Love & Pop (1998) Script

JULY 19, 1997


'Morning.

Hey.

Could you help me?

Sorry. Going out.

On, okay.

'Morning. You're up early!

Going to Shibuya.

Buying the swimsuit?

Where's Sis?

Up, and already packing her things.

'Morning, Sis.

'Morning.

Ready to escape?

Almost. It'll be lonely.

Easier, you mean.

Need money, just in case?

You can return the change.

Thanks, I'm fine.

I made French toast, want some?

Something wrong? You seem depressed.

Weird dream, maybe?

Dream?

I forget. Leaving so soon?

Today's your match?

Masters, yes.

50m breaststroke and 25m butterfly.

Good luck! Thank you.

No cramping this time!

I won't. Okay, I'm off.

See you.

Sweetie? I'm leaving.

Oh. Good luck.

YOSHII HIROMI'S DREAM THE MORNING OF JULY 19, 1997:

Halfway up a very tall mountain... a fat man I've never met is forced by a guard to gather mushrooms.

It could be an exercise; it could be punishment.

The mushrooms have a shape I've never seen before, like shumai.

They're dry and caked with powder.

After gathering in two places... the fat man finds a scorpion stuck on a rock.

It's small, red and green.

"I can't do this," he says.

"If I get stung, I'll die."

The fat man pleads to the guard, but in his navy-blue uniform... the guard pretends not to hear.

LOVE & POP

Everything in the world's got a time for change.

Men and women, grown-ups and kids.

Some have had several dads.

One day you're alive... then just a grave or a photo the next.

Stuff changes and disappears before your eyes.

Stuff in your heart, too.

It gets all blurry, and then it's not there anymore.

Even the things you think won't change... might have just ended before changing you know it.

Will I change? Will I be able to?

All I know is I don't know anything.

Worldly things always end. Feelings, too.

Friends from junior high, you lose.

Then again, a new environment means new friends.

Maybe the world is just the same stuff, over and over.

But that doesn't mean I can't try and catch it before it goes.

That's what made me pick up the camera.

I'm leaving.


Trains always on time, always on track.

The feeling of being "taken away".

Every day just like the one before.

Hard to believe tomorrow will be different.

Great grief, great joy... I've known neither one.

It's no big deal.

Overseas is more trouble than it's worth.

And fancy restaurant food's overrated.

Now's the time to hang with friends, go out and eat as a group.

That's true.

Still, good food is good food. I'll say!

You do? Let's eat!

Takoyaki, please!

It was true. We weren't the types... to waste time doing now what we could do later, as adults.

There's this town called Shibuya.

On the end of the Inokashira line, opposite a tunnel.

Maybe that's why we go there. That feeling of opening up.

Then again, maybe not.

I tell you, I fear for this town!

The problem is today's youth, who'll be supporting the Japan of tomorrow.

You in high school? Hey, got a minute?

Where to? Want tea? My car's over there.

Honda NSX. Heard of it?

It's custom-built. Check out the color. Hey!

Let's do tea! Thirty minutes, I swear. I said hey.

In 9th grade, right after splitting up with my first boyfriend...

I was into telephone clubs.

I hear they're small, those booths.

"About 3'X3', yeah. There's a chair, TV, table, phone, box of tissue."

"Oops, shouldn't've mentioned the tissue. Sorry."

What kind of work do you do?

"Uh...guess I'm a writer."

A writer?

"I script variety and music programs. Sometimes screenplays for dramas."

An industry guy, then.

"I guess so, sure. (LAUGH)"

"I'm doing research on telephone clubs."

I see.

"Could we maybe meet?"

"Guess not..."

Um, sure.

"Really?"

"My lucky day!"

"Okay, I'll be wearing a Chicago Bulls cap."

"I'll meet you in front of Center Street."

"You know the cap?"

"There's an angry bull on it."

"Flaming red, actually."

And you met with him?

I got scared and ditched him.

Red caps still make me panic.

You take so many pictures. Your money holds out?

Not really. It's tough.

Thought so.

So cute. Say "cheese".

Now that is not cute.

Hey there, girls. Join me for a meal?

I'll pay. 10,000 each.

Your card, please?

How cautious.

Why not?

Shabu-shabu's best with miso sauce. Go ahead.

Eat.

What grade are you anyway?

11th.

A year older than my girl.

You have a daughter?

I do. In high school?

Seishin Girls' Academy, yes.

A little lady. Smart too.

Only in 10th, yet took an award in an English speech contest.

Wow. Very impressive.

She takes after me, so she's cute.

At school they say she looks like Hiromatsu Ryoko.

You know Hiromatsu?

Ooh, squid. Try it with this. It's good.

Mmm, it is good.

And she's a gorgeous cook...

Tea? Mm.

So, so good.

Oolong tea for two, please.

You girls. You girls!

Your problem is you never listen!

Have a drink. Here.

Are we really so bad?

Very bad.

You've no idea how important these few years are to your future.

Get serious about something, anything.

If you don't, it's a no-good college, no-good job, no-good marriage!

It wasn't so wrong, what he said.

We didn't wanna hear it from him, is all.

JULY 19, 10:00 A.M.

Good morning.

More pictures? How embarrassing.

What's that?

Some weird guy. He, like, grabs me...

Weird guy?

In front of Hachiko. Says use it however I want.

Meaning what?

Give it back by tonight, is all. Weird, huh?

Weird.

To get as many boys as possible our own age to call back... leave messages for them on a service, he says.

Must be gay.

Should I return it?

Should you? Shouldn't I?

Hey, it's his and he's paying. We get to make free calls.

They really come out when it's warm, don't they?

Is it because I look easily fooled?

One thing I admire about Nao:

Her inability to say no to anything.

