|Okada Masaki-kun as the sizzling hot Yamada Haruhiko 山田春彦 (Chiisana Kyojin, Ep 5)|
The autumn rain kindly drizzled just as the funeral service was being concluded. Since it was just a drizzle, none of the very few attendants moved away from around the grave; they just produced their umbrellas and respectfully waited until the priest had finished the procedure. Yet, as it rained harder, one by one the attendants left, leaving Yamada Haruhiko standing in the rain as he watched the workers industriously closed the pit.
Yamada felt warm drops slowly running over his face. Warm, so uncharacteristic of the autumn rain. Yet, it wasn’t the rain: it was his tears. Annoyed, he wiped his tears away.
“Yamada, we should go home now.”
Without turning to acknowledge his superintendent, Yamada nodded. “Arigatō, Kosaka-san. I’d like to stay here just for a bit longer, though.”
“I understand.” Yamada finally turned towards Kosaka Shinichiro, whose umbrella started to drench wet under the autumn rain.
“Then…” Kosaka tapped the shoulder of the grieving young man. “I will go now. Don’t go back to the office until next week. Just take your time.” It was a Tuesday afternoon. Basically, Kosaka just gave Yamada the whole week off to mourn for his passing father.
To the non-existent father.
Still, Yamada appreciated the kindness. He nodded again before quickly turned his head away, for his tears were threatening to spill again.
After Kosaka left, Yamada Haruhiko stood still under the drenching rain for almost thirty minutes. He said nothing, he thought of nothing. He alternated between wanting to cry and determining not to cry. But then, when he eventually decided to cry, not a single warm tear came out. Instead, as the autumn wind blew harder, he felt the cold rain pitter-pattering his face.
When he finally shivered, he decided that it was time to go. Without saying another goodbye, he turned on his heels, already drenched wet in the rain. Yet, just as he walked a few meters away, he stopped again.
In the rain, not even sheltered by the big trees nearby, stood Mishima Yuri.
“I thought you went back with Kosaka-san…”
It was the second sentence that Yamada uttered in almost two hours. Since Yuri offered to drive him home to his clean but Spartan apartment, he said nothing. He hardly registered that Yuri said that she had gone to the cemetery with Kosaka-san, and that after driving Yamada back safely, she’d return to her own apartment. Now, as he started to register how the autumn rain had turned into a storm, he realised that Yuri had been here in his apartment, tending to his needs mostly in silence, for more than an hour.
“Well, you see… I’m here.” Yuri smiled as she took Yamada’s empty cup. “More macha?”
“Yes, please, thanks…” Yamada nodded in gratitude. He would usually drink coffee, but this time somehow he appreciated the traditional comfort of green tea. As he watched Yuri refilling his cup with fresh tea, he resumed. “I mean… I didn’t know that you waited for me in the rain. I thought Kosaka-san drove you home.”
“He offered me to, but I preferred to stay.” Yuri returned to hand him the tea. “Someone needs to make sure you go back home safely.”
A weak smile was all Yamada could offer. “Thank you.”
“That’s what friends are for.” Yuri smiled as she sat a bit further from Yamada, giving him a respectful distance he might need. “I’ll go home with taxi as soon as the storm abates.” She suddenly shivered. Yamada frowned.
Yamada Haruhiko was very pale and wet when Mishima Yuri took him to his car, and he was still pale, unresponsive and empty when she took him into his apartment. Worried that he would be unresponsive and depressed for days to come, Yuri decided to stay for a while in the apartment until Yamada looked better. Although it was the first time Yuri had ever visited Yamada’s apartment (she got his address from Kosaka whom she called as they drove back to Tokyo), she challenged her own boundaries by rummaging into Yamada’s wardrobe and gave him a sweater and a pair of sweatpants. At first, Yamada didn’t respond to her request to change into dry clothes. Yet, when Yuri was wondering what to do, Yamada started to act. He reached for the dry clothes, went to the bathroom and changed. He then emerged with a set of towels and blankets for Yuri. Only then he realised that Yuri’s dress was also wet. Not drenched wet, for she was wearing an all-weather jacket in the cemetery, but it was damp nonetheless.
