” You may come to a standstill or get irritated because things don’t work out the way you want them to, but what you gain from hard work will never betray you..”
Once upon a time, I had a dream of becoming a chef. Hospitality and Restaurant Management was one of the more popular majors and it became my desire, just like the rest of my peers. I never went through with it though as I got lost in the ocean of other careers and the future that comes along with it. But I still remember clearly why I wanted to pursue that path.
The job might have been stressful but getting through that rush hour by working together would’ve felt like an achievement not only to you as an individual, but also to the team that you cooperated with.
Hanasaku Iroha was a show where I get the opportunity to see someone live out my old dreams.
Kissuiso is an old and traditional hot springs inn, yet most of their workforce were young. Ohana, Nako, and Minko were only in high school while their senpais, Tohru and Tomoe, were only in their early 20s. There was also Enishi, the Madam Manager’s son and his wife Takako, who was always coming up with ways to innovate Kissuiso. The only ones that were left from the old generation were the Madam Manager, Sui, and Denroku, the maintenance manager. There was an interesting mix of personalities between all of them and was the focal point of the show.
Times came when the two different generations would clash heads when it comes to managing Kissuiso. It brought about a mix of old and new tradition that blended perfectly to make up what is Kissuiso now. And although there were was a lot of conflicts and obstacles that stood in their way, everything they argued about was for the better of the inn.
Every character possessed individual dreams and aspirations that helped fuel their goal of finding one’s purpose. They might have been different from each other, but all of them met at that crossroad we know as Kissuiso.
Ohana was sent to a town she had no initial knowledge of after her mother decided to run away with her boyfriend. She never really liked Tokyo. In fact, she found the city life to be boring. After being sent to the town where her grandmother lived, she was hit with uncertainty for once in her life. From working in this small inn, she learned more about herself, her family, and the meaning of love. She discovered how her actions can cause certain effects to the people around her. She even became aware of the fact that you have to sacrifice some things sometimes in order to reach your goals.
Minko, unlike Ohana who was trying to find herself, possessed a dream of becoming a chef that began in middle school. The path to her dreams is set up and all she has to do is follow it.
Minko was a hard-worker. She wasn’t born with talent, or better yet, she was a diamond in the rough waiting to be polished. She was diligent in that she wakes up early every day and goes to sleep late in order to put in as much time in her craft. She wants to become an experienced chef as fast as possible so she could stop being a burden to Tohru and Ren. She perseveres and gives it her all in order to catch up to them but what she lacks was the years that Tohru and Ren have in that occupation. She might not have been naturally talented, but one thing is for sure: the hard work she invested will pay off in the future.
Nako was a shy girl whose goal was to let out the “real” her: the one that is comfortable and could speak her mind when around her family. That was the sole reason for her working at Kissuiso. There was that one episode that portrayed her as a mermaid who thinks that the land, which was a metaphor for the outside world, is somewhere she will never belong in. She wants to stay in the sea, where she will forever remain comfortable in, or at the very least the shore, which was a metaphor for Kissuiso. This acted as a place for her to practice in order to set foot on land someday.
From this experience, she further learned that it is okay to be herself: The Nako that is timid but is still caring on the inside. No one is rushing her to change as long as she is comfortable with what she is doing. Her goal of letting that side of her loose could be accomplished with small steps instead of a giant stride.
So why did I bring myself up and my old dreams at the start of this post?
This show portrayed the life that could’ve been for me: the life of managing a hotel or even just cooking the food that is served to the customers. Seeing the chemistry behind Kissuiso’s employees and making sure that it functions properly was a fun ride. Each of them had their own strengths and weaknesses but everyone worked hard to cover for each other. There might have been drama between them and their colleagues but it all boiled down to everyone’s dedication to making sure that Kissuiso runs fine.
The hospitality and retail management is a pain in the ass to work in. Customers could get rude for no reason and the workload is heavy at times, especially during rush hour. But sometimes, there are moments take place that make you think that all the hard work is worth it.
It reminded me of my time working retail. My memories of that job are polluted with bad times but I still recollect those moments where everyone was working hard in order to keep the store from imploding.
I also related to each character to some degree. Every one of them was working towards their goal. The most I could relate to was Ohana. Throughout the whole show, her objective of finding herself and her purpose in life was motivating.
After months of working, she has even brought a change in atmosphere in her work environment. Tohru found her unconventional ways very entertaining to watch. On the other hand. her grandmother who started out with the “tough love” act began to soften up. She watched her granddaughter develop from a young bud to desiring to become like her in the future, a strong and independent woman who knows how to handle things by herself. There were times when Ohana would stumble or have an obstacle blocking her path. But she learned to overcome them as she matured and also with the help of her friends.
Hanasaku Iroha comprised of different characters who possessed their own unique dreams and aspirations. Kissuiso served as a catalyst for each of them. To some, it might have been a training ground where they can polish their craft. To some, it served as a place where they could find more about themselves. And to some, it even became a sanctuary from the outside world. The amount of hard work they devoted reciprocated with the results. They came out with the experience and the lessons they would need to get closer to fulfilling their dreams.
And even though Kissuiso closed down in the end, each of these characters still holds on to a sense of loyalty to the inn. They might have lashed out at each other from frustration or didn’t see each other eye to eye, but at the end of the day, they cared about one another. They did their best to make sure the customers are getting the best service possible. After all, that was Kissuiso’s philosophy.
Unfortunately, they have to bid farewell for now and walk their own path. But maybe someday, Kissuiso would open its doors to their customers, both old and new, once again and they would reunite in order to give them the service the customers have always loved.
Thanks for reading!