The Approximation of the Distance of Two: Chapter 1: The Reception for Joining Clubs is Over Here; Past: 42 Days Ago – Part 138 min read
Past: 42 days ago
The last day of the Freshman Recruiting Week is specially called the “Shinkan Festival,” which was on a Friday (Note: Shin = new, Kan = recommendation). This wasn’t named after someone. It’s only called that way because it seems to be easier to say it that way.
The special week itself continued on for a week.
On Monday after school, the same as with their orientation, the first years were gathered in the gymnasium again. Monday was Student Council. After that was every other committee. From Tuesday, more and more clubs went up on the stage. They had competed with each other’s club’s surprisingly wonderful appeals. Anyway, because of the large number of organizations, the orientation was held for four days.
I expect it to be the same as last year’s but the recruiting had become boring that the first years were quickly going home. This year, it’s because the recruiting side will have to somewhat spy on them. On Tuesday, while accompanying Chitanda, I peeked a little at the gymnasium.
The time allotted to each club is five minutes. Within that time, the Drama Club performed a short skit; the Clothing Research Society did a fashion show; the Choral Club, along with the Acapella Club, vividly showed the difference of their music, while the extremely sports-minded Track and Field Club showed a running high jump at the overly crowded mat.
There are also clubs with disadvantages. The Fortune Telling Research Society has only one member. There is a pretense to that person that I can’t seem to like. With calmness in her voice, she roughly explains the history of the Kabbalah. The microphone was quickly put back after that. I can’t say that the Cooking Club was better. No way would they allowed to start cooking on stage. “At the weekend club recruitment, we will be entertaining you with some wild vegetable dishes so please come,” they had stayed to announce. The Go Club showed a game of Go. I also concluded that it was a failure. Without having a demonstration board, nobody in the audience knew where they were striking the stones. At least it’s a good thing that there was a person clearly shouting out where they were hit at; apparently, there are only two members, no others. Time froze.
Although the Go Club was in an unfortunate situation, that wasn’t the case. The five minutes was unexpected and long. Classic Literature Club’s appeal was set aside to Thursday. Because of the renewal of students, Satoshi and Ibara have been busy that they mostly haven’t been able to show their faces in the clubroom. Only on Wednesday was everybody present.
“What are we gonna do?”
I said. Meaning another five minutes passed without nothing being said. What exactly can we do that will be of meaning?
“Anyways, let’s do our best,” Ibara said without any perseverance in it itself.
“That’s true, let’s do our best!”
If somebody chimed in like that,
“What are we doing our best on?” is what I would have unfortunately said.
You were just about to say that, huh.
“Being the president for the time being, normally I should tell a story that would show the appeal of the Classics Literature Club, but…”
Chitanda also is being evasive. Of course, I’m certain that she’s hesitating to say “… I couldn’t figure out what that certain appeal would be.”
“I think that even if we make Chitanda go up on stage and make people join, somebody will come either way.”
“Hey, you’re just pushing your own responsibilities onto somebody else!”
“No, I’m okay with that.”
Chitanda was pacifying an enraged Ibara.
“It’s because I am aware that it is menial of me to ask a favor like that.”
Although Chitanda’s authority is strong, it is also full of sincerity. Speaking of authority, complete devotion with tricks don’t work. If all the materials of persuasion were gathered here, then Chitanda’s method also could be used effectively. Unfortunately, the color for her hand had already been chosen.
Nonetheless, as what Ibara said, I was ignoring my own problems. If I was pulled in front of a herd of first years, I could probably only say things like “It’s a club that doesn’t do anything but because it has a designated club room, we will welcome you if you want to join.”
But if it was left to Ibara, then I’ll still be anxious.
“I never thought of Chi-chan as such, okay? If it was me, I wouldn’t have said anything good anyways…”
By the looks of it, it seems that she knows it too.
If that’s the case, then there’s only one person left here.
Satoshi made a worried face but his eyes were laughing.
“It’s okay as long as it’s appropriate right? If I don’t other plans, then I’ll do it. I think that I could waste some time.”
And that was Satoshi’s turn.
“Thursday’s going to be as good as it gets. Chitanda and you two should decide by Friday. If you plan on using electricity or things like fire, then you need to turn in an application by tomorrow.”
Looking like a committee member who just seemed to forget to mention that, Satoshi got up and left. And later on I learned that the reason he was busy was because he was elected as Vice Chairman.
