Umi ga Kikoeru
Warning! - This is a story synopsis of Ocean Waves and contains plot elements that may spoil first-time viewers.
The movie begins at the Kichijoji train station in Tokyo. A young man stands with a backpack hunched over his shoulder leans against a sign while waiting for his train. On the opposite platform across from him, he notices a girl making her way to the waiting line. Something about her makes him take notice, and he moves to his left in order to get a better view. A sudden gust of wind picks up her hair and she turns her head to smooth the wayward strands. But then the train zooms by obscuring both him and us of a clear of her face as she's about to turn toward the camera.
Some credits pass the screen. We hear the air releasing from the train and the sound of the doors closing.
In a daze, the young man continues to look at the train before him and as it leaves the girl has presumably already left with it. He stands dumbfounded.
The title appears, "I Can Hear the Sea" (Ocean Waves)
We next see the young man in his apartment making final preparations for his trip back home. The room is unexceptional and spatially economic. It's only unique point being a Four Roses (apparently a beverage of sorts) poster on a wall and a shelf full of books behind his desk. He reaches for his tickets hanging on a letter holder on his bookshelf as he's about to leave. A picture suddenly drops from this bag. The camera spies the picture and it is a young attractive, girl in an orange one piece bathing suit. The young man picks up the picture, observes it for a moment and then leaves. The camera then rests on the picture for a few seconds.
The young man is going to Tokyo international airport. He boards the 2:00 p.m. flight to Kochi Prefecture. As the plane engine rumbles into its ascent, he begins his narration. "The first Matsuno and I met Rikako was on a scorching summer like this. Two years ago when we were second year high school students..."
A small framed image of Kochi castle, a traditional Japanese castle with pointy, brown, cusp like, arched roofs appear on screen. The background is brimming with the ambient wail of cicadas and we get the impression of a white hot summer. It then cuts to a scene in the back of a restaurant. We see our narrator washing a pile of dishes in the restaurant. The young man, we find is named Taku. As more and more dishes pile on, his best friend Matsuno calls him up in the middle of work. Matsuno asks Taku to meet him after school, as Matsuno's just about finished with his afternoon seminar. Taku explains he has an 'emergency' and apologizes for leaving early, to the disappointment of his employers. We see his bike ride to the school, through buses, trams, traffic and pedestrians, to his school, distinguished by a clock capped at the highest point on the building.
As he hurries down the hall, the camera cuts to Matsuno leaning out a window, in tie and shirt. Taku enters the door from behind and Matsuno turns around to greet him. He wears glasses and has a scholarly attitude about him. Matsuno is surprised Taku has arrived so early and asks him to look out for a second.
Taku proceeds to the window and sees a girl sitting before a teacher. However, Taku is unable to get a clear view from his angle. Matsuno explains, the girl is a transfer student from Tokyo, her name is Rikako Muto. Matsuno has been asked to show her around. Taku casually inquires whether if it is simply because Matsuno is the class president. Though Matsuno seems excited, Taku seems indifferent to the situation all in all until Matsuno reveals that the girl is quite attractive.
Taku now tries harder to get a better look at the girl, but is all the more disappointed to find she has turned completely in the opposite direction in order to talk to her teacher. Taku feels it improper to simply barge into a teacher's office and declines Matsuno's suggestion that they pretend to have a question in order to get a better look at Muto. It seems that Taku in having found a job in the summer doesn't attend any of the summer classes, apparently to some of the teacher's discontent.
Matsuno asks this response is because Taku's still upset over the cancellation of the junior high middle school trip. Taku responds that he doesn't like the way the teachers are trying to make up for that incident by having a better trip for their high school trip, namely to Hawaii. Matsuno notes that if it is manipulation on the teacher's part, they are doing a very good job as many of the student body are quite excited about the trip.
Taku needing the money for such a trip has taken his job to offset some of the costs. Matsuno notes that Taku's slipping behind some of the other student as a result. Taku says he'll simply study harder. Taku asks if perhaps there's something bigger on Matsuno's mind given his behavior right now. Matsuno says he only wanted to talk to Taku a bit.
As Taku goes toward his bike he remembers that he and Matsuno have been friends for six years from middle to high school. Despite never having a class together, Taku feels Matsuno was the person he could call his best friend.
