Episode 5: Feelings Starting to Move?! Love's Shocking Destination!
The delphinium bouquet gets the most elegant set-up yet. Chiharu gets a wake-up call from Junpei. He explains that Haruko asked him to call and apologize on her behalf, since they had to go to the flower market early and she won't be able to give Chiharu a ride to work. He suddenly realizes Chiharu isn't listening, and we see her running around madly trying to get ready, her phone abandoned on her blankets. Haruko approaches Junpei and correctly guesses that Chiharu was sleeping.
Mai eats lunch with some friends, two of whom are depressed because of relationship problems. They call Professor Tanigawa over to join them and ask him to help their broken-hearted comrades. He explains that they'll have more first encounters and shows a chart that indicates that the peak age when women first meet their future husbands is 22-23, and for men it's 28, so they'll be just fine. I love that he's bringing his lectures out of the classroom. Kekeke.
He goes on to say that women over 35 have fewer future encounters. So, for these younglings, their dating experience will help them learn dating lessons that will help them make successful encounters in the future. He tells the girls that when they reach a marriageable age, they'll have their share of adulterers and useless men and find men who are good marriage partners. "Everything in this season is brief."
Chiharu walks with Boy Crazy and a passing Junpei stops to honk and wave. He apologizes for the sudden phone call in the morning, but Chiharu assures him that Haruko did it for her own amusement. She tells him that she was able to make it to work just in time, thanks to him.
Boy Crazy is smitten (aren't we all? I know I am.), and starts peppering Chiharu with questions about Junpei, like his salary, family structure, age, etc. When Chiharu tells her he's a florist, Boy Crazy happily imagines working together to build his business. Her fantasies crash and burn when Chiharu corrects her and says that he's a part-timer. "But his primary profession might really be listed as painter." (Aww, her confidence in him is so cute.)
Boy Crazy explains that would be a love that doesn't lead to marriage, so he's right out. She teaches Chiharu that there are 3 types of men to avoid at their age—those with no desire to marry, men who have wives or girlfriends, and "men who can't afford you." (Ah, Boy Crazy. Such a funny blend of silly and practical.) And Chiharu should be especially careful at her age that love leads to marriage.
Mai tells Haruko that she's dying to see her garden terrace, and so is Junpei, right? He answers that he wouldn't want to impose, but Haruko invites them to come on their next day off. When she tells Chiharu, they realize it's her day off, too, and she volunteers to make seasonal fall dishes. Like sweet potatoes. When she tells herself "Let's get fired up!" Haruko warns her not to get so fired up that she burns them. Then they bicker about how sweet potatoes taste best—crispy or super-crispy.
The day arrives, and so do the guests. Haruko introduces Mai and then starts bickering with Chiharu over who takes care of who. Chiharu insists that since she does all the cooking, it's her. But Haruko points out that she's the one who wakes Chiharu up each morning. Before the bickering can escalate, Junpei laughs and reminds them of their company.
Haruko shows Mai the garden and Junpei asks Chiharu if he can help with anything. They inspect the sweet potatoes and debate if they're burnt enough on the outside. Chiharu admits that she loves sweet potatoes the most—but vegetable chips are a close second! As they chat (and Junpei leans in close to inspect the sweet potatoes), Haruko watches from outside.
While they eat, Mai brings up her talk with Professor Tanigawa and says there's a love for every age. She asks what Haruko was like in her 20's and 30's, and Haruko admits that she did lots of things she shouldn't have. She leaves to get coffee, and Mai asks Chiharu the same question. This becomes a discussion of age, and Chiharu laments the fact that if you round her age, she's 40. Mai says that she doesn't look like she's in her 30's and Haruko runs out to interject that she doesn't act like someone in her 30's, either. Hahaha!
Junpei tries to console her and says that he's already 32, but then Chiharu reminds him that with rounding, that's only 30. She groans when she realizes that she and Haruko are the same rounded age.
