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Drifting Home

An Analysis
Drifting Home Poster

Drifting Home- An Analysis 


The past grips unto us so much that it leaves scars when we move away from it. 

When we think of the past, usually there is a house– a home that floods us with heaps of nostalgia of childhood days. For Kosuke and Natsume, the apartment complex 112 that was being demolished was their home– living there brought them together, and when they had to leave, they left behind their beautiful friendship. Drifting Home is a beautiful nostalgic 2022 film by Hiroyasu Ishida that explores the feelings of change and moving out of a place you made so many precious memories. Sixth graders Kosuke and Natsume used to live together in an apartment complex with Kosuke’s family. To Natsume, Kosuke’s family was her’s as well, especially his grandpa (Yasuji) who loved Natsume very much. As the years go by and their city evolves, new modern apartments are built, and the residents of the apartment complex 112 are forced to leave the building (as it is going to be demolished). Due to this, Natsume has to move back with her mother, and Kosuke and Natsume begin to drift away. In the middle of this, Grandpa Yasuji dies in the hospital, only breaking Natsume and Kosuke’s friendship even more. One day, Kosuke and his friends visit his old house hoping to find some ghosts, only to find Natsume sleeping in the closet of the empty apartment. Natsume then leads the group of boys to the roof where “Noppo” lives, a boy who also used to live in the apartment complex. The film follows Natsume, Kosuke, and their classmates, Taishi, Reina, Yuzuru, Juri, and Noppo lost at sea in the apartment complex without a clue on how to get home. Although they do not all like each other, they must find a way to survive and get back home together.   

Feeling at Home & Bottled Feelings

When we think of our pasts, what usually comes to mind are memories that take place somewhere. More often than not, this somewhere is the place which we used to call a home. The sounds, smells, and sights of places all make up our memories of them, and we assign emotions to different places. The smell of your grandma’s perfume, your mother’s cooking, the morning dew– all of these can make someplace a home. 

A house may be a home, but a home is not necessarily a house. 

In Natsume’s case, the apartment complex was her home, even when she had to move out.  In that apartment she used to play with Kosuke, eat dinner with Grandpa Yasuji and the rest of Kosuke’s family, and essentially she had fun. Whenever she was inside the apartment, she felt at ease, as if it was the only place she ever knew. Therefore, when she was forced to move out and Grandpa Yasuji died, it was natural she felt lost and bitter. Relocating from a place where we establised ourselves can cause feelings of fear and nostalgia to jam us in the past. The memories latch onto you, and you feel that if you let go of that beautiful past, you will never find happiness in the present. After Natsume’s and Kosuke’s friendship was hurt, the apartment was the only thing that connected them at that point. Natsume felt that now she would never feel the same happiness she did back then (with Kosuke’s family) unless she remained in the apartments. Instead of telling Kosuke about these feelings, she bottled them up and continued hurting on her own. 

This is where the power of friendship comes in. 

Kosuke to Nastume:

“I really do hate this crappy old apartment!

It reminds me of how you hid and cried while I pretended not to notice!

and it makes me want to punch myself!

You didn’t barge into our home

It’s your home too,

but we have to leave it behind now.

That’s the only way we’ll make it home together” 

Friends can help you see things from a different perspective, and help you understand your feelings. If Kosuke did not say this to Natsume, then it’s likely she would not have gotten home with the rest of her classmates. It does not have to be a friend, just someone you can confide in. Trusting our emotions with other people is like lifting scattered rocks from our wings and throwing them back in the water. Without someone there to lift them up, how could you continue walking? It is only when we realize that we can “carry” our home with us that we can move on together. 

<<“Sometimes we can’t let go of memories, because they are constant reminders of a great story that we never expected to end.”- Anonymous.>>

Closing Thoughts

What are the chances that you’ll remember that one spring afternoon where you played volleyball under the afternoon sun? Or the delicious lunch your mom packed for you in middle school? Maybe we fear forgetting memories because we know they were a once in a lifetime experience. You could go to school every day, but not all days are the same. For Natsume, how could she continue to be friends with Kosuke if she knew that it would not be the same as before? I think this film is not trying to say that we need to forget our past to overcome it. Moving on is not forgetting, moving on is preserving those precious memories (whether it be in your mind or on paper). Nostalgic childhood memories are some of the greatest things life can offer you, and they make you feel like a child again when adulthood dulls life. While it may be bittersweet and difficult to leave behind a beautiful past, (at whatever time in one’s life), you are always making new memories, and mixed in with the bad, there are sure to be good ones.


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