[The camera then cuts to Taku with his earphones in the plane. The majority of the story is a series of flashbacks, leading up to Taku's return to Kochi]
They met in junior high school when it was announced the trip would be canceled due to the schools low test scores. The administration felt that it be proper for there to be only one trip between junior and high school.
As the teachers announce it over the intercom, complaints swell in the student body. The fact they scored the lowest in the nation, makes it difficulty for the school to address former alumni or parents. Only the hope that the high school students perform better, instills any comfort to the school. If they don't, 'The junior high students' sacrifice will be meaningless.'
Discontent, like a weed, spreads across virtually all the junior students as they hear this message. Taku and several others confront some of the teachers over this decision. Taku representing the group says that punishing the students doesn't change the score one bit and feels the whole thing has been inadequately explained.
One teacher, as he presses his cigarette into an ash tray, suddenly slams his palm on the desk and angrily responds that had one of them actually been in the top 100 students of the nation, they actually have a legitimate complaint. Taku, now visibly upset, retorts that he scored number 89 last year. The teacher becomes red with anger and feels the prick of laughter by one his colleagues behind him, at his embarrassment.
The teacher then shouts back, Taku is only talking like this because his teacher's a woman. (I'm confused by the desired implication of this statement. Is it that his teacher is not stern enough')
Taku storms out of the room. Though he didn't expect it, the school later addressed the issue at an assembly a week later. At a school assembly held before the student body, the principal high above in a podium, explains that even the PTA has approved of the school's decision, though some students still feel a need to such a big deal out of it. He asks whether any student still wishes to utter complaint on the situation.
In calling their bluff, most students are too hesitant to respond, even Taku is wavering. Suddenly, one of the students raises his hands. Taku immediately follows suit, though his eyes are closed shut as he does this. When he looks around to see who it is, the other boy is Matsuno, Yutaka. The other students commend their courage.
The principal, without betraying any hint of emotion, says that for those who raised their hands, an explanation will be offered in the art room after school. He leaves.
Taku is the first of the two, to reach the art room. On a blackboard, he reads that the meeting is postponed. For those who have come, simply write his name, class number, and reason for complaint on the cancellation. He picks up a sheet of paper and pencil and scribbles a response. His complaint, 'There's no reason to cancel the trip. It's only done to ease the teachers' and parents' feelings.' After he finishes, Matsuno soon comes in. Matsuno asks Taku to forgive Yamamura (the teacher') for not even being here to explain the situation.
Matsuno writes his own complaint. 'I don't understand the reason for the cancellation as it's a one sided issue. Ten or twenty years after I graduate from this school, I'll still think of this decision as unfair.'
Taku is surprised by the response that Matsuno has already looked at a time ten or twenty years later. The two then sit in the room, gazing at the sun's rays piercing gray clouds. Taku feels that since that time, Matsuno has developed into a person truly different from the others.
The film cuts back to that summer when Matsuno and Taku met Rikako. After Taku gets his bike, he goes to meet Matsuno at the front gate. Matsuno has already met Rikako and is talking to her when Taku gets there. Rikako Muto turns around and we clearly see her face for the first time. She seems friendly, and Matsuno formally introduces Taku to her.
The introduction is brief, Rikako smiles and says she has to go, but thanks Matsuno for his help. Taku teases that Matsuno has already gone after her. Matsuno defends himself, by saying that Rikako was simply asking for directions to a bookstore to buy her books.
The two head to a mall. Taku makes conversation by telling Matsuno how one of his coworkers used to be affiliated with the mob. Matsuno seems unaware of the conversation, but instead is wondering if Rikako has head any trouble since she's transferred. Taku now realizes the true intent of Matsuno calling him up. They kick each other around before they separate. Taku reveals that he was unreasonably upset when he found out Matsuno was attracted to Rikako. 'Women only look for a guy's looks,' he muses, 'they never care about what's really inside him.'
As the second semester starts, Rikako Muto quickly makes a name for herself, as an athlete, student, and all around pariah. The boys around the school ogle her from a distance, as she trounces her opponent in Tennis. The fact she's from Tokyo seems to add another layer of mystique to her personality. Even Taku joins in their comments, to Matsuno's disappointment. Matsuno comments that Rikako seems out of place. She has few friends and her icy personality, generates an air of arrogance around her. In class, she will only gaze forlornly out the window.
