02 April 2011

バーテンダー Bartender

Title: バーテンダー Bātendā (Bartender)
English Title: Bartender
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Year: 2011
Episode: 08
  • 相葉雅紀 Aiba Masaki
  • 貫地谷しほり Kanjiya Shihori
  • 荒川良々 Arakawa Yoshiyoshi
  • 光石研 Mitsuishi Ken
  • 金子ノブアキ Kaneko Nobuaki
  • 津川雅彦 Tsugawa Masahiko
  • 尾美としのり Omi Toshinori
  • 竹中直人 Takenaka Naoto
  • 西慶子 Nishi Keiko
  • 池津祥子 Ikezu Shoko
  • 七海エリ Nanami Eri
  • 石丸奈菜美 Ishimaru Nanami

嵐 Arashi - Lotus
Sasakura Ryu is an internationally-renowned bartender based in Paris, France. He returns to Japan, and has decided to quit working as a bartender.

Kurushima Miwa works as a reporter and she has been searching for Sasakura Ryu to ask him to give her an interview. Miwa is also the granddaughter of Kurushima Taizo, the owner of the Cardinal Hotel who is looking for a bartender that can make the cocktail known as the Glass of the Gods.

With Miwa's nagging, Ryu finally decides to start working as a bartender again. He becomes an apprentice in Bar Lupin, learning under the head bartender Mihashi Junji and his assistant Sugiyama Kaoru.

The main bar at the Cardinal Hotel is nearing completion and Miwa's grandfather is looking for a bartender to manage the main bar when it opens. He is considering Kuzuhara Ryuichi, the perfect bartender in Japan, but he also has his eye on Ryu.

I have been looking forward to Bartender because it talks about something I find interesting. I don't really drink a lot but I think basic knowledge of alcoholic drinks, such as cocktails, is necessary. It's great that the drama gives some trivia about some popular cocktail drinks and shares the recipes (is this the right term?!) through its website.

I'm not familiar with the manga so I don't really know if there is a romantic relationship between Sasakura Ryu and Kurushima Miwa. It's quite clear that Miwa likes Ryu in a romantic way but what isn't clear (at least, to me) is if Ryu likes her the same way. There's not much to interpret from the interactions between Ryu and Miwa but I go around it by reading too much between the lines.

I sometimes think it's absurd how the characters in the drama are so serious about their jobs as bartenders but when I think about it, I think it's amazing how much importance they put in their jobs and their roles in the society at large. I think it would be nice if everyone gets to have so much pride in what they do for a living.

I think Ryu's former boss was too harsh to fire him over a little thing but in reality, these things happen all the time. It is not often the case that people can afford to make mistakes at work. Moreover, when people make mistakes at work, they usually don't get the chance to right these mistakes and 'do over'.

What I like about the drama is its matter-of-fact approach to failures and mistakes. Although the characters who make mistakes have to deal with the consequences, these characters are also encouraged to right the mistakes if they can and to not give up just because they are not perfect.

The drama talks about what is real and in its context, it tries to define what a real bartender is. It is said that a real bartender is not just a professional but someone who lives his life as a bartender. It also seems that other acknowledged real bartenders have to recognize someone as a real bartender, particularly the ones who have trained that particular person who is trying to become one.

One of the pressing issues in the drama is determining who will be the bartender that will handle the main bar of the Cardinal Hotel. Miwa's grandfather is choosing between two candidates: Kuzuhara Ryuichi and Sasakura Ryu. However, Miwa had to make the choice due to unforeseen circumstances. I honestly didn't understand her explanations about her choice and it's not because of a lack of trying.

Kuzuhara Ryuichi has the ambition to succeed, the desire to be perfect, and the rational mind to stay composed all the time. Sasakura Ryu has the potential to be great, the desire to please his costumers, and the sensitive heart  that charms and touches people he encounter. Both candidates are exceptional in their own rights but what makes one candidate better than the other?

I don't know whether I agree or disagree with Miwa's choice because I don't really know her parameters for making her decisions.  Perhaps she chose Ryuichi because he's already at his best whereas Ryu is still in the process of becoming the best bartender he could ever possibly be.

バーテンダー  Bartender