Hansaku Iroha

June 24, 2012

The customer is always right. The customer is king. I guess when you are in the service industry, customers are like gods because they give you business and more importantly income. It sure feels good when you are getting your money’s worth of service, right? But have you ever felt how it is like to be put in the shoes of those people working in the service industry? Just like any job in the world, it’s definitely not a bed of roses and the one thing that one needs to excel in the job is to love it. Have passion for it. Okay, maybe sometimes the pay too but really, you need the perseverance if you’re going to make the customer’s day (and yours). Or else you’re better off doing something else.

In Hanasaku Iroha, we look at the life and behind the scenes of those working at the hotspring inn. Actually, the heroine in focus is the energetic and optimistic 16 year old Ohana Matsumae. A city girl like her has been forced to work at a hotspring inn, Kissuisou at the outskirts of the city Yunosagi, which is run by her strict grandmother. There, she meets various people and their several issues. Being the girl who doesn’t give in easily, she will always do her best in putting others first before herself and in the process learn a lot about herself and change for the better.

Episode 1
Ohana’s mother, Satsuki isn’t the kind of mother every kid would want. As a writer who is always trying to beat the deadline, she is irresponsible. At least being a mother’s role. Being a single parent is no excuse either. Poor girl has got to put up with her ridiculous excuses while holding it in, doing the chores and cooking. Things get out of hand when Satsuki is going to elope with her boyfriend due to his debt. Yes, make a run. And since a mother can’t bring her daughter along, she arranges for her to go stay with her grandmother Sui Shijima who runs Kissuisou. What’s a girl got to do? She has no choice. She tells her closest friend, Kouichi Tanemura about her sudden transfer and he is shocked. Why? Because he likes her. He never got the chance to confess till now. Desperate, isn’t he? Of course Ohana is also surprised. Everything happens so fast that Ohana had no chance to reply. Or rather he did not give her because his heart is wrenched, he ran away. What happens when the girl you love suddenly goes away? Ohana takes a train to Yunosagi and upon setting foot at Kissuisou, she tries to be helpful by pulling out weeds at the front. Just when she thought a girl, Minko Tsurugi is to lend her hand, she tells Ohana to go die! Before a cat fight can occur, Kissuisou waitress, Nako Oshimizu stops Minko and explains the weeds Ohana plucked were actually some plants she was growing. Oh dear. When she sees grandma, she doesn’t see Ohana as her own granddaughter. Sui and Satsuki had an estranged relationship so it’s not surprising she doesn’t really welcome her with open arms. To be fair, she will have Ohana work here and earn her keep. Any blunders will be docked from her wages. Sheesh… Ohana bumps into Enishi, Sui’s son and Satsuki’s mother. In short, her uncle who helps manage Kissuisou. He sees the similarity in Satsuki and Ohana. At least their looks. Then she meets head waitress, Tomoe Wajima who shows her around. Other staffs working at Kissuisou include the kitchen staff that comprises of Renji “Ren” Togashi, Tooru Miyagishi and Minko herself and the old geezer janitor Denroku Sukegawa AKA Beanman. Ohana works hard and in addition to being tired out, she feels lonely (she lives at Kissuisou with Minko as her roommate). Next morning, she tries to be helpful by airing Minko’s blanket. She got distracted to greet a customer, Tarou Jiroumaru so the blanket drops off the ledge and the customer below got the fright of their lives. Sui and Ohana went to apologize though the customers did not mind it. Sui summons Ohana and Minko to her office. First thing Sui did was to slap Minko! Ohana insists that it is her fault so Sui reminds her that the customers here come first. If that’s the case, Ohana also wants to get hit. Seriously? Serious. Sui gives her a double on her face! Ohana thanks her instead. Later Ohana tries to apologize to Minko but she still doesn’t like her. Ohana continues to toil away and no matter how sad she feels, she has got to soldier on.

Episode 2
Ohana is going to show them what she’s made of as she gets up early to cut down all the weeds. Sui then assigns Ohana to be a waitress under Nako’s wing, something the latter is not confident of. Due to her shy nature, the words just couldn’t come out so there are some details that she missed telling Ohana. So Ohana being the diligent girl went to clean a customer’s room (supposedly a famous writer) on her own. Ohana hears how Minko got reprimanded by Ren when she screws up a dish. Though Ren improvises, that means they don’t have time to make staff breakfast. However to everyone’s surprise, Ohana took the liberty to cook for them and it tastes good. Ren even hinted she is better than Minko. Minko gets even more upset with Ohana. She tries to apologize but Minko is just full of hate. Then a commotion from Jiroumaru. He is disheartened his work is missing and pins the blame on Ohana who cleaned his room. Yes, he is that so called writer. Ohana admits she did clean his room but the only papers she took out were those in the dustbin. Sui will have her staff look for his drafts and if they fail, Jiroumaru will have them take responsibility. That means, his stay here will be for free. Ohana searches for the drafts but feels down. She is suddenly roped in by Tooru as help to carry stuffs they are going to buy in town. Ohana didn’t like his inconsiderate behaviour so he asks if she is so amazing that she can do everything by herself. Ohana wishes him to die and their van nearly collided! Because of that, Ohana decides to walk back to Kissuisou herself. Ohana reflects how she hated her mother and because she never kept her promises, she decided to stop relying on others. Back at Kissuisou, Minko still hates her so Ohana has had it. She confronts not only her but Nako as well. She wants them to teach her stuff and in return she will rely on others and change. She forces them to tell her the food they dislike most and makes it for their next breakfast. When Ohana is at the dump, she remembers the paper trash she cleaned from Jiroumaru’s room. Her curiosity has her read his works. Not only it is like porn, but Ohana is the lead character! Then she sees Jiroumaru as he reiterates it isn’t his fault.

Episode 3
Ohana is kidnapped by Jiroumaru and in his room, he is trying to do bondage on her?! He’s such an amateur that he gets frustrated by his own uselessness. In fact, Ohana is the one who tells him how to tie her up and where!!! Jiroumaru reveals he isn’t the best author many claimed he would be. He is currently having a writer’s block so he started writing a sex novel to pay for his stay here. He thinks his life is over since he can’t even write that. Meanwhile everyone else is looking for Ohana and they feel it has to do with that missing draft. Ohana has an idea and that is to let her read his draft. The reason he can write about Ohana (among the yuri things she did with the other young girls in Kissuisou) is that he has been observing her. Nako comes in to clean so Jiroumaru hides Ohana. But because he is badmouthing her, Ohana shows herself. Desperate, he too tries to tie up Nako! Then Beanman shows up. Want to tie him up too? What about Tomoe? He’s screwed. The staffs have a meeting to discuss about Jiroumaru’s bluff. Though the rest clearly isn’t happy with the freeloader, Sui doesn’t want to doubt the customer just yet. Jiroumaru escapes by driving away in one of their vans so the rest chase him in another. It’s a little crowded if everyone cramps in, don’t you think? Finally at the cliffs, Jiroumaru is going to jump off and kill himself. Cornered, Sui mentions she has known Jiroumaru’s bluff all along and in this industry one cannot doubt the customer. She’ll call it even if he pays the bill after winning the award. But the most important thing is not to give up because the future is uncertain. More importantly, he is still their customer. Cool granny. The coward is filled with so much pessimism that he actually jumps off! But once he is in the water, he realizes he doesn’t want to die! This is when swimming prodigy Nako dives in the pull him to safety. Jiroumaru’s pessimism continues as he notes he can’t even die. Ohana slaps some sense into him and reminds him that he has talent and a line she quotes from his draft (“I want to sparkle!”). Ohana’s lecture how his novel taught her many things (I hope it isn’t the perverted aspects) and from now on, he will be working at Kissuisou to pay his debts as the staff have their meal at the beach. Nako makes up with Ohana. Back at Kissuisou, Sui prays at her late husband’s altar and notes Ohana as a splitting image of Satsuki. Denroku notes he knew Sui would know Ohana would set things right. Ohana spots Minko’s diary and she came out with a new word that describes her utmost hate for her: Hobiron. What’s that?

