Sweet Bean (2015) - full transcript

The manager of a pancake stall finds himself confronted with an odd but sympathetic elderly woman looking for work. A taste of her homemade red bean paste convinces him to hire her, which starts a relationship that is about much more than just street food.


You want to go to high school?

Studying doesn't put food on the table.


We're eating dorayaki.

- Who is it?
- Dorayaki.

- Stop fooling around.
- I wanted to talk.

Sorry, I've got noisy friends.

Who's noisy? That's mean.

- Keep it down.
- Why should we?

Be quiet, really.

I'm talking.

She's blushing. Very fishy.

I'll call you back.

- It's an incident.
- It is.

Sorry. Bye-bye.

- She hung up.
- She'll call back.

I didn't hang up, so stop.

She'll call back.

- Don't try to hide it.
- Fishy.

Very fishy.

- Our teacher?
- Why in the world?

I'm only interested in Sentaro.

- Did you date him?
- No way.

That older boy?

- I didn't.
- But Sentaro is glum.

- On such a beautiful day.
- Hold it!

This is a cherry blossom.

There's a blossom in my dorayaki.

What have you done, Sentaro?

A foreign substance.

It's contaminated.


I'll give you these,
if you leave.

- Great!
- Thank you!

- Thanks.
- Cheer up!

- See you!
- Bye-bye!

- Bye, Sentaro.
- Oh, Wakana!


Here you go.




I see your notice
for part-time work...

Is there really no age limit?



Do you suppose I could?

I've always wanted to
do this kind of work.

How old are you?

I'm 76 this year.

We don't pay much.

Just 600 yen.

Oh, 300 yen an hour is plenty.

- 300 yen is fine.
- 300 yen?



I don't think it's possible.

My name is Tokue Yoshii.

You'd hurt your back.

It's harder...

It's harder than it looks.

Have one.


It's on me.


Do you know...

this cherry tree,

who planted it?

I'm not from around here...

Thanks, I'll come again.


- The rejects.
- Thanks.

That part-time work,

could I do it?

Well... when you start high school.

I might not go to high school.

Please consider me.

Thank you.

No, Marvy.

You have to be quiet.


What is it?


This is how I write my name.

But I can't hire you.
I'm sorry.

As you can see,
my hands are a bit crippled.


it could be less,
200 yen is fine.

- For what?
- The hourly pay.

That's not the problem.

Do you make your own
bean paste, sonny?

Well, that's...

a corporate secret.

What do you mean "corporate"?

In this tiny place?

Well, I...

I tasted your dorayaki.

I thought the pancakes
were not bad.


the bean paste was...not so good.

Bean paste is not easy.

Have you ever made it?

I've made it forever.
For 50 years.

50 years?

Yes. A half century.

Bean paste is all feeling, sonny.

I can't hire you, I'm sorry.

Here, have a taste of this.

What is it?

What is this?

Chunky bean paste.

Excuse me.

Are you coming in?


Good evening.


Pardon me.

You came to eat?


A bottle of beer and...

the tempura meal.

I'll have the tempura too.


And an ashtray please.

Here you go.

Is he a friend?

Yes. He was in my club at school.

He's in high school now.

Here's your beer to start with.

The woman who stopped by,

wanting to work...

She came back later.

She brought some chunky bean paste
that she made herself.

It was incredible.

I was surprised.

Why was that?

The taste. The fragrance.

Totally different from what I use.

You should let her try.

She wanted to work.

Oh, hello.

Nice to see you.

The blossoms have all fallen.

Yeah, they have.

They're waving their hands.

Hi, hi, hi.

Hi, hi, hi.

Your chunky bean paste was delicious.

Oh, you tried it?


if you don't mind,
could you help me out?

Have a seat.

Well, wow...


Wow, boss.

- Thanks.
- Not at all.


Can you lift the pots?
It takes strength to make bean paste.

I'll let you lift the pots.

That's right.

I'm sorry to ask,
can you handle a spatula?

Yes, of course.

You said the other day,
your hands are a little...

They're not really a problem,
except how they look.

