If you haven’t already, please read my first two posts in this series! You can find part one here!
The theme in the last three episodes seemed to revolve around Asuka seeking to find out more about herself, her qualities both positive and negative, and even the dark feelings that others harbor toward her. By this point, we sadly have to say goodbye to Kondo-san, whose proposal to Asuka to marry him and follow him to France has been rejected. Not only this, but Asuka has suddenly been fired from her job after insulting Amida-san, the ace ideas-man of the company. So, even after working hard to follow all of Ganesha’s tasks, Asuka appears to be no better off for it than at the beginning of the show.
The Tasks- Episodes 7-9
- Make others laugh– Laughter is indeed a powerful force. It has the ability to change a mood, and even affect relationships. The kind of laughter that Ganesha wants Asuka to generate is the kind that comes from caring for others, and a service-orientation. This kind of laughter can turn a grim, chaotic situation into a fun bonding moment. Asuka is able to become closer to her co-workers in this way, causing her to begin to regret losing her job. She returns to the company hoping to patch things up with Amida, but her attempt to use humor to lighten the mood only angers him even more. So, Asuka must say her goodbyes to the company, and as a going away present one co-worker gives her anti-aging powder (a passive-agressive way of saying she looks old, I suppose). The powder comes into play as Asuka is making her way out and runs into Amida, Tajima, and a very important client who is in the process of storming out, dissatisfied with Amida’s inability to meet his demands. As the powder covers everyone, Asuka makes quite an impact on the client who demands that she be the one to appear in his commercial. Much to her glee, Asuka is summoned back to work.
- Throw away your clothes– This next task may be one of the most difficult for Asuka. Ganesha orders her to throw away all her clothes, telling her that in order for new things to be able to come into her life, she must be rid of the old. Asuka has an attachment to her clothing, having been accumulating it all based on fashion recommendations from none other than the magazine Cuncun. Ganesha tells her that should be even more of a reason to get rid of them, since none of her clothing reflects her own character, but are simply superficial reflections of what she is told she ought to wear. Nonetheless, she tries to escape with all her clothing in a suitcase, but Ganesha catches her. While she is away at work, Ganesha calls upon the spirit of Oda Nobunaga (a prominent military figure in Japanese history) to get rid of the clothes since Ganesha himself swore not to touch them while Asuka was away. She’s forced to wear the same outfit for several days until Nobunaga reveals that he simply hid the clothing, but Asuka has already learned her lesson and decides to sell it all and buy new clothes that suits her personality.
- Look up to the sky– Ganesha tells Asuka that the sky is a reflection of ourselves, so taking a moment to look up at the sky can help us in times of doubt and confusion. She finds looking up at the sky to be refreshing, and I think this is an example of practicing mindfulness, taking a moment to appreciate the beauty of the world around us rather than spending our days staring down at our feet, lost in our worries and concerns.
- Support someone– While Asuka has spent time learning more about herself, becoming more comfortable with her demons, and knowing that being on her own side is important, she is also learning more about how other people carry their own struggles at the same time. Ganesha gives her the task of supporting someone. He says that when you help someone you’ll be helped in return, but I don’t think he means this in the sense of reciprocity, but in terms of you can be benefited in a number of ways by helping others. Her opportunity to complete this task comes from Amida-san, who continues to struggle to please the client involved in the anti-aging powder incident. Just when he’s ready to give up, Asuka makes him think about the days when he truly enjoyed his job. He blames his recent stress on dried-up talent, but Asuka assures him that if he works to enjoy it again, he will no longer have to struggle. Even with things that once seemed to gush out naturally, sometimes we have to work to squeeze them out.
Through these tasks, Asuka went from a relationship with Amida marked by bickering and insults, to a budding friendship. She remarks to Ganesha that thanks to the task of supporting someone, she came to like someone she used to hate. Ganesha replies that when you help someone, you’re able to see something in them that you weren’t able to see before. It’s good to see things in a different light; too often we are so concerned with me,myself, and I that we forget to reach out to those around us, and in even the simplest acts, we can cause big effects.
Only four more episodes left! Look for the final post coming soon!