Episode 4
Ohana will also be attending school for the first time this semester since staying here. While walking along with Minko and Nako, they pass by another hotspring inn considered as Kissuisou’s rival, Fukuya. They’re bigger, grander and have existed longer than Kissuisou. Ohana is put in the same class with Minko. The girls are ecstatic to here she comes from Tokyo. The guys are also hounding her because they are fans of Minko. Suddenly Yuina Wakura ‘hijacks’ Ohana and takes her away. She did that as she understands what it’s like to be in her shoes. Cool Yuina introduces herself as the successor to Fukuya. She seems carefree and doesn’t mind if she works hard or not to be the inn’s successor because as long as she’s having fun, everything’s okay with her. During recess as Ohana and Nako eat together, they see a boy confessing to Minko but she rejects him outright. But he too isn’t backing out and asks the kind of guy she likes. Someone with a sharp tongue, kind, seeking initiative, serious about work, etc. Even going as far as describing the looks. Hmm… Sounds like Tooru. Can you live up to her expectations as her ideal man, buddy? When Tomoe finds out about the school confession, she plans to ruin the boys’ perception of Minko! That’s because she’s jealous that there is no men in her life! It’s just work, work, work. She gets even more jealous seeing Tooru tutoring Minko so close. Thank goodness Ohana and Nako were enough to hold her back. Till Tomoe realizes Ohana may have a ‘boyfriend’ too. Was Kouichi his name? Ohana accompanies Nako to the shrine. Nako reveals about her withdrawn and shy nature and began working at the inn for change. Explaining about the lost goddess who tamed the fox, the reason for the Bonbori festival taking place, in order for the gods to not go astray, the path to the heavens is lighted up. As token of their friendship, Ohana decides to call Nako by her nickname (Nako-chi). Nako remembers she tried coming up with various nicknames she can call Minko but none worked out. Back to work, Ohana hears more ridicule from Tooru on her first day at school. Could have gone on if Minko didn’t come in to help and thus ‘saved’ Ohana. That night as she soaks in the hotspring, she needs to come up with something to talk to Minko. She got off on the wrong start when she mentions how Tooru likes to complain. Reaction she got, but it was in defence of Tooru. Ohana realizes that Tooru is the person Minko likes. This embarrassment serves to make Minko hate her even more. Yeah, she coldly ignores Ohana. But she’s not about to give up and though she apologizes for saying something stupid, Minko tries to strangle her! Then they see Tooru’s bike turning into Fukuya. Oh wait. Why is he picking up Yuina?! What party are they going to? This is certainly getting complicated. At least for Minko’s heart.

Episode 5
Could this possibly the start of a love triangle? Well, Ohana’s blabber mouth has got most of the other staffs know what’s going on. Jiroumaru tries to be a smart ass and comes up with a conclusion that this is part of Fukuya’s plan to crush Kissuisou. I mean, they’re stealing Tooru away, right? Plus, Tooru isn’t coming in to work today and Tomoe’s alibi that she heard Tooru seeking Ren’s assurance that everything will be okay without him. Minko doesn’t believe Tooru would be led away with a higher job offer. Because of that, Minko can’t concentrate on her kitchen job and is affecting her. Tomoe reveals to Ohana that Minko had always wanted to be a chef without attending high school. She begged to Sui and Ren and was made to demonstrate her skills. Though she lacked everything, Tooru stood up for her and pleaded if they could allow her to work here because he can tell she has the right mindset. She has been grateful to him ever since. So with her saviour gone, where will she get her motivation? Ohana goes to talk to Minko and is going to give her support but ends up being locked out. She bumps into Enishi who enlists her help in finding decorations for the Bonbori festival. Noticing a piece of wood at the bottom of the lantern, she learns people write their wish on it while the gods find their way back to the heavens. As thanks, they will grant their wish. However only hardworking people will only have their wish come true. Ohana returns to Minko and argues about dragging him back. Minko has resigned to the fact he is gone for the better so Ohana scolds her back “Hobiron”! If she doesn’t want to come, fine. She’ll go herself. Ohana is serious. Trudging all the way to Fukuya, she actually causes a scene at the lobby screaming to meet the manager, Shigeko Wakura (Yuina’s grandma). Can she do it in a more polite manner? She wants her to release Tooru back to Kissuisou only to find out Tooru has already gone back there. Eh? Yuina explains one of their chefs had a cold so it was an emergency and they got permission to borrow Tooru. In short, Tooru and Yuina aren’t seeing each other. But the bike ride? She just wanted to ride it. Oh, Ohana has to bring the helmet back to him. Everything returns to normal at Kissuisou. Except for Jiroumaru. He may need to be wary of Tooru’s wrath for coming up with such a ridiculous theory. Tooru asks Ren what he would do if he actually went to work for Fukuya. He didn’t answer but Minko did. She’ll definitely stop him next time. When Tooru is about to leave, he sees Ohana taking out the trash. He notes how only she went for him. He thinks it’s not a big deal till Ren tries to stop him. Enishi is relieved Tooru got some experience at Fukuya but Sui cheekily says at least he has a place to go when Kissuisou closes down. Touch wood! Minko allows Ohana to call her nickname of Min-chi. In return, she allows to call Ohana’s nickname too. Because she took too long in deciding one, she takes back the offer. Ohana is grateful to Kouichi who has been encouraging her all the while via text. She now feels she has something to give her all.

Episode 6
Ohana gets her first pay. Even it’s only 8000 Yen, it’s better than her stinking unappreciated job back home with her mom, right? It was enough to motivate her to work harder. Keep it up girl. A consultant whom Enishi always awaits for her business advices, Takako Kawajiri pays another visit. As part of her plan to revitalize and improve Kissuisou’s image, this time it involves the waitresses. They are to wear some sort sleeveless Chinese qipao. I don’t think her English idioms matter. Because Ohana and Nako aren’t used in such a dress, they fumble over a customer. I guess he too was shocked if he did enter a hotspring. Oh, what will his wife and daughter think when they see him over Ohana. Start apologizing now! That was not only a disaster but a complete failure. Sui was never too keen on Takako’s advices but Enishi starts panicking when Takako threatens to leave, thinking she isn’t needed. Too late. She’s gone. Ohana learns that Enishi met Takako at a college and she majored in management. Yeah, better get your money’s worth. Recently Kissuisou has a dip in customers so it’s no surprise he is worried. Ohana goes to cheer dejected Enishi. Like mother like daughter, Enishi notes that is how Satsuki cheered him up when he was down. Ohana tries to ask around like Minko’s advice on cosplaying (“Go die!”) and to Sui about her worry if this place goes out of business without trying anything (she was forbidden to say that going-out-of-business phrase again). Beanman takes Ohana to a secret room behind the laundry room. It is filled with old kimonos believed to be from Sui. Ohana and Nako don them and the surprisingly fresh new looks please the customers. For older customers, it brings back nostalgic memories when Sui was working as a waitress here. Maybe this kimono was just a one-time offer because at the end of the day, they hang it back in the room. Though they return to their usual uniforms, everyone got the motivation they need to carry on. Ohana notes that whether or not Kissuisou changes, as long as they’re doing something, it is good enough.

Episode 7
A Tomoe-centric episode with her mom bugging her to get married, etc. She gets discouraged seeing the young ones and doesn’t feel alive anymore. She almost made a fool out of herself with that line in front of Sui. As Nako and Ohana are on their way to school, they feel somebody stalking them! Military men?! Nako in fear runs away! Turns out, they are people who play survival games and are somewhat frequent customers at Kissuisou and chased people around as practice. WTF?! Poor Nako. Yeah, they even go so far as to do some peeping mission. Ohana nearly could’ve been the ‘victim’ if Tomoe didn’t spot their ‘activity’ first. Tomoe sees Sui and thinks of returning to her hometown. Enishi teases her that even a woman like her finally gets to settle down so Tomoe bares her fangs at him! This ruins her mood and drops it. Meanwhile Nako can’t take anymore of the stalking. But there’s nothing Tomoe can do about it. Back home, Tomoe watches a war movie and gets an idea. She’ll get herself fired for the sake of those girls and she’ll start by harassing those customers. However her plan backfires. For instance, she rudely wakes the quartet up but being the soldiers they are, they consider it as a command from a higher up. Then when they didn’t touch the food the kitchen staff made for them and instead ate their military ration, Tomoe confiscates them makes them eat only an onigiri each. They take a bite and find it nostalgic and delicious that they want more! Then in a drill to invade the hotspring area, Tomoe is well prepared and fires away the water hose till they retreat! Look who is having fun the most. Then as those men leave, Tomoe thought they were complaining to Sui. Actually they are praising her as a brilliant commander! They salute her and hope to see her again next time. So successful that Ohana and Nako wants to learn more from her and call her their big sister. Back home as she receives from her mom, she realizes she feels lively whenever she is working. About that marriage thingy, she promises to give her a grandchild before she goes to heaven. Mummy agrees not to bug her anymore and just to stay healthy and come back home sometimes. With that, Tomoe is all fired up to get her job done as head waitress.

