23 September 2008

あんどーなつ Ando Natsu

Title: あんどーなつ Ando Natsu
English Title:
  • Ando Natsu
  • AnDonuts
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Year: 2008
Episode: 12
  • 貫地谷しほり Kanjiya Shihori
  • 國村隼 Kunimura Jun
  • 尾美としのり Omi Toshinori
  • 風吹ジュン Fubuki Jun
  • 細田よしひこ Hosoda Yoshihiko
  • 山田明郷 Yamada Meikyo
  • 黒沢かずこ Kurosawa Kazuko
  • 柴田理恵 Shibata Rie
  • 田中律子 Tanaka Ritsuko
  • 金子昇 Kaneko Noboru
  • 真瀬樹里 Manasa Juri
  • 渡辺夏菜 Watanabe Natsuna (夏菜 Natsuna)

Monkey Majik - ただ、ありがとう Tada, Arigatō (Just, Thank You)
Ando Natsu dreams to be a patisserie chef. She worked shortly at one of the famous confectionery shops in Japan but the shop closed down because of the owner's sudden death. She goes to Tokyo to look for work opportunities but the recruiting period has just ended and there are no available positions.

Natsu randomly walks around Tokyo and she chances upon a well-established Japanese confectionery shop called Mangetsudo. She finds out that they are looking for part-time workers and soon after, Natsu works at Mangetsudo serving customers.

Natsu becomes interested in making Japanese confections and she asks the shop's veteran confectioner Umekichi to make her his apprentice.

Ando Natsu is one of the few (I think!) dramas that focus on traditional Japanese culture. It talks about the art of making Japanese sweets and it's such an interesting topic. In addition, the drama talks about other aspects of Japanese culture such as the world of geisha, Japanese folklore, Japanese festivals, Japanese proverbs, etc.

Ando Natsu studied to be a baker of Western sweets and desserts but circumstances led her to working part-time at a Japanese confectionery shop. In a way, I think it's a good way of presenting the idea that people should remain open-minded about other possibilities even though they are already decided on one particular path. Although it is important to have direction in life, sometimes it is interesting to see where life and circumstances actually take you.

The Japanese sweets are very beautiful to look at; the sweets are such works of art that it seems such a waste to eat it. It is interesting to see how much effort goes into designing and making the Japanese sweets.

The drama talks about following one's dreams and the hardships he encounters as he attempts to do so. In one episode, the drama talked about the Japanese proverb 石の上にも三年 Ishi no ue ni mo sannen which literally means, "(Sitting) on top of a stone for three years". It basically means that a person must work hard for a long time before he can expect to see good results. I think showing dramas like this one is such an interesting way of encouraging people to work hard and to be patient.

It also talks about the importance of valuing each moment and experience. In one episode, the drama talked about the Japanese proverb 一期一会 Ichigo ichie which literally means, "One time, one meeting". Other ways of translating the proverb are "For this time only" and "One chance in a lifetime." It basically means that each moment and experience is unique so it is important to value each moment and experience. In a way, it means it is important to do your best at that particular moment because there are few circumstances in life wherein you actually get to do things all over again, considering that the next time is already a different moment.

For those interested, another drama that showcases traditional Japanese culture would be おせん Osen. Another drama that presents the difficulty of traditional Japanese culture surviving in the modern times would be 拝啓、父上様 Haikei, Chichiue-sama.

あんどーなつ Ando Natsu