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Young Mitsuko (Riisa Naka) is 9 months pregnant, alone and broke. Her parents think she's happily living in California, but really she's in Tokyo, where she spends her days following clouds and hearing sad stories, as everybody is struggling in the poor economy. One day she leaves her small apartment and returns to the forgotten tenements where she had lived for a time as a small child; the landlady is still there, bedridden and waiting for death, so Mitsuko moves in with her. Also still there are Jiro (Ryo Ishibashi), owner of a small struggling restaurant, and his nephew Yoichi (Aoi Nakamura), who loved Mitsuko as a child and who has waited 15 years for her to return. Everybody's life is on a downhill slide, but Mitsuko refuses to allow people to just fade away and instead she insists that they do something, anything to better their lives. And of course, in turn they all come to depend on her and to want to help her with her own struggles in life....
This description suggests that Mitsuko is a sweet young woman who brings joy to everybody she meets, and while indeed she does bring joy, she does so by being horrifically bad-tempered, frowning and shouting at people all the time. Somehow, this tough kid has a positive effect on people, perhaps because of her quirky ways of looking at life. For example, when presented with a problem, she insists that the first thing to do is to take a nap, and wait for the wind to change; once the wind changes, one should just "go with it." Riisa Naka is excellent in the title role, and the rest of the cast members are equally endearing and charismatic. When all the main characters end up in post-nuclear Fukushima, unrequited loves are finally sorted out and the world moves on, as it always does. Gently whimsical in tone, this film still delivers a great sense of humanity and connectedness, reminding us that when times are hard, we all need each other to get through.
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