New Year’s Eve, 2016
(Kazusa sighs sleepily.)
Haruki: Hey, Kazusa!
(Kazusa groans. Vacuum turns off.)
Haruki: Wake up already!
Kazusa: You’re too loud, Haruki.
Kazusa: Is that anyway for a husband to act?
Kazusa: Your wife is sleeping comfortably…
Kazusa: Can’t you just lie down next to me and stroke my hair?
Haruki: I’ve been doing that for the past four hours.
(She yawns again.)
Kazusa: What time is it, anyway?
Haruki: In Austria time, it’s December 31st.
Haruki: The time is 10:30 a.m.
Kazusa: What? Come on, it’s still morning.
(She turns back over.)
Haruki: Exactly. Get up.
Haruki: And wash the sheets, will you?
Kazusa: After all this time, you’re still such a drag.
Haruki: That’s because, after all this time, you haven’t changed your lifestyle at all.
Kazusa: What do you want from me? It’s winter.
Kazusa: You’re the abnormal one, getting up at dawn every day.
Haruki: That excuse isn’t gonna work today.
Haruki: It’s New Year’s Eve.
Haruki: We have to get all our cleaning done before the day is over.
Kazusa: Oh, I guess so. All right, give it your all.
Kazusa: I’ll keep myself stashed away over here so that I don’t get in your way.
(She burrows back under the covers.)
Haruki: You need to help, too.
Kazusa: No way.
Kazusa: You’re the one who’s always telling me to focus on playing the piano instead of chores.
Haruki: If you ever actually woke up and played the piano, maybe I would accept that excuse.
Kazusa: Forget about that. Come lie down with me, Haruki.
(She reaches over and grabs Haruki, trying to drag him into bed.)
Haruki: Hey, no, let go of me.
Haruki: Quit trying to drag me in with you! Quit being so clingy!
(She lets go.)
Haruki: Ugh, come on!
Haruki: How did you grow up to be such a slacker?
Haruki: You were so reliable back when we were doing the school festival.
Kazusa: That’s because all I was doing was teaching you how to play an instrument.
Kazusa: If you tried to get me to do any chores, you would have realized right away.
Haruki: I’ve failed.
Haruki: I made the wrong life choice.
Kazusa: True enough. My condolences.
(She turns back over.)
Haruki: No, don’t go back to sleep!
Haruki: At least get out of bed!
Kazusa: White Album 2
Kazusa: New Year’s Eve, 2016
(Breakfast dishes clinking.)
Kazusa: Hey, Haruki.
Kazusa: Give me some of your jam.
Kazusa: Hey, aren’t you my husband? How can you treat your wife so coldly?
Kazusa: It’s a straight line from here to domestic violence.
Haruki: You just had some.
Haruki: An entire jar’s worth.
Kazusa: Which means I don’t have any more.
Kazusa: My theory still stands.
Haruki: If you haven’t had enough to eat, have some of my salad or eggs.
Haruki: Every day, every single day…
Haruki: You eat nothing but leftover fruitcake from Christmas…
Kazusa: There’s still a lot left over. What else am I supposed to do?
Kazusa: Are you aware of the globally-known word “mottainai”?
Haruki: I’m pretty sure using up an entire jar of jam on one slice is more mottainai.
Kazusa: And yet, the fruitcake just won’t go away.
Kazusa: Who was it, exactly, that decided to bake this much of it?
Haruki: Yes, I was the one who baked it.
Haruki: But what are your thoughts on the true mastermind,
Haruki: who bulk-ordered the dried fruit online and then left everything else up to me?
Kazusa: Oh, hey, Haruki.
Kazusa: Get me the honey from the cupboard, will you?
Haruki: Too much…!
Kazusa: Apricot jam it is, then.
Haruki: That’s not what I meant!
Haruki: All right…
Haruki: The laundry is just about done now.
Haruki: Cleaning the windows, I guess.
Kazusa: Hey, Haruki.
Haruki: What is it now?
(She hugs Haruki from behind.)
Kazusa: I’m bored.
Haruki: You’re in the way.
Kazusa: I can’t believe you.
Kazusa: Treating the breadwinner of your household like a nuisance…
Haruki: I mean, you are genuinely getting in my way.
Haruki: Following me around, trying to climb on my back…
Haruki: If you’re not going to help, at least get out of the apartment.