She's into PCs big-time.

Another thing she's into these days: dieting.

CURRENT WEIGHT: 5Xkg I definitely need to lose more.

You do?

I do. And I'm trying so hard.

You are? I eat less dinner, for example.

Or skip it entirely.

I jog, even. I'm 7 kg below my max.

You are? I still...

More? More.

You're amazing. I'm a Ion-n-n-g way off.

You're fine, tho'.

Now you, Hiromi, are thin. You never seem to gain.

No. So lucky.

They just say I'm thin, tho', not sexy.

Who does? My boyfriend.

Well...

And my finger joints are fat.

'Cause you crack your knuckles!

Like spider-crab legs, they say.

How rude! Your BF again?

My sister. Oh, no.

How fun.

Fun? Where? You're laughing.

Girls! Back from school?

'Course you are, silly me. Say, say, want some money?

Wait, that sounds bad.

A side job. How's that?

Just join me for dinner. My condo's nearby. I'll cook.

Here. Condo?

Just dinner? Exactly!

I'll cook, that's all.

"I cook, you eat." Boy, am I out of date.

One person, 5,000 yen!

Make it 6,000.

7,000?

It's cooler now. Turn off the fan?

Switch... on!

Power...on!

The hands. Must wash the hands.

Is there anything I can...?

You're a guest. Have a seat.

And here we are.

Looks great.

You cooked all this?

Oh, I started last night. It's especially good overnight, minestrone.

And this...

Some do Tomato & Mozzarella in olive oil and wine vinegar... but I used walnut oil, sushi vinegar and a teensy drop of soy sauce.

Tomato and nuts go well, dontcha know.

Eat, eat.

Okay.

Walnuts on the mozzarella, see?

I like a little yolk in my carpaccio, but lately it's been so hot...

And I hear E. Coli's back, so raw meat's kind of..."Ahhh!" y' know?

So I went with bonito. Goes well, doesn't it?

Well? ls it good?

It's good.

Ohhh, gooood.

So I have these parties once in a while.

I cook, and people bring wine, yada yada.

But you can only do it so often, or it's "What!? Yoshimura's again?"

So maybe once every two, three months at most.

But I still get these urges to cook.

So I go out and get wagyu beef that's, like, 3,000 yen per 100 grams... and whip up steak with herbs.

But it's not good when it's just me. I've tried it. Bad idea.

The better the dish, the worse it is.

Why is that?

I tell you... when I see good food going cold on the table, with no one to enjoy it... it kills me.

I just love parties.

I'll remember how it was in here later, when I'm alone.

Once you've gone home.

Like how Hiromi sat here and had minestrone...

Your diet? or how Nao sat there and had pot-au-feu.

Remembering that later will be good for me.

You, um, needn't force yourself. There's plenty of...

When you take lots of photos, disposables are out.

That's why I used date money to buy a real one.

But Nao's PC was different.

I used up all my savings. Otherwise, it's...Ugh.

"I'm a 16-year-old high school girl."

"I've nothing to do and would like to hang out."

JULY 19, 10:12 A.M.

Will that work? I think so.

You next, Hiromi. Me?

Press "0", right?

"I'm 16 right now."

"But I've no boobs and I'm skinny."

"If you're some perv who likes no-boob girls,"

"please leave a message."

Chieko's here.

'Morning, Chii-chan. 'Morning!

So hot! It is.

I'll burn right up. True.

Oh. Sachi just paged to say she'd be late.

What's so funny?

Some gay guy gave Nao a cell phone.

He wants us to get messages from young guys.

What a freak.

Chii-chan, you too. Press "0" and speak.

You?

"Hi, I'm 17 and a junior."

"I just, um, split with my BF so I'm, what, down?"

"If you've got the time, so do I. I'll be waiting."

It's hard. It always comes out uneven.

Go to a salon, then.

It's so expensive, tho'.

So go once, then do it yourself.

Wanna know where I go?

They're in J.J. magazine. They're good.

Thanks.

Well?

How are things with the BF?

We may break up soon.

How come? I thought he was a keeper.

It was different before, but now he wants to get laid every time... plus he's leaving hickeys. See?

And then, when I want to hear his voice...

This ls the voice-mail system. To leave a message...

Or when I don't want to hear from him...

He confiscated your phone!?

What'd your BF say?

He laughed.

That's the worst.

Remember?

You've never subsidized-dated alone, have you?

No, never.

Whereas I've gone all the way, lots of times.

I don't think she's told the other two this.

It became a secret for when we were alone.

Nao had a little secret too.

That's fake, right?

Yeah, but my folks'll still bust me for it.

Hold still--

Don't you dare!

Someday I want a real one, tho'.

Too weird?

Ah, well.

Sachi has a secret too, I think.

Chii-chan, we'll be late.

Hurry up. C'mon, hurry!

You didn't go to the salon?

I will at some point, but...

But my desire for that had left me.

This smells good. I want that one.

How can you know what kind of scent suits you?

Yeah, you can't smell yourself.

What you should do is, use what had a good response from others.

Makes sense.

Now that's some advice from a girl who goes for divorced guys.

Chii-chan, you're so mature.

Just because you really are in love with a divorced guy or can go on subsidized-dates alone does not make you an adult.

Even if it's a stranger if they touch you in the right place, it's pretty sensuous, you know.

A night of dirty jokes.

Jeez, keep it down.

Sexual desire is something that fluctuates depending on your mind or mood.

That does not only apply to me, but others too, I found out.

I wake up late in bed, a little wet down there...

Feeling horny, I sometimes touch myself a bit.

But as you get up and wash your face or eat French toast that horny feeling goes away.

Rather, my heart and body get unusually cold...

A feeling of being left behind alone.