To Taku, Rikako's coldness seems to be a symptom of her unhappiness. At night, when Taku's at dinner, even his mother seems to have heard about Muto's excellence in school. When Taku asks how she knows about Rikako already, it seems that through the gossip chain, Muto's mother has had problems at home and left with her son and daughter. Taku wonders if Rikako's parents and divorced and whether or not her father still lives in Tokyo.
Taku thinks that if Rikako had not left Tokyo, then she could've gone to an exceptional high school. But now being a part of a divorced family, her chance for success is less certain. Taku feels parents never understand the children when they have a divorce proceeding. Taku's mother objects and the two have an argument about whose fault it is. In the end, Taku's mother asks that he be more considerate of Rikako and help her with the transition.
At night as Taku was in bed, Matsuno calls him up at night. Matsuno had went to see Rikako as she had been absent from class that day. Rikako had been living alone since she arrived, and Matsuno was worried that something might be wrong. In her house, Matsuno simply saw she was in bed. The conversation felt more awkward in the silence that followed.
As Taku went out for the night, he stared at the harbor and ocean outside, muttering, "So that's the kind of girl you like. Matsuno."
Two months later, March has arrived and the school finally gets around for the trip to Hawaii. In the hotel lobby, Taku with an upset stomach isn't able to go out to the sea. Taku warns us, 'This is the school trip that ruined my life.'
As Taku heads back to his room, he's caught by Muto. She asks him for some money. Shyly, she walks toward him, Taku's surprised at the suggestion, wondering if she's spent too much. Muto reveals that she has lost all of her money. Taku's taken back by the fact that someone like her could lose all of her money, liquid currency, rather than checks.
Taku starts telling her she ought to be more serious with her money, when Rikako begins to laugh. 'I'm sorry, you sound like an actor in an old fashioned movie,' she explains. As they sit down, Rikako says that she had brought roughly 400 dollars and didn't choose traveler's checks because they were too troublesome. Taku begins to lecture again, saying they were explicitly told to bring only 200 dollars at the most and 30,000 yen in traveler's checks.
Rikako seems irate about this and shouts back. 'What' You're talking like a teacher' Are you really that good of a student' You're much different from what I've heard about you. I'm disappointed.' She looks away from him and rests her head on the straw chair she's sitting on.
Taku comments on her arrogance and Tokyo accent. Rikako seems more apologetic. Taku continues by saying he doesn't sound like an old fashioned actor. Rikako at this point begins teasing him, 'Morisaki-kun you're kind of mean aren't you'... Do I really speak with a defiant attitude.' Rikako apologizes and says that she thought people who spoke with such an accent didn't exist anywhere that they only spoke like that in the movies for effect. But in Kochi, it seems everyone spoke like that and it's a thought she's kept to herself until now.
Taku suggests she continues the practice of keeping that opinion quiet. Rikako continues, saying she often has to ask the people what they're saying because the accent is so unfamiliar to her, so much so she feels they really hate her. None of he boys ever approach her except for Matsuno.
Taku says Matsuno was a good guy and asks if that's how she decided to ask him. She answers that it is, and reveals in her conversation that Matsuno has explained how they met, how much of a trouble maker Taku was, and other assorted histories of Taku's life. She says that she knew he worked all summer for the trip, and felt he had some extra money on hand.
Taku not wanting to drag the inevitable asks how much she needs. He decides 300 dollars would be enough. Rikako bows her head and asks if she can have 60,000 yen instead. She smiles politely. Taku being a poor schlep, goes in an elevator to get his money. Which he hid in pantyhose, stuffed in his pants.
Taku feels it would look awkward just handing her that money, and Rikako comments he's too serious a person, but if he wishes it she'll give him a handkerchief and he can fold the money in it and hand it back. This is what they do.
Taku feels like this is some kind of illegal business transaction. Rikako suddenly serious, tells Taku she'll give the money back, but not anytime soon. She also says not to tell anyone about this, as she doesn't want her 'mama' to hear about it. Taku seems surprised by that choice of words. Taku seems even more nonplussed. Matsuno comes up and Taku begins explaining himself the best he can.
Matsuno says when he asked Rikako for a date, he was surprised she said yes and used him to fill some of the conversation. Taku says he was surprised that Rikako asked him for a loan. Matsuno is surprised to hear this as well. He then suggests the two go to downtown for a walk. Taku agrees.
Later at night, during a party, on a barge over the water with fire lamps and music, Rikako searches out Taku. She angrily tells him that Matsuno has already offered to give her some of his money. Furthermore, she wishes that he never tells anyone else about this as he's getting her in a lot of trouble. 'You're a very talkative guy aren't you?' Rikako accuses and curtly leaves. Taku says to himself, 'What kind of girl is raised like that?'
