Modern Love Tokyo is an anthology series set in Tokyo, Japan with each episode portraying a different form of love among individuals. The series is now streaming on Prime Video.
Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers
Nursing My Son, and Some Grievances (Episode 1):
Mari Takada is a successful career woman who balances it with her duties as a mother. She raises her daughter and newborn son with her partner, Sayaka.
Mari constantly pumps breastmilk as she believes it is essential for her son. He’s approaching 100 days since he was born and she has to leave him for the first time as she has to go on a business trip to Singapore.
Mari’s mother arrives to help Sayaka while she’s away. Mari stresses that her son needs breastmilk at specific times and a certain temperature but her mother tells her to relax and assures her that nothing serious will happen if he has formula instead.
Mari heads out on the trip, pumping milk at the airport and even on the plane. She always makes sure the milk is kept cool and her behaviour is bordering on obsessive paranoia.
She feels that the act of breastfeeding keeps her connected to her son which is why she doesn’t want to let go of it so easily. Her friend in Singapore tells her that her children will love her whether they’re given breastmilk or formula so she can relax.
During her trip back, her plane is struck by lightning and forced to land in Manila temporarily. At the Manila airport, Mari is told that she cannot carry her breastmilk unless the baby is with her so she is forced to discard it.
On the plane, she meets another woman travelling with her three children. They get talking and the woman tells Mari that when it comes to raising children, parents will always feel a bit guilty no matter what choice they make so they should just accept things as they are.
She gets back home to find that her mother is feeding her son formula and the breast milk she stored is empty. Rather than be annoyed, she’s just overcome with a mixture of sadness and joy at seeing her child after realising what is truly important.
What I’ve Learned from Sleeping with Married Men (Episode 2):
Kana Sato is recently divorced and ruminates on whether she grew apart from her husband because of the lack of sex, or if it was the other way around.
She meets other married men on a dating app so that she can sleep with them without having to worry about the men getting attached. She often asks the men she meets about their marriage and why they decided to cheat.
She gets varied responses from all of them that help her get closer to understanding why her marriage failed. Her ex-husband, Keisuke, is a writer and plans to do a feature on bridges in a magazine. He reaches out to Kana for advice on the subject and they spend time together again.
The time she spends with Keisuke reminds her of the good times when they were married and her affairs are a way for her to learn more about the connection between love and sex.
She asks for Keisuke’s help in selling her apartment and this gives them another reason to meet each other. Eventually, Kana realizes that despite their unsatisfactory sex life, she still loves Keisuke and wants him in her life.
She tells him this and is overjoyed by the fact that he feels the same way.
How My Worst Date Ever Became My Best (Episode 3):
Natsuko is a 63-year-old art curator who has been divorced for close to three years. She doesn’t think love is in her cards anymore but her friend points her in the direction of a dating app and tells her to give it a try.
Natsuko isn’t sure about it but she ultimately ends up joining and agrees to a date with someone. On her way to the date, she talks to her friend and confirms that they need to call her later to check if things are going well.
The man she’s meeting is Kosuke Hayami, an elderly interior designer who is partly retired. It takes a while for them to break the ice but eventually, the conversation begins to flow as they discuss their shared interest in films.
After a few beers, Kosuke asks Natsuko if she’d be interested in going to dinner with him and she says yes. They decide to go on a stroll to kill the time.
They stop somewhere for a snack and discuss the landscape of dating nowadays and Natusko recollects a really bad date she had years ago when she separated from her husband for the first time.
She says the man she met was so full of himself that she lied to him and told him that she was getting back with her husband, just to avoid meeting him again. She did get back with her husband later on and had a child with him as well.
Kosuke asks her how she met the man she went on a date with and she says they became pen pals through an ad in a magazine. She talks about how beautiful the man’s letters were which added to the disappointment when he turned out to be obnoxious.
Kosuke then tells her that he was the same man she met all those years ago and he was so nervous which is why he kept talking. After she rejected him, he met his late wife and lived a happy life together.
Fate conspired for them to meet again and this time the experience turns out to be a lot more pleasant for them both.
My Hibernating Wife (Episode 4)
Kengo sits down on a park bench near a mental health clinic along with his dog, Elizabeth. An old woman sits down next to him and begins a conversation even though he feels uncomfortable.
She asks him who he’s there with and Kengo says that he’s accompanying his wife. She says that he sister also has issues and things will get better for him as long as he sticks by her side and is patient.
Kengo begins talking about how they arrived at this situation. His wife, Mai, worked as a designer and was with him at the zoo observing the polar bears when she was suddenly hit with the thought that she was at fault for the polar bear’s captivity.
Her polar bear-inspired design was selected at work to be the logo for an aerated drink but she also has to deal with some mean colleagues. Her mental state begins to deteriorate and she’s diagnosed with depression.
