Episode 9: I think divorce isn’t the worst outcome. The greatest misery is to be together without any love or hope. Please have the best marriage next time
Akari asks Mitsuo to sleep with her once because she is desperately lonely. However, Mitsuo does not respond. By the time they leave the restaurant and head toward the expressway, it is daybreak. As they walk together, Akari muses about taking part in spouse hunting activities and suggests that he join her. Parties equates hell to him. When she says that all he has to do is talk to her, he asks about the logic of paying money for such an activity. While waiting for a taxi, Mitsuo tells Akari that he has been dreaming of her frequently and this now feels like a continuation. He suggests that they meet in the day and go to the horse racing track. Sensing Mitsuo’s feelings, Akari agrees.
On the other hand, Yuka went for drinks with Ryo on the spur of the moment and suddenly kissed him after they left the bar. She was actually very drunk after three shots of tequila and has completely no memory of the kiss or that she was crying. Unaware of that, Ryo who was slightly drunk himself because he knew Akari would not change her mind once it was made, tries to apologise to Mitsuo for the kiss. However, Mitsuo is fussing over his mouth ulcers and Ryo cannot get his attention.
At the sauna, Akari tells her companion that what ultimately matters between a man and woman are balance and timing. He has divorced while she has also just broken up. Well, she does not know much about love. There are times when 1% can become 100% bliss. And other times when 99% can turn to naught. Right now, she thinks its 50:50. They both have good feelings for each other. Meanwhile, Mitsuo smugly remarks to the new dental hygienist that love is something that one falls into. At times, love can suddenly happen.
The next day, Ryo and Yuka come across each other in the neighbourhood. Yuka learns that he and Mitsuo had cheese fondue yesterday and demands to know what two grown men were doing eating fondue. When Ryo reminds her that they also had it together at the third bar the other day, Yuka informs him that they only went to two. She recalls stepping on his foot and apologises for her bad habit of doing so when drunk, but confidently assures him that she remembers essentially everything. Patting him on the back, she tells him to get a hold of himself. They did not have fondue. Ryo has no heart to let her know the truth.
In preparation for his date with Akari, Mitsuo suddenly puts effort into being stylish. He goes to a fancy Daikanyama hair salon for a haircut and even buys clothes. On the way home, he stops by Kingyo Cafe and sees Yuka who is there with Ryo. Tomoyo, who cannot keep from laughing the moment her brother walked into the cafe, politely speculates that his hair is in disarray because he just got out of bed. Teased about the change in his appearance, Mitsuo defensively declares that he looks the same as always except his hair has been partially curled. There is nothing strange about his hairstyle. It is common in Daikanyama. Yuka guesses that he went to a Daikanyama hair salon and told the hairdresser to give him a fashionable look. Mitsuo claims the hairdresser took liberties when he dozed off. This only draws more laughter from everyone.
A frustrated Mitsuo musses his hair to flatten it and stalks over to Ryo to tell him not to come over to the house today. Turning to Yuka, he demands to know why she has not gone back to Fujinomiya. Yuka is staying here for a while until her father’s anger subsides and suggests that Mitsuo stay away from the cafe, if he does not want to see her face. She volunteers to lend him her family home, but he derisively remarks that he will lose 10 kg in three days. They start sniping at each other, which makes Ryo grin. Mitsuo takes offense to that and Yuka jumps in to ask why he is picking on Ryo. When Mitsuo asks why she is defending Ryo, she deliberately tells him it is because they have been on good terms lately. However, she is not a fan girl and Ryo still loves Akari. Ryo wonders what Akari thinks of him now, prompting Mitsuo to say she must wish him dead. If Akari has a new man in her life, Ryo thinks he will go to India. Mitsuo decides to leave but before doing so, he makes the mistake of saying that this is not an image change to get the attention of females.
On another day, Mitsuo invites Akari out to the racetrack. At that same moment, Yuka meets Junnosuke at Kingyo Cafe. Hearing the appreciative sigh from Yuka after she swallows a big mouthful of soup, Junnosuke asks if she had drunk a lot of alcohol. Yuka says she cannot sleep if she does not drink. Junnosuke is not certain that it is okay for her to do so since she is a kiss fiend who has no recollection of what she does when she gets drunk. In the past, Yuka had stayed at Junnosuke’s house after getting dead drunk and at that time, Junnosuke had to refuse her or flee so that nothing would happen. Yuka is taken aback. Then, Ryo arrives at the cafe. Yuka confirms that they had gone drinking together and is mortified to hear that she initiated a kiss with Ryo. He says that he did not find it repulsive but the possibility that she would have kissed any man makes Yuka get angry and disgusted at herself.
