Translated and Edited by: ynlucca.
-san: A polite suffix, but not excessively formal.
-kun: A common suffix among friends and younger people.
-chan: A common suffix among people you’re close with, mostly used for feminine nicknames and girls, since it’s cutesy and childlike.
-senpai: A common suffix and noun used to address or refer to one’s older or more senior colleagues in a school, workplace, dojo, or sports club.
“I’m sorry, senpai! Can I go hang out with my friends after school today?”
“All good, but what happened?”
While I was indulging myself with a book during recess—elegantly, might I add—Kurosaki walked up and apologized to me. Loudly. As you can imagine, she stood out like red in the ocean.
“I just thought you might be looking forward to walking home with me…”
“I was, of course, but I’m all for you socializing and playing with your friends. If you don’t do that once in a while, you’ll cut off the others and be isolated.”
“…You’re too convincing,” my argument hit her like a train, and she let out a suffering groan. The winner of this match was me.
“I’m glad you came all the way out here to tell me. Do you wanna have lunch together?”
“No. I’d like to, but the constant stares around me hurt! Well then, senpai, see you tomorrow~!”
“See you tomorrow~!”
While her tone was chirpy as it’s ever been, her regretful eyes lingered on me for a second, almost as if she couldn’t finish replenishing her energy. The atmosphere around us was surely great…
That being said, unfortunately, I no longer have any after-school plans for today. Since I don’t have anything to do, I’ll just go home and play a game.
—I thought so before it clicked.
As a Lego set gets built piece by piece, an idea popped into my head. I knew just the thing to do. Slowly, I get up from my seat and walk toward the group chatting near the blackboard. Noticing there was someone staring, some of the group smiled wryly and stepped back. One of them, however, had a bright smile on his face. I had one thing I wanted to tell him.
“Uh, did I do something?” I took notice of the weird mood.
“No, you didn’t do a thing!”
“I misunderstood, then. Oh well, Katayama, wanna hang out after school?” I finally say what I’ve been trying to for a long time.
The first step toward breaking out of my loner shell was inviting some friends out for fun. Of course, he has his own schedule, and it’d certainly be best if he agreed to my sudden invite. But even if he can’t, the very act of leaving my comfort zone and asking out a friend was great progress.
Gauging his response, for some reason he rubbed his arm against his face, sniffling… Wait, is he crying?
“I never thought… you’d ask me out.”
“I–If you’re busy, maybe we could hang out another time…”
“How could I be busy? I’m canceling all my plans for today! Let’s look at some clothes, bro!” I’m quite worried about his emotional state.
In any case, I could finally hang out and play with a friend after school.
“Miyamoto—! It’s Harajuku¹!”
I’d come to Harajuku with Katayama, who almost exploded in excitement at seeing some clothes. Speaking of clothes, this was the place to be: the streets lined with apparel stores of all types, boasting different styles ranging from classy to streetwear, as well as the special Harajuku style.
“Do you have a place you wanna go to, Katayama? I remember you liked Kanata Matsumoto.”
“Can we go there? There’s a Kanata store in the back that I’d love to see.”
“Let’s start there.”
After walking through the crowd for minutes on end, we arrived at an area crowded with stores from reputable brands, all out of reach for a high schooler. Sitting in a corner, we saw the store we were looking for.
Katayama and I walked inside, him being cheery as ever. As soon as we stepped inside, we were greeted by a tall guy who emanated big-bro energy.
“Miyamoto, what do you think of this?”
“Ah, it’s long enough to wear in the fall, and I think it’d look nice under a coat.”
“I agree, but 70k yen…” (TL: Roughly 525 US dollary-doos.)
Seventy grand was a lot of money for a student, or rather, for everyone. That price was just for one shirt as well. Honestly, I thought it was strange at first, but expensive pieces were made with much ingenuity. This one, in particular, was a fan favorite among clothing aficionados, so no wonder Katayama was troubled.
“I wonder if you have a part-time job or something? Kanata’s clothes are expensive in general, so buying it with pocket money is tough.”
“Of course, I work part-time. It’s usually at a karaoke, but sometimes I grab other jobs as well.”
I guessed as much, it was hard doing anything without a part-time job. That’s how passionate he is about clothes. Well, in the end, I didn’t buy anything but was very satisfied to try on the pieces I’ve only dreamed of having. As soon as we left the store, however, his expression hardened and he asked me something.
“About the graffiti on your table this morning, aren’t you gonna look for the culprit?”
“With that little damage, I don’t see why I should bother looking for them.”
“Gotcha… Miyamoto, you’re optimistic in the strangest ways, aren’t you?”
“You think so? Well, if the damage spreads to you or my junior, I’ll have to do something.”
I can handle it if I’m the one they’re messing with. However, it’s a completely different story if people who have nothing to do with it get involved. Honestly, I don’t even want to think there are high schoolers capable of such cowardly harassment.
—Wait, why is Katayama’s cheeks suddenly flushing?
“I can’t believe you care so much about me…”
“…Uh, can we just go to the next store?”
“Yeah! I still have plenty of clothes I wanna try!”
His sudden 180’s made me laugh. I guess this is what high school life is all about. We kept joking around with each other, walking forward carelessly and lightly.
1 — Harajuku is known internationally as a center of Japanese youth culture and fashion. Shopping and dining options include many small, youth-oriented, independent boutiques and cafés, but the neighborhood also attracts many larger international chain stores with high-end luxury merchandisers.
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