Seiji: I'm really trying to--
At work Seiji talks to the pretty girl who is stronger (Manami) than him about the job that they've been put on - the building of a new road. She tells him to tuck his pants into his boots and keep them that way. She's the 安全管理 of the operation. Oh man, not everyone does construction work as a part-time job? Who knew?!
The road's completion date - the 納期 - is in two weeks, but they are hindered by a miscalculation in the 発注 of some necessary supplies. They have to leave work early because work can't be continued until these supplies arrive. It's Manami's ミス; to make up for it, and for something to do, she mops the company floors. Seiji says her "I just want to do what I can do" attitude is nothing but self satisfaction. Meanwhile he talks to the boss about the abbreviated work schedule, wondering if he will get paid for the one hour he did work. His boss has no patience for him: 「金の心配するより やることあんじゃないか？」, he asks. He tells him Seiji hasn't even worked an entire day, and leaves him after a "tch!" and a 「この半人前が！」
After work Seiji receives a call from his sister Ayako, who asks about his job (has he quit yet?) and about their mother (who the audience knows isn't doing very well). She wonders why he got a job doing construction of all things, and guesses it must be because Seiji is tired of being told things like 「食い扶持も稼げない！」 by their father. But Ayako isn't doing very well either. She's the 院長婦人of a hospital, not liked by her staff and pressured by the PTA of her son's school, who surround her like a pack of wolves and are obviously quite the gossipy bunch. One asks if she can prescribe her some high-blood pressure medication; Ayako explains that she can't do so without an examination. PTA lady #2 and #3 speak up, pressuring her to do something about it. PTA lady #1pressures her even further, saying,「 院長婦人なのに、お高くとまっていないからいいわよね」. In the end Ayako agrees, but angers her hospital staff by forcing them to take one patient, who came late, over the others, which will cause complaints.
PTA's choice take-down maneuver: first they surround the victim like a pack of wolves...
Geez, the people in this family just can't catch a break. When Seiji comes home his mother (Sumiko) is worse. She compulsively sorts through the trash, which was returned because it wasn't properly 分別するed; there is a glass bottle in what should be only burnable garbage. The fact that she hasn't done this task properly, and 'caused problems for everyone', has a visible effect on her mind. There is no dinner and nothing in the fridge, but before Seiji can go out to get something his father Seiichi comes home. He takes one look at his wife, sorting through garbage on the dining room floor, and turns to escape up the stairs. Seiji angrily follows him and confronts him, saying 「見なかったふりしてんじゃねえよ！」 Seiichi says it's nothing abnormal and Seiji quickly accuses him of running away from his problems and not helping Sumiko.
Seichii turns the argument around and blames Sumiko's depression on Seiji, saying if anyone is running away it's him. Nothing is solved and in the morning Sumiko is still obsessively nervous about putting the trash out properly sorted, and when Seiji tries to calm her he ends up becoming late for a work. As a result his boss tells him to go home - he's messed up the dynamics of the day, which because of the delay yesterday is going to be one of hard work. It isn't the 人手の数, but establishing a positive team dynamic that is 重要 . Manami tries to cover for him, but it's no use. Seichi is sent home. Manami tells him to come tomorrow, but he doesn't see the point: it's a tiring and dirty job, and it's only good point is the fact that it pays well. "If you keep working here you'll see that it's about more than just the money," she tells him, but he leaves after saying he'll return the uniform when he washes it.
Seiji returns to the employment agency and says he will relax his standards for employment ( 「この現状から抜け出したいんで・・・」). He doesn't want to go as far as lowering the salary he wants, but the man behind the desk tells him it's necessary. It isn't Seiji who decides what he's worth, it's the company; and Seiji, who has 転々とdone his various part-time jobs over the past year, isn't worth what he thinks he is to companies.
