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chapter 11

In a cafe:

Fuyumi breaks the news to Endo that she is pregnant. Endo looks a bit disbelieving and repeats,"A child? Pregnant?" Fuyumi just nods her head and says, "Yes." Seeing that Endo doesn't seem too thrilled, Fuyumi says, "It's ok, don't worry about it. It probably wouldn't work out. I can always go to a friend's house, have the baby...no one will find out about it." Endo lifts his head and looks at her and asks what she means by no one will find out? Fuyumi looks surprised at his question and starts to explain but he says," I don't want you to do that. I may be only 23, just starting my career, and not earning very much, living in company lodgings....let's have a baby!" Fuyumi looks at him in shocked surprised and all she can say is "eh?" Endo says since it is already inside her, to which she says,"two months..." Endo then pops the question:"Let's get married!" Fuyumi looks happy but a little skeptical. "Do you mean it? Are you sure that you don't feel forced to do so?" Endo suddenly becomes serious and asks her,"Please agree to marry me." Fuyumi believes him and gives a gasp of relief and happiness. She starts to cry, saying,"I'm so happy. I'm not used to having such happiness.....I'm so happy! We can be together always." Endo agrees and says, "Together always. Even if we become uncles and aunties...grandpas and grandmas....we'll always be together." Fuyumi nods her head, trying not to cry. Endo just looks happy.

Kobayashi and a colleague are on their way back from an assignment. Kobayashi decides to get something to eat before returning to the office. His colleague goes on without him. Kobayashi goes into a fast-food joint and wonders what he should have, looking up at the menu board. When he goes to the counter and looks down to order, he realizes that the person behind the counter is Nazuna. He is surprised to see her, but she is a bit uncomfortable and just asks him what he would like to order.

Nazuna takes a small break from work and explains to Kobayashi that although she has been looking for a proper job it isn't all that easy to find, so she took a part time job in the meantime. Kobayashi asks," Is that true? I don't think so. Because, in the past you never cared about finding a job, and suddenly you are looking for a job..." When Nazuna asks him what he means by that, Kobayashi tells her that it is because Soichiro is in Tokyo, which is why she doesn't want to leave. Nazuna knows he has hit on the real reason and hurriedly says,"Excuse me, I have to get back to work." Kobayashi advises her to be more frank with her own feelings.

Back at the house:

Soichiro returns home to find a lively party going on. He finds everyone eating teppanyaki (well, kind of anyway...indoor barbecue?). Soichiro comments,"Oh, Natsuki is here too." Natsuki turns to him and asks what was wrong with her being there. Soichiro says he didn't mean anything and thought she would be around. He sits down to eat. He takes out a cigarette and is about to light it when Natsuki stops him and takes it out of his mouth, saying "cannot". Soichiro asks her why on earth not? Natsuki explains," Because Fuyumi.....in her tummy....." Just then, Endo sits up properly and announces to Soichiro that he has come this time to get married. Soichiro is a bit incredulous and just says, "Kekkon (Marriage)?" Fuyumi grabs Endo's arm and says, It's true! Natsuki comments that Fuyumi has won in life, or maybe Endo has lost (?) or given in to life. Endo protests that he hasn't given in to anything. He says,"I have such a sweet wife, and a cute baby...this new year, I shall go to the sensoji temple to make a wish." Soichiro is still a bit behind the conversation and blurts out,"A baby? Where?" Fuyumi gestures to her tummy, saying, "Here." Endo tells Soichiro to take a look at this cute photo and excitedly takes out a photo of an ultrasound to show Soichiro, pointing out where the heart and head of the baby was. Soichiro asks," Can someone get touched by this sort of thing normally?" Natsuki explains that they wouldn't know because it doesn't belong to them. Haruko says," Let's kanpai! Who would have thought someone among our threesome would get married. Never thought any of us could get married. Calls for a celebration!" Natsuki seconds that. They realize that Soichiro hasn't got a glass and send Endo to get one. Endo gets up to get a glass, with the others complaining that Endo is slow. Haruko says," To Fuyumi and Endo's marriage, and to a healthy baby for them..." Fuyumi adds in,"And to Natsuki's shifting to a new place." Natsuki is surprised and says,"My moving?" Fuyumi says,"Aren't you moving out tomorrow?" Natsuki and Soichiro look at each other, Soichiro rather surprised and a bit sad that Natsuki is really going. They make a toast and settle down to eat. Natsuki looks a bit uncomfortable, and Soichiro gives her a couple of glances.

