7 February 2016

Love That Makes You Cry Episode 2


Japanese TitleItsuka Kono Koi wo Omoidashite Kitto Naite Shimau

This drama has successfully made every soul in here lonely and yet I feel comforted that they will indeed find their happiness whenever that may be. For this episode the one that did the finding has become the one that has been found.



In Ren’s dreams, he’s his younger self stubbornly helping out his grandpa with the farming despite his grandpa urging him to study instead. Even as a young boy, Ren was quiet but obstinate about what he loves. He remembers grandpa telling him that since he has no parents, he “should be in touch with the earth. The mountain will watch over [him].” His grandpa also tells him to keep his “chin up” as a form of a cheer. And this is the dream that makes him cry every time. This time though, his girlfriend isn’t around to wipe his tears, instead he’s sleeping with his buddy, Haruta. Uh.  

Ren always visits this grandmother who lives alone. She makes his favourite sweet, Daigaku Imo (sweet potatoes) and serves them to Ren and his friends who happen to all be there, including Konatsu. She’s in Tokyo pursuing her dream of becoming a designer. She’s also the girl that separated Oto and Ren. Apparently Konatsu is extremely gullible and that’s why Ren had to ditch Oto to save Konatsu.

Remembering back to that day, Ren mutters to himself: We got separated because I saved you.
He sulks and Konatsu picks up on it rather quickly.


When Ren and Konatsu leave for work, Haruta and grandmother are the only ones left at the house. Grandmother tells Haruta that everything in the garden was grown by Ren. More flower theme. 

Grandmother: When he sees a lonely person, he can’t leave them alone.


On their way to work, Konatsu updates Ren about his grandpa’s condition. She knows because her mother told her. She tells him his grandfather has to walk half an hour to a bath house because his bath broke. When she urges him to visit him in the countryside he brushes it off saying he doesn’t have the time nor money. Seconds later, he makes his way to a lonely pup and feeds him/her. Grandmother was right on the dot when she said he can’t leave those who are lonely, even if it’s a puppy.


And that’s Ren’s typical morning before he takes the bus to work. If you’re curious to know, he still lives in Yukigaya (as noted from the bus stop).


A usual morning for Oto starts off with watering the flowers on her balcony and taking the subway to work. However, she always arrives early at the subway station as if she’s waiting for someone. I’d say she’s searching for someone. It’s fruitless though.


Oto works at a retirement and nursing home. She’s preparing to get her level 2 certificate as a caregiver and she’s making ends meet by working part-time at a gas station. Her friend and co-worker, Funakawa-san, complains about their meager salary but Oto is genuine about loving her job despite the low pay and laborious tasks. To cheer up her friend, Oto offers her candy.

In their conversation, Oto mentions that she lives in Yukigaya Ootsuka. That’s where Ren lives! Funakawa-san also makes a small comment on Oto’s love for snow is even reflected on the place she chose to live because the “yuki” in Yukigaya means snow. Why does Oto love snow? And puh-lease, we all know why she chose to live there of all places.

Funakawa-san isn’t done with her complaints: she’s worried she’ll break-up with her new boyfriend because they haven’t seen each other for a week. This news puzzles Oto. Well, the girl has been waiting for a guy, whose name she doesn’t even know among many other things, for an entire year.


Oto’s day ends off with her waiting at the subway station and when time’s up she leaves alone. Girl, he takes the bus.


See, Ren is getting off the bus.


They both go to the same laundromat (Coin Laundry) but at different locations! Oto goes to the North Exit while Ren goes to the South Exit store. So close yet so far. A magazine grabs Ren’s attention as he waits for his laundry to finish. I’m thinking it’s the “Hokkaido” in big letters that’s making him do a double take because that’s where Oto lived. As he sits down to read he makes a farting noise. Quickly, he grabs the stool to clarify to the other person it was the chair that farted and not him, but the lady has her headphones on. Afterwards, Ren hears a dog barking outside and turns to that direction. The scene then switches to Oto reading her caregiver books wondering where Mr. Mover is. Is the dog barking echoing the lonely cries in each of their hearts?


The next day, Ren, who is still working for that same moving company, gets a complaint because an antique speaker was broken while he was on duty but that wasn’t Ren’s fault; it was Sabiki-san’s fault. Ren specifically told him to leave the box upright, but Sabiki-san was negligent and now Ren has to cough up nearly 200 000 yen. Poor Ren can’t even properly mutter out who’s the real culprit, neither does his company care whether he’s the actual one at fault as long as he pays up.

