A Flowering Of Peaches And Motherhood: Bride In Her Unlucky Year(32)

Ryoko Shinohara as Akiko.

In the Japanese 12 part series Bride in her Unlucky Year(Hanayome wa Yakudoshi), peaches play a major role in determining characters’ futures.  Akiko, a former news announcer, is in her 32nd year; her unlucky year.  First, she loses her job to a younger girl, whose only advantage is her beauty.  Then, she is given an ultimatum:  to pose as a fake bride in the country for a television program or work in a warehouse.  After phoning a number of ex-boyfriends, who might suit her purpose, and not finding any takers, she comes across Ichirou Azuchi, whose family owns a peach orchard, although Ichirou himself owns a lingerie store in Tokyo.  The series features the common Japanese themes of city versus country and  modern sophistication versus traditional values.  Akiko decides to go to the Azuchi home to apply for a three-month bridal training program.  Her first confrontation is with her mother-in-law to be, the commanding matriarch of the Azuchi clan.  But all Azuchi sees is a lady in simple dress selling peaches at a stand.  She tastes one of the peaches and finds it delicious.  Thus begins her slow accommodation into the Azuchi household.    As Akiko sees the love her domineering “Mother”  has for each individual peach, she begins to realize that despite an austere exterior, “Mother” has a kind heart.  When Akiko helps out in the orchard, she learns to value each person’s unique contribution.  But most of all, she feels the need to heal the breach that has separated mother and son for twelve years, largely due to a misunderstanding.  When Ichirou yells at his mother:  “You can only love peaches, you can’t love people!”, he fails to realize that to her they are one and the same.  Each of her three children were given their own peach tree at birth, and Ichirou’s mother takes special care of each of them.  So, Akiko’s bridal training course involves the taking care of peaches, which are to be nurtured and saved at all cost.  Although, she is unmasked as a fake bride, while using the family for a show, her concern for all family members; her braving a typhoon to help “Mother” save the peaches, and, especially, her healing of the rift between Momoko and her son Teechan, earn her a permanent place on the Azuchi farm. And Ichirou is now a much more mature husband.  Such is the power of peaches and motherhood.

About Robert M. Weiss
From an early age, I've taken great pleasure in reading. Also, I learned to play my 78 player when I was quite young, and enjoyed listening to musicals and classical music. I remember sitting on the floor, and following the text and pictures of record readers, which were popular in the 1940s and 50s. My favorites were the Bozo and Disney albums. I also enjoyed watching the slow spinning of 16s as they spun out tales of adventure. I have always been attracted by rivers, and I love to sit on a boulder with my feet in the water, gazing into the mysteries of swirling currents. I especially like inner tubing on the Rogue River in Southern Oregon. Since my early youth, I've been interested in collecting minerals, which have taught me about the wonderful possibilities in colors and forms. Sometimes I try to imagine what the ancient Greeks must have felt when they began to discover physical laws in nature. I also remember that I had a special passion for numbers, and used to construct them out of stones. After teaching Russian for several years, I became a writer, interviewer, editor, and translator. I continue to delight in form, and am a problem solver at heart.

8 Responses to A Flowering Of Peaches And Motherhood: Bride In Her Unlucky Year(32)

  1. auntyuta says:

    My goodness, is being 32 unlucky for a Japanese news announcer? Do they only have very young looking announcers? I always thought these days a 32 year old can still look like a 25 year old looked in previous generations.
    “Bridal Training” is an interesting concept. I assume this is something traditional in Japan and some families still practice it. I understand the relationships between different family members play a part in this series. And this ‘unlucky’ 32 year old gets to know everyone and becomes important as to the healing of some relationships. And then the contrast between city and country life in Japan. Sound quite interesting. I always love to find out a bit more about different cultures. Do you enjoy this series?

    • Thanks, Uta, for your interesting thoughts. I thought this was one of the best Japanese series I have seen. I am currently watching Gokusen, the story of how a young woman from a mafia-type family becomes a teacher, and reforms potential delinquents.

      • auntyuta says:

        Oh, what an interesting plot. I’m sure I’d love to watch this. We once saw a German movie called ‘Cherry Blossoms’. The first part of the movie is about a family in Germany. After the death of the mother the father moves to Tokyo to stay with his son who’s lived there for a number of years. What the father experiences about life in Japan is the second part of the movie. Cherry blossoms play a part, of course. This movie was great to watch!

      • Thank you for your comments, and about the film Cherry Blossoms. That sounds like a film I’d like to see!

  2. rommel says:

    Isn’t amazing that even if we’re already in our 30’s, we are still up to family, our roots and our traditions? The modernity vs. traditional setting always fascinates me when it comes to Japan and its culture.

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