And Thursday after school. Fukube Satoshi, who became the representative for the Classics Club, went up on the gymnasium stage all by himself and said, “On the way here, I heard the sounds of the hammers of the Construction Club go ‘Tenkatotta, tenkatotta.’I bet a lot of people are going to be willing to join that club. We are the Classics Club,” or something like that with a cleverly thought-out story to break the ice. (a/n: tenkatotta sounds like 天候取った, which basically means “taking over the world.”) A story mixed with some humor will just about tempt the first years to laugh. He had talked without any pause or hesitation in exactly four minutes and thirty seconds. As Satoshi exits the stage, he received scattered and pattering applauses. The Abacus Club that was up next then immediately came out.
Even until now, I can’t help but admire my old friend’s great talent.
Because, at the end of the day, Satoshi’s talk had completely nothing to do with the Classics Club. One can talk for as long as they need to even if they didn’t talk about their club. A wonderful talent that which one cannot just imitate.
And then Friday. It was sunny.
In front of Kamiyama High School’s building, whether it was the school grounds or the turnaround, there was space for several shrubs. During lunch break, each club and General Affairs Committee set up their tables there. Because of the shrubs, the tables weren’t set up in a straight line. Left and right, several tables bordering on the edge of the curving road came into view.
I went for the Classics Club. Satoshi, being a General Affairs committee member, had work. Although my motto was “If I don’t have to do it, I won’t,” I won’t even think of forcing Ibara or Chitanda to do physical labor all the same. I carried over the table and folding chairs as I was told to as lunch break ended. During afternoon classes, looking down from the window of the classroom, the venue was being built. Dozens of the tables were being arranged in the school grounds looked like that of a maze. It appeared to have some kind of meaning to it.
Before the bell that signaled end of class, the atmosphere of 2-A’s classroom became filled with restlessness. Everywhere, there were whispers from “the preparations” to “being the first” being exchanged.
There was also a short-tempered guy wearing an armband with the words “certain victory” inside the classroom from among us. There was even a teddy bear on top of the guy’s table. As to what club he’s in, I have no idea. I understand the reason behind their being impatient. Even with the preparation for recruitment, everything was useless because the first years were going to be getting out of class later. Having a head start is crucial.
With the bell ringing, it is now after school. My classmates rushed and surged out of the classroom like an avalanche. I bet that the classrooms of both second years and third years would be a sight to behold. Somewhat reluctantly, I too joined the end of the avalanche.
Posters and banners affixed alongside the tables in the school grounds. Standing and handheld signs appear one after the other. I caught sight of just “Come to the Chemistry Club! A hot reaction between you and I,” “If you are betting your youth Ah… Exactly! Basketball would be the right choice,” “If making things makes you happy, if you enjoy dressing up – Fashion Club,” “The blue sky is already dead, learn more about the truth about history when you join*,” “One more person, we have 11 already. Soccer club.” (*Originally 「蒼天已死 歴研當入」 I believe this is something called ateji, which in this case, they were using the meanings of the characters and not how they’re supposed to be pronounced?) The cheering squad was carrying out the club’s flag while the cheerleaders were forming a circle. And over there, from the Baking Club, the fragrance of black tea began to drift while here, the Tea Club is diligently spreading the mats in preparation for an open-tea ceremony. And somewhere, with matching headbands, the Broadcasting Club seems to be fired up. After the bell rang, about 10 minutes had passed as hell broke loose. (a/n: hell broke loose = loud bang from drums; Oreki was likening it to the sound of drums. Couldn’t think of a better way to phrase it.)
The plan was for recruitment to start halfway towards three o’clock and for everything to be cleaned up come six o’clock. This madness that occurs for about two hours at most is nicknamed “Shinkan Festival.” “Shinkan” came from “Freshman Reception” that then became “Freshman Solicitation,” which seems similar to this school. (a/n: Shinkan > Shinnyuuseikangei > Shinnyuuseikanyuu; Kangei and kanyuu both have kan at the beginning. Play on words I guess.)
While most of the clubs are using one long table, it depends on the number of members, popularity, and something that can’t be seen that is a political factor. There are also clubs that have been assigned with fewer, larger tables. No matter where each club comes from, the arrangement has been decided beforehand. We have been told that the Classics Club’s is the 17th table. I was searching restlessly for it when,
“Oreki-san, over here,”
Chitanda called me with her voice.
