(airport bustling sounds. Miyoko walks up to Kazusa.)
Miyoko: I got one, Kazusa-san. It’s for an eleven o’clock flight. There was one cancellation in First Class.
Kazusa: Really? That’s great. Thank you, Kudou-san. Sorry to make you do this on New Year’s Day.
Miyoko: Oh, not at all! All I do every year for New Year’s Day is eat New Year’s soup with my family and then go to sleep.
Kazusa: I see… I really am sorry, interfering with your family gathering like this.
Miyoko: I promise, you don’t have to worry about it that much.
Kazusa: Being together with your family is important.
Kazusa: And it’s a happy thing, too.
Miyoko: Then, you must be happy right now, Kazusa-san. You were able to spend the New Year’s holiday together with your wonderful mother.
Kazusa: I… suppose you’re right.
Miyoko: Well, as a director, she does tend to make a few too many unreasonable requests—oh, and let’s keep that off the record, please!
Kazusa: I’m sorry, Kudou-san. I hope you’ll keep taking care of the office, and Mom.
Miyoko: Yes. Please leave it all to me.
Kazusa: All right. I think I’ll be all right on my own from here on, so… Thank you.
Miyoko: Let’s meet again at your next performance in Japan, Kazusa-san. I will do everything in my power to assist you!
Kazusa: That… I’m sorry. It probably won’t happen.
Miyoko: Huh? Why?!
Kazusa: It just… can’t.
Miyoko: That’s no good! You’re just about to become a huge hit in Japan, no doubt about it. As an employee of Youko Touma’s office, I cannot simply stand by while you let this ideal opportunity to sell slip away from you!
Kazusa: I’m just a pianist.
Miyoko: There’s no “just” about it! You have the hook of being Youko Touma’s daughter, and those looks! Even outside the matter of your piano talents, you have more than enough going for you to sell!
Kazusa: You’re even more of my mother’s ideal employee than I imagined, Kudou-san.
Miyoko: And that’s not all, of course! The day that your piano playing captivates all of Japan is upon us. And everyone in Japan will love you!
Kazusa: Sorry, but I can’t believe in a future like that.
Miyoko: Why do you think that?
Kazusa: Because I’m a dropout. I couldn’t make it in Japan. Everyone who loved me, everyone I loved, they’ve all left me.
Miyoko: Why did it end up that way?
Kazusa: Because I loved them, I’m sure. I didn’t know… the correct way of loving the people who were dear to me.
Kazusa: That’s why there are no people I love, or people who love me, in Japan any more. There aren’t… and there never will be.
Miyoko: (sighs) If that’s really what you believe, please read this. (she hands Kazusa a magazine.) See if you can remain so contrary after reading it.
(Kazusa looks at the magazine.)
Kazusa: This is…
Miyoko: It’s the same thing I showed you yesterday. The latest issue of Ensemble, with a feature on Kazusa Touma.
(Kazusa hands it back to her.)
Kazuza: I don’t like gossip articles like this. I’m sure it’s just insulting me in amusing ways.
Miyoko: You’re wrong. You’re completely wrong! This article was unmistakably written by a major fan of yours!
Kazusa: I don’t have fans. I haven’t played nearly enough in Japan, you know?
(Miyoko pushes it back at her, desperately.)
Miyoko: Please, just read it.
(Kazusa opens it and reads.)
Kazusa: What the hell is this…?
Miyoko: Well? What are your thoughts?
Kazusa: It’s a billion times worse than I imagined.
Miyoko: Yes, I suppose it might look that way at first glance…
Kazusa: Is it my fault for being an illegitimate child? Is it really so wrong that I don’t know who my father is?
Miyoko: The point is that, in spite of that, you didn’t hate your mother. That Youko Touma, the cool, skilled pianist, was a major source of pride for you.
Kazusa: How is this the sort of thing you decide to broadcast to the public? How does this belong in a classical music journal?!
Miyoko: And that’s why you wanted to be recognized. You struggled desperately to be recognized. But you weren’t, so all you could do was rebel.
Miyoko: That’s how much you loved your mother.
Kazusa: No! All of that is just speculation!
(Kazusa turns the page.)
Miyoko: Ah, that’s from your high school entrance ceremony. There haven’t been any other photos of you smiling like this.
Kazusa: What’s so wrong with skipping? Who cares that I was a delinquent?
Miyoko: It even mentions in detail how many days you skipped in those three years! It really is impressive that you graduated.
Kazusa: Why is this reporter so bothered by the fact that I didn’t make any friends?
Miyoko: It was troublesome for your classmates and teachers, wasn’t it? I think that’s what they’re trying to say.
Kazusa: (turning the page again) I’m not seeing any sign that the person who wrote this article is a fan of mine! This is more like—ah…
Miyoko: It does seem a bit like a lecture, definitely.
