grub + travels + perspectives

The Food of Terrace House

[EDIT (08/14/18) | Disclaimer: I do not, in any way or form, claim that I am an expert on Japanese food, or any type of cuisine for that matter. I was just genuinely intrigued by the dishes prepared in Terrace House. I've never been to Japan (hopefully next year though!) and managed to scrape for information on the Internet only. Thank you!]

You might think nothing is constant inside Terrace House but you're so wrong. One thing that's always been consistent in every episode until the end is the food. Yup, it's like the seventh character that never went away. 

I first heard about this show through Sherlock though, honestly, I didn't pay attention to it. He was tweeting and raving about it but it took me a couple of months to give it a second look and dig in. I'm not very enthusiastic about reality shows with this type of set-up. I even dismissed it as just another The Hills or Big Brother rip-off

I cannot deny the fact that the first episode already caught my attention. Perhaps it was my curiosity with the Japanese culture, perhaps it was the beautiful architecture of the house, or the unusual new aspect in the 'watching people try to live together' that's been done so many times before, or perhaps because of Uchi and all his mysteriousness. You can't quite figure it out -- I know up til now I didn't, and for some reason, I finished the entire first part of the season over a weekend. I just can't get enough.

Actually, the show started really slow and quiet. Everyone's extremely polite with each other and there were lots and lots of bowing involved. As opposed to the usual major dramas incorporated in most US reality shows (and even the local ones), everything in Terrace House is kept to a minimum. No cat fights, no screaming, no huge conflicts. Because the people inside actually take time to sit down and talk about their issues and resolve it, just like what proper adults should do. And it's just so damn refreshing.

Above everything else, another thing that I've noticed (which may seem mundane to others) was the preparation of and allotment of time to feature the food. For most shows, the food is always just in the backdrop or something uttered but never showed. There's the sound effect of sizzling or chewing or cutting of ingredients, but never really emphasized for the viewers to see (unless it's of course something like Master Chef). The food in Terrace House were, in some episodes, also pivotal to the turn of events (Spoiler: Especially in Uchi and Minori's relationship).

For every extended sequence that focused on the wonderful food in Terrace House: Boys and Girls in the City Part 1, I became bit by bit consumed by it. I've managed to screenshot all the food featured and if any one can tell me what the name of these dishes are, that would be great. Hahaha.

Episode 1: New Boys, New Girls, New City

First night in Terrace House called for hand rolls or temaki sushi (and beer!) I thought this was a very nice first meal for everyone since preparing one is very interactive.
Episode 2: Three Crushes

Raw seafood on top of rice noodles. Minori and Yuri prepared this for Makochan and Yuki before they make a dip into the pool.
One of my favorite dishes in Terrace House ever: Mizuki's steamed cod in foil. It looks so delicious!!! They ate this for dinner while discussing what they'll do for Yuki's birthday.
Episode 3: Dream Police

Okonomiyaki or Japanese savory pancake. Is this like South Korea's pajeon?
Pizza, chicken and some other things for Yuki's birthday! *confetti*
Episode 4: In Tears Again

Grilled meat(s) at Shuen Restaurant. This is the first ever meal together of Makochan and Minori outside the house.
Some type of egg dish prepared by Yuri for her own consumption.
A nice looking plate (no idea what this is save for the egg on top) ordered by Yuri and Yuki during their dinner at Porco Rosso.
Episode 5: Eenie Meenie Miney Mo

I've begun to notice Minori's cooking skills. This is her risotto which she also made for Uchi.
Minori, Makoto and Yuki go out to eat at Zauo Fishing Boat Tea House! In this resto, they had to fish what they would eat. The three wanted horse mackerel but ended up catching chicken/threeline grunt!
Episode 6: All Screwed Up

Uchi and Mizuki went out and ate at Queen's Bath Resort. They both ordered ahi poke.
A group dinner commenced at Mo-Mo-Paradise. I think this is sukiyaki that they had.
Episode 7: Showing His True Colors

Minori and her cooking skills again! She prepared this bento box for Uchi and her's date.
Yuki and Yuri go out for dinner at Benten Okonomiyaki Monja. And I'm guessing they're trying to make okonomiyaki here?
Yuriko dropped by Lattest -- where Mizuki worked as a barista. She ordered a hazelnut latte.

Episode 8: Late Night Poolside 

Mizuki arrived from work with this roll cake. They (minus Makoto) talked about a new house rule that no one should sleep at the living room because it's a common area for all.
Episode 9: What a Good Day!

The first character outside the house was introduced: Kurumi Nakada, Minori's older sister. They met up at this really cool cafe in Shibuya called LAX Cafe and Lounge. Unfortunately, this is already closed. I loved the close relationship of the 2 sisters. Kurumi giving Minori feedback about how bad her posture is and asking important questions about Minori's reasons for entering the house.
Minori and Uchi go out for a second date. They went to a soba cafe where they make their own soba from scratch. 
Yuriko and Yuki's third date. Oh my, how this night ended was brutal for Yuki. Imagine, he took her to Blue Note in Tokyo that night and had this fancy dinner only to be broken-hearted after. (◕︵◕) He was sooo in the friend zone but he had no idea. Yuri that night was chatting with the girls and told them that she only thought of Yuki as a friend. Whew, talk about mixed signals there!
Episode 10: Before He Says the Words...