And when talking to your girls don 't do anything to fill that gap.

That's when I feel an urge to be in my boyfriend's arms.

More than having sex, I just want to quietly cuddle together.

I have a stronger wish to have our skin touch and feel each other's warmth.

That is sexual desire to me.

Sexual desire!?

Of course I don't!

No way!

Liar! Whatever!

Dancing makes me forget.

Once we became bored of all-night clubbing...

Sachi began taking lessons.

Hey, Chisa, yo.

You hear the beat or what? Dance already.

You dancin' small. Do it right.

"I'll get sick of it soon", she said, yet here she still is half a year later.

Once the first term's over, I'm quitting school.

What? No way.

And then what?

Become a dancer. I passed the audition.

I've signed with an agency.

It's so out of nowhere.

I've planned it a long time, actually.

But don't pros need talent and luck?

I can't worry about that right now.

What about your parents?

My mom's on my case but my stepdad's not saying much.

I've only been coming to school to see you guys anyway.

Sachi does love to dance. Why not?

She could also wait to graduate.

This isn't the kind of thing you can wait on.

I was so frustrated when I had nothing.

I wondered if I could stick to anything.

But once I started dancing, I knew that was it.

Maybe a year or so from now I'll say...

"Wow, what a kid I was..." or maybe I'll have blown it off. Who knows?

I get caught up in things and I don't like that.

Which is why, I realized, it has to be now.

"She's right", I thought.

Something you feel vitally important can turn ordinary overnight.

I watched a documentary on "The Diary of Anne Frank" once.

Scary, but I cried 'cause I was moved.

Wow.

You forget what a big deal just walking around is.

In bed I thought...

Is that why we say "Anne" for our periods?

Would I go to Holland someday?

My thoughts were a tangled mess.

The next day, tho', they were all smoothed over.

Autopilot had kicked in, and I hated it.

So cool, Sachi.

Incredible.

Go Na-o! Go Na-o!

Sachi decided to become a dancer, I think... because she hated that feeling too.

She wanted an end.

He dumped you?

For Chii-chan, it was ending a relationship.

It was going so well, too.

I thought so.

But when he found out I was in 11th, it was over.

Dates have to be older than 20 and younger than 37, he says.

Age limits and "sell by" dates-- who needs 'em?

True.

I mean, you're right, but...

Chii, you've always tried to be more than you are...

'specially 'cause of your mom.

But why keep torturing yourself?

We could never know Chii-chan's real pain, of course.

The four of us aren't friends because we talk about everything.

We're friends 'cause we don 't ask questions we don't want to answer or keep quiet when others expect an answer.

Dieting, tough studies, breaking up with a guy-- it didn't matter. Finals came to us all.

On summer break, let's go to the beach.

Oh, let's go.

Sachi will be leaving soon.

And next year's there's entrance exams to worry about.

This year's it, isn't it? For us to enjoy summer.

Our last summer, really.

Shall we? To the beach?

Let's go.

Let's. Let's go, go.

We'll buy new swimsuits.

Yes, let's. I think Hiromi'll look good in seashells.

Seashells! Like Venus.

Seashells! Seashells.

Where you gonna wear them? I dunno, maybe I...

Toe rings aren't cool, you know?

I know what you mean. You can't see them in the sand.

They don't stand out so much, really.

At the beach, watches do and also rings.

Like here, and here.

A ring...

Will it look good?

The flow of time forces an end to everything.

Final exams, over. First term, over.

Sachi's high-school career, over.


I'm sorry, but we're closed.

It's all right.

Welcome. Nail care, perhaps?

And coloring.

This way, please.

What can we do for you?

This is my first time.

My fingers and nails look weird, so I can't color them right by myself.

I'm hoping you can help.

May I?

Filing will help, so don't worry.

As for shaping...

You're in high school, right? Oval, I should think.

Roundish, you mean.

That's right. It should be lovely.

Then that's what I'd like.

Well? What do you think?

Amazing! Like they're not even my hands.

I think I thought I saw you here once before.

You remember.

Plans for summer break?

The beach, all four of us.

JULY 19, 10:39 A.M.

Let's just watch a while.

Oh, you're cruel.

She seems so lonely when Sachi's alone.

Oh, air conditioning. Isn't that nice?

A high-pressure front from the north covers the south Kanto region today.

Blue skies. Air temp 29° Celsius. Humidity 46%.

Wind velocity, east by southeast at 5.5 m.

It's hot...

Oh, but here so cool...

I'm reborn.

Lucky us. No kidding.

Oh, a new watch.

After swimsuits, we'll do accessories.

Because we won't know. That's right--the color.

Now that's too much.

Disgusting, chasing high-schoolers in broad daylight.

That "Truth Under the Uniform" documentary?

No. No.

No. No. No.

Thank you very much.

Already?

Did my research. It was easy.

Here, how's this?

That one's good.

Is it? Should be.

I can't decide.

And you're set on the triangle type?

I want something, y'know, bold.

It's just...

My hair's kinda thick, y'know?

I love the cut, but in the waves...

It's just such a pain, is all.

How about that one?

It's not bad, but...

I guess it's like being told, "Your hair's thick so you wear this," y'know?

Says who, tho'?

A voice from above, or something.

Oh. Where's Hiromi?

Doing accessories.

That's rare. So, Sachi, huh?

Great, yeah.

At least look, will you?

Found it!

Hello there.

Looking at this ring? Yes.

Would you like to try it on?

Yes, please.

Chief, this customer...

How do you do?

She'd like to try the topaz.

Just a moment.

Pardon me. Here we go.

Please, try it on.

My heart is pounding.

It's pounding, my heart.

Like closing your eyes for your first kiss.

Like seeing your boyfriend naked for the first time.