Oto is addressed as Sugihara-san at work! Her manager assigns the late shift to Funakawa-san because Oto had the early shift but Funakawa was supposed to meet up with her boyfriend (otherwise they’ll break up) so Oto volunteers herself for the late shift.


During that shift, she meets Asahi Ibuki, who’s recklessly showing off his basketball moves in front of the seniors. Fearing he’d lose control of the ball, Oto snatches it from him. Impressed with her skills, Ibuki rewards her with a watch from “Vacheron Constantin” that costs a few million yen. Is this the same brand the watch Shirai-san gave to her foster father? Flabbergasted by the expensiveness, Oto dashes out to his limo to return the watch. Even if you’re rich, is it really necessary to ride a limo everywhere? He asks her whether they’ve seen each other before but she doesn’t remember. He probably remembers her from the gas station. He also invites her to dinner which annoys Oto making her slam the door in his face.

It’s only until Ibuki left does she learn who he actually is: the chairman’s son that manages this institution. Her coworkers think Ibuki is flirting with her. Hearing that, Oto’s expression falls flat and she excuses herself to go clean the toilet. The watch. The rich dude. The toilet. Everything’s reminding me of the foster father again. Ugh.  


It’s the end of another day and both Oto and Ren get off work. Oto religiously waits in front of the subway station until it’s time to leave. Today their lives also mirror each other as they go to the same convenience store but they end up missing each other. Ren was there to buy pet food for the pup. Neglected by his/her owner, the pup is left outside to starve in the cold upon a pile of garbage.


Ren returns home to find Kihoko waiting for him with bags of groceries. So he’s still dating her. Haruta was happily about to barge in on them but Konatsu stops him in time. Notice that Konatsu is also carrying a bag of groceries. Did she plan to cook for Ren too? I guess plans changed as her bag of groceries sits on the side while she’s having ramen at a restaurant with Haruta. Apparently this is an opportunity for her to explain Ren’s entire life story to Haruta.

Ren’s mother died early and his father remarried so he was raised by his grandfather. His entire childhood revolved around the daikon-field. Ren’s dream was to inherit his grandfather’s farm. However, when Ren was 20, his grandfather was scammed of his land, which is why Ren is in Tokyo to earn back the money to retrieve his land. That’s Ren’s American Tokyo Dream.


Konatsu is tactless; she drinks his beverage knowing he doesn’t drink after someone else. Insensitive to whether her audience is paying attention (who isn’t, he’s busy flirting), she tells her story to her content. However, it’s not her story to tell and Haruta criticizes her for it. Haruta tells her Ren won’t return to the country side otherwise he’ll realize his dreams can’t come true.

Haruta: Tokyo isn’t a place where dreams come true, it’s a place where you can live without noticing your dreams didn’t come true.


Haruta isn’t done with the harshness, he reveals to Konatsu that Ren doesn’t love Kihoko. And then he delivers his last blow, telling Konatsu to give up on being a designer because she’s got zero sense of fashion. Such a scrooge but I can’t argue back to his harsh truths. However, it’s the comment on Ren’s insincerity with love that bothers her the most.


Meanwhile, during Kihoko and Ren’s dinner, they just happen to be on the topic of love.

Kihoko: Love, you know, comes in the same order as the necessities of life (in Japanese character, the word “Necessity” is made up of three words that individually mean clothes, food, and home). At first, love is something you get to show off, like clothes, then it becomes something you get to thoroughly enjoy, like food, and in the end, you make it your home. I no longer need the love I can wear, I want to eat it. She pauses here. Looking around the house, she continues talking, I want to change the curtains too. Uh… does that mean she wants the third stage too? To make her love her home?


That night, Oto goes to her local laundromat only to find that they’re under renovation so she gets directed to the North branch. Her actions mirror Ren’s: she picks up the Hokkaido magazine and sits on the farting stool, then she attempts to clarify to the headphone lady, and finally, she gets distracted by the dog’s barking. I’m racking my brain to understand the significance of this!


Back with Ren and Kihoko, Ren tells her he’ll walk her to the subway station because he needs to go to the laundromat anyways. Yes, please go! However, Kihoko’s distracted by the letter of complaint Ren received earlier that day demanding him of 200 000 yen. She keeps it a secret from him that she knows. Instead she tells him she wants to stay the night.


