It’s easy to forget that the year 2000 was almost two decades ago, in the nineteen years since the start of the 21st Century. Life has changed so much and so irreversibly with the rise of mobile phone technology, smartphone addiction, the ever-expanding internet, social media and the speed in which we all live now. It’s almost impossible to remember how peaceful, relaxed and carefree the final years of the 20th century felt.
In a time before mobile phones and the internet took over, when it was difficult to find others who feel the same way as you, there was value to be found in storytelling that perfectly encapsulated how the reader felt, a story that connected to you on a spiritual level. So if like me, you ever felt that life was getting too stressful and you just wanted to walk away from your day-to-day life and start again, perhaps beside the sea – then I think that Beach Boys is for you.
Beach Boys (ビ ー チ ボ ー イ イ) is a 1997 Japanese drama, which told the polarizing stories of Sakurai Hiromi, an easy-going former athlete with no direction, who after being kicked out by his girlfriend, decides to make his way to the ocean, and Suzuki Kaito, an elite employee and dedicated workaholic, who is forced to take responsibility after losing a key client for the company, a situation which forces Kaito to step back and re-evaluate his life choices.
In a strange twist of fate, these two polarizing characters both find themselves drawn towards a small beach B&B (minshuku), the Diamond Head, ran by ageing surfer Masaru and his granddaughter Makoto. Initially, the differences in character between Hiromi and Kaito make for an amusing slapstick-style dynamic, and following a comedic series of events, both. Makoto, the local residents and each other, and day-by-day, they start to feel more and more at home by the beach.
This drama consists of twelve episodes, which originally ran from July to September 1997, and a 1998 feature-length TV special (SP). Beach Boys is a fundamental story about two different characters, drawn together by the desire to get away from their own personal problems, who are looking for something new, a place they can find shelter from a world that can be too overbearing, a chance for them to re-discover themselves – it’s a story about trying to find peace. Beach Boys stars Takashi Sorimachi as Hiromi, who would later star in the 1998 drama adaptation of GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka and Yutaka Takenouchi as Kaito, who would star in the 2016 film Shin Godzilla. And Ryoko Hirosue who would star in 2001 French film Wasabi alongside Jean Reno.
Beach Boys boasts a heartwarming and insightful slice of life story, transporting you back to the summer of 1997 and giving you an unforgettable lesson in today’s chaotic living, is more relevant than ever.
I hope to see you on this beach this summer.