The story is set in the Meiji Times, Japan's opening door to the world.
Shino has been brought up as the inheritor of an old and famous comestic shop in Tokyo -- since her father doesn't have a son, it seems OK for Shino, a girl, to run the family's shop. Shino took all boys' education and did much better than most. However, everything changed on the day when her brother was born. Shino was forced to be a female again and even married to Saburo, her childhood friend who beaten by her often. Shino run away and met Daniel, an American who was working in Japan. She was fascinated by what Daniel told her: female can work in America. She then became obsessed by the dream of visiting New York and seeing the world beyond Japan.