All I ask is that you
make the bean paste.

Wow, really...

I'm going to be able to work here!

Thank you.

Write your phone number,
or your cell phone.

My phone...

I don't have one.
I get by with letters.

I won't be late for work.
I get up before the birds.

It's not that...

Well, then...

Thank you.

I was wondering...

Do you make your own bean paste?

Well, uh...

I tried many times.

But it's hard to do.

It had a burnt taste,
or it was thick.

It's hard for me...

For me...?

The bean paste...

The shop opens at 11.
I start preparing at 9.

And the bean paste...

What's this?

- Bean paste?
- Yes.

This is it.

Bean paste.


- Bulk order.
- Bulk order?

Why? How could you?

We've always gotten it this way.


Bean paste is the soul
of a dorayaki.

How could you treat it
so lightly?

They deliver as soon as we order it.

You have to make your own bean paste.

If the shop opens at 11,
tomorrow morning

we'll start preparations before
Mr. Sun shows his face.

Mr. Sun?

Yes, Mr. Sun.

Good morning.

There was a tree
with tiny cherries.

Was there?

Do buses run this early?

It's OK. Don't worry about it.

Well, then.



Here it is.

Oh, good.

Boss, did you look
before you soaked?

At what?

The azuki beans.

Here, look.

Some are no good.

Like this one. See?

I'm sorry.

Why do you apologize?

I don't know...

Good, good.

Pour them in the copper pot.

Look at the color of the water.

Really. A lot soaks out.

OK, good, good.

Pour them in the colander.

- Straight in?
- Yes. Careful.

Yes, here.

Hot, isn't it?

Raise this.
Drain them.


Hold it.

Rinse them. Like this.

You have to rinse thoroughly,
or the beans will be bitter.


Pour them back in the copper pot.

Now, water. Clean water.


That's right.

- Pour this in?
- Yes, pour it in.

Slowly, gently.

Not too much.

That's good.

Pretty soon now.
The scent of the steam has changed.

The scent of the steam?


We'll let them steam.

It's complicated.

We're hosting them.


Our customers?

No, the beans.

The beans?

They came all this way,

from the fields.

Did it go well?

It did.

Put the copper pot in the sink.

The warm beans...

break easily.

Gently, gently...

Gently, gently, gently...

The harsh juices will
run off the top.

Until the broth is clear.


It takes so much time.


what do you see there?


Putting your face so close,

what are you looking at?

What, you ask?

Oh, they're beautiful.

This is how they turn out.

Now we add the sweetness.

The other, too.

That's right.

We wait again?

It would be an insult
to cook it right away.

We have to let the beans
get used to the sweetness.


It's like a first date,

the young couple needs
to get friendly.

How long do we watch them?

Oh, about 2 hours.

2 hours!

2 hours...

Here, this is critical now.

They'll burn in a flash.

Keep the spatula
on the bottom of the pot.

If they burn now, they're ruined.

Keep it straight.

Move it quickly.

Don't stir it so hard.

The more you stir,

the more you crush the beans.

Move the spatula carefully.

That's it, don't crush them.

Little by little...

Little by little, how much is that?

Little... is little.

You don't knead the paste,
you simmer it down, OK?


Turn down the heat...

- Now, the mizu-ame.
- Mizu-ame? OK.

A double handful,
lift it out.

Oh, good job.

Shake it a bit,
then slip it in the pot.

Slip it?

There we go.

Ah, that feels good.

Now, on to the next...

Can I wash up?

Of course, what were you waiting for?

Well, uh...

Oh, the faucet? OK.

- Here goes.
- Careful.

Good, good.

Looks great.

It's still a bit hot.

Is it OK?

It's still hot.

What do you think, boss?

Never had anything like it.

It sure is delicious.

Yes, it is.

I've finally met a dorayaki
I could stomach.


What did you say, boss?

I've never ever
eaten a whole dorayaki.

I don't have a sweet tooth.

Well, that's...

But I can tell that
your bean paste is great.

It's rarely this good.

Why do you have a
dorayaki shop then, boss?