She takes a break from her job and stays at home while Kengo tries to help her in any way that he can. She stops taking care of herself and Kengo feels helpless a lot of the time but he still stands by her and loves her deeply.
She describes her depression as a large sumo wrestler resting on top of her at all times and Kengo doesn’t know how to deal with that information.
After taking care of her for a good while, Mai wakes up one day and feels lighter. She slowly gets back to her old self and the two of them continue their strong marriage after this moment of turbulence.
For 13 Days, I Believed Him (Episode 5):
Momoko Shinohara waits for someone at a cafe. A man arrives and claims to be the one she’s supposed to meet, Yoji Suzuki. However, he doesn’t match the picture in his dating profile and tells her that it’s a mistake on the company’s part.
She still wants to spend time with them and they share a few drinks while talking about different topics. At the end of the night, Yoji bids goodbye and leaves but Momoko asks him for his mobile number to stay in touch.
He gives it to her and promptly walks away. Momoko’s day job is as a reporter on television and she conducts hard-hitting interviews. She and Yoji begin spending more time together as he helps her perform a few renovations at her house.
They even go camping in the forest one day where she gives him one of her cups to use. They later get lost and have a tough time finding their way back.
One day on the train, Momoko sees a man who looks similar to the one she was supposed to meet. She seeks him out and confirms whether he is the real Yoji and he says yes.
She continues to meet Yoji even though he isn’t who he says he is. One day when Yoji says he’s going to the shop, she assumes he’s disappearing so she goes in search of him. When she finds him, he admits that he’s a homeless person living at a shelter.
He came across the printout of the real Yoji’s dating profile and decided to take a chance so he could experience happiness. The next day there’s no sign of him and Momoko checks the nearby shelter to find him.
She finally finds him in the forest camping and they spend the night in his tent. The next morning, she wakes to find him standing in the river. He tells her that her cup has been swept away and then continues walking before vanishing in thin air, with her cup surfacing in the water.
He Saved His Last Lesson For Me (Episode 6)
Emma teaches English online to international students as a way to earn money. She’s a British woman living in Los Angeles and getting over a breakup after her ex-boyfriend cheated on her.
One day, she conducts a class with a young Japanese man named Mamoru. She has a very insightful conversation with him and he asks her what the word ‘Love’ means to her. He’s doing his major in corn and he draws many parallels between corn and life in general.
He leaves a lasting impression on her but the next time he gets a session with her, he tells her that it will be his last class as his subscription is expiring. Just before the class ends, she tells him her Instagram handle so that they can keep in touch.
A few days later, he reaches out to her and they begin talking regularly as Emma finds herself falling for Mamoru. He asks her if he can visit her in Los Angeles during his break but she says that she can visit him in Tokyo the following week instead.
She feels like he could be the one for her which is why she’s making the spontaneous decision to meet him. He picks her up from the airport and then drops her off at a hotel before their dinner reservation. While things are cordial, Emma doesn’t feel the spark she used to feel while talking to him.
He then tells her that he has a surprise and takes her to his rooftop where he’s got a couple of corn crops and a wonderful view of the city. He admits that he’s in love with her with yet another corn analogy and she finally feels the spark.
Close to a year later, Emma is still taking classes but she’s living with Mamoru in Tokyo and is also engaged to him as they live a corn-filled, happy life.
He’s Playing Our Song (Episode 7):
Tamami doesn’t feel like her life is going anywhere. She’s got a mediocre job and not much else and she drowns her sorrow in alcohol at a cafe.
The bartender decides to put on a record and as soon as the song plays, Tamami is reminded of her childhood. She rushes back home and digs out the same record.
She thinks back to her high school days when she was a social outcast who spent most of her time in the art room because he art teacher was very friendly.
One day she finds a boy playing the piano on the school stage and when she realizes that he’s playing a song that he likes, she gets excited. She’s extremely shy and secretly observes him for a while.
She slowly builds up the courage to speak to him and eventually, she becomes friends with him. His name is Rin and he’s also someone who doesn’t fit in with the rest of the school.
She tells him to play the piano at the upcoming art festival and he asks her if she’s doing anything. She says that she has no great talent but he points out to her drawings as proof she is good at art.
They decide to go to the festival together but when other students see them together and ask Tamami if they’re dating, she says that they just ran into each other on the way. Rin ignores her from then onwards and she carries on with her own life.
Tamami is enjoying these memories while doodling at the cafe and the bartender asks her if she’s an artist. She says not that great and he brings out older coasters with her doodles. She remembers some advice from her old teacher about showing some courage and decides to do something.
She posts a couple of pictures of her illustrations and some people comment on the illustration of her and Rin, saying it resembles the logo of a band. She checks out the band and visits a show where she finds out that Rin is a member.
Her little moment of courage reunited her with the boy she liked as a kid and proved that confidence is key.