The Day We Met, August 1st
Osakabe1 pulled his gaze from the sky and looked out over the surrounding scenery.
The color of the ocean was beautiful.
The sky was dyed a clear blue, like a wash of watercolor, and that color was reflected on the water’s surface.
The blue horizon, sparkling with glints of sunlight, was especially beautiful.
On top of that was the coastline, sculpted from the white volcanic rock that could be considered the star of Jodogahama, and the sandy beaches that he could glimpse from a distance. I can see why this would be ranked as one of the hundred best beaches and swim spots in Japan, he thought.
“It’s so hot.”
How hot exactly was it going to get today Almost immediately he gave up on his simplistic assumption that summers up north in Tohoku were cool and pleasant.
He took out a towel from a bag jammed inside his small suitcase and wiped the sweat from his forehead, then tried to search for a shady spot.
Looking closely, he spotted a covered shelter behind the bus stop.
Osakabe, deciding to rest a moment before setting off, ducked under the shelter to avoid the strong rays of the sun.
The roof and walls were made of wood.
In a space only a few meters wide, sat a bench that five adults could maybe all sit on, crammed together.
A timetable faded with age was posted on the wall.
Of course, just that little bit of shade did nothing to change the fact that it was hot.
But just getting out of the direct sunlight made a considerable difference.
He flapped the hem of his polo shirt and with the back of his hand, wiped away the bead of sweat trailing down his cheek to his jaw.
Then he set his luggage on the bench and sat down beside it.
Closing his eyes, he lost himself in thought for a while.
Although he had come all this way to Iwate on an impulse, he still hadn’t decided any plans beyond that.
For now, he should probably find a place to spend the night.
From the bus window, he had seen several resort hotels.
Although any of those were fine, if possible he would prefer to save a little on his accommodations.
He had to watch his spending, since he had just quit his job.
When he checked the map before leaving, he had seen what he suspected were several small towns in the south.
Surely there was some kind of cheap guest house around there
At last, Osakabe let out a sigh in something like resignation.
All he was fretting about was money, he noticed.
When they say thinking only about the immediate future would debase the spirit, surely this is what they meant.
For a moment he stopped thinking about money and closed his eyes.
This was his long-awaited vacation.
He was only going to think about enjoyable things.
Falling in love with a girl… However, he’d missed the opportunity to achieve any of those in the past.
Or rather there was only reality, where he could not envision himself obtaining any of those things.
In the end, unable to think of anything decently enjoyable, he pushed aside all other thoughts and immersed himself in a loop of positive delusions: nonexistent memories, places he’d never been, a successful version of himself.
So that’s it.
I guess I set out on this trip as an escape from reality, Osakabe thought, realization dawning at last.
…and at some point, he fell asleep.
Before he realized, while he dozed, he felt a slight weight against his right shoulder.
Osakabe opened his eyes.
When he looked to his shoulder to check, for a second his mind froze.
It was a woman.
The woman—whom he would certainly call a girl, although she had a somewhat adult presence to her—had leaned her head on his shoulder and fallen asleep on his arm.
Her straight hair hung just below her shoulders, the ends curling under slightly.
She wore a white, knee-length dress made from a breezy linen fabric.
Judging by her light clothing and lack of luggage, she must have been a local.
Enticed by her sweet perfume, he peered down at her chest before immediately averting his gaze.
From the neckline of her dress, he could see her cleavage, slightly disproportionate to her thin frame.
But no, before that, who was she It wasn’t so bad, surprisingly, to have something so soft pressed against his upper arm, but all the same, it would be awkward to just leave her like this.
He tried nudging her shoulder while whispering, “Excuse me.
Hey, can you—”
“Mmm…” Though she moaned softly and stirred in her seat, she went back to sleeping soundly.
Jeez! He sighed and tried shaking her a little harder this time.
“Please, just wake up!”
This time the girl’s eyes opened slowly.
Little by little, it seemed she was waking up.
She lifted her head.
Her eyes met his.
And with all her might she shoved him away.
He fell back, shocked.
Where did she hide all that strength in those tiny arms
Leaping back to the far wall of the shelter, she gave him a frightened look and asked, “What are you doing”
That’s my line, Osakabe thought.
TN: I will be taking over as translator from where Nakki left off.
Thank you for following along! –☆Aleyo
Previous chapters used the spellings Oosakabe and Joudogahama, but starting from this chapter I’ll simplify them to Osakabe and Jodogahama.