Episode 8
Ohana and Yuina discuss about the hotspring ranking in a magazine and it seems Yunosagi will be covered in the next issue. Imagine if Kissuisou achieves favourable reviews… Yeah, dream on. Suddenly Kissuisou receives many calls for bookings. Enishi and Tomoe aren’t confident they can handle 7 groups of 20 customers in total seeing today is Nako and Tooru’s day off. Sui reminds them that she was once a waitress too. Ohana and Minko return from an errand only to see Sui grasping her chest in pain. Ohana panics and drops her handphone before she could dial for an ambulance. Though Sui is hospitalized, she is stable for now as Ohana pays her a visit. Ohana is stumped why she didn’t let her call the ambulance and all she ever thinks about is the customers. Sui is fine if she doesn’t visit. Before she leaves, she tells her about an account book that she was about to get on her way then. On the way back, Ohana gets a surprise call from Kouichi. The line is bad so she can’t hear him say that he is now on his way riding a train to meet her. Ohana finds Takako and Jiroumaru coming up with a theory to share with the other staffs. They believe among the customers there are magazine staffers posing as mystery guests. They think of prioritizing a couple of customers they think are those people but Ohana feels they should treat all the guests the same. Takako has Ren make an exquisite meal for them. The pressure means he can’t work well. Oh God. He dropped the knife! With Kissuisou busy ushering the customers, Ohana remembers the account book and checks it out and finds notes of customers’ preferences and dislikes. She returns to the other staffs (who are worried about Ren’s strange act due to pressure) and asserts that they need to treat everyone equally because that is what Kissuisou stands for. Ohana has called Nako as reinforcements. Now the only thing left is to bring back Tooru since Minko can’t cook yet and Ren can’t be relied on. But Tooru is attending a friend’s wedding back in the city. How? Actually I never thought she would do this but Ohana actually did. She rushes down back to Tokyo via train right to the hotel where the wedding is supposed to take place! Is she that desperate?! Does she even know which room the wedding is held? Can she make it in time and back? What more, she is in her waitress outfit! Looking so out of place… Oh, with Ohana in Tokyo, Kouichi is just a moment away from Yunosagi. Yeah, they have and will miss each other alright.

Episode 9
Good luck trying to find the right hall. How can anyone tell with that kind of description? Ohana runs through the hotel like searching for a needle in a haystack. Yeah, everyone’s staring at her uniform. Some think it’s cosplay! She broke a slipper and feels defeated. Calling Tomoe to find out more information about the wedding Tooru is attending, she doesn’t know much except it is his old classmate’s. She gets a call from Kouichi and noticing she is down, he gives her the advice that all she needs to do is just take action in what she thinks is the best. That has always been her, right? She gets motivated for the task. That’s when Kouichi finds out she’s in the big city. Now he’s depressed. With gritty determination, Ohana finally finds Tooru and almost collapses in his arms. She excitedly calls Kouichi to thank him. Hope he doesn’t get any wrong ideas about this. Kouichi calls Kissuisou for a booking but it seems they are all booked out. No luck. Looks like he’ll have to return to the city. Ohana rides Tooru’s bike as he zooms back to Kissuisou. I guess it beats having a slow train ride. With Tooru reporting back, Ren turns back to his usual self. The nervousness just disappeared like that? Well, couldn’t have his assistant see his other side, eh? Kissuisou staffs goes all out at full force while Takako and Jiroumaru specially serve the mystery guests. In the end, they are able to get through the long day. The staffs see off the mystery guests and hope they will score good marks. Ohana helps an old lady and her adult daughter pack. From the way she said things, she might just be the mystery guest… Especially the daughter who is typing things into her laptop related to her ‘work’. The staffs enjoy a meal together as Tooru describes how desperate Ohana was. And as icing for their cake for their good work, Sui returns and in good health.

Episode 10
Ohana works so hard (chasing bats from the hallway?) so much so she falls sick and collapses. Now, it’s her turn. Nothing serious and all she needs to do is rest and she’ll be able to work tomorrow. While Ohana rests, her mind probably remembers all the task that she did up to the point she got sick. The other staffs also pay her a visit one at a time. But you know, Ohana’s mind isn’t sharp so she can’t concentrate or pay attention. Like Jiroumaru telling his porn novel, Tooru making broth and strawberries (from Minko) for her (why is he blushing while watching her eat? He also touched her forehead and got too close to her before realizing it), Nako putting her back to bed when Ohana wanted to get up to go back to work but was assured she and Tomoe can handle everything (don’t think this as a way that you’re useless) and Sui herself escorting her back to bed when she got up once more. Ohana dreams she meets Kouichi at the shrine. He tells her Kissuisou will be fine without her and to come home. Minko thought of playing a prank and draw on her face while she’s sleeping but she’s not that evil. Ohana is still drowsy and with tears in her eyes feels relieved that Kissuisou can run without her. Of course. They’ve been running even before she came. Minko mentions that the next time she wants to chase bats away, she should ask her help too. Nako saw Ohana’s handphone SMS about Kissuisou’s staff that they are incomparable to her and that they are fine without her. Nako tries to assure her it’s not what she thinks and it’s sometimes because they can’t afford to lose to anyone. It is not the end of the world nor do they not need a certain person. They want her back actually. At this time, Ohana has fallen asleep so Nako, maybe your heartfelt expressions were for nothing. But we viewers hear you :). I don’t understand this last bit because as Tomoe and Sui check on Ohana, they see Enishi and Jiroumaru preparing to come in with crackers and a novel respectively. The ladies shooed them away. Ohana dreams of Kouichi again. She tells him she loves Kissuisou and everyone here. I guess she has decided to stay. But why is she crying?

Episode 11
The results of the Yunosagi hotspring inns are out. They scored five stars! Out of ten. Darn. Worse, the reviewer calls it retro and boring! Not only Kissuisou but all other hotspring inns in Yunosagi scored poorly. All the managers of Yunosagi hotspring inns converge to discuss this and they feel the review is to promote a modern hotel not far from Yunosagi. Its completion will be a huge blow to their business. Busybody Ohana as usual eavesdrop on the meeting but was spotted by Yuina. Yuina has no attachment to any hotspring inn whatsoever or her own as she even wished to stay at that hotel for once. Ohana not happy. Rather than sitting down doing nothing, she confronts Sui about it but grandma is just cool and not getting the bad vibes get to her. If the review is bad, just move on and work to improve. Simple. Still sore loser Ohana isn’t going down with a fight and went to see the reviewer herself! Meanwhile, Kissuisou may be in dire straits because several customers called up to cancel their bookings. Oh, the power of words. Ohana remains stubborn in seeing the reviewer. The editor finally relents and guess who it turns out to be? Her mom. Oh dear. Ohana is clearly upset she returned to Tokyo without even informing her (oh, she broke up with her boyfriend already). Satsuki wrote that article because a higher-up told her to but what makes Ohana upset is that she does things without telling her. Now she’s bringing up all the past. This is turning to be a personal grudge? Can’t blame a girl her age, right? She held back everything the entire time. Satsuki just plays it cool. Rewriting or putting a correction notice isn’t possible, Ohana wants her to come and stay at Kissuisou to see for herself. And she’ll not be giving up till she does. Oh boy. It feels like Ohana doing an Occupy protest. Sitting outside Satsuki’s workplace with all the banners to come home, bla bla bla. Mummy is also stubborn. She’s not budging. Needing a break, Ohana visits the bookstore and surprisingly sees Kouichi working part time there. Ohana notices a part time colleague of his, Namiko Igarashi, clinging close to him. Not wanting to disturb them, she leaves. Returning to her Occupy spot, Satsuki gives her some food but in tears, she refuses to receive the enemy’s sympathy. Kouichi spots her and he treats her to a drink. There are so many things she wants to tell him in her pent up feelings so I guess she starts about that Namiko girl who seems to like him. Kouichi admits that she confessed to him but he rejected her. She was willing to wait. Ohana thought it was rude not to give a proper answer but reflects on herself that she too was the same. She is overcome with guilt and her heart is in disarray. After parting, she continues to walk in the rain whereby she thought she is being stalked. Running for her life, she drops her Occupy banners, ruining them. Alone, scared and confused, she is luckily found by Tooru and Minko who happen to pass by in their van. She starts crying uncontrollably in Minko’s arms.

Episode 12
Ohana is picked up and they stay for the night at the hotel. Tooru reminds her that it’s not just her personal problem but everyone at Kissuisou too. That night when Ohana can’t sleep, she and Tooru chat. She wonders if he has a girlfriend (what a way to ask him) so he questions her back that the real problem is her boyfriend in Tokyo. Next morning, Ohana requests the duo’s help to kidnap Satsuki! She’s got everything laid out and surprisingly Tooru agrees to conspire! But there’s a condition: Kouichi must also come to Kissuisou. Till Ohana brings Kouichi, Tooru plans to go shopping in Tokyo with Minko. Dream come true for that girl? Well, Minko was happy he brought her to places to eat. That’s about it. They’re just eating. Feel like puking? Yeah, they’re here to learn the different tastes of the famous stores. Ohana doesn’t know what to do to get Kouichi. Calling him didn’t work. He’s not at his part time job. I guess there’s nothing else she could do, eh? Till she bumps into Namiko. She was straight to tell Ohana to ‘release’ Kouichi. Including the exact place they’re sitting is where she confessed to him. However Kouichi couldn’t respond to her confession because there’s a girl he likes that is ‘postponing’ her answer. And he doesn’t mind waiting. Namiko asks how much she likes him and Ohana is unable to give a straight answer. Even if she did, it was probably as a human being. Namiko is called back to work. She notes she’ll never forgive her. Ohana feels guilty for being the bad guy. She gets a call from Kouichi who apologizes he couldn’t answer her call. Ohana finds out he visited Yunosagi when she was searching for Tooru in Tokyo. She feels terrible and concludes she has been thinking about herself all this while. He doesn’t need to come to Kissuisou. So that means no go with the kidnapping plan? Ohana wonders through the streets and feels nostalgic even if she was away for less than half a year. Meanwhile Minko ponders if she should asks Tooru’s feelings when she gets a call from Ohana. They meet up and though the abduction plan is off, Tooru feels he won’t be satisfied till he at least yells at Satsuki for writing that bad review. When they arrive at her work place, suddenly Satsuki is ready to go with them to Kissuisou. She’s happy that somebody is bringing her there. Eh? Well, she was able to take a few days off and was thinking of visiting the hotspring. Wasn’t Tooru going to yell at her? Apparently she was being friendly and all that he didn’t mind. Since she’s coming to Kissuisou. Minko is disheartened if he likes older woman. Or maybe it’s just the ladies in Ohana’s family… When they take a break, Tooru asks the real reason she is returning. Satsuki understands what Ohana feels because she too did the same thing to her mom who always thought about work. As for the article, she feels she has written the truth. It is boring and hasn’t changed. Even so, if the exterior changes, the inside is what it’s important. Resuming the journey, Satsuki continues she was always floating from place to place. Just when she got a place to settle down and planned on contacting Ohana, she came to her first. She asks if Ohana wants to come back to her but she’s fast asleep.

