Main Story 36

 

While I did have to prepare for the competition, I also had a performance booked for a date before the competition.
It had all been arranged by Youko-sama.

 

The appearance fee I was to receive was the same amount I had received previously.
As for my outfit, considering that I still have the competition and others to think of, I ended up borrowing some money to purchase them myself.
I borrowed as much as was needed to supplement the money I already had.
The 100 000 yen I had received last time was already used in the Shiseido parfait and to send Fuki-san her belongings, and the remaining amount was insufficient to procure all the pieces I needed for my outfit.

I already returned the dress that Youko-sama had prepared for me last time.
There was no reason for me to receive it, and it was a piece that was above my station.
 Though I did receive my appearance fee as I had after all certainly performed.
I also received the dress Takaoka-sama had bought for me as he had bought it for me as an apology too.

 

The creditor to my first debt in my whole life was Hongou Takeru-sama.
I asked Lawyer Tamaru to be my legal representative for the documents regarding the loan, but he had nothing to say.
This Lawyer Tamaru is someone I don’t quite understand.
How inconvenient it is to be a minor, having to rely on such a person.

 

I loathe charity.
I don’t care if people say I’m being stubborn, I loathe what I loathe.
I don’t need a patron either.
This may be a curse from Mari-sama, but I wish to stand proudly on my own though in poverty.

 

And so, the outfit I was to wear was a cheap polyester dress.
Though I said cheap, to me, it was unbelievably expensive.
It was the same for the shoes.

Youko-sama said that I should dress up and let the audience enjoy the performance visually too, but I believe that I should give them an enjoyable performance by music and music alone.
I stand my ground on this.

 

When we were eating lunch as we usually do in the café, Souju-sama looked to me with an exasperated expression.

 

“Really now Rei-chan, you’re so stubborn.”

“Ah, is that right?”

“But Grandfather praised you, saying, ‘As one would expect of Kujouin Juuichirou-sama and Shirasagi Mari-sama’s grandchild.’”

 

Hongou Takeru-sama views upon me too kindly.
I am not such an elevated person.
I am penniless to the core, and someone greedy who still laments the piece of sandwich she could not eat because of Katsuragi-sama.

 

“Mari-sama’s later years performances’ listening party is also drawing near.
I look forward to it.” (Sara)

 

『The tragic genius pianist Shirasagi Mari ~ the shining performances of her later years ~』by Youko-sama will be held today afterschool in the academy’s auditorium.
At first, it was planned that only a small number of people would be participating, but there was a flood of requests rushing in from people who heard rumors of it.
It was then settled that the academy’s alumni, such as Hongou Takeru-sama and Katsuragi-sama’s grandfather, would hold the listening party at the academy.
Hongou Takeru-sama would laugh while retelling that back in the days, there were a lot of students who would keep up appearances of being in high society while actually being rough and uncouth on the insides.
It seems that at that time, the academy had a system where all students live in dormitories and Hongou Takeru-sama and his badge were the last of such uncouth generations after the second world war.

I wonder if it was like in Sakigake!! Otokojuku[1]? I borrowed it from Madenokouji-sama.
It’s really something.
The characters there, just when you think they’re dead, they were actually alive! I can’t wait to find out more about Minmeishobou[2].

 

With Hongou Takeru-sama as the forerunner, there were a lot of leading figures from each field invited to the listening party.
Of course, I am participating in it too, but since the audio in my memory are more real than the recorded ones could be, I was actually not that excited about it.

When listening to the cassette tapes, I sit in a seiza position, just as I used to when Mari-sama was still alive.
I become filled with nostalgia as if I had actually gone back to that time.
The recordings are a means to that.

 

The cassette tapes had gone through a steady process of restoration work, having static noise removed, and digital mastering one by one.
It was a process that took a lot of time, but Youko-sama sped it up with the power of money.

 

The listening party was set to start at 5 P.M..
I passed the remaining time after the afternoon classes with the Hongou twins in the salon.
Since I have time, I set to finish my assignments until then.

 

I finished my assignments swiftly.
It was not particularly difficult.
I always think how much more convenient it would be if I can write faster.
I feel it very keenly.
For Japanese language classes, the beauty of our handwriting is also graded so I put in some effort when writing.
But for mathematics, I end up just scribbling the answers.
Time is limited.
It’s a waste of time to write with much deliberation.