- Delish.
- Enough.

Enough flattery.
It's just so disappointing.

How could someone

who doesn't like sweets
run a dorayaki shop?


Actually, I'm partial to
this end of things.

Then why don't you
run a pub instead?

Why not?

Oh, it's 11.
I'll open up.


- Something's changed.
- Isn't it the bean paste?

This chunky bean paste
is denser.

Lets you know it's there.

Why? It's so smooth.

It wasn't such a good match before.

Now it's the star of the show.

What have you done, Sentaro?

Did you get serious?

An upgrade?

"A little."

He smiled!


Can I help you?

- 3, for my grandkids and me.
- 3, OK.

3 at once!

360 yen, please.

The bean paste is delicious.

- Is it?
- Everyone says so.

Thank you.

It's tasty, isn't it?

Did you have one?


Rave reviews.

Can you read this to me?


I'll read to you.

Sit up here.

"The Night Bear"

"Y'know, last night,"

"late at night,
a cute kid came by."

"Knock-knock, at the door."

"Oh, really? I didn't hear."

Who came?

Who do you think?

"Was it a boy? Or a girl?"

A boy.

"No. A bear cub."

"He came looking for his mother."

Why was his mother gone?

I wonder why.

- His mother!
- There she is.

"Oh, Mother!
Where have you been?"

Why was she here?

His mother was busy.


The moon, it's sparkling
so pretty.

What's this?

This is a green moon.

I want to see you, soon.

I'll make you some lunch.

Are you free some afternoon?


OK, I'll make you something.

Let's meet here.

It's all right. I'll call you.


Oh, I spilled.

What's this?

It got wet, a kid's book.

What is it?

It's OK, just a little wet.


You have to get rid of this bird.


Keep up the good work.

I will.

Not you, boss.


I'm talking to the beans.

To the beans...

People say they like it.

Like what?

Your bean paste.

The schoolgirls raved.


I look forward to meeting them.

They're just noisy kids.

It's good for kids to be noisy.

I want to meet them.

Oh, it's 11.
Time to open up.

What's this?

What is it?

What's up?

I came to buy a dorayaki.

Not ready yet?

Oh, welcome!

There's a line?

You can go now.

With so many customers,
you can't manage alone, boss.

Well, then help me.

Do they have bean paste?

- Is this 10?
- Not quite.

There's two.

- Five.
- That makes seven.

Three more.

That'll be 1200 yen.

Here you go.

- Thank you.
- Thanks.

This is great!

Have a minute?

Checking on your shop?

There's a rumor going around.

Your part-time worker...

Oh, Tokue.

She's called Tokue?

You never tell me anything.

She's just helping me
make the bean paste.

And working at the counter too.

A friend told me about her.

That woman...

her hands are crippled, right?

Now that you mention it, a bit...

My friend says she might be a leper.

They call it Hansen's disease now.

How old is she?

In her mid-70s.

But she's strong.


Where does she live?


is where they quarantine
leprosy patients.

It's a sanatorium.

This chicken scratch!

She says she's cured.

Of course she would say that.

Did you know?

In serious cases of leprosy,

people's fingers fall off.

Their noses melt down.

Tokue has her fingers
and her nose.

I don't know, but...

they used to confine people for life,

when they had leprosy.

I saw them when I was young,

at a temple...



Those people were on
the temple grounds.

After they passed by,

the health office sprayed disinfectant.

But, ma'am...

This shop is booming

and it's because of
Tokue's bean paste.

I know that.

But if the person who tipped me off
starts telling others,

it'll be the end of it.

Who told you and what?

That doesn't matter.

Anyway, you've got to let her go.

I'm sorry. Give me some time.

Hand me that,
the spray,

the disinfectant.

I don't like it,

having to tell you this.

My husband put this shop in your hands.

Sentaro, he trusted you.

You're the manager here.


we covered the payoff
for your incident,

and you still owe us money.


do what you have to.

Yeah, hello.

Ah, boss, where are you?

I'm feeling a bit...

Are you OK?

I think I'm just tired.