I didn’t expect much but sure enough, table 17 was in the corner of the venue. On the table was a paper that stood with the words “Classics Club” written on it. The brushwork was hurried yet elegant. Although we can’t show the sign and may not possibly be able to invite people, we didn’t discuss about preparing this thing. While my expression couldn’t be read, Chitanda’s was less troubled as she laughed and said,
“I had to do a temporary sign during lunch break. I wish I could have thought of a cuter one but I couldn’t.”
So this is Chitanda’s handwriting huh? Normally the writing should written more formally but instead, it was unexpectedly written in a carefree manner. But, as somebody else would say, “It’s not cute.” Although it would have been better if Ibara had drawn a character instead, what’s done is done.
Sitting down on the folding chair, Chitanda still had on her black coat. Her sailor uniform’s white color and tie can be seen since the first button is open. I also was still wearing my white trenchcoat. Although the Shinkan Festival is full of excitement, this year’s April is still cold. By turning and looking around, most students were wearing heavy clothing regardless of the promoting so close to each other.
The Classic Club’s assigned neighbors are the Sumi-e Club and the Hyakunin Isshu club (a/n: Sumi-e, or suibokuga, is called ink wash painting, a kind of art in East Asia. If you’ve seen the game Okami, it’s that art style. Hyakunin Isshu lit. means “one hundred people, one poem”; a type of karuta – a Japanese traditional card game that consists of waka or poems). There is only one person in both tables. I am forced to pass through the gap to get to the inside of the table with a small hello. With the colored paper that has “Classics Club” written on it being in the middle, I sat down alongside Chitanda.
Satoshi isn’t able to come to this place. The committee has been very busy so it can’t be helped. And then,
“As I thought, Mayaka-san isn’t able to come.”
“Is it because of the Manga Club?”
“It seems to be that way but it appears to be that she wasn’t able to go there either.”
I nodded silently. I heard that Ibara’s situation with the Manga Club is complicated. It would probably be hard to bump into the people at Manga Club here at the grounds. However, that would only trouble Ibara if she had come. Though it seemed large when I was carrying it, now that I’m sitting infront of it, the table doesn’t seem to be as big as I thought it was.
In fact, it seems small.
Although there’s only the two of us sitting together, it’s too close that it’s a little suffocating. Though it would be better if Chitanda were to notice and move her chair a little bit… Unfortunately, there is no unique way to measure the distance between other people. She’s the type that wouldn’t mind if our shoulders are too close that they’re touching already.
I take a small breath. Let’s try to not mind it much then. It wasn’t just us who was feeling cramped. For example, scoping the place, it seems that the panels of both the Photography Club and the Global Act Club are too close. They are starting to promotion in that they are already buried in their works.
Anyways, as I turn around to face forward, a freshman was being caught without having done any work.
On one hand, the freshman looks nervously with an inquisitive face. They, who had just heavily left the atmosphere of middle school, came over little by little. With the prey approaching, I have a feeling that somewhere, I heard a sound of somebody licking their lips. The Shinkan Festival grounds is gradually filling up with false smiles.
The Classics Club can’t help but give in either. Come on, boys and girls, come closer. If you’re not in a hurry, please look at what we have to offer. If you are very happy with the Classics Club, the reception for joining the club is over here.
After five minutes, I got tired.
After all, no one can stand still for that long.
“I wonder what is it that we could do to be able to catch somebody at least.”
I murmured as I watch the new students gradually increase before me. Chitanda slowly put both her hands on top of the other on her thighs as she laughed without looking over at me.
“It would be convenient if we had birdlime with us.” (a/n: (from wiki) birdlime is an adhesive substance used in trapping birds.)
Although I know what the word is, I’ve never seen birdlime before. At least I know what a butterfly net is. But leaving that aside,
“Wouldn’t a mist net be as efficient?”
“Although you might be right, it’s illegal.”
“I won’t tell anyone.”
“Are you the type to ignore the red light in the middle of the night, Oreki-san?”
“I’m the type that doesn’t go out at night.”
The conversation is becoming too unproductive and I am beginning to feel miserable.
“You look like you babysit.”
“There’s no nearby traffic lights within my neighborhood.”
This is really unproductive.
I’ve hidden a paperback in the pocket of my coat, just in case something like this happened. The short stories were left half-read. In a receptionist-like manner and still facing forward, Chitanda said.
