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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Long Vacation *Takuya Kimura & Tomoko Yamaguchi


Must see J-drama fans! A real classic! Perfectly rated by IMDb & Japanese TV!
Sena/Takuya Kimura is a college graduate who dreams of becoming a world class pianist. He teaches piano at a local piano school. Minami/Tomoko Yamaguchi is an out of work model. On her wedding day, she gets dumped by her fiancé and loses all of her savings, which she gave to her fiancé. Her fiancé turns out to be Senna's former roommate. She rushes to Sena's apartment and finds out that her fiancé has skipped town. With no money and no where to go, she moves in with Sena. Sena likes Ryoko/Takako Matsu, a college sophomore. He likes her a lot, but just doesn't have the courage to ask her out. Momoko is Minami's best friend and is also a model. She provides much of the comedic relief in this show. Shinji is Minami's younger brother who just happens to be better than Senna at piano. He opens a bar/night club. Rumiko is Shinji's girlfriend. Sasaki-sensei is Sena's professor at college and is always encouraging Sena to perform at the next piano competition.

Episode 01
Episode 02
Episode 03
Episode 04
Episode 05
Episode 06
Episode 07
Episode 08
Episode 09
Episode 10
Episode 11 Final

Recognitions
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12 out of 12 people found the following review useful (rated by IMDb)

Better than perfection!

10/10
Author: Pro Jury
1 June 2003
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The romantic drama series LONG VACATION was shown in the USA on the International Channel (now AZN TV) a few years back. The series is set in Japan and centers on two Japanese classical pianists, who strive to join the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the many friends they meet along the way. The series is also about loneliness, shyness and finding, and not finding, romantic love. THE LONG VACATION is the unforgettable "merry-go-round" love story of Sena and Minami.

Unlike American television series, Japanese dramas are only about 12 episodes long. These dramas tell a complete story with a beginning, a middle and an end. And they are unlike American dramas in other ways.

The LONG VACATION was wildly popular in Japan. The Long Vacation soundtrack, consisting of cool J-pop and classical music (including the final episode's emotional Rachmaninoff 18th Variation from Rhapsody on theme of Paganini op. 43), was released as a 5 CD box set. Beyond the CD box set were single CD's, piano sheet music, books, and other items all stemming from only the music from the series. Much thought and effort is put into making a Japanese drama begin with a musical bang. The popular opening theme to THE LONG VACATION is case and point.

When the series aired, its stars lived at the top of Japanese popularity polls. Studying classical piano became hip. Sociologists report that the series single-handedly made it fashionable for a young Japanese man to marry a woman of an older age.

The Long Vacation has a great visual vocabulary, nice acting, world class popular and classic music, suspense-filled pacing and touching characters -- an unforgettable roller coaster story brimming with emotion-filled love triangles. The first episode is rather slow, but what follows is dynamite. Episode after episode, we suffer and thrill though the confusion that is love.

There are many scenes in the Long Vacation where Sena and Minami are each alone feeling very lonely.

A sample...

The camera frames each of them alone in a room with a phone in the foreground.

Sena and a phone.

Minami and a phone.

So many times something will happen with Sena and his phone. Or something will happen with Minami and her phone. But NEVER what we want to see happen.

In the middle of the series there comes a time when Sena is alone sitting on his couch, and Minami is alone sitting on her couch, and somehow they are finally talking to each other on the phone.

And very slowly we see the image of Minami on her couch partially dissolve into the image of Sena on his couch until each image is equally blended into the other so it looks like Sena and Minami are sitting together on the same ghostly couch.

Even though the LONG VACATION was made with slick visual style and hip music, the feelings and the emotions throughout are delicate and complicated, and this makes for greater feelings of anticipation as you watch.

The LONG VACATION stars Kimura Takuya, Yamaguchi Tomoko, Matsu Takako, Inamori Izumi, Takenouchi Yutaka, Ryo and Hirosue Ryoko. Along with England's REGGINALD PERRIN & FAWLTY TOWERS, it is an international ***** (5 star) classic television series. THE LONG VACATION is a complete and satisfying love story. Highly recommended.

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