I have originally lived in England and am half British, with a British father and Japanese mother. My father was in the British Army and my mother is a dress coordinator.

My mother always spoke English when we lived over there, and there was nothing around me that I could relate to Japan. I had never heard of the Japanese language, and my English had improved significantly.

In my life with almost no inconvenience, there was one thing that stressed me out. That was the frequent fights between my mother and father.

They never resorted to violence, but whenever they saw each other, they would end the day by complaining about each other. They would yell at each other, at least about things that they would not talk about in front of their children, and the house was always filled with the smell of my father’s favorite drink and cigarettes.

When arguments were heated, I would take refuge at my grandparents’ house, and I was given a larger allowance to ensure food in case they forgot to feed me. I think now that my family was rich, as they easily gave me money.

I had a turning point when I was six years old. My father and mother divorced. The divorce proceedings were completed without a trial, and my mother and I immediately went to Japan.

My father was an alcoholic and a smoker who could not quit smoking, so it was easy to decide who would take me in. My grandparents were saddened, but there was nothing I could do about it at the time. My mother also felt sorry for them.

[I’m sorry, Natsume. For making you worry until now.]

That was the first time I heard my mother speak Japanese. The first time I heard Japanese, I thought it was the language spoken by aliens, and I became a little afraid of going to Japan.

Then I landed in the unknown land of Japan. I was old enough to enter elementary school, but there was no way they let a foreigner who could not speak Japanese at all go to elementary school.

A few days after we decided to settle down in Japan, my mother began to train me intensely so that I would not feel inconvenienced. First, she taught me how to greet people in Japanese, then how to use chopsticks. Then she taught me how to cross at traffic lights, how to behave in stores, and many other things.

Of course, there were times when I almost gave up. But thanks to my efforts, I was able to improve my Japanese to the point where I could speak at least a minimum of Japanese after one year. However, despite this, there was trouble.

I had originally planned to join the other students in the second grade, but I could not find a school to transfer to. My mother was not working, so I sometimes worried about whether the money would be enough. But every time I did, she would smile and said,

[If you are worried about money, don’t be. I have support from my parents, and I have a lot of money left over from my old job.]

Because of this, I decided to study independently with my mother what I should learn in elementary school in Japan. I wondered about many things, but at the time I didn’t really understand the situation. After another year or so passed, I managed to find a school to transfer to in the third grade.

My mother and I were both relieved that I had finally decided on a school that I could go to. Although I was anxious, I was still looking forward to going to school. As I was beaming with joy, my mother looked at me with calm eyes and said,

[Listen carefully Natsume. Before you go to school, let me tell you something. You are a little different from the others.]


[You have a beautiful golden hair color and even your eyes are a light color, you’re not like the others. But don’t let that hold you back. Your Japanese has improved over the past two years, and you can even use chopsticks. Now you can eat natto without hesitation…..or rather, you eat too much of it.]

I’m getting a little sidetracked, but my mother tells me emphatically.

[Enjoy this elementary school to the fullest. You’re not stupid, and more importantly, you’re cute ! I’m sure you’ll find some great friends. Youth goes by so fast, you’d be surprised. In other words, go out there and show them what you’re really made of !]

[Yeah, I got it !]

Now that I think about it, my mother had always been an enthusiastic educator, but she was a little crude and crass in some details. Why did she recommend only shounen and seinen manga to a girl whose Japanese was so vague? Although I learned a lot, my knowledge became biased because of it. To top it all off, it took me until middle school to realize it.

Finally, in a new April, Nanase Natsume stepped into a Japanese elementary school.


The cherry blossoms were falling and the beautiful blue sky seemed to shine on me, and the occasional breeze was pleasant. Right after such a blessed first day of school, I went to the staff room of my new school. I don’t know what it is, but I heard that there is a rule about going to the staff room on the first day at a new school.

But I was so light on my footwork that I could consider it an advantage. So I walked down the hallway with bouncy steps and rhythmically knocked on the staff room door. As soon as I opened the door, a young teacher rushed up to me.

[Oh, is that you, Nanase Natsume chan?]

[Y-yes ! Nice to meet you, Boss !]

[Boss you said, aren’t you making a lot of mistakes !? I’m new here, and I’m your homeroom teacher starting today, teacher. Okay?]

[Yes, Chief !]

[…….I’m only in my 20s, but do I really have that much dignity?]

Fortunately, being half-Japanese, the teachers did not get angry with me. On the contrary, the majority of the teachers were somewhat relieved at the exchange between the new teacher and me.

Incidentally, the conversation was reported to my mother, and as expected, I would return home and be scolded by my mother, which I still think is a bit unreasonable. Why did my mother deliberately choose shounen and seinen manga as teaching materials for Japanese language education? Well, I’m sure it was her own taste.

Then I had to wait in the staff room until the bell rang, and from there I had to go with the teacher to the classroom. Apparently, he was going to introduce me beforehand.

[Well then, Nanase san. I’ll go in first and call you, and when it’s time, come in and introduce yourself. I’ll write your name on the blackboard at the same time you come in, so don’t worry about it.]

[Yes !]

[All right, good answer. I’ll go first.]

The teacher then entered the classroom and immediately closed the door. For a moment I could hear the bustle of the classroom, but my heart was racing so fast that I didn’t care. Then, after what felt like an eternity, the time finally came.

[Well then, Nanase san, come in !]

[Y-yes !]

Then I summoned up all my courage, opened the classroom door, and took a giant step forward. That first step was probably the heaviest one I have ever taken.

As soon as I entered the classroom, the slight hustle and bustle in the classroom instantly quieted down. Then nearly thirty kids my age would come staring at me. I guess it was my hair that attracted the most attention.

[Well then, Nanase san, introduce yourself.]

[Y-yes. I’m Nanase, Natsume. Nice….to meet you !]

Looking back on it now, it’s a greeting that is sure to go down in my black history. I almost drowned when I remembered it while I was soaking in the bathtub.

However, the manner of talking at that time must have been appealing to the children back then. Everyone started giggling quietly, which gradually turned into applause. I was blushing at that moment.

[Nice to meet you too !]

[Your hair is beautiful.]

[Do you speak English by any chance?]

By the time the morning greetings were over, I was probably the most popular person in the class. I tried my best to remember everyone’s name, and we shook hands a lot. That’s why I thought this class was the nicest place in the world.


At the end of the class, on a seat facing the window, I found a boy reading a book alone and lonely. He was a boy, but his silky hair reached his shoulders and his skin was beautiful and white. If I was not careful, he might have had more beautiful skin than I did.


(Why is that desk full of drawings?)

To be precise, they were letters, but at that time I still could not read letters mixed with kanji. Besides, a lot of them were written in a position where the teacher couldn’t see them. What made me feel most uncomfortable was the ragged pencil case and shoe bag that he must have used, even though he was wearing clean clothes.

(I’ll talk to him later.)

That was the encounter between Nanase Natsume and Yukihana Hisui.

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