About Takahashi Haruka

[From Twitter] Likes Japanese animation and technology. She tries hard to achieve what she desires for, but doesn't know what to do. Spends her free time to do HTML, install OSes, improve her blog, etc, that the day seems to pass by quickly.

682th post: Designing a profile, and maybe attract followers

So you probably have a Twitter account or some social networking page that says about you to other people. However, there is more to just typing words and inserting images.

This is probably what an average person would see on their screen. As you can see, the interface would take up some space. More importantly, the whole bio should be visible in the remaining space, and leave some space around them.

However, the view can look different if viewed on a mobile device and exclude some elements like profile background, along with possible extra steps to view everything. The banner image might not appear if viewed from a 3rd party app, or the mobile web version on non-smartphones. Keep this in mind as not everyone wants to view everything or viewing from something that doesn’t show it.

If people are viewing your profile, along with several others at the same time, you would want to make it look appealing. This also means that the choice or words and images needs to look nice too. I don’t claim to be an expert, but what I do with mine seem to attract people.

So here are the things to take note of:

Not exactly part of the bio, but it is visible from the profile. People actually look at what you tweet (retweet and mentions too), particularly the recent ones. If it is filled with too much retweets, caption-less links to images, automatically generated tweets from places like YouTube, without any breathing room in between, that is not good. I have unfollowed people before because of this reason, and only because they flood my timeline. Who knows how many more that I failed to catch.

Depending on the person, they may also be particular on how often/little you tweet: too little and they may forget about you, or even not see your tweet if they follow a number of active people. If you tweet too much, your followers might see nothing but your tweets in their timeline.

Private account? There’s a chance that they won’t follow you just because they can’t see your tweets, which includes mentions to them. Sure they can send a request to follow, but if they have a lot of other people to look through, and/or have past experience of private accounts they followed being not good, they would skip private accounts completely, possibly quickly too.

But why make it private in the first place? If it’s because of spam, you are probably overreacting. If it’s because you don’t want certain people to see something, you should block them, or don’t say it (at least not with that account).

Background Image
So you want to put some box that is like an extension of your bio as part of the background image? Bad news: not everyone views it in the same browser dimensions as you, which can be bigger than your screen. Even worse, it is not visible on non-PC web versions. However, you should have a background image anyway as it would make your profile look better. After all, it is the largest image visible on your profile, and if they see the default image, they may think that you are a boring person. The same goes for the banner image.

Recently, there is an option to choose if the transparent layer over the background (the gaps between each parts in the top screenshot) be either white or black, so you can pick which one is better, like black for a dark background image., and whether the image be positioned at the left, center, or right. Depending on the image and its size, having it tiled can be a good idea too. However, there is no option to change the horizontal positioning between top, middle, or bottom.

Banner Image
Kind of like background image, but behind just your profile image instead of the whole profile. You can choose what area to crop to and what level of zoom. Unlike backgrounds, it could also appear on mobile apps or mobile web for smartphones. You can try to align it with your display picture, but you wouldn’t want to be exact with it as, for example, your alignment in the web version might not be the same in landscape mode of the iPad version. I know you might not use it, but this is about what other people see when they view yours.

Images and videos you tweet and retweet
This would say more of who you are, particularly to people that don’t know you. Retweets with images do not appear on your profile unless you manual retweet them. If you tweet too much images at a time, particularly of a particular theme, it can turn people off and possible have them unfollow you just so their timeline isn’t flooded with those. As of the time of writing, they have recently introduced a feature where image previews are visible without the need of expending. Not a good thing if your image tweets are questionable or even not-safe-for-work.

However, only supported sources would appear there. It is not clear what exactly these sources are, but these include YouTube, vimeo, twitpic, and so on. Some sources, like pixiv or tuippuru has the preview appear like a news article preview. Keep note that this may change over time, or even be excluded completely. Historically, this includes yfrog and instagram.
(Why? Well, Imageshack (company behind yfrog) services are getting more annoying to use lately, unusable if on a non-smartphone mobile device. As for instagram, probably because they have been bought over by rival Facebook)

Bio and website link
Try not to follow the crowd, avoid unnecessary details (like your age and gender), and keep it short and simple. After all, you can only enter a limited amount of characters in it. Also, avoid using hashtags or typing everything in caps.

For the link in your bio, try to link it to a place to where people who may be interested in you to know more, like your blog. And please do not use a link shorterner here: people may think you are a bot if you do. This link could also be one of the chances (probably the only chance if your account is private) if someone wants to find out more about you.

Personally, I would prefer that there would be no hashtags or links in your bio besides the website link next to the location field. Placing a link to a portal of where you would place all your other sites is not recommended: I wouldn’t know which one to click, or not want to go the extra step just to find out more (keep in mind that there may be tabs of other people’s profile in their browser), and not bother going further. I would if this was on the blog instead.

You can enter the name of your town/city here, your GPS coordinates here, stuff like “Within the Whelm of Darkness ( ´Д`)σ)Д`)”, or just leave it blank.

Take note: There are apps that tells you where your followers are from. Don’t know if they get the information in this text field. Also, if you are entering a real location, be mindful that it is viewed from around the world, so people may not know what your two-letter US/Canada postal short-forms for the state means, and it could be mistaken as a short form of an another country in the world.

