Tag Archives: watch challenge

The 2018 Jdoramathon Challenge

For the past two years I’ve challenged myself to watch a certain number of Jdramas. It’s an anything-goes-as-long-as-it’s-Japanese deal, and the idea is to watch as many doramas as I can without restraint. Challenges often impose various requirements, such as with genre or episode count, and sometimes this works out in wonderful ways in which I find shows I love that I otherwise wouldn’t have discovered. Other times, however, interest quickly dissipates, and I’d simply rather watch a set of other shows that end up not meeting any of the challenge’s requirements. Thus continues my long history of seldom finishing what I sign up for and the reason behind of my yearly “Drama Challenge.”

In 2016, I vowed to watch at least 50 doramas, and in 2017 I said I would see 40 at a minimum. Unfortunately, just as I was unable to meet 50 in 2016, it doesn’t appear that I will make it to 40 this year. Ah, oh well. But instead of lowering the number to 30, or even 20, for next year, I changed the rules… by a lot.

On a sheet of paper I wrote down 26 different conditions that must be met, ranging from airdates, genre, themes, writers, and actors. I then headed over to Random.org where I listed the English alphabet for shuffling. From there, the new, re-arranged order of letters was put to a numbered list where they were paired with their respective requirements. For example, S is the seventh letter on my shuffled letter list, which corresponds to the seventh prompt: a drama based on a novel. As you might have guessed, the goal is to find a drama adapted from a book whose title starts with “S.” In this instance, I chose Shokuzai—a drama adapted from a novel by the one and only Kanae Minato. This process was repeated for the remaining 25 items.

In doing this, however, I realized a couple things: X is frustrating letter! And what is perhaps even more frustrating is that us Jdrama fans have very limited resources. Those who know and/or live in Japan have some advantage, but for the rest of us? We are restricted to what is subbed, and some of those subs are confined to locked communities. Moreover, not all dramas are subbed. Although the same can be said for all foreign content, strictly speaking within the Asian drama fanbase, Jdrama subs do not come in a plentiful amount like Kdramas. To top it all off, the nature of this challenge limits what can be watched.

For example, there are several Jdramas that concern number 26: watch a drama whose main character is in some way disabled, has a mental illness, or is terminally ill. But how many of those dramas start with W? I could find none, and I was forced to swap the original requirement with a new one. This issue adds a new layer of difficulty, but then I guess it’s also part of the challenge here. Without it, I wouldn’t have found a handful of new dramas to watch. Still, I’m unsure if I’ll do this again next year unless it’s altered to include more diverse choices. I guess I’ll see.

At any rate, I initially created this challenge as a way to forcibly expand my dorama horizon. Since this was, first and foremost, made as a personal drama watch challenge, I don’t intend to make a large announcement. You are, however, very welcome to share it, and should anyone come across this and wish to have a go—by all means, go for it!


If you decide to take this on, comment here or link your own blog posts and and I will update this post respectively. (I will be keeping track of my own list over here.) There is no official sign-up, either, so it’s not limited the year 2018. Likewise, this needn’t be restricted to only Jdramas. Feel free to take this challenge and adapt it to your preference. Continue reading