“When you’re free, you may read.”
Then finally, Chitanda turned around to look in my direction and smiled softly.
“No. Please, behave yourself.”
Understood. I was just about to return my book in my pocket. Well, if I think about it, one seems to obviously be impossible to read a book while the other is having a hard time calling out to first years. Even if I were to say that I’ll stay as I am, sitting down, then it just get colder towards the evening. I put my hands behind my head.
When it’s free time, it’ll be the same for Chitanda too. Even if her sense of responsibility is strong, because she is neither a stock nor a stone, she will get bored if nothing happens (a/n: stock nor stone in this case means unfeeling person). I was facing front when there seemed to be a person who suddenly looked away amidst the bustling promoting.
The person began to disappear. While watching that, I somehow said.
“I wonder if places can have curses.”
“Yes, I wonder if they do,”
Was the immediate reply. I’d rather not have had the words come out at all. After a while, Chitanda turned to look, tilting her head to the side.
“Would you rather not have things like that?”
I wonder what she meant by that. Strongly trying not to think about it, I lean back on the folding chair.
“I think there are. Like the shopping district, or those beside the big roads. Compared to other shops, those places don’t appear to be bad. Somehow, those kinds of shops get bankrupt easily. And although they are shops, customers never come in. There are places like that, is what I wanted to say.”
“Ahh… I understand. Places that are always reopening. It does seem weird, but then you forgot that the signs infront of those stores are replaced, don’t they?”
“That is true. If it’s just a vacant lot, then you wouldn’t know whether there was a building there before.”
And then Chitanda urged me to continue with her eyes as she nodded. Avoiding those eyes, I turned my face away a little bit. Dodging the situation, I rapped the long table using the back of my hand.
“I feel there here has one too.”
“By here, you mean this place?”
“In a way.”
Part of the column of the table is placed along the edge of the shrubs. From the floor plan that was distributed by the General Affairs Committee, the Classics Club’s place was determined to be in the middle of it. However, when I look at the line of people for quite some time, it seems that the floor plan was poorly made.
From our point of view, the first year’s entranceway becomes the backside. The first years who are heading towards the front gate aren’t showing any interest in this uproar as it is. To begin with, they couldn’t even see the Classics Club’s table. However, I think that if one looks at something once more and thinks about it, then the surroundings and what is in front of us will slightly work together. If one only wants to see the flow of people, then this place’s first impression, I think, wouldn’t be bad at all.
I wonder what’s wrong with the first years. Their feet aren’t slowly stopping at all. Chitanda’s handwriting on the Classics Club’s colored paper isn’t even grabbing any attention.
“An atmosphere where it’s hard to even stop by, we don’t have that kind of feel to us, do we?”
Staring for a while at the people passing infront of us, Chitanda slowly laughs.
“I think that the main problem is us not calling out to them however…”
In the grounds, every club was fluttering about, calling out to the first years. “Oh! You seem like you like quizzes! I know that you’ve been looking for the Quiz Club, right? Then, here’s the first question!” “Let’s have an English debate! Your grades in English will certainly go up! It will normally go up!” “No, no! From the rule, from teaching! It’s easy to remember! If you remember the movement of gold and silver, then that’s as good!” “Do you suck at cooking? That’s okay! Because the Cooking Club’s going to help you turn your bad cooking into great ones! If you stop by our clubroom, we might cook something up for you!” “Astronomy Club! The Astronomy Club’s right over here! Stars are what we love. Love Planet! However, you wouldn’t normally be able to see the sky.” If you noticed from both of our sides, the Sumi-e club and the Hyakunin Isshu club are actively challenging students passing by.
Somebody silently complained “Won’t someone at least stop by?” That person may have possibly pulled a muscle a bit.
But on the other hand, Chitanda also said.
“I think it is simply because of what’s directly opposite of us that we are at a bit of a disadvantage, right?”
As she said that, she pointed it out with her eyes.
That is, along the road, infront of the willing students is a large-scale event that seems to have grown. On a banner, it contained the letters “We have tea time!” In addition to this year’s western calendar, panda and cat mascots are now embroidered with beads. The banner is exquisite.
The black tea’s aroma drifted. On the table were two thermoses, paper cups, the club recruitment forms and a pen. The athletic people would drink straight from gold-colored kettle that lay on their table. On the edge of the table, there lay a tabletop stove. It seems that that shiny kettle can easily be filled with ten-something liters. At the moment, the stove’s fire isn’t on.
