Let us begin by introducing you to the characters you will speak throughout this work.
A late 20th Century Russian geek working at a high-tech company in Tokyo. Besides listening to jazz, watching football, & drinking spirits, he's fond of hiking & fishing. Seemingly nonchalant about politics, Andrei is concerned about broad environmental trends & takes lots of small (and largely symbolic) steps to reduce his eco-footprints. He makes modest donations to various ecological groups, but feels anxious about how his lifestyle contributes to many current eco-problems. These worries, however, disappear after a few drinks or during a good football match. When those fleeting distractions wear off, however, a sense of perplexity returns. "We should give credit to Smirnoff for 'solving' many problems," he jokes half-heartedly.
A handsome, though aging, French teacher at a university in Tokyo, Jules is interested in the fine arts, gourmet food, and almost any kind of wine. Once keen about many political causes, since turning 50 he's become jaded by a sense of futility. Despite brooding moments, he manifests élan & interacts skillfully with everyone – at least while sober. His dream is to join an ecologically self-sufficient commune, but the thought of giving up macadamia nuts, bitto cheese, or Cabernet Sauvignon invites hesitation. Deep down he wonders how much longer the human species can last in light of the frenetic pace of change. "Although wines often get better with age, the same is seldom true of people," he adds.