The next day, the school returned home to Kochi. Taku bought some secret photos of Rikako from a friend as a way of holding it against Muto. But in the end, he never acted on his intentions. Third year started and the two were placed in the same class. Rikako found her one and only friend in high school, a quiet girl named Yumi Kohama.
Rikako never returned the money and eventually Taku felt she completely forgot it. Until one day out of the blue, Kohama calls Taku. She sounds very distressed, and says she's calling from the airport. Apparently, Rikako and her had planned to go to a concert so they wouldn't be able to go home. But at the air port she suddenly revealed that the two of them are going to Tokyo.
Kohama, said she was going to the bathroom and called Taku up for help. She doesn't want to go to Tokyo but at the same time she doesn't want to go home otherwise, Rikako's mother would find out the trip was never to the concert in the beginning.
Taku a little confused by the sudden turn of events and asks why is he being asked for help and not someone else. Kohama says that, Rikako told her that she once borrowed money from him and feels that they must be on good terms. Kohama ever more, near hysterics, begs Taku to come to the airport before she hangs up.
Taku runs out of his house and realizes why Rikako borrowed so much money from him. He takes a taxi and fumes along the trip about Rikako had deceived him. Kohama is eagerly waiting at the entrance for Taku, and is relieved when he finally arrives. Kohama says, Muto's in the bathroom because she's been feeling queasy and hopes she'll for more queasy so they can cancel the trip.
Taku says why couldn't Kohama, being Rikako's best friend, give a few lectures or two about the whole thing. Kohama says, it's simply that Rikako really wanted to see her dad in Tokyo that she couldn't really get herself to say something.
Rikako makes it back and is not happy. 'Why are you here!' she barks at Taku, 'Yumi did you call him?' Yumi fearfully says, they shouldn't be lying to their mothers, why couldn't Rikako just have told her mother about this. Rikako says, her mother would never have allowed it and that she's been planning this trip for some time.
As she forcefully holds back a tear, Taku offers a solution. Kohama is to go home and tell her mom that she felt sick and Rikako is going ahead because she doesn't want to waste the tickets but thinks Yumi shouldn't go on in her condition. Since Yumi's mother doesn't know Rikako's there's no way this story can be verified.
Yumi's joy to this proposal is matched by Rikako's disagreement with it. She merrily skips to the telephone to call her mother. Taku notes how well Yumi's been raised, in looking at the way her emotions have shuffled from fear into glee.
He finds Rikako glaring at him. She says this is the first day of her period and that because she has anemia she feels even worse, it's something men don't understand. Taku asks if she's still going to Tokyo. Rikako says she'll get the money from her father when she arrives.
Taku suggests if she would like him to accompany her to make the trip easier. Rikako suddenly perks up and says if he'll really do this. Taku stands there with his mouth open and dragged into the situation.
On the plane, Taku asks if her father even knows about this trip and whether or not he'll even be there to greet them. Rikako says she doesn't expect her father to be at Haneda airport but that she'll ask him for a place to stay for Taku. What she really wants out of this trip is hopefully move in with her father and stay in Tokyo.
As they walk out the airport, Taku feels that Rikako has once again conned him into something, yet at the same time he didn't like the idea of her just going to Tokyo alone. As they walk along the suburbs with trees branching out of the walls, Rikako fills Taku on the little details of their history.
As they reach the apartment of her father, Rikako says he's been alone a long time and Taku adds that he'll probably be very happy to see her. She presses on the video intercom and hears a woman answering it. Rikako asks if this is the Muto residence and is papa there.
Rikako's father picks up the phone and tells her to wait in the lobby. Rikako's mood suddenly becomes sour. Rikako's father comes down and says he's surprised by the sudden visit by his daughter. He asks if she came alone. Rikako introduces Taku as her boyfriend and says he came along with her since it's the Golden Week.
Rikako's father suggests tea, but Rikako cuts him by saying she'd much rather see her room. Taku is asked to wait in the lobby. As he waits a women in her mid thirties with glasses comes down the stairs and leaves. Taku rather bored in the lobby is eventually arranged a hotel by Rikako's father who also recompensed Taku's loan.
