Rentaneko

Sayoko rents out cats. Every day she walks along the banks of the river towing her animals in a little handcart, with a parasol to shade her against the heat and a megaphone over her mouth: ‘Cats for rent! Are you lonely? Why not rent a cat?’ A wonderful idea, thinks one old lady, for if I were to buy a cat at my age she would certainly outlive me … Delighted to, intones a father, for a cat won’t mind if I smell like an old man … Oh, yes, chimes in an employee at a car rental company, I really am all alone … Sayoko’s cat rental helps lonely people fill the emptiness in their hearts. But Sayoko too is lonely; ever since her grandmother’s death she has lived with the cats in an overgrown haven in the midst of the big city where all she hears – apart from the cats meowing – are her eccentric neighbour’s insults. One day, a young man turns up from Sayoko’s past. He follows her home and all at once Sayoko’s life seems to fall apart …

The Twilight Samurai

Seibei Iguchi leads a difficult life as a low ranking samurai at the turn of the nineteenth century. A widower with a meager income, Seibei struggles to take care of his two daughters and senile mother. New prospects seem to open up when the beautiful Tomoe, a childhood friend, comes back into he and his daughters’ life, but as the Japanese feudal system unravels, Seibei is still bound by the code of honor of the samurai and by his own sense of social precedence. How can he find a way to do what is best for those he loves?