Life That Ends with Thankfulness

I consider myself as a cat person, thus when I chance upon cat movies, watching “If Cats Disappear from the World” became natural. Hear me out, it was amazing.

“If you could cheat death by trading the things you cherish, what will happen to you?” is the premise of this Japanese movie, notice the bold cum italic and you’ll wonder maybe this one will be different from other kick the bucket movies. Yes, it is about death, specifically facing death. Yes, there will be a Faustus character, but he won’t offer world domination through magic book. Yes, it’s about regret, friendship, gratefulness and a couple of cats named after vegetables.

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I love how I could recognized most of the Kanji (source)

The Asianwiki summary of this Japanese movie was,

“A postman learns that he doesn’t have much time left to live due to a terminal illness. A devil then appears in front of him and offers to extend his life if he picks something in the world that will disappear. The man thinks about his relationships with ex-friends, ex-lovers, relatives and colleagues who will be sincerely sad when he dies.”

At first, it sounded confusing and seemed as if it’s going to pull us into weird Japanese proses, but a glance at the mute poster, you’d see subdued pastel colors, soft camera filter and Takeru Satoh’s blank gaze. I thought it won’t disappoint me much since these kind of cinematography are my favorite and at least I could enjoy the pretty pictures.

Before you continue with the post, I hope you can take some time to check the soundtrack for they are very soothing and classic. I can’t seem to find the right code to embed only the music, damn Youtube TOS, and I can’t seem to find any soundcloud uploads, so please take your time to press play on the video above.

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Takeru Satoh’s ‘postman’ character*

The movie opens with a young man pedaling his bike to an uphill road, the attached basket on his bike was occupied by a tabby cat. They rode the wind, reached the peak and gazed into the newly rising sun.

Our main protagonist, anonymously referred as ‘the postman’, lived a steady life delivering letters in a seemingly sleepy town in Japan. He rode his bike, greet the neighborhood, sent the letters, watched movies, feed his cat. His days were filled with small routines that made up the minutia of his life, until one day he tripped on his bike and lost consciousness.

The doctor diagnosed him with terminal brain cancer, incurable and left him a short amount of lifetime. Satoh’s character was shocked yet resigned to the demise of his life. Upon returning home, he found an identical imitation of his self, lounging in the living room. Stunned, he demanded identity of the doppelganger who admit that he’s pretty much the Devil himself.

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Deal with the devil*

The devil proposed an exchange, he will extend Satoh’s life by eliminating something in the world. For every disappearing item, Satoh’s life will be extended by one day. Satoh didn’t exactly agree but the devil carried on with the contract and proposed to eliminate telephone from the world for starters. Dazed, Satoh decided to ignore only to find the devil already vanished from his living room.

Facing an impending death and making a deal with the devil made Satoh very skeptical with his life. He couldn’t believe the chances and ponders the value of his own life. He didn’t think much of his life as it wasn’t very extravagant, not so exciting and hardly eventful. Little did he know that each exchange of items held memories of his loved ones. The painful headache and subsequent fear of losing more memories eventually woke him up to the realization that he was well loved and has lived a beautiful life.

I won’t say much further as I believe the movie will explain it self beautifully. But by agreeing to the devil’s deal, Satoh’s character will undergo turbulent emotions where he realized the value of life. As the movies revolved, we’ll discover how each items defined a titular moment in Satoh’s life.Telephone brought him to his true love, movies led him to his best friend, clock piece defined his adolescent time as his father fixed clocks for living, and cats carried memories from his childhood and deceased mother. Eventually, Satoh will come to a decision which will decide his life in terms of past and future.

The movie played fast and loose with the rule of disappearance. Obviously by eliminating telephone, the world will regress to an unspeakable era, while deriding the world of movies and clocks will be singularly impossible. Yet the message still came across well and we should enjoy the movies albeit the scientific details.

I should mention that this movie originated from a novel with the same title (‎世界から猫が消えたなら). If it get translated into English, I would love to give it a try, and if maybe I chance upon Kinokuniya, I don’t mind buying the original Japanese version for collection.

There were many impressionable quotes where you just want to bury yourself between the lines. However, one that strikes me the most was, “It’s not that bad to have life that ends with thankfulness,” as said by the devil.

So, it’s a very good movie, and it has affected me real deep since I watched it on the flight back from KNO to JOG. Garuda in-flight entertainment and service is a praise to God and I manage to hoard several cups of orange juice, a handful of candies, two meals and great movies. Yet aside from all the luxurious details, yeeppp I’ve flown back from Medan for good now.

Early January marked the end of the line for my short stint in Medan. A project could only go so far and apparently, the higher ups decided it’s best to continue the project elsewhere. Well fret none, for I’m currently living in Jogja and working for the same position in the same company, but only with different team and place. Well, yupp.

What does it have to do with the movie? Well it definitely made me felt a whole lot better about life. Life sucks, but memories make it worth the journey, that I should start cherishing the world and appreciate my friends and family more. They connect, create, mold, perfected my world and I should’ve extended the same courtesy to them. Yet I must admit I am rubbish at communication and reaching out. Hopefully I can do better and make the best of this life.

*pictures from (source)

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3 thoughts on “Life That Ends with Thankfulness

  1. Maiar says:

    This cat movie reminds me of another cat movie i watched long time ago. Frankly, i get attracted with the heroine, but overall the movie is still nice though way lighter-toned than this one and more fantasized. The title is Hidamari no Kanojo or The Girl in The Sunny Place. Just watch the movie, don’t read the book.
    Oh, and there is this anime about cat as well, Kanojo to Kanojo no Neko.

    • Tane Hadiyantono says:

      Both titles seems interesting, I will surely check them out especially the Kanojo to Kanojo no Neko.

      I think one of the appeals of Japanese movies are decrypting heavy themes into lightheart and daily life stories. The kind that makes you think, “this could happened to me,” moments. They are very self reflection and easy on the eyes, and the cute cats made it even more valuable 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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