Life Lessons from a J-drama // Yume wo Kanaeru Zou // Part 2

Are you struggling to find love? Despite everything you do, are you still unable to be truly happy? Then you’ve come to the right place! This is exactly what Hoshino Asuka is struggling with in the Japanese drama Yume wo Kanaeru Zou, but by following the tasks given to her by elephant god Ganesha, she’s been guaranteed happiness in just three month’s time. If you haven’t seen my post about the first three episodes, please read it here!

When we last saw Asuka, she had just been to a mixer where she managed to catch the eye of calm, dependable, handsome Kondo-san. Kondo-san asks Asuka out for dinner, but first Ganesha assigns a task that may cause Asuka to question his wisdom.


The Tasks-Episodes 4-6

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  • Go on a date with the person you’re least interested in– The person that Asuka chooses as least desirable is her boss Tajima, a middle-aged married man with a sense of humor that borders on sexual harassment and a tendency to pick his nose. Asuka works up the courage to ask Tajima to join her for dinner so she can ask some questions about work. He turns out to be even more unpleasant than she can imagine, but can’t help to feel slighted when he pointedly tells her that as a married man he cannot support a relationship with her, despite her protests that this certainly was not her intention. As they leave the izakaya at which they dined, Asuka is met with a slap from a fellow female co-worker, who reveals that she is in fact having an affair with Tajima (that hypocrite!). In the words of Asuka, SHOCK! The lesson that comes from having to date the person that we are least interested in is that there is in fact a difference between “no interest” and “dislike”. It is better for us to give someone or something a chance before we decide we don’t like it.
  • Do not lie– Ganesha gives Asuka a watch that causes a painful shock each time she lies-including white lies and slight fudging of the facts. She spends the day learning (in quite a painful fashion) just how often she does lie. During her dinner date with Kondo-san, she is forced to answer all questions truthfully; choosing the cheesy action movie over the romance film, admitting that she doesn’t cook anything fancy, and even that she didn’t have much interest in the less glamorous Kondo-san over the tv producer at the mixer. But it appears that Kondo-san finds her honesty refreshing, even humorous. Ganesha’s lesson in the end is that lies in and of themselves aren’t so bad, but we often lie purely to make ourselves look better. Furthermore, the more we lie, the more we lose sight of who we are and what we truly like. When we don’t even know who we are, we don’t have the right to say what we like.

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  • Become an evil woman– At this point, Asuka is becoming quite motivated to change, to become better, to discover who she is. Ganesha deals out some great wisdom at this time: The only person who can change your future self is your current self, which is a compliment to Act as soon as you’ve decided to change. The moment you feel motivated to change is the moment to take advantage of those feelings before they fade away. The first task that Ganesha gives Asuka on this journey of self-discovery is to become an evil woman. In other words, do exactly as your heart desires while not worrying whether or not others come to hate you. This pairs nicely with the previous task to only speak the truth, as Asuka feels the confidence to tell others how it is, and that confidence really affects others. As Ganesha tells her, others start reacting to her, instead of vice versa, and a co-worker even commends her for her strength of character.
  • Come up with your own tagline– As Asuka continues to try and figure out exactly what defines herself, she’s given the task to come up with her own tagline. She discovers that it’s easy to come up for taglines for other people, but far harder for herself. Ultimately, she comes up with “The woman with the #1 happiness in the world”. Admittedly, this is the self that she desires to become, more so than who she currently is. Since it seems that Asuka still doesn’t know who exactly she is, Gensha continues with a number of tasks to dig deeper into her unconscious self.
  • Imagine other people’s unhappiness– Ganesha gives Asuka a “nooto desu” a play on words on Death Note which is pronounced “desu nooto” in Japanese, but instead of people dying when she writes down their names, Asuka turns into an evil version of herself where her hidden unconscious feelings of them is unveiled in writing in the notebook. Asuka isn’t happy to be witness to such evil inside of her, but the lesson from Ganesha is that we can’t live while looking away from our evil side.

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  • Know other people’s evil feelings– Asuka isn’t the only human being with hidden dark feelings however. The notebook is used again, but this time Asuka must ask others to write her own name down and she sees how they truly feel about her. Asuka learns that others see her as sloppy with money, annoying, flimsy, empty, and not worth their interest. She fails to find the courage to let Kondo-san write in the notebook, but she reveals to him that she views herself as dispicable, jealous, and happy to see others fail. Kondo-san tells her that this is simply what makes someone human, and would she hate him if he admitted to the same sort of feelings? Aww, sweet Kondo-san ^^

A person without jealousy would get nowhere. Jealousy in and of itself is a negative emotion, but harnessed in the right way, we could have the power to enact positive change. These tasks certainly are an interesting way of discovering your true nature, and I would agree that if we aren’t aware of our negative aspects, we won’t be able to really use our full potential to become happy beings.

Thank you for reading and keep an eye out for part 3 coming soon!

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