Kanji: I can't afford to hate people. I don't have that kind of time.
Kanji: [singing] Life is brief / Fall in love, maiden / Before the crimson bloom / Fades from your lips / Before the tides of passion / Cool within you / For those of you / Who know no tomorrow...
Novelist: How tragic that man can never realize how beautiful life is until he is face to face with death.
Toyo: [telling joke] "You've never had a day off, have you?" "No." "Why? Are you indispensable?" "No. I don't want them to find out they can do without me."
Kanji: I don't know what I've been doing with my life all these years.
Kanji: Now I remember: I nearly drowned in a pond once when I was a child. I felt exactly the same way then. Everything's going black. I writhe and thrash around, but there's nothing to hold on to - except you.
Toyo: What about your son?
Kanji: Don't talk to me about him! I have no son. I'm all alone.
Kanji: No, you don't understand! My son is somewhere far away. Just as my mom and pop were when I was drowning in that pond. Remembering it now, it's even more painful than it was then.
Kanji: How beautiful! Truly beautiful. A sunset. I don't think I've really looked at one in 30 years.
Novelist: That's not art. A striptease isn't art. It's too direct. It's more direct than art. That woman's body up there? It's a big juicy steak. It's a glass of gin. It's a hormone extract. Streptomycin. Uranium!
Toyo: What help am I?
Kanji: You - just to look at you makes me feel better. It warms this - this mummy's heart of mine. And you're so kind to me. No; that's not it. You're so young, so healthy. No; that's not it either... You're so full of life. And me... I'm jealous of that. If I could be like you for just one day before I died. I won't be able to die unless I can do that. I want to do *something*. Only you can show me. I don't know what to do. I don't know how. Maybe you don't know either, but, please... if you can... show me how to be like you!
Kanji: Drinking this expensive sake is like paying myself back with poison for the way I lived all these years.
Novelist: We have to be greedy for life. They say greed is a vice, but that's outdated. Greed is a virtue, especially greed for enjoying life.
Narrator: The best way to protect your place in this world is to do nothing at all. But is this enough? Is this really enough?
Kanji: ...I did it all for my son's sake. But as it turned out, my son doesn't seem to give a whit.
Toyo: But you can't blame it all on your son... Not unless he asked you to make a mummy of yourself. My mom gives me the same kind of line sometimes. "The things I've suffered for you." And I'm grateful she had me. But it's not my fault I was born...
Doctor: What would you do if you only had six months left to live?
Novelist: Misfortune teaches us the truth. Your cancer has opened your eyes to your own life. People are fickle and shallow. We only realize how beautiful life is when we face death. And even then, few of us realize it. The worst among us know nothing of life until they die.
Novelist: You're amazing! Rebelling against your past self at this age! That rebellious spirit moves me. You were a slave to your own life. Now you'll become its master. It's our human duty to enjoy life. Wasting it is desecrating God's great gift.
Mitsuo Watanabe, Kanji's son: That's Dad's mentality. Typical petty bureaucrat.
Kazue Watanabe, Mitsuo's wife: It's freezing. Just as bad inside as out. That's why I hate Japanese houses.
Mitsuo Watanabe, Kanji's son: It's such a drag coming home to this. I'd like a modern house.
Kazue Watanabe, Mitsuo's wife: Honey, a house of our own would cost around 500,000 yen, right? Could we use your dad's retirement bonus as collateral?
Mitsuo Watanabe, Kanji's son: It must be worth 700,000 by now, plus a monthly pension of 13,000 yen and another 100,000 in savings.
Kazue Watanabe, Mitsuo's wife: But you think he'd agree?
Mitsuo Watanabe, Kanji's son: If he doesn't, we'll say we're moving out. That'll clinch it. Even Dad doesn't want to take that much money to the grave.
Kazue Watanabe, Mitsuo's wife: Stop making that face. Enough about your dad. He has his life. We have ours.
