Translated and Edited by: ynlucca.
-san: A polite suffix, but not excessively formal.
-kun: A common suffix among friends and younger people. Can also mean Mr.
-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.
It’s finally here!
A bit over a week after the last club activity, we were finally at the cusp of another. I had been waiting for so long, days felt like months.
“Good morning!” I couldn’t help but belly the greeting.
“To you too. You have school at 10 o’clock today. Did you double-check your belongings? It might not be too far from where we are, but it is an overnight stay. As always, just don’t make a mess, and call me if need be,” Dad warned.
“I know, I know. It’s fine,” I waved his concerns.
For better or for better, today’s the fateful day of our camping trip.
“Hey, I’ve been wondering since the last BBQ, but are you sure this is an actual club? I mean, it’s fun through and through, isn’t it?”
“It is. The outdoors is full of learning opportunities, after all.”
“Meh. Guess that’s one way to put it.”
As boss once said, if it’s recognized, it’s good enough. Plus, our advisor—Mrs. Tainaka—never complained about anything, so no issues there. At least those were the excuses lined up in my head, desperate to deny what my sister said.
In any case, I shouldn’t keep goofing off like this. I might even be late if I don’t try to be punctual. Additionally, one never knows if the train may be delayed, as it’s not an impossibility. I looked at the clock; It was early, but it was time to go.
“I’m going ahead of time. I’m off.”
“Mmm. Have a safe trip, son.”
Dad was worried, so I double-checked my stuff. As I am myself, I also went to the bookstore and prepped four volumes for my devouring. One of my main purposes for camping was the unbridled, unhindered time I would have for the hobby. The location was nice as well. Thus, I was armed to the teeth and ready for anything. Still, I probably wouldn’t be able to read the four books during the trip. As they say, though, better safe than sorry.
Suddenly, a voice called from the heavens—erm, just slightly above. Momiji popped her head out the window to call me.
“Your trip’s today, right? The camping thing. I’ll email you, so answer ASAP. Also, send lots of pictures!”
“Sorry, I’ll be one with nature. Machines and the like are for emergencies. See ya,” I brushed her off. The last thing I wanted was to be disturbed during this beautiful trip.
The clock read 9:30 AM. Considering we were to meet at 10, I still arrived a bit too early. Thinking I would rot waiting at the teacher’s parking spot, where we’d meet, I figured I’d head for the club building to kill some time.
…You know what? I think I’ll spend my time at that secret pavilion. Having a better place in mind, I went in the opposite direction to the building and I surveyed the area.
Ah, yes. This place is heaven itself, cut from space and time, and separated by soul from the confines of school. The tender silence was only disturbed by a soft drone of faraway voices—though only if one would stretch their ears. Despite it, the tranquility of the garden drowned any issue out.
A quick look at the blooming petunias around, I sat down at a chair and pulled out one of the four volumes. My senior Tsuchimikado didn’t take care of the flowers on Saturdays like these, so I was by my lonesome. Feeling the breeze, the waft of flowers, I could finally understand why she’d said “This is my place,” and why she had created such a safe haven.
Hopefully, this will be such a place for one. Better, for the two of us. I couldn’t just exclude my senior, being the one who harbored this place.
A bit less than half an hour later, I stood up and headed to the parking lot with my head in the clouds. Rarely do I immerse myself in a novel to this degree, certainly intensified by the paradise I had just left.
“Just in time.”
“Excuse me. I was here half an hour ago, so I just made a little detour.”
“Righty. Now that we’re all here, let’s see. Tachibana and Yuki’s luggage is already loaded, so it’s your turn to do the same, Takasaki. We’ll leave as we are.”
Sure, I arrived just in time for the rendezvous, but I should’ve come a bit earlier. Guess I enjoyed myself a little too much. After fastening my stuff to the trunk, I tried to get into the car, but…
“Erm, I’m the only guy here, so won’t I get the passenger seat or something?”
“No. I’m the boss. I get the seat,” the one and only said so.
If she was there, only one option remained for the poor ol’ me.
An atmosphere of roses and posies wafted the inside of the car—I was greeted by Yuki’s tongue clicking as I sat down in the back seat.
“We’ll reach the camping ground in 40 minutes, give or take, so you should go to the bathroom while you have the chance. We’ll stop at the supermarket just shy of the place Other than that, I don’t plan on stopping.”
Everyone seemed okay on that front, so we left as we were.
“Do you guys know what the Osako Campground is like?”
“No. A bare minimum of due diligence was all we needed to make the reservation. Actually, we didn’t even have to make one.”
“I’ll tell you about it, then,” the teacher perked up.
“No. Listening will lessen the impact, so I wanna see it with my own eyes.”
“G, got it.”
I guess the teacher made a lot of research. It goes without saying, but she had real-life experience and was someone who appeared to take preparation very seriously. Her shoulders slumped a bit with the refusal.
“Speaking of which, we’ll cook one dish each for everyone when we get there.”
I suggested. I’m not a MasterChef by any means, but cooking outdoors would be a fun experience for sure. Prepping, sharing, and actually doing it brought excitement to my chest.
“I like that.”
“What about me?”
The reactions were mixed. Yuki was stunned, those words falling alien on her ears. Could it be…?
“Of course you as well, teacher. You’re the advisor and a fellow camper.”
“What everyone makes is a secret.”
The teacher seemed to regain her lost energy after my suggestion, winding up like a toy.
What should I make, though? It might be nice to hop into the supermarket and whip something random, but I’d like to have a rough idea at least. Since the other three people here are girls, I wonder if they’ll pick something light to make. Though I’m not a big eater, I’d like to have something filling, at least.
Hmm, if that’s the case, should I heavy my hand a bit on the carbohydrates? Rice, noodles, bread… What to do, what to do?
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