The moon is beautiful, isn’t it ? Instead of “I love you”, Natsume Soseki said “The moon is beautiful”. When the author, Natsume Soseki, was a teacher, he told his student translated “I love you” into Japanese, he just translated it word-for-word, “I love you”. Since Japanese people don’t say that often, he told the student it would be better to translate it, “The moon is beautiful.” That’s why I told you, “the moon is beautiful.” (Eun-ho to Dan-i)
I fell in love with this show and its writing. Through the sixteen episodes are gems embedded that you are bound to miss if you are staring too hard at the subtitles.
The show is a slice of life drama and an ode to love and people. The characters are sweet, layered, complex and damaged. It is a slow, meandering way to get to know Eun-ho and Dan-i. It is also a peek into love in the late thirties. It is a gritty look at the corporate world and the women in them.
On the surface it is about Dan-i as she navigates trying to find her way after a failed marriage and being a single mom. As we invest ourselves in Dan-i and Eun-ho, we are sucked into the worlds of Young-ha, Hae-rin and Yoo-sun.
In one of the first impressive scenes in the show, Eun-ho asks Dan-i how her first day back at work was and she takes a long pause. We see a montage of people calling her “hye”, “excuse me”, “ma’am”, “mom” and slowly that montage is replaced with people at work calling her by name asking her to do things. Her face breaks into a slow smile and she says for the first time in many years, people call me by my name. This scene stayed with me for the sheer poetry in it.
It traverses the breadth of women. Single, unattached and young, Old, unattached and lonely, Married, divorced and exhausted from trying to keep it all together. We laugh and cry with these women as they drown their sorrows in beer and soju.
Young-ha breaks down to Dan-i as she does away with excuses for why she is not at a book reading she is responsible for. “Why do they always call the mom?” she sobs as her young son is on the hospital bed burning up with fever while her ex-husband is at a work related meeting. I felt for Young-ha and working mothers the world over.
The conversation between Dan-i and Seo-joon as Dan-i tries to make sense of her growing awareness that her friend of twenty years was in love with her was magical. The metaphor of an old book she has read and reread and how she is finding new sentences and paragraphs now had me fall in love all over again. Seo-joon wisely tells her that the book has always been the same, it is she, the reader who has changed.
This show is one I will rewatch to discover missed gems and just savor the slow beauty of it.