Chapter 16 – Understanding and love (6)
Translator – Vodka
Ah, somebody wished me well for my flight. Thanks, but well, I couldn’t board the flight cuz of you know, international flight restrictions. Welp, it is what it is. I am getting stuff done online, so whatever.
The next place was probably going to be the last one.
It was already past noon. It was time for us to start wrapping up.
On the way, we entered a set meal restaurant from my memories.
I had thought of going to a restaurant geared towards young people, but since Kirasaka said that she hadn’t visited this kind of place before, we decided to go with it and had the ‘Pork fried with ginger’ meal.
The ‘Pork fried with ginger’ meal seemed to have a slight edge over the ‘Fried chicken’ meal from my memories. Was it just me, or did the food taste especially good today?
Sat next to me, Kirasaka expressed her surprise at the food that had been brought out. I would never get tired of looking at those reactions.
The end was nigh. I also had the promise with Kaede.
Kirasaka was also not the kind to stay out late. So, there weren’t any problems.
It wasn’t expressly brought up, but I could somehow sense that the next stop would be the last one.
She was headed for the shopping district that Kaede and I frequent. It was almost even a daily routine.
True that for Minato Shinra, the shopping district had been the second most visited place. The first one being his home.
[TN – well, home is not a place you visit but I gonna leave that logic be]
Although, the memories weren’t those of playing with friends. All I could summon were recollections of having acted as a luggage carrier for Kaede and Shizuku. However, they weren’t bad memories.
I had guessed that we would be dropping by the shopping district today, but I didn’t think it would be the last one.
I followed her from behind in silence. Kirasaka turned around and asked.
“How long have you siblings been commuting to that shopping district?”
“How long I wonder……the first time our parents asked us to get something, we went there only.”
“The first-ever errand huh. I too remember……I wanted to eat Yatsuhashi, so I went to Kyoto for the first time ever.”
[TN – Yatsuhashi is a Japanese confection found in Kyoto]
“Why Kyoto for your first errand?……Think of the distance here.”
That wasn’t at the level of a first errand, you know……
How many hundreds of kilometres away do you think Kyoto is from here?
At that point, it wasn’t any different from an excursion.
If I remember it right, back in middle school, we had an excursion to Kyoto. At that time, I thought I had no interest in shrines and temples, but later, I got curious.
If I had the time and the money to spare, it wouldn’t be bad to pay it a visit during the fall season.
While engaged in such conversations, we approached the entrance to the shopping district.
Passing through the old-fashioned arched entrance, I saw a larger crowd of shoppers than on weekdays.
Some of them were housewives I would often catch sight of.
They were easy to spot because the people around them were directing cold gazes at the lot. Perhaps, it was because they were too enthusiastically engaged in their conversation, and the volume was getting out of hand.
Kirasaka seemed to want to go around the different shops. Was it perhaps, because she hasn’t been to this kind of place many a time?
It is coming from me, but there wasn’t much to the shops here.
Since most of the shops dealt with groceries, you wouldn’t spot many youngsters. The regular customers were the usual visitors on holidays.
Students probably go over to the next town to play on off days, and besides, most youngsters these days belong to the indoor faction.
There should be a considerable number immersing themselves in online games at this very moment.
If anything, my kind, who had almost nothing to do with games, was probably a rare find.
I was the intelligent kind who liked to read books.
“Old, unchanging sceneries put you at ease, don’t you think?”
It was rare for Kirasaka to be so candid about her feelings.
True that old sceneries were calming since we were that much familiar with them.
Perhaps, it was similar to finding good old wooden buildings more calming than modern concrete structures.
However, nothing lasted forever.
In front of her eyes was a shop with its shutters down. Not one at that.
The number of shops that had been in business since I was a kid was on a decline.
True that such was the scenario anywhere and everywhere, but it could also not be denied that things were different from the past.
I hadn’t paid it much attention recently, but the number of shops had dwindled, and when I walked through the townscape, I could see many new faces.
The not so good-looking old man from the fishery and the loudness of his voice were probably the only things that haven’t changed.
It was only natural that the townscape or its people would change.
However, if someone told me that all changes were good, I wouldn’t be able to offer him the nod.
I know…… It wouldn’t do to not change the building or the townscape to adapt to the changing times and the people living in the town.
Even though so aware, there were many who couldn’t accept change.