Yononaka no Okugi (Part 4)

Hitoshi seemed as if what she said to me was not enough to convey what she wants.
“Oh right. You are born after it happened, forgive me if you don’t know what I’m talking about. Hmm… It’s difficult to explain without you having already feeling it first hand, which you probably had not. Would it be okay for me to show you pictures of that time so you would know? I have to warn you that what you feel as a result from seeing it may not subside for years, and possibly affect how you would think”, she said.
Since I am clueless, but curious, I agreed. It’s a sacrifice and maybe a privilege that most post-evolution people would most likely not experience. She told me that they are in that small derelict building standing by itself at a corner that nobody ever goes near. I’ve seen this place from far, but have never gone up close because there was no reason to go there. Hitoshi talked to me as we head there.
“This open area are where are all the outdoor sports takes place. Sports used to be more popular, but the evolution has forced us to behave more feminine and only be able to wear the kind clothes we are wearing now. Take soccer or baseball for example…”
She pointed to the grassy field that has two identical white metal poles on opposite ends of it with a net at the back of it, and then points to a barren field that has some kind of base at the four corners of it and the middle.
“…how can we hit or kick the ball without being forced to act feminine? We can’t hit with all the energy we got that way. I think we would even get scared to the point of closing our eyes or running away if a ball approaches us at high speed where we are supposed to catch it or send it elsewhere, or maybe not play at all because of being scared of getting dirty from the ground it is normally played on. And then there’s the marshal arts, swimming, tennis and volleyball courts, along with the running tracks…”
She points to the edge of the sports hall located next to the field behind us, only part of the swimming pool is visible from where we are.
“…Those used to have their own dedicated and traditional uniforms, like white robes and a thick band around the waist that signifies rank for the former, and a swimsuit for the latter. Doing traditional arts or running while wearing our school uniform looks weird and not well suited for the intense physical activity. Had you noticed that physical education is missing in the curriculum?”
I don’t know what physical education is, but I’m guessing that these sports-related places around the school are related.
“For swimming, we could still wear the swimsuits, but we have to wear our skirts over them. We aren’t supposed to swim wearing that, but if we don’t do so within a minute, it is seen as not wearing “proper” clothing and our previously worn acceptable clothing would reappear, which is worse for swimming than just the skirt alone. You do not want to swim with the usual clothes on since clothes absorbs the water and sticks to our body.”

She made it sound as if clothes were something that wasn’t part of our body, but more of something to cover yourself in. I was born with my school uniform on, so I thought this was normal, but apparently the world and time I was born isn’t how it usually was.

“With these odd restrictions relating to what we are forced to wear or behave today, it’s impossible to play sports like what it was in the past, which, even back then, isn’t really popular among females. It’s a sad fate to see the world of sports to die out like this. Ah, here we are.”

This is the first time I have been up close to this building that I normally see only from a distance. It appears that this building was home to several clubs, with clubs that uses the nearby fields taking up some adjacent rooms. Hitoshi opened up one of the doors for the baseball club using a key. Where did she get the key from? Well, she’s with the student council after all.
“I have to warn you that you might see photos of males in here. After all, sports was common among them. Now, where is that switch for the lights?”
The room was dark and stuffy when we entered before she turned the lights on. There are windows, but partly obstructed by things around it. I have never seen a messy room like this before. Then I noticed something by the wall: looks like clothes, but not the kind you see people wearing, and mostly white. Several of them too, and they don’t look clean.
“Ah, these were the uniforms of the baseball team, and yes, the lower part is not the skirt that you are so familiar with. Try to wear this and you will see why I say we are forced to wear feminine clothes. People used to change clothes everyday, sometimes several times a day, though men have an easier time to change as… their chests are flat.”
Her facial expression looks like she is being forced to fell happier than before we came here. Also, I never took off my clothes before, and I was born with my uniform already on. She showed me that I could start by unfastening the buttons and zippers on my clothes, but just as I was done with everything, my clothes came back on all fastened by themselves as if I had not started. I did not get to see what my body underneath my clothes looked like.
“There is a time limit to be able to have your clothes unfastened and removed, which started when you removed the first fastener, which was that first button you unfastened on your blouse. You took your time changing, so the time ran out by the time you were done. You have to take it off quicker than that and put on your new clothes within that time if you want to change, provided what you are changing to is within what we are allowed to wear. Well, try wearing these uniforms over your clothes and see what happens when you try to wear what is not allowed to be worn these days. You don’t see people selling these any more because no one could wear them. The effect is the same whether you took your existing clothes off or just wore over it. Men’s sizes are larger than women’s, so you should be able to put them on, even if they may be too loose for your body.”
I didn’t know there were people who wore clothes that were a lot larger than my size as everyone is about the same size as me. Well, there are people larger than me, but not to the extreme of the size of these loose clothes I’m wearing. Also, the lower half of these clothes are pushing my skirt inward, and the buttons for the upper half are on the opposite side. I am so not used to wearing anything besides socks or stockings that covers my legs that isn’t tight, or wore anything that isn’t a skirt on the outside.
“You are lucky that our skirts being designed to flutter in the wind, which also means that, by design, you can put those pants on. You wouldn’t be able to if the skirt wraps tightly around our legs.”
This unfamiliar feeling didn’t last long as they are magically forced out of me not long afterwards. The upper part scattered all over the room through my arms, and I actually fell onto the floor as the lower half gets magically blasted out through my legs.
It was at this moment that I saw an image of something attached to the ceiling. It looked liked a large group of people, but these people are different from anyone I have ever seen. Somehow, the sight of them had me feeling some kind of happiness that I never felt before, and a weird feeling around my hips.
“Um, Maeda-san? Why is your face… OH NO! CLOSE YOUR EYES NOW! Ha… ha… ha…”
Huh? What is wrong with seeing that? Why did she made a strange sound after shouting at me? She seemed to be struggling inside her, while I continue to feel more pleased the more I look at that image, the kind that I never felt before.

Hitoshi noticed that I wasn’t closing my eyes or looking away. Despite the internal struggle within herself, she is somehow desperate to stop me from looking at what I’m seeing and… this is the first time anyone has hit me with force, and it’s painful. It feels weird to have both painful and pleasing feelings at the same time, neither of which are in my control.

“Sorry about that… What we just saw were images of men… Nobody usually decorates the ceiling, so I did not look at the ceiling when I inspected the room… I think you saw it for longer than me…”

It’s difficult to think with the non-stop new feeling in me, but I struggled to ask her how to undo it.

“I’m sorry, but only way I know is to be reborn, which, for our current biological age, is decades from now. There is an acupuncture-like therapy to undo this, but it is difficult to get to.”

She led me out of the room before we saw more men. There was a mirror hanging just next to the door at the corridor.

“Your face tells me that you are feeling more aroused than I though you are. Did you see pictures of men before today?”

Thinking back, I did saw people that looked like what I saw in the old magazines at home. Her reaction to me saying this was mixed. Sorry, I was born after mankind has evolved, so I don’t know what is normal, and what isn’t, as well as what I shouldn’t be seeing.

