person’s house. Apparently, he loves flowers so it’s surrounded with all kinds of them.


He recommended a hanami spot for Juri-chan ^^


Interviewing the locals what they think of sakura.


Time to leave…


So where will the next spot be?


Side note: I kinda like that guide. He seemed very friendly.

Next up CHINA!


WOW….this is BEAUTIFUL!!!




These people are so friendly ^^ The young girl greeted her first and asked where she came from. After Juri-chan said she came from Japan, they said that was quite far. She invited her to the house and introduced her family.


After meeting the father, mother and daughter, she explored their animals which included a cow, a pig and chickens.


LOL okay…That must be her first time holding a live chicken ^^


Sasuga Juri-chan, couldn’t stand watching the chicken suffer being upside down so she held it up.




Chatting and eating…so the girl was also 25 years old like Juri-chan but she already has a daughter, 5 years old.


In the morning, Juri-chan followed them to do some work.


Awwww….the kid was warming up to Juri-chan…


Juri-chan helped them with some farming.


Time for the feast. Every year, there’s a festival around this time so Juri-chan came at the right timing.

Poor pig.

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Juri-chan obviously not used to seeing pig being slaughtered I guess.

Aww…she couldn’t stand it so she ran away…


So Rii-san took her for a walk at her favorite spot. They chatted and Juri-chan asked her how does it feel to be a mother, has anything changed? To which she replied, free time gets less and less but having her daughter is a great thing.


Then she asked Juri-chan how is her work like, very busy? Then she also asked whether she had any desire to get married?

Juri-chan replied, she has no desire to get married yet but she’d like to create her own form of happiness in her own way. Judging from the way she answered that, it seemed that she’s not in a hurry to marry though…perhaps she likes to enjoy her single life more? Well 25 years old is still young imho.


I found the Rii-san’s story was quite sad. After giving birth to her daughter, her husband apparently left them?! She thinks he didn’t like that she gave birth to a daughter, instead of a son. To which, Juri-chan asked giving birth to a daughter is bad?

Juri-chan then talked about her taiga drama, Gou where her character gave birth to girls for so many times until she got a boy. *I watched Gou, enjoyed it quite a lot and her role was nice.*


She then consoled her ‘Next time can find another husband, a good one. You’re still young and there are still more chances.’ Good advice, Juri-chan.

Getting ready for the festival. Juri-chan wanted to prepare something too, something Japanese. The Rii-san said she’s free to use anything as long as the dish prepared is for 10 people.


So we got to see Chef Juri in action ^^


Her dish was delicious ^^


They prepared their traditional costume for Juri-chan as well and off they went for the main event of the festival.

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That was a really tall ladder! Also, what’s interesting is the steps were all made of katana! Juri-chan couldn’t believe that they’ll be climbing the ladder because the katana looked very sharp.

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After the event, it was time to leave….


Awww….the little girl cried T__T


Before leaving, Juri-chan told Rii-san she’ll also strive to be a great mother in the future.


When you think about it, Juri-chan was just a stranger until a few days ago. Having stayed a few days and shared stories especially with Rii-san who is the same age as her, it was quite touching to part ways.


Even Juri-chan started to tear up. Ahhh…that was touching.


She returned to Japan, this time at Okinawa during February.

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So actually, sakura came from the Himalayans O_O The birds then may have brought the seeds across China and somehow arrived at Japan and Okinawa – as according to the experts.


The last destination was Tohoku in March, 2012.

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A single sakura tree remained even after the tsunami.


She joined a group of volunteers to plant sakura trees.

125223989.mp4_3.mp4_snapshot_01.35.10_[2014.05.15_23.38.11]A symbol of hope.

Overall: I like this show. All the more with Juri-chan in it. I especially find her China trip to be quite memorable, the warmth of the locals accepting her and making her feel like home during the stay. You can see how much they’ve enjoyed her company during those few days. That was touching and the little girl was cute too. I think there’s also a sense of connection because Rii-san is the same age as her but they lead very different lives. I like the bit when they talked about each other, sharing experiences, and the advice Juri-chan gave her. I totally agree with her – “In the future, you might find love again, good husband. For now, you might be satisfied with how you live, but you’re still young and have more chances in the future. Your decisions/perspectives might change soon.” Basically, her telling Rii-san to not give up and aim for better ^^

Although the show was supposed to focus on the Sakura theme, I think besides having that, it’s also the experience to see a different culture and how they live. I have to say, this widened my knowledge on sakura too.

Feature – Ueno Juri

In this segment, I’ll be featuring some Japanese actors and actresses, recommending some of their filmography for those who are curious or wanted to know more about certain actors they saw on-screen. Of course, this is not going to be complete but I’ll try to include as much as possible or what I know about them, mostly based on dramas/movies I’ve watched.