Kihoko: You can say no whenever you want to. I just keep taking advantage of your kindness.
Ren just shakes his head like a puppy: Let’s take the bus to work together in the morning. The laundromat!
Touched, Kihoko snuggles into him, sadly telling him: He and his wife are expecting a second child. I would die if you abandoned me too. So warm – your body temperature is so high. So he's dating her but it's not out of love.


The next day Oto is pressured into taking Funakawa’s shift because she’s late. The manager that forced her into it annoyingly stresses the fact that since they’re “friends”, she should believe that Funakawa would eventually show up. Does he have no friends? Poor Oto is going to have to work almost 24 hours (including last night’s late shift she substituted Funakawa for). It doesn’t help that her manager is a creep. He mockingly sings her a cheer up song. It’s actually creepy.


Ren’s got it tough too. He finally confronts Sabiki-san about taking responsibility for his own blunder. They make a deal: if Ren can do 300 push ups just like Sabiki-san can, then Sabiki will pay for the compensation. The coworkers are surprised at his physicality because he almost reaches 200 but it really shouldn’t come as a shock if Ren is always doing the brute end of the work. The boss enters the room as Ren struggles to complete the challenge. She updates him that a stylish looking lady already paid for him. Exhausted, Ren continues to push because the money isn’t his. He’s making me pout. Sabiki-san can’t bear to watch anymore so he grumpily leaves.


On the other hand, Oto has just braved through the rain, umbrella-less, to make a delivery. Returning to the nursing home, she’s greeted by Ibuki who wonders why she’s cold towards him and whether she has someone she likes. Oto clarifies she neither likes or dislikes him and that she does have someone she likes even though she doesn’t know him. Ibuki’s confused but Oto doesn’t find it strange.

Oto: Isn’t love born at a time when you can’t meet someone instead of when you can?


That same day Ren meets up with Kihoko to sincerely thank her for her help and bows his head to her. This wasn’t the reaction Kihoko was expecting because she thought Ren would be angry at her for meddling in his business and looking down on his capabilities. 

When Ren asks for the bill, he clearly underestimated how much two cups of coffee could cost. Even after emptying his wallet, he’s still 30 yen short but Kihoko only has large bills so in the end she pays for the drinks using her bills and takes all his money that’s scattered on the table. Regardless, she thanks him for the treat. Oh, the embarrassment.


Oto isn’t faring any better. She’s drained of all her energy and her brain practically shuts down on her but luckily Funakawa arrives right before 12am to take her shift back. Thinking that it’s too late to catch the subway, Oto plans to spend the night at the residence but her coworker tells her to take the bus home instead. Apparently, Oto didn’t know that there was a bus that went to Yukigaya. And voila it’s the same bus that Ren takes! I made sure to check the stupid bus sign every time the drama shows Ren taking it.


Lugging herself home that night, Oto’s shoelace undoes itself and that’s when she hears a dog barking. She finds the dog, abandoned and lonely, so she decides to take the pup home. It’s the same dog Ren cares for everyday because that pup happens to have gone missing when Ren went to feed it. Apparently, the owner got herself a new dog. Not knowing that the pup is safe with Oto, Ren searches for it everywhere, calling out “Oi, Oi”. Oi = Hey. Remember that large store “OIOI” that Oto mocks at for sounding weird when it’s actually supposed to be pronounced as Marui? Would it be possible for them to name the pup Marui or OiOI then?


However, Oto is struggling to get home. Even when the pedestrian light turns green, she can’t even manage to put her foot forward to walk. She hunches forward and her knees buckle. Unable to stand up, she apologizes to the puppy. And once again, the puppy calls for help.


The call reaches Ren, guiding him to Oto. At the moment, they’re separated at either side of the busy street but once the light turns green again, Ren runs towards her. 


Oto looks up at him: I found you. I found you. Nod. Nod. Nod. Sniff.
Ren nods.


Oto tears up: Mr. Mover, if it’s would be alright, tell me your name. Tell me your number. I’m tearing up. The plea in her voice.
Ren nods.
Oto: Because I’m also doing my best in Tokyo.


Ren firmly nods.


Being completely drained from energy, she’s piggybacked by Ren while the pup is in his backpack, looking quite comfortable – the both of them that is. Oto learns that the pup doesn’t have an owner (anymore), which is just like her and Ren, orphans.


