One day in July, Tokyo Station and its environs become the stage for 28 different characters to encounter one another in a series of interwoven events that build briskly to a climax. As the terminus of numerous long-distance train lines, including the Tokaido and Tohoku bullet trains, and as a transfer point for a host of commuter and subway lines, the station is Japan’s largest, with more platforms than any other rail hub. On its western side is the historic red-brick station building facing the Marunouchi business district, crowded with the head offices of Japan’s most vaunted corporations; on its eastern, Yaesu side, a large department store and underground mall complex serves as a gateway to the Nihonbashi shopping area. With several hundred thousand people passing through on any given day, the station is often described as metropolitan Tokyo’s "front gate."
Among the characters appearing are insurance company employees on the final day of a month-long sales push, waiting for the return of colleagues expected to come back with a major new contract in hand; an "OL"?female office worker?sent out to buy some snacks; little girls and their stage mothers who send sparks flying at auditions for a musical; members of a college sleuth club vying to solve a mystery, with leadership of the club on the line; an American film director and his pet iguana, visiting Japan to promote his latest film as well as to gather information and materials; an elderly online haiku circle participant who has arrived in Tokyo for a face-to-face gathering, and the fellow list members who have come to the station to meet him; and a group of terrorists plotting to bomb the station.
Strangers whose lives would otherwise never have touched inadvertently switch shopping bags bearing the same logo, and go in search of the person with the other bag. As they scurry back and forth between the Marunouchi side and Yaesu side?from a well-known meeting spot to a hotel bar inside the red-brick building?the plot thickens with the arrival of a motorcycle gang pursued by numerous police cars, three terrorists, and a television reporter and crew . . . The story continues to fill out as one fateful domino falls after another in this masterful disaster comedy.