After leaving the racetrack, Mitsuo and Akari agree to have dinner together at Akari’s house and go their separate ways for a while. Akari heads to the supermarket to buy ingredients for a hotpot meal while Mitsuo goes home to get a bottle of wine. He is preparing to go to Akari’s house when Ryo comes back home, bewildered to see him brushing his teeth at this hour. Mitsuo tries to tell Ryo about his date with Akari while Ryo tries to tell him about the kiss with Yuka, the two of them at cross purposes until Ryo blurts out that he and Yuka unintentionally kissed … … Mitsuo ventures to ask if Ryo will get jealous if Akari has a new boyfriend and keeps stressing that he is just speaking figuratively. He attempts to draw an analogy using potato and melting butter. But Ryo immediately perceives what Mitsuo is alluding to. His gaze narrows as he asks if Mitsuo is the one Akari is warming up to. Mitsuo squirms in his seat.
Yuka, who is at the supermarket to buy beer and snacks, encounters Akari. Yuka admits to Akari that she and Ryo kissed, and even goes so far as to demonstrate it. However, Akari coolly replies that they have broken up. There are times when a person feeling vulnerable does such things. Yuka says it is not right to immediately hit on a person who is someone’s ex. There are things that can be done and cannot be done even if she is feeling vulnerable, and she bows her head in apology to an awkward Akari. After that, she stands in line with Akari for the cashier. While Akari searches her wallet for the point card, Yuka notices her holding horse betting tickets. Her expression changes. Akari, who catches sight of it, suggests to Yuka that they have a talk.
At Akari’s apartment, everything goes pleasantly at first. Yuka cheerfully expresses envy at how Akari seems to always be neat, levelheaded and composed. If she were a man, she would want to marry her. But Akari is in no way a calm and composed person. When Yuka asks what she wishes to talk about, Akari says she wants to ask something yet does not broach the topic. Impatience enters Yuka’s voice so Akari suggests that they do this on another occasion. Yuka tells her to come right out and say it, they are not children and will not have a quarrel. Akari decides she need not go into detail since Yuka understands. Yuka thinks Akari should know that she has not let go yet. It is more than that … …
Meanwhile, the look in Ryo’s eyes terrifies Mitsuo so much that he dashes out of the house and onto the street. Following close behind, Ryo asks out loud if Mitsuo slept with Akari. Mitsuo jerks around, exclaiming at the shock Ryo has given him again just as he was recovering from the last one. Mitsuo exclaims there is no way he would have done it. When Ryo persists in asking what he has done, he declares that it is below Ryo’s standard. He has not done anything with Akari, not even kiss her. Although he has not done anything, that does not mean he is not thinking of it, Ryo points out. Mitsuo does not disagree.
Having the thought but not taking action is probably more than raising a finger Yuka reasons. Hearing for herself that Yuka and Mitsuo have broken up, Akari tells Yuka that in that case, she is in no position to condemn them if they have done something to deserve it. Yuka says she is not but Akari thinks she is doing so in a different way. Feeling that things will get out of hand if they continue talking like this, Yuka decides to leave. She grabs her belongings and hurries out of the house but runs into Mitsuo and Ryo just outside. Ryo intercepts her as she tries to walk away. As Mitsuo looks on at the two of them, Akari appears with Yuka’s boots. In her hurry to leave, Yuka had worn the house slippers outside. Yuka changes into the boots and heads off without a word while Akari turns to go back to the house. The two men stare after them. Someone grabs Yuka by the arm to stop her. It turns out to be Ryo. Mitsuo had gone after Akari.
The atmosphere at Akari’s apartment is strained as the four of them gather at Ryo’s suggestion. Ryo and Yuka sit together on the floor while Mitsuo awkwardly settles onto the sofa next to Akari. Ryo thought everyone would want to talk, but when no one makes a move to do so, he tells them he has something to say. Just then, weird beeping sounds start coming from his phone because of a group chat that has been initiated. When it looks like Ryo will not ignore his phone or shut it off, Mitsuo instructs him to go to the other room to reply to the messages. The three of them are forced to wait for him to finish and rejoin them. Yuka, who cannot bear to see Mitsuo and Akari together, escapes to the kitchen with Ryo. Her smile falters when she notices them behaving cosily like a couple. Mitsuo wants to know what Ryo wishes to say because they have other things on. Yuka pipes up in an exaggerated voice that Mitsuo and Akari are going to eat hotpot. She asks if Mitsuo heard the disagreeable tone and apologises. He is unperturbed. But Yuka raises her voice and carries on about it so he asks if she drank. Is that why she lost her memory? Akari tells him to let it go. Yuka snaps back but will not answer Mitsuo when he asks what she means and just hums to herself. With a weary voice, he suggests that they disband.
