Being in a foreign country for the first time, it suddenly occurred to me that reduced food, electricity, and business hours in light of the earthquake back in March, does not apply to here at all. Buying things using a currency I’m not used to has make me feel disoriented on whether the numbers on the price tag of an item is considered cheap or expensive. They said to divide a number by 100 from the yen as a rough guess, but seeing something that costs 800yen back home being labelled as 25 in that currency, which itself after currency conversion, is worth 650yen or US$9, is making me even more confused.
Waking up, having breakfast, preparing things, travelling to school, waiting for everyone to gather and brief, taking the train to the airport, having lunch, waiting for the plane to depart, duration of flight plus delays, timezone differences. All of this has made us tired from travel alone and lost track of how long we have been travelling. The sun had already set when we arrive.
As it seems, even though the airport itself has good transportation links, we were ushered on to the coach buses that would bring us to the hotel. Though it doesn’t look like it’s at a hidden place, you wouldn’t know where the coach bay was unless you explored or were told of where it was as the public buses are located elsewhere. The number of buses, and knowing that each large ones would fit the whole class with some empty seats remaining, easily tells us how many people there are in total.
Due to the layout of the hotel, some had a room to themselves, some shared with another, and others three or more people per room. The hotel may be able to accommodate everyone, but there aren’t enough rooms of any one type to accommodate all. Practically all hotels outside Japan are only of the western style.
I don’t know what they were thinking, but I was assigned a room for two people. It’s common sense that everyone in a shared room should not have anyone of the opposite gender sleeping in the same room, so I can’t have the schoolmates that I know, who are guys, to sleep with me. Those guys are sleeping in a large room all to themselves, but they can’t invite me simply because I’m a girl.
Rooms that have empty beds would have a teacher sleeping in it. Since male teachers can’t sleep with the girls, but with the contradiction of female teachers being able to sleep with the male students (unless there is already a male teacher there), that affected how the students are assigned. Each room could have more than one teacher, or none at all. Of all the people who could have slept with me, it’s that girl from the college section of Mizuho Academy sleeping with me. I was hoping for my homeroom teacher or a classmate at least. Oh well, it’s not like meeting someone new is a bad thing or if there’s anything wrong with her.
Mizuho girl: “You’re Inami-san, right? It’s been a while since I last saw you. Your mother has been worrying about your safety since she started working at headquarters long before the earthquake. I came along for the trip not because she asked me to, but because I’m the one providing financial assistance. I’ve also met your brother too, and I could see how similar he is to you in appearance.”
Huh? I’ve met her before, and she knows my mother and brother? From what she said, she’s also that “mysterious” sponsor.
Me: “I’m sorry, but how do I know you?”
She took a look around the room and the corridor outside as if making sure that nobody could hear what she’s about to tell me.
Mizuho girl: “Remember the computer club president of Kamisugi High two years ago? That was me. My name tag might say otherwise, but my name is Saeko Hisakawa, founder of Powell Research Institute and I work for Hatsuya Research Institute. Although, it’s also a fact that I’m a college student at Mizuho, and I think your brother has already explained how difficult it is to take off the uniform. Before you ask, I’m really a girl even while not wearing the uniform, and, except for my hairstyle, my actual appearance is no different from what I look now. I’m actually 6 years older than you, and I was a year 1 Mizuho high school student just last year.”
WHAT?! My mother’s big boss from work is right in front of me, but me having met her in an unrelated situation, and has the appearance that would misled you from what you would think she does. What she described to me about herself is making me even more confused with things that contradict each other. Founded company A, but working for company B? If she’s was a year 1 at Mizuho High last year, how is she in college now or 6 years older than me? It’s common knowledge that Powell has been founded almost 10 years ago, but if the founder is still a student now, then…? Huh? Unless she was actually in primary school when the company was founded, something doesn’t seem right here.
Hisakawa: “Looking at your face, I think you’re confused about what I had just said. Don’t worry, I’m even confused as to what I am exactly myself too as I just suddenly woke up one day to be like this. Oh, and please don’t tell your mother about what I just said to you, and you don’t need to be so formal with me just because I’m more senior than you. I feel lonely when you do.”
For a big boss of one of the largest companies I know, she doesn’t look and behave like one.
Me: “So how do you know my brother?”
Hisakawa: “Well, your mother showed me a picture of the two of you: both present and during your primary school days, and she said that you looked and behaved like your brother until you entered middle school, when gender-related body growth differences became more obvious. She said that your brother was in the chess club, while you aren’t in any. At a chess tournament in Mizuho against your school, I saw what I though was you, but knowing from your mother that you aren’t in any clubs, I knew it was your brother.”
Me: “Back in March before the earthquake… was it you too?”
Hisakawa: “If you are referring to the two girls he met who was throwing away their money and letting by whatever he wants with it and then collecting it on the day of the quake, yes, one of them is me. The other is… my sibling that I’m not close with. Anyway, we should go to sleep now for a long day ahead.”
Hisakawa did not remove her shoes or change clothes before she climbed to bed and sleep.