Episode 13
Kissuisou staff prepares to greet Satsuki. Feeling nervous, aren’t we? Well, the enemy is coming. Sui makes Nako Satsuki’s attendant because if she was herself, she might be tempted to slap her! Despite all that, she is still their customer. So with Satsuki’s arrival, she’s no different than she was. Lively and friendly. Enishi is worried because living with her has been a nightmare. At least to him. But Nako may like her because Satsuki praised how pretty she is. Satsuki has Ohana accompany her to the shrine. She starts talking the way like a mother, something Ohana didn’t like or not used to. Till she brings up the matter that she got rejected by Kouichi. Sure, there are lots of other guys out there and she shouldn’t be depressed about one boy. But she had better remember to show her what’s so great about this inn. Ohana returns and hears from the other staffs how they’ve been had by Satsuki. Like she ‘commenting’ on Ren’s cooking. Enishi thought he’s saved when he manages to call Takako over but Sui slaps him for relying on an outsider. Later when Ohana sees Sui, she mentions that even if Satsuki is her daughter and she took charge of her, there is a possibility her feelings might get in the way and prevent her from doing her job. When customers visit for the first time, they need to note their preferences and dislikes so that they can be well prepared when they visit the next time. But this customer though visiting for the first time, she actually isn’t because they know lots about her. That night, Satsuki requests some sake and geisha. Okay, if they don’t provide the latter, an old lady and young girl would do. Satsuki drinks with them and could you believe Ohana got drunk just over soda?! She’s like a heart broken woman spewing out her troubles over Kouichi! The adults are just being cool with her. Even toying around if she wants to go back to Tokyo and enter his life again. She doesn’t want to since she has her own life here. Sui dozes off as she mentions she dreamt Satsuki inherited the inn while Ohana was there. Next day, Satsuki leaves Kissuisou but not before handing Ohana the promised letter. She wrote about the balance between change and being retro. Kissuisou is always evolving to continue its unchanging service and protect its retro tradition. Overall she is happy with the staffs’ warmth and enjoyed her stay. That’s a praise, right? Did Enishi have to over react and cry and hug Beanman? Ohana narrates that though she misses Kouichi, she never got the urge to return to Tokyo. It’s because she has found a place to call home and she loves everyone at Kissuisou. She yells out at the top of her lungs her apology and thanks to Kouichi and sheds a few tears before moving on.

Episode 14
Ohana’s grade are taking a field trip to another hotspring inn. This one is way much larger than Kissuisou. Big enough to handle a couple of bus load of students. Doesn’t it feel odd for the girls to experience the service they have always been giving others? Ohana and co see the head clerk, Yosuke Hiwatari reprimanding a staff for not taking work seriously. Yuina knows this guy. He is her distant relative and fiancee. SAY WHAT???!!! See all Yuina fans go crazy! At the beach, a guy tries to confess to Yuina. Someone also tried to do the same to Minko but she doesn’t give him face. Ohana asks about the guy who confessed to Yuina. She turned him down and pretty calm about this. Even if she has a fiancee, hearing someone confess to you makes you happy. During dinner as the girls marvel at the large scale this inn can cope with, they notice Yosuke reprimanding his staff again for answering personal calls during their shift. Ohana admires Yuina who is engaged to someone who will inherit the inn and though she herself isn’t sure if she wants to be a waitress in the future, she is still going to try her best. While the girls prepare to take a bath, they again here Yosuke chastising the same workers to not take their time with their work. Yosuke goes to talk with Yuina so Ohana and Minko head to the bath first. Ohana thinks she spot something in the sea and rushes down to confirm if she really did see a kappa. Turns out to be Nako doing a night swim. They see Yosuke and Yuina chatting at the pier and couldn’t help go eavesdrop. Yosuke has dreams to work hard and make this inn the best in Japan. They also remember the promise they made to marry each other. Yosuke is serious that he wants Yuina to come work here after she graduates. He’ll be the CEO and she’ll be the manager. Yuina doesn’t seem too thrilled so she asks if he likes working at an inn. I guess he does but Yuina doesn’t give him her answer. When Yosuke is busy with his computer job, a staff wants to have a moment with him but he tells her to finish her job schedule first before coming to see him. Morning comes and Ohana and Minko can’t go back to sleep because they are so used to waking up early. When they head downstairs, they see a little commotion. Seems a bunch of female workers that Yosuke reprimanded have decided to suddenly quit. They tried to tell him but they claim he made them do all the work and went out chatting with his girlfriend instead. The manager tries to plead them to change their mind since they have many customers today. They continue they don’t enjoy working at a place with low pay. Yosuke is about to give them a piece of his mind for spouting crap but was held back by Ohana. However Yuina agrees with the disgruntled girls because working at an inn is hard and that you can’t expect someone to do something they don’t like. She adds that there are lots of things she wants to do in her life. She is going to pick the one she enjoys the most and make it her career. And running an inn is NOT on that list. Does that answer your question Yosuke?

Episode 15
The inn manager is having an emergency meeting about the shortage of staffs. Yosuke feels guilty that this would not have happened if he treated his staffs better. But this is no time to blame himself in this time of crisis. Ohana offers to help out seeing she has experience in this field but the manager declines her kind offer because this is their internal problem. Besides, they’re supposed to be the customers. Ohana and co are buying souvenirs when they spot the same bunch of ladies who quit the inn. Because they are still badmouthing the inn, Ohana confronts them and gives them a piece of her mind. Before things get descended into a cat fight, Minko and Nako take Ohana and run. Ohana can’t let this slip so she shoves the souvenir tasks to her pals while she goes back to the inn to offer her assistance once more. The manager learns she is from Yunosagi and he knows the place because he was trained there. He accepts her help. Ohana learns the job fast and though she may be a little rush in handling everything herself, Minko and Nako are also back to help her. She didn’t think she can carry all those trays by herself, didn’t she? Another crisis pops up as the machine for the food tray breaks down. They don’t have time to fix it. Ohana comes up with the shower tactic whereby when her mom came home before she finished dinner, she made her take a bath first. This means a change in plan whereby the customers will take a bath first so they have time to lay out the dinner. Yuina returns to the inn and sees Yosuke hardworking scrubbing the bath. Yuina doesn’t seem too happy when he praises Ohana for helping. She asks about what is so likeable about this job. Sure, he doesn’t have a life and can’t go out and have fun but there are things about this job he likes. Seeing Yuina has never lift a finger, he doubts she would understand. As for their promise, he wants her to forget about it because there is no way it will work since she doesn’t like working at an inn. He wants to marry someone who will work with him in this inn. Someone like Ohana. Now that really hits Yuina. She tries to show that she can also do some work but like any amateur, she sucks. Ohana and the other girls even helped out in other chores so when it is dinner time, Yosuke gives his hearty gratitude for making this dinner possible. As the girls soak in the hotspring, Yuina is experiencing pains and aches all over her body. Never in her life she worked so hard, eh? Next day before they leave, Yosuke plans to study again and learn to think about others. Yuina also thinks of studying about inns but doesn’t mean she’s decided to be a manager or work here. But it’s a possibility. A big maybe. Ohana and her pals return to Kissuisou and hand their souvenirs they bought for everyone. Yuina narrates she was brought up in an inn and being too close to it she thought it would be hard but it’s up to her to find the things she like and want to do.

