Daikichi drives Haruko home where Aki and Yui are waiting. The girls ask where Takuma is. Haruko says he's at the snack bar. She tells Yui that her father had gone home, too. "Where's your Obaa-chan?" Aki: "I dunno. Maybe at the Ama Cafe?" Haruko tells Aki that the two of them will have a talk upstairs. Haruko and Aki are in the 80s room, recalling the time that Haruko told her about her dream on becoming an idol.
The TV director is impressed by what the two girls are doing for the town. He wants to feature them for an interview in a local news magazine show called "It's 5:00! Wanko Channel!" "If the reception is good, we might have you on the show as regulars." Aki says she would have to ask her mom about this to which Daikichi replies: "I'll ask her for you. Just leave it to me." On the other hand, Yui who is well-aware of the idol business asks the director a series of questions: "Will there be a stylist? Make-up artist? Will we have costumes? Can we check the VTR in advance before broadcasting it?" Afterwards, despite the "good chance" of being famous, Yui voices her anxieties to Aki. "TV is so unlike the internet. you never know who may be watching... It's almost like a debut..." She says she wants to consult Hibiki about it. Aki says she will have to follow what her mom decides. She relates how Haruko does not think Aki will become an idol since she called her (Aki) "ugly" once. Yui reacts strongly about that. "You're not ugly at all! You have the makings of an idol. Your mom doesn't know anything about being an idol!" Aki assures her that her mom, when mad, does not know what she is saying and most probably did not mean it. Then Haruko arrives for her shift at the shop, and the two girls quickly leave. At the shop, the four guys (Daikichi, Sugawara, Yoshida, and Hiroshi) are lined up at the counter looking tensed, as they get ready to talk to Haruko. "What is it now?" She knows something is up. The guys then inform her of the TV offer. Haruko asks the same questions that Yui had asked ("Will they have a stylist? Make-up artist? Costumes?..."). Daikichi is confused, "How come you know all that?" Haruko: "I just know." They tell her: "Though it's only shown locally, the publicity for the town is going to be great...." Haruko asks what Yui thinks. Hiroshi: "She would likely say yes because she wants to become an idol." Haruko says she sees her former self in Yui, and t
The announcement of the Idol election results is underway. Aki: 'At the time, the members of GMT are about to be bestowed judgment in the Hole.' The girls are watching the event live through the internet. Meanwhile... Aki's filming of her drama debut has also started. Cast and crew are ready to film in the studio. Takuma is also there watching while listening to ongoing live event at Ueno through his smartphone. Hiromi acts her scene of pressing the apartment doorbell of a certain 'Shimada-san' but Aki as Neighbor C, opens the other door and says her line way too soon. "Cut!" shouts the director. Koike the AD, tells Aki to wait for her cue before coming out. "I was here giving you the cue, didn't you see it?" Aki: "What's a 'cue'?" AD: "Oh, it's 'prompt'." Aki: "Prompt? Okay, yes! (Later) What's a 'prompt'?" AD: "It's a signal to open the door." Aki: "Oh! You should have said so! lol" The cameraman shouts, "Okay, (clapper)board!" Aki: "What's a 'board'?...
"Times like this, I regret I got married to a fisherman..." Natsu says, not knowing that Chuubei is behind her. "He just can't sit still. Why can't he just relax for awhile..." Her husband apologizes to her. "I guess I am not old as I thought I was. I really want to stay on land but if I do, I'll really become really old. Natsu-san, if you stay with an old geezer, you'll become an old biddy, too. I can't allow that. I can't allow Natsu-san to become an old biddy." (T.T) Natsu turns to him and says, pretending to be furious, "I'm already an old biddy! Better off without you. If you continue to be around, I'm gonna suffocate in this house... Everyday, washing your clothes, making your lunch, fixing your drink... I'm gonna be the first one to die..." She tells Haruko to contact the photo studio and to have them take a new funeral portrait of her husband. "I'm sorry, Natsu-san," Chuubei apologizes again. "This year is gonna be the last." Natsu: "That's what you said last year. And the year before that. Hurry up and go to India! Don't ever come back again." "That's what you said last year." Chuubei says with a rueful chuckle. "And the year before that." He and Natsu smile knowingly at each other. So everyone holds a goodbye party for Chuubei at Bar Rias that night. Chuubei asks everyone to watch over his family while he's away. Afterwards, they all say goodbye to him outside the shop while inside, Haruko asks her mom if she's really okay with it. "Aren't you lonely?" Natsu reiterates her favorite saying, "Those who leave will not be pursued." Haruko: "You do say that but even so, you ARE lonely when they leave, right?" Natsu: "Don't go saying stuff as you please. This fool!" Haruko, still hinting about what happened 24 years ago, says, "Even those who leave, you would want to send them off properly, right?" Chuubei's well-wishers go back inside, this time with Congressman Adachi and Takuma. Takuma asks Ben if it's okay he joins the party considering he doesn't have any
After the Honki Dori, Anbe immediately leaves Kitasanriku on board the train. Everyone sees her off and wish her the best. Haruko makes it in time to say goodbye, and to apologetically return Anbe's video game. Anbe tearfully confesses to her how she really felt when Haruko left. She says she hated Haruko because she planned on being an Ama only during high school and wanted to go to college, and be an office lady or something. "But you left so it was hard to leave the club. I worked while doing Ama but I couldn't replace you... I put pressure on myself. Now I look back and it all seems stupid. We are nothing alike!" Haruko says sorry, and "Yes, we are nothing alike. I am not kind like you." But Anbe says since she came back bringing her good child Aki, all is forgiven, and the two hug it out. As Anbe leaves, her replacement as clerk at the Fishing Co-op arrives. She's Hanamaki Tamako, a tough-talking single mother. Now that the Ama season has ended, Aki and the rest of the ama-sans have nothing to do but sigh and be bored. So to while away the time, the Amas and amber miner Ben are making misanga* bracelets as a sideline. Tamako comments how they're only noisy during the summer. "You're like cicadas!" Meantime, Aki's video of her catching the uni was uploaded and has garnered a million views, even surpassing Yui's. People are also posting positive comments ("She's cute!" "I wanna go and see her!"). But at the beach, tourists who do come to see her, are disappointed to find out that the Ama tourism is over. Daikichi and the others feel frustrated over this. At the cafe, they analyze why Aki has become popular. Hibiki (Camera boy) says it's because the Japanese people all root for the underdog (Aki is the tortoise in "The tortoise and the hare"; the ant in "The ant and the grasshopper") but as a fan of Yui, he's hoping that Yui would be able to strike back. While this was happening, Yui has gone inside Ben's amber mine. She shouts at the top of her lungs inside
It is February 2009, and snow has begun to fall on Kitasanriku and will continue on til May. In school, Isono-sensei is announcing the results of those who passed the qualification exam. He calls on those who who failed ("The rest has passed!"). Aki is unaware since she is listening to the portable music player Santa-san had given her. "Huh? What about me?" "You passed, too." "Jejeh... I did it~!!" She runs off leaving Isono-sensei's class without permission.
In contrast to Haruko's angry departure from Kitansanriku 25 years ago, Aki is given a warm and proper send-off by her Mom and friends, complete with flag-waving and happy banzai cheers. Inside the train, Daikichi gives mother and daughter some alone-time before departure. Haruko asks Aki if there is something they need to discuss. But Aki turns away, saying they've already talked about everything last night. She looks out the window, somewhat feeling reluctant to leave. All the while, her mother tries to give her some motherly, last minute advice.
Aki begins her diving training but has a hard time reaching the uni at the bottom. During her vending chores at the train station, she sees Hibiki again, taking pictures of Yui who was posing willingly like a model. Aki wants to thank the man for helping her pass the underwater test but he is rude to her, and tells her to "buzz off, ugly." Aki gets mad and throws uni at him. Despite that, she was able to talk to Yui who remembers her from before. Yui says she has a blog and that is how Hibiki got in touch with her, asking if he could take pictures of her. Aki is in awe of Yui's prettiness, and was delighted to be invited by her to some town activity the next day. It turns out to be volunteer work, making parade floats for the city's upcoming Autumn Festival. Aki feels happy being with everyone but feels sad that she will be leaving soon. Yui, on the other hand, loves to talk about Tokyo (even though she's never been there), and does not seem to notice the beauty of her own hometown. Aki decides to forget about her sadness, make the most of her remaining time and see all that she can about Kitasanriku. So she goes with Oda Ben (amber miner) and visits the amber mine that he himself had dug up. Here, she is able to let out her feelings by shouting: "I don't want to go back to Tokyo!! I want to stay in Kitasanriku forever!!"
