Chapter 12 – Preparation and malaise (1)
Translator – Vodka
A new chapter starts.
So, a major issue on my ISP’s side, not only me, it was a wide-scale shit show. I got back my internet after eight days. Tried to hotspot off my mobile data, but the speed of it was so awesome that I ended up shedding tears. Vodka cried till he ran out of vodka. So, I learned the hard way, “all hail broadband”. Anyways, here it is.
It was a high-level technique practised by the teachers, to half-forcefully make students develop self-consciousness that would help them become a member of the society, chiefly, by making them experience the place of the occupation.
Students in other schools might have already experienced this in middle school, but in Sakuranogaoka school, they had introduced this recently.
Adding this to the already busy schedule of the second school year……the person who came up with this idea, undoubtedly had something against the second-year students.
Although it was called ‘Work experience’, the nature of the job was simple.
There were not many opportunities to see and feel the atmosphere of a real workplace.
It would seem that there were even highly conscious schools, which didn’t acknowledge the credits that a student had received in their last school if the previous school could not be shown to have conducted the ‘Work experience’ program.
Understandably, Sakuranogaoka school, where I commuted to, also asserted the indispensability of this program as a part of the school curriculum and took extensive steps towards implementing it.
Even on the school website, the school extensively solicited participation from companies to take part in this program. Every year, many students would join the company where they had had their work-experience.
Well, although, I said “many”, it only referred to those who wanted to enter society immediately after high-school graduation.
[TN – so, “entering society”, is doing jobs, no more studies]
The majority of the students wanted to further their academic careers.
By the way, I also wished to further my studies.
Even by the lightest of estimations, I wouldn’t have to work for five more years if I enrolled in a University. For now, that was all I had in mind for the future.
I deviated from the topic at hand. The teachers would unanimously say that this event was going to become a valuable and meaningful experience for the students.
However, looking at it from a student’s perspective, experiencing a job that he didn’t understand well, at a workplace he wasn’t particularly interested in, only helped accumulate mental fatigue. It was but only an unpleasant event.
To be honest, there weren’t many students who could clearly answer what kind of job it was that they wanted to do in future.
Perhaps, at the time of writing down the name of the universities they wanted to attend, in their career-planning worksheets, they were choosing the universities based on a vague notion. After all, not many students had a solid idea of what they wanted to do in the future.
However, as this was a school event, it wouldn’t do to avoid it.
I didn’t have the option to opt-out.
I felt like I had lost to someone, even though I had no opponent. More than that, resting without any reason would spark feelings of guilt inside me.
When I played hooky, I was able to idle the day away at home. It made me happy. However, the happiness only lasted for a moment. For the most part, I would be under attack from the complicated feelings that bud its way into my heart.
There was the possibility of looking at the clock and thinking, “It’s Math period, huh”. Like that, I could be imagining about the ongoing class and feel guilty about not being there for no reason.
However, if I said that I would skip school, Kaede too might end up saying that she would skip hers to look after the sick me. So, I couldn’t firmly say to anyone that I would never think about skipping school.
Only a few days were left until the ‘Work experience’ event. A dismal air was afloat in the classroom.
There was no mistake that most of the students were depressed because of the upcoming event.
In classroom 3, however, with the students remaining on guard and keeping each other at bay so that nobody could steal the march on them, the situation had aggravated.
“This is the worst……to be paired up with you.”
“That’s my line. I wanted to go with Minato-kun.”
[TN – Shizuku is mah girl. I am just saying, I had like it if MC chose her at the end, well you guys have your own ship to sail]
It was time for SHR now, which would bring the day to a finish. However, we weren’t in our original seating positions. We followed a certain pattern, different from the usual, to assume our seats.
[TN – SHR is short homeroom, it is a short period at the fag end of the school when miscellaneous announcements and things are taken care of]
I was sitting on the row next to the corridor, behind a classmate whom I had never talked to. The homeroom teacher was going about something, but I ignored him. My gaze naturally fell upon a particularly conspicuous pair, seated in the front.
Those two contrasting personalities couldn’t be any more different.
However, only now, they had a similar aura……rather, air about them.
Tense air that made it impossible for others to approach them, even imbuing them with feelings of fear.
The usual hustle and bustle were nowhere to be seen. The classroom had fallen deathly silent.
Let’s start with the result.
I got into a different group from those three.
At first, as we had feared, many students had come up to those three to ask them to join their groups for the event.
Shizuku had suggested that I joined her group. However, I couldn’t have the attention of all the students gathering on me. Besides, I believed that there wasn’t a workplace which was suited to both boys and girls. Hence, I refused.
Surely, most girls would want to visit workplaces related to apparel and restaurants.
I wanted to go to a factory or something, where I wouldn’t be conspicuous. I wanted to get it over with as soon as possible.
The grouping situation for the event didn’t proceed at all. It would seem the teachers were unable to ignore this situation any longer and decided to conclude this matter once and for all, and for that, they pursued the fastest and the best method – lottery.