 

“Rei-chan, how quickly you have finished your assignments! Even though you not only have more assignments, but they’re also higher in difficulty than mine.”

“It’s not such a significant amount.
I finished quickly because I wanted to watch a drama with the television here!”

“I’m so glad I’m not a scholarship student.
My time for myself would decrease if I were handed out so much assignments as you were.”

 

Souju-sama is a super hacker after all! He does not have the time to put into such things.

 

“Are you always studying, Rei-chan? Do you not have to practice the piano and do housework too? I think it’s curious.
You’re this busy but you always manage to take the number 1 spot in exams.”

“I read the textbook and some reference books, sometimes supplementary ones too during classes.
That is all.
I don’t really do anything special.
By the way, I have permission to do so from the teachers.
I roughly finished studying the materials for up until the final grade.”

 

Sara-sama and Souju-sama’s mouths were hanging open.
They’re adorable, looking like beautiful goldfish.

 

“So you were such a genius all along, Rei-chan.
If it’s Rei-chan, you can become a super hacker!”

“Eh! Are you quite sure? No way! What to do! How cool! Super hacker Reiko!”

 

I had become excited.
To think that I might be able to become a super hacker! How wonderful it is to have the possibility!

Seeing my reddened face and wiggling self, Sara-sama pierced me with her cold gaze.

 

“Rei-chan, what are you so happy about? You’re going to become a pianist, are you not?”

“Huh? I have no plans of becoming a pianist.
It’s only a hobby, or should I say a special skill I have.
My part time work performing the piano is but an extension of that.
I am not enrolled in a music school, nor do I have a teacher I am learning from.
And I do not wish to choose such a high risk job where you would be done for if you were to get injured like Mari-sama did.”

 

Sara-sama opened wide her large, cat-like, perfectly-round eyes.

 

“You’re not going to become a pianist? Even though you practice so much everyday?”

“I of course love the piano.
But it’s too unstable a job to make it my main lifelong profession.
It’s not a profession a penniless person like me can pursue.”

 

If you do not have either a well-off family or a patron, the path to becoming a pianist is steep.
You need money for it.

 

“So unexpected was this that I am quite speechless.”

“Sara-chan, I will continue playing the piano for as long as my fingers will move.
It is just that I am not going to make it my job.”

 

Souju-sama had on his thinking face.

 

“Yeah, with such an intellect as Rei-chan has, she can contribute more to society being some kind of scientist, keeping the piano as a hobby.”

“My, Souju! There’s no such thing! Do you not think that she can bring about more change by moving people with her piano playing?”

 

Sara-sama and Souju-sama were in a dispute regarding me.

 

“I plan to live a stable life.
I will have no complains even if my salary is small, so long as it is stable.
And I’ll be quite satisfied if I can play the piano in my free time.”

 

I have a dream now.

When Mari-sama was still alive, I never thought about the future.
My days were already consumed by everyday matters.
Piano, housework, caretaking.
That was all.
I did receive various instructions from the landlady, Comrade Yoshio, and the Mossad Tanaka-san whenever I had time, but that was the only amusement I had aside from reading.

 

The dream I now have is to enter into a stable job and play the piano in a little house in the countryside.
It sounds nice to build a house myself too.  I will gather mushrooms and various mountain vegetables on my days off.
And when I have become quite comfortable enough financially, I will make a kamado[3], polish freshly threshed rice, and cook delicious rice.
I want to raise some chickens too.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have tamago kake gohan[4] with freshly gathered eggs for breakfast? Ufufu.

 

For that, I would need to secure a government post in the countryside after graduating.
But it’s not an easy feat for the me who has absolutely no connections.
Moreover, I’m an outsider to them so I imagine it would not be easy for me to be accepted by them.
Were I to be careless, I might end up leading a life similar to Comrade Yoshio’s.
As such, the obstacles to achieving this dream are not trivial.

 

“What? You’re going to again live in the countryside after graduating?”

“My, did my thoughts spill out again.
I apologise.”

“It’s fine, it’s just as usual.
You’re going to work after graduating high school?”

“Yes, that is my plan.
Of course, I will apply to all the universities they tell me to.
However, not only do I not have the money to continue on to higher education, I also do not have a field I want to study so much that I will look for scholarships.
If I don’t go to university, can I not stay friends with you two? I thought that you would still be my friends no matter my standing.”