“Would you like to change into some dry clothes?” he had asked then, almost whispering. When Yuri politely declined, he just nodded to acknowledge her. He then walked to the alcove and sat there, watching the rain, for almost an hour. When Yuri took over the host role and asked him whether he wanted coffee, green tea or hot chocolate, he had slipped back into being non-responsive. He did accept the green tea that Yuri made, though. With his hands cupping the warm cup, he resumed watching the rain in silence.
After a while, slowly but sure, Yamada regained his grip of reality. His father had left this world, without them properly mending fences. He could do nothing about it, could he? Life goes on.
Now, slowly Yamada realised that he should have insisted that Yuri changed into a dry set of clothing. He rose and walked into his bedroom and rummaged for a while before returning back with a set of pink pyjamas. Clearly a girl’s pyjamas.
“Wear this,” he handed her the pink pyjamas. When Yuri giggled and asked if it was his, he smirked ever so subtly and said, “No, it belongs to my former girlfriend. She broke up with me, but forgot to take this with her when she moved out.”
Yuri’s smiled disappeared from her face. She returned to her semiformal state and bowed deeply, thanking Yamada for the kindness. She then disappeared into the bathroom and emerged again in the pink pyjamas. She was evidently too short for the pyjamas, for she had to roll the legs up, but she looked cute nonetheless.
“It’s too short…” she commented shyly. Yuri had an average height for a Japanese woman. However, Yamada’s 180 cm, above-average height made her look like a little girl every time she stood next to him.
Yamada’s smile grew slightly larger. “Kaede is a tall girl,” he commented innocently as he sipped his tea. Yet, as he saw Yuri’s eyes dimmed, he slowly remembered something. Things he had wanted to say to her since they became friends, about one year before his father’s passing.
The first and only time Yamada Haruhiko touched Mishima Yuri was when he shoved her aside to rescue her from the falling steel bars. Eguchi-san, the man they had been tailing secretly, had pushed the steel bars just to scare Yuri instead of hurting her; a latter recollection made Yamada realised that Yuri wouldn’t be hurt by the bars, for her position at that time was off the falling trajectory. However, at that time, despite his stealth operation and reluctance to involve Kosaka and team in the Somei Gakuen investigation, Yamada was shocked to see steel bars slowly tilting towards Yuri’s position. He screamed her last name and jumped to the rescue, shoving her aside and slamming both of them on the pavement as the bars clanking to the ground, alerting Kosaka et al.
#yamadaharuhiko rescued Mishima, #小さな巨人 #chiisanakyojin Ep 6 (with preview from Ep 5).#山田春彦#岡田将生#芳根京子 #小さな巨人 #chiisanakyojin pic.twitter.com/CetTJJ8Cke— Southern River (@snowmoon74) October 15, 2017
At that time, Yuri was too shocked to thank Yamada. Plus, he had lied about Eguchi’s travel direction, hence Mishima Yuri was torn between wanting to believe in the general goodness of people (in this case Yamada) and the feeling that Yamada hid something. It wasn’t until a few months later, after the whole Somei Gakuen corruption was revealed, that Yuri thanked Yamada, and it took Kosaka Misa for that.
After Kosaka was reinstated in the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, Misa had suggested her husband to invite some of his colleagues for dinner. Kosaka naturally invited Mishima Yuri, Watanabe Hisashi and Nakamura Toshiya. Yet, unexpectedly, Kosaka also invited Yamada, for at that point they were already close colleagues. After dinner, Yuri was about to hail taxi when Yamada unexpectedly offer to give her a ride, for his apartment was in the same direction as Yuri’s. It was during that silent yet comfortable ride home that Yuri remembered that she had never thanked Yamada for rescuing her. She shyly thanked him for his rescue.
“That’s fine,” Yamada had smiled back then. Yuri didn’t realise until then that Yamada’s smile was beautiful; the man hardly smiled anyway during the cases they handled together. “To think about it, Eguchi-san didn’t mean to injure you. He just wanted to scare you.”
“Still, I thank you. He might have just meant to scare me, but I could have been knocked out unconscious if his calculation was wrong.”
Yamada smiled again and nodded to acknowledge her. They left it at that.
However, a few weekends later, as Yamada had his morning run, he unexpectedly met Yuri, who was walking a dog along the Meguro River. Since it was the first time both of them met during an unofficial event (excluding Misa-san’s dinner), both of them were taken by surprise at how different they looked when outside working days. Yuri was wearing her pink sweatpants, her ponytail was pleated aside, while Yamada wore his Adidas blue trainers. Both agreed to stop and chat.
