Episode #1 "Forbidden Love"

Aired: December 13, 1998

Note: As far as first episodes go, this one does a good job of grabbing the viewer's attention and holding onto it. All the main characters are introduced. Many basic things are made apparent right away. Both Shiori and Miki likes Yoshimori. Hiromu has a mean streak to him. Junichiro is even worse, and he has zero respect for Kahori. And right away, we know that perhaps an ill-fated love will develop between the single Yoshimori and the married Kahori.

The opening scene shows Yoshimori bicylcing through the pre-dawn countryside and town, on his way to work at Kiyosumi train station. Yoshimori walks around the station, sweeping up the garbage, bringing out the cage, which holds two white birds. and hosing down the sidewalk. It seems like it's just another slow day in Kiyosumi. But getting off the train, and eventually stepping into Yoshimori's life, are two important people.

Yoshimori stands at the station gate, collecting tickets. Then he announces the arrival of the train and helps people aboard. A young girl and youngish-looking woman, both wearing hats, step off the train. Yoshimori glances at them as they exit, then goes about his duty of sending the train off with some hand gestures. A bird sound plays, as some of the credits role.

The next scene takes place in the station office. Summer is approaching, and Yoshimori and his co-workers are pondering the impending influx of travelers. Yoshimori's father, Tadashi, is being teased about going to last year's summer fireworks show with a lady dressed in a kimono. Tadashi tells them all to go outside, because a train is arriving.

Shiori, arriving by train back from school, runs down some station stairs. She greets the caged birds, chirping "tadaima!" She passes the gate, manned by Yoshimori, and runs outside, waiting to be picked up by her mother, Kahori. But mom is late, so Shiori runs back into the station, sits on a bench, and begins to read a Lassie book aloud. Yoshimori glances at her, obviously intrigued. Shiori glances up, seemingly hoping that she would get his attention. But he looks away. Shiori looks out the window, and sees her mom's red coupe zooming down the road. "Kita!" she cries, then runs outside to her mom's car. Yoshimori, still standing by the ticket gate, strains to catch a glimpse of whoever it is that's picking the young girl up. Yoshimori's co-worker, Shimizu, remarks that he's seen the driver, a woman, racing around town.

Shiori and Kahori are on the road, driving back to their new home. Shiori is playing "Oh Susanna" on a harmonica. Shiori complains that she's hungry. Kahori answers that she forgot to go shopping. She promptly brakes hard, screeching her tires, and zooms off in another direction. Some roadside farmers look up.

After work, Yoshimori is back at the house with his dad. Miki comes over, bringing some food. She sees that Yoshimori is cooking some food, and she tells him that he's burning it. Tadashi invites her to stay for dinner. Yoshimori remarks that she's always staying over for dinner, but she replies that her being there gives his dinner a "spot of brightness." Yoshimori stops to ring bell and say a short prayer before a picture of what looks to be his brother, who died. The three of them sit down for dinner. Tadashi smiles slyly at Miki as he asks her how her "omiai," or arranged meeting, went. Miki looks embarassed. She says that she turned down the offer after looking at his picture. An argument ensues when Tadashi chides his son for not getting married yet. It ends with Yoshimori complaining that Miki is always acting like his mom.

It is now late at night. Yoshimori gives Miki a ride back to the noodle shop on his bike. He compliments her cooking, and rides off. Miki smiles as she tells him that she'll bring him lunch the next day. Yoshimori rides off.

It is the next morning. We see Yoshimori busy at work, while in the background, the voice of Shiori is heard reading aloud the story "Aoi Tori." Once again, she is trying to attract the attention of Yoshimori. She looks up, and sees that he is looking at her. They exchange morning greetings. Yoshimori picks up Miki's bookmark, which had fallen to the floor. He gives it back to her, and she takes it back in a meekly manner. Yoshimori finds out that Shiori doesn't like books with bad endings in them. He also finds out that she's in 3rd grade at Seitoku Academy in Matsumoto, and that she had just changed schools this past semester. She calls him "ekichou san," even though he is not the station master. She asks him what kind of stories he likes. He tells her that he liked adventure stories. He also reveals to Shiori that his mother had left him and his dad. Shiori admits that her dad also left her and her mom. Shiori's train arrives, and she cllimbs aboard. As the train leaves, she waves bye to "ekichou san."

It is now lunchtime, and Miki arrives with various lunches for everyone at the station. She decides to spend her lunchtime at the station. Yoshomori doesn't look too happy about that. Miki looks at Yoshimori's shirt and complains that he doesn't iron his clothes. He fires back by commenting on the hole in her socks. Shimizu proudly displays a picture of his sister's new baby. Miki is excited to see it, but Yoshimori is less impressed. Miki gets angry at Yoshimori, calling him "spineless." Later, as Miki walks along the road back to the noodle shop, examining the hole in her sock, the lady in the red coupe races by her. The lady, of course, is Shiori's mom. She stops off on the road for a smoke.

