So if you haven’t yet watched it, the latest season of Netflix’s Terrace House is available for binge watch. It’s in Japanese with English subtitles, and it’s really good. For those of you who miss the original Real World on MTV before it became too naughty and predictably acrimonious for this elder millennial, Terrace House is your Japanese solution.
About Terrace House
Terrace House follows six Japanese-speaking strangers, beautiful as to be expected as this is television after all, as they pursue their dreams of love, friendship, or sense of purpose. The best scenes seem to happen around regular family-style dinners and the in the designated boys’ room or girls’ room. Here the beautiful strangers openly discuss with varying levels of seriousness their plans to pursue each other or their individual goals. For example, in one season, there was a Japanese-born Los-Angeles-based actor seeking to find “a love worth dying for.” In another season, a female ice-hockey player was seeking to bring recognition and awareness to ice-hockey in Japan.
Intertwined with all this are datos (dates), and inevitably as with most strangers-in-a-house series romance unfolds along the way. What is shocking is how PG it all is compared to American television! It takes almost three months sometimes for even the first date to happen, let alone a meek first kiss. But the swelling of the romance over time is what keeps you hooked, at least it does me. That and the exposure to various aspects of Japanese culture makes this show a love worth missing work for!
The problem is after a five-episode binge, I find myself lusting after their life and succumbing to a daydream of my own making.
My real life
In my real life I slog away at my day job and come home and slog away at this here blog, hoping and praying that one day it means something. And if not that, pays something. My last great venture was when I created my first Sunday Funnies – The Life Cycle of A Corporate Drone comic strip. Who knew it would foreshadow events to come. Shortly after it was posted, I ended up having to drag my mattress to the bare floor to sleep after waking up that morning with searing back pain. It felt like I had slept on a bed of hot coals. Events like these or stupid minute things that happen at work but seem so big at the time make me think more about what else I can do accelerate My Early Retirement Journey.
However the numbers don’t lie. Compound interest takes time. Thus I soothe myself with a crafty daydream or two. Instead of what I would do with a million bucks, I consider what I would do with one million hours. So after a few sleepless nights, anxious about the next workday, and in physical pain, I let my mind wander on what my life could look like if I actually did leave the workforce on my own terms. It changes day to day, but inspired by my latest binge-watch of Terrace House, here’s what’s playing.
What I’d rather be doing instead
#1 Learn Japanese.
It’s a Japanese show so all the cast members speak Japanese. Many of them are half Japanese and in the Hawaii season, many of them were also Americans. I like the staccato of the Japanese language, and I was a linguistics major in college so language has been a long-time interest. I think learning a new language at this stage in my life would at least stimulate my left-brain. It would be both a mental and creative challenge and one I would enjoy. I had previously considered moving to South America to improve my now waning command of the Spanish language, but after Terrace House I want to learn Japanese!
#2 Spend a season in Nagano after learning Japanese.
Naturally, if I had one million hours, I would have time to travel. Travel isn’t high on my list at the moment, but if I had nothing but time, I suspect it would creep up on said list. The show takes place in a quaint looking town called Karuizawa in the Nagano prefecture of Japan. From what I’ve seen, it’s a four season town, with beautiful mountainous landscapes and parks and trees and nature for days. Many a datos has involved a nature escape. Nagano also speaks to a budding desire of mine to live in a mountain retreat and do yoga all day. It seems like the perfect spot for that.
#3 Make and eat loco moco.
On the Aloha State season, the new cast of beautiful strangers was based out of Hawaii and the dining experiences were mouth watering. Every other meal involved some sort of brown sauce, my favorite kind of sauce. The dish du jour was Hawaii’s loco moco. If you’ve never seen or tasted it, you must Google it or watch the show for high def visuals. I couldn’t find a photo to do it justice. It’s essentially rice with hamburger and delicious gravy topped with an over easy egg. My mouth is watering just typing this. After watching the show, I did bumble around the single girl kitchen to concoct my version, but that was a fail. I obviously need to visit Hawaii to have it done right!
What about you, if you were suddenly blessed with one million hours of free time, what would you rather be doing?
Related content: How Design-Thinking Can Inspire Your Early Retirement Journey
(Originally published on 14Aug2018; updated 19Sep2018 MERJ)