Kazusa: If you keep treating me like this,
Kazusa: I’m going to fall out of love with you…
Kazusa: and then, in thirty years, we’ll get divorced. That’s the risk you’re running.
Haruki: Late-marriage divorces…
Haruki: are normally put forth by the one who’s been forced to do all the chores for years on end.
Kazusa: Ugh, I’m sick of this.
Kazusa: We could play a game, or take a nap, or have sex, I don’t care. Just spend some time with me.
Haruki: Do it by yourself.
Kazusa: What are you talking about?
Kazusa: I can’t do the last one by myself.
Kazusa: Exactly how are you planning on taking responsibility for this?
Haruki: Argh, I have no idea what to do with you any more…
Haruki: Huh? Hey, someone’s here.
Kazusa: So it would seem.
Haruki: You know, since I’m in the middle of breaking my back here…
Kazusa: Are you telling me to go receive our visitor?
Kazusa: I’ve told you, I never open the door…
Kazusa: even when I’m here by myself.
Haruki: Are you bragging about that? Is that a point of pride for you?!
(Doorbell rings twice.)
Kazusa: Hey, hurry up.
Kazusa: Our guest is leaving.
Haruki: Seriously, I can’t even—!
(He struggles, with Kazusa on his back.)
Haruki: Get down. Get off of me.
Kazusa: I’m the breadwinner, you know.
(He tries to push her off.)
Haruki: Oh, no. You’re heavy, and a pain, and shameless…!
(Doorbell rings two more times.)
(They bring in the package.)
Kazusa: What is this? A home delivery?
(Haruki inspects the box.)
Haruki: Hmm, it’s from Japan… Oh, it’s from Youko-san.
Kazusa: From Mom? What could it be? A year-end wine gift, maybe.
Haruki: It would be way cheaper to have it sent from somewhere local…
Kazusa: Hurry up and open it.
Haruki: I know, I know.
(He opens the box. Packaging crinkling.)
Haruki: What is this? It’s weirdly heavy.
(They get a good look inside.)
Haruki: New Year’s food?
Kazusa: Wow. That’s remarkably thoughtful, coming from Mom.
Kazusa: What is it, what is it?
(She picks up one of the food containers to examine it.)
Kazusa: Ooh, black soybeans, sweet potatoes with chestnuts, rolled fish omelets…
Kazusa: And there’s a lot, too.
Haruki: Hang on.
Haruki: Why is there only sweet stuff in here?
Haruki: Where’s the red and white kamaboko?
Haruki: The prawns? The sea bream?!
Kazusa: Hey, calm down.
Kazusa: Look, there’s kobumaki and tazukuri in there, too.
Haruki: Aren’t both of those also pretty sweet?
Kazusa: Nothing wrong with that.
Kazusa: This is the Touma Family Flavor…
Kazusa: passed down from mother to daughter.
Haruki: All of it looks like ready-made stuff from a department store…
Kazusa: God, Haruki, do you have to pick apart every little thing?
Haruki: What’s up?
Kazusa: There’s herring roe in here.
Kazusa: I’ve never eaten it before.
Haruki: O-oh, wow, really?
Kazusa: What does this mean…?
Haruki: Yeah, I dunno.
Haruki: Errr… “A very happy New Year.”
Haruki: No, it’s not the New Year yet…
(He types again.)
Haruki: “Kazusa and I are both very pleased with the wonderful food you sent.”
Kazusa: Hey, Haruki.
Kazusa: If you have the time to be sending a pointless email like that, come and help me.
Haruki: Thank-you letters are important, right?
Kazusa: You always waste so much energy on needless considerations like that.
Kazusa: That’s why you’re so busy all the time.
Kazusa: You can cut corners now and then.
Kazusa: It’s just Mom, anyway.
Haruki: Argh… Whatever.
(He gets up and goes over to Kazusa.)
Haruki: What are you doing?
Kazusa: Hang on. I swear I put it somewhere around here…
Haruki: Looking for something?
Kazusa: Oh, found it.
Kazusa: Haruki, help me carry this.
Haruki: Huh? Wait, are you—is that—
Kazusa: Ah, it’s warm…
Kazusa: It’s so warm, Haruki.
Kazusa: All I need now is some tangerines and I’ll be set. Even frozen tangerines would be fine.
Haruki: No, look…
Kazusa: Hey, Haruki. Come in here with me.
Kazusa: Or are you not a fan of the kotatsu?