Later that night, Natsuki goes upstairs and stands outside Soichiro's door but she doesn't just barge in like always.Soichiro hears her at the door and stands up. They both look at the door. Natsuki finally lifts her hand and knocks on the door, saying "it's natsuki". When Soichiro opens the door, she says," Because today is probably the last time so I thought I should come say something. Soichiro looks out his window and says, "good timing." He tells natsuki to come in and pulls her into his room and asks her to sit on the couch.

Soichiro: Natsuki.....you like the view of Tokyo Tower from here right?

Natsuki smiles and nods. Soichiro says wait a minute and goes to lift the blinds of the window, giving them a clearer view. Natsuki asks what he is doing.

Soichiro: I'll give it to you.

Natsuki: Eh?

Soichiro: Take it with you.

Natsuki: What? What are you talking about?

Soichiro: Like this right? (sticking out a hand to face Tokyo Tower)

Natsuki: Uhuh, it's the size of your hand...

Soichiro suddenly says "get ready" and closes his hand just as the lights of Tokyo Tower go off. It is as though he has caught it in his hand for Natsuki. Natsuki looks amazed. Soichiro whips out a small souvenir of Tokyo Tower and gives it to Natsuki, explaining," It's a souvenir I bought in Hokkaido of Tokyo Tower...I was just thinking that it's as long as my index finger (a couple of eps back they were talking about how small Tokyo Tower was, the length of their fingers only)..." He sees Natsuki just staring at the miniature Tokyo Tower and asks if she is dreaming. She says that she is really touched and just for a moment, he had actually fooled her into thinking he had caught Tokyo Tower. She turns to Soichiro and thanks him. Soichiro looks at her and then says," OH no..so embarrassing." He covers his face and turns his back to her saying," So embarrassing, almost thought I died. I must have used my entire life's supply of embarrassment...." Natsuki laughs at him. They sober up after a while and Natsuki again thanks him. Soichiro turns back to her and she says, "I will always treasure this. So-chan, take care of yourself." Soichiro tells her to take care too. She goes out of the room, leaving Soichiro to stare out the window, looking sad.

The next morning, Natsuki is loading all her things onto a moving truck, with Fuyumi and Haruko's help. When they are done, Natsuki looks up at Soichiro's window. Fuyumi and Haruko asks where he is and if he is still sleeping. Fuyumi makes to go call him, but Natsuki stops her, saying, "We already said our good-byes properly last night." Fuyumi asks if they had sex too, but gets hit on the head by Haruko who admonishes her not to say things like that. Fuyumi insists that she wants to go wake Soichiro but Natsuki grabs her arm and says that it is really ok and to stop it. She assures them that it is really ok and goes to get into the truck. Fuyumi asks her to come out for a drink sometime and Natsuki agrees. She goes off. The scene pans to the empty house and eventually to Soichiro's room. It is 11 am and he has finally woken up. He opens his door and shouts for someone but there is no one around. He stands there, lamenting that no one came to wake him.

At Natsuki's new house:

She is unpacking all her stuff. She opens a box and finds the miniature Tokyo Tower Soichiro gave her. She holds it and looks out the window. She finally puts it on the table and continues packing.

Soichiro and Kobayashi are having a meal. Kobayashi tells Soichiro about meeting Nazuna in a fast=food restaurant. Soichiro asks,"Nazuna is working in a fast-food restaurant?" Kobayashi tells him that she is and that she hasn't returned to Hokkaido.

Soichiro:why?

Kobayashi: She wants to learn to be a chef (?) and she can't forget you.

Soichiro: But she already said she has given up on me.

Kobayashi: She told you that, but her heart hasn't given up on you yet.

Soichiro: Is she well?

Kobayashi: Mmm...what about going to see her?

Soichiro: How can I just go and see her for no reason? We've already broken up.

Kobayashi: You are worried about her right?

Soichiro: Yes, I am.

Back at the house:

Fuyumi comes home holding the day's mail. She sees that there is an overseas letter for Natsuki. When Haruko gets home, they both wonder what to do with it. Fuyumi holds the letter up to the light and says, 'Oh look! It's transparent." They both try to read the contents of the letter. Just then, Soichiro comes home and Haruko quickly tells Fuyumi to hide the letter from Soichiro. Haruko asks Soichiro if he has eaten and he replies that he has. He goes up to his room and sits on his sofa. He picks up the toy that Natsuki left behind and twirls it around. HE starts thinking about the day he broke up with Nazuna.

Flashback:

At the train station on their way to Disneyland, Nazuna walked away from Soichiro, and said Bye bye.