And something looked out of place. On the edge of the opposite side of the stove stood a pumpkin. An armful of orange pumpkins were cut out to represent the eyes and mouth, much like a Halloween pumpkin head. Does Halloween happen during April?
On the inside part for the staff were two female girls. They only had an apron on top of their sailor uniform. And yet, they were full of high spirits that they seemed to be repelling the cold. Sandwiched in the space between the stove and the pumpkins, they were showing off with a flourish.
“Now let’s eat! Beloved cookies-! Okay, let’s do this!”
“However, there should not be any strange drugs put into it, right? Yes, I ate it. If I eat, I lose. You want to join us? Look, you didn’t put it in. I can’t help it, I want more to join our club! The club recruitment form is over here!”
“Yes, these are the cookies we mentioned. Because you wouldn’t want it to choke you, please also drink this black tea”
While saying that, the thermos was lifted and the black tea was poured into the paper cup.
“Ah! You there! You seem like you love cookies!”
“Ah, that’s true. You have a nice-looking cookie face. Please have some. Oh, no reason at all so please have some.”
I think I’ve seen those two from somewhere. Wonder who they are? But it seems that I don’t recognize their faces at all.
Surprisingly, they prepared a lot of cookies. They were distributing each and every one of them. I don’t know if that kind of promoting is successful but numerous students are stopping by.
“The Baking Club?”
“Yes. People are being attracted over there. It seems that the Classics Club is being completely overlooked, right?”
Using their own food, those unfair guys are trying to lure in others. Next is they’ll be thinking of messing around with their neighbors since they’re the gracious elites. Chitanda looks suspicious. Her eyes are set still on the Baking Club’s table, not even stirring an inch from it.
Don’t tell me… I said in a timid voice.
“Eh, ah, what is it?”
Chitanda turned her head around in a surprised manner as I tried to ask.
“By any chance…”
“Do you want a cookie?”
Slightly thinking about it, Chitanda said with a serious face.
“It’d be a lie if I said I didn’t want one.”
“It’s okay if I go.”
“Thank you very much. But no, leaving that aside…”
Thinking it over again, she turned to look at the Baking Club again.
“Don’t you think there’s something weird about them?”
Tempted to do so, I looked at it again one more time. The high-spirited pair. The thermoses, paper cups and the club recruitment forms. The tabletop stove, kettle, pumpkins and cookies.
…Well, in terms of something weird, there doesn’t seem to be anywhere that seems so. Before long, all I know so far is that the high spirits of the Baking Club seems weird.
However, with the exception of one or two things, there is something that seems strange.
“That is true. Weird.”
I carelessly spoke. Chitanda suddenly turned around. Due to the small tables, with her sudden movement, I could feel her closeness so much that I had unconsciously pull back.
“Eh? Where does it look weird?”
“Where- You said it so yourself! That there’s something weird.”
Or would “It is weird. Just the Baking Club itself, it’s already weird” sound better for an advanced mind game?
Giving the cookie distributing activity a sidelong glance, Chitanda murmured.
“That is true but the truth is, for a while, I can’t figure out what it is that’s weird. That’s strange, is what I thought but it’s frustrating….”
“Ah, maybe it’s that-“
I stopped. I swallowed the words I was about to say.
“Don’t tell me yet, please. Because I’m still thinking about it right now. Yes, somehow, I’ll know what it is.”
Although there were a lot of things to be said, I couldn’t say anything at all. While I think that some things are unusual, I could closely see Chitanda’s profile as she looks at the Baking Club.
Before long, her eyes settled on one thing.
“It’s the pumpkin. That pumpkin feels a little out of place.”
The eyes drilled into triangles into the orange-colored skin, the jaggedly cut mouth. No matter where or how you look at it, although it’s a traditional Jack-o-lantern, I very well know the feeling when I keep an eye over there.
After that, however, she began to elaborate.
“That kind of pumpkin is unauthorized in Japan… It’s different. It’s a garden variety of the Pepo pumpkin” (a/n: Pepo pumpkin has orange skin, pumpkins in Japan are usually green I believe).
“Is that so?”
“Although that pumpkin is an autumn squash, if it were preserved as long as needed, it’s still strange that it hasn’t decayed at all.”
“It’s not a common commercial crop. I don’t think there’s any family in Kamiyama Town that grows those.”
