In episodes 6 and 7 of Sakura Quest, a movie is being filmed in the small town of Manoyama. The film producers are seeking out an abandoned old building to burn to the ground. They don’t want it simulated, they want to actually burn a house down. Our heroic team begins tracking down abandoned buildings in town to see if there are any which are out of the way to be able to keep the fire controlled. They track down the owners and begin to make calls. Shiori Shinomiya has lived in this town her entire life, so has been very helpful in finding locals to connect with in order to reach out to them.
That’s when they find the perfect house. The house is out of the way. It has classic, Japanese architecture. It looks like it could collapse at a moment’s notice, so no one is living in it. Shiori reached out to the owners of the house and they say they are absolutely fine with it being demolished by burning it down. She then proceeds to tell everyone that the homeowners said, “No.”
But why? Why did Shiori lie. As I mentioned above, Shiori has been living in this town her entire life. She had a connection to the house. It was a place she used to visit in her youth and loved the older woman who used to live there. She doesn’t want it to burn down as it is connected to her memories of the area.
With this being blocked, they continue to try to find other places. No luck, though, so our “Queen,” Yoshino, ends up calling the homeowner herself to see if she can convince them to let the house be burned. They tell them they already told someone it was fine. That’s when the lie is uncovered.
Yoshino then confronts Shiori about the situation reminding her that you cannot live in the past. The two discuss the matter as mature adults, which is refreshing and well done. In the end, Shiori realizes she needs to move forward and, as the header image implies, she does not stop them from burning down the house.
As people we can easily find ourselves dwelling on the past. Digging up the past, the familiar, can be easy. It can also serve as a crutch preventing us from moving onward with our own lives. We need to be able to progress forward in life and cannot allow our past to control us. This does not mean our memories are meaningless. This does not mean our past has no bearing on our future or our present state. What it does mean is that when we cling to the past fully we are living there and will entirely miss the present.
Focusing and dwelling on the past can be crippling, forcing you to rethink “What if” over and over or, alternately, find current comfort in a time or place which no longer exists. In a Biblical context, the Bible often speaks about the bad or sin in our past and how the Lord can help us cast off the shackles of the past – freeing us from our sins. However, Shiori isn’t focusing on her past mistakes, but her past joys and the physical reminders of that joy.
What Shiori is missing is that these temporary things will eventually fade away (Ecclesiastes 2:4-11, Ecclesiastes 5:10-11). All of them will eventually fade away. Let’s be real for a moment – the building was already pretty much fading away. It was in horrible shape. It was truly unsafe to be inside. Yet, Shiori actively tried to prevent it’s destruction purely out of a feeling of nostalgia and joy from her past. Yet these memories are still with us. They always will remain with us.
Taking away the physical reminder does not diminish our past joys. Taking away the thing which brought us joy does not diminish that past happiness. Being apart from your family does not detract from the happiness you feel when you remember good times with them. No longer owning a game can never take away the fun you had playing it in the past. Christ leaving this world does not diminish the joy Christians feel when we are thinking upon the Lord and His eventual return.
Shiori had lost track of that distinction and it took a good friend in Yoshino to remind her of that truth. We all need truth tellers in our lives like Shiori sometimes to remind us of truths we may already know.