Fuyumi goes to visit Natsuki at her new apartment. She says,"It's this apartment nice!" Natsuki isn't listening to her. She is reading the letter from Kuga. Fuyumi asks what Kuga said and Natsuki hands Fuyumi the letter. Fuyumi asks if it is ok that she read it. Natsuki nods her head. She doesn't look too happy. Fuyumi reads out: "I have failed once and it took me some time to garner up my courage again. Now I would like to start over with you again. This may even be a long overdue proposal. Waiting for your reply." Natsuki asks,"Why? Why now?" and sits deep in thought, twirling the Tokyo Tower miniature with her finger.

At a photo shoot:

Soichiro is on assignment, taking photos while a reporter interviews an author in her mid-forties or so, dressed in a kimono. The author tells the reporter that her new work is about how a wife falls in love. The reporter asks if it is about extra marital affairs, and the author says she can't disagree that it is about having an affair. She turns to Soichiro and asks him," You. Could you take pictures from this side instead?" Soichiro apologizes and moves to where she gestures to. She then says,"Don';t take pictures of me smiling. A serious look is much more attractive." The reporter tries to continue the interview, asking the author what the topic is about but the author is not paying attention. She is busy posing for the camera. The reporter tries again," Sensei, is the topic about wrinkles?" Soichiro looks up and gives a small laugh and the author once again turns her attention to the reporter saying, "Now I can't agree with that."

After the shoot, Soichiro is packing up. The reporter tells him she's leaving first. Just then their editor (?) Osawa comes to look for Soichiro. Soichiro thinks he is looking for the author, Mori sensei. Osawa tells Soichiro that he wasn't there to see her but instead to see Soichiro.

They sit down to talk and Osawa tells Soichiro that he is going to become editor of a new magazine and would Soichiro come to join him? Soichiro is stunned and replies,"Eh?" Osawa then says,"Haven't you always wanted to publish that photo spread of pictures from behind?" Soichiro gives a big smile and says, "Are you serious?"

He rushes home later to tell someone about his good news but finds no one home. He notices Natsuki's new address stuck on a paper by the phone. Just then the phone rings.

Haruko:Wow, that was fast. I thought it was one of those telephone club sex lines.

Soichiro: What? Oh it's Haruko.

Haruko: I have to do an assignment today so I will be back late. Don't lock the door.

Soichiro tells her he won't and hangs up the phone. He goes upstairs and it is all in darkness. He looks at the coffee table that he and Natsuki sat at and he remembers their conversation:

Natsuki: When you get your photobook published, on the first page....on the last page is also ok....write 'For Natsuki'.

Soichiro: I'd like to have it published...

Natsuki: No, no...it WILL definitely be published!

Soichiro comes back to the present and goes into his room. As he is taking off his jacket, he sees Tokyo Tower from his window...

Natsuki is eating a cup of instant noodles, the letter from Kuga on her bed behind her. She looks at it a while and then turns back to her noodles. Suddenly an ad for another vampire movie comes up on her TV screen.

Soichiro is watching the same advertisement. Reminded of Natsuki, he turns off the set and gets up to go back to his room. He sees Natsuki's address as he is about to go up the stairs and takes it up with him.

Natsuki is on her bed, re-reading Kuga's letter. She gives a small sigh and folds it back up. She turns her head and sees the miniature Tokyo Tower Soichiro gave her. She gets off the bed and goes to the phone. She picks up the handset and starts dialing, presumably Soichiro's number but she stops halfway and puts the phone back in its cradle.

Soichiro is lying on his bed, feeling frustrated. Natsuki's address lies next to his phone. He picks it up and reaches for the phone.

Natsuki is holding the Tokyo tower miniature in her hand, staring at it, when the phone rings. It is Soichiro.

Natsuki: Hello?

Soichiro: It's me.

Natsuki: mm.

Soichiro: Long time no see.

Natsuki: mm.

Soichiro: Are you well?

Natsuki: Kind of.

Soichiro: What?

Natsuki: I was just thinking about calling you.

Soichiro: Why?

Natsuki: Ah, no particular reason. what about you? Why the sudden phone call?

Soichiro:It's about the photobook, taking pictures of one's back...

Natsuki: oh, Delieiu?

Soichiro: It's going to get published. Although it is for a new magazine which isn't too established...

Natsuki:That's wonderful! Isn't that great?

Soichiro: Mm. I just wanted you to know.

Natsuki: Actually....I was thinking...

Soichiro: What?