“Cute dog. Is it yours?” Yamada asked as he sat on a park bench. He liked dogs, but his father had never allowed him to have dogs.
“Yes, he's John." Yuri smiled, introducing John to Yamada. Seeing how Yamada played around with the dog, Yuri smiled. “I never thought you were a dog person.” After Yamada told her about his childhood disappointment, Yuri’s face fell. “That’s sad… My last dog before John died five years ago. I was only able to bring myself into getting John just before I moved to Toyosu.”
“That's very nice.” Again, Yamada’s rare smile. "Do you walk him often?"
She smiled as well. “Every weekend and every day if I can help it.”
Ever since, Yamada found himself wondering if it would be okay to take Yuri for lunch. Walking John with her seemed like a fine idea as well. Yet Mishima was supremely timid, and Yamada wasn’t a naturally friendly person either. Thus, it took another case where he could ask her for lunch together. The case was a minor case this time, a murder case in a local high school in Shiba. The only reason Yamada was involved was because the suspect was the illegitimate son of a highly influential banker in Ginza. Given her natural kindness, Yuri was enlisted to question the school staff and students. Yamada found himself working together again with Yuri, and this time – without all the political burdens – he actually enjoyed it. The case was solved in less than a week, but it gave him some lunch times with Yuri in the school canteen.
Yamada thus found himself accepting Kosaka’s invitations for after-hour beer sessions. Sometimes Yuri would join, and Yamada would find himself chatting slowly yet endlessly with the girl. Sometimes Yuri wouldn’t join, and Yamada would find himself trying to filter Yuri-related stories from Kosaka’s conversations with other detectives. Yamada learned that Yuri just wanted to be a dog-handler, but she seemed to start to enjoy her assignments. Yuri’s tactful approach in the school murder case prompted Yamada to suggest that Yuri should be assigned as a counsellor for victims whenever possible, and that she should enrol more in psychological lectures to improve her already good performance. Yuri’s own superintendent accepted this suggestion, and thus thereafter, Yuri found herself frequently assigned to counselling roles, which she actually appreciated. In turn, when Yuri accidentally found how Yamada was involved in getting her more enjoyable assignments, Yuri felt that she gravitated towards Yamada even more.
It was a very fine day last summer when Yamada found himself having a nice weekend lunch with Yuri once more. Somehow, Kosaka-san had detected his second-in-command’s intention to Yuri, hence the kind superintendent had gently pushed Yamada to extending lunch invitations to Yuri during the weekends. Mostly Yuri would accept it, but nothing came out of the chat other than Yamada thought that Yuri was a very kind girl and Yuri thinking that Yamada was truly not as scary as she originally perceived him to be. At times, Yuri would come with John, and Yamada's inner child could be blatantly seen when he played with the dog, such that Yuri wondered what had made the beautiful little boy in Yamada hidden underneath his stern mask.
On that day, though, Yamada received a call from the prison hospital. His father, Yamada Isao was taken to the hospital from a stroke this morning. The former Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary was charged with corruption about a month after Kosaka Shinichiro and Yamada Haruhiko were reinstated in their old roles.
|Yamada Isao evading reporters as his role in the Somei Gakuen corruption |
was unveiled by, among others, his son
|Father and son didn't utter even a word in the aftermath (Ep 10)|
|Yamada as he saw his father entered the mansion (Ep 10)|
When Yamada Sr was finally jailed almost nine months later, Yamada Haruhiko didn’t even blink. He knew his father had to pay for his mistakes. Yamada knew as much after he accepted the fact that his own father ordered Onoda to arrest his own son because the young detective was probing too much into the Somei Gakuen case.
#山田春彦 #yamadaharuhiko #小さな巨人 #chiisanakyojin Ep9: I want 2 hug him & say that everything will be fine, that u r loved... #岡田将生 #okadamasaki pic.twitter.com/PTKkEUsw2a— Southern River (@snowmoon74) October 12, 2017
Nonetheless, Yamada did visit his father once in jail, where the proud former politician had not shown an ounce of regret. Something broke again within Yamada as he left his father in the jail that day; he knew he had lost his father, but he didn’t know when exactly. Perhaps a good few years before Yamada Isao became the Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary. Perhaps around the time Yamada Isao covered up the first murder and corruption in the Somei Gakuen.