As he sits on the metro, Taku crosses his arms discontentedly. He muses that Rikako is truly an unfortunate person who has pity, from the bottom of his heart. Eventually, he finds the hotel and later at night, he calls up home. He rushes the question of where he is by saying he's in Tokyo and quickly hangs up when he hears a person pounding on his door, to his mother's chagrin.
When he opens it, it is Muto who barges in crying. She says she'll stay here tonight as her father did pay for the room. She weeps uncontrollably and presses herself against Taku. Taku not sure what to do in this situation, compares his situation to soap operas. He gently and slowly puts his hands on her shoulders.
Later as she's more settled, he asks if she'd like a beer. She shakes her head and says she wants an alcoholic beverage called Kokuhai. She drinks quickly and hands it back to Taku for another. Muto reveals that her father is leaving with a friend for the Holidays. Taku trying to lighten the tension says, 'Well it is the holidays.'
Muto ignores his remark and continues, addressing her anger without really talking about it directly. She finds her room completely remodeled and full of ugly wall paper. She hates green. Taku adds on pithily, 'yeah green is bad.'
Muto gulps another Kokuhai and continues on the failure of interior decoration with respect to her room. She pours herself more drinks while politely nods his head as he hears the tirade. Muto says that when her fighting, she'd always sided with her father as she thought her mother never knew what was going on and only separated her brother and herself from their friends.
Now when she needed it, it seems her father wasn't on her side. (Reference to the woman leaving the apartment'). Taku advises that when they go home tomorrow, Rikako ought to be more polite to her own mother. Especially since, she rented a place for herself out of protest.
Rikako corrects him by saying she rented a place out because she didn't think all three of them living together was a good idea. And now visibly red from Kokuhai, tells Morisaki to mind his own business.
Taku sighs and turns on the television. When he looks back, Rikako has already passed out. He lies on the pillow and gets her some blankets. For himself, he goes to the bathtub, and before he goes to sleep he says is also unfortunate.
Next morning, Rikako is banging against the bathroom door. She was upset with Taku that he didn't get up any earlier, as she needed to shower and use the sink, something she had to go to the first floor to do. Taku disheveled and looking beat like a whipping boy apologizes to Rikako with little actual conviction in his words.
Rikako tells Taku he has to excuse himself for 30 minutes in order for her to brush up to meet someone down in the lobby. Her father he asks? No, an old boyfriend.
Taku then takes a walk, and looking at the size of Tokyo wants to go to a university there. He feels that his mood is better because Rikako is trying to cheer herself up. When he gets back, Rikako has finished prettying herself, and is leaving. Taku thinking he can catch up on his sleep, is interrupted by Rikako on the telephone. She tells him to come down into the lobby. 'What's next?' Taku asks himself.
Downstairs, he finds Rikako talking with her old boyfriend. Taku sits between them and is subjected to their pointless chatter about how Okada two months after Rikako left had already started dating another girl. They banter about who is pretty and college entrance exams. Taku's patience is tapering away. It blows out when Okada makes a remark against Rikako's mother.
Taku leaves calling the whole situation absurd. In the bedroom, Taku says he once thought of Rikako as such a proud headstrong person, but in truth she's just an insecure girl. Muto soon comes back to the room and sits down. She laughs at the absurdity of the situation herself. The thought they once went out now seems risible. She says she once thought Okada was such an ideal person, but when really he was just a self-centered individual. He never asked whether or not Muto liked Kochi or what she felt but only talked about himself.
Muto says she'll stay at an Aunt's for the night, it's too weird to be staying in the same room as Morisaki. They'll meet at the airport counter tomorrow, 'It turned out to be a pretty horrible trip to Tokyo don't you think?' she concludes. Taku feels that in those few moments Rikako suddenly grew up.
Back at school, things returned to normal. Rikako only hanged around Yumi Kohama. While being shunned out by the other girls and she pushes them away as hard as they do her.S
ummer picks up and cicadas are once again crowding the air. Matsuno and Taku are on the school roof top talking about what they'll do after college entrance exams. Matsuno hadn't scored so well on the latest series of tests. Suddenly, Matsuno holds his feelings back to ask Taku a personal question. He asks if Taku really did go up to Tokyo with Rikako. Taku asks how he found out about that. Matsuno says it's a big rumor around here.
Taku says he hasn't heard about it, and Matsuno replies that's simply a courtesy that they don't want to make fun of him in public right now. Taku feels is irate over hearing this, he says that Muto only wanted to see her father. Matsuno says he already knew this.
