Role: Shizuka Ijuin (伊集院静)
Director: Takashi Minamoto
Writer: Shizuka Ijuin (novel), Takashi Minamoto
Saburo (Fujiwara Tatsuya) is a director of commercials. After working at an advertising agency, he struck out on his own and became a creator of commercials, concert choreography and song lyrics. At 28, he met Masako (Haru) who was used as a campaign girl for a cosmetics commercial which he was in charge of. They dated for seven years and got married. However, his beloved wife died of acute myelocytic leukemia slightly over a year into their marriage.
In the autumn of 1986, one year following Masako’s death, Saburo’s heart aches from despair and sorrow, and he is distressed by repeated hallucinations. In an attempt to shake this off, he indulges in gambling and alcohol and is on the road to destruction. Saburo is about to return to his hometown of Yamaguchi after selling the apartment which he had lived with Masako, when he is told by mahjong buddy and comic artist Kurokami (Abe Sadao) that there is someone he wants him to meet. Saburo is brought to a bar in a back alley of Shinjuku. The person sleeping in the innermost seat in the dimly-lit bar is Sensei (Nishida Teruyuki), a Naoki Prize-winning author nicknamed the “god of gambling”. Sensei immediately takes Saburo and Kurokami to a seedy Chinese restaurant when he wakes up, gobbles up the ramen and gyoza, and sleeps again. In fact, Sensei suffers from narcolepsy. It appears that he has grown pudgy because of his lifestyle of eating if he is hungry when he wakes up. Saburo agrees with Kurokami that he has never seen such a charming person before. He has also been charmed by Sensei’s personality with one look and feels a strange sense of relief. Several days later, Kurokami and Saburo are called to his house to play mahjong with the famous musician Ino (Tanihara Shoshuke). Saburo is happy and excited to play with the “god of gambling”. But that night, even Sensei learns about the hallucinations that have been plaguing Saburo...
Meanwhile, Sensei, who has heard about Saburo’s intention to return to his hometown while going from one local bicycle race track to another, has a twinkle in his eyes as he asks if Saburo will take him on a “gambling journey”. Sensei probably sensed something dark about Saburo. And so, the two men begin their odd journey to Aichi Prefecture’s Ichinomiya, Ehime Prefecture’s Matsuyama and Niigata Prefecture’s Yahiko. Although Sensei’s narcolepsy keeps Saburo on pins and needles, he develops an affection for the man despite their more than 20-year age difference. However, at a cinema in Matsuyama, Saburo happens to see the poster of a movie in which Masako had the starring role and is tormented by another hallucination again...
Aired 15 September 2013 (1 Episode - TV Asahi).
This drama is based on the autobiography of writer Shizuka Ijuin.