Thus, Yamada visiting his father in the hospital was his second visit after his father was jailed. This time however, Yuri accompanied him. She initially wanted to leave him alone in his private business, but seeing how light suddenly disappeared from Yamada and how he slowly turned into his old, secretive self, Yuri offered to accompany him to the prison hospital. Unexpectedly, Yamada accepted the offer. Since that day they didn't have John with them (Yuri had uncharacteristically walked John in the morning before lunch with Yamada), they went straight to the hospital. There, Yuri stayed mostly at the corner of the hospital room while Yamada stood inanimately next to his father’s sick bed. About 30 min into the silence, his father’s fingers slowly twitched.
“Yamada-san…” Yuri had noticed the movement first. “It seems your father would like to say something.”
Surprised, Yamada looked up. Then, very slowly, with utter reluctance, he held his father’s hand. His father couldn’t talk because of the stroke, but his eyes said something. Was it regret? Was it love? ...What did he want to say?
“Otō-san…” was the only word Yamada could utter. Then, he suddenly broke off the connection and ran away from the room. Flabbergasted, Yuri bowed deeply to Yamada Isao and ran outside to fetch Yamada. She found him sitting in the hospital garden, sobbing helplessly, his square shoulders shaking so pitifully as she stood behind him. It took Yuri a while before she summoned her courage and sat next to Yamada. She did nothing. She was just there for him if he needed her.
After a while, Yamada returned back to the room. His father was already asleep. Yamada fixed the blanket, his hands were shaking as he did so. Then he left without saying another word.
Yuri didn’t know what to do with this Yamada. Should she ask him whether he would like to visit his father again? That was what she eventually asked during the silent journey back to their neighbourhood. He whispered that he’d come again in the next few days after hour, would Yuri accompany him? She said yes, and thus they developed that silent habit of going to the jail hospital and visited Yamada Isao in silence.
After a few weeks, Isao’s condition improved. Yet he remained in the hospital because he clearly wasn’t fit for jail. The Prime Minister had granted him mercy, thus he was transported to a convalesce house (his grand house had been confiscated by the government, and Yamada Haruhiko couldn’t summon the energy to take care of his father on his own). Yamada still visited his father every week, but nothing transpired between them. Yamada didn’t ask Yuri to come with him anymore, for he considered it unthoughtful for him to keep asking the girl to sacrifice her free time. Yuri on her behalf let Yamada be alone because she thought he needed the time. She did ask him whether he was coping alright during their now-scarce weekend lunch, and he would just shrug.
One day a few weeks ago, as the autumn started, when Yamada made his routine visit, his father suddenly said something. It was with a great difficulty that Yamada realised his father said “Have you not forgiven me?”. Stunned, Yamada withdrew.
His father whispered again, “I knew it…”. Then his old eyes suddenly displayed clarity that was lost since his stroke. “Forgive me.”
Yamada Haruhiko opened his mouth, yet he couldn’t speak a word. He didn’t come the week after. He said to himself that another case demanded his attention (which was true anyway), but the real truth is, he was too scared to examine why he hadn’t forgiven his father. He withdrew deeper until he stopped having lunches with Yuri. When one day he saw Yuri having lunch with Nakamura Toshiya, Yamada felt a pang in his heart. Yet he knew that Yuri deserved somebody better than him, who couldn’t even extract himself from his shell right now.
Then his father passed away. Yamada remembered that it was the day that he finally decided to forgive his father. Yamada had opened the door of his father’s room in a tentative excitement, because he somehow had finally willed himself to forgive him. Yet, what he saw was two nurses and a doctor, staring blankly at him. Yamada Isao had passed away just as Yamada parked his car in the compound.
Everything was a blur for Yamada ever since. He only remembered that he called Kosaka-san, the first person whom he knew would understand his situation. Kosaka sprang into action. He came to the convalesce house to help Yamada with the funeral. With him, he took Mishima Yuri, who without hesitance also took over some aspects of a funeral. Only now Yamada realised that, without the two of them, he wouldn’t be able to survive the emotional turmoil of the last few days.
