Episode #3 "Night of Flames"
Aired: December 27, 1998
Note: In brief, this episode is about how passion and desire quickly blossoms between Yoshimori and Kahori. I notice how it seems like every time the two of them meet, they are alone. But people are becoming suspicious. Also Hiromu begins to become jealous of how well Yoshimori gets along with Shiori.
Yoshimori is at the station, announcing the arrival of a train. On the other side of the tracks is Kahori. She is looking at the birds in the cage. A train whizzes by just as she turns to look at Yoshimori. There is a flashback to the night before (the end of the last episode, when Kahori tells Yoshimori to take her away from this town). When the train is gone from the station, so too seems Kahori. But she comes walking down the stairs to the platform on which Yoshimori stands.
Kahori apologizes for disclosing her feelings the night before. Then she tells Yoshimori that it would be so nice to have a man like him. As Kahori boards a train to go shopping, she tells Yoshimori that she would try her best to make his wish (that she and Shiori would find happiness in Kiyosumi) come true. She salutes him as the train rolls off. Yoshimori has a pensive look on his face. The beginning credits roll.
It is early evening, and Yoshimori and his dad are dressed up and waiting outside the Watanuki house. Kahori comes to greet them and invite them in. From her window, Shiori yells out "ekichou san!" Both Yoshimori and Tadashi reply "Hai!" The two of them had been invited over for dinner, because the Watanuki's would like to get to know more about the train station. At the dinner table, Shiori refuses to eat her vegetables. Yoshimori eats them for her, and says that it tastes like a garden. "Like the sun and the rain which fell on the ground," he adds. It's a saying he learned from his mom.
The elder Watanuki arrives, and after dinner, the four men talk about the future plans for the town. Junichiro reveals that he wants his son to get into politics. Kahori is placing drinks on the coffee table when suddenly Hiromu asks for her opinion on how he could make the city attract more tourism. But before she can answer, Junichiro shoots her down, telling her go and tend to Shiori. Kahori very politely obeys. "Don't ask opinions of your wife," Junichiro scolds Hiromu. Yoshimori is bothered by what transpired. Kahori accidentally drops and breaks some dishes.
Kahori is driving Yoshimori and his dad home. Tadashi is surprised at how well Kahori knows the way to their house. Kahori says that she often sees Yoshimori riding home on his bike. Tadashi mentions how Shiori seems to have taken a liking to Yoshimori. Kahori thanks Yoshimori for helping Shiori to eat her vegetables. The talk turns to working at the station. Kahori finds out that the next night shift Yoshimori works is on Friday. Kahori glances secretively into her rear-view mirror, looking at him. Kahori drops the two off at their house. Before father and son step inside, Tadashi asks Yoshimori if he talks to Kahori alot. "Just a word or two when she comes to pick up Shiori," Yoshimori replies. Tadashi remarks that Kahori has a hard life in store for her, with Junichiro around.
At the station the next morning, Yoshimori is sweeping one side of the stairs. He looks through the windows and sees Kahori climbing the other side of the stairs. The two meet in the walkway overhanging the train tracks. Kahori begins to examine a train map, looking for which lines lead to the Japan Sea. Yoshimori shows off his considerable knowledge of the various train lines. At one point, he shows Kahori the route he would travel by taking her hands and moving them along the train route. "Sugoi," Kahori exclaims. "If I were with you, I'd never get lost...wouldn't that be a nice trip?" she continues. Yoshimori tells her that Hiromu should take her. Kahori looks a bit sad. Kahori tells Yoshimori that Shiori is looking forward to the summer festival the next day, to be held at the shrine. "She'd be thrilled if you were there," she adds. But Yoshimori has to work.
It is the night of the festival. Kahori and Shiori, clad in yukata, are trying to catch goldfish. Kahori keeps looking around in vain for Yoshimori. At the station, Yoshimori is sitting at his desk. His relief man shows up early. He takes over the shift, and hands prizes to Yoshimori, telling him to deliver it to the youth league at the shrine. Yoshimori heads off. He sees Kahori in the distance, and then Miki and his Shimizu runs into him, and then Shiori spots him. Kahori sees him, and beams with happiness. Shiori is introduced to Miki, and the two of them and Shimizu go off to watch "Okagura," or sacred shrine dances. Yoshimori and Kahori begin to slowly walk down the aisle, surrounded by colorful tents, with children running around and people milling about. In one of the stalls is Tadashi. He happens to see his son and Kahori walking.
Yoshimori and Kahori arrive at the shrine dance, and stand at the back. The sound of drums and a flute is heard, while a big bonfire burns brightly in back of them. It is crowded, and some onlookers slightly push Yoshimori into Kahori. Their hands touch, but they do not pull apart from each other. The camera focuses in on their hands, backlit by the bonfire. Slowly, Kahori glides her hand into Yoshimori's. He looks a bit uncomfortable, and he takes a gulp of air. Kahori stares straight ahead, with a determined look on her face. She manages to wrap her pinky finger around his. Then the two of them begin to lightly hold each other's hands.