Due to Aki's video, more customers want to see and take pictures of Aki. They also request her to fetch them some uni. Aki tries but fails as usual. Back at the Co-op, they all wonder about Aki's sudden popularity considering she's just an ordinary high school girl. Hibiki suddenly shows up and explains that the town is having a "boom" phenomenon, wherein "even the ugly ones can have the spotlight." By "ugly", he means Aki of course, which upset the Ama-sans. At the Tourism office, Aki's video is garnering more and more views (but not as many as Yui's yet). They figure that Aki's "entrance as a rival" benefits Yui's popularity, therefore the whole town as well. However, Daikichi is concerned about one thing: The Ama season will soon be over. Still, more customers come to see Aki and ask to catch them some uni. She tries but fails and yet when she reemerges one time from the sea, there is an uni in her basket! "How did it get in there?" Haruko says it's impossible while Natsu reassures Aki that it was a legitimate catch and that she has passed. Aki is joyful but it was only short-lived after she realizes that it was actually Anbe who had been giving her the uni. She is upset about the "sham" but the Ama-sans tell her it is for the benefit of the customers (who come from faraway places just to see her catch some uni) since Ama tourism is also a "service industry." Despite the talk, Aki feels she still is not a real Ama yet. And now that only a week remains before the Ama season ends, she feels more and more depressed.
Everyone tries to ignore what Chuubei said by continuing on with the singing. But Haruko turns off the music and declares that the party's over. But Aki keeps asking everyone what Chuubei meant regarding her mom wanting to be an idol. Haruko tells her to quit it. "Can't you see no one wants to talk about it?!" She says people in the countryside like to pretend that everything is fine even if, so to speak, there is an elephant in the room. With the mood ruined, the party goers call it a night. (Feel so sorry for Aki T.T) In bed, Aki who couldn't sleep, is counting uni. She couldn't wrap her head around the notion that her mom who used to be a Sukeban, had also wanted to be an idol? But then, things her mom said before - her prejudice against the "idol life"... Could it be something had happened in the past? Next day in school, Aki realizes she had never heard her mom ever sing before, not even a lullaby. Yui says she had asked her father about it. "Dad said your mom had joined and won singing contests before." So after school they go to Yui's house to do some investigating. Adachi Isao shows Aki old pics of her mom winning singing contests from around the prefecture when she was young. And at the Co-op, they show Aki the karaoke machine they used when Haruko would sing on the eve of her father's departure. Katsue: "She was a sweet girl when she was singing... but sometimes she and Natsu would have their differences." By then, Aki is convinced that her mom definitely wanted to be an idol. But why did everyone kept it a secret from her? Aki wakes up late and rushes for school while her family eats breakfast. Haruko, irritated by the presence of her husband, keeps asking him to go home. Chuubei meanwhile mentions he will go and have his annual medical check-up. In school, Aki sees that Taneichi has bought a similar misanga for himself, prompting Isono-sensei to assume they are a couple, and proceeds to tell everyone about it ("Scoop! Scoop!"). Yui arrives telling
Promotions for the opening of KitaTetsu's parlor train have started. Tickets worth 5,000 yen each are sold out in just a few hours. The official name of the girls' group was also decided as "Shiosai no Memory." The trainmasters and the Tourism Office are hopeful this could save the railway from closure, as Ikeda the director documents every step. Daikichi: "This is like... like... 'Spartan X.' " Ikeda: "You mean 'Project X.'" Daikichi: "Yeah, yeah! Like Project A (1)." Yoshida (to Ikeda): "Sorry, he belongs to the Jackie Chan generation." Hiroshi and Shiori arrive late and they apologize. The men explain towards the camera how the event will go. There'll be 2 round trips, each leaving Kitasanriku Station, stopping at Hatano for a 30 minute stop-over (toilet break and picture-taking) and return again to the main station. Meanwhile, Yoshida teases Hiroshi and Shiori, asking if they are dating since both came in suspiciously late at the same time. Hiroshi says "That's not important right now." Shiori: "Not important?" Yoshida: "Yep, not important, huh~!" At the shop, Aki and Yui continue to practice their singing. Yui is trying but her mind seems to be somewhere else while Aki has not improved at all. Haruko: "Aki, do something about showing the whites of your eyes. Those who see it might get scared!" Takuma is also there, watching the two practice. Afterwards Aki and Yui are outside the shop, waiting for the next train ride. Yui is exhausted and frustrated that her singing has not been going well. Aki is more cheerful, saying it's fun that they'll get to sing, eat on a moving train while watching the beautiful scenery. "And I wish Taneichi-senpai will come and see us. I wish I can I go (with him) but you know he'll surely come back because he says he likes it here." Yui, hearing Aki go on and on about Taneichi, loses her temper. "I'm not playing here! For you, this may be your way of making memories of high school life but this is a starting point for me! It's my
Parents of the the two girls are having a meeting with TV Director Ikeda at the Tourism Office. He says the girls will be featured in a segment of the show called, "Come Meet an Idol!" Haruko frowns on the word "Idol." Ikeda assures her it's about high school girls who are doing something good for their community. "The townspeople will also be interviewed and talk about the tourist attractions..." But Haruko is also concerned about their privacy since the camera will also be entering their homes and school. She warns that dangerous guys will find out their addresses and they will come stalking and torment the two girls, making their lives a living hell ("Are you prepared for that?!"), scaring Aki to tears. Yui's Dad, Isao tells Haruko she's thinking too much: "They'll only be on TV once, it can't bring about that much damage." Yet Haruko turns to Yui, saying she is more worried about her. "You're being used by the countryside for its benefit... buttering you up with comments of 'You're cute! You're cute!'... getting pushed (or giving you ideas) to go to Tokyo, you must think hard about this!" But Yui speaking in the local accent says: "Doncha worry. I too will be using the countryside." The others are surprised by this, and Haruko relents. "But on one condition," she says, "I want a deadline for you guys using the girls for your 'machi-okoshi'." Daikichi proposes three years ("Because if we don't gain a profit, they will close down the railway in 3 years"). But Haruko demands it should be "up to March of next year." So the TV crew descends on the town, recording interviews with everyone involved: Ama-sans, the Trainmasters, the Amanos, the Diving Department. Their interview segment is shown on TV followed by the two girls. Aki and Yui come on the show (which was live) wearing their respective uniforms. It was going fine (except when Aki gets pricked by the uni) until they get cut off by a news announcement. Because of the show, they expect many tourists to come fo
Aki comes home to hear her mother and grandmother laughing about something, which was really unusual. But as soon as she comes in, Natsu gives her the cold shoulder and goes straight to bed. At the Fishing Co-op the next morning, the Ama-sans find it boring without Aki around and wish that Natsu will forgive her already. Meanwhile, Aki and Yui are talking. Yui shows a bitter side of her that Aki has never seen before. "Aki-chan talking in our dialect sounds fake and unnatural, I feel like you're making fun of us." But Yui apologizes right away and reiterates that she does not like the countryside and wishes to leave for Tokyo as soon as possible. "I can't see the way you see my hometown." She also reveals that she wants to be an idol someday. At the Tourism Office, the list of Miss Kitatetsu candidates are finalized and among them are Yui and Kurihara Shiori (Secretary at the Tourism Office). The winner will represent the railway line and help promote it. Then, Hiroshi comes in, for he was hired at the Tourism Office, with the help of Daikichi. Hiroshi is tasked to make the town's tourism webpage. Hiroshi makes it so that people can vote for the candidates by clicking on their pictures on the website. They also ask Hiroshi, "Who did you nominate?" and he replies, "Aki-chan," which was greeted with exclamations of surprise ("Jejejeh!"). At school, Yui tells Aki that she has decided to accept the candidacy for "Miss Kitatetsu" even though she thinks it's embarrassing and lame. "It sounds like being an idol of train otakus during the early days, it's not a past that I want people to find out." But for now she has no choice but to accept it, as a favor for Daikichi's help in finding work for Hiroshi. "If he (Hiroshi) stays unreliable, I couldn't leave home... Well, since I'm in it, I might as well aim for the top prize." Aki admires Yui's confidence and determination. At night, Aki could not sleep and for some reason, gets up and goes to the second floor of the hou
One week to go before the thanksgiving fanmeet of KitaTetsu, Yui, and Aki, to take place inside the new parlor train. Meanwhile at the shop, Daikichi has decided to take on a more assertive approach towards Haruko now that her divorce has been finalized. "You know, the parlor train will have a trial run tonight." Haruko: "Is that so?" Daikichi: "Not anyone can go onboard yet but if you like..." Yoshida comes in to tell him the trial run has been cancelled because they could not remove the image of a mouse (on the train). And lately, Hiroshi and Shiori have been getting along well. They're at Bar Rias with Shiori showing off her "mahjong" manicure to him, annoying Sugawara who is sitting nearby. "Don't bring your office romance to the bar. You're making the liquor taste sour. Right, Misuzu-san?" While Misuzu is infatuated with Takuma who gives her an amber bracelet. Ben-san, knowing that Misuzu has a history of eloping with guys, is irritated by them, too.
