Monday, 22 August 2011

Seashore Searching

Certain events that took place in the past two weeks drove me to search Youtube for an old song. "Forever", sung by Japanese actor Takashi Sorimachi and Richie Sambora, was the opening theme for the 1997 Japanese drama series Beach Boys.


The only nice poster pic of the 1997 Japanese drama
series Beach Boys I could find


Yes, I guess it was a long time ago.

Walking on the beach, 17-year-old Makoto Izumi (played by Ryoko Hirosue) finds a message in a bottle which ends with, "We are the beach boys." It was never clear who wrote the message, but I suppose the bottle was just a set piece that led to the serendipitous encounter that would follow later.

I.e., the arrival of the "beach boys" into her life.

Former competition swimmer and deadbeat Hiromi Sakurai (Sorimachi) is kicked out of his girlfriend's house. Around the same time, high-flying salaryman Kaito Suzuki (Yutaka Takenouchi) is escaping from troubles at his workplace. These two meet and end up at the same place: a small bed-and-breakfast by the beach, where Makoto lives with her granddad.

Hiromi and Kaito couldn't be any more different. Sorimachi essentially plays a more laid-back, easygoing and less edgier version of his GTO persona; Kaito is all business and straitlaced. Their first meeting couldn't have been worse: while pushing Hiromi's jalopy, they end up chasing the car downhill and plunged into the ocean.

And Kaito loses his wallet to the sea.

Stuck in the middle of nowhere with no money, both of them became employees at the B&B - fertile ground for friendships between two unlikely bedfellows, set within a feel-good, often funny tale about life, priorities, finding one's dreams and, yes, friendship.

Then again, not so unlikely; in Hiromi and Kaito's names is the kanji for "sea", shown clearly in the opening. No guesswork for the audience, as far as the scriptwriters are concerned.

Back then, I was too young and perhaps too occupied with my own things to fully appreciate the message(s) behind the drama series. The idea of a simple life, working and living near the sea appealed to me, though, and not just because of where I was born. The opening theme stuck, too.

I guess it was that simplicity that I seem to yearn for now, so warm and familiar, it feels like... home. Just like the B&B was to "beach boys" Hiromi and Kaito.

But their idyll doesn't last long. Masaru Izumi, Makoto's grandpa and owner of the B&B goes missing one day, leading to the Beach Boys' parting of ways to find their own "ocean". And so it ends...

But bless Fuji TV for the special episode. Ah, the sight of them trying to start and then chasing Hiromi's car back into the ocean again when they returned to the seaside B&B was so damn cathartic.

And then, the sounds of the guitar as the opening theme played - an affirmation that, yes, they are and will always be "the beach boys".

I hold on to that song. When I hear it playing at the back of my mind at some point in my life, I will know that I have, at last, found my metaphorical B&B by the sea.

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