Chapter 2
Part 3 | Part 5

An Unexpected Wish (Part 11)

Nanami did not know how to react. She is kind of disturbed that a random stranger claiming to be her younger sister is living in her house, but the things in her house does suggests that she really does stay there. At the same time, she is kind of glad that she has someone living with her now.

Nanami thought of something: if Naomi was like the office man she witnessed being turned into a school girl, that means that Naomi could have been anyone of a different family of any age and gender, but somehow had been transformed to be Nanami’s younger sister in every way. Naomi herself probably doesn’t even realize she was a completely different person! Nanami wondered how many more people faced the same fate.

Then Nanami realized something else seem odd: where is her grandmother? She was hesitant to ask Naomi, being unfamiliar with her, but asked the question to her anyway.

“Grandma Ajisai? She’s living with our cousin and his wife. You know, the one with Kotomi and many other children. I don’t know why they had so many.”

Nanami noted that Naomi knew the name of the grandmother. She guessed that her grandmother changed places since this Naomi appeared, but still concerned as our parents and older brother had died.
However, this is the first and last time Naomi mentions her grandmother as not only will the changes going on will affect the grandmother, a more noticeable section of the population will be transformed.
Some weeks later, Nanami noticed that there are suddenly more students, female mostly, on the train to school. Initially, she thought nothing of it as they could be heading to some events, but the large crowd persisted over time long enough for Nanami to notice the same faces. Nanami wondered why: no events she knows of are going on, and there’s no way a new school would begin in the middle of the second term.
She also noticed that something is different with the people she normally see along the route, but can’t figure out what exactly it was.
In her school, she also can’t help but notice that all classrooms are filled to the same maximum number of students per class, which, as Nanami recalls, has unequal number of vacant seats.
Nanami received an email from Kotomi. It said, “I don’t know how I didn’t realize this earlier, but there is news on how odd it is that we have a lot of young people even though statistics and archived news say that we have an aeging population and low birth rate. Speaking of the elderly, you may have noticed that most of them seemed to have vanished completely. Even more amazing is that no one could explain why or who they were. Demographics data don’t lie, but they dont add up to what we are seeing now. Can you say a name of anyone of that age I’m supposed to know without mentioning how I know them? Not sure if my memory has been modified like the last time, and it can happen without me being aware of it.”
Nanami felt a sense of worry: her grandmother could be one of them, so she entered her name (Ajisai Miyazawa) in the reply to Kotomi, who is also her great grandmother.
She did not get a reply until an hour later. Nanami figured she doesn’t recognize the name as there are people who don’t know names of their own relatives and probably figuring out who that is. Unless the person is well known, it’s likely that just entering the name in the search engine could just show results of someone else with the same name.

When she got a reply, it said, “Sorry, I can’t remember or find anything on who that was, no matter how hard I tried. Was that a name of one of my relatives? I oddly don’t seem to remember any relative who is an elderly… Did this crazy thing going on made me forget? Has she also been turned into one of those many teenage girls that suddenly appeared? If it happened the same way as what you witnessed happening to a man being turned into a girl, that means that it can happen to anyone, and with the amount of teenage girls we are seeing today, I would say that so many people have been transformed that it caused a very noticeable population imbalance.”

Nanami was schocked. Does that mean that her grandmother has just simply vanished without any farewell? Nanami started to cry since her grandmother is gone now. Nanami typed the following words slowly while still in tears: “Is there a way to bring her back?”. She figured out that this would be pointless anyway as, even if her grandmother could be turned back, her health condition already has her the risk of dying from an age-related disease to be high.

Kotomi replied, “Without even knowing what caused it, that would be impossible. This is not like some mad scientist filling up the air with some gas. It’s more like our whole world is like data and something has modify that code so that our world will work differently from what we have seen, changing what we are and our memories in the process. I would say that what we are seeing now is the transitioning stage that I’m not sure what it will be like, or how long it would take, but I will see what I can do with the help of my colleagues here in Hatsuya. I have to, I don’t want to be turned into one of them and forget who I was.”

In her sadness, Nanami didn’t really look through the message properly that Kotomi wrote apart from the bit on doing something about it. Seems that Nanami only has Kotomi for a family, and some stranger who has been genetically modified to be her sister.

Part 10 | Part 12

(Author’s note [to be posted as a separate post later]: This story chronologically takes place during the transining stage of the human evolution. Other stories I wrote covers this too, but of different stages. “Alternate Dimension” only covers the end of the transition and 4 years after. “Disoriented Feelings” covers the transitioning stage, but somewhere in the middle to early-late stage. “Teary Promise” takes place before this happens, so there is no mention of it. “Yononaka no Okugi” is from a viewpoint of a girl who was born after the final transformations happened, where simply thinking of males would have them have an irreversible feeling that has them difficult to think, which means anything they are in has to be censored out to maintain everyone’s sanity, though the task of censoring itself is so difficult that, until details are worked out, there is a blanket censorship on subjects like history and biology as those feature men a lot and the human reproduction has since changed dramatically, so the people born after it know nothing of those subjects. I avoid mentioning the month and year as it would give me more flexibility to time the event of things without conflicting with another, especially when I forgot when something happened.)

Yononaka no Okugi (Part 3)