“Yuri…” Yamada whispered; the girl looked up from her tea. “I forgot if I have thanked you and Kosaka-san for your help…”
She smiled. “You have. You really have.” It was true. Yamada did say thank you several times, albeit with empty, almost shell-shocked stares.
“I wouldn’t be able to go through it without the two of you.”
“Well, it was a relatively simple funeral, thus it wasn’t that hard for me. Kosaka-san did the paperwork, I did the rest.”
Yamada started to observe Yuri properly. “You have done this before. Taking care of a funeral, I mean.”
It was a while before she replied. “My favourite grandmother died a few months before I joined the corp. I missed her so much… but I was grateful I was quite level-headed during the funeral preparation and the aftermath. I had to..." she nodded to herself several times. "...for my mother.”
“You do have a good family, don’t you. A warm family, I mean.” When he received her smile as an affirmative, he resumed. “I don’t have that family. My mother left my father when I was a teenager, then she died a few years later. I left my father’s home when I started doing my law degree because he never showed remorse for her death. She died of cancer, but I think she really died of loneliness, for my father never permitted me to see her.”
Yuri was dumbfounded. Of all her lunches and private talks with Yamada, he never told her all these stories. If not talking about their cases, they just talked about what they liked, including about dogs.
“Oh… I’m so sor-”
“I didn’t even forgive him!" Yamada suddenly burst out in frustration. "I wanted to forgive him, I was planning to forgive him, but he died as I arrived there!”
Yuri blinked. It was the first time she learned about this.
“I should have forgiven him the first time he asked for it, but I just didn’t!” This time, Yamada screamed. “I couldn’t! He had failed so much in my eyes that I didn’t know where to start to forgive him!”
Yuri’s mind went blank as she found Yamada clutching to her shoulders like mad. “Why did he go without waiting for me? Did he want to punish me again, this time for not forgiving him? Hasn’t he been cruel enough all his life?!”
“Why couldn’t I forgive him, Yuri?! Why couldn’t I force myself to do that?!" He paused, searching for something in her eyes, then burst again. "Why didn’t I ask your help for that?!”
|Still looks hot even when distressed (Ep 09)|
This time, Yuri was definitely shocked to hear her name involved in the story. All these months, she just thought that she wasn’t the woman for Yamada. She secretly liked him, she actually had grown to love him, but he withdrew and she couldn’t do anything about it.
“Why didn’t I tell you about this…” This time, Yamada slowed down. Then, reduced to tears, he dropped his tall frame into Yuri’s petite hug. “Why couldn’t I forgive you earlier?... Otō-san…why….???”
All of his gates wide open, Yamada sobbed and wailed in Yuri’s hug. If Yuri wasn’t sitting on the carpeted floor against a sofa, she would have fallen to the floor covered by Yamada’s tall frame.
In foetal position, Yamada cried for another hour. All the while, despite her initial shock, Yuri stayed, hugging him in her petite frame.
Afterwards, as the autumn storm abated, so was Yamada’s grief. Totally spent, he finally whispered,
“Otō-sama… I forgive you… Please forgive me…”
The pitter-patter of the rain slowly replaced the maelstrom of the autumn storm. The pitter-patter sounded so melodious that Yamada felt sleepy. He slowly drifted to sleep, still embracing Yuri. The petite girl herself, after getting used to the idea that the gorgeous yet solitary Yamada was hugging her like clinging to dear life, shifted her body so that they laid on the carpet. She then let him sleep, his tears still slowly flowing, dampening her pyjamas.
Yuri finally stirred in her sleep. Feeling the warmth that she couldn’t explain, she opened her eyes. And she gasped.
It was very early in the morning as Mishima Yuri found herself embraced in Yamada Haruhiko’s arms. Yamada still looked spent, but his grief had slowly left his countenance.
Yuri gasped again.
“Did I—did we--...?” furiously, she blushed.
“Nothing happened,” a subtle smile spread across Yamada’s face. “Well, we did sleep together, but that was it.”
“What…” Yuri got up, confused. She leaned against the sofa again; they apparently had not moved the whole night from the carpet.
“You saved me last night. I would have broken into pieces without you here.” That was true, Yamada woke up about half an hour before Yuri did. He registered what happened, but he couldn’t separate himself from her. Instead, he kept hugging her, as if she’d melt away if he didn’t do so.