Taku asks from who, is it Yumi' Matsuno says he heard it straight from Rikako herself, when he asked her about the rumor. When they ran into each other at the library, and were walking home. Over a bridge above sailboats resting in the harbor, Matsuno works up the courage to ask Rikako. Her tempers pick up and she shouts back, 'That story again. Yeah I sure did go to Tokyo with Morisaki-kun. And I stayed in a hotel room with him for the whole night. But what does that have to do with you!'
Matsuno, looks down and says quietly that it's because he likes her. Rikako is almost speechless by his response. She pauses for a beat and says hesitantly at first and then much more strongly that she always hated Kochi, and the accent, and the boys of Kochi. The idea of her being the girlfriend of someone from Kochi repulsed her completely. She walks away, leaving Matsuno with the wind knocked out of him.
Matsuno says that her response was kind of rough and Taku clenches his fist. Her comments to his best friend drive him into frenzy. He says that's why Matsuno hasn't scored so well on the recent exams. He runs down the stairs and barges into Rikako's class room. He demands she leaves with him.
The class stops talking and begin the gossip of the two. Rikako says that Taku shouldn't go see her in class given the awkwardness of their situation. Taku says that the only reason they stayed in the hotel was because she insisted. This decision has gotten him into big trouble. He thinks she's, 'THE WORST!'
Rikako slaps him for what he just said. The other students peering out of the doors gasp.
Taku, slaps Rikako even harder she did him. The students gasp's once more but with greater enthusiasm. Rikako says, Taku sure likes looking after his friends.
Taku says that the trip was terrible for the both of them.
Summer then settles, so that autumn may rise. Leaves yellow and wilt as the days draw out. The other students prepare themselves for the school festival, except Rikako who walks home by herself. Her grades go higher and higher and by the time the last festival of their high school lives comes by Rikako has generated considerable animosity by the other girls.
She refuses to join the dance troupe and practice. As Taku brings some of the festival equipment to the trash, he spots Rikako being confronted by a group of girls. The argument is heated and they all demand Rikako shape up. But for each attack, Rikako barks back with equal fury. The arguments reaches the climax when one of the girls accuses Rikako of flirting with the guys, including Yanagida-kun. Rikako yells back that who ever it is she tempted, she'll confront him and tell her she hates him. The girl who made this comment, has tears, (I guess she liked Yanagida) begins to strike Rikako.
She's held back, but the girls leave Rikako. One says, they don't have to cry over her and that they have misjudged her all along.
At this point Taku comes out of the corner and says that he's rather impressed with the way Rikako handled herself, that in the end it was her attacker who left crying. 'You're quite something else,' he sums up. Rikako slaps him hard across his left cheek. 'Idiot! You're the worst!' she shouts. Her anger are replaced with tears and she runs off crying.
Matsuno walks up behind Taku and asks him why he didn't help Rikako from the group of girls. When Taku explains what he felt about the whole thing that Rikako was able to fend for herself and have the other girl cry, Matsuno rolls back and punches Taku hard on his right cheek, knocking him down into the trash. 'Idiot,' he says contemptuously and walks off. Taku, says, that he had hoped the next day things would be normal and Matsuno and he would talk as if the things that had just transpired never came to be. But, that didn't happen as Matsuno and he did not speak to each other for the rest of the year through graduation. In the end, Rikako went to Kochi University, Matsuno went to Kyoto University, and Taku to Tokyo University.
The image crops on Taku's face and signals the end of the large flash back. Taku's plane has arrived at the airport. Taku leaves his memories to get his bags. As he walks out of the airport, a car stops beside him. It's Matsuno offering a ride. The two have a friendly conversation about their schools, getting used to the schools and the culture. From Kyoto and Tokyo the two come home and the friendship of the two which was severed a year ago, at the moment seems to have healed until the original scar is no longer visible.
Taku asks Matsuno to come in with him, but Matsuno declines the offer. He says they'll see each other at the school reunion tomorrow. Matsuno apologizes for punching Taku a year ago. Taku jokingly replies that, he now knows why Matsuno offered him a ride, he adds that they should go for a walk.
Along a pier, over the ocean, as the sun begins to set, they quietly stroll along. The sea glimmers and they peer at the sea gulls flying toward a cloud. Matsuno says, the reason he punched Taku a year ago was because Matsuno realized Taku held back his feelings for his sake. Taku doesn't say anything and Matsuno understands. The two look out for an hour into the ocean before they went home.
