SB V1C1 . 2
The next morning, Sakuta woke up after dreaming that he was crushed by a group of rabbits .
“I think it was a bunny girl…”
While trying to understand the dream, he tried to sit up .
For some reason, however, he couldn’t get up . The left shoulder felt heavy .
After turning over the futon, he realized why .
A girl in pajamas was hugging his left arm with an innocent face as she slept . Because it was colder after the futon was gone, she drew her body closer to Sakuta .
This is Sakuta’s 15 year old younger sister, Kaede .
“Kaede, it’s morning—wake up . ”
“Nii-chan, it’s cold . ”
Because she showed no signs of getting up, Sakuta lifted her and got up .
With a height of 162cm, she was pretty tall . He realized her growth from a girl to a woman with his arms as he lifted her .
“It’s because half of Kaede is now part of Nii-chan’s memory!”
“What is this embarrassing setting? Rather than my memory it’s like you’re my headache now . Get up if you are awake . ”
Even though she had a disappointed expression, Kaede got down from Sakuta’s arms . For about an year now, even though her appearance had been maturing, her behavior didn’t changed at all . There was a strange sense of tranquility from the skinship between brother and sister .
“Also, stop crawling into my bed!”
She was wearing hooded pajamas with a panda pattern—she should probably graduate from those too .
“Kaede came to wake you up, but because nii-chan didn’t wake up quickly, I gave up . ”
Her pouting face looked childish .
“Even so, it’s a good age already . ” (T/N Wasn’t sure what this one meant . )
“Oh, nii-chan is excited even from the morning . ”
“Who would get aroused toward their younger sister?”
He lightly flicked her forehead and left the room .
“Oh, wait up!”
After that, he prepared breakfast and ate with Kaede . Finishing his meal first, Sakuta changed quickly to leave for school, and was sent off by his smiling younger sister, who said, “Nii-chan, have a good day!”
Immediately after leaving the apartment, he yawned . After the various events that happened the day before, he was too excited to sleep . Besides, having strange dreams didn’t help either .
While yawning once again, he avoided the residential area and went around . On the way, he crossed one bridge . As the station approached, the surrounding buildings grew bigger . Gradually, there were more and more people, and everyone was walking the same direction as Sakuta was .
After crossing the end of the main road, passing by the business hotel, and walking past the electronic retail store, the station was finally visible .
About twenty minutes after leaving home .
Fujisawa Station, the center of the Kanagawa prefecture in Fujisawa city . Commuting workers and students are busy going left and right .
On the first floor of the station, Shinjuku is on the north side of the station, while the south side has a platform for the Odakyu line that heads towards Katase Enoshima using a switchback . The second floor has a ticket gate for the JR (Japan Rail) Tokaido and Shonan Shinjuku lines .
Sakuta followed the flow of people and went upstairs . However, he turned away from the JR ticket gate .
After about 30 meters on the passageway, he arrived at the front of the Odakyu Department Store . However, he wasn’t trying to shop at the department store . Of course, the shop was closed at this time . On the right side of the closed shop, there is another Fujisawa Station .
Enoshima Electric Railway . Also known as the Enoden platform . It is a single-line route that stops at 13 stations along the way and connects to Kamakura in about 30 minutes .
As Sakuta used a commuter pass to get through the ticket gate, a train pulled into the platform . Only the window frame was a cream color, whereas the rest of the train was green and gave off a retro atmosphere . The train only had four cars .
Sakuta walked to the front of the platform and got into the first car .
Many of the passengers were in elementary, middle, and high school uniforms . The rest of the passengers were adults wearing suits . Before living in this town, the route seemed to be useful only for sightseeing, but for local residents it was used on a daily basis for commuting to school .
While Sakuta was leaning near the back door of the train, he heard a person calling out to him .
“Yo . ”
While holding back a yawn, he was approached by an ikemen that looked like a famous male idol . Although his facial structure is sharp and looks intimidating at first, when he laughs, his eyes slant downwards and looks friendlier and younger . It seems that it made him look attractive .
His name is Kunimi Yuuma . A second-year student who plays an active role in the basketball club . Has a girlfriend .
“Ha… . ”
“Oi oi, there shouldn’t be a sigh when you see someone else’s face . ”
“To see a refreshed Kunimi in the morning is poisonous . Makes me depressed . ”
“Seriously . ”
As the innocent daily conversation continued, the departure bell rang and the door closed . Innocent of waging a daily conversation with the departure in ringing the door shut . The train moves as it continues to accelerate, carrying many heavy people with it . As I thought that, the train soon slowed down, then stopped at the Ishigami station .
“Hey, Kunimi . ”
“It’s about Sakurajima-senpai . ”
“That’s too bad . ”
Yuuma put his hand on Sakuta’s shoulder, even though he didn’t say anything .
“What are you saying?”
“It’s great that Sakuta’s interested in girls outside of Makinohara, but no, that person’s impossible . ” (T/N Was confused about this one too)
“Even if I was going to confess, I never said I liked her . ”
“Hmm, then what?”
“I wonder, what kind of person is she?”
“Hmm… a famous person?”
