Only Yesterday (1991)

Only Yesterday (1991) Poster

Japanese title: おもひでぽろぽろ
(Omohide Poro Poro)

Comments on Movie: Only Yesterday (1991)
"It is the most singularly mature, adult-oriented of all Ghibli's theatrical features" - Timothy Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy.

"It's a story of self-discovery, like many others, but what makes it so memorable is how real the characters feel and how relatable they are." - Kaikyaku, The Nihon Review.

"Everyone should have a chance to see this work of art. If you're lucky enough to find some way to watch it, please do." - Luke Schwiebert.

"Steeped with nostalgia in every scene; it is impossible to talk about this film without saying the word dozens of times." - Aaron Pinkston, Battleship Pretension.

"Lovely story of a woman who rediscovered herself. A real life drama in animation, this film certainly shows that animation aren't just for children." - Rosalyn Lim.

Anime Drama Romance Isao Takahata 2D Animation Animated Feature

Only Yesterday (1991) Trailer 

Only Yesterday (1991) at a glance
Only Yesterday (1991) is the western title of the second anime film directed by Isao Takahata with Studio Ghibli. This film is based on the manga of the same name by Hotaru Okamoto and Yuko Tone. It is surprisingly successful and become the highest grossing Japanese film in 1991 as it is highly appealing to the adult audiences especially women.

Only Yesterday (1991) Synopsis
In 1982, Taeko Okajima, an office worker who lived her whole life in Tokyo took 10 days off to visit her sister's husband's family at the countryside in order to escape city life and to work in their safflower farm. During her vacation, her fifth grade self tagged along and she begins to recollect her childhood memories. All the flashbacks have given her an opportunity to reevaluate her life.
Movie Review: Only Yesterday (1991)
When Taeko was young.

Only Yesterday (1991) is more than nostalgic. It is a lovely story of a woman who rediscovered herself. A real life drama in animation, this film certainly shows that animation aren't just for children.

Relatable, it is funny to watch her reminiscing her childhood memories, delightful to catch a glimpse of Japanese fast paced life and pleasant to feel the tranquility of Japanese countryside life which brings us all back to nature. Thus, this film could be one of the best slice of life films out there.

From this film onwards, I could tell that Isao Takahata films are more inclined to realism, expressionism and they are actually quite critical. If you want to watch something that depicts life, this film is certainly for you. Only Yesterday (1991) may revitalize and enliven your life through the screen!

PS. Usually, I'd share the official synopsis (with minor edits) but for this title, there is no English version available so.. I wrote the synopsis myself. 

Will write a page regarding this and add this to all animated feature entries soon.

Who will like this?
People who love slice of life films and Japanese culture will like this.

Details of the movie
Director: Isao Takahata
Producer: Toshio Suzuki, Yasuyoshi Tokuma
Story: Isao Takahata
Screenplay: Isao Takahata
Cinematography: Not sure.
Music: Katsu Hoshi
Studio: Studio Ghibli
Starring: Miki Imai, Toshiro Yanagiba, Yoko Honna
Full Credit: [IMDb]
Distributor: Toho
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Genre: Drama Romance
Running time: 118 mins
Budget: Not sure.
Box office: USD 18,000,000 est.

Official website(s)

Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
Pom Poko (1994)
My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999)
The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013)
Studio Ghibli
Rosalyn's Animated Movie Marathon

