Short film by Makato Shinkai.
First attempt (January 2014?)Edit
-1 or -2 presumably.
First watch (9th December 2016)Edit
At home, in Japanese without subtitles (understood maybe 5% of it)
After watching and loving Kimi no Na Wa, in Japanese without subtitles, I was left wondering if my hatred of Makato Shinkai's previous works was something to do with the sappiness of their plots preventing me from enjoying anything else about them. So to test that, and out of kindled curiosity about the director, I watched through The Garden of Words a second time in December 2016.
I'm not sure what the plot was about - it seemed to be a high school fashion student meeting a mysterious lady in a park in Tokyo during his summer break every time it rained, and then discovering in September she's a teacher at his school? Except everyone was talking about her like she'd been away or something. It felt like maybe she had an illness, possibly terminal, which is why she'd been away and why everyone talked about her and why the two of them were so driven by their little relationship. It seemed like at the end he, unsure of where things stood now, asked her if she liked him, and she kind of asserted that she was a teacher so he got up and walked out, but she chased after him and they both for no reason I can imagine started crying uncontrollably and they hugged and that was the end and was super weird.
The visuals were definitely amazing. I griped the first time about how they were gratuitous and unearned, but unable to really access the plot and the dialogue this time around, and having seen Japan thoroughly for myself, I found all that quite appealing.