Aki: 'But if we do not persist here, then it'll be dismissal for us. GMT is without name recognition... So with a sense of crisis, we started our promotional activities.' The girls psyche themselves up as they start their own fanmeets. "Let's take the world!" "GMT!" "Let's get outta the Hole!" "GMT!" "Let's quit our part-time jobs! Let's quit getting allowances!... We are... GMT6!" During their events, they'd set up flags and announce the schedule of their fanmeets. They'd sing and dance to AmeJo's "On the Calendar is December" while people pass by, not really interested enough to stop and look. There'd be a few otaku photographers taking their pics. Aki has also asked Anbe to cooperate. She is asked to serve mamebu of course, as well as specialties from the other regions, and to promote it around the Tokyo Edo theater. The girls are happy with the dishes Anbe is serving, like Zunda-mochi of Miyagi; Tebichi (stewed pig's feet) and pig's ears Chiragaa of Okinawa and Saga's Grilled Mutsugoro (blue spotted mudskipper). The girls start offering the food to the guys waiting outside at the theater. "Those who are waiting outside, thanks for the hard work!"
Phone calls keep pouring in, inquiring about Aki. News has spread that Yui and Aki will be doing a collaboration. Yui is not pleased because they were not even consulted to begin with. But Aki says she's okay with it. Yui tries to dissuade her since she knows Aki is not used to such things that Yui is doing (dressing up in "cosplay," being bombarded by cameras). Daikichi says not to worry because they will be standing guard and even suggests that Yui could help Aki out by "dressing up as an Ama and sell unidonburi". Without realizing it, he mentions the word "rivals" and somehow Yui suddenly changes her mind and agrees to do it. (Apparently, it's a sign that she hates to lose). Next morning, Aki and Yui do what they're told to do. The ride is jam-packed with happy passengers, taking their pictures and buying unidonburi while Daikichi and Yoshida are just over the moon. Back at the Amano home, Natsu and the rest frantically churn out more unidonburi to sell but are running out of uni. Rokuro tells them that more kilos of uni will be arriving from another village. Haruko wakes up to the ruckus and is surprised to learn about the collaboration. That night everyone is celebrating the fact that for the month of September, the KitaTetsu has finally earned a profit. "I don't even remember if this ever happened before!" an emotional Daikichi exclaims. But Haruko is not rejoicing. She tells Daikichi she will not allow Aki to do what she did that morning. "It's unsightly, turning my daughter into a spectacle." But Natsu defends the decision, saying there is nothing wrong with it. "The Ama tourism IS a service industry. It's a long cherished dream to have more customers." Haruko asks Aki if she's really okay with it. "Is this what you stayed here for?" Aki replies, "If I'm helping everyone, then I'm fine with it." However, when going home, Aki looks pensive, seemingly doubtful of her own response. Back at the bar, Sugawara and Daikichi talk about how their perception about
The atmosphere is gloomy at the Fishing Co-op as Aki's return to Tokyo draws near. A touching moment passes between Natsu and her granddaughter when she feeds Aki with sea urchin for the last time. "Don't you forget the taste." Hiroshi also bids Aki farewell, gifting her with free curry tickets from a shop in Tokyo. That night, the Ama-sans and the men discuss and lament about the mother and daughter's impending departure. The women insist that Daikichi propose to Haruko so she won't have to leave. Natsu chooses not to do anything about the situation, quoting her favorite line: "Those who leave will not be pursued.* " Meanwhile, Haruko wants to ask Aki if she really wants to leave. But Aki, bottling up her true feelings, says she's fine about returning to Tokyo. Natsu comes home, and goes straight to bed early, ignoring the fact about their leaving. "Gotta get up early. Better go to sleep." Haruko remembers that those were also the words she said the last time when Haruko left home 24 years ago. "If there's something we have to talk about, you always turn a blind eye and pretend to sleep!" The next day, the Ama-sans gather at the house to say goodbye, except for Natsu who went to the beach to gather seaweeds. Daikichi is supposed to propose but backs out. At the station, Aki hesitates to ride the train home. Haruko asks her what she really wants to do but Aki still says she's okay with it. Just in time, Haruko steps off the departing train and pulls Aki with her. The train leaves without them. They go back to Natsu's home, much to the delight of the grandmother.
But Aki reminds the Ama-sans that Haruko is strongly against her being in the entertainment field. She mockingly mimics her mother's exact words, making the Ama-sans laugh. Just then, Haruko arrives asking them what was funny. "Oh! Surprise to see you here!" Haruko: "Just thought to have lunch here once in a while... What is it?" Amas: "No, nothing! Welcome, welcome!" Haruko goes inside the Cafe and sits at a table. Natsu asks Aki when will the festival be held. She replies, "Thursday, is it okay?" Natsu: "Sure. Leave it to me." Natsu goes in and asks Haruko if it's ok to borrow Aki on Thursday. Haruko: "Sure, go ahead." Natsu tells her granddaughter that it's a go. Aki: "Oh, no! I can't back out now!" At the Tourism Office, Aki gives them her proposal, "Ama-sonic." "It is for Yui-chan, just a one time thing. Not really a revival of 'Shiosai no Memory' but a quiet event for a limited time, only for the duration of the 'Ama-sonic'." Ikeda: "It HAS to be a grand event, it can't be helped! We'll prepare a special live coverage." Aki tells Hiroshi to invite Yui to the Ama Cafe. They ask if she has asked her mother about this.
Aki gets introduced to the pretty girl. She's Adachi Yui, same age as her. She's also the sister of Hiroshi (guy at the pachinko parlor). Their father is congressman, Adachi Isao who was also a former high school teacher of Haruko, Sugawara, and Daikichi. By this time Aki is trying to sound like a local by speaking with a Sodegahama accent. At the cafe, Daikichi and the Ama-sans gossip about "Yui-chan's older brother," saying he dropped out of college, also quit his part-time job in Tokyo, and is now jobless. (Actually, Hiroshi tells Haruko at the pachinko parlor that he has recently gotten a job watching out for poachers at the monitoring hut overlooking the beach.) At home, Haruko tells Natsu she is thinking of letting Aki stay for the whole summer break. "She has changed. She was usually quiet and somber back in Tokyo. But here, she is livelier and happier." Natsu asks her, "Which do you like better, your hometown or Tokyo?" Haruko still chooses Tokyo. Natsu tells Haruko, that Sodegahama, "the land that you abandoned", is still the best place to be. "Aki isn't the one who needs to change, it's you." Back at the cafe, Aki listens as the older folks lament about the dire lack of successors for the Ama. She too feels sorry for the town which she has gotten to love. At the beacon near the sea, she contemplates on what to do... and while doing so, she recalls being called "plain, gloomy, and uninteresting" by her mom and friends. "No, no, no, you're wrong!" She shouts, runs, and jumps off into the sea. From the monitoring hut, Hiroshi sees what she did through his binoculars. He panics and sounds the siren. Natsu and Haruko hear it and run towards the beach.
Aki starts her first days of training as an Ama. Being a rookie, she is tasked to do simple chores first (cleaning the beach, assisting her seniors, showing hospitality to customers), and is not expected to dive yet for uni. When the tourists leave, the older women teach her the proper basic sea-swimming techniques. By night, she is exhausted and falls asleep at the dinner table. At this time, Haruko informs Natsu she is getting a divorce from her cab driver husband. "So that is why you did not want to go home," Natsu says. She also tells her, "While you're here, get a job to help pay for our living costs." So Haruko accepts the job of manning Natsu's shop (both as cafe and snack bar). She starts working the next day at the cafe. Daikichi drops by and both recall the day when she left. "I hated the countryside, and its lame people, including you and myself," she said. But Daikichi says he had loved her ever since back then. He still believes that their city's time will come. He gets up to sing and for some reason, chooses a karaoke song from 1984, "Ghostbusters." Aki, meanwhile, rushes to finish her train station job selling unidonburi so she could head out to the sea. Before she is taught to dive, she must first pass the test of holding her breath under the water for one minute. So far, she has not succeeded yet. And just when Haruko is back home, filling up her divorce papers, a man driving a Tokyo cab arrives in town. It is her husband and Aki's father, Kurokawa Masamune...