Haruki: Why are you using a kotatsu here in Vienna?!
Kazusa: Well, we got all this nice New Year’s food, so I figured…
Kazusa: Why not spend the New Year in true Japanese style?
Haruki: What’s a kotatsu doing in a house in Vienna in the first place?
Kazusa: When I was living with Mom, we brought it out every year.
Kazusa: This takes me back…
Haruki: Now that you’ve got something like that, you’re never going to come back out, are you?
Kazusa: You only get one chance to stay in on New Year’s Eve.
Haruki: How am I supposed to let you get even more lazy?
Haruki: Also, just so you know…
Haruki: We’re going to that New Year’s concert tomorrow afternoon, and after that, we’re taking a night flight straight to Tokyo.
Kazusa: Listen, I don’t care about that any more.
Kazusa: I’m staying snuggled up in here until the first three days are over.
Haruki: No, you’re not.
Haruki: If this machine is gonna make you so useless, I’m putting it away.
(He tries to take the kotatsu away. They struggle.)
Kazusa: Wh-what are you doing?! Let go!
Haruki: A pianist belongs in front of the piano, not burrowed into a kotatsu.
Kazusa: Come on! It’s almost the New Year already!
Haruki: Nope! You can mess around as much as you want, so just play the piano.
Kazusa: Why?! I play piano on all the other 364 days of the year!
Haruki: And if you play it one more day, you will have done it for the entire year! Perfect!
(She stops struggling.)
Kazusa: Hmph! Demon manager!
Kazusa: Fine. I’ll do a lesson, then.
Haruki: All right,
(He starts to move the kotatsu.)
Haruki: then I’ll put the kotatsu away and get started on dinner preparations…
Kazusa: Huh? What are you talking about, dummy? You’re coming, too.
Kazusa: I told you, I’m doing a lesson. What am I going to do without a student?
(Haruki plays piano, badly.)
(Haruki stops playing.)
Kazusa: All right, do it over, from the beginning.
Haruki: U-um, could we take a short break, maybe?
Kazusa: We just started!
Haruki: My fingers can’t move any more…
Kazusa: Making a girl play for ten hours every day, and you can’t even manage one hour…
Kazusa: You’ve got no hardcore determination.
Haruki: Demon pianist…
(Kazusa plays the piano.)
Kazusa: Unbelievable. I guess I’ve known this since we were in high school…
Kazusa: but you have no artistic sensibilities whatsoever.
Haruki: I’ve never practiced piano before! It’s only natural that I can’t play it!
Kazusa: You hear the best performance in the world on a daily basis, don’t you? Try refining your sense of pitch.
Haruki: “Best in the world” is an exaggeration. I’d say you’re in the top 100 at most.
Kazusa: Wanna run that by me again?
(Haruki goes silent for a while and listens to the piano.)
Haruki: I’ve known this since we were in high school, but… you really do look cool while you’re playing an instrument.
Kazusa: Have you fallen for me all over again?
Haruki: I never fell far enough out of love with you to need to do it again.
Kazusa: Huh. How bold of you… You could have told me that when we were in high school, you know.
Haruki: Oh, no. I was terrified of you back then.
Kazusa: Shut up.
Haruki: And… I admired you a lot.
(Kazusa stops playing.)
Kazusa: You admired me?
Haruki: Piano, guitar, saxophone, bass, drums, keyboards… you could play anything.
Haruki: And you were good at all of it.
Kazusa: Well, I was training hard.
Kazusa: For a certain someone’s sake…
Haruki: And your hair was beautiful, your face was just my type…
Haruki: And your voice… suited you? Or…
Kazusa: You were really looking at me like that, back then?
Kazusa: You do have a weird aesthetic sense.
Haruki: Shut up…
Haruki: Anyone would say that you, as you were back then…
Haruki: Kazusa Touma, as she was back then…
Kazusa: Quit talking and play already. Here…
(Kazusa starts to play the piano.)
Kazusa: Even though you’re so terrible at it…
Kazusa: Even though you have no artistic sense, I still let you play.
Kazusa: You gave meaning to my own playing.
Kazusa: So, my piano…
Kazusa: is something you should play.
(They go silent as Kazusa plays for a moment.)
Kazusa: It’s snowing.
Kazusa: Look out the window.
Kazusa: Look, Haruki.
Haruki: O-oh, yeah.
Haruki: Sheesh, does it normally fall with this kind of timing?