Later, Mai and Haruko enjoy coffee while Junpei helps Chiharu with the dishes. She asks why everyone rounds their age like that, and he says that everyone wants to know which side of life they are on. She looks at her life-line and wonders which side of it she's on. She explains to Junpei that life-lines show the direction of your life, but hers doesn't go straight like it should. He grabs a marker, and then gives her a new lifeline, telling her that this is how palm-reading should be done. She says it's better, and he reassures her that it will come true.
She rubs her new life-line with a soapy finger, and freaks out when it comes off. She begs him to draw it again, and while he does, she gives him this look of dawning realization—she likes him.
At work, Chiharu reminds Boy Crazy of her 3 types of guys to avoid and asks if it's okay to break just one of the rules. Boy Crazy replies that you can never break even one, or you're out. She asks if there's someone Chiharu's thinking of, but Chiharu unconvincingly denies it.
Chiharu visits the flower shop, allegedly to see Haruko, but is clearly pleased to get attention from Junpei instead. She asks him to help her with a bouquet for her mother, and he starts pulling bright and cheerful flowers. She smiles at his back, and is just about to say something, when eeevil Mizuki interrupts. (Okay, she's not really evil, and I can't actually hate her. But seriously, such bad timing! Or, you know, great timing from her perspective.)
Junpei introduces Mizuki to Mai and Chiharu and they discuss her exhibition for a bit before Mizuki asks Junpei why he canceled on her. He tells her he had work and Mai "helpfully" asks if that was the night before Chiharu's event. Chiharu explains her sister's sudden wedding and admits that she roped Junpei into helping her. He argues that he butted in, and they have another round of Arguing Apologies, which is incredibly polite and cute. Mizuki watches, suspicious, and then they both bow apologies to her at the same time.
Chiharu credits the success of the wedding on Junpei's beautiful bouquet (which almost starts off another round of cute bickering). Mai tries again to be helpful and points out that Junpei once said that being good at making wedding bouquets means one isn't ready for marriage themselves. His panicked face is awesome. He states that he never said no, just that it would be practically impossible.
Junpei changes the subject by asking what Mizuki is looking for and then tells her he'll help after he's done assisting Chiharu. Chiharu insists on him helping Mizuki, despite his objections, and Mai ends up helping Chiharu. Chiharu watches Junpei and Mizuki, trying desperately to remain cheerful while hiding her disappointment.
Mom's surgery went well, and the family visits her. She asks Chiharu to express her regards and gratitude to everyone who helped with the wedding, and Chinatsu and Dad chime in their thanks. As the sisters leave, Chinatsu says she hopes the wishes of the bouquet come true. When Chiharu hesitates, she says "It's okay for you to like that kind of person, isn't it?" Chiharu wonders to herself.
At home, Chiharu passes Mom's message on to Haruko. She asks Haruko if she can take her to the restaurant where they had the wedding as a thank-you dinner. Haruko suggests that she invite Junpei as well, and she hesitates, but then says that she should, since she needs to show him her thanks, after all. She's very hesitant about tying up more of his time, but also seems to be worried about letting her feelings become more entangled with him.
Chiharu asks Haruko what type of love someone in their 30's should have. She explains Boy Crazy's philosophy and says that she's old enough now that she shouldn't start something that won't lead to marriage. Haruko retorts that whether you're in your 30's or 40's, it's okay to fall in love with someone just because you like them. When Chiharu argues that that love wouldn't necessarily lead to marriage, Haruko replies that it doesn't matter. You can't actually know the destination of love until you get there.
Chiharu decides it's okay for someone who never plans to marry to feel that way. Haruko goes to her room and contemplates "a love in one's 30's." She pulls out an album of designs and looks at the drawing for the restaurant, which also has Boss-man's name on it.