I decided to kick off with Ueno Juri since she has an ongoing drama, Alice no Toge which makes it easier to connect to if any of you are watching it. I’ll most probably continue with Eita next xDD

If there’s one drama you have to watch by Ueno Juri, make sure this is in your list.


She’s most well-known for the famed musical comedy, Nodame Cantabile (2008). This drama in my opinion basically propelled her into stardom. I guess most people became fans during that era. I was one of them. Prior to the drama, I didn’t know who she is. I watched it for Tamaki Hiroshi. While I love Tamaki’s Chiaki Senpai there to bits, it was definitely Ueno Juri’s Nodame that stole the spotlight.

Nodame Cantabile - 01.mp4_snapshot_26.09_[2014.05.10_21.56.14]

Although there was a lot of over-acting involved in the drama (considering that was how it was supposed to be), it all seemed very natural for Ueno Juri to get into Nodame’s character. In fact, she looked exactly like the character literally jumped out of the manga and came to life.I normally get annoyed easily when I see a very childish character who pouts his/her mouth and do selfish things. But when it comes to Nodame, you can easily forgive her. I find myself enjoying it more whenever she goes out of control, angers Chiaki in a hundred different ways, being silly and cute at the same time.

Nodame Cantabile - 08.mp4_snapshot_20.49_[2014.05.10_21.58.22]

This drama was so successful that it continued to release two movies (year 2009 and 2010) – both of which were filmed in France, notably Paris. I truly enjoyed this show. Ueno Juri’s performance was quite flawless here. Nodame is made just for her imho.

At the same year after Nodame, she went on to take on an entirely different role in Last Friends. I was quite surprised when I first saw her hair cut short and all the more when the character was supposed to have gender identity disorder. Quirky, childish Nodame turned into a boyish gal? Totally didn’t see it coming. But again, the conflicted Ruka only proved her versatility as an actress. In fact, from what I’ve read, a lot of people become fans too during this period of time.


The only complaint I had with the drama though was how it focused too much on the Domestic Violence that took up almost 80% of the whole plot and it kind of deviates from the original theme. Then again, Ruka’s role is as memorable as Nodame as far as I’m concerned. You wouldn’t think they were the same actress. I’m most amazed by how she was able to change her body language, the way she speaks and facial expression to fit Ruka’s image. While in Nodame, she used a higher pitched and somewhat…smooth and sweet voice, when acting as Ruka, those were totally gone. Her voice was also deeper and husky. Her natural voice is husky to begin with but you can hear the different intonation. Ruka was a challenging role so I’m glad she took it up. People were generally very impressed by her performance here.

In 2010, she teamed up again with Eita (who actually co-starred with her a total of 8 times!) in a Twitter drama – Sunao ni Narenakute. While I was excited she finally paired up with Eita again, and as a couple this time, it didn’t turn out very well for me. I didn’t quite enjoy this show as much as I wanted to. Her role, Haru, wasn’t as interesting and very indecisive. Her constantly wavering character was a bit annoying sometimes. But as for the performance, I think she did what she could for the role. Basically, there’s only so much you can do for a poorly written role.

However, if you’re a fan of both Eita and Ueno Juri, like I am, then this is a must watch – just for the sake of watching lots of screentime of them. If you’re more concerned about plot, you can basically…skip this.

Sunao ni Narenakute ep06 (1280x720 h264).avi_snapshot_25.00_[2014.05.10_22.31.52]

In year 2011, she was picked for NHK Taiga drama, Gou~Himetachi no Sengoku, which runs all year long. It’s considered a huge privilege to be given the chance to lead a taiga drama from what I know. The taiga drama usually features either an actor or actress as historical figures in Japan.

I don’t watch taiga dramas at all before this but I finished this. That said, it’s the first Taiga drama (46 episodes in total) that I completed. I thought the plot was quite interesting and I got to know about the Shogun and all. However, for the first time, she received criticism for the lower than average ratings that a taiga drama usually gets. It was mainly because she also acted as the young version of Gou (9-10 years old). For me, it was not her fault when whoever did the casting should be held responsible for the poor decision. I did see some Nodame-ish character in the young Gou (who was supposed to be childish and selfish as she was the youngest anyway). She did the best she could for a 10 year old character imo. In fact, they should have cast a young actress of the right age to play Young Gou instead of forcing her who is already 24 years old.


It did start off rocky. However, I did enjoy this taiga drama. I thought for the later part, she did quite well for the role of Gou. You’ll see a mature, feminine but also a strong-willed character here. To me, she nailed it towards the end. So it wasn’t as bad as everyone made it sound like.