All of sudden, Yuka covers her face with her hands as her composure gives way. Akari apologises for her behaviour and tells Yuka that the situation is not like that. Yuka does not think so since they are intending to have hotpot and went to see race horses. They do not need to care about her. It would have been better if they frankly told her she was in the way. Ryo is sorry for asking Yuka to come but Yuka declares that she came because she is bothered about Mitsuo and Akari. She means this in a good way. Mitsuo wants to talk to Yuka at Kingyo Cafe, and tries to help her up. However, she repeatedly brushes him off and insists on going back on her own. In a shaky, tearful voice, she tells them that she thought from a long time ago that Mitsuo and Akari are suited for each other. The two of them only broke up because of some little difference but they are compatible which is important in a marriage. Mitsuo is punctual while Akari is well-grounded. Akari will neither be late for appointments nor will she scratch her bum. Mitsuo takes Yuka, who is on all fours trying show them how she can respond with a fart, by the arm and reaches over for her belongings.
As Yuka is about to leave with Mitsuo, Akari asks why they divorced. If Yuka had not submitted the papers, this would not have happened. Mitsuo jumps to Yuka’s defence. He is the reason for the divorce. During the last earthquake, he sent Yuka a message that showed that he cared more about his bonsai than her. To Akari, this is his personality. There are many husbands in the world who have difficulty expressing themselves and Mitsuo is one of them. Because he is shy, he does not know how to show his concern. As his wife, Yuka should have understood that. Mitsuo says he also never expressed gratitude for the meals that Yuka prepared for him. However, Akari criticises Yuka, asking if she ever told Mitsuo that he worked hard when he came back tired from work. He is awkward and not good with people and yet he does his best outside. How can she blame a person who comes straight home without having drinks, cleans the house, does the laundry and even makes his own lunch box. Yuka always thinks she is right and forgets her own faults. She is similar in her lack of consideration. However, a woman will not listen to logic. There will be misplaced anger. Akari concedes that she is like this too.
At this moment, Ryo’s phone starts beeping again. Bewildered that Ryo is chatting at such a time, Mitsuo stuffs the phone into a kitchen drawer. Mitsuo says he never intended for things to be like this, never wished for it. He would rather the four of them to go on a camp together even though he has never been on one or wanted to. The two families might rent a car and drive all the way to the mountains. Pitch tents, have a barbecue and eat outdoors. There would be insects. He would not understand why he is there at all. By that time, each family would have their own children who would run around making a lot of noise. He imagines things would have gone well for the Ueharas and Akari would have been happy but somewhat lonely. He would have continued to have his own family. In fact, he had thought so until recently. Assumed that if he never talked about divorce, it would not have happened in his life. Took it for granted when every person has the right to it. So this is the outcome now. On the way back, there would be a bad, long traffic jam in the tunnel. His child would want to go to the toilet while Yuka would be in a bad mood. He would look at the traffic jam ahead of him and wish to be a bird. That is the kind of camp Mitsuo wants. He thinks it would be unexpectedly fun and smiles at the thought. Then, he bows to all of them and apologises that they will not be able to go on one.
Ryo takes the hotpot out from the kitchen and proposes that they eat together. He thinks divorce is not the worst outcome. What is worst is a couple going through the motions of being husband and wife. Being together without any love or hope for the other is the greatest misery. If they look at it this way, divorce is not a bad thing. Divorce is worthy of celebration. Divorce is the best. Addressing Akari, Ryo thanks her and says, “Please have the best marriage next time.”
The next day, Mitsuo goes to the udon shop that Yuka frequents. As he eats, he comments that Yuka is cheerful and generally bubbly in nature. Rather than call her unrefined, he would say she has a big heart. She puts him at ease. However, Akari has a lonely, insecure side. As if something may happen to her someday. This makes him feel anxious too. That is why it was the first time that he saw such a side to his wife and not Akari. Back at home, Mitsuo sees his grandmother trying to take a photo of the cats for Yuka. He learns that Yuka has gone back to live with her friend in Iinadazutsumi but when he asks what she plans to do from now on, Aiko enquires if it has anything to do with him. That shuts him up.
On a Sunday evening, Mitsuo waits at the cinema theater for Akari who had asked him out to watch a movie. However, she arrives surprisingly late. Mitsuo graciously shrugs off the fact that he hates missing the start of movies and insists that they go ahead to watch it. He senses something is not right from her distracted and withdrawn manner.
A used pregnancy test kit lies in the bathroom at Akari’s home. She is pregnant … …
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