Do that from the beginning.
For the mess this time, the ones who were at fault were the teachers. They could have easily deduced that the situation was going to turn out like this. They should have dealt with it from the beginning. Instead, they said they wanted to respect the ‘autonomy’ of the students by letting them decide for themselves and neglected their jobs.
Not everything could be solved by relying on such high-sounding words, because high school students these days, didn’t have in them, what was required to express themselves.
Better said, they lacked the ability to express themselves a bit too much.
They go with the flow and not express their opinions.
Moreover, when they realize that they had gone in the wrong direction, they still assert the correctness of their actions by saying stuff like, “I thought I was different”.
There was a big difference between thinking to oneself and saying it out loud.
I would like for even just one person to first state their opinion, and then justify their conduct.
If you are that afraid of being isolated from your group, just don’t join one in the first place.
The upside to remaining alone was that you did not have to worry about human relationships. The best part was that you did not have to pay attention to your words to suit others’ needs.
Being alone was the best.
[TN – truly a hopeless loner]
While I was entertaining such worthless thoughts, SHR progressed.
The homeroom teacher distributed copies of a single piece of paper to the students who were sitting at the front. Then, the students passed them around, from front to back.
I was seated at the end of my row. After I received the paper, I ran my eyes over it.
It was a A4 size paper, titled ‘Self-introduction sheet’. For the most part, it was blank.
I would assume we had to fill out this form with our information for submission to the school. Then, the school would probably pass it to our respective workplaces, so that they could remain informed beforehand, about the students who would soon be joining them.
As I was thinking about how I would keep it simple when writing about myself, the teacher said a few words and that brought the day to a finish.
I fetched my mechanical pencil, thinking that I should fabricate some stuff and fill out the form before I started for home. As I was writing down my name, I suddenly noticed that Shizuku was sitting across. She had appeared unnoticed and taken a seat across me.
She was looking at me without saying anything, a grin plastered onto her face. I reflexively spoke first.
“……Where are you going?”
“International school. School administration work.”
“……International school, huh”
Having to go to school, even for your extracurricular activity……that is some terrible fate.
Compared to the usual office work, what was different about it?
Having to face students instead of adults, I guess?
Since I did not have any interest in that type of work, I threw in only a few appropriate words. Since I was the one to bring up the topic, it was only right to do so. I could not come off as rude.
So as not to get found out, I slowly raised my head to look at Shizuku. She was also in the middle of filling out her form.
She seemed not to mind it, as she went about filling out her form in silence.
There was yet another person who moved her pen incessantly. Kirasaka, who was sitting next to me, without giving off so much as a hint of her presence, was swiftly filling out her form. It was over in the blink of an eye.
Why are you able to write down so much about yourself in such a short period of time?
She had written so much so that the paper seemed packed to the brim, with characters penned in black.
Rather, you really love yourself, huh?
In my case, all I have written is that I am healthy, I like sports, and I go shopping on holidays. Will make anyone who reads it, go, “Who is this guy?”.
However, since none of it was a lie, there were no problems.
I didn’t have any health issues in particular. I liked to watch sports too.
Moreover, since I would go shopping with Kaede on my holidays, there weren’t any problems with the authenticity of the last part either.
What perfect content.
Even Shinra-kun is taken aback by this.
It took a while, but my content creation would surely procure passing grade from anyone who gave it a read. After I was done with filling it out, I shoved it inside my bag.
There shouldn’t be any problems if I get it checked by Kaede after I returned home.
Today, we didn’t have any after-school student council activities. So, I quickly prepared to return home. Shizuku and Kirasaka too seemed to be wrapping up for the day.
“Minato-kun, if it’s fine with you, can you accompany me to the shopping district?”
“Shopping?……Now that I think about it, Kaede asked me to get a few things. I don’t mind.”
I did say that I was going to be a little late today, so, it shouldn’t be a problem. In any case, it was on the way back.
A little detour would indeed have been to be taken, but it wouldn’t take much time.
As I accepted her invitation, Kirasaka spoke for the first time in a while.
“Oh, in that case, shall I come too? Isn’t that great, Shinra-kun? Flowers in both hands.”
[TN – ‘Flowers in both hands’ is a Japanese expression which means two beauties pursuing one man, to which I say, shine, riajuu]
“……Your house is in the opposite direction, though?”
……You are not a kid, and this is not a competition, you know.
Shizuku and Kirasaka were always at loggerheads, but things seemed to have taken a turn for the worse today. Kirasaka seemed to want to meddle, one way or another.
There were going to be many people at this time of the day too.
I wanted to avoid being conspicuous by being untactful, but it couldn’t be helped.
“Oi, Yuuto……if you are free, accompany us for shopping.”
I called out to Yuuto, who was waving his hand to bid farewell to his friends. I decided to bring him along as a fellow traveller.
……Since we are going shopping, there could be an increment in the number of bags. Let’s have him carry those when that happens.