Episode 16
Ohana, Nako, Minko and Yuina are roped in to give their opinions of what young generations want at the Yunosagi hotspring committee meeting. Well, keep dreaming of that ideal inn. Takako and Enishi bring back a film director, Tetsuo Isami. Enishi is not confident that his mom will approve of this but Takako needs him to be confident. All Kissuisou needs is to invest 10% and the result of people watching this movie will have flocks of people wanting to stay here. Call it free publicity. Sui has a private chat with Enishi and she leaves it to him to handle this. Surprise, surprise. The rest of the staffs are excited that Kissuisou will be the location of Isami’s film project and start dreaming. Everybody loves being in the movies, right? Jiroumaru is handed the task to write a scene that will show the true hospitality of this area. An abandoned pool in Kissuisou is the important factor for this film. I guess it’s up to the ladies to clean up all the moss and fungus, eh? This pool brings back memories to Enishi when he and his sister were swimming in it. Isami leaves and his next visit he will be bringing the movie’s 2 lead characters and by then they’ll have the contract signed. Several other Yunosagi inn managers approach Kissuisou and think of having a part in this movie project and also help split the cost but Enishi feels this is movie is solely at Kissuisou and all costs are solely borne by them. Isami and his crew return to Kissuisou and make some test shootings. Enishi is called to help play a main character in a camera test since the main actor is running late. By the time he gets dressed up, they put Ren in the role seeing the director insisted on someone more muscular. Ren so stiff… As Ohana and her pals clean the pool, Enishi and Takako talk about their times in college. They were in a film club and it was Enishi’s first piece of work as a writer in a perverted film that could send the director to prison at this age. However the director quit and this made all the other members to lose interest. So he decided to film it himself. Something about his youth and identity. Even if Satsuki who originally was supposed to inherit Kissuisou, was totally different than him, more popular and had charisma. Enishi feels he has the confidence for this project.

Episode 17
Test filming begins and this includes Ohana getting shot (fake blood!) and Yuina jumping off from the second floor! Don’t worry, there are cushions below. Sui gets a call from Satsuki not to invest in Isami’s project because he is a fishy guy but she reiterates she left Enishi in charge of that. Enishi and Takako stamp the seal on the contract and they seal the deal with Isami. They also give him the investment money that Sui had earlier given Enishi. The director and his crew leave and he gives hope to them to expect great things because they’ll be filming for real next time. Yuina overhears Shigeko and other hotspring managers talking about Kissuisou falling victim to that movie scam. True enough, Takako and Enishi are frantic because they got word that the movie is cancelled and Isami is uncontactable. It gets complicated because the contract is under Enishi’s name though it was Takako’s advice that led him to invest in it. Yuina rushes over to Kissuisou, worried everyone will be in a mess but to her surprise, everyone is continuing their daily lives and not let this setback affect them. Enishi gets a call from Satsuki who tells him about Isami. He fell into debt twice and was laid off by people in the industry. He would probably be using it to pay off the debts so getting it back will be hard. The actors and staff who are involved will also be in trouble. Enishi isn’t going to cry over spilled milk but feels he what he did was wrong. Takako and Enishi got into an argument because the former is going to Tokyo to settle things. She doesn’t want him to tag along because she can’t babysit him anymore. Plus, she blames this incident on him and she is just an adviser, not partners. She tells him to go ask his sister for help. Enishi wanted to slap her but Takako was enough to grab his hand and slaps him back! I guess that pain made him realize Takako is the kind of woman who can strike back and wants them to well, strike back (albeit the broken English). She isn’t amused. The quarrel takes them to the pool whereby the Ohana and co are still cleaning it because they have become so accustomed to doing so even if the movie is called off. They see the ‘lover’s bicker. Enishi tripped and almost got himself fall into the pool but how long can Takako hold him? Drop him or pull him back up? Since he can’t decide, she just lets go. Splash! She lends her hand to pull him up but he pulls her in! Double splash! Enishi doesn’t blame her as she has tried her best and hugs her. It’s an eye opener for Ohana and Nako but Minko is just rolling her eyes. So as not to be rude, the young ones leave to let the duo be alone. Sui has a meeting to with the other hotspring managers to inform them about their situation. Later Enishi goes to talk to Sui and though he isn’t protecting Takako, Sui feels she too must take her share of responsibility. Sui feels Enishi has grown up enough to protect someone. They remember how Enishi took up piano to attract girls but he sucked big time. If mommy had forced him to take lessons, life would’ve turned out differently. Also, he was a terrible swimmer. Enishi remembers swimming in the pool with Satsuki during summer. He called out to mommy and her attention was enough to make him happy. Oh, Jiroumaru has finally finished his script. Where the heck was he all this time?!

Episode 18
In this Nako episode, we see Nako wears the pants at home, taking care of her siblings, doing chores and cooking. Even her parents listen to her because they are busy arguing the best way to raise a child. WTF?! But outside her comfort zone, Nako is the shy girl we all know. It’s payday and though Ohana got her wages deducted for accidentally breaking a precious vase (or else she can pay the entire cost), Nako is surprised she got a raise. She thinks Sui wants her to change and expect great things for her. In school, Yuina is appalled at the cheapskate-ness of the girls in their meals so she suggests they go shopping after school. At the clothing store, Nako and Ohana may wear the same dress but the former clearly looks sexier! Yuina has her put on more accessories and with her praising comments, Nako buys everything she wore! After the karaoke session (Nako doesn’t sing well) and dining at the cafe, Nako seems not to be good with her words too. Maybe it’s the choice of words. She didn’t mean it in a bad way that Ohana is like her and has no friends. But how can that be in a good way either? Suddenly a group of dramatic street actors try to hit on them. Yuina isn’t impressed and tells them to really go and die (the actors are cheesily acting out that the girls are their oasis and will die in this desert). However to her surprise, they are actually hitting on Nako! Better run fast! Back home, Nako reflects her will via some mermaid metaphor. All she wants is to just swim freely but when the queen called her to wear heavy jewellery, the ornaments-cum-expectations are too much for her to carry and thus begins to drown. She thinks she should just act like her regular self. At Kissuisou, Tooru is shocked to see Ren dressing stylish! So am I! But when Nako comments his funny dressing, it sinks that guy into depression. Nako continues to be the cheery girl and spots a customer doing some weird ritual in the hallway. She tries to help out his luggage but was chided for ruining the film in his bag as he is filming the flowers blooming. Though he forgave her, this causes Nako to lose her confidence and returns to her shy ways. She thinks she doesn’t deserve in getting a raise and mentions a list of things she is bad at doing at work. However Sui gets the record straight with her. She wasn’t thinking of improving her will with a raise. When Nako was at school, a customer she served left a gratitude note that because of her advice, they were able to find a beautiful flower field. They will definitely come back to see her again. In conclusion, there are customers who like her work that’s why the raise was justified. Even if the real her is a lot more cheerful and she turns into a quiet and shy girl at work, there are things she notices that no one else would in addition to the welcoming service. Nako is so happy with those words that her smile was just unnaturally creepy. At least to Ohana and Minko. With her confidence back, even though this is not an ocean, she feels she can swim anywhere.

Episode 19
The cultural festival is coming so Ohana’s class is doing a princess cafe. They are happy to announce Yuina as the leader of the waitress team and Minko as the kitchen team (she’s not too happy being picked). But if Yuina didn’t like working in a service industry, why is she happily taking this role? Because it seems more fun than work. Plus, everyone has high expectations of her. Ohana and Nako get permission to take a couple of days off to prepare for the festival. Sui gives the green light and she’ll overcome staff shortage by calling for part time help from the union. And since Tooru plans on visiting, you can bet Minko is now looking forward to that day. What a change in character. Ohana learns Nako is part of the cultural festival committee and her class will be holding an art exhibit because a classmate is from the fine arts club. But Nako doesn’t seem too happy. Minko burns the midnight oil to come up with menus for the kitchen while Ohana solves the waitress uniform by using Sui’s old kimonos. Nako apologizes to her friend, Eri Mizuno that the class supposed to have agreed to this. She doesn’t mind seeing she has committee duties dumped on her. Ohana is so excited for the festival that she dreams a strange dream. Kouichi in that old kimono? While Yuina’s group are stunned by the beauty of those kimonos, there is trouble brewing on Minko’s side. She doesn’t approve the omelette rice dish on the menu since it is hard to make them with the utensils they have. But a girl insists on it because she wants to show her love to a boy she loves (that boy who confessed to Minko on the field trip but got rejected). The other girls think Minko is being cruel but she snaps and chides them for operating on an emotional level and that this isn’t about who likes who or she should let the person she likes influence the way she works (look who’s talking). The poor girl couldn’t take anymore shelling and runs out crying. Since it has come to this, Minko will do everything herself. Meanwhile Mizuno has all her artwork ready to be put up. There is one she hasn’t named it and wants Nako to give one. She panics and blurts out… Sloppy Omelette Rice.