Miyoko: But… a lecture that’s full of love and affection. I can’t help feeling that.
(Kazusa turns the page and gasps.)
Miyoko: At first, I thought this article was unfavorable for a lot of reasons, since it doesn’t hold anything back. But the director was raving about it, and gave it her full approval. I thought that was mysterious, so I read it again, and started to wonder… Maybe it looked like it was insulting you, but it really wasn’t. Maybe it was praising you highly, even though it didn’t flatter you. I started to get the sense of a strange sort of love there.
Miyoko: And, more than anything, it goes into incredible detail about Kazusa Touma as a person. When I thought about how much dedicated research must have gone into this…
Kazusa: There was no research.
Miyoko: What? Of course there was! This kind of detailed article can only be written by careful, thorough gathering of information…
Kazusa: This person knew everything from the start.
Kazusa: Who wrote this? Who wrote this article?!
Miyoko: W-well, maybe if you ask the editorial department, you can find out…
(Kazusa begins searching frantically.)
Kazusa: I… I need my phone! Where’s my phone?
Miyoko: Oh, it’s in your suitcase.
Kazusa: Then, a payphone!
(Kazusa runs off. Miyoko calls after her.)
Miyoko: Ah! Kazusa-san, if you don’t mind using my phone, I have it right here! Wait! It’s almost time to board!
(airport sounds fade; flashback. Kazusa plays the piano.)
Kazusa: So, are you going to be a novelist, or what?
Haruki: Nah. I’m well aware that I don’t have that kind of literary talent. So I think it might be nice to be a reporter, or an editor—something that lets me convey my own opinions to people in writing, anyway.
Kazusa: That’s a pretty modest dream. Suits you perfectly, Kitahara.
Haruki: Maybe it’s modest, but for now, it’s my dream. I’d say it’s perfectly equal to your dream of being a pianist, Touma.
Haruki: Do you have to scoff at literally everything?
Kazusa: But you’re going into politics and economics, right? So, what, will you be a newspaper columnist? In one of those departments?
Haruki: For politics or economics, yeah, probably. I’d like to leave myself more possibilities than that, but… Man, what should I do?
Kazusa: Don’t ask me that. I don’t even know whether I’m gonna graduate. You can decide your own plans for yourself. (she stops playing.) Hey, break time is up. Time to play together.
Haruki: Roger. (he gets ready to play the guitar again.) I’m gonna make it through with no mistakes this time.
Kazusa: Yeah, we’ll see about that.
(they begin to rehearse “Todokanai Koi.” Music continues into next scene as flashback ends.)
(Kazusa picks up the payphone and dials.)
Kazusa: 0, 9, 0, 3… Why…? I only called him once, three years ago. Why do I remember this number?
(the phone rings.)
(sound of phone picking up.)
Machine: The phone whose number you have dialed cannot currently be reached, or may be turned off at the moment…
(Kazusa slams the phone down. It beeps.)
Kazusa: Ah… hah.
(she laughs bitterly.)
Kazusa: Of course. This is just our fate, isn’t it?
(airport sounds resume.)
Kazusa: Well, I’m going, then.
Miyoko: Are you really all right with this? You could extend your stay until tomorrow, if you wanted to.
Kazusa: No, I’m good. I’m pretty sure I just jumped to the wrong conclusion.
Kazusa: Oh, do you think I could bring this magazine along with me, though? So I can read it in my spare time on the plane.
Miyoko: Yes, of course!
Kazusa: God, still, this woman really isn’t photogenic at all.
Miyoko: Even so, this picture is going to be showing up a lot more from now on. It’s the first step in the legend of Kazusa Touma, after all!
Kazusa: Tch. What’s that supposed to mean? This country is so strange.
Miyoko: So, you may be having trouble getting your feelings in order right now, but the next time you perform in Japan…
Kazusa: All right. For the sake of your salary, Kudou-san—no, Miyoko-san—maybe I’ll think about it before too long.
Kazusa: As if. First, I have to get big enough to hold a solo concert to begin with…
Miyoko: That will be very soon, I just know it! I’ll be waiting!
Kazusa: Thanks. Well, see you around.
(Kazusa starts walking.)
Miyoko: Be well! I look forward to seeing you again!
(Kazusa keeps walking. Her voice begins to echo as she addresses an imaginary Haruki.)
Kazusa: Be well, huh?
Kazusa: Hey. How are you doing?
Kazusa: I’m working hard at it.
Did you know? I was the runner-up in that competition I entered recently.
I’d say that’s pretty impressive.
I’m way ahead of you now.
Serves you right.
So, you’d better keep working hard, in your own quiet way.
(her voice stops echoing.)
Kazusa: Bye, then.
(plane takes off.)