Perfect Days Review in Tribute to my Grandma

My Grandma, Florence C. Baker, passed away in the middle of the night. And since my last cinema therapy run was to Wim Wenders’ Perfect Days (co-written with Takuma Takasaki), I wanted to pay tribute to my grandmother’s life, which is oddly similar to the main character’s, played heroically by Koji Yakusho.

My Grandma Florence was stoic and disciplined. She never wanted to admit to needing help, being in pain, or any weakness. She drove until her mid-nighties and may never have had an accident in her life (the one with my Grandfather driving doesn’t count). Much like Grandma, Hirayama (Koji’s character) is disciplined, doing the same order of routine daily (and I, being of my Grandma’s blood do the same, run, shower, listen of The Bone’s (102.5) fun take on news, write, read, work, repeat. there’s comfort in routine. I rarely ask for help and when I do, it’s a 911 situation.

Hirayama works as a toilet cleaner in Tokyo and is satisfied with a job well done. He also likes to challenge his mind. Again, just like my Grandma, who was doing word search puzzles up until January at age 100, Hirayama reads Faulkner and other difficult authors and makes sure he has a new book at all times (I, too, have a stack of at least 3 on hand at all times).

Like Grandma, who was satisfied with the single woman’s routine, she, Hirayama and I all still crave connections. All three of us don’t really want to upset the apple cart of our ‘schedule’, but we’re open to and welcome to connecting to people when it’s serendipitous.

In Perfect Days, Hirayama feels blessed to be connected to people who use him (his millennial co-worker) and people who both need AND use him (his niece). Grandma and I was/are also fine with both. I understand the human condition that some folks don’t get how special Grandma was (or I am), just as my grandma understood that true relationships are built on mutual and consistent reaching out/effort and for some, that is either not possible or just not going to happen. All three of us appreciate(d) the moment, the here and now, the warm breeze on a sunny day, the taste of a good meal, appreciation of birds (and for Hirayama, trees).

Grandma had A LOT of Perfect Days, and she appreciated her connections, small and big alike. Hirayama also was living a full and rich life, even if it didn’t fit into the norm and stylized hustle and bustle of what people assume and think as normal.

Wim Wenders film made me feel cared for and affirmed, on a Friday evening when I knew Grandma wouldn’t last much longer. I can’t give the film a ten, due to its over reaching ending, but it was a 9.9 up until then.

Grandma said she had a great life and on her last day after visited by a Chaplin, said she felt ‘free as a bird’. Her ending was much better than Wim’s.

By Goldie

Aspiring writer who has retired from the institution of education. I've written plays, three of which have been performed both in Rochester NY and here in Sarasota FL. I also write stand up and obviously, film critique. My comment section does not work, so please email me your comments at

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