My heart is pounding.

Where'd she go?

Hiromiii, where are youuu?

Ah. There.

And what are you doing?

Ooh, let's see.

Find something?

Oh, wow.

That looks great.

May I?

It's sooo beautiful.

Let me.

Like another world.

Lemme see.

Beeyootiful.

Excuse me. Thank you.

There's um, no price.

That would be because it's on sale.

Right now, it's 128,000 yen.

And you're open how late?

We're open till 9:00 p.m.

You want it right now, don't you, Hiromi?

Wonder if that guy's still around.

Huh? Oh, him.

What guy?

Downstairs, some weirdly well-dressed guy.

He said he'd give us 50,000 each, just to eat shabu-shabu with him.

Not here.

Downstairs. Shabu-shabu guy.

'Scuse us.

Yes? What is it?

You said you'd give us 50,000 each to eat habu-shabu.

Yes...

How'd you like to karaoke instead with all four for 120,000?

Sure, yeah.

Would you mind showing us the money first?

Okay.

Let's go, huh?

Let's go.

You know a place?

Uh-huh. A good one, nearby.

I do have, um, one small request.

What is it?

I'll tell you at karaoke. I can't say here.

Nothing about touching or showing breasts, I hope.

Oh, no, no. Nothing like that. No.

I'll tell you at karaoke.

I know what Chii-chan and Sachi are up to.

I appreciate it. But it's still not right.


So, can we ask your name?

Kakegawa. "Kake" from "Kakefu" plus "river".

So, Kakegawa-san... Yes?

Let's sing songs you really like.

"Really like" in what way?

Y'know, not just current stuff.

I know the new stuff pretty well, tho'. Don't I?

But we know older ones, too. Because of the music shows.

Such as? Such as Alfee, or Tulip.

You know Tulip? We do.

We don't want it to be just our songs, y'know?

Maybe I'll put in a request, then... Oh, good, please do.

CAN YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN ME ALREADY Chii must want to get it over with.

They must've been so naive back then.

How else could a song like that be a hit?

Times had to be good.

If it were a hit now, I think I'd have to do myself in.

Whatcha listening to?

Those messages.

I was wondering what other girls were leaving.

It's pretty amazing.

That's my song. Hold this?

Um...

You said before you had a request?

A request? Yes. And?

It's okay. Later's fine.

The mood's good now. Moods important, right?

Next message.

"Hi, I'm 17..."

"and want someone to subsidize my dates."

"I'd be happy with someone in their 30's or 40's..."

"and am asking 40, 000..."

"would like to get in touch ASAP. Call me."

"I'm 28 and work in an office. Subsidized daring sounds interesting."

"I'm 158 cm tall and weigh 43 kg."

"I'm a 16-year-old high school girl."

"I've nothing to do and would like to hang out."

"I'll be waiting for your call." Will that work?

Today, 10:11 a.m.

Next message.

"I'm 16 right now."

"But I've no boobs and I'm skinny."

"If you're some perv who likes no-boob girls, please leave a message."

Today, 10:12 a.m.

Next message.

"Hi. I'm 17 and a junior."

"I just, um, split with my BF so I'm, what, down?"

"If you've got the time, so do I. I'll be waiting."

Today, 10:12 a.m.

Next message.

Hey. What's wrong?

Hiromi, hey! You're up.

Well, then...

And what are those?

Muscats.


Put out your hand.

You needn't peel it.

Chew a few times, then spit into your hand.

Don't chew so much that it loses shape.

You first.


Now tell me your name.

It needn't be your real one.

Think of something appropriate, and tell me that.

Tono Namie.

Your reward.

Now you.

Same for your school.

Come up with some other name.

Aoyama High. Yanagisawa Tomomi.

Give the names due respect.

They mustn't be unnatural or, conversely, too ordinary.

Jissen Girls' Academy. Ito Miyuki.

No real names, now.

If you create it, it's still a part of you.

Do you see? It's your name for your other self.

We never talk about that middle-aged guy... and not because it's taboo... or we're trying to forget what we did.

It's because we don't understand him, nor do we want to.

We do now know, however, that in this world... there are those who'll pay 120,000... for grapes chewed by HS girls.

Here, take it.

We're not splitting?

Hell-o-o, what's this?

Hiromi wants to...

"Let's split it", she says.

But why? Don't know.

Reason unknown. Don't you want it--the ring?

Then take it.

I just... Just what?

Why not? We won't be mad. Tell us.

Hiromi...

I can't say it right, but... but... we did karaokefor it... so we should share, is all.

It's not I don't appreciate it. I do.

It's just...

I want us to stay friends.

You all mean a lot to me, and...

It's just...

I don't know what to say. I don't.


I know...

what Hiromi means...

I think.

"I want us to be equal."

Those were the words that came to me later.

Still, what a waste.

It looked sooo good on you, too, that ring.

You'll buy it someday.

I will buy it. Today, in fact.

Oh, yeah?

Hey, you can-- This. Use this.

That's nice, Nao, but isn't it borrowed?

I thought your policy was to always give stuff back.

It's okay. In this case, it is.

Here.

He had a laptop and was dressed pretty well.

He said he'd be in front of Hachiko all day, but if not, just leave it there.

Thanks.

Hah! Made it.

Wait up!

How would I buy the ring?

Hiromi, don't be afraid to page us, now.

Watch their stuff. They sometimes try to take pictures.

Got it? Mm. Bye!

And good luck!

How would I buy it?

We all knew subsidized dating was the only way.

If you want to do something, or there's something you want... if you don't pursue it right that instant... that desire deserts you.

Um, hello? Hello, Nao? Hello?

Hello. Nao-chan?

I'm her friend.

Where's Nao? I just left her.