Oh, sure.

It's no surprise,
you never take a day off.

Why do you work so hard?

You don't even like sweets.

Would it be OK to take the day off?

You should.

Take 2 or 3 days off.

No. I'll be in tomorrow.

All right.

Since I'm here, I'll cook
the bean paste for tomorrow.


Can I ask you to do that?

I hate having this closed.

Can I get a dorayaki?

Ah, a customer?

Am I too early?

Ah, wait a sec...

- Oh, this...
- Too early?

No, it's OK.

Can you wait a little?

I just finished the bean paste.

Oh, certainly.

What's the right amount?

I burned this one, it's black.

Cook right up.

- Hello.
- Can I help you?

5 dorayaki, please.

5 for 3 people?

Yes, 5 for 3 of us.

Can you divide them?

It'll be OK.

Sorry to keep you waiting.

That's 480 yen.
Thank you.

Thank you.

100, 200...400.

I see how hard the boss works.

Excuse me.

Right away.

- One dorayaki.
- Oh, just one. Good.



Are you finished for today?

I was thinking I'd close down,

but you made it in time.

Come on in.


the boss took the day off,
so I...

I usually make the bean paste,

but today I tried to
make the pancakes too.

Like this,

I had many failures.

It's nice to be young.

You're lucky.

Oh, a bird.

Birds are lucky, they're free.

So many. Look!

Do you have siblings?

No, I don't.

Aren't you lonely?

No, I'm not lonely.

Oh, I know...

you have a pet cat or dog.

No I don't.

I do have a canary.

A canary? How does it sing?

And when its food is tasty?

Then it sings stronger.


That sounds cute.

Oh, boss! Good morning.

Good morning.
I thought you had today off.

I had to cook the bean paste.

- For today.
- Bean paste?

I thought you cooked it

Well, yesterday...

customers came,

so I had to open up the shop.


what about the pancakes?

I fried them all.

You fried them...

I had a lot of failures.

I'm sorry, boss.

But I sold them all.

I put up a sign:
"Sold Out! Thank You"

But, selling the whole batch,
you must have been tired.

I was.

Still you came early this morning.

OK, I got it.

How much bean paste today?

- 2 kilos of dried beans.
- 2 kilos...

Well, Tokue.

If you're not too tired,

and only if you want to,

could you help serve customers?

Oh, boss...

Do as you please.


Look at these...

There's a hole!

It's hot.


I knitted these at home.

It's still too hot for them, but...

- You made these?
- Which do you like?

See them in the light.

- Which one?
- Which one...

I guess, the blue one.

Sure? It's thin,
the other has 2 layers.

No, I like this one.

It's still so hot.

Shall we take a break?

Oh, that would be nice.

Thank you.

I, ah...

I have a debt, to this shop.



a burden I'll carry all my life.

Is it a large amount?

You haven't been tricked, boss?


The owner of the shop
paid the debt for me.

That's why I'm here.

We all have our stories.

We just have to work hard.

Thank you.

I'll do my best.

That math we're doing...

What is it? "Factor" something.


Factorization, what's that all about?

- It's pointless.
- Meaningless.

Is it really?

Of course it is,
just "factorizing" time.

- School is boring.
- It is boring, these days.

Find a way to make it matter.

How'd we do that?

Turn it into a game.

- No way.
- Miyu's parents...

They'd kick me out.

Then let them kick you out.

Just for a day.

That's trouble.

- You want us to fail?
- We'll fail.

You're cruel.


I don't want that.

But you should do
what makes you happy.

You have all that freedom.

What did you want to be, Tokue?

At our age...

At your age...

I wanted to teach Japanese.

No, really.

I wanted to read poetry
with my students.

But, back then...

the war had just ended,
and everything was chaos.

Oh, no! The time!

- What?
- Cram school.

Well, take those with you.

Be careful.

We've only got 5 minutes.

You're not going, Wakana?

- I don't go.
- Oh, I see.

Do we have discards, boss?

The rejects.


Thank you.

- The rejects.
- Thanks.


Tokue, what happened
...to your fingers.

I can't shake this summer cold.

I keep coughing.

Are you OK?

I'm all right.

Uh, your fingers,
what happened to them?


they ended up crooked like this.

I was sick when I was young.

You're sweating, boss.

This is hot work in the summer.

The summer's tough.

It was like this...

Reading Braille with his tongue...

The Leprosy Prevention Law
was repealed

in 1996.

Until then,

people were forced to live in isolation.

People lost their hands or feet,

or they were crippled.

They lost their noses
and their faces were deformed,

which made people fear them.

"We want to live in society
where the sun shines."

What's happened?

It turned cold.

When it's cold...

people want a sweet dorayaki.

I'll take a break...



Take the rest of the day off.

Ah, OK.

See you later.

Hello. This is for you.

Thank you.

Dear boss,
How are things at the shop?

I worry that your spirit
might be low.

When I was cooking the bean paste,

I was always listening for
the stories the beans tell.

It's a way of imagining

the rainy days and sunny days
the beans have seen.

What breeze blew
across the beanstalks?

Listen to the story of their journey.

Yes. Listen to them.

I believe that everything in this world

has a story to tell.

Even the sunshine and the wind,

I think you can hear their stories.

Maybe that's the reason.

Last night, the breeze that blew in,
across the hedge of holly,

seemed to be telling me
I should get in touch with you.


We try to live our lives beyond reproach,

but sometimes we are crushed
by the ignorance of the world.

There are times when
we have to use our wits.

I should have talked
about that with you.

I'm sure that

someday, boss,
you'll create a dorayaki

that fulfills your own vision.

Have confidence to follow
your own path.

I'm sure you can do that, boss.

Where's Tokue?

She quit.


What is it?

I, ah...

I'm running away from home.

Running away?

Since when?

This morning.

Just this morning...

His name is Marvy.

We live in an apartment,
and pets are prohibited.

A neighbor complained to the landlord,
and he said to get rid of him.

I once talked with Tokue about this,
here at the shop.


When I first met Tokue.


She said,

if I can't keep Marvy,
either you or she would take him.

Without asking me...

You can't?

I live in an apartment.

I can't.

I only told one person
about Tokue's fingers.


My mother.

The rumor mill is scary.

But then...

in this case,

more than the rumors,

I'm to blame.

I couldn't protect her.

I'm to blame.


why don't we go see her?

In the place where Tokue lives.

When I first met Tokue,

we looked at the moon together.

The moon was rising
above those cherry trees.

Tokue said,
"It's so pretty, let's have a look."

The two of us were
looking at the moon,

when she said she'd
look after Marvy.

Tokue and the moon and me.

"The 3 of us promise," she said.

A promise to the moon...

The next stop is Zensho-en.

It's so quiet.


With Hansen's disease,
some people lose their noses.

Their faces are disfigured.

There will be people like that here.

This way.



How have you been?

Both of you.

This is Marvy.

You're a beautiful yellow,


It's ten years now
since my husband died.

I was feeling lonesome.

Marvy came just at the right time.


when did you start living here?

When I was about your age.


it was a long time ago.

I came here with my brother.

He brought me.

When we got to the station,
he said for the first time,

"You probably have leprosy."

"If you do, I'll have to leave you."

"I'll leave you, and go back home."

My mother...

stayed up all night,

sewing a blouse for me.

I don't know where
she found the material.

It was a white, knitted fabric.

I had never worn
anything like it.

But when I got here,

everything I wore and everything
I carried was disposed of.

I never saw the blouse again.


Are you the boss

of the dorayaki shop?

Yes, I am.

- I see.
- Hello.

I wanted to work there too.

This is my friend, Yoshiko.

Glad to meet you.

This is where we cooked sweets,
for many years.

Back then,

the cooks and the customers
were all patients.

Yoshiko's specialty is
Western cakes,

unlike me.

Please, go ahead.

While it's warm.
You don't need a sweet tooth.

Thank you.



This salted kombu is
Tokue's homemade.


This is...pickled plum?

Yes, I use plum,
and shiso too.

