Yamada Tarou Monogatari – 09
When Tarou’s younger siblings accidentally break a vase in their new home, the housemaid demands that they pay for its 600 million yen cost. The kids blame Tarou for it, and Takako suddenly shows up and starts breaking more vases with her martial arts skills. It is at this point that Tarou wakes up yelling and realizes that it was all a dream, but he knows that his new rich life isn’t. At the breakfast table, he finds the small army of maids and butlers serving his family, and with all this, his father thinks that Tarou won’t have to work anymore. Tarou then notices the vase that was in his dream, so he asks the head housemaid about its cost, but she doesn’t know and promises to find out for him. As for school, Tarou gets driven there in a shiny white Lexus, and there is a flock of screaming girls waiting for him. Takuya arrives soon after, and he watches as Tarou proceed down the red carpet alone. Takako meanwhile is overjoyed that she can have feelings for Tarou without any reservations about him being poor, and before class, she overhears Tarou telling Takuya that he should come visit, so she asks if she can come too. Tarou doesn’t mind, so Takako corrals a less than enthusiastic Takuya to come with her.
Takako is thrilled to get to see the new house, and when she starts admiring the artwork there, Tarou is reminded of his dream and tries to get her away from the vase by suggesting that they have some tea. His mother then proposes an afternoon snack, and Tarou is shocked to see how much cake and fruit the maids serve up. While the others are eating, Jirou and Saburou run into the room pretending to be fighting as pirates, and after seeing how dangerously close the two get to the vase, Tarou runs between them to protect it. The head maid, however, then informs him that she found out the vase was made by Kazuo, much to Tarou’s relief. As Takako and Takuya are leaving later that evening, she comments on how great the home is, but Takuya wonders how Tarou feels about it. Takako, however, doesn’t think that anyone would be against moving to such a house. Trying to sleep that night, Tarou thinks about how quiet it is and how restless he feels, and he ends up falling out of his bed. The next day, Nagahara gives Torii a phone call to tell her that he’ll probably be going to America the following year as researcher. To her surprise, he says that he wants to take her with him, and he also wants her to tell Tarou to come to his lab so that he can discuss it with Tarou too.
After class, Tarou tries to talk with Takuya, but Takuya rushes off claiming that he has something to do. Takako notices Tarou looking depressed, so she talks to him about how rare it is for him not to leave immediately at the bell. Tarou admits that he doesn’t want to go home today, and he then gets called by Torii who passes along Nagahara’s request. At the laboratory, Nagahara tells him about a Professor Clemens in America, but it turns out that Tarou already knew about this person because he had read one of the professor’s books at the library when he was in elementary school. He had visited the library a lot back then whenever he felt hungry so that he could look at cookbooks and books with vegetable pictures. Clemens had written a book that was difficult for him to read, but there was a picture in it of a huge field that gave him a strange feeling of happiness, and Tarou thinks that this was probably the beginning of his interest in this kind of thing. Nagahara then reveals that Clemens actually wants to meet Tarou because he had read the report that Tarou had written previously. It seems that Nagahara translated it to English and sent it to the professor, and he now wonders what Tarou would do if he could go to that place in the photograph. Envisioning himself standing in those fields, Tarou is quite excited.
Because of this meeting with Nagahara, Tarou is late getting home and finds out that everyone’s already eaten dinner without him. As Tarou sits down at the long dining room table, his father notices how he lonely looks. Over at the Ikegami household, Takako tells her parents about Tarou’s new home, but her mother thinks that it doesn’t suit him. Both she and Takako’s father prefer a smaller, cozy home, and it reminds Takako of how happy Tarou had been in that old home and how he hadn’t wanted to go home that afternoon. Tarou meanwhile visits the attic of his new home where the stuff from his old home is being stored. Seeing the painting that his father created, Tarou hangs it up and rearranges the furniture in a way that allows him to feel more at ease. The rest of his family then finds him up there, and when his siblings start dancing around his parents, Tarou is reminded of how they used to do the same thing in the old home. His father later comments to his mother that Tarou isn’t getting used to living here even though his siblings have. His mother had actually previously lived like this before she married his father, but she admits that she doesn’t mind either life – she just wants to live as a smiling family.
