Aired: December 20, 1998
Note: In brief, this episode is about Yoshimori and Kahori's discovery of each other. The sparks are apparent from the start. Of course, though, there's her husband Hiromu, who she doesn't seem to love too much. He and his father, Junichiro, are revealed to be sure paths in the way of Yoshimori's and Kahori's quickly blossoming affection for each other. This episode also shows Yoshimori and Shiori's growing friendship.
Yoshimori is at the station, hosing down the street. He recalls the scene in the rain, with Kahori standing there and her red umbrella flying away. We hear the "bird chime" once again. In the flashback, Kahori lets Shiori into the car, then glances back at Yoshimori.
Shiori arrives back from school, carrying a yellow ball. Shiori says "Tadaima, ekichou san," as she greets Yoshimori at the station. Yoshimori teaches her how to play dodgeball properly. After playing, the two sit down on a bench at the station. Yoshimori advises Shiori that since summer vacation is beginning, she should study a little bit each day. "Haai," Shiori replies. Yoshimori finds out that Shiori has a new father. Kahori arrives at the station to pick up her daughter. Shiori tells her that ekichou san taught her how to play dodgeball. The two adults bow to each other.
Tadashi arrives on the scene, and tells Yoshimori that the Watanuki's would be meeting with the Japan Transport Minister at the station the next day. An express train stop is in the works. The next day arrives, and some of the townspeople are there to greet the minister and his entourage in the rain. Late in arriving is Hiromu, and out of his car comes Kahori and Shiori. Yoshimori is surprised, as he watches Hiromu and company drive away. He looks down at the ground with a dejected look, then turns to walk back into the station. The opening credits roll.
Yoshimori is at the noodle shop with Shimizu. Miki arrives after making a delivery. Shimizu mentions how Hiromu's wife made her debut at the train station. Miki adds that Kahori came in the other day, and that she seems nice. Shimizu makes a joke, saying that a man must really be in love in order to marry a woman who already has a child. Yoshimori tells him to shut up and eat. Miki jokes that Hiromu always seemed like a cold and unapproachable person, but perhaps he is actually a passionate man. Yoshimori just looks away
Yoshimori is back at the station. Shiori arrives from school, with a dejected look on her face. She is holding a model of a house, broken in two, in her hands. She also has a wound on her knee. She tells Yoshimori that she fell. Yoshimori asks if her mom would pick her up today. Shiori answers that today her parents are on a date. As she begins to walk home, Yoshimori calls out to her, telling Shiori that he is finished working for the day. He invites her on a drive...on his bike.
After the ride, the two are walking along the road. Yoshimori reveals to Shiori that her dad was a classmate of his brother's. The two of them stop off on a grassy knoll. Shiori plays "Home on the Range" on her harmonica. Yoshimori then plays her harmonica, proving to be quite skillful. Shiori applauds him, exclaiming "jouzu!" She takes back the harmonica and tries to play once again.
The two stay in the grassy area well into the night, and they begin to look at stars together once again. Shiori teaches Yoshimori where to find the constellation Ophiuchus. She explains that a new star will be born around the constellation in about 100,000 years. "So we can't see it in our lifetimes," Yoshimori says. Shiori further explains that the light that we see now is light from long ago. So Yoshimori wonders aloud that some stars might be gone by now. Shiori answers, saying "Even though they died long ago, they still shine." This causes Yoshimori to recall his childhood days, playing baseball with his brother.
Later that night, Shiori and her mom lies in Shiori's bed. Shiori's telling her mom how she went on a drive that day with ekichou san. Kahori asks Shiori what his name is. Shiori spells his name out in the air, explaining it to mean "understand" and "forest." She goes on to say that even when ekichou san sees a falling star, he doesn't wish for anything. Mother and daughter both agree that he must be a happy person. Kahori remarks that she envies people like that. Yoshimori is back in his house, playing with a ball and his baseball glove.
Shiori is sitting on some steps outside of school. She has a band-aid on the side of her mouth. Three girls walk by, and one of them is pretty beaten up. She calls Shiori a creep. Shiori turns around and gives her a very dirty stare. Hiromu comes out to meet Shiori. He had to leave work to pick her up, after she had gotten into fight with the same three girls earlier. She had beaten them all up, and Hiromu wonders aloud whether or not he should scold or praise Shiori. He is worried about Shiori, but she says not to worry, because she has a friend. The two of them play dodgeball. Kahori arrives in her car, and she is very concerned.
Mother and daughter are back at home. Shiori complains that even though she is now the daughter of a Watanuki, her name remains Machimura. Kahori promises that they can change their names in six months. She then apologizes to Shiori, and the two hug.
It is evening, and Yoshimori is at the station, sending off another train. He sees Kahori across the way, strolling into the station in an obvious intoxicated manner. She is singing to herself. "When's the next train?" she yells across the tracks. Yoshimori replies that was the last one. Kahori goes on about how this town she now lives in closes up so early. She takes off her shoes and proceeds to head off on her way to drink some more. She begins walk to the far end of the station, intending to follow the train tracks. Yoshimori tells her that she shouldn't do that. A train bell is heard in the distance. Yoshimori races to the other side, and grabs her just as the train passes by. The two embrace for a bit longer than necessary. She falls to the ground.
