Hakumei to Mikochi – Episode 10

Hakumei’s shoulders are super stiff from work, so when Mikochi finds an ad in the paper for an onsen (hot springs) nearby, the two jump at the chance to relax.

But it’s not meant to be. For when they get there, Hakumei and Mikochi learn the hot spring part of the onsen is closed for maintenance. The girls could still stay overnight and have a meal, but of course they were looking forward to soaking in some hot water the most, so they decide to come back another time.

On the way home Hakumei gets the idea of creating their own open-air bath to watch the stars from. What could she make it out of? Wood would take a long time to hollow out, and stones would take a few days to place and seal up… Hmmm.

It’s a good thing the onsen was located in the middle of a beautiful bamboo forest, because Hakumei realizes she can use a piece of bamboo root for the bath. Mikochi helps Hakumei cut away slivers of  bamboo from the base of the root until it’s weaker, and then the girls take turns kicking at it ninja-style until it falls over.

To get it home, the girls roll it on its side, an exhausting endeavour all on its own. But while Mikochi’s assistance with creating the bath might be over, Hakumei’s is only partway done. While Mikochi makes them some snacks, Mikochi sets up some half-pipes that divert water into their bath. Hakumei builds a fire and uses its hot coals to heat up the bathwater – and then finally Hakumei’s project is done!

Now the girls have their own brand new, open-air bath they can sit in and watch the stars from. However Mikochi and Hakumei decide that they still want to go back to the onsen once it re-opens.

In the next short, Hakumei and Mikochi are walking home from the market when a delivery rat passes them with a whole daikon on a cart. They arrive home in time to see someone signing for it as Mikochi – it’s Mikochi’s older sister, Ayune. Why the daikon? It seems the ever-so-nice Ayuna brought it as a gift. Plus some soy sauce for seasoning too, although it doesn’t arrive until later.

Ayuna initially comes off as someone who’s humble and polite, but after some grumbling from Mikochi, Hakumei is able to see through Ayuna’s pretenses. The real Ayuna smokes a pipe and is rather self-absorbed. She buys “gifts” for Mikochi without considering their quantities – for example the daikon she bought has to be preserved before it goes bad, meaning there’s extra work involved with this gift. Mikochi also recounts for Hakumei that when she was younger Ayuna was so focused on her playwright work that she’d do nothing but work, and never contribute to the running of the family household. Ayuna can apparently be quite arrogant too.

As Hakumei works on repairing a chair and Mikochi focuses on slicing up some of the daikon to be dried, the two talk about Kafu to Ayuna. This gives Ayuna the idea for a new play, which she immediately sits down and starts to brainstorm. Mikochi tells Hakumei to just ignore her because Ayuna will do nothing but write for the next several hours. Sure enough, while Ayuna is writing, Mikochi prepares some of the delicious daikon and I assume Hakumei continues with tasks around the house.

However over dinner Mikochi gets more and more angry with Ayuna, until the two are on the verge of having a full-blown fight. Hakumei finally gets so irritated that she tells both women to sit down and eat the damn daikon before it gets cold. o.o   Yes Hakumei!

After dinner Hakumei has another relaxing bath, giving Ayuna and Mikochi some time along to themselves. Mikochi pours them tiny glasses of whiskey, and then proceeds to ask her big sister why she’s really paying her a visit. Ayuna veers between lies and the truth before finally admitting that all of the reasons she gave were true: she was in a slump, she wanted to eat daikon with miso, and yes she really did want to see Mikochi. Mikochi is a hard sell though and refuses to believe that Ayuna really wanted to see her.

Mikochi gives her big sister some advice: if writing is too hard, it’s ok to quit. Ayuna teases Mikochi about her being together always with Hakumei, then announces that she’s returning home. But just before she leaves, she reveals her big secret: she’s getting married to someone in her drama troupe, and she has two choices ahead of her. Ayuna can either quit writing plays and be a stay-at-home wife, or she can continue writing. Mikochi changes her advice and tells Ayuna not to stop writing her plays!

As Ayuna’s walking away, Hakumei points out that they didn’t have a chance to ask Ayuna more about her fiancé or the upcoming wedding. Ayuna hears this and runs away as fast as she can! xD   Maybe she’ll make an appearance in the next couple of episodes sometime and Mikochi will get that chance.

This was a good episode, and I especially enjoyed the first half what with the creation of the open-air bath. I love bamboo and the part of the episode that had Mikochi and Hakumei walking through the forest and cutting down the bamboo made me a little jealous. I have pictures from a temple I visited in Kyoto (Ginkakuji) where there was lots of bamboo, but nothing like in this episode. One day I hope to return to Japan and see more bamboo again.



Just an animanga-loving social worker. I've been watching anime for almost 20 years - ask me about my favourites! I've been to Japan twice and would live there in a heartbeat if I could.

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