“Well, yeah, I guess . ”
That’s right, Sakurajima Mai is a famous person . Probably all the students who go to Minegahara high school know her . No, probably 70-80% of Japanese citizens know her . Even if that was an exaggeration, she’s a real celebrity .
“She debuted at the age of 6 into the entertainment world . Her debut work, a morning drama, had high popularity and view ratings that was similar to past hit works, and so she made a breakthrough onto the scene . ”
Being the initial spark, her career exploded, appearing in movies, dramas, commercials, etc . She became so popular that there wasn’t a single day where she didn’t appear on TV .
Of course, after two to three years after her debut, Sakurajima Mai’s momentum stalled for a while, but the number of offers for her acting soon increased .
Even though many new performers disappear after one year, even as a middle schooler, she still continued her work as an actor . Her career was already amazing, but she had a second break in the scene .
Sakurajima Mai, who turned 14 years old, had grown up to be a beautiful woman, and with the help of one of her movies, quickly attracted attention again . Within a week, she was featured on covers of magazines and her smile appeared everywhere .
“I liked Sakurajima Mai when she was in middle school . Her combination of cute, erotic, and mysterious qualities was irresistible . ”
Yuuma wasn’t the only one—many boys were fascinated by her .
Her popularity peaked again . However, at her peak, Mai suddenly announced that she would be taking a break . Right before she graduated from middle school . No clear reasons were told . Since then, it has only been two years and a few months .
When Sakuta heard that Sakurajima Mai went to the high school he was going to go, he was surprised .
He thought, “Wow, these famous people actually exist” .
“There was a certain rumor . People said that she was doing well because of a secret pillow business and because she was the producer’s mistress . ”
“Wasn’t she only in elementary school at that time?”
“No, the rumor started when she became a middle schooler . Rather, at first people said that her mother, who was her manager, was having sex with the producer, and the rumors even came out on wide shows . I think she’s now the president of a new entertainment company . I saw her on TV last week . ”
“Fu~n, I didn’t know that . It’s a rumor though, and it’s probably groundless speculation . ”
“People say that if there is smoke, there is a fire somewhere . ”
“The origin of the rumors may not be limited to her . We’re living in such an era . ” (T/N Sakuta continues on with the “fire” and “smoke” analogy but I translated it as “rumor . ”)
Through the internet, information can be spread in a single moment . Everything is shared . Even if it’s not true . Spreading the information is more important than whether or not that information is true . Do you think it can be a topic, a story, or something interesting? Then it works as “news” .
“Your persuasiveness is something else, huh . ”
He didn’t hear his words very clearly .
As usual, the train passed the Yanagikouji, Kugenuma, Shonan Coast Park, and Enoshima stations .
Looking out of the window, the train was passing through the only road in the area . There was another car right next to the train . But, when he thought ‘oh?’, the train returned to the original railway .
In this neighborhood, there is practically no separation between the train and the surrounding buildings . If you reach your hand out the window, your hands can touch the stone wall of a private house and the branches and leaves in the garden occasionally hit the train .
Despite being so close to the surrounding buildings, the train soon arrived at the next station without any worries .
“But, you don’t see anyone with her at school . ”
“I mean Sakurajima senpai . It’s a topic you brought up . ”
“Oh, I see . ”
“She’s always alone . ”
More than just floating around in classes, it seemed like she was floating in school . Sakuta felt that kind of impression from Sakurajima Mai .
“My basketball club senpais told me that in her first year, she never came to school . ”
“Her job . Even after she announced her hiatus, her works still appeared, right?”
“Oh yea, that’s right . ”
But isn’t it better to finish all her work then announce her hiatus in the entertainment industry? But if there were unspoken circumstances, then…
“The summer vacation was coming to . ”
“Well, sounds tough . ”
It was easy to imagine the state of the classroom when Mai went to school in the fall . Her classmates would have already created friend groups and solidified group dynamics over the course of the first semester .
“It’s easy to imagine . ”
I think Yuuma was thinking the same thing .
After a class settles in and establishes its dynamic, it’s hard to change it . I’m glad that I have my own position in the class, along with everyone else . To have my place in the class .
Having started school from the second semester, Mai was an odd presence in the school . She was also a celebrity . No one could carelessly approach her . However, if one were to talk to Mai, they would notice something strange . People would say things behind their backs . They would feel out of place .
That’s the nature of school .
Because of that, I think Mai was unable to fit in with the rest of the students . .
After all, even though everyone says “I’m bored” or “Isn’t there anything fun?”, no one is actually asking for change .
That’s right, me . It’s better if there’s nothing to do . It feels nice . It’s better if the mind and body aren’t tired . Long live the peace . Free time is the best time .
The bell for departure rings once again, and the door closes with a hissing sound .
The train slowly moved in between the houses as it started running again .
There were walls of buildings all around . Wall after wall . House after house . Sometimes, there would be a railway crossing . When I thought that the endless stream of houses and walls would continue, the rest of the scenery was suddenly visible .
The endless blue sea was visible . It reflected the light of the morning sun and was shining brightly .
The expansive pale sky was visible . The fresh morning air had a gentle gradation from blue to white .