It wasn’t easy to find anyone whose given name is not in katakana. Looking at my class registry, none of my classmates have it. I don’t have access to that of other classes and you can’t tell how it’s written by simply hearing hearing it. Most people assume it is in katakana since it is common with most people of an age group. I can’t think of any examples of names I have seen before that are in kanji or hiragana.
Well, when exam results came out, they did put out a list of names of the students here The problem with that the notice has already been removed before I came to be aware about the world before the transformations, so I didn’t pay attention to who they were. If my memory serves me correctly, none of the top few had non-katakana names.
…hold on.
I walked past a poster that had the name of the student council’s vice president on it. I only know her family name by sound, but when I saw 井ノ 一詞 for Hitoshi Inosaki being written down, it gave me a weird feeling. What caught my attention the most is that the given name is in kanji, and contains the 一 (hito) character that is very rarely seen in names. I also noticed the missing 崎 (saki) from her family name, which made it even more peculiar as the second character is ノ (no), which itself is not kanji.
That is unexpected. I have seen the vice president before, but her name is not usually mentioned, or by family name only if it did. People don’t really remember her since people would only remember the main president of the council, or if people wondered what the structure of it is. It’s like she is invisible, and only there for the sake of filling up the gaps.
Should I go to the student council room and talk to her about what I know so far? I don’t even know her on a personal level. What if the other members are present if I were to visit her? I don’t if that would affect the outcome.
I have just finished my research in the library and heading to my home. There shouldn’t be anyone in the in the classrooms apart from club activities as it’s well after the end of school, but I’m hearing something from one of the vacant classrooms. This school building is designed from a time when middle and high schools have about the same number of students, but now there are fewer students in middle schools everywhere, so there are quite a number of vacant classrooms. As I got closer, I hear strange sounds that are commonly heard in the toilet, but not usually heard elsewhere.
(Author’s note: the toilets in the post-evolution world are completely different owing to how different the human body works. Toilet bowls have been replaced by a device that automatically attaches to the body so that their bladder is removed without requiring any effort. Because of how the insides has been redesigned, it’s impossible to use this without triggering a check to see the girl using it needs to be made pregnant. She would be made pregnant at this stage if someone had died without a replacement on the way. The girl in question wouldn’t notice it until she notices that she can’t detach herself from the device when childbirth is going on. It is impossible to relieve bladder without using that device apart from an old-fashioned toilet seat, but they are quickly being replaced as the new toilet does not require any water or toilet paper, and the waste can be turned into something useful, like to generate electricity. Naomi does not know what a pre-evolution toilet are like, or how they work, so she does not know that the sounds she normally hears in toilets are different in pre-evolution days. Of course, nobody documents about toilets.)
What I saw in the vacant classroom shocks me: I saw Hitoshi behaving in a completely different way form when she is out in the public eye. For some reason, she is trying to rip out her blouse at the buttons while sounding angry. She also seem to have destroyed her signature hair by having quite a length of her hair cut without a care of the results, and she had her feet into something lying on the ground that doesn’t look like a skirt.
Hitoshi did manage to rip apart all the buttons and secured that thing that was at her feet earlier at her waist. That thing she’s wearing seem to cover her entire legs, but those seem too loose to be stockings. At the same time, she kept trying to pull out her breasts out of the restraints underneath her blouse (I didn’t realize I was wearing the same kind of restraints too) with one hand, and punched herself at the area where the bladder comes out from with the other.
I have no idea what she is doing to herself, but she kept yelling “this can’t be happening”, “I want my old life back”, and “it has been about a decade now” in a desperate voice. Well, the fact the number of years she mentioned (a decade=10 years) being more than the number of yearbooks I saw in the library, along with the strange things she’s doing to herself, strongly supports that she must know what happened 5 years ago.
About a minute later, the unknown thing she’s wearing over her skirt suddenly was brought down to her feet, the blouse she ripped apart fixed itself and, out of nowhere, the sweater, blazer, and ribbon she is normally seen wearing appeared too. I guess she took them off before I came. Her hair regrew to what it was before as if her terrible cutting earlier never happened. Wait, what? I never thought of touching my clothes before, but is that what happens when you do something to it? To be honest, I have never seen myself without these clothes I’m wearing before. I can’t explain what happened, but I saw it happening with my own eyes.
Hitoshi then started screaming again (the way she screamed sounded odd, as if she wanted to scream in a different way) while shaking her head madly and shouted something about why she has to live like “this”, whatever the word “this” refers to. It was when she was shaking her head around that she saw me staring at her. She paused for a while as if trying to determine how to react based on what I am identified as. A short pause later, she was blushing excessively in embarrassment.

“D-Did you see what I was doing?”

I nodded. Kind of regretted doing this because of how she reacted next.

“Please don’t tell anyone else about what you just saw. I was figuring out how our bodies work, and you caught me in an embarrassing situation. I am figuring out how our expressions work, and it seems that I am currently not expressing what I’m really feeling inside. I feel awkward being polite when I am not trying to.”
That didn’t sound right: her tone does not match the words she said. Hitoshi seems self aware that she isn’t expressing what she is really feeling, but did not clarify on it.
I talked to her about what I have discovered so far. She was amazed that, for someone who is born after the evolution like me, was able to understand the world today from the viewpoint of pre-evolution people.
Hitoshi explained that she was like those older people who worked at offices until about early last year when she suddenly found herself being young again. For people like her, attending school is optional as they have attended before, but she did anyway as she forgot what it was like. She became the vice president partly because she has the life experience, whereas almost everyone else never existed more than 3 years ago.
I asked about what she was doing to herself. She seemed reluctant to reply.
“Well, I did say I became young again. Not too many years earlier, I me, like everyone else, was transformed against our will to what we are now. I was a middle aged man. Please don’t make me ask how I looked: our present female-like bodies are not supposed to see males as we have evolved to not need them and don’t exist anymore. However, our female instincts has not changed, so we still dress and behave as if we are attracting men despite having no men to attract. We are not allowed to see images of men, not even an old image of myself, as it would trigger an archaic feeling that, with our redesigned bodies, would be impossible to subside until becoming young again or reach an insanely high level. Trust me: I am still feeling it right now after accidentally seeing it online last year. It’s not life threatening, but it does affect your concentration.”
That explains a lot of why I am seeing so much incomplete or missing old things everywhere: images of men are very common pre-evolution, so they are removed to keep us sane. I wouldn’t want to be the girl who removes the images.
“How can we be sure that we are removing the right ones if we can’t even look at it? Apparently most of the censoring takes place where people would make the sacrifice of going crazy. For places like Mizuho Academy, however, people have apparently been trained to totally ignore the feelings, which is a difficult thing to achieve but yet are able to with a high percentage of success. No wonder they are the best in the world.”
Without knowing what is this feeling she is talking about, I can’t really understand her or the significance of it.

