The sound of a car engine can be heard, and beyond the industrial doors, the light of headlights can be seen.
The doors open, and through the gap, Tohru’s head appears.
Tohru drives a kei² truck into the factory.
Exiting the truck, Tohru wears a tired expression.
In one hand, he holds a plastic bag from a convenience store.
He turns on the lights in the factory.
Tohru: (looking around the empty factory) ……
He attempts to turn on the gas heater, but it won’t light.
He gives up and begins to withdraw from the convenience store bag a cup of instant ramen, onigiri³, a plastic soda bottle, chocolate, potato chips, ice cream, and so on.
From the rear door, Tohru’s father, Gorou, appears, and
he calls out to Tohru.
Tohru, shocked, drops the cup ramen and other items, which scatter on the ground.
Gorou: It’s me, it’s me!
Tohru: (glaring at Gorou) ……
Gorou: It’s pretty careless of you to leave the door unlocked…
Gorou: Long time no see! How long has it been? Since then… that time…? So it’s been, what… two… three years already… (He comes to a conclusion by himself) Has it really already been that long…
Gorou: How’s it going?
Gorou: What’s with you, why’re you being so quiet? (While turning up the volume on the radio) It’s Karafuto Ojisan⁴!
he says, striking a pose.
Tohru ignores him and starts making his instant ramen.
Gorou turns off the radio.
Gorou: Come on, say something, I’m begging you! You’re making me look like an idiot…
Gorou: (Pointing at the cup ramen) You’ve got to eat your vegetables, too.
Gorou: (Picking up the chocolate) What’s up with this? You’re a nearly-thirty-year-old man eating this kind of thing?
Gorou: (Picking up the ice cream) And you’re eating ice cream in this weather?
Gorou: Oh, finally, he speaks.
Gorou: How’ve you been, Tohru? What’s up?
Gorou: What’s up with you, clamming up again…
(Hitomi, with a very large stomach, enters through the back door. In both hands, she holds suitcases and paper bags)
Hitomi: Gorou-chan⁵, what’s taking so long? I’m freezing to death out here.
Gorou: (To Tohru) Oh, yeah, um, this is Hitomi… You spell it with the character for virtue and the character for beauty⁶… It’s a good name, right…! She’s my current… (speaking vaguely) that, you know…
Hitomi: Enough with the introductions, hurry up and ask.
Gorou: Hold on a second.
Hitomi: It’s fine, just ask.
Gorou: Um, well… Tohru…
Gorou: It’s, you know, that…
Gorou: It’s cold, isn’t it…
Gorou: (Turning and addressing the audience) Even though there’s sweat beading on my forehead, it’s winter…
Hitomi: Who the heck are you talking to?
Gorou: Just to myself, talking to myself…
Hitomi: Hurry up and say it!
Tohru: If it’s money ya want, I ain’t got it.
Tohru: Ya came here t’ pester me f’ cash, right?
Tohru: Hit the nail on the head, right?
Tohru: Go back t' Tokyo.
Hitomi: Hold on— you really have no money? Not even change? There’s no way, right? Look, we’re really in trouble without money!
Gorou: Even for this sort of thing, there’s a protocol.
Hitomi: Yeah, but what are we supposed to do? We came all the way here, because you said it’d work out somehow… So, I mean, we came expressly…
Gorou: I know, I’m going to ask.
Hitomi: But my legs are killing me! After standing out front forever… No matter how much they say it’s the safe period, that can’t be good for my baby.
Hitomi puts a cigarette in her mouth and goes to light it.
Tohru snatches the cigarette away from her and throws it out.
Hitomi: What the hell are you doing?!
Tohru: The floor’s covered in oil. Ya wanna be teppanyaki⁷?
Gorou: You ought to quit smoking already. The nicotine shrivels up your blood vessels, and then… (Acting as if it’s hard to speak) your hemoglobin will turn into methemoglobin.
Hitomi: Do you even know what you’re talking about?
Gorou: Aren’t you scared that your hemoglobin’s going to turn into methemoglobin?
Hitomi: I already cut back a lot, okay?
Gorou: I said just cutting back isn’t enough! The methemoglobin is shriveling up your veins!
Hitomi: Well it’s my choice, isn’t it?
Gorou: Well… I think you ought to quit…
Hitomi: Stop bugging me about it!