Mitsuo Watanabe, Kanji's son: Uncle, he even withdrew 50,000 yen.
Kiichi Watanabe, Kanji's Brother: That miser? I wonder if he's got a woman? That would really be something.
Tatsu Watanabe, Kiichi's Wife: Now dear.
Mitsuo Watanabe, Kanji's son: I'm sure it's not that.
Kiichi Watanabe, Kanji's Brother: There's no telling when it comes to love. The ones you least expect are the most susceptible. If you ask me, he's actually a real lecher. A lecher with a solemn veneer. But he's stayed widowed these 20 years for you. It makes sense that he'd eventually snap, right?
Tatsu Watanabe, Kiichi's Wife: My husband thinks all men are as debauched as he is.
Novelist: Drinking when you have stomach cancer is suicide.
Kanji: The thing is - I can't go through with it. "Go ahead and kill yourself," I think. And yet - I just can't do it. I mean - I can't bring myself to make it final.
Kanji: It's just that I've been such a fool. I'm just so mad at myself. Until a few days ago I had never even bought myself a drink. It's only now that I don't know how much longer I have to live that I've finally begun.
Novelist: I understand. I understand. But drinking now is plain crazy. Besides, does it even taste good?
Kanji: No, it doesn't. But for a little while I can forget my cancer and all the other painful things.
Novelist: It's fascinating. I realize it's rude to call you fascinating, but you're an extremely rare individual. I'm just a slacker who writes second-rate fiction. You've really started me thinking. They say there's something noble about suffering and it's true.
Novelist: Come on. Let's go reclaim the life you've wasted. Tonight it will be my pleasure to act as your Mephistopheles, but a beneficent one who won't ask for your soul.
Novelist: Ecce homo. "Behold the man." This man bears a cross called cancer. He's Christ. If you were diagnosed with cancer, you'd start dying right away. But not this fellow. That's when he started living.
Kanji: Why are you quitting?
Toyo: I'm bored. It's killing me. Every day is like the one before. Nothing new ever happens. I've put up with it for a year and a half, but the only novel thing that's happened was that you took five days off - and now this new hat of yours. That's it.
Kanji: All these 30 years - what have I been doing there? I can't remember no matter how I try. All I remember - is just being busy - and even then I was bored.
Toyo: After 30 years without an absence, you deserve at least six months off.
Toyo: I'll cover for you. I'm not like Carp Windsock.
Kanji: Carp Windsock?
Toyo: Yes, Mr. Sakai is a human carp windsock. His lips are always flapping, but he's just hot air inside. Plus he always acts like such a big shot. He makes 200 yen more a month than I do, so he looks down on me.
Kanji: Tell me, where do they sell women's stockings?
Toyo: You want to buy some? Western clothing stores carry them.
Toyo: Why did you buy them for me?
Kanji: Well, yours had holes in them.
Toyo: Do holes in my stockings make your feet cold?
Kanji: Don't get me wrong...
Toyo: I was just kidding. I know you did it out of kindness, but I feel awkward at times like this. That's why I made a bad joke. Forgive me.
Toyo: All I do is make these little things.
[Pulls out a stuffed mechanical bunny]
Toyo: Just making these is so much fun. I feel like I'm making friends with every baby in Japan. Why don't you try making something too?
Kanji: What could I possibly make at that office.
Toyo: Yeah, it's hopeless there. You should quit and go somewhere...
Kanji: It's too late - - No - It's not too late. It's not hopeless. Even there, there's something I can do. I just have to find the will.
Kiichi Watanabe, Kanji's Brother: With a young mistress, the hormonal effect can temporarily rejuvenate an old man. Happens all the time.
Local Citizen: The water gives my child rashes. And it breeds mosquitos. Can't you do something? It would make a great playground if you filled it in.
Narrator: There's nothing left of that will or passion. They've been completely worn down by the minutia of the bureaucratic machine and the meaningless busyness it breeds.