The everyday office worker, the one of a million salary man: bored, disenchanted, he craves the freedom of his bar-owner friend, but the latter describes himself as simply another salary man paid by the general public. He envies people above him in the corporate ladder, but they tell him the only thing you get more of is disheartening backstabbing and political wars. His blue-collared friend wishes to be him because he was better at school and now has a job in a big corporation. But seeing the former’s joy in work juxtaposed with his own disillusions, he wonders exactly who is better off. Then there is his young office buddy lying in death bed, whose love for the boring corporate life has always amazed people around him. Immobilized for months, he is more passionate than ever to hear every trivial incidence at the office, eager but never again able to get back into that world from which so many others are trying to escape. It’s clear that everyone is dissatisfied with life — what one wants is never what one has at the moment. As the friends sat around a table passing time, they sipped sake and said, life is not very interesting these days, all we can do is try to have some fun.
Devoid of melodrama and sentimentalities, Ozu’s world is so calm, even funerals were depicted matter-of-factly. Yet he not only effortlessly depicted the life of Tokyo white-collar workers in the mid last century, but also made the perpetual struggles of the human condition constant to any generation felt poignantly through his artful way of story telling.