“But then, you could normally purchase them at the supermarket. Is it domestic, or is it imported…
“Why don’t you try to considering them as farm products instead!”
That doesn’t seem to be where the problem is. Up until now, I’ve neatly missed the mark. But as I kept my silence, it seems like it was the wrong thing to do.
Chitanda was muttering a few words before finally letting out a small sigh.
“It’s no good anymore! I don’t understand. I give up! I’m curious as to why that pumpkin is here…”
She coyly looked a little apologetic.
If it was any other day, I would have thought that this was a nuisance.
Chitanda’s everlasting curiosity is not only troublesome to my energy-saving principle but also to the Classics Club. Now that I think calmly about it, even though I solved most of them, it doesn’t benefit me. But even if that was the case, I wonder why I still associate myself with her. I myself don’t know why. I think it’s probably because of Chitanda’s big eyes.
However, Chitanda saying that she was curious at a place like this, it doesn’t seem particularly troublesome today.
Anyway, I should be allowed to be able to read a book while I’m here in the inner side of the table since I can’t just get up and leave immediately. After all, since all I could do is just sit here, talking about something wouldn’t be such a bad thing.
That is, what Chitanda said seems to clear up most of the identity of “a feeling that something’s a little off.” This conversation is unlikely to last long. I said.
“That pumpkin is big, right?”
Chitanda titled her head to the side.
“As it is of the Pepo kind, then it is particularly large…”
How I phrased it was bad.
“There’s an armful of them, isn’t there? At least they’re considerably bigger than this colored paper, which is the Classics Club’s sign.”
Pointing to the visually colored paper, finally, she appears to have nodded her approval.
“That is true. They’re big.”
“It’s placed on the edge of the table. And on the opposite side is the tabletop stove. And yet, in the space between the two, those two people from the Baking Club were able to distribute the cookies during the commotion. But then, for our table, it becomes cramped with just two people sitting side by side.”
“Eh! Was it cramped?”
As I thought, she still hasn’t thought of that.
However that may be. With the interruption in the crowd where a gap appeared, in the position to see from a slight distance, I wonder if I wouldn’t be able to grasp its sense of distance. The answer to Chitanda’s question is simple really.
“The table that the Baking Club is using is larger compared to ours. During lunch, I went out to set up, that’s why I know. Several clubs are using larger tables. You didn’t know that there were tables with different sizes. That’s why you have that uncomfortable feeling, am I right?”
She let out in that voice.
But Chitanda’s facial expression didn’t perk up.
“The table is large. I could see that from the distance between the stove and the pumpkin. Someone wouldn’t have realized it from that. But that’s now what I was curious about… So why would they put a pumpkin there?”
Why and how did it arrive, huh? That’s a difficult one.
“Is there a reason to putting ornaments? There doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with Halloween decorations when giving out cookies.”
Don’t they have a sense for seasons?
Chitanda is sending a glance at the Baking Club.
“Let me phrase my question a bit differently. What happens when there is no pumpkin over there?”
Saying that, I tried to imagine as it is. From the table that has a tabletop stove and a kettle on top, what if I remove the pumpkin from it?
“…Surprisingly, I’m feeling clear-headed.”
“That is true.”
And then, turning around to face me, she slowly emphasized and said.
“If that pumpkin wasn’t there, then the Baking Club would have more space to use, don’t you think so?”
I had a feeling she was going to say something like that.
By placing a decorative pumpkin, the Baking Club narrowed their own space. Yet the girls don’t look particularly cramped.
Then that means that there’s still some extra left of the Baking Club’s space. …Nevertheless, the Baking Club was assigned a larger table.
“The Baking Club doesn’t deserve that large table. Is that what you wanted to say?”
Chitanda gave a small shake of the head.
“That’s not what I wanted to say. Just that, the Baking Club would still be able to use a table the same size as ours. Yet why were they assigned a larger table?”
It was the General Affairs Committee that appointment the location assignments. Of course, they were also the ones who appointed which clubs get large tables. For example, since the Brass Band Club is a big club, then they need to use a larger table. That’s not unnatural.
However, the Baking Club isn’t a big club. Actually, there’s only two people doing the promotion at the moment.
“Possibility number one. With an abundance of large tables, the excess was given to any club that needed it originally. And then the Baking Club’s turn came.”
“Do you think so?”