Chapter 1 / 2
Part 2 | Part 4

Alternate Dimension (Part 94)

She said that I could grab any random girl I see and do whatever I like to her, but what does that mean?
Well, each student of this school has no family. The evolution has meant that as a replacement for each girl who had died, or to create a completely new entity, would simply be an independent individual that seemed to have spawned like a NPC (non-playable character) in a video game. Explaining what a family is to them is next to impossible because of how humans have been changed completely. They would also be confused when they encounter aggressive behaviour by pre-evolution people when they do it via an interface (eg. driving cars, controlling video game characters) while not appearing so in person. Think of it as like a split personalty from not being able to express what they truly feel, a feeling that post-evolution people could hardly imagine.
I saw a girl who wears the Yuribashi Middle School (ゆりばし中学) uniform, the same school that Naomi Fujibayashi attended. It is one of those schools that exists to accommodate the rapidly rising amount of schoolgirls that appeared out of nowhere. Although people say it’s a pre-evolution school, it was founded in the earliest stages of the transitioning period, where, apart from noticing something being wrong with the demographics statistics, nobody was aware of the changes going on. I believe it isn’t an elite school, or else I would have heard it mentioned a lot at events with Mizuho Academy. If so, the uniform seem to strangely have that elite look for a normal school.
I liked the Yuribashi uniform because of its attractive design, particularly the brown pantyhose that is part of the uniform, along with the dark coloured theme of the whole outfit. I have a set of that uniform myself in one of my wardrobes, along with others. Well, “attractive” is somewhat a meaningless word these days since there are no men to attract, but it is one of the components that these feminine clothes we are forced to wear must feature or else we can’t wear it at all, even at the risk of safety. At least the good part is that we don’t feel anything on seeing another girl’s attractive features. The design as not changed since before the evolution, though slightly conservative in design when compared to Mizuho’s uniform.
Although not mandated by law, it is somewhat easy to tell apart a worker who works for one company and one who works for another because, as a result of the clothes being so troublesome to change, they introduce their own set of uniforms. Regardless if they are a supervisor in an office or a mechanic in a vehicle workshop, they wear what usually appears to be more suited for the office. It looks strange for people in labour intensive jobs to wear an outfit, but there is nothing else they can wear that won’t get rejected on wearing.
So anyway, what do I do with this girl exactly? It’s hard for me to think with her appearance alone, but that is practically how anyone looks today.
Me: “Hey you, the girl in the Yuribashi uniform over there.”

The girl seem to have heard that, but caught her off-guard. She appears to be aware that I was calling her as she appear to be looking around in all directions except towards me. What is with her?

Me: “Yes, you. The girl who is turning her head everywhere except at me.”

The girl turned towards me as if she is in trouble. Without saying a word she stared at my face for a while, before looking at the rest of my body for a seemingly long time. What is she staring at? Judging by how she was looking, she could be examining what I’m wearing, but I am uncomfortable that she is staring around my breasts the longest. Why is she so interested about them? She has the same thing herself… wait, hers does seem smaller than mine which, in her case, is considered about the average size.

Girl: “You are the CEO of Powell, Miss Hisakawa aren’t you? W-what do you want form me? How are you wearing the rare Mizuho Middle school uniform? No one but actual students from there could wear it, and it doesn’t look fake.”

So this girl wasn’t staring at my breasts, but rather my name tag around there that is part of the Mizuho uniform I’m wearing. It is known fact that it is not possible to wear the wrong Mizuho uniform since it auto corrects on wearing them. She mentioned “rare” because the middle school department is far fewer than the average middle school that you hardly see it, even within the academy itself. It used to be larger, but there are just too few students because everyone born today are usually of high school age or older. The middle school students of today are made up of the small minority who were born of the age or the older people who had been re-transformed within the past few years, and Mizuho’s intake for that is quite small compared to other schools. The fact that she knows that I am the most important person to one of the largest companies today, and seeing what I’m wearing, has her confused.

Me: “It’s a long story, but let’s just say that… I never attended Mizuho as a middle school student before.”

That wasn’t a lie, but that’s not what I wanted to say. I wanted to say that the Hatsuya Research forced me. In this day and age, it’s considered normal for people who had just become young again to attend school again, though availability of places prioritises the newly born.

Voice in my head: “And have her raise questions on why you, as the CEO of Powell are working for Hatsuya, a rival company? There is no official partnership between us and Powell.”

There was an abrupt pause. This pause was long enough for the girl with me to continue her conversation.

Girl: “Oh, right. I forgot to introduce myself. I am Ako Matsumi (松実アコ). So what did you call me for?”

Voice in my head: “Sorry about that pause. A college told me that you are on a mission to target any two girls at random for an official experiment… Are you picking this girl you are looking at now? Although picking these post-evolution people are easy targets since they are so trusting and have no family, they are the big unknown in terms of how the experiments will turn out. Our dimension is the only one where everyone have become a completely new and only gender that even we don’t understand. We don’t know how we reproduce ourselves without men or our body functioning differently from a female, but we know it’s going on as our population actually increased during the four years since the evolution happened. What we have become seem to have been a wish of someone with a fetish for young women who were nothing but school and office uniforms with skirts that doesn’t even cover the knees. I personally don’t like how short they are, but we can’t wear anything else. Even more strange is, from the view of how things were, how are we only be biologically of a very specific age range regardless of actual age, or the newborns to already have the academic knowledge of the age their biological bodies are at? Well, if you pick her, you would have to choose another person too.”

Ako: “Hello? Your face seems as if someone else and me were talking to you at the same time.”

How could she tell?

Voice in my head: “I didn’t know post-evolution people are these smart, or is it her specifically?”

Me: “Oh, sorry. I kind of lost my focus there. You said that you are Matsumi, right?”

The girl had “I knew it” written all over her face.

Me: “Well, I am currently working on a project with a few people, but I need someone besides them and, I was thinking if you would like to be a part of it.”

Ako: “Okay then… sure. If you say so.”

She seem to have reluctantly agreed to follow me without any resistance or me explaining what is going on. Do these people actually trust strangers too easily?

Part 93 | Part 95

678th post: Pseudo Japanese things that aren’t Japanese at all

You may have seen them before. From that “How to Draw Manga” I came across in a London museum (above tweet, possibly by an American author), to having the “の” (or its romanised form “no”) being used excessively like “Ookami no Jutsu” or, if in Chinese, something like “时间の乐趣”.