Aki is so flabbergasted to see her supposedly dead Ojii-chan, looking alive and well that all she can say is "Jejejejeh." He gets off at a station and Aki tails him. He is apparently heading straight to the Amano house where Haruko is currently questioning her mother. "Me and the Co-op president are having an affair?" Natsu just laughs at the insinuation. She tries to leave saying she has made a promise to someone. Haruko is demanding who it was when the man arrives. "Welcome home!" Natsu greets him joyfully. It was indeed her husband, deep-sea fisherman, Amano Chuubei. "You've gotten old!" Chuubei greets his stunned daughter, Haruko. After she recovers from her shock, she accuses her mother of deceiving her. "You placed his picture on the altar. Of course I would think he's dead!" "You thought of that on your own but I didn't say he was dead," Natsu just says, matter-of-factly. Friends come to the house to welcome back Chuubei. They've decided to close the bar for the night and celebrate and drink to Chuubei's homecoming at the Amano home. They talk and laugh about his "death" and Natsu's "affair" (She was just asking Rokuro at the Co-op, whether he received any radio message about the arrival of Chuubei's ship). Aki asks, "But why did Natsu-bappa say you died last year?" Natsu says that's how she prepares herself every year when she sends him off. Chuubei: "Every time I board the ship, I'd tell Natsu to 'Think of me as dead.' " But Haruko was not having any of it. She also tried telling her father about her separation from her husband but only got a nonchalant "Oh, I see" from him. Haruko: "Aren't you supposed to comfort me?!" But her complaints only got drowned in the merry noise of the guests. Aki and Yui (who has arrived for a visit) are told to go upstairs by Haruko. Yui sees the 80s room and flips out. "This room is awesome!" She is so impressed by it that she decides to sleep over. Back at the party, Haruko has had too much to drink, and rambles on and
The next morning, with Chuubei around, there are 4 of the Amano family eating breakfast. But for now there's also Yui, plus the women who are helping out with the unidonburi preparation. Chuubei is not used to be called Ojii-chan by Aki. "It feels only yesterday that Haruko left, and now I have a granddaughter." He adds: "I wish you (Aki) were small so I coulda hug-hug you and lick your face." (Haruko is like "Yuck... stop it" lol) Later after Aki finishes her unidonburi chore, she goes to meet her grandparents at the cafe. They just came from a date around town. They tell Aki and Hiroshi that they've been married for 44 years. Hiroshi does the math: "So if he's home for only 10 days, you've only been together for 440 days." Aki says she envies how their long-distance relationship keeps their love afresh: "Thanks to the sea." But it's not the same for her own parents though... Masamune, in Tokyo, is on the phone with Haruko. He is ecstatic about Aki's popularity on the internet. However... "Don't come here!" Haruko tells him. Masamune wants to visit Aki on her upcoming birthday but she insists that he must not come. "Aki says she will get her diver's license and get a job here. There is no need for you at all." That night, Aki tries telling her Grandpa why she ended up in Kitasanriku. After listening to her confusing story, he says "I don't get half of it but I reckon you like it here." Aki says she loves everything about the town and the sea. Chuubei says it's the best place to be and that he is sure of it since he's been all over the world. The next day, Chuubei visits Aki during her practical training at the diving pool, and cheers her on. He meets Isono-sensei and Taneichi, and reminisce about the days of being a student there. Afterwards, Aki is scheduled to meet with the guys at the Tourism Office. There, she is introduced to a somewhat smug-looking man wearing light-colored sunglasses. "You seem rather plain-looking than I expected," he says, eyeing Aki.
Aki reacts with "Jejeh... Jeh!" as she realizes tomorrow is her birthday. But the third "Jeh" is for something else... Taneichi had earlier given her a wrapped item. Before he could explain what it was, they were interrupted by Isono-sensei ("Did you record the show?!"). So in her room, Aki opens the gift and found a misanga bracelet inside (made by the Ama-sans at the Co-op). "Did Taneichi-sempai knew it was my birthday?" She wants to thank him but does not have his phone number. She calls up Yui instead. "Is it really for your birthday?" Yui says, doubtfully. Aki reiterates: "But it's a misanga!" Aki thinks that the gift could mean something promising - love-wise*. Anyway, Haruko comes home finding her husband at the house. "I told you not to come!!" Aki wants to talk to her mom about her birthday but Haruko dismisses her off saying now is not a good time. At night, Aki sleeps in the 80s room (which is by now her official bedroom) and dreams of giving a misanga to Taneichi but he turns into Isono. She wakes up to find her father sleeping next to her and she (as well as the rest of the family) is put off by him. The next day, Aki finishes her train job a bit late and is told by Daikichi to wait at the shop so he can get his car (to drive her home). It turns out everyone is in the shop to give her a 17th birthday surprise party. They bring her an Ama cake adorned with chocolate sea urchins (really cute!). Then Yui brings in Taneichi which rouse some teasings from the rest. "Is he perhaps your rumored Helmet Sempai?" (lol) They also did not spare poor Hiroshi-kun from their good-natured ribbing: "Look look, Stove-san is red with anger." "Is this Stove VS Helmet?" (Haha!) "I'm okay. I've already gotten over it," Hiroshi says sullenly as he gets himself a long drink. (XD) Aki and Taneichi have a moment alone together outside the shop as the party gets going inside. He tells her the bracelet is actually for "goodluck" for her upcoming qualification exam. Aki asks
"I'm Amano Haruko, high school sophomore student, 17 years old. Please listen to my song, 'Hatsukoi' (First Love)*." Haruko covers her face in embarrassment as she and Aki listen to her 17 year old self. She remembers recording this song in her room using the cassette recorder and the Fishery's karaoke machine. At the shop, Daikichi, Masamune and the rest listen to the same copy of that tape. Daikichi had been listening to that tape throughout the years ("kept it in the fridge to preserve it"), believing that he is her "First Love" in the song. Anyway, he told of how Haruko sent the tape to the show, and that she passed. She was told to go to NYBS TV Studio in Tokyo for the singing contest, July 7, Saturday but... Haruko tells what happened 24 years ago when she told her mother about it (Btw, the singing contest has a weekly round of 10 weeks. She would have to keep winning every round in order to be declared the ultimate winner). As she expected it, Natsu refused. "What happens if you pass, will you keep leaving for Tokyo every Saturday (since she still has to go to school in Kitasanriku)?" Haruko: "It'll be fine. Because it's impossible for me to make it in the 10th round anyway. Of course I could win in the 1st or 2nd round but 10..." What Natsu said surprised her. "If you think you'll lose, then why bother going to Tokyo!... Ask yourself, are you gonna be serious about it or just play around? Zero or 10... Which is it!" Haruko: "...10." Natsu said she can go and that she will persuade the Co-op president about it. But then, he and the Mayor arrived, asking her to be at the beach as an Ama during the opening of KitaTetsu. "Media people from Tokyo will come! They'll also be covering the Amas, it's gonna be a rare opportunity!" After they left, Natsu went to sleep and did not talk about the matter anymore... "Cruel of her, right?" Haruko says, "...changing her mind just like that. So I decided it myself to leave for Tokyo... She did not even go after me. So up t
Chuubei and Natsu go to the Co-op to inform them of his retirement. "The doctor has said his long-term fishing had affected his body and heart." They wish him well and that maybe it is for the best. Chuubei also asks them if there is any available work around for him. At the shop, Masamune and Daikichi learn of the news from Haruko. Haruko: "But it's gonna be hard to find work for a 67 year old." Masamune suggests an ad he'd read and shows it to them. "It says 'No experience necessary, and no age requirement'..." Then Daikichi notices it. "Hey why are you looking through job ads in Kitasanriku?!" Masamune reveals that he IS looking for a job as a cab driver in the city and that he has to go now for an interview. So it means he is planning to stick around, after all... After he leaves, Haruko tells Daikichi about her talk with Aki (which is not really important lol so moving on...) At school, Aki also tells Yui all about it. "Sounds complicated huh?" Yui comments. "But do you think she's jealous of you? That her daughter was able to became popular in the internet and went on TV?" Aki thinks that idea is just too absurd. Then Yui asks Aki to choose: "Which name do you want for our idol unit? 'JJ Girls' (JJ for Jejeh) or 'AMMA'? We must have a name once they've decided to make us regulars for the show." Yui excitedly explain all about it, even coming up with a "J" pose. Taneichi interrupts to tell Aki that it's time to go to the pool. "That's not 'J'," he notices the reverse 'J' pose they're making. "That's 'し' (shi)." Meanwhile, Chuubei and Natsu are in a supermarket, checking out a job prospect for the retiring fisherman. It was a task of manning the sales counter of sashimi at a supermarket. "It's not so hard is it, Ojii-chan?" says the supervisor. "You are well-versed on types of fish, right?" Chuubei has a hard time accepting to be called "Ojii-chan" and seems confused over how things work, particularly, his salary terms. "Sorry about that," Natsu apologizes
At the shop, the others are happy that things are fine back at the Amano home. Though Yayoi says Masamune is not a bad fella but there are times he can be annoying that she wants to knock him out. Natsu tells how Chuubei has started his job at the supermarket. "Never thought that I'd be the loving wife making packed lunches past the age of 60." They are also making plans to go to an onsen next month. As they were talking, there is a new quiet customer at the shop, sitting next to Ben. They take notice and ask to be introduced. "He's what you may call my disciple," Ben says, proudly. He is Mizuguchi Takuma, who suddenly came to visit him last night and "we ended up chatting about the charm of amber til morning." Takuma says he is studying archeology in a university. However, Yayoi says she finds him suspicious. "You're a spy aren't you? From Hachinohe? Did you come to get 'machi-okoshi' ideas from here?" Yoshida: "Even if he's a spy what merit will he get by being near Ben?" Of course, Yayoi laughingly says she was joking and Takuma nods and smiles. Meanwhile, Chuubei wakes up early in the morning to fish, have his breakfast and goes to work. Haruko who went shopping, goes to see how her father is doing at the supermarket. She sees him arguing with the supervisor. Chuubei does not want to put 'time sale' seals on a special kind of tuna. Boss: "If we don't sell these with the same dates, and the same price, customers will complain!" Chuubei: "But when they eat them, they will know the difference!" Boss: "That'll be too late! They won't even try it because it's not half-priced!" Chuuubei: "But if you half the price, fishermen will cry!" Boss: "This is a supermarket! Set aside your feelings as a fisherman and do your job properly. What a troublesome Ojii-chan!" Haruko backs away from the scene, feeling sorry for her father. That night, Haruko does not mention the incident to Chuubei and leaves for her night shift. Aki asks her Grandpa to help her with her English home
