Episode 9: The sudden end
In 1998, Akira tells his father in a phone call that he wants him to meet the person he intends to marry. Yasu accidentally slams the phone down in shock. Moments later, he calls Akira back to demand if he is the one getting married. Hearing that the lady is beautiful, slightly older and a graduate of Keio University who works in the same office, Yasu goes around boasting about his future daughter-in-law to Taeko, Shoun and the townspeople. However, his company president suggests that she sounds too good to be true. Why would a smart, beautiful and capable woman choose Akira who has a burden like Yasu? This gets Yasu all riled up.
Meanwhile, Yumi realises Akira did not exactly tell his father that she is older and divorced. He merely said she is slightly older, and will only break the rest of the news to his father when they meet.
One day before Akira’s homecoming, Taeko hears Yasu cheerfully sing to Misako’s photo about meeting again after many years. She worriedly reminds him that it is his future daughter-in-law who is coming and not Misako. But her suggestion that Akira may have a mother complex because of his vague memories of Misako makes Yasu believe that Yumi must bear a great resemblance to her … …
The day finally arrives. However, the lady Yasu sees at the train platform with his son is not only much older than he had imagined, but also nothing like Misako. Yasu stares at her in stunned silence and his mood grows foul.
Back at home, Yasu deliberately sits with his back to Akira and Yumi and cuts his toenails. Taeko tries to defuse the tense situation by making conversation. Taking a copy of the magazine that Yumi works for from Akira, she flips over to the page listing the names of the editorial team members and shoves the magazine in Yasu’s face. He grudgingly takes it. Akira explains that Yumi is quite high up the ranks because she is good at her job. However, Yasu tersely remarks that while Tokyo may be a meritocratic society, the countryside still works on seniority.
Unable to tolerate it any further, Yumi blurts out to Yasu that she is seven years Akira’s senior. When he prods to find out if there is anything more, she confesses that she is also divorced with a child. This worsens the situation. Yasu glares hard at Akira, then turns to look at Misako’s photo as he shakes with anger.
Taeko hurriedly takes Yumi out of the house. She kindly tells Yumi not to let Yasu’s behaviour get to her. It was his own fantasies that resulted in this. However, Yumi feels bad for disappointing him. She reveals to Taeko, who is curious to know about her divorce, that she was dumped by her husband. When they got married, she promised to quit her job. That was her intention at first. But it occurred to her that she would not be able to return to work that easily once she quit. Furthermore, she liked her job. If she had quit then, she might come to resent her child. So she told her husband she wanted to work and he agreed. But it was difficult to raise a child too as her husband refused to lift a finger. It was so tough on her that she had to ask him to let her stay in office once a week. His response was that she could not balance work and family because she was incompetent. Even if she continued working, she would get nowhere. Yumi tolerated it because her child needed a father. However, he told her that he neither wanted this sort of family nor to come home to this kind of house and asked for a divorce. Taeko assures Yumi that Yasu has a good heart and will eventually come round if given some time.
On the other hand, Yasu, who is told the reason for Yumi’s divorce by Akira, thinks that outcome was to be expected. Because her own needs meant more to her than her family, she continued working and her husband ran out of patience. Yasu cannot sympathise with that and tells Akira that he has been deceived. If the two of them get together, Akira will be forced to take care of her child, and will get tossed into a facility should he fall ill. That is the kind of woman Yumi is. “If your mother were alive, she would certainly have said this!” Akira disagrees. So Yasu backpaddles and declares that it is because their mothers are different. In any case, he is vehemently opposed to the marriage.
Akira gets into a quarrel with his father who threatens to disown him if he weds Yumi. Taeko and Yumi come back to find Akira standing outside the house. He leaves with Yumi and an alarmed Taeko demands to know what Yasu intends to do. She frets that if Akira creates a family in Tokyo, he may never come back to their hometown. The only response she gets from Yasu is a fart.
At Yunagi that night, Taeko tells the others that she finds Yumi to be an understanding and pleasant person. However, Bito thinks Yasu boasted too much and is now in an awkward position. Meanwhile, Yumi tells Akira as they head back to Tokyo, that she understands why his father does not like her. His father quit driving long-haul trucks after getting married while his mother sacrificed her life to save him. She saw this coming. A dejected Akira confesses that he had expected his father to tell him to do his best after all is said and done. When Yumi and Akira get to her parents house, Akira tells his future mother-in-law that they will go ahead without his father and requests that her husband sign the marriage registration form as a witness. She asks if he is sure that he wants to do this. He does not think it matters since they are not going to live together.