Natsuki: Taking pictures of someone's back sort of gives the feeling that you are saying good-bye while watching people walk away...letting people see the "yasashii (sort of like kindness..)"look in your eyes. Parents would send their children off wouldn't they? A wife would send her husband off wouldn't she? Everyone sees each other's backs.

Soichiro: I didn't get to say good-bye.(give her a sending off)

Natsuki: hmm?

Soichiro: Natsuki's back. Normally you'd wake someone up you know...even if it was only moving house...

Natsuki: I thought it wouldn't be too good to wake you since you were sleeping...

Soichiro: It's ok.

Just then, the lights of Tokyo Tower go off.

Soichiro: Huh..Tokyo Tower has disappeared..

Natsuki: Mm..yes it has.

Soichiro: Huh?

Natsuki: I can see Tokyo Tower from here too, although it is a lot smaller than the view you see from your window. About the size of my little finger..

Soichiro: That's far..

Natsuki: From Tokyo Tower?...or from where you are?

Soichiro: From where I am...

Natsuki: Oh...it's Spitz's "Fake Fur"..

Soichiro: What's that?

Natsuki: The name of the album...

Soichiro: FM?

Natsuki turns up the volume of the radio: Do you know the title of this song?

Soichiro: Nope, I don't.

Natsuki: It's called 'Kaede'.

Soichiro: Ah...can you see it? The flickering light of Tokyo Tower?

Natsuki:Mm.

Soichiro: It's following the beat of the song..

Natsuki: Eh?

Soichiro: It's following the rhythm of Spitz's 'Kaede'.

Natsuki: So it is....Well, it's about time....

Soichiro: Ah...didn't you have something you wanted to say?

Natsuki:No, nothing really.

Soichiro: Really?

Natsuki: Mm...bye.

 

The next day, Soichiro goes looking for Nazuna. He stands outside the automatic doors and watches her serve a customer. She notices him and stands still in shock. They stare at each other as the automatic doors slide open and close. (I thought this part was kind of cute...) Later, they start talking.

Soichiro: So you aren't going back to Hokkaido?

Nazuna: Well, for a number of reasons...

Soichiro: What about your job?

Nazuna: Mm. I have tried looking for a job here but I can't find one.

Just then, Nazuna's colleague asks her to come over for a moment. Nazuna apologizes to Soichiro and explains that she is a bit busy. Soichiro asks her what time she gets off work today. Nazuna is taken by surprise. Soichiro explains that he is worried about a couple of things. Nazuna apologizes and says that she is working the late shift tonight and will end at 10 pm. Soichiro tells her,"Then I will come back then." Nazuna is sort of touched and just says,"Kaede-kun..." Her colleague calls her again and she goes off.

Back at the house:

Soichiro is pouring a cup of tea from the kettle. Fuyumi is looking at wedding dresses. She asks," Is a tiara really fashionable?" Haruko asks her what on earth is that, and Fuyumi explains that it is something you wear on your head like a hat. Haruko is skeptical and asks if that was fashionable in the past. She asks Fuyumi who's going to do her hair. Fuyumi tells Haruko and Soichiro that Natsuki told her she would do Fuyumi's hair for her, and that all the magazines she was looking at were bought by Natsuki. Soichiro comments," Who would have thought that that person would be worried about another's wedding.." (I might have got this bit wrong!) Fuyumi and Haruko look at each other. Haruko asks Fuyumi what Endo will be wearing. Fuyumi tells them that he will wear a tuxedo. Haruko and Soichiro laugh and say, "You can't be serious?" Soichiro teases Fuyumi and says,"It's going to be a pink tuxedo?" Fuyumi retorts,"White! White!" Soichiro laughs and repeats,"White?"

Just then, the doorbell rings. Soichiro gets up to answer it. It is Kuga. Soichiro is taken by surprise and can only say, "Kuga....." Kuga tells him,"long time no see." Soichiro invites him in.

Kuga: Natsuki has moved house? Really? Then what about the...the letter?

Soichiro: Letter?

Fuyumi: Oh, I've given it to her already.

Kuga: Oh really? Great. Did you say anything after reading it?

Fuyumi: Um...what to say? um..she read it thoroughly.

Kuga: Oh, that's good. She's moved eh.....do you know the address?

Haruko turns around to show him the address and realizes that it is missing. She comments, "I stuck it there..." Soichiro suddenly says,"Oh, it was me...just a minute."

Later, as Kuga is about to leave, he tells Soichiro: "It was because Kaede-kun told me, 'If I love a girl, why make her feel insecure?'" Soichiro tells him that that was what Kuga had told Soichiro before and he was just repeating it back to Kuga. Kuga then says,"I don't know if I will be able to make Natsuki happy, if she will have me that is. But I will work at making her happy." He goes off.