Episode 20
Nako almost got nightmare of it while Ohana asks Tooru’s opinion on omelette rice. Both of them are in sync when they ask each other about it. Minko goes to buy all the needed ingredients herself. In class, Nako overhears Minko’s group girls about apologizing to her. Mizuno knows she wants to help her friend and lets her go. She sees Minko and Ohana in an onion cutting competition. Mind the tears. Conveniently it is lunch time so the girls take a break. Since the cafeteria is closed, they can cook with what they have at the home economics room. Nako orders omelette rice. Minko makes one and is an expert. Ohana thinks she wanted to become a cook because she liked the omelette rice of a particular shop she patron when she was young. Of course she denies it. Minko continues to make omelette rice for everyone so Ohana suggests that they make one for her. Seeing they can’t make one like this in class, Nako suggests a variation like ketchup rice and Yuina to add chicken pilaf. Minko finds it good so Ohana thinks of adding it to the menu. She’ll gladly help out. She better eat those words because Minko starts practising to make omelette rice that is suitable with the equipment they have in the classroom. Yeah, Ohana has to eat them all! Another one coming up! Nako returns to Mizuno who is putting the final touches to a painting. Is she drawing Nako? Next day of the festival, it is bustling with people and there is a queue outside the princess cafe. Tooru shows up and realizes the menu is so Minko-like. He sees the omelette rice and orders it. Flustered Minko gets to work. He thought the ‘love’ writing in ketchup was just part of the dish because the guy next to him also had one. See how Minko watch in baited breath… It’s like watching a teen drama. At the end of the festival, Ohana and friends visit Nako’s class. Yuina spots a painting entitled “Friend” but couldn’t make anything out of it. Was it that Sloppy Omelette Rice?

Episode 21
Guess what? Enishi and Takako are getting married!!! Love saves the world? I’m glad they love each other but how come Sui doesn’t look too excited even though she tells them to do whatever they want? Takako promises to work hard for Kissuisou but Sui wants them to hold a proper wedding ceremony (they initially didn’t want to hold it since they have no money) seeing wedding ceremonies aren’t for just self-satisfaction. Seeing holding it in a hotel would cost a bomb, Ohana suggests they could use Kissuisou to cut cost. It might clash with the operations but Ren leaves Tooru to be in charge of the food while Tomoe would gladly handle Ohana and Nako’s share of the work. So it’s settled. Tooru takes Minko to the market to get the best ingredients as Minko learns more of Tooru’s preferences (if he gets married, he wants 5 kids!). Tooru thought Minko’s depression was the cause of her recent slump and gives her advice that hard work never betrays anyone. Though this is not what Minko had in mind, she is glad he is concerned over her. Till he mentions Ohana’s name. Yeah, he notes Minko somewhat sounding like her. Because of that, Minko is showing her moody side to Ohana once more. She takes it out on Ohana over her loud, annoying and disgusting voice. After all that chiding, emotional Minko wants Ohana to go out with Tooru. Not that Ohana can understand what’s happening but looks like it’s back to that ‘die’ word again. Because thoughts are clouding Minko’s mind, she blunders again so Tooru dismisses her from helping him prepare for the wedding and he’ll do it himself. Takako seems to be spacing out, Tomoe thinks Ren might be the guy she is looking for while Ohana, Nako and Yuina sew a wedding dress made of curtains for Takako (it’s cheaper this way). Enishi tries to scout for a ring (perhaps a cheap but good one) but none of his old schoolmates really remember him or want to cut him a deal. Seeing how hard Enishi is pushing himself, Takako sees Sui and wishes to call off the wedding. Sui didn’t say anything and this prompts Takako to ask why she doesn’t acknowledge her or entrust the inn to them. Sui gives Takako a ring that her late husband gave it to her. Sui and her husband were working in the same inn when they met. She was a waitress, he was a chef. So when they got married, the inn owner offered them an inn with no successor. They along with Beanman (he looked so much younger and with lots of hair on his head!) worked hard to restore the inn. That time, they had no money to hold a wedding so Sui was given this ring. He named the inn in Sui’s name and hopes it will become successful. He was always by her side even after death, that never changed. Therefore to Sui, marriage is a promise not to let your spouse be alone again. Sui bows before Takako and entrusts Enishi’s happiness to her hands. Takako is overcome with tears and all the while she thought she was against her and never planned on letting them succeed the inn. But Sui affirms that because she really didn’t intend to. Oh, say it isn’t so…

Episode 22
Excited Takako wakes the Kissuisou staff up early for a meeting over her wedding plans. In class, Ohana gets a call from Satsuki. She isn’t coming to her brother’s wedding due to work. Then they talk about mummy who is always changing boyfriends and maybe it’s because she still have a one-sided crush on daddy. And Ohana thought her mom was sex-crazed! Well, Satsuki always wanted to find a new love to forget the old one. But recently she has been thinking she doesn’t need to get anything out of it. Ohana can’t help think about Kouichi’s case each time she hears one-sided crush and it sends her heart racing. The wedding dress is done and Nako nicely fits in (because she has the body and bust). They all thought Minko should try it out but she refuses outright, citing she hates frilly dresses. She goes overboard when she throws away the gown as Nako continued to pester her. Ohana confronts Minko about her attitude. In a nutshell, they argue about love. Minko thinks Ohana is stepping all over Tooru’s feelings. Ohana decided she’ll have a one-sided crush with Kouichi. They’ve already gotten physical but they stop not because Nako yelled them to but Tooru overheard Minko’s confession that she likes him. Later as Minko cries alone, Tooru comes up to her and explain though he is interested in Ohana, it is only to the point he is excited to see what crazy stunts she’ll pull off, nothing more. He also says some good points about Minko, sending her right into tears. In the end, Minko agrees to test wear the wedding dress and upgrades Ohana’s calling to ‘hobiron’. Yeah, Ohana is so happy her status returned back to that level… As for the forcing of Ohana to go out with Tooru, Minko wants to be more direct like her and won’t give up. The preparations for the wedding goes smoothly as Tomoe makes a deal with Takako to toss the bouquet at her. But on the wedding day, it seems Beanman was the one who got it!!! Damn! How can a short and slow guy beat an excited and fast woman? Yuina becomes the master of ceremonies while Tooru imposes lots of work for Ren (he did say he is at his disposal, right?). The first entertainment almost sends shivers down everyone’s spine. Jiroumaru is re-enacting a love scene between Enishi and Takako. While Jiroumaru is acting as Enishi, Beanman is all dressed up as Takako! He’s even wearing her trademark dress and putting on makeup! The worst part was, Jiroumaru actually kissed Beanman!!! I hope the guests didn’t lose appetite. The Kissuisou staffs hold it in as not to react because they’ll lose if they do :). Finally Sui gives her blessing speech. Something in her final words made the Kissuisou staff worried. She is going to sit back and enjoy her tea from afar. After cleaning up everything, Sui gathers the staff for an important meeting. She shows them a logbook from Beanman that he has recorded every detail and history of Kissuisou in it for 40 years. The other Beanman talked to her that he wanted someone to succeed the logs. So is Beanman quitting? Well more precisely, Sui will seal Kissuisou along with the logs after the Bonbori festival.

Episode 23
Of course the staffs are still reeling from the surprise. This is the biggest decision Sui has ever made. Takako thought it was because of Kissuisou’s financial situation so she sees Sui and vows to get it back. She wants Takako to take Ohana along back to Tokyo so that she can discuss her future with Satsuki. But she must be back for the Bonbori festival in which the inn is at its busiest. Enishi is worried and looks to Beanman for advice if he should go after her. Speaking his mind, he feels Takako thinks this is her first task as the next manager of Kissuisou and sometimes it is a man’s duty to sit and wait. On the train, Ohana calls Takako her “obaa-san” aunty. Well, her uncle is married so that makes them related, right? Takako would prefer “onee-san” (big sister) instead. They talk on why Ohana came to Kissuisou, the thought of her succeeding the inn and her ‘boyfriend’ in Tokyo. Due to the information given by Satsuki, Takako knows where Isami is. At the Tokyo Tower, Isami panics upon seeing Takako closing in and makes a run. She chases after him and causes a commotion and a threat to reveal him that has everyone staring at him. Panicking, Isami charges at her but Takako pulls off a cool judo throw. Now will he come quietly? Satsuki picks Kouichi up from his workplace and treats him to lunch. She talks about long distance relationship and dumping but Kouichi insists he didn’t dump Ohana. Satsuki brings him to her office whereby she shows him clips of the abandoned movie that Ohana and Kissuisou starred in (Isami didn’t have any use for it and thought he would get off the hook if he let her use it in her next article). Kouichi’s eyes are glued to the TV watching Ohana on screen. I guess after Ohana’s screen time is over, he leaves. On his way back, he is grateful for Satsuki for showing that clip because he was about to give up on Ohana. Then crossing the overhead bridge, he gets a pleasant surprise when Ohana is seen coming from the other end.