“Call me Yamada. I call you just “Yuri” anyway, right?”
“Ah…” fire suddenly crept in her chest, giving her a breathing difficulty. Someone should tell Yamada not to stare at girls like that. “I… I have to go. Office.”
“Kosaka-san said that he’d asked permission on your behalf to have a day off today.” Almost grinning, Yamada produced his mobile phone. “He called you last night, but since you were asleep, he called me. Since I was asleep, he left me a text message. You don’t need to go to work today.”
Yuri was again lost at words. “Why?” was all she could say later.
“I’m not sure… but I think Kosaka-san knows that I needed you last night.”
Yuri blushed again. This is getting dangerous. Seeing her blushing, Yamada decided to try his luck. His father’s death had taught him that hesitation can produce remorseful results.
“What Kosaka-san doesn’t know is that I don’t only need you last night.” Yamada shifted closer to Yuri. “I know now that I need you always. That is, if Nakamura is not expecting you either.” He added the last bit as a safety measure. He realised though this morning that had Yuri dated Nakamura, she wouldn’t have stayed last night. Also, Nakamura was actually there in the funeral, but he didn’t go back with Yuri, nor did he accompany her.
“Nakamura?” Yuri was confused.
“You guys had lunch together the other day.”
“And you think we’re dating because of that one lunch?!” Yuri unexpectedly became agitated.
Unexpectedly as well, Yamada laughed. Grief can be too emotional that one can actually laugh afterwards. As a matter of fact, one does need to laugh after a grief.
“Don’t be mad. I was just very distant these last few months, I don’t blame you for having lunch with him.”
“Well, I don’t-” She stopped. Yamada had put his forefinger on her lips.
“Shh…. I’m glad you don’t have anything to do with him.”
Although her heart almost stopped because Yamada's finger touched her lips, Yuri held her ground. "Well, what about Kaede-san, then?"
"What about her?" Yamada frowned, half in mirth to see the jealous Yuri.
"You keep her pyjamas although you guys already broke up."
Yamada shrugged. "I honestly thought that she had retrieved all her belongings when we broke up almost three years ago. I was cleaning up my apartment a few weeks ago when I found the pyjamas. She lives in the UK now, so there's no point returning it to her. And I never got around to throwing it away."
Yuri bit her lips. That explanation made sense. Sensing her change of mode, Yamada tried again. "You're not mad at me anymore, are you?"
"Why should I be mad about pink pyjamas?!" Yuri turned away, half joking and half trying to get rid of her senseless jealousy.
Again, unexpectedly, Yamada chuckled. Yuri had that effect in him; she made him relaxed. She made him feel safe. He automatically touched her chin, she blushed. He smiled and felt something rising within him.
Yet, as both breathed harder in each other's presence, as both realised what they wanted from each other, grief crept again into Yamada's face. “Yuri..." She turned away, shyly this time. "I normally tried not to do this when I was grieving, because I could never know if it was just an outlet. But with you, it’s different…”
He hesitated before he shifted closer to her, cupping her small and cute face with his warm hands. “With you, it’s life. It’s a life that I want to share with you in its entirety…”
Yuri felt she stopped breathing. No girl could be breathing when someone like Yamada stared into her soul like that.
“Mishima Yuri, will you let me do this with you? Will you share your life, your self, with me…?”
His request was almost pitifully delivered, laced with the fear of rejection. Yet, how could he think that she would reject him? The first time he touched her, when he shoved her to the ground to rescue her more than a year ago… he actually had planted his charm in her heart. And now, she was helpless in resisting him.
Yuri nodded subtly. That subtlety was enough for Yamada. Gently, he kissed her sweet pink lips as he laid her back on the carpet.
Mishima Yuri closed her eyes. She knew she accepted Yamada in his entirety. Right now, she actually couldn’t wait for that to happen.
The last scene was definitely attributable to the irresistible sensuality of the late 20s Okada Masaki (have you seen his kissing scene in Himitsu Top Secret?).
And I just saw a clip of Yoshine Kyoko interviewing Okada Masaki in his crisp Chiisana Kyojin suit. I find Kyoko's adoration to Masaki very charming; Masaki is after all 8 years her senior...