Aki has started to pray in front of the family altar, asking for her Grandpa to guide her during her Nambu Moguri training. She gets curious and asks Natsu when her husband died. "Last year." Startled, Aki asks if she's okay. Natsu says she has gotten used to his absence and has accepted that he might die any day, out in the sea. "It's the fate of a fisherman's wife." In school, Taneichi is helping Aki review for the qualification exam for the course (If she does not pass it, she will not be allowed to continue). Aki continues studying at the train station when Hiroshi drops in on her. He asks if Aki has thought of her answer to his love confession. He also attempts to give her his love letter. But instead of taking it or answering him, Aki leaves, saying she has to study and must not think of anything else right now. And that this situation between them is "kinda awkward." But the truth is, Aki does not have the heart to say "I have somebody else I love" fearing Hiroshi might go back to his gloomy Stove-san self, sitting moodily in front of his favorite stove. But that night, Hiroshi still enters her mind and could not sleep. She gets up to drink water and finds out her Grandpa's picture at the altar is gone. Natsu says she had put it away but does not explain why. Sensing something is weird, Aki talks about it at the cafe with her mother, Ben, Daikichi, Yayoi and her husband Atsushi. Natsu has been seen, in a good mood lately, acting like a giddy teenager (singing, dressing up). Ben also says he saw Natsu and Rokuro one time at the Co-op looking rather... intimate-ish. They just could not believe that the two might be having an affair. But Yayoi says, "Rokuro has been going around places getting sea urchins for her!" Just then Natsu and Katsue arrive interrupting their gossip. The next morning, Haruko is going to interrogate her mother about it. Meanwhile, Aki is with Yui selling unidonburi on board KitaTetsu. Aki sells one to a curmudgeon-ish old man withou
Big day at KitaTetsu. The 25th anniversary of the Railway gets underway as fans eagerly await the event. The show's TV host, Fukuda Moe (playing as herself) is there covering it. It is two hours before the departure of the parlor train. The camera shows pre-recorded footages of the Amas making 300 unidonburi for the event. It also shows Aki, saying that this event will be her 'graduation' and that she will go back to being an Ama, and an ordinary high school girl. It is already two hours before the event. But at the Tourism Office, director Ikeda is fuming mad because Yui hasn't shown up yet. She hasn't called up either. Backtracking to what happened yesterday afternoon: After Yui overhears Takuma on the phone, she rushes to the Tourism Office, to use the internet. She quickly searches for 'Futomaki-san,' and the net of course came up with futomaki* dishes. She tries again and it gave her info on Aramaki Taichi, a famous producer whose nickname is 'Futomaki-san'. Hiroshi recalls that Yui had looked for 'futomaki' on the internet yesterday. "Wonder if she went on a journey to look for the ultimate futomaki?" "Could she possibly be obsessed with food that much?" Ikeda flares up. "That is not important right now! Where did Yui-chan go? If she's not here, the program will not be complete!" Aki says they practiced at the snack bar yesterday and wished each other 'good luck tomorrow.' "Then, we both rode the 7:30 train home.
Masamune is joined by Haruko and both watch Aki smile happily at the customers. Masamune gives in and tells Aki later that he's going back to Tokyo and that she could continue being an Ama for the whole summer. Meanwhile, Hiroshi also watches Aki's light-hearted smile from the monitoring hut. Later, he goes to the cafe and chats with Haruko. She tells him his father (the congressman) used to be her high school teacher. "How is he?" Hiroshi reveals they not been talking much in years. Haruko guesses correctly regarding Hiroshi's short stint in Tokyo. "Did you feel you didn't belong there?" He nods and says, "Anyway, I don't feel I belong anywhere." Haruko feels the same way about Tokyo. She thought her leaving the countryside for Tokyo was a good decision. But it turned out to be unsatisfying. "I think the problem is not the place, it's the person himself." Meanwhile, Aki is alone finishing her chores at the beach when she sees a man taking pictures of her. She tells Haruko about it that night. Alarmed that a pervert is peeping at her daughter, Haruko goes to the beach the next day, to stand guard. As Aki is trying hard to pass her underwater test (staying under for a minute), the man, Hibiki Ichiro (who happens to be just a harmless Camera Boy or hobby photographer) shows up taking pictures again of the Amas. Haruko screams, "Pervert!" and chases after him. The Amas give chase too, leaving Aki behind, unsupervised. Being underwater, she does not know she is being pulled away into the sea. Good thing a fishing boat is passing by, and rescues her. At the Co-op, everyone is relieved that she is okay. Plus, she joyfully learns that throughout the commotion about the "pervert," she was able to stay underwater for over a minute. Thus, signaling that Aki is ready to begin her diving lessons.
July 1, 2009: The first day of the Umihiraki and the Ama season...AND the opening day of the Ama Cafe. Katsue's voice is heard over the PA system, greeting and calling all Ama-sans, old and new, to gather at the Ama Cafe. Aki and Natsu are already up and ready to go at 5:30 am. Aki: "I'm so excited, I couldn't sleep!" But Haruko is still asleep. Natsu says to let her be but Aki says Haruko promised to get up early today. Aki shows Haruko the new cafe. Here's a description of the place: At the door, young, fresh-faced Ama-sans line up to welcome visitors. The Co-op President has a new office where he can idle his time away. On the south side, there is a photo gallery of Ama-sans, and aquariums filled with rare fishes. The store room where Tamako used to search for stuff has been turned into a cute kitchen where Anbe-san's mamebu cauldron (one she left behind in the station) is enshrined on a stove. At the back of the kitchen, there is a space where the Ama-sans can braid misanga or just plain gossip. The space where they used to gossip and drink has been transformed into a souvenir corner where they can sell the misangas and stuff. At the entrance, there is also an open terrace where rookie Ama-sans break open freshly caught sea urchins for customers. And lastly, Aki shows Haruko the stage where one can do a mini-concert and hold hand-shake events. Plus! There's an impressive 100 inch screen at the stage's background where customers can view live footages of Ama-sans diving for uni. Haruko can't help but be dazzled by it all and be amazed by what her daughter has achieved in just one year. "To think I was worried about bringing you here... Because I hated this town. Well, I still sorta hate it up to now. But I love it.. I love this Ama Cafe!... And for you to help change my dislike for this place, and make me love it? It's really awesome!" Aki tells her mom to quit praising her because she's starting to feel uneasy. Haruko: "Oh, yeah? You don't like it? You're aweso
Haruko shows her audition pictures to Aki. "Lame, isn't it?" (Actually, they were really cute) Aki says it's not lame but that the idea of her mom, an 80s country girl wanting to be an idol is "kinda itai" (painful; trying too hard). Haruko: "Why say such a word?... Well, It wasn't that I was keeping this a secret, I just feel there's no reason to talk about it." But she says now is the right time to tell her, considering Aki and Yui have become popular lately. Haruko tells her about "Those days... unlike now, idols back then would do everything~!..." She talks about the 70s idol groups, Candies and Pink Lady. "Say mom, isn't almost time to go to your shift?" Aki tries to remind her, hoping she would hurry up to her OWN life story. Haruko, who's really getting into it, says it's fine, that she'd ask the others to take over for her for today. Then, Haruko gets some beer for herself as she prepares to talk about her favorite, THE "idol of idols" Matsuda Seiko (the one on her poster). Haruko would record her songs using the audio cassette recorder, sang and pretended to be her, and even had her hair cut the same style as Seiko-chan's. "I really got a big scolding by my mother about that hair thing!" But it made her even more determined to realize her dream, and so she made an audition tape and portfolio. Meanwhile, Chuubei comes back from somewhere and asks about Aki. Natsu: "They're upstairs having a girl talk so don't disturb." She asks him if he wants a drink. "Nah, not today," he refuses, and sits quietly, which is a bit unusual. At the shop, Masamune who had earlier been helping out at the bar is now being intimidated by Daikichi, Sugawara and Yoshida. "Don't you know? He's a cool city dude, who doesn't say things like 'Jejejeh'!" But Masamune just listens, and goes "Heh~", irritating the three even more. "What do ya mean 'Heh~'!! Ya bastard!!" Annoyed, Yayoi throws peanuts at them, "Will you guys take it outside!" Hiroshi tries to cool things down and introduce
It was the second day of August, and Yui is still not coming out of her house nor showing up for her TV work. A replacement reporter is doing her segment. Haruko, Hiroshi and Yoshida are at the Rias shop, watching Katsue, Yayoi, and Aki being interviewed for their popular segment called "Ama Cafe Situation." Katsue smiles and talks well to the camera, prompting Yoshida to comment, "Four-eyed Accountant Old Biddy has gotten used to being on TV, huh?" But Yayoi is still stammering nervously
Rehearsals for the Ama-Sonic show have started. Hiroshi calls out each of the performers, in their show costumes, according to their order of appearance. "First is Aki-chan to give the welcoming speech." She is followed by Shiori (btw what is SHE even doing there?) who will perform as Lady Gaga. The third act are the rookie Amas who will perform a 'Morning Musume' medley. They will be followed by Misuzu who also wants to perform as Lady Gaga. Shiori tells her, "Instead of Gaga, you look more like a 'ga' (moth)," irritating Misuzu. Hiroshi asks the two to settle the problem among themselves later on. But he reads that the next act is Tamako, also doing "Lady Gaga." "Please be reasonable!" he says, exasperatedly. But Tamako corrects him and says, "It's Queen, okay?" meaning she will perform "Radio Gaga" dressed up as Freddie Mercury. Yayoi is next who will sing a medley of Showa hits. Hiroshi asks her how long will her song be, and she answers, "Two and a half hours with breaks." Hiroshi: "By the time we get to 'Shiosai no Memory,' everybody would have had enough!!"