Another character outside the house is introduced: Tadamichi Kawano, Yuriko's ex-boyfriend. They met up for dinner at Il Ghiottone Marunouchi. I don't know what this dish is called and if this is all they had that night. Haha. There was a mention of bagna cauda, I did some Google-ing and this doesn't look like bagna cauda. Anyway, Yuri confessed that she's still in love with him and wants to start over with their relationship.
Minori whips up something Italian again! This time, it's spaghetti. Yup, it's for her and Uchi again. Oishi!
Episode 11: Boy from the Rainbow State

They had a thanksgiving party after Minori's successful modeling stint and on the table was this delicious looking spread of sushi. I am in love! (。♥‿♥。) As they were all talking about plans, the first Terrace House occupant announced he will be leaving the house. Huhu.
Episode 12: Is She Just Best of Three?

Minori and Uchi go on another date! (~ ̄▽ ̄)~ They went to Tarlu Bianco, an Italian restaurant with a killer view. They looked so cute together. They even had to do rock, paper, scissors just to decide who gets to serve food to who. They rekindled their first risotto memory, talked about a bit about their ~*~feelings~*~ then took a stroll by the river.

Arman (the new boy in the house) asked Mizuki out on a date. They ate at Halenova. Mizuki had the soup and Arman had the burrito. After that, they did some cute boyfriend-girlfriend things on their first date (strolling, Mizuki picking out clothes for Arman and walking by the sea shore).
Episode 13: Who Will Survive?

Another cast member decides to leave Terrace House. They had a send-off party for her and cooked Cabbage and Pork Nabe Hot Pot.
Episode 14: Ikujinashi
Uchi and Minori were being cute to each other, just hanging out at the living room while the others are playing ping pong outside. I think they're still treading the water in terms of their relationship. But then Uchi asks Minori to make him curry and she obliges.
Hahaha. This episode was GOLD. Even the commentators were so affected by Uchi's actions (or lack thereof) after the curry incident. Minori made omu-rice for everyone that night, and since Uchi had to come home late from work, she reserved this bowl for him and wrote "Ikujinashi" in ketchup. The events afterwards was so funny and awkward but still GOLD.
Episode 15: Heating Up for Someone Else

Love triangles are almost common at Terrace House. Firstly, most of the cast members are very upfront that the reason they joined the TV show is to find love. There's Yuriko and her ex-boyfriend, and Yuki, Makoto, Minori and Uchi, and now, Mizuki, Arman and Arisa, the new girl. Arisa prepared this bento for their hike to Mt. Takao. Arisa was very transparent to Mizuki about it. She knew Mizuki's interest in Arman and told her she found Arman easy to talk to that's why she asked him out. The honesty in this show is really just amazing.
Episode 16: Magic Spell Costco

Minori once again made curry for breakfast (this time with fried rice, I think) for Uchi. He called it a complete mish-mash but delicious. Awww, these two!

Arman and Arisa's supposed shopping turned into a stroll and all their plans to get crepes didn't happen. They went to Fraps Cafe and Dining and had what appears to be spaghetti and green curry. Arisa's in the house for only a week and they've already gone out twice. But as things are not yet exclusive for them, they both still get asked out by other people: Arisa by Yuki and Arman by Mizuki.
For Yuki and Arisa's date, they went to BISSORI TRATTORIA. Man, this scene was awful to watch. Yuki was easing his way into asking Arisa out on another date but she just kept shutting him down (in a very polite, indirect way LOL). I just cringed at how many times Arisa used the word Costco (hence the title of the episode) just to get out of that day trip date that Yuki's pushing. She obviously didn't want to be alone with him as she kept mentioning errands and Minori. I don't know why he didn't catch it the first time because he still repeatedly brought up his plans for that date. This guy just couldn't catch a break.

Arman and Mizuki (now sporting an ultrachic short haircut by Uchi) went to Nagisaki Tree (restaurant signage was in Japanese, English translation by Netflix is Hakata Tree of Nagi) for dinner. It was a bit awkward when they talked about Arisa and how Arisa's also already a member of the gym where Arman goes to. I could just feel Mizuki's heart sinking, but she still kept a straight face. Arman gets upfront and tells her he has been attracted to Arisa ever since she came to Terrace House and has started to like her. I think at that point Mizuki accepted defeat and decided to bow down to the competition. She ended up saying things like, "I will be rooting for you." to Arman. Ouch.
Episode 17: Anywhere For You

Breakfast prepared by Minori from last night's leftovers. 
The group's celebratory dinner for Arman's win in his MMA fight and also a send-off party for Yuki. Mizuki also stunned everyone when she announced she will be leaving the house as well. I was really sad to see these 2 go. Especially Mizuki.
Episode 18: Worst Date Ever

No food photos for the finale of part 1. Yes, there was a date that happened (Arman and Arisa's) in Yomiuriland but they didn't get to eat somewhere nice or fancy since Arman was feeling sick (because he was still hungover from drinking the previous night) the entire duration of their date. LOL.

More than anything, I was happy to have learned more about Japanese food than just the sushis and sashimis and makis. I was really curious how 20-somethings in Japan eat and this show thoroughly fed that curiosity. I also liked the aspect on how they convey feelings through food (bento preparation by the girls) and some of the most important discussions are laid on the table over dinner. I've also noticed how they aren't really big on breakfast -- there were very few scenes involving the kitchen early in the morning, and I've only just scene them eat cereals, salad or leftovers, or just drinking a glass of water.

I'm finishing all the screen capturing of the food here because there's still a whole lot of episodes for Part 2 (27! And there's the other Terrace House, Aloha State) and I still have a long way to go. I'm really sad that only 2 of the original members now remain in the house and I wish everyone would just stay a little bit longer. In Part 2, food still played a big role in Uchi and Minori's relationship and though it may seem petty at first, the issues were really more than just meets the eye.

If you're interested in the restaurants and cafes featured in Terrace House, you may visit this link to find out more about them. ≧◡≦