Kahori is in her bedroom, combing her hair. Hiromu arrives home, and notices that Kahori went to the festival. Hiromu remarks that she doesn't seem very lonely lately, even though he's hardly ever home. Hiromu starts to kiss her, but she tells him not to. Then he grabs her and pushes her onto the bed, but Kahori tells him "not tonight." Hiromu begins to complain about how he seems to be just a puppet to his dad. He begins to get passionate with Kahori, but she is clearly not feeling the same way.
Back at home, Tadashi tells Yoshimori that he saw him and Kahori together at the festival. Yoshimori hastily explains that it was a coincidence, and that Miki showed her around. Tadashi gives a somewhat disbelieving look at his son. "It's a small town. People talk...be careful," Tadashi tells him. Yoshimori goes off to the kitchen to grab a drink.
Miki arrives at the restaurant after a delivery. Kahori is there. The two of them eat lunch together and discuss how fun the festival was. They also talk about Yoshimori and his brother. Miki reveals that Taka-chan was swept away and drowned during a sudden rain storm. She goes on to say that Yoshimori took over Takafumi's dream of working at a train station. Impressed with her knowledge of Yoshimori, Kahori concludes that Miki likes him. Miki is embarassed, and deflects what Kahori had just said by saying she's more like a mother to him.
Yoshimori is burning some trash at the station when he recollects what happened the night before. Shiori's call of "ekichou san" snaps him out of his revelry, but he is happy to see her. Meanwhile, Hiromu arrives at the station in his car. He is dropping off some important officials. He is about to get back into his car, when he hears a harmonica. He walks across the road and spots his daughter and Yoshimori sitting on a bench, playing the harmonica. He watches as Yoshimori takes the harmonica from her and plays. Hiromu doesn't look too happy.
Later on, the two of them are still sitting on the bench. Shiori asks if Yoshimori likes her mom. Shiori stands up, back facing him, and announces that there's a love triangle between him, Kahori, and her. Yoshimori leans forward and explains that Kahori wanted him to be a friend to her daughter. "Just friends..." Shiori dejectedly sighs. She sits down and continues to play the harmonica. Back at home that night, Shiori is studying. Her dad comes into her room and asks her to play the harmonica. He takes it from her and tries to play it himself. After he finishes, he gives it back to her and walks off. Kahori looks into Shiori's room and sees her wiping off her harmonica.
The next morning, Hiromu drops Shiori off at the station. She tells Yoshimori that she's going to a three-day summer camp. The two men watch her walk off. Hiromu tells Yoshimori he wonders what the difference is between the two of them. "I think so hard about how to be close to Shiori...teach me how," Hiromu says to Yoshimori. Before he leaves, Hiromu mentions how difficult it is to play the harmonica.
It is Friday night, and Yoshimori is in the station office. Kahori shows up unexpectedly. The two begin to talk. Kahori tell Yoshimori that she spoke with Miki at the restaurant, and she concluded that he and Miki would make a good couple. Yoshimori says that it wouldn't work, since they know each other too well. The two continue to talk. Kahori looks outside the window as she wonders what she is doing here in this town. Yoshimori reminds her that the important thing is that she be with Shiori. And he adds that besides, her husband loves her. Kahori agrees that Hiromu takes care of her, but that she sometimes feels like she can't breathe. She asks if she can sometimes visit Yoshimori at the station.
Suddenly, the screeching of tires is heard and headlights flash through the window. It is Hiromu, and he is wondering where Kahori went off to. Kahori quickly hides, while Yoshimori covers for her. Hiromu is seething mad. He is also suspicious, so he looks around the office. Yoshimori says that maybe she went shopping, but Hiromu says that maybe she's with another man. Hiromu sits down to smoke, and he reveals that he paid off Kahori's ex-husband's debts in order to get rid of him. "Do you know how much money she cost me?" he rhetorically asks Yoshimori. Kahori is able to hear everything. Yoshimori goes to another room to grab an ashtray, and he nods to Kahori, who is hiding nearby. He begins to heat when he explains to Hiromu that he should trust in Kahori, since she trusted him enough to follow him to this town. "If you don't trust her, then she has nobody," Yoshimori says. Tears begin to form in Kahori's eyes.
Hiromu starts to laugh, and he seemingly becomes less worried as he tells himself that he's upset just because his wife's not home. As he gets up and walks out, he stops by one doorway. He pauses, then suddenly turns and quickly slides open the door. He then leaves, but not before telling Yoshimori that he'd never let another man have his wife, even if she's just an expensive toy.
Yoshimori walks Kahori home. Miki is on her motorbike, and she spots them. They end up in the grassy knoll, now revealed as Otomegahara. The two sit, and then lie down in the grass and look up at the stars. Kahori asks Yoshimori if he likes her. She says that it's okay if he doesn't answer. She admits that she loves him. "This may be the first time I've fallen quietly in love," Kahori says. Her voice is breaking somewhat. "I'm so glad I came to this town...I'm so glad I met you," she sobs. A tear begins to fall from her eyes. Yoshimori lifts his head, wipes her tear, and says "May I answer?" Kahori turns to him, eyes full of tears. "Suki desu," Yoshimori says, then kisses her. Miki sees this, and turns and walks away in shock.