Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Drama You Must Watch: One Liter of Tears

It's a drama series that was broadcast in Japan about four years ago and based on a true story.

Aya Ikeuchi is a kind, happy, smart fifteen-year-old. She applies for the prestigious high school she has been dreaming to attend. After studying really hard, she gets in with her best friend from middle school and begins the happiest time of her life. She becomes the class president and makes a bunch of friends. She plays basketball, and although she's a first-year, she gets to play varsity. She goes on a date with the dreamboat teammate she's had crush on since middle school. Everything seems to be going well except her clumsiness.

She falls flat on her face twice and injures her jaw, and then her head. Sometimes she can't grab food with her chopsticks and drops plates. Sometimes her body doesn't move. I must be tired, she thinks and smiles - she always smiles. I'm just clumsy, she says to herself and smiles. One day, her worried mother takes her to the hospital and receives unexpected news.

Spinocerebellar ataxia.

A progressive degeneration of one's cerebellum, characterized by the slow, progressive loss of muscle coordination, starting with gait, then hands and speech, and finally the rest of the body. In other words, she will gradually, but surely, lose control of things she could easily and unconsciously do before, like walking, running, talking, writing in neat letters, swallowing, making a phone call, and everything we take for granted in our day-to-day lives. But since the disease does not affect the rest of the brain, she is condemned to understand - for her intelligence will be in tact - what's happening to her own body and see it get worse and worse, helplessly and hopelessly.

There is no known cure for the disease.

She breaks down in front of the doctor and her parents, saying, "Why did it choose me?" "Why me?" "God is unfair, God is unfair!"

She's only 15.

But that's just the beginning. It's a story about a girl who struggles against her own body and tries to live her life to the fullest, supported by her family and her friends, crying but smiling, faltering but walking - no matter how slow, how clumsy - loving and being loved.

As you can see, it's a powerful story. It made me cry. It made me appreciate being healthy. And it made me want to help others in need.

Highly recommended.
(There used to be a free online subtitled source, but it's gone now. It stars one of the really popular and (in)famous actresses Japan has produced: Erika Sawajiri)

No comments: