Love makes beautiful music in Long Vacation


This day in 1996, the Japanese dorama Long Vacation starring Kimura Takuya and Yamaguchi Tomoko first aired on Fuji TV. Kimura played  Hidetoshi Sena, a 24-year-old music college graduate who aspires to be a world-class pianist and teaches at a local piano school while he waits for his big break. Yamaguchi played Hayama Minami, a 31- year- old model who feels the pressure to get married and retire from modelling. The story begins with Minami, in a traditional Japanese wedding garb, running madly to look for her groom Asakura at his apartment. But Asakura had run off with another woman, leaving his roommate Sena, to give Minami a letter.

You’re the type who’ll live a million years without me.

So Asakura had written in his letter. Desperate not to lose face in front of her family and friends, Minami asked Sena on the spot to marry her. Sena was able to calm Minami down and make her see reason. As she was leaving his apartment, Minami wished Sena good luck in his piano competition.

I’ve never played for somebody else’s sake.

Despite his talent, Sena seemed unable to express himself in his piano playing. Neither could he tell the object of his affection, his music college junior Okusawa Ryoko (Matsu Takako), his feelings. Then Minami moved in his apartment, and gradually he shared not only his apartment but his hopes and fears with somebody.

I highly recommend this dorama for its insights not only on relationships but also career paths. The characters are endearing, their dialogues engaging. I particularly like the following exchanges:

Minami (M) and Sena (S), on what to do when things are not working out:

M : What am I doing? I played pachinko all day.

S : Why don’t you think of it this way: It’s a long vacation.

M : Long vacation?

S : There’s no reason to rush. There are times no matter what you do, it doesn’t work out. No matter what you do, it’s no good. At times like that, it may sound strange but why don’t you think of it as a vacation from God. Don’t force yourself. Don’t rush. Don’t try harder. Just let everything take its natural course.

M : Then?

S : Things will improve.

M : Really?

S : Probably.


Minami (M) and her brother Shinji (S), on Sena quitting the piano:

S : It’s cruel to force a bird to fly if it cannot fly.

M : A bird that can’t fly?

S : Those who can do what they love, they have wings. Those who don’t have wings will never fly no matter how hard they try.

M : Sena’s capable of flying. He has the biggest wings in the world.


11 thoughts on “Love makes beautiful music in Long Vacation

  1. I love Kimura Takuya! Long Vacation is one of my favorite doramas. It was shown here 2 or 3 years ago, so I watched it dubbed in Filipino (Tagalog). I got a DVD copy 2 weeks ago, and watched it again. I like the theme song too 🙂

  2. I’m currently watching all of it again after almost 10 years! still my favourite after all 🙂
    In the drama both of Yutaka Takenouchi & Takuya Kimura looked very young and slim LoL.. I wonder if there are any good JDrama series to watch now..

    1. Hi Pyan. Long Vacation remains one of my favorite Jdramas too! 🙂
      There are a number of good ones to watch: Nodame Cantabile, Nobuta wo Produce, Zettai Kareshi are among the ones I really enjoyed watching. What genres do you enjoy the most? Maybe I can recommend some more.
      Thanks for leaving a comment. Feel free to drop by here anytime.

      1. hahaha… all of them… 😛
        I love all of Kimura-kun’s doramas. I’ve watched all of them even the old ones. I just wasn’t able to get my hands on 2 old doramas (ii hito and another one I forgot the title…) =)

        And wow! you can write Japanese? sugoi! I’m arranging my sked to take a full course on nihonggo… good luck to me haha!


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