Ren took her to the grandmother’s place where Oto is currently sleeping soundly at. He prepares food for her and lingers for a small bit until he goes out of the room, hesitating to phone his grandfather. The grandson and grandfather take turns asking about each other. Near the end, Ren starts to tear up but he doesn’t let his grandfather know. He even attempts to cheer himself up again by reciting "Chin up." However, Ren is unaware that Oto heard everything. Stifling her sobs under her blanket, she sympathizes with Ren having to struggle in Tokyo alone just like her.


In the morning, Oto thanks the grandmother for the hospitality and the grandmother welcomes her to come back anytime. Oto gladly accepts her kindness. The grandmother also gives her a note that Ren has left for Oto. And I think grandma is taking care of the pup for now.


Grandmother: He is surrounded by lonely people. Among them, he was the loneliest one of all. But then…

Grandmother doesn’t finish her sentence but simply stares at Oto and smiles. I smile too. He won’t be lonely anymore with Oto around (:


Alone in the room now, Oto smiles sweetly at the note with Mr. Mover’s name and number. He’s finally within her grasp now.

He actually looks pretty in this angle

All rejuvenated at her work now, Oto walks around brightly. That day she also learns that Ibuki isn’t hanging around the nursery home to flirt, he has goals of becoming a dementia care specialist. She spots him caring for Sonoda-san rather sincerely and this seems to have impressed Oto.


At night, Ren returns home and finds Kihoko waiting for him with new curtains in her hands.



- - - Comments - - -



Oto is the flower; Ren is the earth


Ren’s grandpa tells him “to be in touch with earth.” Unlike his parents, the earth will always be there, providing the stability in rain or snow. It’s not a coincidence then that Oto’s character revolves around flowers. Ren will be the earth that helps Oto grow and bloom.

On a side note, I love the small details (like that isn’t obvious already) in Oto’s room: her cupboard has petal designs, her balcony has flowers, and her wall has a flower portrait. Those details really solidifies the metaphor between her and flowers.

The dog’s barks and the sirens

Just like the sirens that night alerting Ren of Oto’s lonely cries, the dog’s barking brings Ren to her once again.



Oto’s dam story was a fantasy she relied on to help her escape the town, at least in her mind. It is Ren that made her story into reality. The sirens called to him to help her; the sirens are her cries for help. This time, the barks called him to her. But what if the dog’s barks is actually Ren’s lonely cry for help and not Oto’s?

Although it looks like Ren found Oto, but if Oto hadn’t found the dog, Ren wouldn’t have found her. Even Oto had said “I found you” to Ren. In fact this entire episode focuses on Oto actively searching for Ren: she purposely chose to live in Yukigaya Ootsuka and she religiously waits for Ren at the subway station every day and every night.

I might be over-analyzing this but I can’t help it when Ren looks so much like a puppy when he’s shaking his head with that shabby hair of his.

Another side note: he shakes his head a lot with Kihoko (during dinner) but when he and Oto are finally reunited, he kept nodding his head. 

Cinderella II

When the clock stroke 12, Cinderella ran out of the ball, leaving her shoe behind.

I really should go back and check out what time it was when Oto ran away from home and left her shoe behind while running to her peach truck. But the ending of her Cinderella story was that she ran away from her Prince Charming. For this episode it was 12 when she left work and while walking home she made sure her shoes were firmly on by tying her shoelaces. With both her shoes on she finds Ren (by finding the puppy). Oto doesn't need a Prince Charming to change her life, she just needs her charioteer. 



Just listing out the parallels:

Last episode it was Oto that cried in front of Ren. This episode it was Ren crying in front of Oto.
Ren found Oto in the first episode. Oto finds Ren in this episode.
The laundromat scenes where Oto’s actions mirrored Ren’s.
Ren and Oto’s struggle with money but they’re surrounded by people that can easily gather 200 000 yen or gift a million dollar watch like its nothing.
And both are working hard in Tokyo.


I’m glad that Oto is now “Sugihara” instead of “Hayashida” meaning she’s successfully “drowned” her old self. Now, for the name of the pup, please use Oi-Oi!! (It's just 'cause Ren kept saying "Oi" when he was looking for the abandoned pup and that reminded me of Oto making a comment on a weird company name: OIOI)


Credits: Sanashi for subbing and Cubical Noses for timing.


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Links:
Love That Makes You Cry Episode 3
Love That Makes You Cry Episode 1

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