If you aren’t familiar with Chinese or Japanese, notice the random の being used as a substitute for 的 in the middle of a Chinese sentence that contains characters that aren’t normally used in Japanese, or used only in Simplified Chinese. If you are having trouble telling apart a genuine Japanese product with a copycat from China (Taiwan especially), look at the design like the fonts used: some products uses particular fonts that are commonly used on other Japanese products, but never elsewhere. If there’s a barcode, the first two digits of a genuine Japanese product should start with “42”. If it doesn’t, it’s not a real Japanese product.

Then there are overused Japanese themes used in the media that, while not historically inaccurate, it may give the impression to those who know nothing about Japan that it’s still filled with ninjas, samurai, geisha, houses are made up of low-rise wooden houses, and people get around by horses. To make things more complicated, there are actual dramas on Japanese TV that does look like it takes place in the Edo era (Early 17th century to mid 19th century) or earlier, which, if it is the only thing that a non-Japanese that knows little of the country were to see it would think that it is the modern-day Japan. (It’s possible if the influence is none or not obvious, and the local media hardly or doesn’t cover it at all, which itself you don’t watch.)

Until seemingly recently, I have also seen people using random katakana (or some typeface that tries to look like it) or some funny curved lines (which is also used in Chinese context) that are like what I call “chicken markings”. They then try to excessively use it when talking about Japanese things. Sometimes with some strange accent that even Japanese speaking English would never use. I said “until seemingly recently” because I almost never see them these days. Possibly due to increased awareness of the Japanese language and culture, mostly through anime.

An Unexpected Wish (Part 10)

With the memory of a man being transformed into a schoolgirl in front of Nanami on a crowded train with no one noticing still fresh on her mind, she thinks that if she were to look at anyone for long enough, they would be turned into girls. Well, that was the first and only one she saw happening, so she wasn’t sure if this was the case, or it just so happens by a great coincidence. It’s still unknown why it happened.

A part of her is saying that person from earlier has always been a schoolgirl, but it  conflicts what she remembers seeing and asking. It’s as if something is trying to modify her memory, which probably explains why people around her didn’t seem to notice. Nothing that has happened seem to make sense, particularly how she found herself in a completely different place that, in real-time, takes only a second, but seems like hours being stuck in a strange place from her point of view.

On reaching the station near her home, she saw a familiar face waiting anxiously: it was Kotomi. Although Kotomi is technically Nanami’s niece, Kotomi is somewhat like a stepmother to her after her grandmother, partly because Kotomi is older in age than Nanami.

“Saeko told me about what happened to you after I saw that flash of green light. I didn’t think it would happen to you. I don’t think you are mentally ready to tell me what happened, but you can tell me anything on your mind, no matter how absurd it may be. Things that can’t be scientifically explained has happened to me.”

Nanami did not respond apart from hugging her tightly in tears until she fell asleep.


In the following weeks, strange things has happened around her. At school, Nanami could have sworn that the school principal was a strict old man that punishes heavily on every small mistake someone makes and sees only the direct result of that action and not what cause it that may not necessarily be the student’s fault. In his place was a woman around her niece’s age who is relaxed but firm. However, things seem as if this woman has always been the principal, though the effects caused by the previous principal from when Nanami is sure he was still around are still there, with the exception of punishment and ban durations that overlaps with the new principal, if the new principal is and aware of it and disapproves them that is.

As for elsewhere, it’s harder to tell as you would never know that any girl you see could have been a muscular man just a month ago, made worse by the fact that nobody remembers who they were, and the victim themselves thinking it has always been that way as they are now. It didn’t help that Nanami didn’t know who these people were in the first place.

Nanami wanted to tell Kotomi about this, but she wouldn’t be sure how she would react as, by the nature of this phenomenon, people’s memories are modified so that they don’t notice it. Then she remembered Kotomi saying that she would believe her, no matter how absurd it may sound.

She started to take out her phone to call her, but placed it back at the though of possibly disturbing her at work. However, at that very instant, Nanami could feel that some invisible force in her head. She knows that this is a sign that someone she has met before is being turned into a schoolgirl, and judging by the duration and intensity of it, it is likely to be of someone Nanami knows well.
Not long after the pain subsided, her phone rang. It was Kotomi calling her from the office.
“Hey, did you feel the pain in the head that I just had? You did? People around me don’t seem to have it. I wonder what this could mean?”
I explained what I wanted to tell her.
“So you are saying that you suspected that random adults are being turned into schoolgirls? People around her didn’t notice. You witnessed one being transformed in front of you? How about your younger sister?”
Nanani was confused on who she was talking about. She only has an older brother as a sibling, who has passed away.
“Your sister, Naomi. Who else lives with…”

Kotomi noticed that something was odd with Nanami’s reaction. At that same moment, Nanami heard someone talking to Kotomi, but it was too faint to here.

“What is it Saeko? I’m on the phone with my aunt…”

The sound of the receiver being placed on something was heard, followed by illegible words in the background. Sounds of them arguing and being shock were heard.
“Sorry about that. Saeko just told me that you do not have a sister… with the possibility that my memory of who lives with you could have been modified… As promised earlier, I will believe what you said no matter how bizarre it may be. Are you home now? Saeko said she would come over to your place to inspect who is this younger sister of yours,” said Kotomi in a worried voice.
Nanami is confused herself. Who is this girl living at her home? If Kotomi talked about Nanami’s “younger sister” at the top of her mind, that means Nanami actually has one now. The only other person living with Nanami should be her grandmother.

True enough, there was someone besides her grandmother living in her house. The items lying suggests that they have been there for a while, but Nanami doesn’t remember seeing some items, or the other items being at where they are now, earlier this morning when Nanami left. Even the items in the refrigerator seems different.

Nanami could not find anyone in the house, but she did notice that her late brother’s bedroom are filled with unfamiliar girl’s things, though the furniture are unchanged. In fact, the one that had changes was the furniture in Nanami’s own room, where it seems designed to be shared with two people. However, it seems that there are nothing but her own things in them. Nanami thought that this unknown girl called Naomi might had stayed in her room before and moved to her brother’s room later. Where could she be?