Gorou: (Suddenly raising his voice) Think of the baby!! This is the baby we’re talking about!
Hitomi: What’s with you? Shouldn’t I be the angry one?
Gorou: Well you’re not listening to what I’m saying! (to Tohru) Sorry she’s so annoying…
Hitomi: I came all this way without saying a word, didn’t I? You got a problem with me?
Gorou: Without saying a word? You were complaining the whole time!
Hitomi: If you’re going to complain about me, do something about the money!
Gorou: I said I’m going to ask.
Hitomi: (to Tohru) Look, even just a hundred thousand yen for now… if you can’t manage that, even fifty thousand yen is enough.
Gorou: Stop it.
Hitomi: Well you’re not cutting to the case, so I’m doing it instead.
Gorou: You can’t just ask like that, it’s too straightforward! Ask mildly, mildly!
Hitomi: (In a strange foreign-sounding accent) Would you kindly lend us a hundred thousand yen?
Gorou: You just changed how you said the words.
Hitomi: You’re such a pain! Look, I’m exhausted. I just want to hurry up and find someplace to rest! (Pointing to Tohru) Do you know how long he made us wait out there?
Gorou: I said wait, okay.
Hitomi: We’re in this situation because you don’t have your shit together… (to Tohru) This guy shut down his company, and then the loan collectors were suddenly coming at us right and left…
Gorou: (Bothered by Tohru’s presence) Hey… shut up… don’t talk about that here…
Hitomi: That’s not the point right now. (To Tohru) So we’re here with only the clothes on our back… I mean, basically… we ran away to escape them.
Gorou: Stop that…
Hitomi: What? There’s no point in worrying about appearances now, it can’t be helped.
Gorou: (To Tohru, now flustered and confused) That’s… it’s like… It’s not like she’s saying… It’s not really like we’re totally screwed… Really…
Hitomi: We wouldn’t have intentionally come all the way out here if we had any other options.
Gorou: I’m telling you to shut up!
Hitomi: He even went so far as making me borrow money from a loan shark! He’s the worst!
Gorou: Shut up!!
he says, raising his hand at her.
Hitomi: You’re going to hit me? You’re really going to hit me? If you see me as someone you can just smack around, then hurry up and do it!
Hitomi: Oh? What’s wrong?
(Hitomi bumps Gorou with her stomach)
Hitomi: Hey… hey… hey… what’s wrong? …hey… hey…!
Gorou: (In a pitiful voice) Hitomi…
Hitomi: Hey, hey, baby attack!⁸
Gorou: My bad, I was wrong!
Tohru: Hey, cut it out already… Y’all can argue outside!
Gorou: (Pleasantly and clearly) Tohru, it’s just like she told you. My bad, but won’t you lend us some money?
Tohru: What, y’ gonna come here askin’ f’ money all friendly-like? What kinda fool are ya?
Tohru: Ya show up here for the first time in years actin’ like ya haven’t been MIA f’ God knows how long, and then y’ only come to ask f’ money… Quit fuckin’ with me! Who the hell’d give ya money after that?!
Gorou: I know, I know… But the only person I could rely on in the whole world is you… So, please…
Gorou, worried about getting his trousers dirty, gets on top of a chair (or maybe the steel desk?) and bows low to Tohru.
Gorou: Please, I’ll do anything.
Tohru: Can’t ya tell just by lookin’?
Gorou: Tell what?
Tohru: This factory ain’t runnin’ no more.
Gorou: (Noticing the state of the place for the first time) ……
Tohru: I’m workin’ at a platin’ factory now… ya know it, right? Satou’s dad’s place. An’ ‘cuz it’s before payday… (taking out his wallet and showing that it’s empty) I’m flat broke.
Gorou (His expression becoming serious) Why did you quit…?
Gorou: Why did you quit?
Tohru: Ain’t none a’ yo business.
Gorou: Of course it’s my business.
Hitomi: Hey, hold up, hold up, what’s up with you guys getting all serious all of a sudden?
Gorou: Shut up and stay out of this, we’re not finished talking.
Gorou: Your father’s company isn’t something you can just shut down so carelessly! This factory… your father was such an honest, hardworking man, and he worked so hard…
Tohru: That’s rich, preachin’ at me like ya didn’t shut down y’ own company!
