This movie it dedicated to those who were like – Reina said she loves Taki-sensei? Dropped! – when watching a certain episode of Hibike Euphonium, like a person could only love just one person since the day they were born till their death or something.
‘Tabi no Omosa’, terribly translated as always into English as ‘The Journey to Solitude’ – I hereby swear to give up on the people in charge of these translations because if I continue minding this, I will develop a case of brain cancer soon. Those two titles are so different in meaning the weight behind them! Why do they even do this? It’s not like they are lines that need to sound in flow when spoken like they do in dubs! So this is the last time you will see me posting the English titles let alone mentioning them!
‘Tabi no Omosa’ is yet another oldie, in fact over 11 years older than the other movie I posted about yesterday – Taifu Club. This is the movie I was talking about in that post. Tabi no Omosa is a 1972 drama directed by Saitou Koichi about a 16 year old girl that leaves home to go on a pilgrimage around the Island she lived on ‘Shikoku’.
Interesting to know that one of my favourite Japanese movie companies was named after a real Island.
Oh yeah, before we commence I want to point out that if you are only into yuri you might not like this movie much because Makiko our main character ends up falling for an older man and lives with him by the end of the movie. There are other points that will make the pain not worth it keeping this one. On the other hand if you enjoy good cinema, which I find most of the old Japanese movies are, you will definitely be keeping this one. Also the plot of the movie kind of gives it away but the yuri is a moment in Makiko’s life, which was expected seeing as she was on a journey. She and Masako did not stay together because even though Makiko had been pulled in by the stage life of the troupe, the veil had been lifted when she saw them in their daily lives and it was a life much different from hers. Still if she had stayed I am sure she would have changed the people around her but she did not and knowing that, this is going to be a very brief post. So then let’s get rolling.
Makiko meets Masako when she stumbled upon a group of travelling troupe people. Makiko and Masako strike up a quick friendship but the arrival of the young Makiko stirs up a bit of trouble even though she did not mean to.
Anyone watching this movie for the first time, well, those not spoiled by this post that is, will not see it until the bomb drops because these two looked like they were in love with the leader of the troupe and even mentioned this to one another through their days together. First it was Masako saying that Makiko had wanted to stay only because of their leader. Makiko denies it and I couldn’t help thinking of Hazuki saying that Kumiko was in love with Shuichi (he’s a Bro now so it’s okay to use his name). Later Masako tells Makiko of her life when she was young and Makiko’s age and how she fell in love with an entertainer whom she left home for. Makiko thought Masako had been talking about the leader when she said that but Masako denied it and said that was a different person whom Masako had only been with for three years before joining the current troupe she was with.
This was interesting, seeing these two think of one another as being in love with someone and yet both of them being wrong. It was like a mini-romantic drama just between the two of them. There is this one time that the two went to the ocean together! I thought that was a ‘moment’ but then again maybe I had turned up my goggles way too high as usual so I won’t go into detail except having seen Makiko like that (naked) Masako wonders what her real age really was She knows Makiko is way younger than she says she is. Makiko had lied about her age saying she had just turned 20 when in fact she was just 16 but her body betrayed her. Not that Masako was complaining or anything and that moment when they were in the water I was watching them with narrowed eyes. I think I saw a bit of making out there, something like Makiko kissing Masako’s neck. I also think it is during this beach scene that we first get a glimpse of Makiko’s attraction towards Masako but again, too damn high, my goggle setting are.
Yes, I am still using them goggles. I guess it just goes to show that yuri hasn’t fully consumed my soul just yet like I had thought. This is good because it means I still have the ability to be surprised and that puts a bit of spiciness to things.
Makiko and Masako are resting after their play on shore as they lay there sun-bathing. Makiko turns and watches Masako lie there. She takes in her Masako’s naked back and though Masako seems to imply that Makiko was only staring at her hardened skin I think otherwise. First of all her skin looked flawless to me so she thinking that Makiko was only ogling her battered body I find a complete lie. . She tells Makiko of how many men have been on top of her back and yet all of them are just phantoms to her. This made me wonder why she chose to share that bit of information with Makiko. I have my theories, like maybe she was saying that she was looking for someone that would leave an impression, someone that would not be just another ghost on her back. Well, she was about to get her wish.
One day when Masako goes off for a walk leaving Makiko having fun with one of the other members of the troupe as they danced outside, things get out of control when another woman in the troupe catches Makiko dancing with her husband. Really, it was all on him when he started to feel Makiko up but his wife misunderstood and thought Makiko was seducing him. She railed on Makiko right there in front of the leader but he simply ignored her peril. Makiko gets a beat down and being disappointed in the leader of the troupe that she had thought was a great guy but turned out he was just another farce when he did not help her, she runs off and guess where she ends up?!
It was completely accidental, it being in a wild bush and everything but Makiko stumbles upon Masako having sex with a guy. The look on her face said it all to me! So did the shocked expression Masako had when she saw Makiko. I think that was the defining moment as the two looked into each other’s eyes then, one’s eyes filled with hurt and betrayal and another with shock and failure.