 

After being rejected by Fuki-san, my views had broadened.
I realized that even if I was in absolute poverty and the worlds we live in are different, it would be terribly rude of me to cut ties with Sara-sama and Souju-sama.
The fact that our upbringings were different was something none of us can do anything about.
And Sara-sama and Souju-sama wish to have a friendship with me on top of knowing this.
That is enough.
It’s okay even if the worlds we live in are different.

Though, my reaching this conclusion was partly thanks to finding out the crazy ways my parents had lived their lives.

 

Sara-sama and Souju-sama had fallen silent.

 

The other day, I had gone to take a look at the boarding provided by the academy.
It felt somewhat suffocating.
It wasn’t cramped, it was clean, and there was no particular problem about it.
But it didn’t sit quite well with me, who had hitherto only ever lived in the countryside.
I will not be able to hear the distant cuckooing of the rooster in the early mornings, nor will I smell the smell of dead grass there.
The smell, the sounds of the big city are different.

In the end, it would appear that I like the dilapidated house I had grown up in, with all the memories associated with it.
Still, for the sake of safety and to quickly release Comrade Yoshio, I understand that I have to quickly leave it.

 

“Um, there is still some time left before the hearing party, yes? Is it okay for me to continue watching ‘furyou shoujo to yobarete’?”

 

Madenokouji-sama, in his kindness, had lent me this Daiei Film[5] DVD.
It’s so interesting that I can’t wait to watch the rest of it.
The narration in the opening was good too.
The delinquents of the Shouwa era were truly something! They had frizzy hair looking as if it had exploded, chains wrapped around, and razorblades in between their fingers.

 

I had completely fallen prey to Madenokouji-sama’s hobbies.
And even while saying one thing or another, Sara-sama and Souju-sama watched them with me too.

Speaking of, for the next movie night we planned on watching ‘The Girl Who Leapt Through Time’, in which Harada Tomoyo-san, who had been one of the actresses called the three daughters of Kadokawa[6], played the main lead.
This movie was also one recommended by Madenokouji-sama.
He explained that this work was one of the three works of Onomichi[7], so there must be two others.
At any rate, we’re going to watch them all.
Madenokouji-sama’s recommendations all deliver!

Author’s Note:

Furyou Shoujo To Yobarete

It had been said that the author of the original work Hara Shouko-san had the following reaction towards the drama:

Quoted from wiki

The original work and drama had completely different settings, with the original work being set directly after the second world war.
Hara, after finding out the details of the drama, was shocked, said, “I did not hear about this.
I did no such terrible thing.” and turned her eyes away from it.
In addition, there were a lot of drama original stories added along the way.

Translator’s Notes:

[1] Sakigake!! Otokojuku was a manga seires serialised in Shounen’s Weekly Jump from 1985 to 1991 and was staged in an all-boys school teaching how to be true men.
(quoted from wikipedia)

[2] Minmeishobou was a fictitious publishing company that appeared in Sakigake!! Otokojuku, publishing fictional knowledge that helped explain its world building.
(I skimmed a Japanese website for this so it might not be the most accurate explanation.
Sorry about that.)

[3] A kamado is a traditional Japanese wood or charcoal fuelled cook stove.
It is versatile can be used for various cooking methods.
(quoted from wikipedia)

[4] Tamago kake gohan is a simple dish where one cracks a raw egg over steaming rice and season it with soy sauce.
Popular for breakfast.

[5] Daiei Film was a Japanese film studio founded in 1942 and was one of the major studios during the postwar Golden Age of Japanese cinema.
It declared bankruptcy in 1971 and was acquired by Kadokawa Pictures.
(quoted from wikipedia)

[6] The three daughters of Kadokawa consisted of Yakushimaru Hiroko, Harada Tomoyo, and Watanabe Noriko.
They enjoyed immense popularity in the 1980s film world and were said to have been the backbone of the Kadokawa Pictures golden era.

[7] Onomichi is a hilly port city in southwest Honshu, Japan.
(quoted from wikipedia) There are three popular works directed by Obayashi Nobuhiko set in his hometown Onomichi, being the 1982 fantasy film “I Are You, You Am Me”, the 1983 science fiction film “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time”, and the 1985 film “Lonely Heart”.

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