And you are? Hiromi.

Hiromi-chan, huh? Nao's friend?

Right. I...

Look, did Nao tell you what's up?

Um, yes. Good. Has anyone called?

No. Oh... Well, okay.

Did you leave lots of messages so young boys would call?

Yes. That's fine, then.

I got called to Sangenjaya on business... and now I'm not back in Shibuya till nightfall.

Can you hang on to that a bit longer, then?

Feel free to use it.

I can? Absolutely.

You may get a call from a boy named Yoshio.

Will you ask him to come to the office?

Tell him I'll be waiting. Got it.

Because I've been waiting, and he hasn't showed.

I see. So what are you up to, Nao?

Um... That's right, you're Hiromi.

What are you up to? Well...

All right. Tah, then.

Hey.

Hey!

Gosh darn it.

THE TIME IS NOW: 3:17 P.M. VIVRE IS OPEN ANOTHER: 5 HRS., 43 MINS.

YOSHII HIROMI HAS A TOTAL OF: 44,560 YEN AND THE IMPERIAL TOPAZ IS: 128,000 YEN MEANING ANOTHER: 83,440 YEN...TO GO.

Thank you for calling Neruton Center "Pretty Club".

Main menu: To speak directly with a cool guy, press 1.

To exchange a message with a different guy, press 2.

Welcome to the Seeking-a-Partner message section.

To leave the caller a message, press 0.

To repeat the message, press 1.

Awright! Ooh, thank you!

To skip to the next message, press #.

Playing from the first message...

"Okay, I, um, live in Tokyo, and I'm 28."

"If we're just having sex, it's 20,000 yen."

"If you wear your uniform, I could go 40,000--"

"H-Hello. How's about, um, a little phone sex?"

"That's it."

"I'm 34, self-employed."

"I'm into video photography."

"I'm hoping for someone who'll model."

I'd prefer a nude high sch--"

"Hi, I'd like to subsidize-date, but I'd like to talk more first..."

"so leave a message. I'll wait."

"I want a friend who's got no hair there and a bald crotch."

"No pranks, pl--"

"I'm looking for a woman to, uh, go to the market with me."

"You must be young and pretty..."

"someone other guys slop to look at."

"I work at night, so call before 7:00 p.m.."

"I-I'm not some perv, I swear."

"If you really are good-looking, 50,000 yen's no problem."

"Please call."

"I'm a Tokyo office worker in his late 20's."

"I'd like a subsidized date. Someone 15 or younger--"

"Cute is cute. Call me--"

"Hello? Yes? Oh, I should speak."

"Good day. Evening? Let's see, I'm 24, in marketing..."

"and I like sexy women with really big, huge boo--"

"Hi there, this is Captain E*. Wanna hang out tonight?"

"Captain E * always comes thru with the cash."

"****ball will be waiting too. See-e-e ya."

"Uh, early 30's, single male."

"I know my way around, if you catch my drift."

"I can get it up tens of times. Sound good? Leave a message."

"I''m looking for a Woman to, uh, go to the market with me."

"You must be young and pretty..."

"someone other guys slop to look at."

"I work at night, so call before 7:00."

"I-I'm not some perv, I swear."

"If you really are good-looking, 50,000 yen's no problem."

"Please call."

"I-"

"My name is Hiromi."

"Hi, I'm Hiromi."

"I'm 16 and--"

Please begin speaking at the tone. When you're thru, press #.

"Hello, how are you? My name's Hiromi."

"I'm 16 and in high school. I go! your message."

"If you'd like me to shop with you, I will. "

"I've got a cell, so we can use that."

"I can't be out too late, so don't take too long."

"I'm 160 cm tall, and thin. I'll be waiting for your call."


Yes.

Um, is this Hiromi? Yes, it is.

I left a message... Thank you.

So, where are you now?

Shibuya. Near Vivre.

What are you wearing? School uniform.

Uniform... Ah, well.

We're just going to the market, right?

I'm thinking of going by the video place.

Would you maybe want to do both?

And what would we do there?

We'd, uh, rent a video.

Locking arms and looking for something to watch, like that.

I can't be out late, tho'... and even a short video'll take an hour and a half...

N-No, not to watch.

We'll just, y'know, look...

If you're really the right type, I'll pay.

Could you maybe come right now?

Where to?

I'm by Yamanote Street. Could you take a taxi?

All right.

Could you get a receipt? You don't look like a child, do you?

Maybe a little.

Because then we won't look like a couple, and that's a problem.

Plus, you're in your uniform.

I'll put on extra lipstick.

Also, I hate to say, I might not want you after we meet.

But I'll still pay for the taxi.

May I ask what your name is?

Uehara.

THE TIME IS NOW: 4:51 P.M. VIVRE IS OPEN ANOTHER: 4 HRS., 9 MINS.

OUT OF POCKET (ICED TEA): 500 YEN HIROMI HAS A TOTAL OF: 44,060 YEN AND THE IMPERIAL TOPAZ IS: 128,000 YEN STILL NEEDED: 83,940 YEN


"High-school girls these days, I swear- -"

There you go, you middle-aged men especially.

If you think about it, though, over the years...

Yes?

Hello?

W-Wrong number, I think. That's weird.

I'm, um, borrowing the phone...

What? Borrowing it.

Borrowed? Yes.

You're the daughter? Kobayashi's?

What?

He, um, said he had a daughter. You're not her?

Ko-Kobayashi, you said?

You borrowed his phone, right?

M-My friend borrowed it, actually...

Now see here... Yes?

You stole it, didn't you?

No. My friend. She borrowed it.

The name?

What? Your friend's name?

Nao.

Ah, ah. Nao, the one who Dj's at Club Ice on Wednesdays.

Yes?

That Nao.