Kazusa: It’s almost too perfect.
Haruki: Kinda feels like the conversation we were just having was something fake.
Kazusa: Well, your outlook is as twisted as ever.
Haruki: Never thought I’d hear that from you, of all people.
(She stops playing.)
Kazusa: It’s really coming down hard now.
Kazusa: Maybe everything will be pure white tomorrow…
Haruki: Oof, I hope not.
Haruki: It’ll be hard to go out.
Kazusa: That lack of sentimentality is one of your bad points, Haruki.
Kazusa: No wonder you’re so lacking in artistry.
Haruki: The hardest part will be having to drag along a certain someone, who hates going out and always grumbles and groans about it…
Kazusa: Oh, right…
Kazusa: We never did finish the deep cleaning.
Haruki: I wasn’t able to get this kotatsu put away, either.
Kazusa: Hey, nothing wrong with staying in for New Year’s from time to time, right?
Kazusa: Snuggling up in the kotatsu…
Kazusa: Eating our New Year’s food…
Kazusa: Watching the snow…
Kazusa: This is Japan.
Haruki: We’re in Austria.
Kazusa: Hey, Haruki…
Kazusa: Get over here.
(He scoots in next to her.)
Kazusa: What time is it?
Haruki: The new year starts in five minutes.
Kazusa: In Japan, the Red and White contest will have ended…
Kazusa: and the temple bells will have started to ring, right around now.
Haruki: Well, taking time differences into account…
Haruki: In Japan, all of that ended about eight hours ago.
Kazusa: See, this is exactly what I’m talking about.
Kazusa: The thing where you lack sentimentality.
Haruki: Heh… Next year, huh…?
Haruki: What kind of year should we make this one?
(Kazusa snuggles up.)
Kazusa: I don’t really care.
Haruki: Still don’t want anything out of life, I see.
Kazusa: I already have just about everything I’ve ever wanted.
Haruki: And what are you going to do with that?
Haruki: You’re aiming to be the number one pianist in the world.
Haruki: You could try to sound a little more fired-up.
Kazusa: Then, maybe I’ll… play a concert with the three biggest orchestras in the world?
Haruki: You’ve already done two, so that just leaves one.
Haruki: That should be no problem.
Kazusa: A world tour?
Haruki: Really?! You’re really gonna do it?!
Haruki: If you’re serious, I’ll start putting a schedule together!
Kazusa: See, the reason I can never talk about any of my ambitions…
Kazusa: is that, the moment I carelessly happen to mention anything…
Kazusa: there’s a certain savage manager around determined to make all of them happen immediately.
Haruki: I, no, look, well…
Kazusa: Yep. Maybe you do have a point, though.
Kazusa: Okay, there is one more.
Kazusa: One tiny little ambition…
Kazusa: that I want to fulfill the moment the new year starts.
Haruki: If it’s “tiny,” it’s not an ambition. Hey—!
(She moves in very close, practically on top of him.)
Kazusa: In Japan…
Kazusa: there’s a certain event known as hime-hajime.
(Haruki becomes flustered.)
Haruki: O-oh, yes, that.
Haruki: I believe that event takes place on January second…
Haruki: and there are various theories about what exactly the event entails…
Kazusa: Just kidding.
(She moves back.)
Kazusa: Happy New Year. Let’s make this year a good one.
Kazusa: And now, you say…
Haruki: R-right… Happy New Year.
Kazusa: And now it’s been fulfilled.
Haruki: Uh? What has?
Haruki: That tiny ambition you just mentioned?
Kazusa: Yeah, that.
Haruki: We give each other New Year’s greetings every year.
Haruki: Do you have some kind of fixation?
Kazusa: I just thought it would be nice to hear it back from you.
Haruki: You’re so weird.
Haruki: You know we’re going to keep doing this every year, for the rest of our lives.
(Kazusa giggles happily.)
Kazusa: Hey, Haruki…
Kazusa: C’mon, let’s do it.
Haruki: Under the kotatsu? Won’t that be a bit cramped?
Kazusa: What’s wrong with that?
Haruki: No, come on, we might as well move to the bed…
(Kazusa moves in and begins caressing him.)
Haruki: H-hey, don’t clamp on like that…
Haruki: Ah, hey—
Haruki: Not so suddenly—!
Kazusa: Shh. Just let me.
Haruki: Hey, Kazusa…!