Long Vacation is a Japanese television drama from Fuji Television, first shown in Japan from 15 April to 24 June 1996. Takuya Kimura played the male lead. The show enjoyed high ratings and would be the first in a series of big hits starring Kimura. It features music by Cagnet.
Minami and Sena meet when Sena's apartment-mate, Asakura, jilts Minami on their wedding date. Minami learns from Sena that Asakura has left, whereabouts unknown. Sena allows Minami to move into the apartment, since she is penny-less from having given all her money to Asakura and cannot pay the rent on her apartment.
This is the beginning of a romance between Sena and Minami, although they are far apart in age and interests. Minami and Sena confide in and console each other about their relationship problems and their lack of success in life .
Minami meets a professional photographer Sugisaki who proposes marriage. Finally Sena has a chance of winning a piano competition and going to Boston joining the symphonic orchestra troupe.
One commonality among the characters in the series is that they, if not jobless, can only at best secure a temporary job. This is a portrayal of a time when deep and serious recession plagued the economy of Japan, in which Japanese often found themselves depressed after repeated failure in securing a stable income. The social setting of the TV series is not only an important catalyst in the formation and dissolution of various relationships in the TV series; it also paints a time when the necessity of people in finding solace in each other's presence becomes apparent.
- Hidetoshi Sena (24)…A once-ambitious pianist with dreams of the big-time professional stages. After graduating from music school, he teaches at a children's piano school to earn a small income. He lives in an apartment with a baby grand piano in the living room. Sena practices for piano competitions throughout the series. Despite his seemingly very adept technical ability and Sasaki's high opinion of Sena's playing, Sena constantly meets with failure. The reason for this becomes clearer as the story evolves. Momoko calls him "Ayrton" because his surname is similar to former Formula 1 world champion Ayrton Senna.
- Minami Hayama (31)…An independent and uninhibited 30-year-old woman. Once a highly in-demand model, she now works as a small time model on more and more infrequent jobs. She is unlucky in love; her fiance runs away on her with a younger girl on their wedding day. Through a series of circumstances, Minami comes to stay in Sena's house. Their deepening relationship is a main thread of the drama.
- Shinji Hayama…Minami's younger brother. A loafer and notorious womanizer, he is also a talented pianist who is later revealed to have had a promising piano career. He comes to Tokyo with his girlfriend Rumiko, relying on pachinko winnings to foot the bill. He later buys over a bar and runs it with her.
- Ryoko Okusawa…A very talented pianist but shy with a sheltered upbringing. She is a student in the same music school that Sena graduated from and considered a future star. Sena develops a crush on her but she seems indifferent towards him. Shinji briefly seduces her but later leaves her.
- Momoko Koishikawa…Minami's junior in the modelling company, and a close friend of Minami. Despite her ditzy manner, she sometimes makes insightful observations and offers useful advice.
- Rumiko Himuro…Shinji's girlfriend.
- Professor Sasaki…Sena's mentor and former professor. He often encourages Sena to apply to piano competitions.
- Takako Saito…A child prodigy who is taught by Sena for a brief time. Initially, her attitude towards Sena is disrespectful.
- Tetsuya Sugisaki…A dashing professional photographer who later falls for Minami.
- There was one point Sena entirely gave up on playing piano; he even went to the extent of selling his most beloved piano, forcing him to give up his love of music and his dreams. Then, Sena became a tie salesman at a department store. After Minami finds out, she wants to bring Sena back to the world of piano and help him to realize his dream, so she goes to Sena's workplace and talks to him. But Sena just said, "It's just like a hot spring. Places that are warm will be warm...places that are not will just be it." This implies that, since he has no talent, he should just admit that this is the way things are, and since his situation will never change, he might as well just give up. Minami tries to prove him wrong by learning how to play piano. One night, Sena comes home from work as usual and hears a familiar piano melody as he approaches his house. Upon hearing this, he rushes back immediately, because he knew that the piano should already have been picked up by the interested customer today. When he opens the door, he sees Minami playing the music Sena played for her before. Minami, who had previously known nothing about playing piano, had learnt how to play the piece in a few days, even though it wasn't perfect. Stunned, Sena is deeply touched, and starts to cry.