No.

Which is it?

She's still in high school...

High school? Which?

That, I can't...

What the hell? You're making no sense.

Well? Where are you?

In a cab.

Okay, that's it.

Forget it. Tell Kobayashi I'm quitting.

Tell him, will you?

You'll see him when you return the phone, right?

He said he's at the office.

Who is? This Mr. Kobayashi.

When? Just a while ago.

Never mind. I'm not going.

Oh yeah, tell him the cat's sick, will you?

The cat?

Kobayashi's cat. A kitten.

It's sick, with green junk coming out its eyes.

I didn't know what to give it so I didn't do anything.

Won't last much longer, tho'.

We're here. This it?

Can I get a receipt?

H-Hiromi, I'm U-Uehara.

Hi.


The market I mentioned, and uh...

The video store. Can we do both?

It's close, the video.

In that case why don't we...

It's hot here.

I'm sorry. Sorry. I'm not used to it.

It's been a while since I talked to a woman.

On the phone I can... but when you're, near, like this...

Sorry.

I'm sorry. Sorry.

I'm sorry.

Sorry.

It's okay, really.

Actually... Now I'm thinking no.

Never mind.

For the cab. You can go.

How so?

Go home now. Now I don't want to.

Then... Wait! Let me walk you?

Just walk.

I'm sick, you know.

It's not habit?

Nope. Disease, doctor said. Of the nervous system.

Hard to cure, it seems.

A kind of tick, he said.

Tick?

Like when you, y'know, blink, involuntarily... or twitch your neck, or click your tongue.

Mine's rare, doctor said.

On the phone you were fine.

I covered the receiver y'know, with my hand.

It's just been...

y'know...so long... since I saw a girl like you smile.

Five years, maybe. Mm, five years.

This disease...or habit, or whatever...it's a real turnoff, huh?

I understand that.

And I smell, right? Plus I sweat a lot.

I do construction at night, so no time for public bathe.

I don't wanna, y'know, bathe, then sweat again.

After work I, y'know, drink, then sleep.

So I can't help it, but people don't come near me.

You hate the smell too, I bet.

So I don't go out much, but the market and video place, I need.

They don't like it. They call the cops.

Why? I'm loitering? I dunno.

I explained I have a sickness and don't really spit, but they don't apologize.

So, sometimes, I really do.

I can hear them, y'know?

"He'll never get a girl." "Plus, he stinks."

So that's why I left the message.

But you're the first who answered. I am?

Then when you smiled, I didn't feel like it.

Which is why I said go.

It's not like I can afford to get used to it, so...

And I got to see you smile.

Do they know what causes it? I know.

It tastes of my work.

What kind of taste? A taste like shit.

Right, you came by cab. How much?

660 yen.

Sorry, no change. It's okay.

But I promised. We'll just rent something and make change.

We appreciate your business.

The guy, that clerk who hates me, he's here. Him.

Never meets my eye when I rent a video... but always, always watching me.

So, Hiromi! Let's lock arms and talk.

Right here, you mean?

Of course here! I have to show you're my girlfriend.

Well? He's looking. Isn't he?

No, he's not.


So, Hiromi! What shall we watch?

Okay, you choose.

I'm not really-- Just pretend.

There's a lot, so take your time.

Me? That's right, choose.

Take your time.

Look from end to end... top to bottom...

ADULT Pick three.

Then we'll take them home and...

Look, I-- Just kidding.

Look well, though...

For me. But I did make a promise... so I'll rent one and that'll be it.

"Gulp It Up! Steamy Cheerleaders"...

"Shameful Girl: Mushroom Hunter"...

"Train of Gropers: I Got So Wet"...

"If My Back Goes Out, I've Got My Mouth"...

"Semen Club 2"... "Semen Club 3"...

"The Proud: There and Anus All So Loose"...

"I ♥ Pantyhose"... "Primavera for Spring"...

"Rape & Rape & Rape"...

"Sayuri Hosokawa: All the Way to the Wrist"...

"Giant-Breast Housewife: Milking It By Day"...

"Evil Sisters Hunting Male Roots."

"Brainless Paradise Girl: Suck It Up & Go"...

"It's True Nurses Are Wild"...

"Climactic Eruption: The Moment"

BY PERFORMER

HIGH-SCHOOL GIRLS

INDUSTRY


Look, I'm sorry!

WTF?

Thank you for your patronage.


Why? Why won't you answer?

I don't know what to... what should I what should...

don't know what to... what to what to should I... should I what to do...

Hello. Is this Hiromi?

Yes. Did Yoshio call?

Yes.

Did you tell him I'm here? Yes.

And? What'd he say?

He said the kitten is sick. He what?

The kitten. Sick?

Looks bad, he said.

Yoshio said that? Of course he did. Only he would.

He was at the apartment, then. Anything else?

Yes, he said he's quitting.

Quit what? What does he mean, quit?

Is he dumping me?

I wouldn't know.

Hello?

Hello?

Sorry. It was just such a shock.

Was it something I...?

Oh no, not at all. Don't worry about it.

What should I do with your phone? You're done with it?

Hiromi? Maybe a little more...

That's fine. Please do. I feel bad, tho'.

Actually you're helping me out. 'Cause I'm going back to the condo.

It's right near here. I'll be taking "Pri" to the vet.

Pri's the name. Of the cat. "Primavera." Nice, huh?

So let's see... You know that place called Hatfield?

Yes.

Second floor, 8:00. How about it?

All right. 8:00-ish is fine too.

Nice place, Hatfield.

Maybe Yoshio will even... Guess not.

Um... Yes?

I hope your cat makes it.

Thank you. Bye, now.

THE TIME IS NOW: 5:44 P.M. TIME LEFT TILL 9:00 P.M.: 3 HRS., 16 MINS.