Nanami had taken town the family photos since the death of her immediate family members, but with a random stranger being just added to it, she has to look at them again to find out who is this mysterious little sister. No new photos were taken since then, save for candid shots with friends. The new little sister really does look like a sibling like how her brother was, though different enough to not look like twins.
Some time later, an unfamiliar voice announced her arrival. She sounded as if she usually does this, and carrying plastic bags filled with something. Guests and visitors would usually remain standing at the entrance until someone attends to them, but this person seem to completely disregard that.
Nanami turned to this seemingly rude guest. She saw a girl similar to that in the pictures, wearing an unknown school uniform, but had a familiar-looking logo on it (she couldn’t recall where), and wears a name tag that had Naomi Fujibayashi (藤林直美) written on it. Seems that this “rude guest” isn’t a guest at all, but rather the little sister that Nanami didn’t have prior to today that somehow has her existence forced in.

[Author’s note 1: I wanted to say that Naomi is wearing brown pantyhose, which is part of the school uniform, but that seems unnecessary to mention here since Nanami sees it often enough, and being a female herself, to not see it as a big deal.]

Nanami didn’t know how to react. Act like the usual? But she doesn’t even know her or know what the usual is.
“Oneechan? Are you daydreaming? Is there something on my face?”
It was at that moment that Saeko appeared shortly afterwards. She seems to have been running to catch up to Naomi earlier, but failed.
“Hey! Who are you?! How dare you barge into my home without…”
Saeko appeared to have completely ignored Naomi and talked directly to Nanami. Nanami was too preoccupied with the girl’s presence to notice that Saeko had appeared without notice, or hearing Saeko speak as if she had taken a short pause.
“I have something to talk about. It’s about what I found out at work, and it’s related to what we discussed earlier.”

She made sure that Naomi could not overhear them. Naomi was mad that she was being rude and being ignored, but let it pass after seeing that Nanami knew her well.

“It seems that specific types of people are being turned into schoolgirls with no memories of who they were. I have been wondering about other things about them until it happened to you, but it seems that their genes are also rewritten to become a part of a different existing family, especially childless middle-aged couples, or of any age with children in their teenage years.”

“You mean to say that this Naomi girl living with me now could have been some dirty old man yesterday?”

“Not necessarily, but that could be possible. We don’t have a clear picture of who or why they are being transformed, though Hatsuya has the tools to find out. What is clear is that she looks and behaves like a girl born a decade and a half ago with no traces of ever being an old man. This transformation also seem to have things changed in a way that things relating to the old self has disappeared without a trace, and new one appearing as if they have always been that way. We do notice an imbalance of the decline of middle-age man or older and elderly ladies with explosion of teenage girls whose numbers don’t add up with that of last year or the pre-teens from earlier years, but with their existence changed completely, we do not know who these people were. It might even be that this new sister of yours thinks that she has always been part of your family, and would be bad to kick her out, especially when your home is her only home she knows. Kotomi mentioning her at the top of her mind despite having never actually met her is prove that everyone’s memory has changed.”

Nanami thought about what Saeko just said, then she realized something.

“Wait. If my grandmothers were to be turned into these young girls one day, what will happen to me?”

“Well, seeing at what has happened to others, you would simply not remember her. So will other people that know her. It could have been worse in a way that any children she gave birth to (including your parents), had become different or even cease to exist, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. For some reason, you are the only one who could witness and remember the transformation happening. It’s funny that they could have one of those transformed people to be your sister even though you could remember not having one.”

It wasn’t until Nanami thought about it until she realized something.

“If I’m the only one who could remember the transformations as it’s happening, and memories of that person being modified at the same time to think it has always been that way, how did you know that I never had a little sister before? You seem to know about it soon enough to correct Kotomi when she mentioned Naomi to me over the phone without a second thought.”

“Well, let’s just say that I have an instinct that tells me that something wasn’t right, and a way to check what happened without it being affected by the memory modification. Ever since that incident where you suddenly teleported to my house in front of Kotomi, I started checking more often when I feel that something doesn’t feel right.”

Saeko saw Naomi again. Saeko then signalled to Nanami that she is about to talk to Naomi to see what she knows. Saeko also noted the uniform Naomi was wearing, which slightly excites her for some reason, though she did not say why. She looked as if she has something to say, on why she’s excited, but seem to have stop herself.

[Author’s note 2: More specifically, Saeko was excited at the sight of Naomi wearing pantyhose as she used to be .a boy, so she does get excited over the feminine things she sees. She also noted that Naomi’s breasts are larger than Nanami, but still smaller than her own, though Saeko wasn’t thinking of that at that time. Saeko’s thoughts would have caused an erection if she was still a boy, but being in a female body, nothing happened.]

“Naomi, do you know me? I am Hisakawa…”, began Saeko, but was interrupted.

“OH, NOW YOU ARE INTRODUCING YOURSELF TO ME? After entering the house without invitation and ignoring me?”, yelled Naomi. Nanami couldn’t help but laugh, though Saeko got a bit scared from being yelled at.

After the introductions, Saeko asked about what happened to Naomi’s family. What she said is similar to that of Nanami, but when it came to how her parents and brother were killed, her version is different: she was at the house when the murdering happened.

Naomi heard the voices of her brother and father yelling when she knew something wasn’t right. She has seen Nanami heading out earlier, so she knows she isn’t at home at that time.

She hid at the space under the bed of her parent’s bedroom, which has boxes on one side that makes it not obvious to a casual observer form the doorway that someone is hiding there. However, the killer has been quiet entering the house, so she doesn’t know if the killer is still walking around the house or has already left. She was afraid that any attempts to call for help would attract the attention of the killer, so she just simply stayed under the bed for hours. Naomi is careful to cover her phone’s speaker while turning it off so it doesn’t make unexpected sounds, like notifications, that would attract the murderer’s attention to her.

Hours later, Naomi felt hungry, thirsty, and her bladder bursting. She was at the same spot where she was in the morning, though the sun has set, and the room is dark, though there’s enough light form outside to see something. She wasn’t sure if it is safe to get out of the bed.