What a blow. And to make it all worse, when he comes home he sees the trash has been returned once again. His mother rocks at the dinner table, apologizing to nobody (or everybody?). When Seiji tells her she doesn't have to apologize to anybody, it only makes her more disturbed. Seiji doesn't return to work, instead searching for jobs on the computer. That night he tries to talk to his father about employment. He had been angry when his father initially offered to try and hook him up with some jobs, but he says he's open to it now. It was an 大それたthing to say that he didn't have to rely on his father's influence. Seiji puts himself in a vulnerable position, but his father has no mercy. 「俺の頭に泥を塗るってワケか」 he asks. With Seiji's spotty track record, there is no doubt in his head that Seiji will quit again and embarrass him. Seiichi accuses his son of having always been a quitter, from swimming lessons to English classes. Seiji doesn't think that has anything to do with the current circumstances, but to Seiichi it's an 大有り. In Seiichi's opinion Seiji is always saying (言い張る) that the problem is that no one properly values him. But he needs to stop blaming other people; stop relying on other people; and most of all, 「俺に恥をかかせるな！」 This obviously hurts Seiji, who says aloud, after his father has left: 「どうせ俺は恥ずかしい息子よ。」
It kind of looks like he's going to give him a fatherly pat on the shoulder.
Feeling sorry for himself, he apologizes to his mother Sumiko for not being employed. She is ironing is uniform. "But aren't you working? Doing construction," she says. Thanks to her, he decides to return to work and put in a hard day. When it comes to quitting time and some work still needs to be done to stay on schedule, he volunteers along with everyone else to stay behind. He calls his father to remind him to give Sumiko her depression medication; but Seiichi seems put-upon and angry like always. We see him withdraw a ton of money and disappear down the street with an unknown woman...
Soundtrack: Womanizer womanizer oh you're a womanizer.
On top of this, and just to make sure you weren't feeling better now that Seiji is still employed, we get a glimpse of Ayako's mother-in-law, who is every bit as pressuring as the PTA ladies. "It looks like things aren't going well with the hospital staff," she says. "As the director you really should be able to get along with both the hospital staff and the PTA. But you know, the hospital won't ever really accept you, so at least get on with the地域のmothers." Ayako looks surprised at this piece of information and her mother-in-law smiles very passively-aggressively. Apparently, Ayako's marriage to Fumiya, her husband, was a result of a 妊娠; as such, she'll never be accepted by the long-time staff of the hospital where her husband works.
In case you didn't know, this is what a passive-aggressive smile looks like.
Meanwhile, work on the road continues. Seiji is impressed by the way everyone 全力を尽くしているs. Back at home family life is still awkward - but at least he's having meals with the family. However, it seems like things will get even tougher - because there is someone sabotaging his mother's sanity by planting glass bottles in the plastic recyclables she puts out: the neighboring housewife!
Exhibit A. Damning evidence, I say.
Seiji doesn't know this, though. At work they just barely manage to finish (納期ぎりぎり) after working through the night when a storm forces them to abandon their work during the day, and he is moved by the sight of 'their' road, and by his fellow workers' pride in their accomplishment.
Even so, when Manami tells him she'll see him tomorrow, he insists that he won't be there - he's still looking for better work, you know.
Seiji: Because I'm still better than construction work!
And now some definitions for you. Not all of them were used above:
- first priority
- inspection before beginning operations
- to be negligent, to shirk
- safety control
- auspicious, happy
- placement of an order
- delivery date
- to stretch one's legs
- self satisfaction
- 「金の心配するより やることあん（あるん）じゃないか。」
- Don't you have anything better to do than worry about money?
- half a man
- board (as in room and board); food allowance; a living (食い扶持を稼ぐ）
- Director (female)
- hypertension medicine
- separate (i.e. separate burnable garbage from recyclable garbage, etc)
- Don't pretend like you didn't see!
- The number of hands available
- essential; important
- I want to break out of this rut...
- moving around, here and there
- appalling; outrageous
- Are you trying to drag my name through the mud? Lit: Do you mean to smear mud on my face?
- a big deal
- to insist; be obstinate in saying
- Don't shame/embarrass me!
- I'm an embarrassment no matter what.
- neighborhood, area, region
- just barely delivered in time
- to exhaust all their strength