EARNINGS: 50,000 YEN

YOSHII HIROMI HAS A TOTAL OF: 93,400 YEN AND THE IMPERIAL TOPAZ IS: 128,000 YEN MEANING ANOTHER: 34,600 YEN...TO GO.

"Hi there, this is Captain E*. Wanna hang out tonight?"

"Captain E* always comes thru with the cash."

"****ball will be waiting too. See-e-e ya."

Please begin speaking at the tone. When you're thru, press #.

"Hello, how do you do? My name is Hiromi. I also..."

Yes, hello? Hello, Captain E* here.

Oh, hi. I'm Hiromi.

****ball asks if Hiromi is a high-school junior.

I'm a junior.

Know how Namiki Bridge follows Meiji Street?

It's ****ball who's asking. I do know.

****ball is here now. Would Hiromi mind telling ****ball that?

I know it. There, ****ball, you see?

What about further south... the Sarugaku bridge that crosses the JR line.

In Sarugaku? Uh-huh.

Hm? What's that?

Captain E * will be wearing a black hat... with a blue jacket and yellow backpack... waiting beneath the Sarugaku bridge. He will? Okay, he will.

I'll be in my high-school uniform. With a black backpack.

Ah, that'll be nice.

Does Hiromi go to Seishin? Seishin Girls' Academy?

No.

****ball is worried. Will Hiromi really show?

I'll be there.

Thanks. Until then.

Okay.

THE TIME IS NOW: 6:37 P.M. TIME LEFT TILL 9:00 P.M.: 2 HRS., 23 MINS.


"Are you Hiromi?"

"Yes, I am Hiromi."

"How do you know sign language?"

"My mom does volunteer work."

"She taught me."

"Ah. Go up around the other way..."

"and we'll meet up there."

I wanna hotel.

A love hotel.

THE TIME IS NOW: 6:53 P.M. TIME LEFT TILL 9:00 P.M.: 2 HRS, 07 MINS.

You have a thing for Seishin girls? Seishin?

On the phone, you asked...

There was a bad time with a Seishin girl once.

She stood before the house all night with a can of kerosene.

And there was late-night choking with a stocking once.

That's way too scary.

That one went to Seishin. Blood type A. Pisces... from Tottori prefecture. The youngest child.

May ****ball be taken out? Please do.

Poor ****ball. Was it dark and scary?

Don't worry, I won't put you back in.

Can I take his picture? Sure.

So sorry.

****ball has a name for private use.

It's not ****ball?

That's for the one on Michael J-Son's shoulder.

This one's got a name all his own.

What is it?

Names can't just be revealed like that. Not so easily.

Like in ***'s favorite movie, Les Dimanches de Ville d'Avray.

How can he not mind showing how weird he is... by taking to his doll like this?

Isn't it 'cause he'll never see you again?

Exactly. If you think it's the last time, you can say anything.

Like breaking up.

"Scratch away shame when on a trip." Wait, wrong proverb.

True. My connection to him would last a few hours at most.

This is when I realized:

I was a woman whose time was bought with money.

Can I ask you something?

Yeah? ****ball, Hiromi has a question for ****ball.

"Yes?" he says.

How'd you two meet?

It must've been over 10 years ago.

End of the year before my mother and father divorced. Yeah, over ten.

The three of us went on vacation, to Florida, to D-World.

That was my first and last vacation with my father.

Captain E* was just starting there.

It wasn't at D-Land in LA, and for sure not at Tokyo D-Land.

Over three days, I saw the movie more than ten times.

I met ****ball at the souvenir shop on the second day.

Soon as I said wanted ****ball, my dad bought him for me.

That was the first and last time I saw a movie with my dad.

Dad looked bored and fell asleep... even tho' the movie should have been fun for adults too.

Still, he sat thru it with me ten times.

****ball's real name came from my dad.

That's how we're the only ones to know it.

How 'bout the one ahead? Um, how much...?

"How much will I get?"

"How much do you want?"

"Around 40,000."

Fine. You'll get it when we're thru. All thru.

Welcome. Choose a room from the picture panel.

Room 403, "to rest".

I haven't much more than an hour.

Don't worry, an hour's plenty.


You hungry? No, but thanks.

That looks like the menu. You'd best get something.

I have to meet someone at 8:30.

That's not for another 75 minutes.

I'll pay for it myself.

Don't be silly. 74 minutes, now.

Chicken pilaf, then.

You subsidize-date a lot?

Today's my first time, like this. Like this?

Coming to a place like this to make out.

Why haven't you before? Because I haven't wanted to.

So why now? There's something I want, so...

Yes? Nothing.

A Gucci bag, or...? No.

Ah. A ring, right?

That it?

So it's a ring. How'd you...?

You have pretty fingers. It'd suit you, I thought.

Really? That's nice to hear.

I'll let ****ball know.

****ball.

Hiromi says she'll buy a ring.

Oh, no, what's this? Are you okay?

I can fix that for you.

You've got stuff to do it? Mostly, yeah.


I'll go get it.

Oh, dear. I'm sorry.


Eat first.

First-aid, first.

Has it gotten cold? A little. But still good.

You're the type who makes me want to open up.

So I'm told.

That's right, ****ball. Shall we ask her?

Ask what?

If a god appeared from nowhere and said he'd grant one wish... what would you ask?

A wish, huh?

Anything. But just one.

A trillion yen, maybe. Money, I don't need.

But I thought you said you wanted a ring.

It's not the ring.

What, then? You won't laugh?

What?

I want my boobs bigger. Boobs?

'Cause they're kinda small.

I'm happy otherwise, more or less.

But boobs, yeah.

But why boobs when you could have the world's best mind?