Only Yesterday (1991) Behind the Scenes

Favorite Movie Character

Only Yesterday (1991) Movie Quotes
Typed with my iphone >< Sorry if the translation is not accurate.
  1. Did you break up with your boyfriend?
  2. I love the countryside.
  3. When I am home, we are going to grandmother's place right away so I won't be scolded at all.
  4. Such a bad grade in Maths again.
  5. Are we going to travel for holidays?
  6. Please take me some where.
  7. I'll take you to the theatres. How about "The Crane Lady?"
  8. Not that. I mean the countryside. Like Grandma's country house.
  9. Grandma lives with us.
  10. Grandpa's then.
  11. He's dead. We don't have relatives in the countryside, so don't ask for it.
  12. My family had lived in Tokyo for generations. I truly envy my friends who had family in the countryside.
  13. But I really want to go there.
  14. What about Onoya? We are Onaya's regulars. I am sure they'd have a room for us.
  15. Is it in the mountains or by the sea?
  16. That's right, it's in Atami. You get to ride the bullet train.
  17. Yeah, you'll love it.
  18. It's great, lots of different hot springs.
  19. Yeah, there's a huge Roman bath, and other little ones like the Swan Bath and the Violet Bath.
  20. Taeko love hot springs most right?
  21. Since father's busy with work, four of you go.
  22. We have to go too?
  23. Taeko-chan, I am amazed that you show up every morning.
  24. Everyone else has left town.
  25. Aren't you going anywhere?
  26. Any special request from your husband's family?
  27. Not really, oh, maybe cookies. Say it's from us and I'll pay you back.
  28. She's not home but she was angry that you turned down that man's proposal.
  29. At 27, that's the best offer she's going to get!
  30. It's all she talks about.
  31. But she got a point, you are not young anymore.
  32. Really, you've to settle down some day.
  33. This year I'm picking safflowers.
  34. Thanks to you, sister, I finally have family in the countryside so I am making the most of it!
  35. Rather than staying in that old house, why not treat yourself to a fancy hotel for once? Maybe you'd meet a nice guy.
  36. Not that again. You've got to get over it. Let go of that baggage from the past!
  37. Hey grandma, done yet?
  38. Bored to tears, I went alone to the Brothers Grimm Bath, the Mermaid Bath, the Lemon Bath, and the Violet Bath, ine after the other. When I got to the Roman Bath, my head was spinning. I fainted and my holiday trip is over.
  39. Followed by endless weeks of vacation. 
  40. The other day, my sisters and I were reminiscing. We couldn't stop laughing as the memories came flooding back. 
  41. Have you eaten this before?
  42. No, it's my first time.
  43. I'm the one who asked for it. 
  44. We know.
  45. How do we eat it? 
  46. Slice it into rings.
  47. But how?
  48. Strange fruit they have in those hot countries. 
  49. I know how to cut the pineapple!
  50. Smells really nice! Fragrance smell! 
  51. Live long enough and you see lots of different things. 
  52. What a let down.
  53. Don't force yourself to eat them. 
  54. Bananas taste much better.
  55. Bananas are still the king of fruits.
  56. I knew it. The king of fruits is the banana after all.
  57. The year I fainted at the baths and had my first pineapple, the Beatles came to Japan and started the Rock 'n' Roll band and electric guitar craze.
  58. When she wore a mini skirt, she'd cover her bottom when going up the escalators.
  59. I told you to knock the doors, didn't I?
  60. My sisters' memories are mainly of fashion and pop trends. 
  61. For them, 1966 is the peak of nostalgia whereas I was only ten years old.
  62. My favorite band had yet to debut.
  63. My only memories are the back and forth between school and home.
  64. Why do you hide the pickles inside the bread?
  65. I'd rather you were a good eater than a good essay writer.
  66. Wow. How can you drink that horrible stuff?
  67. People who run in the corridor when the hall monitor says stop, should be punished. 
  68. It's like a policeman chasing a speeding car.
  69. Now we are allowed to leave one thing on our plates, but I think it's wrong. 
  70. If you want to speak, raise your hand!
  71. So many tiny details, one after another playing in my head like movies, overwhelming me. 
  72. I knew nothing about baseball but even I could tell he was superb.
  73. The girls are buying pants* in the infirmary. 
  74. Are those swimming pants?
  75. You shouldn't tell boys. It's supposed to be our secret.
  76. Boys are disgusting. Now they'll be looking up our skirts.
  77. Looking up skirts was all the rage and period talks became an obsession.
  78. Second period break.