Tadashi visits Yoshimori while he's watering some plants in the train station garden. He tells Yoshimori that he discussed a possible marriage with Miki's father, between Yoshimori and Miki. Yoshimori explains that the two of them could never become lovers, since they've known each other for so long. Tadashi tells Yoshimori that he has no idea how to judge women. The two walk off, and Yoshijmori once again spots the lady in the red coupe, dropping of Shiori.

At the noodle shop, Miki is busy at work. Kahori drops by for the first time. Miki looks surprised, and tells her to have a seat. Miki realizes that this is the mysteriouswoman who has been driving around in the red coupe. The two get to talking, and Miki finds out that Kahori has a child. Miki serves Kahori some stewed livers for free.

In the next scene, we meet Kahori's husband, Hiromu Watanuki. He smoking while riding in his car, complete with chaffeur. Because of a washed out road, he is forced to take a train to where he needs to go. He arrives at Kiyosumi station, and just barely misses the train he was supposed to catch. He is surprised that he must wait 30 minutes for the next one. He is smoking. He encounters Yoshimori, who is on his cleaning rounds. Smoking is not permitted on the platform, and Yoshimori reminds him. Hiromu heads off to smoke. Shimizu informs him that the man is Mr. Watanuki, who is rumored to be running for mayor of the town. Yoshimori realizes that Hiromu was a high-school classmate of his brother's.

A little later, Yoshimori is back inside the station office, and Hiromu comes in, still waiting for the train. Yoshimori doesn't seem too happy about this. After Yoshimori's co-worker calls him "Shibata," Hiromu realizes that Yoshimori is the younger brother of his former classmate, Takafumi Shibata. Hiromu recollects that Takafumi helped him alot back in the old days. He adds that he was very sad when Takafumi died. Before leaving on his train, Hiromu tell Yoshimori about his plans to build a spa resort in town. He also asks Yoshimori to give him advice if he needed it.

Back at their house, Kahori and Shiori are preparing dinner. Junichiro Watanuki enters. Kahori attempts to act very nicely to him, but he just ignores her. He asks Shiori what she thinks of her new school. She replies that the library is nice and large. Junichiro brags that his company built it, and there's a book there that he wrote. Hiromu comes home. He gives Shiori a present--it's a piano book. Kahori pours everyone beer, and Junichiro sarcastically remarks how good she is at pouring beer. After dinner, Hiromu tells Kahori not to worry about what Junichiro says.

Back at the station, Yoshimori gets off work, and heads on home. On the way, he stops off in a wooded area to smoke. Sitting under a lone tree, he takes a leaf and blows. The whistle sound briefly reminds him of his childhood. He hears someone coming up to the tree. It's Shiori. "ekichou san da!" she cries out. She's out there to look at the stars. She's happy, because back in Tokyo, she couldn't see any stars at night. She begins to draw some stars in an artbook of hers. Shiori spots a shooting star, and asks what Yoshimori just wished for. He didn't wish for anything, nor does he have anything to wish for. Shiori remarks that he must be a happy person, since he doesn't want anything. Shiori wishes that her mom would be happy. Yoshimori relates to her the story of "Aoi Tori," and the Land of Tommorow. Basically, he tells her that each person brings something into the world with them when they are born. Shiori wonders aloud what she brought with her. After walking part of the way back home with Yoshimori, Shiori bids him goodnight, and introduces herself. Yoshimori introduces himself, and explains his name. Yoshi means "understand" and mori means "forest." Shiori thinks it's a neat name.

Kahori visits Shiori in her bedroom late at night. Shiori relates to her the story that Yoshimori had told her earlier in the evening. Kahori notices that Shiori's star drawing has the inscription "Map drawn with station master."

At a construction site, Junichiro asks Hiromu if they'll be hearing from Kahori's ex-husband any more. Hiromu tells him not to worry. Meanwhile, Kahori is back at the house, having a hard time making a birthday cake for Junichiro. Flashback to the construction site, Junichiro tells his son that he thinks Kahori is just a gold digger who thinks she's got it made now. Hiromu becomes angry, but doesn't say really anything to go against his dad. Instead, he throws some metal at a piece of glass, shattering it. Back at the house, Kahori sits on the floor of the kitchen, a blank look on her face. Sugar is pouring freely onto the ground. It begins to rain.

Shiori waits at the train station for her mom to pick her up. It is raining hard. Yoshimori and Shiori get to talking. She tells him that when she was born, she brought loneliness with her. Yoshimori disagrees. Finally, Kahori arrives in her red coupe. Kahori gets out of her car, holding a red umbrella against the wind and rain. It flies away. For a moment, she just stands there, getting drenched. She and Yoshimori stare at each other for a moment.