Did people too, like the buildings and the townscape, have to change to adapt to their surroundings?
The model answer would be ‘yes’.
After all, in reality, even this town was changing, a bit at a time.
However, if you asked me for an answer, I wouldn’t be able to give one.
It was hard for me to do so.
My answer would end up denying one or the other, even though, I couldn’t deny change and support the unchanging ways either.
For better or worse, people always want to find meaning behind every change.
Even if one were to commit a mistake, it would be covered up with the convenient ‘youthful indiscretion’ excuse.
Wouldn’t that mean stagnation was the same as degeneration?
Why do people end up considering the unchanging ways a mistake?
Students these days would often say how there wasn’t a problem with how it had always been, that there was a beauty to it.
One couldn’t help but harbour negative feelings towards their inabilities to adapt to their changing surroundings.
For better or worse, people were often invested in extreme thinking.
[TN – I got no frigging clue as to what he is trying to say in the seven lines above. It is damn confusing. Like, I tried, ok? If anybody is interested in helping me figure out, let me know, I will share the respective part.]
Having concluded the soliloquizing session, as I walked through the shopping district, I suddenly thought of something while looking at the townscape.
Like this townscape, did something inside me also change?
I looked back on the changes that had occasioned in my life in the recent time but couldn’t recall any big ones.
The people around me have changed, but as far as I was aware, I could say with confidence that I haven’t.
What doesn’t change doesn’t grow.
In other words, wouldn’t one naturally arrive at the conclusion that I hadn’t grown?
When I brought up this topic with Kirasaka, she refuted immediately.
A clear-cut refutation.
People had different opinions, and this could very well be one such case, but I sensed a powerful will in those words.
“Anybody could change, but not anybody can remain the same……its tougher than it sounds.”
“……Do you have something to back that up?”
Was she basing that off some sort of experience? Her words did sound quite persuasive.
Well, she must have some kind of reason for her to say it with that much confidence, right?
She nodded at my question.
“As I said before, a person’s feelings can change easily. One’s feelings are what changes him……Be it preferences, thought process, or even lifestyle – there won’t be any exaggeration in saying that anything and everything can change.”
Here, she paused briefly and then proceeded to state her cherished opinion, somewhat boastfully.
“People who don’t change have an unshakeable resolve and don’t easily get swept along by new trends……is what I think.”
It was unimaginably difficult to not change.
People put on different masks to adjust to their surroundings.
They act ‘nice’ in good company and turns to darkness in bad company.
I was well aware of my incompetence when it came to self-expression, but wouldn’t, what she opined, in simple terms, be something like this?
We unconsciously end up changing our personality and physique to adapt to our surroundings.
That wouldn’t necessarily bring forth good results.
At least, it was good for Kirasaka that I hadn’t changed, I thought.
In this world filled with people who could change at the drop of the hat, those who never change were a precious and rare find.
“That’s why……That’s why you are fine. You don’t change and you stick to your beliefs. So, you are fine the way you are.”
Kirasaka said so and smiled.
I had unconsciously looked away from her eyes which housed such pure and unadulterated thoughts.
Self-evaluation varies greatly depending on the person.
Hence, it wasn’t about whose opinion was correct.
However, I had unconsciously looked away from her eyes.
I wanted to refute.
“It isn’t like that……it is not that I didn’t change, it’s just that I didn’t feel the need to.”
As for sticking to my beliefs, I hadn’t done anything in particular either.
It wasn’t anything that impressive.
I didn’t feel the need to change. So, neither did I put any effort into making friends, nor did I study hard.
I wasn’t particularly good at anything. That was why the ordinary me had no more than an ordinary and mundane life in store for myself, and all I could do was live my life swept along by it.
Did I not want to stumble upon the realization that no matter how hard I worked, there would always be those who were better than me? Did I want to avoid the feeling of inferiority that accompanied it?
Be that as it may, her pure intentions, devoid of ill will, were too bright for me.
“Somewhere along the road, a person will have to change……no, he will have to compromise.”
People have to make choices – be it relationship or other.
You would have to curry favour with the person you chose to go out with so that they don’t hate you, and you would have to compromise and choose a profession for your livelihood, even though you might have had envisioned your career differently.
The former seemed to be on the horizon for me.
So, when the time came, I would have to make a choice.
Even so, the girl denied.
She clearly denied my words.