Part II: "To the South" Episode #8 "Re-encounter"

Aired: January 31, 1999

Note: The producers of the dorama waste no time with Yoshimori's time in jail. Everyone is older, especially Shiori. In this episode, Yoshimori heads back to Kiyosumi, and there he runs into Shiori, and more than once. It's a bit sad though, without Kahori around.

Synopsis The episode begins dramatically, with an almost completely black background, save for an open door. A silhouette of Yoshimori walks through the door. This represents his freedom from jail. It has been a number of years, his hair a bit shorter he looks a little bit older. He heads for Kiyosumi, but he passes the station. As he passes the station, a teenage girl dressed in black waits at the station. Tied to her backpack is a harmonica. Yoshimori is actually on the way to his dad's and brother's gravesite, which is outside of Kiyosumi. There he meets Miki. She had guessed correctly that he would go there. He thanks her for looking after the grave all this time. She heard from his parole officer that he'd move to Shimonoseki after getting out of jail. Yoshimori is also in town to sell his father's house. Miki tells him that she's now the president of Akimoto Foods, which I guess the noodle shop is part of. While walking back to town, Yoshimori passes some flyers advertising Hiromu for mayor of Kiyosumi. Hiromu is shown briefly in his office, preparing for the upcoming elections.

Back at the old house, Yoshimori burns some of his old belongings. He hears a harmonica playing in the distance. A teenaged girl is playing it, and when she looks at the house where Yoshimori once lived, she runs away. When Yoshimori walks outside his house, he sees no one. The opening credits begin. It's important to note that the opening credits now feature Shiori at 15 years of age.

Shimizu, who is Yoshimori's old co-worker at the train station, joins Yoshimori for dinner. He brings along his wife and child. Miki is also there. She tells him that Shiori is attending an elite boarding school in Tokyo.

The next morning, Yoshimori goes to the train station. He speaks to the "ekichou-san" and we learn that he has been in jail for only 6 of the 8 years he was sentenced for. Also, he is going to Shimonoseki because his parole officer owns a printing factory there, and will give Yoshimori a job there. Miki meets him and gives him some food, while some acquaintances say hello to him. Later, Yoshimori is at the house, meeting with some real-estate agents. He doesn't care about the low price offered for the house. He's more concerned with fixing his bike. He goes on a bike ride to the now well-known hill-top area with lone tree atop it. While smoking a cigarette under the tree, he once again hears the sound of a harmonica. It is the girl, and this time she reveals herself. It is Shiori, now 15 years old. Yoshimori stands up. The girl does not have a very nice look on her face. Images of the younger Shiori flash by. The first words uttered are from Yoshimori: "You've grown...Sorry I didn't write you back." The first words said by Shiori are "I wanted to see you soon." After all these years, she's still wondering about the incident in Hokkaido. She believes that it was a suicide pact that Yoshimori didn't follow through on. Her voice becomes very accusatory towards Yoshimori, as she walks closer to him. "Is six years long enough to wipe out the guilt of murder?" she practically screams at him. She continues her monologue, as Yoshimori doesn't say anything. "Did you want to see me? Do I remind you of momma?" she asks. As he begins to walk away, Shiori tells Yoshimori not to run away, but he keeps going. "Did you really kill mama?" she yells out. Yoshimori, back at his house, contemplates what Shiori had said. While he does this, Shiori remains on the hilltop, holding some of the ashes of her mother.

Shiori is back at her father's place, eating alone. Hiromu is happily surprised that she came back home. It turns out that she's on exam break right now. But the real reason she came back home was because it's the anniversary of Kahori's death. Hiromu had forgotten all about it. He apologizes, saying that they'll hold an official ceremony. He tells her to stay until then. Shiori tells him that she would have stayed anyways, because she has someone she needs to talk to. Hiromu figures that she must be talking about Yoshimori. He tells her "You do realize that he's the guy who killed your mother?" Shiori replies that she wants to hear from Yoshimori himself how and why he killed Kahori. That night, Hiromu decides to visit Yoshimori at his house. Yoshimori tells him that it was just a coincidence that he ran into Shiori. Hiromu tells him not to see Shiori again.

Hiromu gives a speech to the townspeople of Kiyosumi, urging them to re-elect him as mayor. He announces to the crowd that after the unfortunate incident involving his wife, his daughter helped him get through it all. He parades through town in a minivan, speaking through some loudspeakers. Shiori, standing on a bridge, hears him and puts her hands over her ears.

Later that day, Hiromu and his cronies have lunch at Miki's noodle shop. He decides to have a private talk with her. Miki tells him to forgive Yoshimori, as he spent six years in prison paying for his crimes. She also says that she thinks Hiromu is afraid of Yoshimori. An incredulous Hiromu says "Me? Why should I be afraid of him?"

Yoshimori is taking a cigarette break in the midst of packing. Shiori appears at his door with some groceries. She wants to cook for him, but Yoshimori isn't too hot on that idea. He tells her that she can't be there. She wants to know if her mother had really committed suicide. "I'd rather you had killed her. Then I could hate you," she tells Yoshimori. She continues her attempts at gaining information from him, but Yoshimori tells her to go home. He pays her for the groceries. Miki appears with some food and is surprised as Shiori abruptly leaves. Later, Yoshimori admits to Miki that perhaps the real reason why he came back to Kiyosumi was to see Shiori. Miki tells him not to see Shiori again. As she leaves his house later that evening, it is quite clear that she is sad Yoshimori is leaving, and very much still in love with him.

Yoshimori visits Kahori's gravesite the next day. Shiori, of course, meets him there. Kahori is not buried along with the other Watanuki's. Instead, she has a small plot off to the side. Yoshimori lights a cigarette and buries it into the ground by Kahori's tombstone. Shiori shows him her small vial containing some of Kahori's remains.

Hiromu arrives home to find that Shiori is not yet home. He calls Miki to see if she knows where she could be. The two former runaways are still at the gravesite well into the night. Shiori looks at Yoshimori and asks him seriously "Have you gotten shorter?" She tells him that school is easy, that's she's always alone, and that she makes the other students sick. Yoshimori spots a shooting star, and asks Shiori if she saw something. She says no. He then repeats Shiori's line from years ago: "If you have nothing to wish for, then you must be happy." She tells him that she was wrong. "If you have nothing to wish for, it means you're dead," she says. She then proceeds to tell Yoshimori how she spent the last six years of her life. Each day she would color the day on her calendar according to how she felt. Good days were colored red, okay days yellow, and sad days blue. In the first year after Kahori's death, the days were blue. Then they started to be yellow. But by the fifth year, most days were once again blue. Once again, she asks Yoshimori about Kahori's death. "Do you regret not dying with mama?" she asks. "No," he answers. "Then what's the use of living?" Shiori says. "Even with nothing good to live for, even when you're lonely, you still have to live," Yoshimori replies. Shiori starts to lose it. "What for? What's there to live for? Why did you come back here?" she cries out. "To see see how you were doing. To see if you were unhappy," Yoshimori says. "But now that I see you I realize I can do nothing for you. I can do nothing to rescue you. I can't even stay by your side," he says. His words sadden Shiori, and she refuses to leave the gravesite.

So Yoshimori walks home by himself. Waiting outside his house is Miki. Once inside, Miki once again expresses her love for Yoshimori in her usual roundabout way. She tells him how hard it's been waiting for him for six years. She wants to know why he's leaving for Shimonoseki all by himself. "I'm tired of seeing you off," she says. She rests her head on his back. It begins to rain outside.