For the time being, she presented me a straightforward question to the words I just said. I was at a loss for words.
“That seems to be the case. If that is true, then that would just be weird since the Photography Club and the Flower Arrangement Club has so many people in it.”
I had seen the Photography Club be buried in their own works. Chitanda pointing out the Flower Arrangement Club was worse. The result was a gorgeous flower arrangement work neatly lined up on the table. Compared to the flower arrangement, the Photography Club’s works look more like a jungle. What matters though is the fact that the faces of the Flower Arrangement Club couldn’t be seen. They probably didn’t even think of preparing one work per person. By the looks of it, the arrangement doesn’t seem to be enough for them. Besides, I was thinking that there’s not much larger tables to begin with.
There are a lot of clubs that have large tables that prepared displays. At the Baking Club, they can put up with a regularly sized long table. That should be true as long as they operate normally. Then?
“Possibility number two. The Baking Club has some connections in the General Affairs Committee. They bribed them or something like that and wrested a large table.”
The Freshmen Solicitation is survival of the fittest. Between those who took their time and those who aimlessly didn’t take any measures, it is a foolish argument. The question is seeing the vanity of the cold sense of the world. Chitanda had a bit of a sad look in her eyes but soon said.
“That way, those two from the Baking Club wrested a large table…”
“To put their pumpkins on it.”
It’s no good. Fundamentally, there’s a contradiction. If you don’t effectively utilize something, then there’s no point in wresting it.
Dare I think about it, if the Bakery Club is using the large table, then it’s unfair for the club that was going to get that table in the first place. That may be possible. Meaning, the Baking Club harassing somebody for the securement of a large table is only a hypothesis. That theory won’t do either. But a plausible theory isn’t far from the truth (a/n: lit. there’s a gutter/ditch between a possible theory and the truth). I don’t believe in that kind of story where logic wins and Chitanda does too, right?
“Let’s cross out that theory. Possibility number three.”
As a matter of fact, I was secretly thought if this one would likely be the answer. I had cited two already. Well, this is just to kill time.
I tried to gather in as less words as I could.
“The Baking Club is using a specific device and because of that, they had to turn in a request. For the sake of safety, they were assigned a large table to use that has wide space.”
It’s a situation wherein you have to request before you use something and there is something that fulfills that.
“It’s fire. The tabletop stove.”
Hearing that, Chitanda thinks it over in her head as she looks at the Baking Club’s table once again.
“For the sake of using that, the Baking Club came to use a large table. Using fire in a narrow space is dangerous, right? The only place that you could place a stove at is a large table. That’s why they placed the pumpkins, to help balance it out. Doesn’t this make sense?”
And with that explanation, the truth about the pumpkin is revealed. Though I had some trouble thinking of it, with this, Chitanda should also be content.
And with that thought, I am content. Chitanda was staring at the Baking Club’s table and as usual, the Baking Club members were still continuing to distribute the cookies and black tea.
During that time, I became a little nervous. Chitanda slowly turned around.
“Indeed, that’s amazing… is what I want to say but…”
I looked at the same thing Chitanda did. The thermoses. The paper cups. The tabletop stove and kettle.
“That. Gas. Burner. Is. Not. Being. Used.”
At the moment, nobody’s using the fire. That I could see.
However, from what was just said, Chitanda still wouldn’t let case go.
“What are you saying? Although it’s not being used at the moment, it’ll be used later on.”
At the moment, they are pouring the black tea from the thermos into paper cups. However, if they continue with the distribution, sooner or later, they’ll run out. At that time, then they’ll have to boil some water with that stove.
…Even a kindergartener would know the answer to that!
Suddenly, Chitanda brought her face closer. I met her upturned eyes. Big eyes that could see through you, even down to the deepest part of the heart.
“Oreki-san, just now with what I said, you thought I was stupid, right?”
“So you thought I was stupid?”
Even a kindergartener would have thought that to be an understandable reason.
Leaning back as she moved forward, Chitanda wryly says.
“Just because I didn’t say anything about it doesn’t mean I didn’t think of it. Watch and you’ll understand.”
Chitanda has good eyesight, smell and hearing. She might also have good taste. With the five senses, I wonder if I didn’t notice something I should have.
“I don’t see anything.”
“It’s the same thing as what Oreki-san is looking at.”
It doesn’t mean I’m sulking about it. With that, I try looking for it. I considered looking closely myself.