Aki sadly tells Yui about her Ama suspension. Since Aki has free time, Yui invites her to her house, which cheers up the rookie ama. Meanwhile, the search for "Miss Kitatetsu" gets underway. Passengers of KitaTetsu get to nominate the local lady who they think should serve as Poster Girl for the railway line. The usual guys at the cafe want to nominate Haruko even if she is over the age limit. "You're a league of your own, Haruko." But she says "no thanks" rather vehemently. Hiroshi suggests Aki (of course) but the older men disagree saying she's too much of a kid... Meanwhile, after a one hour train ride to the Adachi home, Aki is impressed by Yui's house. It is big and spacious. She meets Yui's parents, Congressman Adachi Isao, and his wife Yoshie. Isao reveals to Aki that back when her mom Haruko was still his student, she was very pretty and popular, and yet very rebellious. And also, that Haruko was a Sukeban* and a high school drop-out.... During this time, at the Amano home, Natsu and Haruko spend a quiet dinner without Aki. They would still get on each other's nerves but somehow things are more peaceful between mother and daughter ever since their recent big fight at the Co-op. Back at the Adachi home, Yoshie is serving an elaborate meal, impressing Aki even more. Hiroshi comes in but ignores them and goes straight to his usual place - in front of a wood burning stove. He refuses to eat and is sullen. Isao nags him about being jobless and all. Not knowing he quit, Aki defends him by saying he has a job at the monitoring hut, and that he had "saved" her and all. Isao is upset because he wasn't told about it, and slaps Hiroshi for telling him to (basically) get off his case. Aki is shocked but Yui says not to mind them because it's just a normal occurrence at their house. Despite the awkwardness, Aki is able to eat what was served to her, and goes home with an aching full tummy.
The next morning, there is a cold atmosphere at the dining room of the Amano home. Aki is aloofly avoiding her mother as they eat breakfast. Haruko tells her to quit acting up. "I already said sorry for striking you, didn't I?" Aki: "Then after you apologized, you hit me again." Haruko: "Only because you said something ridiculous." Natsu has had enough. "Stop it! Starting the day with an awkward mood... it's bad!" Haruko finishes up and goes to the kitchen. Aki mutters, "How childish... Shouldn't she just entrust her dream to her daughter?" Haruko overhears her and says, "What did you just say?... MY dream? Entrust it to YOU? Fool~! You're like a poor hunchbacked female monkey!" Natsu: "Haruko! (Aki starts crying) Don't cry!"
After Aki sings, it was only Ben who liked it. "Kinda unskillful makes you wanna laugh, huh?" Yoshida says. Aki: "Thank you so much!" Yoshida: "What I said was a compliment?" Yayoi comes in, asking who she heard singing, "Sounds like Gian's (1) recital-- Oh, was it Aki?" Next, Yui stands up to sing. They have high expectations since, according to Hiroshi, Yui apparently took singing lessons before. Yui sings "Toki o Kakeru Shōjo"(2). And just like Aki's singing, no one seem pleased about it except Ben. Yayoi: "Alright! I will teach you 2 to sing and you will practice here everyday!" Haruko: "That's right, Yayoi-san can sing jazz and chanson, she's been called the Koshijiri Fubuki(3) of Kitasanriku." So it was decided that Yayoi will be the two girls' voice teacher... In school, Taneichi isn't showing up much during Aki's practical training anymore. Aki couldn't concentrate in school since she's been wondering why Taneichi has been acting cold lately. "Not that way, Amano," Isono-sensei scolds her during an exercise routine. "Is that Beat Takeshi? Comaneci?!"
Takuma does not answer Yui's question. Haruko says she's acting a bit weird. Yui: "I know!" But she says sorry and backs away. Just in time, the Ama-sans come in, all hyped up about their strike. Aki greets Yui but Yui does not greet back and hurriedly goes out. Aki and Haruko exchange a "What was that about?" look. Takuma goes after Yui. He apologizes if he had given a wrong impression. He says the photos and videos he had taken of her were for his relatives who are big fans of Yui. Yui hands him her card. "The web address on this card is for my blog, though it hasn't been updated lately." Takuma: "Eh?" Yui: "Pass this to your relatives." Inside the shop, Aki tells everyone what Yui thinks of Takuma. "He's a scout?" But the women do not take it seriously. Misuzu: "Maybe he's gonna scout me?" They laugh. "What do you think, Aki? Has he said anything to you?" Aki: "Well, he only talked about my video on the internet. She is asked what she will do if she gets scouted. Haruko say that's not going to happen. Aki: "Besides, I've got an Ama Cafe to think about for now." Back at the Tourism Office, the guys contemplate on the Ama Cafe idea. They lament how troublesome the older Ama-sans are. If they give in to the Ama-sans, pretty soon they'll be asking endlessly for things: raising their wages, demanding transportation expenses, etc. They vent out their irritation by giving each one an 'old biddy' nickname. The top old biddy is Natsu-bappa, "who's healthy and stubborn, it's even more difficult (meaning, if she wasn't strong and healthy, she'd give in more)." Katsue is the no. 2, calling her "The Four-Eyed Accountant Old Biddy" who handles money matters. Yayoi is the "Noisy Old Biddy" who instigates things up by always saying "Nda! Nda! Nda!" or "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!"
Members of the K3NSP converge for a meeting to discuss the recent running away incident of Yui and Aki. "By bus, of all things," Daikichi the moderator says, "The late night bus!" Yui is there, along with her father, Isao. Daikichi continues: "It was Yui-chan's second attempt... And this time, even Aki-chan had sided with her in running away from home. Fortunately, the bus they got on was bound for Sodegahama." Isao: "Somehow, I'm sorry." Haruko (standing up, mad): "'Somehow'?" Sugawara tells Haruko not to blame their former teacher. Rokuro who is sitting next to Ben says, "Yeah. It's the fault of this here Ben-san's fake disciple," and Yoshida agrees. Ben, while polishing his amber, apologizes: "Somehow, I'm sorry." Rokuro: "Don't say 'somehow'! Apologize properly! And stop polishing that amber!" Haruko: "By the way! Where's Aki?" She's told that Natsu had asked to borrow Aki
As Natsu the Narrator says, "Yui's Operation Tokyo ends up as a failure." Rokuro asks Daikichi if the blockade should be lifted, and Daikichi says yes. Then the Amas, awakened by the ruckus, have arrived as well. "What the heck is going on?" they ask. Takuma says to all of them, "I'm sorry for tricking you... Yes, I'm a talent scout from the leading talent agency Heartfull." He says that he lied about being an archeological student and that he has no interest whatsoever in amber. "I don't even understand what's so interesting about it at all." Ben shouts at him, "You bastard~!" and is held back by the others. Isao asks Takuma to explain in detail but Haruko says there's no need since it's obvious anyway. She assumes that he saw Yui and Aki on the internet, seeing that they're kinda cute and popular, he thought of offering them to debut as idols. "And you probably thought that country folks are naive and that you can make your way easily in here. Something like that, right?" Takuma does not deny it, "There's really no excuse for what I did.