In the center was a horizontal line separating the two . The scenery outside the window had the magical power of attracting gazes .
The train ran along the Shichirigahama coastline that faced Sagami Bay . On the right side was Enoshima, whereas the left side had a beach known as the Yuigahama beach where you could wish for anything you wanted .
“But why’d you suddenly ask about Sakurajima senpai? . ”
“Do you love bunny girls?”, Sakuta asked while looking out the window .
“Well, not really . ”
“Do you love them?”
“Yup, I love them . ”
“I’m not telling you anything then . ”
“What? What’s that supposed to mean . Tell me . ”
Yuuma lightly pushed Sakuta .
“For example, if you met an attractive bunny girl in the library, what would you do?”
“I’d look twice . ”
“That’s right . ”
“Afterwards, I’d stare at her . ”
This would be the normal reaction . At least, the normal male reaction .
“So, is that somehow related to Sakurajima senpai?”
“So what if they’re related?”
“What’s that supposed to mean? The hell?”
When Sakuta started being ambiguous, Yuuma no longer pursued the subject and let out a small laugh .
The train continued to run along the coastline, passed through another station, and arrived at Shichirigahama station where Minegahara high school was .
The door of the train opened and the fresh ocean breeze permeated the air .
A crowd of students wearing the same uniform got off the platform . There was only one IC machine at the ticket gate . Usually there would be a conductor standing by the gate, but when the students were going to school, there was no one standing there . (T/N IC cards are rechargeable cards that are used for fares on public transportation . )
After leaving the station and crossing the railroad tracks, the students arrived at the school .
“Oh right, how is Kaede?’
“Don’t lust after my younger sister . ”
“Don’t say such heartless things, nii-sama . ”
“You already have a cute girlfriend . ”
“Oh right, I forgot about that . ”
“She will get angry when she hears about it . ”
“That’s ok . I also like Kamisato’s angry face . Oh, speak of the devil . ”
Following Yuuma’s gaze, I saw Sakurajima Mai walking alone about ten meters away . Long legs, small face . A body that looks like a model’s . Everyone should be wearing the same uniform, but there were other students as well . Tights wrapping both legs, skirts that hide the bottom, and a perfectly sized blazer… weren’t all there . The uniform Mai was wearing looked like it was borrowed . Even though she was already in her third year, the uniform didn’t fit Mai very well .
Rather, the three girls chatting next to them wore their uniforms quite well . It suited the first-year who would always say “Good morning!” to her senpais in her club .
Even the boys who were horsing around with each other looked lively .
The short road leading from the station to the school was filled with the lively chatter of the students who attended Minegahara high school .
By contrast, Mai, who was walking silently, looked strangely lonely . An outsider who wandered her way into an ordinary prefectural high school . A different existence . The ugly duckling . That’s the kind of presence Sakurajima Mai had at school .
Indeed, no one was concerned about Mai . Even though that “Sakurajima Mai” was there, no one was looking . There are no students making a fuss . This was “ordinary” at Minegahara High School .
In other words, Mai was like air at school . Everyone accepted that . To Sakuta, it felt similar to the people who were at the Shonandai library the other day .
A strange sense of anxiety made him fidget .
“Hey, Kunimi . ”
“You can see Sakurajima senpai clearly, right?”
“Of course, perfectly . My eyes are great—I have 20/20 vision . ”
If someone asked a question like that, Yuuma’s answer would be the obvious one . It’s yesterday’s events that were abnormal .
“Well, see you later . ”
“Yea, you too . ”
Having been put in separate classes this year, Sakuta and Yuuma said goodbye in the hallway on the second floor as Sakuta entered his classroom . About half the students were already in the classroom .
I sat in front of the window . Thanks to my last name, “Azusagawa”, my seating in the spring will roughly be the same . Also, because there were no Aikawa’s or Aizawa’s, my attendance number is #1 . I used to think there were many downsides to being the first . However, since I entered this Minegahara High School, it no longer seemed like such a bad number since a window seat was practically guaranteed .
It was great because the sea was visible from that seat .
I can see the sails that had been waiting for the winds to pick up since the morning .
“Hey . ”
I noticed the voice and looked up .
From the front of the desk, a sullen girl student looked down on Sakuta . She was the most popular girl from the most prominent girl group in the class . Her name was Kamisato Saki .
Large eyes that were wide open . Shoulder-length hair that curled inwards . Beautiful, pink lips with a tiny hint of lipstick . Considered cute and popular among the boys .
“Are you ignoring me?”
“Sorry . I didn’t think you were talking to me . ”
The bell rang .
The homeroom teacher entered the classroom .
“Ah~ mou~… I have something important to tell you . Come to the rooftop after class . Don’t run . ”
After putting her hands on my desk, Kamisato Saki moved back to her seat .
“Does my choice not matter?”
After muttering to himself, Sakuta turned and watched the sea .
The sea was there today too . Just sitting there
“What a troublesome situation…”
Even if he was called out by a girl, Sakuta didn’t feel very happy . He had absolutely no special feelings for her .
After all, Kamisato Saki was Kunimi Yuuma’s girlfriend .