Gorou: I’m not preaching, I’m just asking.
Tohru: (getting irritated) An’ where the hell were you then?! These past ten years… where the hell were you these past ten years?!
Tohru: (glaring at Gorou)
Tohru: (threateningly) Get the hell out.
Hitomi: Hey, didn’t you say that if we came here he’d toss the money at us just like that?
Hitomi: Ugh…! And I believed you…
Tohru: (to Hitomi) Oh, ya got yaself tricked by Karafuto Ojisan, too?
Hitomi: What the heck is “Karafuto Ojisan”?
Gorou: It’s just a nickname, it’s just a nickname he calls me…
Hitomi: (laughing) What the heck?
Gorou: It’s a long story.
Hitomi: Ojisan? So you’re his uncle? You’re not his father?
Tohru: Him?? My father?!
Gorou: “Not your father”…? What are you saying, Tohru…
Tohru: You?! My father???
Tohru: Get the hell out, Karafuto Ojisan.
Tohru: I don’ wanna see y’ face.
Tohru: I said get the hell out!
Tohru moves towards Gorou threateningly.
Hitomi comes between them to break up the potential fight.
Hitomi: Hey, knock it off! I don’t know who’s who or what’s what, but it doesn’t change the fact that he’s your family, right Gorou-chan?
Gorou hangs his head.
Gorou: I’m sorry…
Gorou: It was wrong of me to come here… please forgive me…
Upon saying this, he turns to go.
However, rather than leaving, he lingers around, as if he doesn’t want to give up.
Tohru: Hurry up and get the hell out!
Hitomi: You’re really going to leave?
Gorou: Yeah, let’s go…
Hitomi: Then what the hell have I been waiting around for this whole time?!
Hitomi: Hey, when’s your payday?
Hitomi: It’s usually the 25th, right? For most people?
Tohru: What th’ hell a’ ya goin’ on about…
Hitomi: That’s six days from now…
Hitomi pulls back the curtain and looks inside.
Hitomi: Hey, is it your room back here?
Tohru: Don’t just go openin’ that without askin’ first!
Hitomi rudely goes right in anyway.
Tohru: Hey, What the hell a’ ya doin’?
Hitomi: It’s a bit tight, but it’s pretty nice! There’s a bedroom, and another! And there’s a bath too!
Tohru: Get the hell outta there! What the hell a’ ya doin’?!
Hitomi comes back out.
Hitomi: (to Gorou) Let’s get him to let us stay here tonight!
Tohru: (shocked) ……
Hitomi: Well, it’s not like we can go search for a hotel at this point.
Tohru: There’re business hotels over by the station, you must a’ passed ‘em on y’ way here. Stay at one a’ those.
Hitomi: We don’t have any cash, what are we supposed to do? Are you gonna lend us some?
Tohru: How stupid a’ ya?
Hitomi picks up the suitcases, and
Hitomi: At least let us take a nap for the time being. I couldn’t sleep on the shinkansen⁹ and I’m totally exhausted…
she says, heading towards the rooms behind the curtain.
Tohru: Hey, hold on. Who said ya’ll could stay here?
Hitomi: It’s only for six days. After that we’ll get the money from you and be out of your hair.
Tohru: What the hell nonsense a’ you spoutin’, decidin’ that on y’ own?
Hitomi: Come on, please? We don’t have a choice.
Tohru: Hold on, hey!
he says, trying to grab Hitomi by the arm.
Hitomi tries to get past, into the living area behind the curtain.
She and Tohru struggle with one another, with him trying to block her path and her trying to get past him.
Tohru: Get out.
Tohru: I said get out, now get out!
Hitomi: Please, please, please, please, baby attack…!
Tohru: What the hell is wrong with you?! Quit fuckin’ with me!
While the two of them are struggling with one another, Gorou goes out the back door, and comes back with large suitcases.
Tohru: (to Gorou) What the hell a’ ya doin’?!
Gorou: Well, you know, I was thinking~ Maybe I could impose on you too, is all.
Tohru: Ya just said y’all were leavin’!!
Gorou: I changed my mind.
Tohru: Quit fuckin’ with me! Quit fuckin’ around!
Hitomi: Your vocabulary is unexpectedly limited.
Tohru: Get the hell out! Both a’ ya! Get the hell outta here right this minute!