Episode 24
Ohana starts crying and tells him about Kissuisou’s inevitable closure. Kouichi mentions that after she left, Tokyo looked boring. Relating the video he saw, even though he has not been to Kissuisou, he started liking the place after watching her in it (sure, it’s not just Ohana?). He starts going about the long way about his feelings and whatever misunderstandings when Ohana suddenly covers her palms over his mouth. It’s not that she doesn’t want him to say it but this time she wants to say those words. But I guess it’ll have to wait a little longer till she finishes crying. Minko wonders about Ren’s early shift already over. Tooru mentions he went out drinking with his possible new employers. The thing that shocks her more is that Ren also invited Tooru to come along. She thought he is leaving her behind. He didn’t intend to but she’s underage and most places don’t accept that. Tooru tries to cheer her up with a line from a cooking manga. It brought back memories as they go take a nostalgic read over the manga that inspired them to become chefs. Funny thing is, they found out Jiroumaru was the one who wrote it when he was broke and starving. So… Their future was determined by this pervert? Truth is indeed stranger than fiction. When Ohana returns to Kissuisou, it is buzzing with booking calls. Thanks to a magazine which features Kissuisou on its front cover as well as super rave reviews. You guessed it, Satsuki is the writer. Enishi gets hyped up to rebuild this place but Sui insists Kissuisou will close after the festival. What a damper to the mood. She points out Ren and Tooru have already got a new place to go while Tomoe has already been scouted. They are willing to call off their new offer because they still love to work here but Sui tells them not to trouble their next workplace for selfish reasons. For once, Enishi stands up against her mom that she is the one being selfish but she isn’t budging from her decision. Get back to work and no more reservations after Bonbori.

Ohana, Nako and Minko ponder a lot while soaking in the bath. Nako thinks of confronting Sui to change her mind. But when the said person comes in, she chickens out. The girls watch her wash and bath herself so fast and how she slides all the equipments and cleans the place with precision!!! OMG!!! It’s like facing off with a final boss! When Ohana goes talk to her, all Sui has to say is she wants her to free herself tomorrow. While they’re gone, Tomoe would’ve decline a booking for a call after the festival. But Enishi goes against mom’s wishes and accepts the booking instead. Sui and Ohana visit the former’s late husband’s grave. She starts talking about how they started out of nothing and built Kissuisou from scratch even though they know nuts about running an inn. She feels Ohana doesn’t need to pay the burden of their dream. Ohana argues that they all love Kissuisou and the inn has grown in a way it doesn’t belong to them both anymore. It is also their dream. Sui starts feeling uneasy, close to collapse. Thank goodness it’s not deja vu (just a little tired) but resting at a nearby place, Sui mentions this is not the first time she has thought about shutting down Kissuisou. The first was when Satsuki ran away and wouldn’t succeed her. She realized she made her children endure her selfish dream. Enishi wanted to be the successor, even though there were other things he wanted to do. She thinks he isn’t fit for this kind of work and the workers will suffer. If they are going to be unhappy, she might as well close it down and free them from her dream. Ohana as a kid didn’t really get what old people are saying maybe it’s because they’re old (hey, she’s honest). But she’s not mad at her anymore and though she won’t agree to her plan, she’ll do her best anyway. This causes Sui to give out a heartily laughter that we would never expect to hear from this old lady. Meanwhile the other inn managers confront Kissuisou about not sending a representative to help out with the festival as agreed in the union. Enishi apologizes they are understaffed due to the festival bookings. Sui returns and apologizes for it. She wants somebody to drop whatever he or she is doing and go help out. None volunteered as a show of defiance. Ohana volunteers but Tomoe tells her not to. Torn between both sides, Ohana eventually listens to Sui and heads off. So does this mean she’s no longer part of them? Perhaps she realized too late she made a bad decision.

Episode 25
As Yuina helps out Ohana with the Bonbori festival, Ohana can’t help wonder what her dream is. The Kissuisou staffs are in a hectic meeting. Due to the large number of customers and lack of staff, Enishi changes the meal to buffet style. Sui has already warned them not take on additional rooms and that they’re wrong if they can save the inn by overworking themselves. Enishi assures quality will not be compromised. Sui allows them to do whatever they wish but in exchange they must do like they always have for the Bonbori. When Ohana returns, nobody has time to talk to her or even take the wish tablets she got from Yuina. Except Beanman. Minko wants Ohana to stop siding with Sui because she thinks unlike her she has a place to go to. To Minko, this is her home, her dream. Nako even sleeps over so she can start work early. It’s early shut eye for the girls and Ohana doesn’t like how things are because everything feels uptight. Nako is here and yet they can’t talk. Even Tooru has something to say to Ohana. He thinks this is not the Ohana he knows. Where is the Ohana who butt into everyone’s business and making this place fun? Maybe Kissuisou didn’t chance. Maybe it’s her instead. As the staffs go into full speed, Ohana is surprised by Sui’s kindness that she allows her friend (Kouichi) to stay here in her room since she planned to show him around. Minko works so hard that she dozes off in class, embarrassing herself. She’s still not talking to Ohana, though. Ren and Tomoe get into an argument when the food isn’t coming out fast enough. Enishi had to tell them off to stop and remind them this is a crucial time to protect the inn. Even Nako could feel this is not the Kissuisou she loved. Everyone’s too focused on Sui instead of making the guests happy. She thought Ohana know something so she lets her know what Sui told her the other day about her dreams. Nako thinks Sui doesn’t know because she’s just a runner. Some people can’t have their own dream but they can follow the dream of others and make it their own. Things get worse when Tomoe sprains her ankle. They think of calling for help from the union but Yuina points out her side already did that and it was impossible. Tomoe insists she can still go on and won’t lose to Sui. This prompts Ohana to wonder if winning is more important than the customer’s happiness. But if they lose, Kissuisou will close down. Now it’s Nako’s turn to have a say. She wants the original Kissuisou back. The place where she could be herself. Jiroumaru starts getting poetic about Kissuisou’s lost dream that has everyone glaring at him with detest. Sui offers to work as a waitress in Tomoe’s place. Satsuki is also back and though as a customer, she is willing to help out. Enishi refuses them seeing it’s their own battle. However Takako slaps him and reminds him not to let his emotions get the better of him. With the festival closing in, everyone is busy at their station as Enishi accepts using Sui and Satsuki’s help. Ohana thought Sui was going to collapse again, but she’s just dizzy and recovers. She enjoys this kind of work whereby they place customers first and themselves last. Ohana feels weird seeing her mom and grandma working but realizes her dream. Thanks to everyone, they manage to get through the day but it’s not over yet because it’s time to the festival.

Episode 26
Everyone has got their wish tablets ready. Ohana receives an SMS that Kouichi has arrived in Yunosagi and excuses herself to meet him. She’s going to run all the way to the train station so as not to bother anyone? How far is that? Satsuki happened to see Ohana’s wish tablet. She wants to be like Sui. Not an old grandma, mind you. It’s because she takes pride in her job, works hard and never forgot her first wish. Thankfully Ohana doesn’t need to run all the way because Kouichi is already at the festival. So while they eat at the yakisoba stall, Ohana musters up her courage to confess she likes him. After the festival and back at Kissuisou, Beanman makes his farewell and gratitude speech. He is going to live with his son since it is time for him to think about preparing for the afterlife. It’s not that he’s being negative, I mean he’s already at that age. Then it’s Enishi’s turn. He agrees with his mom to close down Kissuisou. But this is only temporary. He is going to study and train hard so that he can reopen this inn one day. By then he hopes to keep the name because he wants to make an inn that would make his mom happy. The rest will gladly return to assist him when the time comes. Even Tomoe notes she will gladly leave her husband for that. If she ever gets married… Satsuki talks to Sui about her plans. She’ll be working as a waitress as a friend’s place and doesn’t want to follow Ohana back to Tokyo. That’s because she’s better at doing things herself rather than ordering people around. She’ll continue to be the mother Satsuki ‘hates’. For her sake. Ohana and Kouichi had their fair share of talk too. Probably Kouichi would’ve confessed again if not for Jiroumaru ruining the mood eavesdropping at the door. Well, it is his room Kouichi is sleeping in. Minko once thought her dream was to be a chef. But now she is certain she wants to be Kissuisou’s chef. Nako may not know hers yet but she definitely wants to come back here. Soon Kissuisou closes down and it is agreed the place will be preserved as a historical structure (Tomoe and Ren getting too emotional). Ohana says goodbye to her classmates and looks like she too has created lots of friends. Sui walks around Kissuisou for one last time as nostalgic memories of the halls filled with people overflow her mind. She thought she heard a familiar voice and it turns out to be Ohana wiping the floor. Didn’t she go back to Tokyo? Apparently she missed her train and is biding time till the next one arrives. So what better way than to give a proper thanks and goodbye to Kissuisou? Sui sees Ohana off at the train station as Ohana promises that she’ll come back here. Sui gives her Beanman’s logbook since she’s coming back someday. Sui will be waiting for her. I hope that means soon, right? We see snippets of life of the other characters. Enishi and Takako are working hard at Fukuya, Beanman playing with his grandchildren, Jiroumaru hoping his next work will be a hit, Ren and Tomoe working at their new respective place, Tooru helps Minko’s job application get accepted, Nako teaching the kids how to swim and Ohana now living with Satsuki starts off the day cheerfully as she meets up Kouichi to walk to school. She notes that she is a bud trying to bloom.