The reunion at a local restaurant is a glitter of conversation passing between the former students and the gossip crowds the air like the smell of food. Laments and boast, success and shortcomings are shared over lots of beer. When one of the students suddenly confesses his love for another, all the conversations turn to them.
At Matsuno and Taku's corner, one large student, motivated by alcohol, stands up and announces that he had all along liked Yumi Kohama, except she isn't around to hear it. Kohama she says was always behind the more successful Muto. Then in a slip, he reveals that he always thought Muto was cute, or at least he did whenever he noticed Taku was looking at her.
Taku dodges the question and Matsuno says nothing. The large student, Yamao, then collapses from his drinking. As Taku helps him out, one female student, one who tries repeatedly through the film to accept Rikako, mentions that she had seen Muto in Tokyo. She says Muto regrets saying the things she said in high school to Matsuno. The student also says Muto has become ever more beautiful since then. When she suggested that Rikako come to the student reunion, she felt she couldn't make it as she had to go home.
Taku has a flash back of seeing Rikako at the train station. He asks if Rikako had been accepted to a University in Tokyo. The student mentions that perhaps she did, as it was rumored Rikako took exams for Kochi and another university possibly in Tokyo. Taku smiles at this thought.
He asks the student whether or not she greeted Muto like a friend that she hadn't seen in years and she says she did. She confides that even though she never liked Muto in high school not one bit, when she saw her the other day it was like as if the idea she hated her was inconceivable. The one year since then has changed everyone's opinions and time, like a great ocean, smoothed out the most jaded edges of their hearts.
Matsuno and Taku both mull quietly as she continues to talk. Taku asks if this is simply nostalgia over what has long past and a regret of irreversible actions. The student answers that even Muto feels this way, that she feels she was very narrow minded in high school.
Suddenly a girl in a red vested suit comes in. It's Yumi Kohama and Yamao, as a bear in winter, wakes from his inebriation upon hearing her name. He slouches forward in a slovenly, uncoordinated manner, shouting the girl's name. Yumi cringes in fear at not knowing what's going on. Yamao soon falls over again causing the puffer fish ornament hanging above the restaurant to shake. He continues to shout, 'Kohama.'
As they leave, Yamao is still drunkenly wandering.
Outside, Kohama says she met Rikako in Tokyo and told her she couldn't make it to the reunion. Kohama also said, she wanted to meet a person she knew but wouldn't give a good description of him. Muto said only that he was the kind of person who would sleep in a bath tub.
Taku takes comfort in what Yumi said. The group then looks behind them at Kochi castle lit up by lights. It's the castle shown at the beginning of the flashback on the plane. Its silvery splendor blossoms fully in the cool summer, night. As everyone looks at it in admiration, Taku thinks that the castle is only a waste of electricity. Yet if he were here, alone with Rikako then the castle would truly be something beautiful. It is an image to be shared with someone close. Taku says in high school he always wished he could've found Rikako and talked with her about the many quotidian things of great inconsequence, the little, imperceptible points of life that ultimately crush us with their details.
As he looks at the castle, all the things Rikako has said to him come back. Borrowing money, his accent, telling Matsuno, at the airport, to Tokyo, staying with him at the hotel, the end of the Tokyo trip, the fact that he's the worst, but the last thought he has is Rikako in summer clothes in Tokyo, saying playfully that the person she wants to see is a person who would sleep in the bath tub.
The next scene we are back at Kichijoji train station. As Taku walks up the platform he sees Muto again in a nice blue dress, reading a book. A train zooms by but only this time Muto seems him as well. Taku runs down the stairs across the passing to the other side of the platform. Once he gets there the train has already begun moving. He looks disappointed in having missed her again, but he suddenly notices something in his right corner.
The camera then moves in a 360 degree turn as standing behind him is Rikako Muto. Taku turns around and they look at each other. Taku wipes his mouth. He seems quite happy. Rikako bows politely and the wind picks up her hair. She straightens it and looks at Taku in a face, these words can't seem to encapsulate. The image here dissolves into a water color. Taku closes the movie with these words, 'Ah I feel. That I really liked her.'
The credits commence, the end song plays, and we see more water color images of the two from various scenes in the movie. The final image being them walking along the beach in Kochi.
Synopsis by Ruo Jia.