The next time the two talked was when Makiko was packing to leave. The two have their final moment which is hands down the best in the whole movie. Kind of obvious seeing as it is 100% pure yuri. Makiko apologises to Masako for dropping in on her like that. She says she didn’t know and that she had been looking for Masako to say goodbye to her. She wants Masako to be mad at her and begs her to hit her because it would make her feel better about leaving (I guess she doesn’t hate pain). But Masako is not mad at all at Makiko and in fact asks her to stay with them. She says that they had found work which would pay good money and most of all she wanted to talk with Makiko a lot more.
Masako’s compassion, such a contrast from the rest of the troupe makes Makiko to break down in tears. She did not really want to leave but the contrast with the other members was just too high. Masako tells her to stop crying or she will make her cry too but Makiko just bawls harder. Masako takes Makiko into her arms to comfort her and tells her to cry to her heart’s content.
She tell Makiko that she loves her and what started out as comfort for a girl that she thought was only missing a mother’s love, turned into a different kind of comfort. The type that includes un-dressing. The type that includes boob-grabbing. The type that includes guiding Makiko’s hand between her legs. Yep, they totally went the whole mile! What was even more important was the fact that it was Makiko’s first time! Masako was not only Makiko’s first love but she was also her first lover, and the only one she went full course with (the guy at the end she only kissed and nothing more).
The two put a permanent mark in each other’s lives when they slept together. To Makiko it is a given seeing as this was not only her first time falling in love but also her first time sleeping with someone. For Masako, she got to sleep with someone that would not be just another phantom on her back. She would always remember that girl that stumbled accidentally into her life for the briefest of moments only to leave a permanent memory of her first and probably only time with another woman (well, girl). Knowing where Makiko ended up, that was also her last time with a woman. There is no way the two will ever forget one another. Their love was essentially a secret known only to them and it stayed that way.
I say that Makiko never loved another woman but I need to mention that there was a possibility but talking about that means talking about the ending which I can’t really…Ah what the hell, I already took the step so I might as well walk the mile.
The journey takes Makiko towards the coast and in a town there she falls for an older man. This is the man that she ends up living with and stopping the pilgrimage for but he is not the only reason. Actually due to the difficulty of the man returning Makiko’s feelings because of the age difference and other circumstances I can’t remember (maybe he had a wife who passed away) Makiko is ready to leave thinking that the man would never love her (she tries so hard actually to the point of having even me cheer her on. Incredulous I know) but an incident happens which makes her stay in the town even though their relationship remains complicated as we cant tell if the man loves her back or not though he lets her stay with him presumably for the rest of their lives.
In that town Makiko met another Girl Kayo and the two became fast friends. But there was always this air of something not good about Kayo. She got better after meeting Makiko and it seemed like their friendship was Kayo’s lifeline even though Makiko did not know it. So when Makiko leaves because of her lost-cause love for the older man, Kayo’s fate that had been put on pause by her friendship with Makiko finally resumed and she took her own life.
Makiko came back to the town only to find the people gathered around Kayo’s body. Seeing that Makiko felt changed. She said if she hadn’t left home maybe she too would have ended up taking her own life. I hope she didn’t feel responsible thinking that Kayo killed herself because of her. I mean they did seem like they were starting off a beautiful friendship and if Makiko had spent more time with Kayo than trying to impress a man tens of years older than her then maybe she would have changed. Ah well, what is done is done and she is not responsible. Kayo was already at the ropes anyway.
If I say that I hate that ending please don’t be mad at me. After seeing Makiko and Masako and thinking that Makiko was gay (or Bi) I was hoping that she would go steady with Kayo especially seeing as her crush on the older man was going nowhere. I was really invested in those two even as their scenes were very few and rare. So I was totally shocked and cried out in rage when they killed off Kayo! Sure Makiko may have decided to stay in town partly because of Kayo but Kayo was dead! Sure the older man might not have loved back Makiko like she wanted him to and sacrificed her life for him but that too is a not good enough!
And I just noticed that this and Taiifu Club both had deaths play a part in the conclusion of either story. Man, those early movies had yuri but they were also high on the feels! Even that show that has to be one of my favourite Japanese dramas – 1992’s ‘Sono Toki Haato wa Nusumareta’ did not hint at a future between Hiroko and Saki and more like it was a moment in their lives during their high school days. Sure this is realistic but still, doesn’t make it that less painful when you think deeply about these things and happily ever afters. You know I am starting to see why people love those kinds of Disney fantasies!
The fact is that Makiko and Masako will have that moment with them forever. Sure they went their separate ways but they will always remember that significant moment they loved a certain woman those many years ago. I was going to say that maybe they meet up later on in life in their old age but that is unlikely, not impossible (since Makiko knows where she can find Masako if she wanted to see her again) but Makiko had it bad for that old man. She was willing to spend the rest of her life with him despite not having guarantee of him returning her feelings.
Either way, I kept this one. It was a good movie in and of itself. It was life inspiring, made of feels and I love me some good movies, especially ones with a dose of yuri like this one so of course I kept it. As I mentioned I watched it a long while ago but I saw the caps I took during that watching and I figured I might as well write about it. I might watch it again sometime soon, even though the re-watch value is very low, given the ending like I said and the fate of our ship.
Well, this is awkward. I am pretty sure I said this would be brief. Oh well, to those that have managed to come this far, thank you and I will be seeing you soon…