Something that would never be of interest to somebody.
“…That kettle is brand new, huh? Rather than new, maybe it hasn’t been put on top of the fire even once.”
But just because it’s new doesn’t mean I can be sure that it won’t be used later on. While Chitanda glanced and smiled, it is unlikely that she’ll say anything. If that’s the case, then is it something else?
“The Baking Club are distributing the black tea. They’re pouring the black tea from the thermos into the paper cups. Supposing that they run out of tea, then, of course, they’ll have to boil some more.”
No, that’s not it. You can’t boil black tea if you don’t have something.
Ah, I see. Even if the Baking Club boils water over there, then that’s all they can do as it’s useless.
“I know. The thing you were talking about, it’s the tea leaves, isn’t it?”
And Chitanda seemingly puffed out her chest.
“The Baking Club is distributing cookies with black tea. If they’re only boiling the water and not using it for making black tea, then it doesn’t make sense. Yet they don’t have any tea leaves on that table. They might have brewed the tea at a different location beforehand. The tea then must have been transferred to the thermoses, right?”
Though I admit that her five senses are impressive, I hardly thought of Chitanda’s insight was excellent. Although I don’t think that I’m frustrated with her getting ahead of me, I tried to find one fault in it.
“The tea leaves may have been placed inside the thermos. If you pour in hot water, soon it’ll become black tea. If not, then they can just continue with putting it in the kettle.”
“Oreki-san… Don’t tell me, you’ve never brewed tea?”
I couldn’t say anything.
The truth is, it’s just as she said. As it is, I prefer coffee but I never drank tea other than when I occasionally buy them from the vending machine. Not to mention brew something, not even once. With the feeling like I was confessing a crime, I couldn’t say that.
“If you do it that way, it will steadily become bitterer. That’s why you use a teapot with a tea strainer. You brew with one tea dispenser at a time. Even if a tea bag is used, a certain amount of time needs to pass before you pull it out.”
“Is that so?”
So that’s how it is. Though I can’t say anything since I’m not well-informed about it, I do know that there are no tea leaves for brewing tea on top of the Baking Club’s table. If we assume that the thing prepared inside the thermos is tea, then that means that they brew the tea at some other place, which makes what I said earlier invalid.
I’m becoming more and more curious about this.
“And if it’s like that then the Baking Club prepared the stove but they didn’t intend to use it from the start. Seeing that it’s not being used, just like with the pumpkin, it was only a decoration.”
I think a little.
“But yet, seeing the stove over there, the only possible reason you could think of is that the Baking Club asked permission to use a stove and for safety measures, they were assigned a larger table,” right? That’s weird. That is unlikely to address the use of that stove. Then that means… What does that mean?”
“It makes you wonder, right?”
It had surprisingly become a bother. Although I associated myself with the Shinkan Festival because I thought it would only be a waste of time, I wonder if it won’t have a long lasting effect on me. Driven by such anxiety, I suddenly looked away from Chitanda. At the same time, Chitanda also took her gaze away.
And then, before my eyes, there was a person standing.
Although it’s spring, they had darkish tanned skin. Hair that was cut short. Indeed they does seem active and brave, but I can’t say the same for her looks and appearance. If you don’t look at the sailor uniform peeping through the voluminous blouson with the zipper down, then you’d wonder whether she was a girl or a boy. Chitanda and I saw her nearly at the same time. I was not only belittling the fact that right now, we are in the middle of the Shinkan Festival, but also that nobody would be coming at all. I wonder since when has she been standing there.
Catching us off guard with not saying anything, she put her hands inside the pockets of her blouson as she gave a small bow.
“’ello, nice to meetcha.”
And then, with a grin, she laughed.
Didn’t know I could make hr lines on Tumblr. Anyways, all in all, with the Japanese itself, part 1 was 45 pages long. On Word. That’s a lot of editing, so now I’m gonna advertise or kindly ask. If anyone wants to help edit these translations to correct grammar, have them make sense, all that, oh God, that’d be so awesome. Message me if you want to do this.
I more or less screened this but I was translating, editing and correcting it at the same time so if something doesn’t make sense, please point it out.
As for how many pages left before this subchapter ends, there’s only about 10+ more pages and this one was longer. Exactly 30 pages, from page 33 to page 63. Damn. I’ll actually just make a site to put all these translations in so it makes it easier for not only me but you guys as well.