Drama Talks — Recommendation for Solo Live Girls, Season 2 Winter 2022
Have you ever heard a phrase or a saying like, “only cattle and sheep are in droves, but beasts are always alone”?
In the last drama season, one of my favourite shows, ソロ活女子のススメ シーズン, Recommendation for Solo Live Girls, had its the second season. Besides, I am a massive fan of the lead actress, Noriko Eguchi; the story itself is the game-changer, about a girl doing things alone in a big city.
Noriko Eguchi, as Megumi Saotome is working as a contract employee at a digital publishing company, she enjoys enjoying her time alone after work rather than forcing herself to drink and eat with her co-worker for the sick of social. Each episode tells a place she goes, a restaurant she eats at, or a trip she goes on. All the restaurants, hotels, and bars are real names and places. The audience is all recommended to visit them alone.
Saotome goes kayaking on the river and Tokyo alone in the last episode. A middle school girl on the river bank approached her during her break and asked, “is this kayaking thing interesting?”
Taking back the direct question a bit, Saotome answered, “Yes! Kayak is very entertaining.”
Then a sneer expression shows on the schoolgirl’s face. Finally, she asked aggressively, “you don’t have friends?”
“I do have f….” Saotome pauses, then throws the question back to the schoolgirl, “what do you mean by friends?”
“Friends! Friends meant friends, like, those people who hang out with you,” she explains impatiently.
Saotome smiles and then answers peacefully, “I am working full-time for a while, so I have unaccountable social occasions at the workplace, such as chitchat with co-workers. So I went out with others, sometimes, only a few times. But, after work, I enjoy the time more doing things that I want to do alone at the end of the day. So I don’t think I have those friends by your definition.”
The schoolgirl feels confused, “you don’t feel lonely?”
“No, I don’t. Becasue there are things and activities more interesting to do on one’s own.”
“Are you sure?”
“Of course!” — here comes my favourite monologue of this show, “in fact, after doing things on my own, talking to strangers comes much easier to me than before, just like what we are doing right now. They sometimes share interesting things that I didn’t know or sometimes even offer me help. . …there is no need to force….”
However, a girl going out alone or, let’s say, a girl who is living an unchained lifestyle can be troublesome and even offensive to others.
Especially, in terms of the stereotype, it speaks to a solo girl, or someone who leans into womanhood that’s more comfortable off on its own is still considered taboo. So the elderly lady’s sharing explains a lot of what I have heard about others’ opinions on a female doing things alone, and I have noticed the double faces based on the genders.
In episode 7, Saotome met this elderly lady in a hot spring hotel lounge. The lady shared her experience of travelling alone in the past. She asked Saotome whether she knew whether it was hard for females of all ages to book a hotel room in Japan in the past. Saotome answered, “isn’t it becasue it is hard for the hotel to prepare food for just one person? Becasue, you know, a group with a large number means a lot of profit for the hotel.”
The elderly lady’s face raised a bitter expression, “Well, it would be nice if it was the reason. But the truth was, the hotels believed a female travels alone must bring trouble to the hotel at large. Becasue a girl on her must carries unreasonable burdens, such as doing something illegal or running away from the family; therefore, the female must do something horrible in the hotel room. So, it was almost impossible for a female to book a hotel room for herself in the past, don’t even mention travelling alone. However, a man who travels alone never was rejected by the hotels. They can do whatever becasue the hotels would assume the man must be a writer and he needs his own space to work. Then they started talking or illumining about what the fiction this man was working on. Oh, my lord!”
As someone told me yesterday, my comfort level on the unchained lifestyle (or solo girl) was offensive to others, especially most males. It could becasue my confidence and independence make me not that agreeable, which triggered others’ egos. Like this Chinese aunty who travels alone in a car brings the spurns from most males and supports from some young females., her interview is well worth reading.
However, the show gives a great answer to those who felt offended, “doing things alone is a choice, also a manifestation of self-love. There is no need to force. Go with the flow, not other flow, but your flow, and we might all find and learn something new.”
Everyone has their own choice of living; I hope we can all respect each other’s lifestyle. In other words, one has no right to tell others how to live their life.
One of my biggest takeaway from doing things alone is once I know how to create space for myself, I know how to make space for others. Such a human nature, most people worry or are afraid about one day finding themselves all alone in the world. From some sociological perspective, most people agree with the idea that “no friends equals no happiness; no social life equals horrible human beings.” In the show, Saotome is a person that she often has to force herself to do things with others, which ends up an uneasy feeling or an emotional burden to her. One day she asked herself, “why do I have to force myself to do the things I hate?” Choosing to spend time alone is her answer to self-love. After doing things alone or spending spare time with myself, I soon learned how to make myself happy, when to ask for help at work and in life, and how to draw boundaries with others. Almost the same as Saotome, the confidence comes along with self-love and spending time alone.
I hope to see season three soon!