Haruko tells Natsu that she and Aki will live with her from now on. But not until she gives her mother a piece of her mind. "Even if you don't mean it, you should have come and stopped me from leaving 24 years ago!" Later, Aki informs the Ama-sans of the good news, and they too were delighted. Aki also meets up with Yui. She returns the tickets that Hiroshi had given her since it would be of no use to her. Both of them are confused as to why Hiroshi did that. Aki says it is okay for her to leave Tokyo since she does not have friends there. Yui says she does not have any real friends, either. Then, Aki proceeds to make her stay in Kitasanriku permanent by transferring to a local school where Yui also studies (it's also the same school of her mom). Aki finds out that her mother registered her name NOT as "Kurokawa Aki" but as "Amano Aki", using Haruko's maiden name. Either way, it does not matter to Aki. Meanwhile, at the cafe, Haruko tells her husband Masamune over the phone about her decision to stay. Masamune takes it well, since it benefits Aki as well as Haruko's relationship with her mother. Yet he is still in the dark as to why Haruko wants a divorce since it was not mentioned in the letter that Haruko wrote to him. Daikichi interrupts the call and tells Masamune to marry someone else since "Haru-chan is never going back to Tokyo!" Then, Hiroshi drops by the cafe and learns that Aki and Haruko haven't left. "Then why did I quit my job at the monitoring hut?" (tee-hee) Hiroshi has been jobless since then and has lots of free time lately. And Aki happily goes back to diving but so far she's still not able to grab a single sea urchin yet.
No matter how Aki tries, she still can't catch an uni yet. She is also a bit traumatized from the last time she nearly drowned. Hiroshi is at the Fishing Co-op, wanting to videotape an interview with Aki. Aki calls him "Stove-san" because it's what his dad calls him since he likes staying in front of the stove at home. Hiroshi says all his dad cares about is looking respectable in the public's eye. Aki disagrees saying, "I think he cares about you. If he cared only about appearances, he wouldn't have hit you in front of me." Then Aki agrees to be interviewed, despite her sagging confidence of becoming a real Ama. In the video, Aki, speaking in her acquired Sodegahama dialect, talks about being an Ama, and the Ama culture. That night, while Hiroshi is editing Aki's video, he realizes something and dashes off to Haruko at Snack Bar Riasu. "I'm in love with her!" he declares. Haruko knows he's talking about Aki. But even before Hiroshi could fully make known his intentions for her daughter, Haruko immediately shoots him down. "No, absolutely NO! I forbid it till doomsday!" She says Hiroshi will not make Aki happy, and he does not have anything to show yet, considering he always quits on things (school, jobs). "You can be good friends, though." Hiroshi says he understands but proclaims, "I'm the very first one to fall in love with Aki-chan! I'm her first real fan~!!" And then, the weekend comes. More floods of tourists are expected to arrive but this time they are not in town for Yui. They all go directly to Sodegahama to find Aki. Apparently, Hiroshi had uploaded her video on the front page of the website and has became an instant hit.
"Continue! Please continue!" Rokuro says, with tears in his eyes. Hiroshi and Yoshida tell Aki that everyone here is shocked that's why Rokuro is probably feeling 'emotional.' "He's like the 'Naita Aka Oni'(1)." Rokuro drank even more of the tea and he went out of the room, screaming. "AAARGH~!!" Aki feeling sorry to see the Fishery President, says: "I didn't know he'd cry like that!" Asked by Natsu, Aki and Yui apologize again to everyone for trying to run away that night. Natsu: "Now, Haruko, apologize properly to Aki for hitting her." Haruko: "What, now?" Natsu says such a thing will remain lingering badly in the air if not addressed properly. "So you should apologize in front of everyone." Haruko: "Sorry." Natsu: "Can't hear you." Haruko: "I am very sorry." Aki nods at her mother. Natsu then asks Daikichi what had transpired so far in their meeting. Daikichi says they have explained the situation to Haruko and Congressman Adachi.
A small girl who is said to be a fan of Aki comes and meets the teen Ama. Aki does not have the heart to lie to her and so she tells her the truth: that it was Anbe who caught the uni she had fed her. The Ama-sans later are upset about that. She could have compromised Anbe's position as an Ama considering "she will be retiring soon." Aki is surprised. "Why are you leaving?" She learns that Anbe will be promoting and selling Mamebu soup to the rest of the country. And that her last day will be the last day of the Ama season. On that day, they will hold the "Honki Dori* " a day for free uni harvesting spree off the coast of Sodegahama. It's when an Ama is allowed to catch any number of uni, not for tourists, but for herself and sell it if she wants. Aki is not allowed to participate since it will take place in even deeper waters which she could not possibly handle yet. Later, Yui tells her not to worry about not being able to catch any uni for the customers. "It's because you are cute, that's why they are coming." Aki is pleased with that and thinks how cool of Yui to be so determined on becoming an idol. She goes to the cafe and asks her Mom, "When you were young, did you long to be an idol?" Haruko looks puzzled and uncomfortable at the question. Then, when Aki insists on seeing a picture of Haruko when she was young, Haruko for some reason explodes. Haruko seems to misunderstand that Aki wants to become an idol. "Just because you've been receiving a little adulation, you think you can go all hoity-toity!" Aki is shocked at her mother's tirade. "I didn't say I want to become an idol!" she tries to defend herself. "Right!" Haruko shouts back (looking like she is not aware of what she's saying) but her next words hurt Aki: "An ugly one like you can't become an idol!" Aki leaves the cafe, crying. Later, she goes to Haruko's former classmate, Anbe and asks to show her pictures of her mother when they were younger. Anbe shows her their middle school yearbook. There,
Instead of being angry, Haruko is happy to see her old room again. "These bring back so many memories!" She laughs while looking around. She finds an exchange diary she and Sugawara had in high school, and a video game cartridge she borrowed from Anbe. She also shows Aki her "secret base" which is the beacon at the seashore. Aki reads the stuff her mom wrote on the ground when the latter was a teenager. "You're like Yui (who wants to go to Tokyo)." Later they return to their futons, and Haruko tells Aki a diving tip she learned from Natsu. "When you want to dive deeply and longer, don't think too much because your brain uses up too much oxygen." The next day, Aki reiterates her desire to join the "Honki Dori" event. The Ama-sans tell her only one person per household can join to prevent over-fishing. "If you go, then Natsu can't go." However, Natsu says Aki can take her place. The Ama-sans wonder if it was a good decision, considering Aki can't catch any uni yet. At the train station, Aki chats with Hiroshi. He apologizes to her for causing all the fuss by uploading her video. He also says the more popular she gets, it seems "the more you get farther away (from him)." Then, since he couldn't contain his feelings any longer, he startles Aki by confessing to her. "I'm in love with you!" (While assistant trainmaster Yoshida Masayoshi eavesdrops). But Aki remembers the diving tip her mom had told her. She covers her ears and says, "No no! I mustn't think of anything! Tomorrow's the Honki Dori! How could you do this to me?!" She runs off leaving Hiroshi behind. That night, Aki lies in bed, counting uni (instead of sheep). She tries to fall asleep but she just could not erase Hiroshi's confession off her mind.
Natsu the Narrator: "Since she arrived in Kitasanriku a year and a month ago, the day has come at last for Aki to leave this place." She has reached the main station where Yoshida is singing a song about Tokyo(1) while closing up. Aki tries her best not to be seen by him. But as she tries to exit the building, she spots Hiroshi at the Tourism Office, keeping an eye out on the nearby bus terminal like a hawk, using a pair of binoculars... Up at the Tourism Office, Shiori tells Hiroshi that the two will not likely run way at this time of the night. Sugawara: "Yeah. Of all things, why would they use a late-night bus." Hiroshi: "It could be Yui's way to outsmart us." Shiori: "You do think of your little sister, huh?" Hiroshi says he's not thinking of Yui. "Is she wants to go, she can go. But Aki-chan... This town needs her." Hearing that, Shiori, feeling heartbroken, tries to hold back her frustration by biting on her hankie.