Always At Your Service…
All I can say is that this is such a heart-warming and heartbreaking story of love and life. It ends with such mixed emotions. While it is sad that the inn is closed and everyone leading their own separate lives but it is good to know that they will always have that special bond that connects them together whenever and wherever they are. Was it for the best interest in everyone for Kissuisou to cease operations? Even if everyone was willing to put their heart and soul into the inn they love, there is always the fear that one might become complacent and stagnant. So I guess in a way everybody have to walk a new path in life and learn new skills and abilities, adapt to new situations so as to keep themselves sharp and not rust. Well, if you want to keep the soil healthy, you don’t just plant a single type of plant, right? You would rotate with different types of plants from time to time. Thus it is the same case for Kissuisou. From the outside, it may look as though it is just another passing chapter in their lives. But do not fret as it is not closed forever, right? Though we won’t know when it will be reopened, I’m sure that Kissuisou is still ‘open’ right in the hearts of everyone. Because of the small size of Kissuisou, I guess that is why everyone is able to easily interact and get along well, thus a forging a special bond. Would it be possible if you had a big corporation and hundreds of staff? Yeah, you might not even know the other person in another department.

The character development is quite reasonable and the main focus of this series. Some may say that is Ohana’s presence that changes everyone at Kissuisou. Well, maybe she does. A bubbly girl from the city that never loses sight of her optimism. Okay, maybe when it comes to the subject of love. She’s not the kind of girl who would just sit around and pray some miracle would happen. No, if she has to get down and dirty to do it, she will. If she has to run across the continent, half way around the world, she’ll do it. Nothing can change her mind when she sets her mind on it. She’s the kind to do something first rather than think up of a plan. If it fails, then try again, right? It is only subsequently that her heart is clouded because she is confused of her direction in life, her crush and the course Kissuisou is heading. Must be an emotional roller coaster ride, eh? So along the way, with the indirect help of others she also transforms herself and finds out the kind of dream she wants to pursue. Heck, even the term she coined, ‘bonborimashou’ (which is translated as ‘fest it up’ and also the quote of the series) later is adopted and used by the other characters as well. Yeah, quote of the series alright. So now that she has confessed to Kouichi, are they an item now? Will Namiko give up on Kouichi now that both Kouichi and Ohana have confessed to each other? That would be another story. At first Sui looks like the strict no-fun grandma that may send her to the top of the list of most hated characters in the series. She has her reasons to be authoritative. If she was easy going and lax, would the staffs and everyone else respect her? Would work get done? More importantly and in turn, would customers be satisfied? Towards the end, she seems to loosen up quite a lot though she still maintains her usual composure. Satsuki may not be perfect but she isn’t such a bad mother after all although there are lots of points where she could improve and act responsibly. Maybe she’s always been a rebellious kid and her style of helping out isn’t straightforward and conventional. But when the time do arises, she’ll definitely lend a hand.

One of the characters that I feel has undergone massive change is Nako. In the beginning she was somebody so shy and the kind of girl that looked that she’ll even get scared by rabbit (honestly, what was I thinking?). As the series progresses, she opens up and can at least freely talk to Ohana and Minko without hesitation. Minko is a girl with full of angst. She could’ve been cuter if she loses that angry attitude. Maybe it’s because of her one-sided love with Tooru that makes her moody. Even if most of the time she despises Ohana, I’m sure deep down she considers Ohana her friend. I hope. Enishi has grown to be a man of his own. He no longer backs down when mummy makes a veto decision and certainly doesn’t depend on outsiders when a pinch comes to Kissuisou. If you want something done, you’ve got to do it with your own hands. But I guess you can’t call Takako an outsider anymore because she’s already married to him. That really caught me by surprise. I wouldn’t have guessed that this highly confident city woman and her erratic improvement plans (not forgetting her English words she likes to use as motivation from time to time) would tie the knot with her college sweetheart. Suddenly for someone who only visits Kissuisou on business trips on occasions, she is willing to live her life for it. Unexpected. But like I said, everyone undergoes some transformation here. Okay, maybe not all or at least not that I can see. Tomoe is still scouting around for her eligible guy. Good luck with that. Beanman has always been the backbone of Kissuisou and it’s hard to find someone as loyal as him. He also provides advice to the young ones if needed. Ren is also cool in his own ways but just that his fashion sense of trying to look young and cool may be a little off. Tooru has lots of potential to grow as a chef as well with Minko. Jiroumaru’s presence felt like he is just a calafare. He’s just around to pay for his room debts he racked up during his stay. I don’t know why others detest him so much especially Tomoe. Is it because of the porn novel he writes? Is it because he says the wrong things at the wrong time? Yuina who once dislike working at an inn will now slightly have a different opinion. Though it is not certain that she’ll be in that industry in the future, but I guess before Ohana really steals the heart of her fiancee, she has got to something about it. It’s nice that she is honest she wants to do things that she likes but how often true is that in the real world? Maybe with her pretty face and sweet personality she just might pull it off.

The drawing and art are quite good. The characters are given that bishonen and bishoujo look so you can bet that everyone here looks good. Even the old ladies too. Hehehe… As for the scenery, I wouldn’t go as far as to say they are so breathtaking that your heart will stop still while you admire the lush background in awe. They are good to look at by the way. Only because I come from the city and I have seen too much concrete jungle for a big part of my life. So a little sleepy town like Yunosagi which is located at the outskirts of the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, it is definitely refreshing to see the greens and natural environments. After all, this is one reason why people visit the hotspring inns, right? You come here to relax your mind, body and soul and you need to have the right environment for it. Of course the right people to provide you the service too.

The voice acting fits the personality of the characters well. I am ashamed of myself for not being able to recognize Mamiko Noto as Tomoe. I know Tomoe does not have many lines at first but at least when she opens her mouth I would have instantly recognized my all-time favourite seiyuu. Not only till the Tomoe-centric episode did I realize it was her. Are my ears failing me? Kanae Itou did well as Ohana displaying her as a girl with lots of energy and getting it done one way or another. Well, I guess it’s better than an airhead like Elsie in The World God Only Knows and an obsessed squid lover Sanae of Shinryaku! Ika Musume. Aki Toyosaki as Nako also shows us that she is not only fitted for ditzy roles like Tomo in Seikon No Qwaser and Yui in K-ON! She is able to bring out Nako’s shyness of interacting with others and that makes her voice suitable for this character. Chiaki Omigawa’s undeniable trademark voice made me feel that that she was like an even angrier version of Soul Eater’s Maka. Because Yuina sounded easy going and carefree, I thought she sounded close to To Love-Ru’s Lala. Well, both characters are voiced by Haruka Tomatsu so it’s no coincidence. Other casts include Tamie Kubota as Sui (Shizuki Ugaya in Hiiro No Kakera), Kenji Hamada as Enishi (Jouji in Paradise Kiss), Ayumu Tsunematsu as Takako (Marina in Mobile Suite Gundam 00), Cho as Beanman (Brook in One Piece), Tarou Yamaguchi as Ren (Hap in Eureka Seven), Junji Majima as Tooru (Kinji in Hidan No Aria), Junichi Suwabe as Jiroumaru (Atobe in Prince Of Tennis), Takako Honda as Satsuki (Hone Onna in Jigoku Shoujo) and Yuuki Kaji as Kouichi (Akina in Yozakura Quartet).

Both the rock pop opening themes are sung by nano.RIPE. The first one being Hana No Iro and the second one entitled Omokage Warp. I don’t know about the singer’s voice but I feel that her voice is somewhat hoarse like as though she just had too many drinks and sounds drunk. Heck, the similarity even reminded me of Honey And Clover’s opening piece, Dramatic. I prefer the ending themes better because of the cool guitar plucking or piano drill. The first ending piece is Hazy by Sphere and the guitar pluckings are the ones that had me loving this song. The second ending theme is Hanasaku Iroha by Clammbon and this time it is the nice piano play accompanied by strings that attracted me. Only thing is the singer’s voice I somewhat didn’t find it appealing. At first I thought the singer was nano.RIPE seeing that they both sound similar. This time it also feels like as though she was struggling to get her voice out (though this is actually how she sounds). There are also several special ending themes though they are all done by nano.RIPE. Tsukikage To Buranko and Yumeji are the pop rock type while Saibou Kioku and Hairiipu feel like slow rock. The background music aren’t bad themselves either because most of them are casual, easy and calming acoustic guitar plucking, piano sounds and other variety of musical instruments that would sooth the ears. They are quite relaxing and easy on the ears and it makes you want to lie down, close your eyes and think about good thoughts. At least that is what I felt.

The most important aspect as shown is to love the job you are doing. It would be a plus point if you can remember the customers’ preferences and dislikes. With good service, this is a main reason why customers would want to return a second time and more. In this kind of industry (and perhaps many others), money should not be the main motivation for doing your job. Work like these depends a lot on human interaction, trust and reputation so it is always best to treat others well even though the customer may be lousy or bad. You can’t lose yourself and give in to your emotions. After all, only when a customer is satisfied at the end of the day, that will truly be the best reward. For me, I was never good in mixing with others so it’s better for me to stay away from the kind of jobs that require me to face up front with a customer. Maybe that’s why I turned into an otaku :). If only I had people like them to serve me… Who knows? I may even change for the better if I started working in such places (not red light districts, mind you). Perhaps I’ve got to fest it up myself. And always remember, do put on a service with a smile. It makes a big difference.