Volume 5, Chapter 6: Summer Vacation, Part 2
I’ve been quite free during summer vacation, but recently my relationship with Kotone-chan has deteriorated.
Kotone-chan is in her third year in junior high. Because the entrance examinations are imminent, she’s been going to the library to do summer revision. Come to think of it, since it’s an affiliated school, there isn’t actually an examination.
Kotone-chan, won’t you spare some time for your little sister? Where are you going?
Both father and mother were busy as usual, and when I thought of going to the O-bon festival, it seems that grandfather lost grandmother only a year ago, and he didn’t want the noisiness of a gathering around him.
“Because of that, Onii-chan, let’s go.”
“Where did that come from?”
It can’t be helped since only Ooba-onii-chan was free. It’ll be a terrible thing if Kotone-chan had been caught by some bad guy, so we have to investigate.
It is definitely not because I have nothing to do with my free time.
“Oh, Ooh, that’s right.”
Ooba-onii-chan understood his younger sister’s thoughts at once.
Kotone-chan, I’m worried about you…… It would be good if she could make new normal friends, but because I have deep love for Kotone-chan, I’m worried that she might be picked up by some middle-aged man old enough to have children.
“……That’s unexpectedly harsh.”
Oops, it seems my voice leaked out. Onii-chan’s face was a little bit cramped.
The next day, Ooba-onii-chan came back at a dash after his summer revision course… even though he was picked up by the car to come home, so, in addition, the driver got dragged into it as we went forth in pursuit of Kotone-chan.
According to the driver’s testimony, she had gone out to shop with some friends, and it seems that she’s been visiting a shopping district some distance away.
“I’m getting a bit nervous about this…”
There isn’t some powerful enemy, right?
That aside, onii-chan, don’t you usually call yourself differently? (TL note: he uses ‘ore’, which is a more masculine tone, instead of ‘boku’, the more polite one, that he usually uses.) It seems that Ooba-onii-chan wants to puff himself up in front of his cute little sister.
“Ah, it’s Kotone.”
“There, behind that bookstore.”
Looking out the window from inside the car, I saw the Takamine school uniform that I recognized in that distant place.
It’s certainly Kotone-chan. But she’s alone. What’s that? She came here to buy a book normally? But it’s a big shopping district, and buying stuff here feels a bit lonely. If she just went to the station she’d be able to buy books from the many big bookstores nearby.
As the driver drove slowly behind her, we got honked at by a car behind us on our way, and Kotone-chan eventually entered one particular ramen shop.
“……is she hungry?”
Come to think of it, Kotone-chan has been strangely glossy recently, is it because of oily food? I felt so.
“Nonono, wait, Yuzu. I heard recently that there’s been rumors going around that our family’s company is going into the noodle business.”
“ehhh~… Well, why is only Kotone-onee-chan having ramen?”
Saying that Kotone-chan is helping father while keeping it a secret… is a bit far-fetched. There’s no point in keeping it secret from onii-chan and I.
I can’t help but think that way in the car, so we decided to head into that ramen place. Sneaking in from the outside…… is it impossible?
“Then I will take a look at the shop from behind the store.”
“……Eh, but even if we don’t,”
Not long after I quietly stepped forth, I got halted. This isn’t a game, okay? Aren’t you concerned about Kotone-chan? Say so, Onii-sama.
A five year old girl was left alone in front of the ramen shop in the shopping district. It’s dangerous.
But I’m not alone. A little girl holding a rubber ball was staring at me while peeking out at me from the side street beside the shop.
Even if I say that she’s little, but she’s about the same as me. A cute girl with hair like a kokeshi doll, and when I saw her and smiled, and she started in place, frozen as I approached her.
“Hey… are you a Princess?”
It’s the first time I’ve heard that. ……wait, is it the first time? And it seems that for the time being she’s not scared of my doll-like appearance.
“No, it’s different. You’re cute too……”
She looked like a kokeshi doll. I suddenly noticed it as I continued… I felt that this child was somewhat similar to Kotone-chan and I.
“Nothing~. I’m called Yuzu. What’s your name?”
I played with this pretty kokeshi doll called Misa until onii-chan returned. Since we were both awkward, we didn’t end up playing with the rubber ball.