You mean be smartest in the world?

Sounds like a lot of work.

Do all high-schoolers think like that?

Probably.

What about you, Captain E*?

Me? What would you ask for?

I've no idea.

I'm always thinking, but I can never come up with anything.

Right, ****ball?

There's white stuff, I bet.

Like what that one had all stuck up herself.

I hate that junk. Make sure you clean it out.


Come here.

She should listen, ****ball, shouldn't she?

If she doesn't, I may kill her.

Come here.

You do as I say. Look, I won't kill you. Just listen.

Hey.

Hey, now what?

They're not that small.

Did you clean the white stuff? Did you clean it out?

Looks like you did.

You're naked. I'm dressed.

You're not supposed to be here.

Some guy you don't even know... How can you be naked like this?

Everyone's got someone who needs them. Don't they?

Maybe that someone's heart is breaking.

Maybe that someone is half dead with suffering, ready to cry.

How do you think they'd feel... to know the girl so important to them was naked before some strange man?

Huh? How d'you think they'd feel?

You don't know a thing.

Do you think no one would care to see you like this?

Huh?

You're here, naked... and you're killing someone half dead with grief over it. Well?

Do you understand at all? My God.

You.

Yeah, you.

I was gonna use this.

Zap you, fuck you like a corpse, run off with your money.

I was.

But I'll let you off.

I liked talking to you, plus you fixed ****ball.

So I'll pay you for your time. At India's rate.

We were together a little over an hour, so I'll be generous and pay you for two.

My God.


Where are you going?

There's nowhere to go.

What will you do?

I've no will for anything.

There's no one you'd like to see?

No one. Who could I tell this to?

"Well, then, what will you do?"

I have to return the phone.


9:00 P.M. - STORE CLOSED Hello, are you meeting someone?

Hiromi-chan?

Have a seat.

Hiromi, were you crying?

Oh, that's right. Thanks to you, Pri's fine.

What? He made it.

He'd been acting strange. It was an internal organ condition.

They're so delicate, purebreds.

Dogs too, but mongrels are tougher.

You like cats, Hiromi?

I like dogs better, but cats too.

It's a strange thing.

Cat people like dogs. And dog people like cats.

Cat people? Cat people.

They're self-centered.

Dog people, they're dedicated. I'm your classic dog-person.

I got a call from Yoshio.

Probably for the last time, but still we fought...also for the last time.

He hardly heard me, being so young.

I didn't listen much either, at his age.

And now I'm some hack writer. Why should he listen?

You're a writer?

I script variety and music programs. Sometimes screenplays for dramas.

An industry guy, then.

I guess so, sure.

Say...

This is something I heard.

"You're here, naked, and you're killing someone half dead with grief over it."

What does that...?

It means a kind person, whoever said it.

It's a way of saying, "You have value."

"You mustn't degrade yourself."

Your nakedness... your very existence, has great value, to someone.

That alone breaks that someone 's heart.

Welcome home.

I'm back. What's wrong?

I'm tired.

Find a good swimsuit?

You should be proud of your mom. She took 12th and 14th place.

And after she cramped and dropped out last time, too.

Here, check this out.

Well? A man's dream, neatly laid out.

Hiromi sees it, Father. Don't be a pest.

Now put away your toys, and have it cleared by tomorrow.

Yeah, yeah.

There goes my dream, barely an hour old.

I'll help you clean. Don't bother.

You eat? Yeah.

What'd you have? Pilaf.

Pilaf, huh?

Guess I'll turn in. I'm tired.

'Night.

It's... Yes.

Good night. Bed already?

'Night, then.


And of course, I had no ring.

Why would I?


You resent how kind your family can be.

Yes. But I don't hold it against them.

I'm the one who went astray.

And what of the ring?

I don't want to give it up. But I haven't the nerve.

You haven't the nerve to pick up afier a failure.

When Sachi started dance lessons, weren't you planning to join her?

But she's so ahead of me now.

When Nao saved money to buy her computer, it made you feel guilty.

I felt I'd been stung by needles.

When Chieko started to really grow up... you felt you'd been abandoned.

There was nothing to do but be lonely.

It's hard when friends move on.

Missing out does make you feel alone.

But as time goes on, your need for that ring will move on too.

Clinging to that need will be like... forcing yourself to hang back and be lonely.

Being adult is a difficult thing.

I'm not sure I'm up to it.


"P.S. You're the only one I'll tell ****ball's real name to:"

"Mister Love & Pop."

THE DREAM OF YOSHII HIROMI THE NIGHT OF JULY 19, 1997:

I was feeling my way thru a dark, narrow, underground hallway.

At the end there was a big, old refrigerator.

The door was covered with rust and was heavy.

It made a nasty noise when I opened it.

Inside were some dogs, all frozen solid in various poses.

The nearest one, I embraced. It thawed in my arms.

It wagged its tail and started barking happily.

From the day we pledged our lives Though we've some wonderful memories That flower we looked at back then That one we called beautiful Those two hearts who did that Are gone and will never come back Oh, for that wondrous love again Oh, for that splendid love once more

The sky beneath which we sang of the red dragonfly Though not a bit of it's changed That setting sun back then That one we went chasing after Those two hearts who did that Are gone and will never come back Oh, for that wondrous love again Oh, for that splendid love once more


Oh, for that wondrous love again Oh, for that splendid love once more

As if because standing alone, in a wide-open field Though I may not mean to, tears come overflowing That wind, it might blow, but we were The ones who'd never change we said Those two hearts who did that Are gone and will never come back Oh, for that wondrous love again Oh, for that splendid love once more

Oh, for that wondrous love again Oh, for that splendid love once more Oh, for that wondrous love again Oh, for that splendid love once more