Yes, me too.
With mixed feelings.
I'm happy that Japanese TV has centered a whole, popular drama around a foreign character, who is attractive, intelligent and kind. I hope the drama helps people to understand that it can be hard to be a foreigner in Japan.
I'm AMAZED at the American actress' level of Japanese - she doesn't speak Japanese, but is remembering her lines and with pronunciation coaching is doing a fantastic job at saying them.
I hate the fact that a real person - Rita Taketsuru - has been taken by NHK writers and changed into a blonde, cute, endlessly self-sacrificing housewife. I don't know what the real Rita was like, but she wasn't blonde. This character seems like someone from Little House on the Prairie.
I hate the stereotypes of a foreigner: 1) blonde 2) emotional 3) always confused by Japanese life. And I think Ellie's level of Japanese from the moment she arrived in Japan is suspicious too. If she had only learned Japanese from books and her husband on the ship to Japan, I think she probably arrived speaking much less Japanese.
In early scenes in the drama she speaks to herself in Japanese! I've been here 20 years, and I do that...but a new arrival doesn't. You think in English and you speak in English.
Here is a newspaper story about the Association of Foreign Wives in Japan and what members think of the TV drama.
Maybe NHK has listened to these kind of comments: recently Ellie speaks more English to her husband and herself. She is less girly, more adult woman.
Anyway - I am watching and enjoying Massan. When is the story going to move to Hokkaido? Next spring?