It wasn’t until the room lights came on and heard the voices of Nanami and the neighbours that she was assured that it was safe. Although, it was unavoidable to not see the dead bodies and blood splatter of her parents and brother. It was a horrifying experience for her, and her trust in strangers has dropped

Saeko thought about Naomi’s story. While the murders did happened, and tally with what Nanami has said before from her point of view (dark house, brings neighbours, finds dead bodies), no one was found hiding in the parent’s room under the bed where Naomi was supposedly hiding.

Saeko then thought deeply about something and told Nanami,

“I’m afraid to say this, but Naomi is really your sister now. She has no one but you to live with among the people she knows, and she does resemble your parents, though differently from you.”

This is just too much for Nanami to bear with.

Europe trip: Day 14 (Venice Day 2)

Places visited (11 June): Binale sites. Former republic of Slovakia, Korea art museum

Second day in Venice. Went to the supermarket to buy more food supplies, and walking through the streets that range from being at the two sides of the river, to random dark and narrow pathway that oddly has a lot of people walking through it. As if encountered by accident, I stumbled upon Iuav University of Venice (Università Iuav di Venezia; IUAV), probably the only college there.

There are so many things about this city that you can’t find elsewhere: plenty of old buildings that are older than most buildings that I know of, the lack of roads (which also means the absence of things associated with vehicles) and having boats in their place, houses that are that close to the water as you can see in pictures (and the algae markings visible). Partly because of how long ago the buildings were built, and their conservation status, it’s hard to tell if buildings are shops, houses, schools, offices, and so on, at a glance. The only areas where buildings of modern times are seen are in the area where the station I arrived at is located (which is also where the bus terminal to the mainland are, including the airport) and the outlying islands that are designed to look like the older Venice buildings, but distinct enough to tell that it’s new. I saw a construction zone and a demolished site on one of those islands.

If you were to look carefully at the walls, you can see how high the flooding in Venice can reach, which is not surprising considering how low the average street level is to the water, but the increasing frequency and height is a worrying concern.

Without a map, I walked around along the main streets hoping to find a binale site. Eventually, I came across one, which is an exhibit of dead bats, cocoons, and not much other stuff. However, it was also there that I found out where the main venue is, which is at two separate locations. Both are quite far from the place I stayed at.

So what else is there? Well, we decided to wander around aimlessly. Probably areas far away from where most tourists would probably not go to. I came across a jetty where the gondolas that Venice is known for are parked at. Jetty is designed in a way that you would have to navigate through the confusing paths to get to, even though the waterway itself is a major waterway.

Along the way, I noticed that some doors are sealed up for some reason. An obvious way to tell is that the numbers that usually appear above the doors appeared above a wall, though it’s obvious that, by looking at it, there was a door there. Some units has (apparently older) roman numerals carved at the top of the door archway. The newer numbering seems to be a unique number across the whole of Venice except its outlying islands.

Then we came across a courtyard-like place with a unit that seemed to have its door decayed badly. On its window, I could find some sand-like particles at the edges of the window that looked like something you would find at the beach. This is the strongest sign of how high the floods in Venice could go. Looking into the window, it is clear that the place seems to have been abandoned for a while, as I could see flood-damaged items (and flood lines on some) inside.

Along the way back, I saw two black cats. Cats are rarely seen during the time in Europe at that point in time, and these two seemed to belong to someone. These cats quickly wandered away, as if running away from me. I don’t know why, but something made me want to follow those cats.

So the cats bring me to some strange area surrounded by buildings where there are more similar looking cats hanging around. This area is out of the way for most people.

I wanted to get closer to the building and those cats, but it’s fenced up with a locked gate. (Photo you see on the right is taken through the gaps in the fence.)

It was sunset at that time, so, I left when it got dark. I saw light reflecting off the cat’s eyes as I leave.

Now, how do I find my way back. In fact, where exactly am I? The place is not that well lit.

If it weren’t for my phone’s GPS and an offline cache, I would have been completely lost. Having signs pointing to some major places in Venice that are close to my place or in the general direction of it.

The quiet streets with close shops and nobody around is kind of scary though.

Yononaka no Okugi (Part 2)

To avoid alerting people on what I am up to, I would only head to the library when no one wants me to join them to walk home or somehow only get released from school late enough for the library to be closing. I do not know why I do not want other people to know about it, but something tells me that I shouldn’t tell anyone.

The school library is smaller than the local community library. It shouldn’t take that long to find any kind of book relating to my school, but…

There are only four school yearbooks on the shelf, and all of them are of those who graduated earlier this year and the three years immediately prior to that. For a school that is established about half a century ago, this is shocking. My guess from this is that it either happened four years ago, or after the graduation of five years ago. So that should also mean that people who were in this school at the time the transformation happened should be in the books between two to four years ago.

I wonder if I can pick up hints from their testimonials and compare them with more recent ones, but without yearbooks from more than four years ago, I cannot tell how the testimonials of students that graduated four years ago (the batch that experienced their transformed selves the least as students here) are the same as earlier graduates…

Oh? I noticed that the names of the batch of students who were studying in the school at the time this evolution happened had all of their given names in kanji and hiragana. That is also when people with their given names only in katakana, like mine, started appearing. I’m guessing that this could be a hint.

The ratio of those students with katakana names then started increasing dramatically as time passed. Names of people who had their names in kanji or hiragana became a handful minority in the fourth yearbook here, which means the first year students who experienced the transformations were in the three school year books before that, which obviously means they have already graduated…

…Wait a minute. How are there still students with non-katakana names in this school if the people who experienced evolution as first year middle school students should be in third year of high school now? Anyone born since then have katakana names only

I don’t know why myself, but everyone born after the evolution should only have Japanese given names in katakana. Come to think of it, what happened to the people who were too young to be a middle school student when the evolution happened? Seeing that there are no “old” people mentioned in these old magazines, what happens to us when we actually do reach the age that is considered “old”? Could it be related to me suddenly being thirteen years old when I was born? How did I exist in the first place?

It looks like I really can’t continue on further without help from someone. I wonder if the students in this school with non-katakana names could help me? Their name would surely stand out in the list of students since many students of this school presently were born after the evolution.

Chapter 1
Part 1 | Part 3