A Must-Watch Japanese Drama: Survival Wedding

Me in Kansas City, MO.

Hola, this time I’ll review a 10-episode Japanese drama with the title: Survival Wedding. For my previous review, you can read it here, and for my other reviews of Japanese movies and dramas, you can read it here.

Warnings: Might contain a lot of spoilers.

But first, let me say that this drama is legit one of my most most most favorite (Japanese) drama.

So, well, Survival Wedding drama revolves around an almost-30yo girl who “wished to get married.” She quit her job because she was about to get married. Unfortunately, her fiancé cancelled off the wedding, and she was left without a job. She somehow managed to get another job under one condition: she should get married within 6 months and wrote about it in the magazine she was working otherwise she’d be fired. That’s pretty much what you’ll find in other sources if you try to find the synopsis or what this drama is about, but let me tell you why I like this drama, and why I think you might want/need to, or must, watch it.

It portrays the conflict of Sayaka (played by Haru). She was about to turn 30 and felt pressured to get married. She wanted to get married but she didn’t want to “just get married”. When the new boss told her the condition for the job, she wasn’t sure if she could do it, but the boss was really such a cool guy! I really loved his character! He seemed al business-like, perfectionist, overconfident, maybe a narcissist, but most of the times he was right. He was greatly eccentric, but he was full of strategies, logical/rational, wise. When I first watched it I almost thought that Sayaka would end up with the boss, but I was glad that I was wrong. Haha

Well, it’s her boss that actually helped her to see her own value. Sayaka herself felt desperate. She was almost 30. She felt that she did not have many options. She wondered if her standards were too high. She was willing to compromise and thought that maybe she had just to lower her standards. But the boss was against it. He matter-of-factly told her not to compromise, not to lower her standards, to never settle for less. He told her some strategies to “increase her value in the market” such as changing the way she dressed, the way she responded to the texts she received from her ex-fiancé, etc. Well, I just hoped that SJW wouldn’t watch this and say this is so patriarchal or such, because, really, this drama teaches women to know their value and to love themselves and not to compromise for a man.

And, by the way, talking about her fiancé, he’s really a jerk! He’s definitely the kind of men I cannot stand! Heaven forbids I get to deal with such guys. But, well, you know what? First, he cheated when he was still engaged to Sayaka. And when Sayaka found out about it, she was ready to forgive as long as he apologized and swear not to do it again. But out of all the imagined, instead, he told Sayaka that he didn’t and couldn’t marry her. That’s why the wedding was cancelled.

However, he occasionally texted Sayaka, but the boss blatantly told her to ignore his texts and calls for two weeks if she really wanted him back. She must do as she was told otherwise she’d be fired. Sayaka was actually swayed every time she got a message from him. She was always tempted to pick the call and reply to his messages since she thought she loved and missed him. She kept thinking and hoping that maybe he wanted to get back. She was worried if she ignored his texts and calls, she would miss the chance for them to get back together. He, after all, was the only man she could envision to marry. However, she was afraid of the boss so she complied. Ok, you might think the boss was a jerk, but I tell you what, nope, he’s not. He’s actually right. His strategy actually worked. He’s right almost about everything. Man, I really adore him! Maybe I should consult him? *eh. Haha

But, that’s it. Sayaka’s fiancé actually didn’t really love her. He just wanted to satisfy his pride and ego, wanting Sayaka to always want him and not wanting her to find another man. He just didn’t treat her right. That’s why he kept contacting Sayaka when his texts and calls were “ignored”. He was just curious and furious because she couldn’t control Sayaka anymore.

Well, but Sayaka was unfortunately a fool. The boss clearly told her not to give in and not to sleep with him. But she gave up. When her ex-fiancé came back to her, she slept with him. But of course he was just using her. It’s not because he loved her or wanted to get back with her. He said it himself he was pretty “happy” with their current relationship. And by that, he meant “friends with benefits”. What a total jerk! Well, I wouldn’t mind if the feelings were mutual but it’s clearly not the case here.

Then, when the boss found out about it, he told her that, while he understood why she did what she had done, he pointed out that Sayaka just didn’t love her enough. He asked, “Do you love him?” and “Do you love yourself?” I remember this illustration that he gave. More or less this is what he said, “You love yourself only a little, maybe about 20%; so when someone comes to you and loves you 30%, you feel so much love, you believe that he loves you so much. But if you just think about it, it’s not even a half. It’s less than 50%. But if you love yourself 100%, the person would try to match his love and love you even more. You need to appreciate yourself. If you want someone to love you, you need to first love yourself.” Upon this realization, Sayaka decided to love and appreciate herself more. She followed her boss’s advice because she knew he was right; i.e. she shouldn’t compromise or lower her standards and torture herself, she needed to love herself right.