Haruko runs outside the shop, where Junpei is loading a delivery, and invites him to dinner with them that night. He agrees to meet at the restaurant. As he pulls away and Haruko heads back inside, Tanigawa rushes after her to thank her for her help. As soon as he gets inside, though, Mai grabs him and asks what he's looking for today. He randomly picks some agapanthus and then stares at a busy Haruko while Mai goes to wrap his flowers. Haruko finally notices him and he thanks her for her help, explaining that his mother smiled when she saw the flowers.
As they're chatting, Mai interrupts to thank him for helping cheer up her friends. She quotes him about learning from dating mistakes like adultery and worthless men, and Haruko gets a bit upset. She asks about him teaching love lessons in a sociology class, and he justifies it by saying that it helps his students understand things theoretically. Haruko asks if love goes according to theories. He asks if that's wrong, and she politely jabs him by asking about his love. Helpful Mai actually manages to save him by asking for his payment, and he runs away. Haruko answers a call, and it's Gallery Owner, who asks her to have Junpei call him.
Chiharu shows up for the big dinner, and is disappointed that Junpei isn't there. Haruko explains that he couldn't make it, but then adds that he had agreed earlier, but had to cancel. She remembers the phone call, and then asks Chiharu why she's so disappointed. Chiharu denies everything.
Junpei meets with Gallery Owner, who admits that he'd been waiting for Junpei to call him. He says that Mizuki brought in some of Junpei's works and asked if they could help groom him as a painter, but he realized that offering him a position as a staff member was more suitable. He says he knows that Junpei hasn't painted since he lost a competition to Mizuki 3 years ago, and he thinks that's wise, since he doesn't have her level of talent. Oof.
Junpei is crushed, and Gallery Owner tries to give him back the paintings. He asks him to just throw them out, since they're worthless. As Junpei leaves, Gallery Owner asks how old he is and points out that he needs to figure out what to do with the rest of his working life. For Mizuki's sake.
Chiharu and Haruko chatter happily over dinner, but Haruko gets quiet when Boss-man is seated at a nearby table with his wife and daughter. Chiharu overhears the daughter mention that her father built this garden and asks about it. Haruko admits that he's her former boss, but says she doesn't want to disturb them. She and the wife lock eyes. Haruko decides to leave, despite Chiharu's insistence that they haven't even had the main course, and says she'll pay.
After she pays, she's stopped by Wifey, who says she recognizes her from the office. Haruko apologizes for not greeting them. Wifey says that she wanted to thank her before, for supporting her husband. In both public and private. It's such a cutting thing for her to say, but couched as it is in extreme politeness, it just seems even more hurtful. (Not that I really blame Wifey. I just think that it comes years too late to be necessary.)
Haruko heads to the family home, seeking comfort in her family. She tries to play it off as wanting to look at some old papers, but Mother knows best. She pours them coffee and points out that whenever the world becomes overwhelming for Haruko, she comes home like this. Haruko complains that her coffee is always bitter, but Mother says that being able to enjoy the bitterness of coffee is one of the pleasures of an adult.
Chiharu drinks all the wine on the table and then staggers home. She sees Junpei in the garden and whacks him on the shoulder from behind. She berates him for standing her up, calling him by his given name. (Squee!) He apologizes for canceling and she says it's so pitiful for someone her age to eat all alone. She explains that Haruko mysteriously left and offers him her untouched leftovers.
She asks how his painting is going and tells him that she heard about the call from the gallery. He answers that his paintings were seen and found lacking and thrown away. She stubbornly insists that they shouldn't have done that and then starts drunkenly searching the park for his paintings. He finally manages to tell her that they're at the gallery.
She gets to the gallery and starts banging on the door, demanding the return of Junpei's paintings. Junpei wrestles with her, convinced the police will come, and tries to appease her by saying that her feelings are enough. She insists they aren't. When Gallery Owner opens the door, she asks for them, wondering if he's already thrown them out. He replies that he can't just throw out paintings like that and goes to get them. Oh, Junpei, your look of hopeful disillusionment just kills me. So does the tiny twitch of a smile at the corner of your mouth.
