Kazuki Terayama died from an illness at the young age of 25. In a tone both humorous and heartwarming, the story follows the subsequent lives of people who were close to him, particularly his widow, Tetsuko, and weathercaster father, Rentaro.
Seven years after Kazuki’s death, Tetsuko and Rentaro remain in the 80-year-old Japanese-style home where they all lived together during the two brief years that Tetsuko and Kazuki were married. Other key figures in the story include Kazuki’s mother, Yuko, who also died at a young age; their next-door neighbor, Takara (female), who grew up with Kazuki; and Kazuki’s cousin, Torao (male). The multilayered narrative explores, through a series of episodes, relationships among family members both with and without blood ties.
The main arc of the story centers on the question of Tetsuko getting remarried. Iwai, a colleague at the trading company where she works, proposes to her, but she can’t bring herself to accept. Iwai dines with Rentaro and Tetsuko from time to time at their home. On one such occasion, he thinks to himself that it may have been insensitive of him to press so persistently for Tetsuko’s hand, and that perhaps there is no room for him in the life Rentaro and Tetsuko have established for themselves. For his part, an intoxicated Rentaro tells Iwai, “People change. It’s such a cruel thing. But at the same time, it’s our only salvation.” Rentaro himself is contending with a gambling addiction in his past; Iwai falls victim to a scam and loses a large sum of money to a grade-school girl; the career-driven Takara falls into a depression and quits her job . . . Affirmative in its stance, the narrative warmly accepts people as they are, warts and all, treating even the most unfortunate errors in judgment and weaknesses of heart as an inevitable part of the human condition.