I’ve often toyed with the notion that life is considered too precious in Western culture, in spite of my appreciation of being alive. However, whether or not we are cutting off our nose to spite our face, my unorthodox views on life and death haven’t helped me to understand the peculiar Japanese perspective on suicide. This film presents that perspective compassionately and elegantly, but I still can’t claim to fully understand why one would do it. My best guess is that it is an aesthetic appreciation that supersedes the will to live. That and a tremendous lack of optimism, which I suppose is my real sticking point.