Film: 285

Places + Locations | 1940 | Sound | B/W


Japan in Asia 1940's

View of sacred mountain Fujiyama and the flooded rice field at its feet. Children from the area are walking along terraces between the rice fields. On their way to school they pass through ripening tea fields where the farmers are already at work. In villages along the coast, other children pass by the fishing boats and nets on their way to school, while the industrial cities, factories and chimneys are seen on the way to school.
The Yamada family - father, mother and children, Yukiko and Atato, are putting their shoes on outside their home. The boy and girl are wearing the standard school uniform. Inside house, grandmother and the younger brother are sitting at the table for breakfast. Grandmother leans over the child to help him to cool his drink.
Outside father and children are bowing for goodbye waving, mother in kimono is standing at the entrance. Father and children are walking in a street of craftsmen. Post office entrance. Ataro goes in to post a letter. Father and Yukiko seen from the back are looking at the traffic while waiting. The three carry on and arrive at the railway station where father is the official in charge. Father and children depart with a bow. Father in the office. Train goes by, seen through the window behind his phone conversation.
Children arrive at school. Many kids come through the gate. Two bow in front of the teachers. All children change into indoor shoes. Outdoor shoes neatly arranged in the cupboard. Inside the classroom, all take their seats. Reading lesson, close up of the book they all learn from, a little girl gets up to read, the teacher, the book-picture. Fade out. Preparing Tofu for the Yamada maid to buy. At the Yamada home, mother is arranging flowers and puts them on a shelf of the ancestral shrine. Grand-mother is next to the younger boy who plays, and she is sewing a new kimono. They can hear the Tokyo express train arriving. Father walks onto the platform, engineer is checking and oiling, father at his desk writing a report in Japanese characters. The classroom children with brushes in their hands are learning to write. Yukiko very carefully writes after tracing the characters in the air. Ataro cautiously writes the name of Japan. Outside the kids are playing American game of baseball.
Nearby, older boys practice fencing as part of their physical training. Martial Arts. At home in the afternoon, Yukiko is dressing up in a kimono. The family is about to go to a festival to see the cherry blossom. A view from above of crowd gathering at the festival scene, some cross over a bridge, a castle of old Japan. The family worship at a shrine on the way. They stop at the entrance, pull the bell cord, toss coins, clap, bow in reverent silence and leave.
A magnificent view of the cherry blossom, seen from a bridge, a snow top mountain is seen at the back. The father is taking photographs. Close up of the blossom in its fullness for a few days, only every year. The children all gather around an old story teller, who slides watercolour paintings to illustrate the storyline. A view from above of the festival, the family complete their visit with Syphone Candy. At home all having dinner, many dishes on the table, all eating with chopsticks.
The maid in the kitchen is keeping an eye on the steamed rice then going out via the sliding rice paper door, to put more coal on the fire which is directly under the bath. Ataro is having a bath, he soaps himself and rinses outside of the wooden tub, which he has his final soak in.
Mother and maid are putting up a bed in the living room, father is reading the newspaper. Children are asleep. Outside view from the garden in the dark, lit by a lantern. Mt Fujiyama

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