Err…… How do you write circles on the road and play? As I picked up a pebble and drew a circle on the path, Misa also began to draw and write and play.
“Do you like ramen?”
“Yes, and when I grow up I’ll run a ramen shop!”
“Ah… Perhaps this one,”
When I raised my head to look at the sudden interruption, I saw Kotone-chan who had a slightly angry expression on her face. Behind her was Ooba-onii-chan who was drooping his head like a chastised child, and a tall man.
It’s an approximately 30-year old uncle, I guess? A little bit of a dandy uncle would be better, but maybe this person is with Kotone-chan?
“Ah, you’re done with your work?”
Misa walked over with a pleasant smile on her face as she looked at the uncle. This person is…
“I’m still only 20!”
Haha, it was only a joke.
I listened to their story. It seems that he was one of the wait staff in the ramen shop, who is blood-related with Misa, but he’s not her father, but, rather, her older brother… They do look alike.
“Hey, Yuzu, did you come here with onii-chan……”
“I’m sorry… But why are you in this ramen shop?”
Since we were standing outside, we moved into the store to continue speaking, since the store was pretty vacant past lunchtime.
By the way, Ooba-onii-chan was seated on the floor because he’d bothered the store by going round the back.
“……Ah, erm…yeah… You know, Yuzu. Misa-chan and he are our cousins. That’s why I came to see how they were doing…okay?”
Kotone-chan’s cheeks were a little flushed while she glanced at him.
……Fuu~hn? I was still a toddler, so my words were still lispy, but putting it all together, it seems that their parents passed away early. Since their parents used to work with my father, they couldn’t rely on their relatives. When their parents got into trouble, he distanced themselves from them.
He seems to be living with young Misa alone while working at this ramen shop.
…… Praise me for deciphering it this far.
“It’s fine, I love ramen.”
“That’s right! Onii-chan’s ramen is delicious!”
“It’s very thick, and everyone is eating my “ramen”, but, I don’t ask children to pay.”
A true Tokyoite!?
ehh? Why is Kotone-chan looking at him with enraptured eyes……? I am still a child, so I can’t understand.
Besides, isn’t it good just to eat it at your own convenience? Looking at the person who seems to be the shop owner, the tottering grandpa nodded with a gentle smile.
“I haven’t had a meal…”
I’m not being dumb, right!?
“Hey, here’s your ramen.”
While observing the grandpa in front of us the ‘ramen’ was served.
It seems that the ramen he makes is ‘ramen’. It’s a very subtle difference. Somehow I can understand it with my soul, but I can’t put it into words.
In front of Misa and I was ramen and a small donburi for children. About two servings per person.
It’s especially precious, so Misa and I sat side-by-side and ate at the counter.
Foreigners who come to Japan misunderstand, but eating Japanese noodles with slurping is neither well-mannered nor a custom. A dish that a chef cooks with spirit will go stale without the ‘spirit’ of the eater that it gets.
But my infant tongue is picky so I can’t eat it all at once. ……What do I do?
Somehow when I looked at Kotone-chan, she had a different bowl from ours, and ours was full of toppings like naruto fish cake, and seaweed.
They’ve thought properly about the nutritional value for children too… such a nice person.
While watching the seaweed that was moving under the convection current in the hot soup, suddenly the seaweed raised its “body” and one hand.[Yoo, I, am not a bad wakame]…… or something like [Leave this to me eat up]?
After a while of the wakame seaweed wiggling, it sank into the ramen soup like it was drowning, and the auditory hallucinations of its last moments were left in my ear.
Beside me, Misa was opening her mouth with a *pokan* expression while alternately looking at the donburi in front of her and me. …… Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be a hallucination.
And as I tried eating the cooled ramen… ooooh? There was a “taste”!
“Dad, this is delicious!”
“I’m not Misa’s father!”
…… But you haven’t told me your name.
I don’t understand why, but it seems that I can still taste delicious things. In fact, the sweets that were given to me at the shrine had its proper taste.
The strange “power” hasn’t appeared since I was at the park, so I guess it seems that I’m an abnormal person.
Next time, she becomes an elementary school student.
Thank you for your help last time!
Nothing else of note to say this time 😛