Back in the station office, Kahori is asleep on the couch, while Yoshimori is sitting at his desk. Her shoe heels had broken earlier during her drunken stupor, and he is fixing them with tape. She wakes up, and he gives her a towel to wipe her dirty feet with. She apologizes for causing trouble, and she is especially embarassed, since she is married to a Watanuki. She asks Yoshimori to keep this incident a secret between the two of them. A little later, she thanks him for taking care of her daughter and making her happy. The two continue to converse. Kahori says that Shiori probably resents her, since she's dragged her around all this time. Yoshimori disagrees. Then Kahori relates to him what her daughter said of Yoshimori. "My daughter told me. She said you must be happy," Kahori states. Yoshimori replies, "Maybe having nothing to wish for isn't real happiness."
Their conversation continues, with Kahori sadly saying how she decided to marry Hiromu without fully discussing the matter with Shiori. Yoshimori says he thinks her husband is a good man, as the two cried together at his brother's funeral. This brings a smile to Kahori's face. She leans back and proclaims "This place is so relaxing." She reveals that even though she's worked for years, she still can't drink. Yoshimori hands Kahori her hastily repaired shoes. The two of them walk part of the way home. "You're looking after the daughter and the mother," Kahori contemplates. Before going on her own way, Kahori tells Yoshimori that she had fun talking with him. He tells her not to drink too much. As he's about to ride away on his bike, she tells him to be a good friend to Shiori. Yoshimori wonders how he should do this. "Be as you are...just like you...exactly like you are" answers Kahori. Yoshimori watches walk off.
Miki and Yoshimori are at his brother's grave. He opens up a can of Coke for "Taka-chan," as Miki calls him. On the road back, Miki is singing a childish song (from an anime called Alps no Heidi-chan, I think, and also from a drama called Osorubeshii! Otonashi Karen-chan). Yoshimori tells her not to sing like a child. Miki fires back at him, saying he's the only 30 year-old in town who's not married. The talk turns to Mrs. Watanuki. Miki asks him if Kahori is her type. Yoshimori says she's married. Miki says "What if she weren't married?" Yoshimori just splashes some water in her face and walks off. She chases him, and he chases her.
At the station, Tadashi is attending to a lady lying on a bench, who apparently feinted. An ambulance arrives, but there's nobody to ride along with her to the hospital. Yoshimori volunteers. After safely returning the lady to her house, he turns to leave. The lady and her husband keep saying "Thank you" to him.
Yoshimori takes a cigarette break near a stream. He hears a young girl scream "Tsumetai!" He spots Shiori, in a bathing suit, playing in the stream. She is there with her mom. She sees him and tells him to come down. Yoshimori is embarassed, and starts walking away. Kahori fails to catch a glimpse of him.
Back at home, Kahori is polishing her husband's shoes, and she admires her broken shoes, which Yoshimori had fixed. Yoshimori is at the station, contemplating. He then goes out on his bike and sees Kahori step out of her car to catch a smoke. She sees him, and he hides a popsicle that he had been eating. The two don't say anything to each other. Instead, they just bow.
Yoshimori meets with Hiromu at a restaurant that he invited him to. Hiromu wants to talk some more. They talk about old times with Yoshimori's brother. Then Hiromu mentions how he's heard that Yoshimori's been nice to Shiori. The two then talk about future plans for the train station. The talk soon turns back to Shiori. Hiromu proclaims that he's a much better father than Shiori's real dad. As Hiromu begins to drink more and more, he tells Yoshimori about his wife. Hiromu goes on about how in love he is with her, and says he'll introduce her to him one day. Before he realizes that he's been going on and on, he tells Yoshimori that if he ever runs into her ex one day, he'd kill him. Kahori appears, and Hiromu "introduces" the two of them. The two play it coolly, pretending to meet each other for the first time. But a secretive, serious look passes between them. The three of them leave the restaurant, with Kahori holding up her drunk husband. With Hiromu already in the car, the two say good night to each other.
Back in the house Yoshimori and his dad are talking. Yoshimori says he's discovered how beautiful the stars are in town. His father says he'll understand when he leaves. Yoshimori asks Tadashi how it felt when his son died and his wife left him. "Did you want to go after them and kill the man who stole your wife?" Yoshimori asks his dad. Tadashi just says it was a long time ago, and he's forgotten.
At their house, Kahori is serving Junichiro tea. He mysteriously describes his son as "poor," and as having debts. When Kahori asks who Hiromu owes, Junichiro replies "To me." Then, in a matter-of-fact tone, he says that he'll raise Shiori to be a fine daughter, since he can't have her grow up to be like her mother. Kahori looks sad.
It is nighttime, and Yoshimori is once again at the station, beginning to close down things. From his seat in the office, he hears the roaring of an engine. It's Kahori. She has stopped by to bring him some snacks. The snack is the same kind of popsicle that he had been eating the other night. The two of them are talking in the doorway. Kahori says "Somehow I just found myself here." She hangs out for a while at the office. "I relax when I come in here," Kahori says. Holding his hat, she asks Yoshimori why he got into the train business. Yoshimori talks about his childhood, and how he and his brother signalled the first train off. "Your job is to see travelers off and welcome them back," Kahori says. "Even though I've never been anywhere myself," Yoshimori finishes. "All I've done is travel," Kahori counters.
The two continue to talk. Yoshimori describes all the nice things about the town. He says he'll teach Shiori how to ski in the wintertime. "First I should learn how to ski from you," Kahori says. The talk turns to dreams. Yoshimori says that he has not quite a dream, but more of a wish. Kahori gets him to tell her it. "That Shiori and you will live happily in this town...Please find happiness in this town," Yoshimori answers. A reflective look suddenly comes across Kahori's face. "Does it have to be this town?...Take me away from this town..."
Kahori drives off into the night. Her words echo in Yoshimori's mind.