The next morning, Akira wakes up to find Yumi missing. She has gone to his hometown alone to ask Yasu to sign the marriage registration form as a witness. This confuses Yasu who wonders if Akira did not tell her what happened. Yumi wants his acceptance and holds out the paper to him. Yasu crumples and tosses it aside as he walks away. However, she picks up the paper, straightens it out and chases after him. Frustrated by her obstinacy, he tells her to ask her parents if she is so adamant about getting married. Yumi declares that he has to be the one. By this time, a crowd has gathered to watch them so Yasu yells that he hates women like her who impose their feelings on others. Undaunted, Yumi declares that loving Akira means loving his father and asks him to make her his daughter despite his plea to her to keep quiet. Yasu takes the paper but unexpectedly stuffs it into his mouth and eats it up. Yumi stares, dumbfounded. Calling her attitude insolent, he says she is in no position to defy him. As Yasu stalks off, Taeko comes up from behind Yumi and tells her that this is what they call underestimating Yasu’s foolishness.
That night, Shoun comes looking for Yasu and brings him to Yunagi where Yumi is waiting. Before they go inside, Shoun advises him to tell her what he truly wants to say. Hearing that Yumi is a good drinker, Yasu remarks that his late wife was the exact opposite. Although she could not drink a drop, she would smile and listen to him. She always put herself last. Taeko chides Yasu. But he does not see anything wrong with saying this because it is only natural and best for Akira to choose a wife who is like his mother. Yumi responds that it is impossible since Akira has no memories of Misako but remembers his father very well. She knows this because he constantly tells her about Yasu. That is why she does not want to deprive him of his father. When Yasu demands that she back off, she admits that she kept thinking whether she is good enough for Akira. But it angered Akira who told her not to feel inferior, so this is the only thing she can do now. Bowing her head, she pleads with Yasu to accept her.
At that moment, Akira enters Yunagi with Kensuke. Yasu quickly turns around and sits with his back to them. He has a conflicted look on his face when Akira tells him to think of himself as Kensuke’s grandfather and adds that Kensuke is very much looking forward to having another grandfather. Before Yasu can get a word in, Shoun stands up and yells that Akira is being underhanded. He orders Yukie to take Kensuke out, then takes Akira to task for bringing a child along. By doing so, Yasu will not be able to say anything. Shoun says that he objects to Yumi because she bears no resemblance to Misako. There is nothing Misako can say but she loved Akira more than anyone else. For this reason, Akira ought to choose someone who is like his mother in some small way. Shoun suggests that Misako would be happy with that, knowing that she lives on inside of Akira. He points out that Yumi, an outsider, had nonchalantly told them that Akira does not have memories of his mother. Does Akira think his mother will like that, he demands to know. Akira stays silent.
Yasu bangs the table and asks what Shoun knows. Misako would definitely be happy. She would thank Akira for bringing her grandchild and say absurd things like how they should be grateful that Yumi’s husband divorced her. And not petty things like whether her daughter-in-law resembles her or not. Yumi brought the marriage registration form here because she does not want his relationship with Akira to grow strained. Yasu does not think another woman who cares so much about Akira or would say she loves an uneducated, scraggy father like him exists besides Misako. He tearfully proclaims Yumi to be just like Misako. Because of that, she will become his daughter.
Shoun sinks down into his seat with a sigh of relief and breaks into a smile. Taeko who had caught on to Shoun’s intention somewhere along the way, tells a stunned Yasu that it was all an act to lure him into saying what he truly felt. Yumi and Akira are grateful that Yasu has given his blessings. Yasu grumbles that young people who are madly in love do not have to get their parents’ opinion. A short while later, Yukie returns to Yunagi with Kensuke. Yasu introduces himself to the boy. Kensuke breaks into a wide smile and allows himself to be hoisted up on Yasu’s knee.
The next day, Yasu goes to the temple with Akira, Yumi and Kensuke so that Yumi can pay her respects to Misako. As they wait for Yumi, Yasu asks Akira what he should do as a grandfather to Kensuke. Akira says he just needs to love Kensuke and leave the rest to them.
Before long, it is time for Akira, Yumi and Kensuke to go back to Tokyo. Akira tries to say something to Yasu before he gets on the train but there is no time. He only manages to tell his father to take care of himself while Yasu reminds him that he now has to support Yumi and Kensuke who have gone through many difficulties.
Some days later, Yasu happens to see Kuzuhara’s wife after he comes out of the office at Amagasaki Transportation. She is letting her grandchild play near a truck at the loading area because he likes big vehicles. However, the boy toddles unsteadily in the direction of an oncoming forklift without any warning. Sensing danger, Yasu rushes after the boy. The forklift comes to an abrupt halt and the crates loaded on it tip over. In the next moment, all that can be seen of Yasu are his legs and a lone shoe beside a pile of fallen crates … …
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