Because of all this, the following morning, Kazuo tells Tarou that it’s okay if he wants them to go back to the old home. Seeing how happy his siblings are to be eating a delicious breakfast, Tarou replies that he’ll make an effort to get used to this house, but his father points out that it’s better to go back sooner rather than later if they’re going to go back. This makes Tarou say that it’s fine if they don’t since he feels that home is too small. In truth, Tarou does want to go back to that old home, but he thinks that it’s merely him being selfish. In terms of the future, he feels that it’s definitely better for them to live in the current house, yet he still finds himself worrying. This is what he thinks about all day at school, and after class, he and Takuya stare at each other for a long and silent moment before Takuya leaves. Seeing Tarou look so troubled, Takako comes over to his desk and proposes a date. She ends up taking him to the supermarket and puts him right in the middle of a large crowd waiting for a sale to start, but when Tarou doesn’t immediately follow her, she reminds him that it’s do or die here because this is a battle. Tarou recognizes that as something Takako’s mother had told him, and he regains his spirit.
The two spend a successful afternoon beating the crowds to get the sale items that they want, and afterwards, Takako remarks that the normal Tarou has come back. She admits that although she prefers a sparkling prince who lives in a castle, she thinks that Tarou’s face is even more brilliant when he’s desperate during supermarket sales and likes that more. She then tells him to wait and runs off to meet with someone who is sitting on a nearby bench. That person is Takuya, and once she brings him and Tarou together, she excuses herself to let them talk by themselves. Tarou reveals to Takuya that although he wants to go back, that’s him being selfish, and he feels that it’s definitely better to keep things as they are. He recalls that Takuya had previously asked him what was most important to him, and Tarou now feels that the answer for him is in his family’s smiles. That’s why he feels that if he endures this and it all goes well, then things are best kept as they are now. Hearing Tarou say this, Takuya decides to take him back to his old home and asks him if he can hear and see something. In truth, Tarou is able to imagine a scene of him returning home to his family, and he smiles at the thought of his family calling out to him. This leads to Takuya pointing out that the most important thing is Tarou’s own smile, and after a moment of thinking, Tarou thanks him and runs home.
Gathering his family, Tarou tells them that he wants to return to the old home, and to his surprise, they’re all okay with it, and they all look forward to doing all the things that they used to do. Because Tarou still feels that this is all because of his own selfishness, his father tells him that not saying anything and worrying by himself is what’s truly selfish. Tarou is brought to tears by this, and the following day, the entire family happily moves back into their old home with Takuya and Takako’s help. It is a short while later that Tarou gets called in to the principal’s office at school and finds out from Nagahara that the University of South Chicago has extended an invitation to him to study there. He’d be going as Nagahara’s student and would be taking part in Professor Clemens’ research, and the prospect of going to America leaves Tarou almost speechless.
Well, Takako finally proves that she can do something by pulling Tarou out of his rut and getting him talking again with Takuya. I didn’t like her going back to her gold-digger ways when she realized Tarou was rich, but her parents finally made her understand what happiness is about, and she ended up doing the right thing. I guess I’m still not a fan of her character, but I don’t dislike her as much as I used to.
Having said that, I thought that the whole returning-back-to-the-old-house plot was rather predictable, and from a practical standpoint, I thought it was stupid to give up that kind of financial security. In fact, if Tarou goes to America like the preview hints that he does, then it’ll be left up to only Kazuo to support the family whereas they would have been fine if they stayed at the big house – I just don’t feel that Tarou’s reasons for moving back were all that compelling or strong. In any case, we’ll have to see what happens in next week’s extra long final episode.