Soichiro asks Fuyumi and Haruko what Kuga's speech at the door was all about.

Fuyumi: Kuga proposed to Natsuki.

Soichiro: Proposed?

Fuyumi: in the letter...

Soichiro: what is that? He had no plans to marry her and left for New York...

Fuyumi: He had some problems with his ex-wife and needed time to settle everything, he said. He's an adult so he settled everything himself before proposing to Natsuki.

Soichiro: really? An adult?

He walks off. Fuyumi asks Haruko if things are looking bad. Haruko tells her that Soichiro would have found out sooner or later.

Kuga gives Natsuki a call from a public phone booth.

Natsuki: Hello?

Kuga: Nat-chan....

Natsuki: Kuga-san! Are you calling from New York?

Kuga: No, from Tokyo. I've come back.

Natsuki: eh?

Kuga: You've read the letter?

Natsuki: Yes...

Kuga: Are you free to meet now?

Natsuki: Um...it's a bit.....I'm sorry. It's not like that...today is a bit inconvenient....I'm sorry.

Kuga: Oh, it's ok then. Tomorrow? Let's meet up tomorrow.

Natsuki: Ok..

Kuga hangs up and comes out of the phone booth looking dejected and disappointed. He turns and looks at Tokyo Tower before walking off.

Back at the house:

Haruko is preparing dinner. Fuyumi tells her that she's hungry and Haruko asks Fuyumi to take out the small plates. Fuyumi calls Soichiro down to eat but he shouts back that he is sorry but he's going out. Fuyumi and Haruko wonder where he's going. Just as Soichiro is about to leave his room, the phone rings. It's Natsuki.

Soichiro: hello?

Natsuki: It's me...Natsuki.

Soichiro: What's up? (said informally, like, what do you want?)

Natsuki: What sort of reply is that? 'What do you want...'

Soichiro: Oh..what can I do for you? (the formal form of japanese language..hard to explain..)

Natsuki:So-chan.....Kuga has come back.

Soichiro:Mm.

Natsuki: What do you mean 'mm'?

Soichiro:I already know.

Natsuki: Oh.

Soichiro: He proposed right?

Natsuki:You know about that too?

Soichiro: Sort of.

Natsuki: we arranged to meet...tomorrow. Will we have a chance to meet again from now on?....only today....there's no other chance to meet but today!

The scene shifts between natsuki and Soichiro on the phone. Then, Soichiro gets on his bike and rides off. Nazuna comes out of the fast-food restaurant to wait for him. She looks at her watch and wonders where he is. The scene shifts between Soichiro, Natsuki and Nazuna...Soichiro riding his bike, but whether he will meet Nazuna or Natsuki is unclear.

Natsuki is sitting in her apartment when the doorbell rings. At the same time, Nazuna, who is waiting outside the restaurant which has long closed, sees someone in black walking towards her.

Natsuki opens the door to find Soichiro standing outside. They stare at each other for a long time. natsuki finally asks Soichiro to come in, but he says they should go for a walk instead.

Nazuna is surprised that instead of Soichiro, Kobayashi has come to pick her up. He explains that Soichiro was called away on an urgent matter and asked Kobayashi to come meet Nazuna. He apologizes to her but she says that there is no need for him to apologize. She tells him,"It's the same whether I talk to you or to Soichiro. I..keep saying I want to be a nutritionist and be independent, but in the end, I don't want to leave Tokyo because Kaede-kun is here. Now I finally understand."

Kuga is sitting in the hospital, looking troubled. The nurse comes and tells him she has brought the information he wanted. She tells him that his sudden return really gave her a shock.

Soichiro and Natsuki take Soichiro's bike to a nice look out spot facing Tokyo Tower and the bay.

Soichiro: The view would have been more beautiful if we had gotten here a little earlier.

Natsuki: Heh!? You bring girls here a lot then?

Soichiro: You called me out to say things like that? "We only have today"...

Natsuki: It's you.I wanted to meet.....not Kuga, but you!

Soichiro: Is that a profession of love?

Natsuki: No...I don't know.

Soichiro: You're afraid to meet Kuga, aren't you? You aren't really in love with me.

Natsuki: Is that it? I don't know, it might be...

Soichiro: Rather frank aren't you?

Natsuki: So-chan....are you in love with me?

Soichiro: What do you want me to say?

Natsuki: I want to hear what you really think.

Soichiro: Suki dayo! (I love you.)

They look at each other, and Tokyo Tower is between them....

End of Episode 11