Episode 2: Wife handpicked, husband left out in the cold runs away?
Learning that Ryota’s father, Eisuke, had been searching for a legendary living creature called the ‘Kuna’ in his hometown of Nagano Prefecture, Sae thinks it affirms that he is a romantic. However, Ryota is not convinced because the father he knows is only interested in money or women. Sae thinks he could have changed with age, but Ryota does not believe that happens easily. Moe, who has been listening to the exchange between her parents, informs her father that the ‘Kuna’ is one of Frodo’s friends. In fact, he has a friend here in this house. She casts a look down at some space near him when he asks where the friend is. Ryota instinctively bends down to look beneath his chair as Moe tries to stifle a giggle. Sitting back up, he remarks that the friend seems to be away from home today and she pipes up that it has gone to Nagano.
Then one day, Ryota is in fine spirits after his proposal to have the actor-comedian Takada Junji in a CM wins over the confectionary store president that Sanada has been trying to woo for the agency.
But it does not last long. He is told by his boss, Yo, that Sanada will be put in charge of the campaign because the confectionary store president likes him very much. Ryota interjects that it means that his jogging strategy was a success. Although Yo readily agrees, he casually sidelines Ryota in the next breath. He tells him to take refreshment leave but takes pains to stress that Ryota is not being laid off or suspended. Ryota says he will treat it as paid leave since he needs to take care of his father. As he leaves the office, he finds himself compelled to announce to two passing colleagues that he is not resigning.
Sometime later, Yo tells Sanada that renewal is neccesary for the company and advises him not to be like Ryota. He wants Sanada to show his own style as a producer. Sanada’s response is that he just wants to create interesting commercials. In response, Yo notes that that is what everyone starts out thinking. It was the same for Ryota and himself. However, that alone will not work in this job.
On the other hand, Moe, who has brought a New Year’s lunch box special made by Sae to school, is caught selling parts of it to classmates by her form teacher Sonoda, and put on a one-week suspension. Sae points out that Moe could have been honest with her if she did not want to eat the lunch box. Instead she gave it to other children and charged them money which she then used on games. What was she thinking? Moe’s explanation is a lame, “It somehow ended up that way.” When an exasperated Sae wonders if her food is that unpalatable, Moe says her friends found it delicious and Sae cannot resist remarking that she is a professional after all. Her daughter mockingly agrees that she is.
Sae speaks to Ryota about the latest trouble their daughter has caused at school. She prods him to seize the chance to be a father to Moe. There are some things that Moe has to hear from him which is difficult for her to say. But Ryota just responds that he will do it when the opportunity comes.
Then, Sae breaks the news that she has received a movie job which sounds interesting. To her elation, Ryota gives his consent since they had made such a pact and Moe is already a fourth grader. She informs him that she will have to spend a week in the countryside and he lies that he had actually taken leave and was thinking of going to Nagano. “When I’m around, my subordinates rely on me and won’t grow up.” He offers to take Moe with him to visit his father. But when he learns that the movie director is Yamanaka Kentaro, he gets jealous yet cannot tell her not to go. So it sounds like Ryota is crying sour grapes when he says he does not regard Yamanaka as a movie director or care for Sae doing movies. Sae calls him out for changing his tune. He grudgingly says that is because movies are more challenging than CMs and points out that she was the one who had called CMs frivolous. She is amused that he is hung about small stuff and he bristles at the word small.
On the same day that Sae leaves for the movie shoot, Ryota and Moe leave for Nagano. At the bus stop, their neighbour Kobayashi wonders if they are running away from home because he heard that there is trouble in the family over the birth of a younger brother. A bewildered Ryota realises that Kobayashi is referring to Moe’s half-Japanese imaginary sibling. Kobayashi, who had seen Sae leave with a pile of luggage, speaks admiringly of people that have jobs. He muses that if he were to be sacked and gone from his company, nothing would change from the day before but would go more smoothly and harmoniously, “A coordinating role like mine that only kowtows to people, is the one that will be the first to be cut during a recession.” Hearing this, Ryota gets increasingly anxious.
At the hospital, Toshiko is pleasantly surprised to be greeted by Ryota and Moe although she would have wanted to see Sae as well. She cannot resist remarking that it is tough for a husband to have a remarkable wife. Moe takes a look at her grandfather at the hospital and suddenly declares that there is a place that she wants to go. It is the ‘Kuna Office’. Claiming that the ‘Kuna’ had told her about it, she explains to her baffled grandmother that they are a small people who live in the forest. A surprised Ryota brings her to Naho’s place.
Children are gathered around Naho listening to her talk about the ‘Kuna’. Holding a figurine, she describes the ‘Kuna’ as people no larger than 15 cm in height that wear red pointed hats to protect them from falling objects from trees. If people or predators appear and they sense danger, the hat will be turned inside out to make them appear like a poisonous fungus called the amanita muscaria so that they can escape.
Some children are fascinated while others are disbelieving of the story of the ‘Kuna’. Moe thinks that it cannot be seen by people who do not believe in it. Naho suggests that if they find white spotted red mushrooms in the forest it might just be the ‘Kuna’.
On the way back to town, Ryota tells Naho that the family would not have been suspicious of her if she had told them. Instead she had visited the hospital stealthily and wrote a false name in the visitor book. Naho protests that she has nothing to hide, she could only visit on a Saturday when she did not have to work at the municipal office. Furthermore, it was Yamashita who had instructed her to leave that name to avoid causing the family worry. When told they suspected that she could be an illegitimate child, Naho reacts with pity that the family would reach such a conclusion. Did they think that their portion of the inheritance would be reduced? She lets on that Eisuke feels that Ryota does not consider him his parent anymore.
The next day, Naho, Ryota, Moe and Daichi head to the forest where the ‘Kuna’ is believed to be, to check it out for a December event. As they trek up a steep path and Naho cheerfully tells them that they may find the ‘Kuna’ if they search carefully, Ryota gripes about being in this dangerous place. Then, Moe spots a red thing up on a tree which she gets him to retrieve. They peer curiously at the odd red pointed triangular material in Ryota’s hand. It is a hat!