It is the day of the Kitasanriku Autumn Festival. There are floats parading around town. Aki and her mother are selling yakisoba at the fair. Also, the crowning of "Miss Kitatetsu" is being held. Shiori (Tourism office secretary) is upset because she showed up wearing a swimsuit but was not informed that the swimsuit category was canceled due to cold weather. Anyway, Yui wins the contest and receives her crown. Aki is happy for her but at the same time, hesitant. Aki realizes Yui is clearly different from her, and unlike herself, Yui is meant to become truly big someday. Haruko reassures Aki that she too, is a hard-working girl who got what she wanted (to be an Ama). She also suggests to quickly make peace with Natsu "or else it will take a long time to make things go back to where they were... Like me." Later, Aki joins Hiroshi in handling the traffic for the parade route because she wants to see Yui up close when her float passes by. Later after the festivities, Aki asks for her autograph and wishes her the best. The next day, Aki asks Natsu once again to reinstate her back to being an ama. Natsu says if she dies in the sea, it would be too much for her to take. Just like what happened to the son of Katsue (Ama, 56 yo) and her ex-husband Rokuro (Fishing Co-op Pres.). Their son got "swallowed up by the waves" 16 years ago when he was trying to retrieve a slipper of a child. The couple tells Natsu not to let the past affect her. Natsu tells Aki, "Don't be foolish as to easily give your life to the sea in exchange for just 500 yen*!" (*the worth of one sea urchin) The Ama leader finally relents but with one condition: "The Ama season will end in one month and so by the end of this month, you have to catch one uni or else you will not become a real Ama!" Aki and the Ama-sans rejoice. At the Tourism Office, Yui's otaku fan, Hibiki comes to offer his pictures and video he had taken of Yui since the ones on the website were "not showing off her charm." The video of Yui
The day of the Annual Honki Dori (which is also the last day of the Ama season) finally arrives. The Ama-sans converge at the Co-op, teasing a tearful Anbe on her last day as an Ama. Meanwhile, Aki didn't get a wink of sleep last night. Nevertheless, she heads out to the beach where many village women (and some alumni of the Ama club) are also taking part. Aki is nervous especially that Hiroshi is there, filming the event. Natsu and Haruko are at the monitoring hut, taking turns watching the event through a pair of binoculars. All the participants and Hiroshi get on boats and go to a spot off-shore. The uni harvesting spree begins, but Aki stays on the boat, feeling scared. Rokuro who is with her says the waters at this spot is colder and the current is stronger. "If you don't want to do it, it's okay." But Aki decides to jump, saying she has to get an uni or else she will not be a full-fledged Ama. Aki dives and manages to reach for an uni but it slips from her hand and she goes further down below in order to retrieve it. Anbe tries to stop her but runs out of oxygen and goes up. Aki, too resurfaces and in her hand is that uni! "I did it!" Everyone erupts in cheers as everything was caught on camera by Hiroshi. Later at the Co-op, they all weigh and encash their uni harvest, including Aki's single catch. "Here's 500 yen!" Rokuro hands her the coin. Aki apologizes to Natsu, "If I didn't take your place, the Amano household could have earned tens of thousands of yen this year." Natsu says what matters most is "that uni is the one you yourself had caught." Daikichi, Sugawara and Yui come in to congratulate her. Everyone goes to the seashore to offer Aki's uni to the god of the sea (after Haruko takes lots of pictures of it, of course). And so on this happy note, this year's season of the Ama has come to an end.
Yui takes Aki inside their high school's Civil Engineering Diving Department. The students of this course are called "Nambu Moguri" and they are expected to work in undersea construction like pipe-laying, breakwater foundation, etc. They meet diving teacher Isono Shinpei and he allows them to watch. The diver in the pool that Aki had seen earlier, has finally resurfaced and taken off his helmet. He is Taneichi Koichi, a handsome graduating student who is set to be hired by an elite company soon. As the girls introduce themselves, Aki falls instantly in love with him. At the Co-op, Aki giggles silly as she stares at a picture of Taneichi. Then while taking a nap, she has a dream of him, wherein he gives her an engagement ring. But... Aki jolts up, red in the face, and says she has had a bad dream. "In my dream, I became Yayoi-san." The blunt clerk Tamako says, "Good thing it was a just a dream." (lol I just love Tamako!) That night, Aki excitedly tells her grandma about the Nambu Moguri. "Don't tell me you want to do that?" Natsu asks. "Well, it's not possible for you." She adds. "Just took you a long time to get an uni from the bottom of the sea. How can you possibly do heavy lifting?" But Natsu says Aki's grandpa was a student of that department and he would be pleased if she became one. Meanwhile at Bar Riasu, Congressman Adachi Isao recalls his high school teaching days with his former students, Haruko, Daikichi and Sugawara. They recall how Haruko dressed up as a Sukeban (long skirt, mask, a flat clutch bag) and how she and Sugawara used to exchange a diary* ("It was over in only 3 days"). Isao recalls that when Haruko ran away from home, he wanted to search for her. "But your mother said it's okay. That you will come home someday when you're hungry." Then Isao talks about how he does not get along with his son Hiroshi. When he was in high school, he started "shutting himself off from us completely... The way he talks, everything about him gets on my nerves.
Yui asks Taneichi if Aki could try diving in a helmet suit. He says outsiders are allowed to try it, and Aki is immediately suited up. She goes down the water with Taneichi but every time their eyes meet, her heart starts pounding. She resurfaces quickly, causing Isono-sensei to panic. Aki complains of chest pains which Isono attributed to: "You're supposed to flush out the air outta the holes in your helmet!" Afterwards, Aki and Taneichi are alone talking. He compliments Aki's acquired Sodegahama accent. He also says his ancestors were Nambu Moguri, and that he preferred to be doing that than go to college. After graduation, he'll be leaving for Tokyo and work on a new runway for Haneda Airport. Aki meets up with Yui at the main station. Earlier, Hiroshi had asked Yui to pass a love letter to Aki. Yui is mortified by the thought. "I hate it! Handing a love letter from Aniki to my best friend!" Instead of giving it to Aki, she thows the letter in a bin and pulls Aki away. Yoshida who was eavesdropping again, picks it up. But before he could read it, Yui returns to snatch it from him, saying she'll have to ask Hiroshi to give it himself. That night at the bar, Yoshida tells Sugawara, Daikichi, Yayoi and Haruko about it. Haruko says she does not mind that Hiroshi is pursuing Aki since "he's a good boy anyway." The others remind her that she was earlier opposed to Hiroshi for her daughter. Haruko has a hard time remembering it but says she has changed her mind. And speaking of love letters, Haruko brought the exchange diary she had with Sugawara. The rest had a field day with it, reading out loud Sugawara's entries (hinted with puppy love) for Haruko, much to Sugawara's embarrassment. (Haruko only wrote lyrics from popular songs from that era). Anyway, Daikichi mentions that since Yui and Aki are somewhat celebrities, they have to, if possible, refrain from matters of love. "And to implicitly tell Hiroshi about that, too." Aki is in Haruko's 80s room, listening to
News has spread that Aki wants to transfer from her general course to the Civil Engineering Diving Department. She is even called by the Tourism Assoc. to talk about it. "Why do I need to have your permission?" They tell her that she is a symbol of the town's "machi-okoshi" and whatever she does affects the future of tourism. Aki says she is uncomfortable wearing the Ama uniform and selling unidonburi with people staring at her. They think of ways to change her uniform (Helmet suit + Ama = um, no). But Hibiki says Aki cannot wear conservative clothes because "reducing skin exposure is equivalent to a decrease in tourism revenues". He adds, "You can't have her wear plain clothes! She's too ordinary! People who travel 7-8 hours just to see a conservative girl wearing plain clothes? No one will come!" (He's a douche but he does have a point lol) Daikichi says they'll allow Aki to transfer departments but she still has to sell unidonburi on board the train during weekends. Aki agrees but Haruko gets mad, saying "You can't all decide this on your own!" She goes on a tirade but ends up realizing that the idea is not really that bad. She and Aki dash off to school to talk with the teacher. In school, Isono-sensei explains the course to Haruko. She is also introduced to Taneichi who just came in. Haruko can tell by looking at her daughter that Taneichi is the reason why Aki wants to transfer. As they were leaving, Haruko looks around her former high school, feeling nostalgic. She looks up at the elevated passageway where she and her gang used to hang out. She reminisce being a Sukeban and how Daikichi would show up worrying about her. Haruko smiles at the memory and thanks Aki for making her visit her former school. She also says Aki can transfer if she wants. "Well, it's better than being a Sukeban." That night, Sugawara and Daikichi are at the bar with Haruko. The two men talk about how important tourists are to their town which does not have anything much to offer. Har