Reality TV is a special place, similar to both reality and TV, while not quite being either. It’s a place of personal crises, rampant tears and stolen kitchen items. In that sense, Tokyo’s Terrace House is no different. Like The Real World, it places strangers into one chic house, hoping they’ll fight and kiss. But it can never be The Real World, because it’s its own world. How so?
For one, see the above caption. “I wonder how we can share our visions for the future.” This is typical dinner conversation at Terrace House, where tears often erupt because one’s barista career is deterring them from their original dream of being an actor/model/tap dancer/chef. If anything opens our eyes to how life differs across the globe, it’s the tiny set of captions on one another’s reality TV. Now that we can dive into everyday life in Japan, we see that “Gym/ tanning/laundry” this is not.
So, why should you watch Japanese reality TV, outside of the technicolor, cupcake-eating gameshow variety? For these reasons.
1. For the Parties
The parties are chill as heck and involve trips to CostCo, which apparently is big in Japan. Live through the hangovers of these strangers, which cement a bond that you will feel too, because that’s how TV works. You love these people now. You dream of them and follow them on Instagram.
2. For the Cooking
I am currently willing the creators of Terrace House to make a cookbook. Part of the wonder of this show is watching the delicious dinners they cook for one another, from fresh poke bowls to sushi to hamburgers, which they serve bun-less, always with plenty of vegetables. These meals stir up drama, including fights about meat sharing, and kisses egged on by the word “coward” in hot sauce on rice.
3. Because It Goes All the Way to Hawaii
Once you’ve blasted through all of Terrace House, Netflix will happily remind you that there’s a whole other branch of the show: Terrace House: Aloha State. Prepare to get swept up all over again.
4. Because There’s Romance
Guess how many people in this photo have kissed someone else in this photo? 100%. Love springs up frequently on Terrace House, and with it great stories. Who can forget the time Riko googled the word “date” to find date ideas, or when Arisa rejected a date by saying she’d rather just go to CostCo with the whole house? No one can.
5. There Are Unforgettable Characters
This fetching young lady in a blue floatie is named Lauren, and she is an amazing artist who literally taught herself Japanese from watching Terrace House. She’s also an amazing model, whose many talents you can follow on her Instagram, @this_is_lala. Oh and that guy in the background? He’s the best ukulele player, like ever. Try not to become obsessed.
6. Because You Will Learn Some Japanese
Choice vocab you can’t NOT learn watching Terrace House:
Sugoi: Meaning “wow” or interesting
Dakedo: You will hear this phrase constantly, because it means “however” and is often dropped with a pregnant pause
Kosutoko: CostCo. It comes up a lot.
Plus so much more!!!
7. Because of the Amazing Commentators
You’re going to have a lot of emotions while watching Terrace House. Luckily, it features a panel of hilarious commentators who will help you process all the show’s big moments. My favorite observation from the panel: “How looks he’s full of cilantro.”
I hope I’ve convinced you to watch Terrace House. Let me know what your fave moments are.