Episode 11 – A new day, a first step



On Monday, I headed to the school with a fresh start.

I had been growing my bangs all last year.
My hair had always been long.

I had it cut cleanly and neatly.

For me, it was a drastic decision.
But I don’t regret it at all.

“Good morning.”

With chest puffed out proudly, I pass through the school gate.
A teacher who was waiting for me shouted cheerfully, “Oh, good morning!” and some of them turned around to look at me.
….It’s not weird, right?

I open the door to the class.
Most of the students had already finished coming to school,……, or to be frank, I entered the classroom at about the same time as the homeroom teacher.


As soon as I entered the classroom, all eyes were on me at once.
Normally, everyone would return their gaze to what they were doing, but …… that was not the case today.

“Iida kun! Good morning!”

The first to greet me in a loud voice was Saara, who has become quite a presence in the class.

“Hnn, good morning Ayado san”

We greet each other as usual, and the homeroom teacher claps her hands to encourage everyone to be seated.
During homeroom, the guy right next to me glances at me, and sometimes the girl diagonally in front of me turns around and our eyes meet for a moment, but she’s quickly distracted.
Is it …… weird? I’m a little unsure.

Right after my morning homeroom, Ayado san was the first to come face to face with me.

“I went to the barbershop at that intersection, how do you like it?”

In response to my question, Saara gave me a thumbs up on both hands with a very nice smile.
Yeah, it’s a good thing she was satisfied with my request.

“Hey hey hey! Iida kun, you’re so good! I didn’t know you were a complete no-show! Onee san won’t forgive you!”
“Sato-san, you’ve been too energetic since this morning. We’re classmates.”
“If you take away my energy, all you’ll have left is the damp, spoiled girl factor!”

I chuckle at Sato san’s needlessly high tension,


I looked ahead and saw …… Yamamoto san looking at me.
He wrinkled his brow and looked like he wanted to say something, but then he glanced at Sato san and immediately looked forward.

◇ ◇

After school, I saw Saara off for a trial period when she was once again being worshipped by the athletic department.

“If it’s too much for you, you can just say no, right?”
“I’m still okay with it. I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to do it again. Thanks.”

We parted after that conversation.
Now …… I would normally go home from here.

(But today, I might as well go.)

this is a good opportunity for me.
I’m going to visit the Culinary Club.

The cooking club at this school is quite free.
Most of the time, everyone cooks the same thing once a week, but here, the main thing is to have lots of ingredients and recipes and to cook freely from them.
Except for the presence of others around and the guidance of the advisor, it is like cooking on an individual basis.

When I entered the club’s kitchen, there were a few members here and there who had already started cooking.
A few of them stop their hands when they see me.

“Ah, perhaps….Iida ?!”

My advisor, a teacher, raised her hand toward me.

“Murakami-sensei, it’s been a while.”
“It’s been too long already, first time this semester…”

Murakami-sensei is the advisor of the cooking club.
She is a bright female teacher with short hair and glasses.
She is well known as a young but skilled advisor.

“For that matter…….”

Murakami-sensei pulls her face close to mine as she stares at me.
……No, no, no, close close close.

“Is this it?”
“No, it’s not.”

I sigh as Murakami-sensei raises her pinky finger.
I mean, some students don’t get through with that.

“I see. But it’s nice. That one is definitely better.”
“Well, thank you.”
“Did you have a reason for that?”

I was on the verge of answering that question, Saara ……, and then I gulped down the name.
There are people around, and some of them are looking at me. No, it’s no fun to look at me.

“My mother said I should cut my bangs soon.”
“Oh, really? Is that the only reason you cut them off, because you were rebellious?”
“No, it wasn’t. I was also told by the person who lives next door that I should cut them, and they must have been very long.”

I’m not lying. Saara is literally the next door neighbor.

Murakami-sensei replied vaguely, as if convinced or not, and pointed with her chin at the open kitchen.

“Well, I won’t ask too deeply. Now that you’re here, you’re going to make it, right?”
“Have you made a decision?”

I could cook dinner, but if I had already bought raw meat, etc., and if the expiration date was today or tomorrow, I would probably want to use it.

The difficulty of cooking for yourself is not only to be able to cook, but also to know the expiration date and use up all the ingredients.
My mother does this, too, so when my father buys something for us, she gets angry and says, “Tell me in advance!” She gets angry.
I don’t know about ready-made foods because I don’t know what’s in the fridge right now.

I don’t know what kind of refrigerator Saara has, so I can’t do anything careless.
So, what would I do?

“I see, then—-”

Dinner today was a simple meat and potatoes.
When I asked her about it, she said, “I wanted to use up all the beef that was on sale,” so it seems my decision after school was the right one.
Great job, me.

I don’t need to tell her about the seasoning, but I commend her on her skillful handling of the potatoes.
If you’re not good with this, the potatoes can fall apart very quickly.
It’s interesting to share such stories of failure.

“Yeaay, me too [as long as it’s hot]! I made a mashed potato paste that eventually became entwined with the beef.”

No, I didn’t do that either, Princess Saara. ……

“Oh, by the way, where were you out today?”
“Tennis team. It was kind of embarrassing to see the gallery outside the net.”
“You’ve been like a celebrity since your first month at your new school. ……”
“They’re just curious because it’s their first time. They’ll get tired of it.”

Well, I don’t think that perception is naive.
In fact, Saara is a real talent now, and her looks, not to mention her play, are eye-catching.
As someone who remembers the boyish Saara who hated exercise, I’m not sure if I should be easy to get involved with or if I should treat her like a princess.
I feel like I’m at the mercy of her.

Well, in that sense, I guess I’m treating her like a princess today.

“Just give me a minute.”
“What? What’s up?”

First of all, put the kettle on the fire before preparing the food.

“Drink, hojicha is okay at this time of night?”
“Yes, thanks.”

I went to the refrigerator, smiling at Saara who thanked me every single time.
…… Oops, I have to ask.
Surprises require thinking about the person you’re surprising.

“Can we have something sweet afterwards?”
“Eh, is there any!? I want some!”

Alright. I knew the girls would be fine with a separate sweet after dinner, but that’s not a hundred percent either.
Never fail to check everything.

I take out something cold from the fridge.

“Hey, this is ……!”
“Club activity. It’s been a while since I’ve made something light.”

On the table was a white manju with a red one making its presence felt.

“Strawberry Daifuku! Oh, wait, my favorite one!”
“I don’t know what you like or don’t like. I wasn’t sure what to make.”
“I don’t have any likes or dislikes at all! And Japanese sweets! Super! I love them! I love them!”
“It was really worth it.”

You’ve got a good reaction, and that makes me happy too.
I make a pot of tea and take it to the table.
And while I’m at it, I introduce another dish on the tray.

“……. What’s this?”
“Matcha green tea with chestnut kinton. I’ll have it for breakfast or lunch tomorrow morning.”
“Yes, yes! Let’s eat it in the morning!”

I nodded with a wry smile to Saara, who responded by raising her hand cheerfully.
Then tomorrow morning we’ll be together.

“Well, let’s cool this one down and …… strawberry daifuku and eat it quickly.”

Saara ate my strawberry daifuku with great relish.
It’s worthwhile to make something when she eats it and smiles.

“Delicious. Genius. It’s divine.”
“You’re overdoing it with just one Japanese pastry. The genius is Saara, isn’t it?”
“Of course not. It’s normal.”

I put my own in my mouth, saying to myself, “There is no such thing as a normal person like you.”
I made a drastic change today and it was a …… good day.

Thanks to Saara for giving me a chance.

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