Since Gou finished and the ensuing criticism, she took quite a long break. I’m not entirely sure whether it was directly due to Gou’s rating, but she didn’t appear in any drama or movie until 2013. If it was true, then maybe the short hiatus was so that people can forget about those negative news. Again, I don’t think the blame should be put on her alone because the casting was bad initially to begin with and the script was at times, poorly written. In fact, I quite enjoyed Gou’s character because you can see the growth from a childish girl to a mature woman, also a loving mother.

Year 2013 came and finally, she was back in the spotlight. This time, she’s paired up with Arashi’s Matsumoto Jun in a love story – Hidamari no Kanojo. Generally, everyone was excited both for her return and also the fact that this is MatsuJun’s movie in 5 years.


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I’ve written a detailed recap and review of the movie here. Hence, I’ll keep it brief. Mao’s character is perfect for Ueno Juri. Like Nodame, it felt like it was written just for her. The movie generally received positive reviews and even MatsuJun’s fans felt that they make such a good pair, despite their first time working together. I felt like this a good comeback for Ueno Juri after the hiatus. Her performance as the slightly quirky, cheerful and whimsical Mao was on-point all the time. She was indeed lovely to watch in the movie.

So it seems that the comeback means we’ll be seeing her more often now (hopefully). She also returns to small-screen this year with Alice no Toge as a dark heroine seeking for revenge. I was just watching Alice the other day and then Hidamari. Watching the transition from the bright and cheerful Mao to a dark Asumi was quite thrilling and surreal. I think this just proves again, her ability to adapt to her roles and make it as real as possible.

I think the hair styling and dying it back to black colour makes her character look smart and more serious, like she means business. One thing I absolutely like about her character is the cold stare or glare she gives to the villains, especially behind their back xD She looked like she wanted to kill them >.<

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We’re only halfway through this drama so I’ve yet to really give any verdict on her performance but so far, all I can say is, she’s doing a hella good job as a dark heroine!



Now, we’ll move to some of her earlier works and most likely, not as well-known to all but still worth mentioning.


For example, Swing Girls (2004) was the movie where she won Best Newcomer. It was a hilarious movie about a group of students with no prior experience in music setting off to create a jazz band. She’s such a natural in comedy, even before Nodame! Trust me, just give this a try and you’ll know why.


Rainbow Song  was another movie in 2006 which she co-starred with Hayato Ichihara. It was quite touching in the end.


Naoko (2008) was also quite nice. Miura Haruma was in this too, so if you’re a fan, be sure to watch it.



So what is my favorite pairing when it comes to Ueno Juri? Over the years, she’s been partnered with quite a few actors. I’ll rank my top 3.

My ultimate favorite pair is definitely with Tamaki Hiroshi in Nodame Cantabile. Although their characters are polar opposites of each other, they still look so compatible and perfect. When it comes to chemistry, this pair gives the best vibe. To be honest, they look like they’ll make such a lovely pair in real life. I was disappointed they never dated though. But in the hearts of many fans, including me, they are the best.





This is my second favorite pairing. Can you believe it? She has worked with him for 8 times! And yet, I’m still hoping for a real serious love story for them. The only drama they got together (during the end) was Sunao ni Narenakute but they spent too much time wavering there, so nothing very romantic at all. As a huge fan of Eita, I’m still waiting for the day to come. Although for me, unlike the kind of chemistry with Tamaki Hiroshi, Eita feels like he’s the ‘best friend’ type for her. Maybe because of the numerous times they’ve co-starred and worked together, they’re already too comfortable with each other that it doesn’t give the ‘romance’ vibe any longer. Which is also the main reason why they’re my favorite in Last Friends.


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I didn’t see this pairing coming at all. It never crossed my mind to see her in a movie with MatsuJun, because both of them have nothing much in common, not in terms of drama/movie genre and the characters they play are different. So I wasn’t convinced initially that this pair will work, in a romantic movie, no less. But boy…I was so wrong! They’re now in the top 3 of my favorite pairing. They have so much chemistry and if not for my biased love for Eita, this pair would’ve easily been 2nd best.


 These are some of my favorites. I thought the e-hyphen adverts were mostly amazing. They even went to Paris to shoot.




I think mid-length hair suits her most. But I’m hoping she’ll leave it long for any drama/movie in the future. She should also wear glasses, it fits and gives her a nerdy image ^^



Just wanna take this opportunity to point out that Juri-chan is quite talented. Most people already know that she learned piano from young and played most of Nodame’s pieces in the drama. She also composed some songs on her own (according to the Ao Akua DVD). Besides having the aptitude for music, she’s also got the flair for painting. I didn’t know this and I think most people won’t know unless they’ve watched her DVDs or read interviews and such.

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She painted this on the spot in Hawaii by the beach. That board was huge!

She also went to India for some charity work.

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I’ll be doing a feature on Eita soon!!!