Despite their advancing age, Junji and Tayoko continue to work with discipline in their garden and home in the sparsely populated hills near the city of Kyoto. This comprehensive record of Japanese rural life portrays the couple’s day-to-day concerns in thousands of short scenes and shots. The giant radishes have to be harvested, the weeds removed, the shrubs pruned. Other activities that fill their days include maintaining the cemetery, watching a soap opera or sports on TV, eating meals, and chatting with friends. And unfortunately, more and more trips to the hospital.
Over still shots of interiors or the surroundings, Tayoko reads out her reports of the day: reflections on the weather, the state of the garden, Junji’s declining health. The camera maintains a polite distance. Some shots appear to be in complete darkness, but then you catch a glimpse of a lamp, the contours of a mountain, a sleepless night.
Sounds of crickets and frogs form the soundtrack to this serene, almost meditative marathon film. Five seasons pass, after which life in all its everydayness nevertheless is irrevocably changed.