Well, maybe the reason I love this drama because I kinda relate to it. I mean, I’m already 30. I’m still single, never have had a boyfriend either. And I’m doing my PhD. While I might not resent this, I know some people often think it’s the cause of my being single. Well, I’m fine, though. It’s preferable than getting disliked because I have bad attitudes, for instance.

Well, some people often say, “Why would you pursue your education so high? Men would be scared to approach you. Men do not want someone who has higher education than them.” They often say, “Your standards are too high. You’re too picky.” And all those stuff.

Me in Lake Pueblo State Park, CO, USA.

Well, maybe you have experienced it too? You might have people who support you saying that’s not the case. (I know I do). But then sometimes, especially when you feel down and melancholic, you can’t help thinking that maybe they are right. You start wondering if you’re actually being too conceited for wanting the kind of man of your dream. Then you start doubting yourself thinking, “Maybe I’m not good enough. Maybe I don’t deserve such a man that I want.” And while you have the option to upgrade yourself to match whatever criteria you have for the man of your dream, sometimes you contemplate to compromise and “lower your standards” because you feel you’re less. Maybe you tell yourself to just marry whoever wants to marry you. But somehow you know there’s none. Well, of course your logic tells you that it’s better to be single than being with the wrong person or with someone you don’t love. You tell yourself that you’re not being conceited. You tell yourself that you deserve whoever s/he is that you want. You’ve got family and friends who love you; it should be enough, except that sometimes you think it’s not. And again, no matter how hard you try to be fine and strong, sometimes you just can’t help it; your self-esteem just shatters, you become insecure. Well, okay, maybe not you, maybe it’s just me.

And, well, some people choose to stay in abusive relationships, perhaps, because they think it’s better than being single. Well, I know I have no right to tell you to break up or what. I’ve never had a boyfriend so I can’t really tell the difference. I read books, watch movies/dramas, listen to my friends’ stories, but maybe it’s just different? I don’t know. But I think it’s not that different from any other relationships. Friendship, for example. I guess if it’s toxic and your ‘friend’ is just using you, you do have the right to leave them and find a better friend. Some people would try to guilt-trip us for leaving such unhealthy relationships. They’ll say we’re bad. They’ll argue that if we really love them, we should help them improve. Well, I don’t know, but I think, we should be our own priority; we are our responsibility. We need to stay sane, healthy, and happy. If staying with someone makes us miserable, why would you want that? I strongly believe that we deserve someone who treats, respects, and loves us right. And, being single is not that bad. We learn to be independent. And, I think it’s better than having a relationship with the wrong person.

And, oh, I remember this quote in the drama: “Don’t wait for someone to make you happy. Be someone that can make others happy. Your superficial beauty will fade over time, but the power of being able to make someone else happy will be more of a value as you age.” I agree with this, but I think I kinda want to modify it. I mean, yes, don’t wait for someone to make us happy. We should make ourselves happy. And, yes, we can try to make others happy. But even if we can’t make someone else happy (it’s hard to please everyone anyway), at least do not let anyone take the happiness away from us, i.e. don’t let anyone including your abusive partner make you unhappy.

But, well, that’s why I love this drama. I feel like it’s intentionally made to empower women. It’s like it’s trying to tell women to never settle for less in love, to never settle for less in life. All of us deserve someone who loves, respects, and treats us right. And guess what? I’m actually happy with this drama. Sayaka eventually gets a man who loves her better. And she loves him, too. (Yuichi Kashiwagi is definitely my type in terms of characters!) But it’s actually another problem because the guy is younger than her. Well, I know it shouldn’t be a problem, but we live in this era where some people still think that women shouldn’t go out with those younger than them. I myself sometimes wonder what would happen if I’m in love with a younger guy or if a younger guy falls in love with me. Not that I’m in love with a younger guy, and not that a younger guy is in love with me, but sometimes I can’t help wondering.

But, well, this post has been too long, so I don’t think I have to discuss the relationship with the younger guy here. They can eventually face it together anyway. Damn, I really love happy endings. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll have one myself. But maybe I won’t. I mean, I won’t be too hopeful. I don’t want to fall into or get trapped in self-deception. I don’t want to delude myself with false hopes. I guess, rather than forcing myself to hold onto such things, it’s better to accept the way I am now. That way I don’t have to compromise or lower my standards. I am enough.

Oh, before I forget, there’s also this great thing that the boss said in the final episode, which I will quote here. He said, “What’s important is not what choice you make; it’s whether you live your chosen life with determination. That’s all.” Do you think you want to watch this Survival Wedding Japanese drama?

There are a lot of other good quotes in this drama, but I can’t remember them all or write them all here. But I remember this one, “When someone helps you out during rough times, you realize that you can’t live alone, and you be kind to others.” It’s so peaceful 🙂

So I guess that’s it. I’ll write my review for another Japanese drama in a different post 😉

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