After school on Friday.
Takayuki and I went to an idol merchandise store in front of the station.
Our purpose was, of course, to buy merchandise to take to the DDG concert on Saturday.
We decided to go shopping for merchandise after school on Monday at Takayuki’s suggestion, but when we checked our schedules, I had a part-time job and Takayuki had club activities, so the only day we were both free was Friday.
As we entered the store, we saw a lot of idol merchandise, fan goods of bands and celebrities posters.
Perhaps to mark the live concert on Saturday, there was a special DDG corner a few steps away from the entrance, so Takayuki jumped in and immediately started picking out various merchandise.
To be honest, I wasn’t interested in the merchandise or anything like that, so I decided to take a look around the store.
In the store, there were really various merchandise lined up, such as Japanese fans and posters.
Among the many idol and band merchandise lined up, the one that stood out the most was the special Angel Girls section next to the cash register.
Saegusa-san had retired, but the Angel Girls were still at the peak of their popularity as a national idol group, so they took up the largest space in the store to display their numerous goods.
As I was looking at them, I noticed that there was a large showcase next to it.
I peeked into the showcase without any purpose, and found that there were autographed photos of Saegusa-san, fans, T-shirts, and other items carefully arranged one by one.
Oh, it’s Saegusa-san autograph! I was surprised when I saw the price.
In the showcase, there were a variety of goods signed by other Angel Girls members, but all of them were less than three times the price of Saegusa-san’s.
“Welcome. Are you a fan of Shiorin?”
“Huh? No, well, …… haha.”
When I was surprised by the price of Saegusa-san’s merchandise, the clerk noticed it and approached me.
”This is the nickname that Saegusa-san used when she was an idol.”
“Her name was Shion, so she was called Shiorin.”
“Um, why are Shiorin’s goods so expensive?”
“That’s because all the merchandise of the retired Shiorin is already out of the market, so it’s more valuable than the current members.”
“But is there such a demand for idols who have already retired?”
The clerk answered my genuine question with a grin, as if to say it was a good question.
“Well, normally, as you say, the value of goods fades away after retiring, but Shiorin-san is special. She didn’t quit because of her age or lack of popularity, but because she suddenly disappeared at the height of her popularity, and is regarded as a legendary idol among idol fans. That’s why Shiorin’s goods are not going to get cheaper, but their market value is only going to increase in the future.
That’s why it took me so much effort to collect all these Shiorin goods,” said the sales clerk proudly.
“Oh, I see. Ah, I miss this.”
As we were having this conversation, a woman suddenly spoke to me from behind the cashier.
The cashier froze like a stone when he saw her.
I recognized her voice and knew immediately who she was.
I turned around and there she was, sitting next to me in the same class and smiling at me, Shion Saegusa, aka “Shiorin”, the former center of the national idol group “Angel Girls”.
Saegusa-san, who was also on her way home from school, was not wearing any disguise at all, and anyone could tell at a glance that it was Shion herself.
Even the female customers who were looking for male idol goods were saying, “Hey! Isn’t that Shiori-in? No way!” They were looking at us, whispering in the distance.
“Why are you here, Saegusa-san?
“I’m also going to the next DDG concert, so I came to buy penlights.”
Surprised by Saegusa’s sudden presence, I asked her why she was here.
Then Saegusa-san lightly waved the penlight in her hand, smiled and answered the question with perfect idol moves.
–Huh? Aren’t you acting suspicious today?
I wonder if this is the first time I’ve had a real conversation with Saegusa-san without her disguise?
I was so surprised to see that Saegusa was able to speak properly.
“I miss it. Oh, I hate this picture because it doesn’t look good.”
Saegusa-san reminisced about her idol days as she looked at the Angel Girls merchandise that was being sold as normal, not showcase stuff.
I took a T-shirt of the Angel Girls and presented it to the cashier with a penlight.
The cashier was surprised by Saegusa’s sudden appearance, but he managed to regain his senses as I was paying the bill at the cash register.
However, his fingers were trembling as he tapped the cash register, and it didn’t seem to be going well.
“Shiorin, you can have …… for free.
“No, you can’t. I’m just one of your customers, so please.
Saegusa-san’s idol smile made the cashier’s face red with delight, “I can’t believe I get to see you again.”
Great, so this is what Saegusa-san is really like in idol mode.
The Saegusa-san next to me was not the Saegusa-san of my classmates, but unmistakably Shiorin of the Angel Girls.
“It’s 4538 yen!”
“Yes, then it’s just right.
Saegusa-san paid the exact amount and asked, “Can I open it? She took out the T-shirt she had just purchased from the plastic cover, and signed her name on the T-shirt with a black oil-based pen from her bag.
“Hai, hai! I’m giving this to Ichijo-kun!”
“What, for me? Why?”
Saegusa-san was still doing her idol moves, but her face was bright red with embarrassment.
When I received the T-shirt for no reason, Saegusa-san left with a word, “Well then”
As I was left behind, I took another look at the T-shirt she gave me.
It had the same signature on it as the one on the showcase.
Fresh signature from Shiorin! The excited cashier asked me if he could have the t-shirt for 30,000 yen, but I politely refused, saying that I couldn’t give it away because I had just received it.
Then Takayuki finally arrived, having finished picking out the DDG merchandise, and after paying the bill, we left the store.
“The cashierwas acting strange, did something happen?”
“Oh, the cashier seems to be a fan of Saegusa-san, and while you were away, Saegusa-san came in.”
“No way! Seriously?”
Takayuki was convinced that this was the case.
After shopping, we ate ramen on the way home and said, “See you tomorrow.”
I was alone in my room while watching the t-shirt that Saegusa-san had given me.
It was a very simple T-shirt with the Angel Girls logo printed on a white background.
But on the front, in the lower right corner, there was Shiorin’s autograph on it.
At the store, this T-shirt was worth more than 10,000 yen.
As I looked at the T-shirt, I remembered what had happened today.
–Why did you give me this in the first place?
The first thing that comes to mind is why did Saegusa-san give me this T-shirt in the first place.
I couldn’t figure out why, and to be honest, it kept bothering me while I was eating the ramen.
The only thing I can think of is that according to the cashier, Saegusa-san’s autograph is very valuable, so maybe she just gave it to me, a classmate who happened to be there, on the spur of the moment?
Well, there’s no answer even if I think about it deeply, so I’ll just accept that as the reason.
Regardless of the reason, she gave me a gift, and I’ll thank her for it the next time I see her.
So, that’s enough.
But more than that, I realized something even more ridiculous.
–That Saegusa-san was taking out coins as if it was normal.
Yes, I didn’t pay any attention to it at the time, but it was the first time I saw Saegusa-san take out coins from her wallet.
For God’s sake, can’t she take out coins at the convenience store as well? …… I was once again struck by the mysterious behavior of Saegusa-san.