Hitormi: Just bear with us for six days.
Gorou: It’s only six days.
Tohru: Get out!
Tohru grabs Gorou’s suitcases and throws them outside.
Next, he grabs Hitomi’s bags and goes to take them outside, as well, but Hitomi attempts to grab them back, and the two struggle again.
Hitomi: Stop it… I said stop that…
Tohru: Get the hell out!
Tohru: Hurry up and get the hell out!
Hitomi: That’s been sitting out for three minutes, your ramen is going to get soggy.
Tohru: Shut up!
While this is going on, Gorou goes outside and fetches the suitcases.
Tohru: I said get out!
he says, once again grabbing the suitcases and throwing them outside.
Then, he runs back inside to catch Hitomi, who was attempting to go into the living space.
Tohru: Don’t just decide y’ goin’ back there!
Hitomi: Come on, it’s not a big deal, right?
Tohru: Don’t go around makin’ deals, stupid!¹⁰
Gorou yet again fetches the suitcases and comes back in through the back door.
Tohru: Hey, you! Cut it out!
Gorou, carrying the trunks, starts to run away from Tohru in circles around the factory.
Gorou: (while running in circles) Please, Tohru… I’ve swallowed my pride and come all the way here… I’ve got my back to the wall… Please understand… please… I’m begging you…
Tohru: Understand?! Like hell!
he says, while attempting to push Gorou to the door.
However, he then realizes that Hitomi has disappeared.
Tohru: Hey! Where the hell did ya go?! Get out here!
Hitomi’s voice comes from inside the living area.
Hitomi’s voice: I’m changing into my pajamas right now~
Tohru goes to enter the living area.
Gorou follows him without hesitation.
Tohru: Back off!
Hitomi sticks just her leg out from behind the curtain.
Hitomi’s voice: You’d better not come back here~ I’m totally naked right now~
Gorou hands Tohru the paper bag.
Gorou: I forgot, here, I brought you souvenirs.
He forces the bag on Tohru.
Tohru: (refusing it) Like I need this shit.
Gorou: Sorry it’s not much. It’s the famous snack from Asakusa, Kaminari Okoshi¹¹. Tohru, I’ve been wondering this for a while now, but in “Kaminari Okoshi,” who’s being woken up…?
Tohru: Like I know!
Lively music plays, blackout.
1. okonomiyaki: a famous food of Osaka (which is near Kobe), often described as a “savory pancake” or a “Japanese pizza.” It contains meat and or fish, vegetables, and seasonings in an egg-based dough.
2. kei truck: Kei is a subcategory of car in Japan that is not common in most foreign countries. Kei cars have a small, lightweight body and a weak engine.
3. onigiri: Japanese rice balls with some sort of filling, usually fish, seaweed, or pickles. Onigiri are a common cheap food item that can be bought from convenience stores.
4. Karafuto Ojisan: I debated trying to translate this, but since it’s the name of the play and has a lot of meaning in this play, I decided to leave it. Karafuto is the Japanese name for the island of Sakhalin, which is north of Hokkaido and was once considered Japanese territory before being taken back by Russia. The relevancy to the play is explained later. Ojisan means uncle, and can also be used as a polite term to refer to older men in general.
5. Gorou-chan: “chan” is an affectionate honorific most often used for children, so Hitomi’s use of it with Gorou shows they have an intimate relationship.
6. the character for virtue and the character for beauty: Because Japanese names are made up of characters that also appear in words, a common way for Japanese people to explain how to write their names is by saying what words the characters appear in. Translating this into English didn’t really make any sense, though, so I simplified. The original line reads “仁義の仁に美人の美.”
7. Teppanyaki: a type of Japanese cooking in which meat and vegetables are fried on a flat iron grill.
8. Baby attack: In the play, Hitomi says this while bumping her stomach against Gorou; it makes more sense in context, in my opinion.
9. Shinkansen: The Japanese bullet train, which is often used for long distance trips.
10. Making deals: This was a pun in Japanese that didn’t translate, so I did my best to maintain the feeling and make a pun in English.
11. Kaminari Okoshi: This is a type of puffed rice cracker famous in Asakusa, Tokyo; the name means “being woken up by thunder.” Gorou is making a joke off this name, which presumably is old enough and traditional enough that no one really knows what it comes from.