As they walk back, Junpei thanks her and asks why she's walking so strangely, with her head down and twisted away from him. She admits that the alcohol is wearing off, and she's starting to feel her drunkenness. And embarrassment. He thanks her again, explaining that even though these were practice works and he asked for them to be thrown out, he really would have regretted losing pieces he painted. He turns to thank her and she spins, hiding her face again with her hair.
He asks her to raise her head, and she finally admits that she thinks her makeup is a mess from all the drinking and the shouting. He ribs her for acting like this when she's over 30 and confesses that he had fun. He falteringly says that if he does start painting again, he thinks the first person he'd want to show it to is her. She momentarily forgets herself and looks up through her bangs, then remembers and turns away again.
Even though he has to be up early and so has decided to stay at the shop, he promises to walk her home and begs her to raise her head again. She grabs her hair back and looks at him quickly before dropping it again.
In the morning, Chiharu prepares sweet potatoes, perfectly charred. Haruko asks who they're for, since her mom still can't eat after the surgery, and Chiharu asks for a favor.
She goes to visit Mom and asks what she was like in her 30's. Mom talks about being a mom and Chiharu realizes that when she was her age, Chiharu was already in middle school. She marvels at how different their life paths are. Mom says that she envies Chiharu, because when she was young, she never had time to doubt herself. With so many options available to women nowadays, they have the chance to question things. But, having a list of things you should do at specific ages is not a realistic expectation, and wasn't then, either. Mom says that if she were in her 30's now, she probably wouldn't have married or had kids yet, either.
Chiharu goes out and contemplates her palm, and the place Junpei drew her new life-line. She runs outside and climbs on the back of Haruko's bike. Haruko drops her off at the shop, and then lies and says she has some errands to run. As soon as Chiharu walks off, she decides to just drive around the block.
Chiharu goes inside and finds Junpei asleep at the counter. She finds the new label he was working on, "Agapanthus: Love's Arrival" and smiles down at him. She puts the package for him on the counter and then notices the case holding his paintings.
She sneaks over and slides one out, and as she gets a good look at it, the happy theme music cuts off. It's a painting of Mizuki, dated 2002.
Whaaa, another episode full of emotional moments. You can just see that Chiharu's thinking that Junpei has been in love with Mizuki all these years. And after struggling with her own feelings and finally coming to a point where she is allowing herself to fall for someone who could be considered an "undesirable" marriage prospect, it feels like an even heavier blow.
I loved the range of emotions with Junpei, too. His cute flirting with Chiharu, his excitement just to see her, how much he enjoys her antics, and the level of comfort he has with her are all sweet. But the really powerful moments were mostly the ones involving his painting. His devastation at being told that he's worthless as a painter, even though he'd basically convinced himself of that already. And his subsequent hopelessness. The bitterness of asking for his work to be destroyed. His hope that they hadn't, mixed with a conviction that they probably should be and that he's pathetic for hoping otherwise. And then there was the moment of panicked denial when Mai said he doesn't want to marry. It's the subtle facial movements and looks that truly bring all these emotions to life.
Haruko really gained in depth this episode, as well. And you just get the feeling that Mother is aware of the entire situation, but has allowed Haruko her privacy. She's so supportive of Haruko. I also love how Haruko is starting to actively push Chiharu and Junpei together.
Then there's Mai and her "helpfulness." She just has a knack of innocently saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. Or getting in the way of Professor Tanigawa's attempts to chat up Haruko. And while it's a bit infuriating, she's so cute and oblivious that you never get too annoyed with her. Instead, it's just hilarious.
Speaking of hilarious, the whole scene where Chiharu is trying to hide her face from Junpei makes me laugh every time I watch it. Her contortions and attempts to hide behind her hair are awesome. But the best moments are when she forgets that she's hiding and then suddenly remembers again.