  79. Then they'll think all girls who skip P.E. have periods!
  80. Since when she likes P.E. so much?
  81. Mom said it's nothing to be ashamed of.
  82. Like it or not, a caterpillar must first live as a chrysalis before becoming a butterfly.
  83. Maybe I remember those days because I am going through a chrysalis stage again.
  84. Something definitely changed when I started working.
  85. At work and at leisure we girls were livelier and more spirited than guys.
  86. It was like we'd finally found our wings but looking back maybe we were just flexing them pointlessly.
  87. Perhaps the fifth grade me was tagging along with a message for me to reflect and rethink my life.
  88. I thought you were trying to steal my bag.
  89. I like it because I am a farmer.
  90. A bunch of guys turned up, right? Maybe you don't remember. They came to check out the girl from Tokyo. I was one of them.
  91. They got rich, but for farmers, it was just another crop.
  92. In time whose skin will it grace, this crimson flower.
  93. The famous Basho poem? I have read it before I come here.
  94. I also read that the flower-pickers can't afford to wear the rouge they made.
  95. Anything worth struggling for will he hard work. Isn't it the same in the city?
  96. I can farm twenty-four hours a day. It's fascinating to raise living things.
  97. If we take good care of them, I feel like they'll do their best for us.
  98. To tell the truth, I used to work in an office. I just started farming life. That's why I'm so enthusiastic. It's very important.
  99. I quit my job and joined my friend's organic farm. People said I am crazy but I never regretted.
  100. Grown with no artificial chemicals or whatsoever, just blood sweat and tears. We use only natural stuff, no pesticides or anything.
  101. Thanks for having me.
  102. Wow, you're wearing work pants too.
  103. Young people don't wear them anymore. You look like the real deal Taeko.
  104. How could this yellow flower produce such a bright red? They told me a tale from the past. The girls didn't have gloves and their bare hands would get pricked by the thorns. It was their blood that made the flowers red.
  105. I could imagine the resentment they must have felt toward the fancy city girls. 
  106. Safflower do your best. Cheer me up with your pretty color.
  107. Safflower dyes brought colors into the village girls life with no access to make up or kimonos.
  108. If I have worked like this as a child, my school essays would have been really interesting.
  109. Who's everyone?
  110. Did you ask dresses for your Barbie dolls again? Didn't you promise to ask only on Christmas or your birthday? 
  111. You three are so selfish.
  112. You said it, you have to do it.
  113. We're off then.
  114. That night I couldn't sleep, wondering why it was always me, figuring I must have been adopted. I cried myself to sleep.
  115. Was it the first time he hit you?
  116. When it's only once, you can't stop thinking why.
  117. It's hard to imagine you were a spoiled brat.
  118. Taeko, why are you not married?
  119. Before the exam we had art class.
  120. W-what is this? How on earth? 
  121. B-but this is beyond belief.
  122. Just help her.
  123. Should you get her IQ checked?
  124. Even now dividing fraction is difficult.
  125. Let's rethink the real meaning of prosperity
  126. There aren't many people like you.
  127. We help each other out, cheer one another along, otherwise we can't cope.
  128. Finally we are in the middle of nowhere.
  129. Every thing you see here are man made.
  130. They evolve together and create this scenery.
  131. Farmers can't exist without nature so they always take good care to help her in return.
  132. A collaboration between human and nature. That's the spirit of country life.
  133. Giving nature a helping hand is a hard work
  134. These days people leave and go to the cities. And now there are fewer children.
  135. It was worth it. "Village children A" was a hit.
  136. People asked if I had lessons and the teachers praised me then something amazing happened.
  137. Sorry you came so far for nothing.
  138. Tokyo's packed with cars and buildings, people shouldn't live like that.
  139. I don't think I am wrong in any way.
  140. If only I can reply "I would love to" just like in movies but I can't.
  141. When I was little, I used to bully the girl I liked.
  142. Girls never understand how boys feel.
  143. I started to think about my feelings for him and his towards me for the first time.
  144. How come I let him get so close?
  145. He is the one I wanted to shake hands with now.


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