How do you make this?

I'm not telling.

You should tell him.

I'm glad.

It's really nice,

they seem to like it.

Won't you have some?

Well, I...

She's lost her appetite.

I'm all right.

I'm a little worried.

I'm having dental work done.

When we cook bean paste,
we use just a little salt.

But along with red bean soup,

we serve distinctly salty things,
like kombu.

That's right.

We combine salt and sweet dumplings too,
like shio-daifuku.

The concept of reversal.

So, how about...

salted dorayaki?

It's worth trying.

Boss, thanks...

You were kind to me.

I had a great time.


I'll be all right.


smile when something is delicious.

I enjoyed it so much.

It was pure pleasure.

The cherry tree was beautiful.

That was the beginning,
cherry blossom time...

Dear Tokue Yoshii,

To be frank,

for entirely different reasons,

I too spent time apart from society.

3 years before I came to the shop...

I was working at a pub.

Trying to mediate a fight,
I turned violent,

and I left one person
with a severe disability.

While I was in prison,
my mother came to visit.


she died before I was released.

I couldn't hear her stories.

I haven't been able
to hear anyone's stories.

No good?

Too salty.

I used too much.

It's tricky.

I think it's good.


Well, then,

how about this?

This is salt

that was dried under
the light of a full moon.

It's from a southern island.

There are all kinds.

Pour me some.

A little more.

Hey there.
Excuse us.

This is the manager, Sentaro.


I've been thinking things over.

It's very sudden, but
I'd like you to work with this kid.

He's my nephew.

He worked in a restaurant,

but he ran into some personal problems.

You know how touchy cooks can be.

So I want to remodel the shop
next month,

and we'll add
grilled okonomiyaki to the menu.

Sweet and salty pancakes,
that's the idea.


There are lots of students
around here.

You would get along with him, right?

Hang on a sec.

I know, I know.

But this shop can't stay as it is.

I've loved him since he was a baby,

so when he began training as a chef,
I started making this plan.

Won't you accept this,
as the wish of the owner?

But I...

You want to continue
making dorayaki, right?

You can train the future owner,
while you do.


Now, Wakato, make a proper greeting.

In your debt...

What do you think?

We'll put the griddle here.

And you can make the dorayaki
over here.

I think it'll work out fine.

It will be a big improvement.

Young people are always hungry.


Dorayaki are always sweet.


Come and get 'em.




I thought I'd find you here.

I looked all over for you.

Are you all right?

Let's go.




Tokue has died.

3 days ago.

Tokue died of...


Tokue's feelings...

connected with you.

Excuse us,


Come in.

She would be pleased to
know you have these.


And this.


gave me this before
they took her to the hospital.

She said it was for
the boss and Wakana.

Is it recording?

It seems to be.

I'm not sure that this will get to you,
but I hope so.

First, Wakana.

I have to apologize.

I promised to take care of Marvy,

but in fact I quickly let him go.

As I listened to him sing,

I realized he was telling me,

"Let me go."

I'm sorry.

As you know,
I didn't have any children.

I became pregnant,
but I wasn't allowed to have the baby.

When I first saw you, boss,

it was on my weekly walk,
drawn by the sweet fragrance in the air.

There I saw your face.

Your eyes were very sad.

It was a gaze that made me
want to ask you,

Why do you suffer so?

Because I once had a gaze like that.

It was the look I had when I thought
I'd never go outside the fence.

It was as if
I was drawn to your shop,

when I found myself standing there.

If my child had been born,

it would now be
about your age, boss.

You know...

the full moon whispered
to me that day.

"I wanted you to see me."

"That's why I was shining."

We can't have gravestones.

So when any one of us dies,

we plant one tree.

This is Tokue's tree.

We all agreed to plant a cherry tree.

She loved cherry blossoms so.

You know, boss.

We were born into this world

to see it and to listen to it.

Since that's the case,
we don't have to be someone.

We have, each of us has

meaning to our life.



Come and get 'em!


Come and get 'em!

I'd like some dorayaki.

10 please.

Does that make 10?