Pride, Jealousy, Glasses, and Oversized Allstars
“Alright. The career choice survey you’ve just received is due on Monday. Fill it out before then.”
The representative ended homeroom with this, and with a clatter everyone stood at the same time.
There, he turned his glasses toward the brown scraps of paper in his hand. The moisture laden summer air rode on the cries of the cicadas through the open window.
(It’s already that time, huh)
Before he realized it two years had passed since he entered this school, and just like that he had entered his last year.
He attends Minamisou High School, near the center of the Bousou Province, it’s one of the prefecture’s most prestigious schools that since long ago has produced local celebrities. However, recently due to the declining birth rate and the emergence of popular private schools the difficulty of the school has been falling year by year, causing a period of unimpressive academic achievements from former students. Even then, two or three students a year get into the most difficult openings, the lesser students gave up on their low academic ability and considered it enough. (しかし、近年の少子化の影響と新興の私立高の台頭で難場度は年々低下傾向にあり、進学実績も一時期ほどはパッとしない。それでも意地で年に二、三人は最難開大に入る生徒を出してはいるが、下の方には学力が足リズに進学を諦めてしまう生徒もいる。) In short, it’s a school where abilities vary wildly.
There, if one was pressed about Ijima Yasuki, they’d say he’s of those lesser students, and looking generously, that his grades are average. He’s not a part of any athletic clubs and is blessed with lots of time. As long as he prepared for lessons and reviewed afterwards, he wouldn’t stand out in a bad way.
Similar to academic prowess, there exists an unseen hierarchy in the space between “the students who rejoice in the springtime of youth and those who do not.” –Well, some aspects are decided by things like clothing to some degree, if that makes sense.
Boys who are regulars in the major athletic club teams(like baseball or soccer), the band members in the light music club, or similar kinds of people are at the top. Next is the ordinary athletic clubs. Below them are the cultural clubs who can speak to the higher rank people. The lowest is everyone else. The guys in the bottom ranks wear vests that aren’t part of the uniform and they also wear their pants dropped, so it’s easy to pick them out.(TL: Couldn’t quite get this: 学校指定じゃない)(TL: I don”t understand this pants thing at all: ズボンを落として穿いていたり)
Yasuki doesn’t see the point of wearing anything other than the school designated uniform. He absolutely won’t wear it in any way other than the intended one. In first year, he was in the same class as Katsuya from the same middle school, who knew a lot about anime and special effects. While walking home together, somehow Yasuki ended up being branded as an otaku like Katsuya. Thus, he ended up as part of the worst ranked group of students.
But that couldn’t really be helped, and he doesn’t care. At this point, changing his appearance or struggling for a “High-School Debut” would just be backbiting his parents, who are the picture of mediocrity, but were able to have a child.(いまさら見た目を変えようと足掻いたところで 「高校デビュー」 と陰口を叩かれるだけだし、平凡を絵に描いたような自分の両親だって結婚して子供まで儲けることができている。) That’s why the patterns of romance or a youth spent shedding sweat and tears, for now, have nothing to do with him. Because before long he’ll become an adult, which is a happiness all it’s own, he most desires his time to pass uneventfully. That’s how he thought.
“Yassan. Let’s go home” (Katsuya)
Yasuki looked up, and in front of him was standing Katsuya.
Katsuya is fair-skinned and short, with unnaturally red lips and hair that stuck together even though it should have been washed. In middle school, the girls called him “gross.” However, the person himself, showing no apparent concern over his reputation and without stopping his otaku hobbies, and busies himself with his daily information collection.
Yasuki assumed that he would hear Katsuya passionately say something like “that one was godly” or “that DVD was altered here, ” which, even without the information, was enjoyable. In fact, he’s always thinking “I’m jealous of that passion.(Except for how open he is about his 18+ games and manga even though he’s not even of age)”
He quickly stuffed his things into his bag while walking with Katsuya. He’s a little bit taller than Katsuya, but they’re about the same height. Rounding up they reach about 170cm by the way.
In the entranceway, while Yasuki changed from his indoor shoes to his sneakers, Katsuya came to talk.
“Oh yeah, are you going to the summer training camp?” (Katsuya)
“Huh… I intend to go, but” (Yasuki)
The summer training camp. It starts right after summer vacation and is about intensive classes.
On the first week of the Minamisou High School 3rd years’ summer vacation, it’s a 3 night and 3 day study-focused stay in a training center in the mountains. They’re strictly taught the 5 main subjects for 8 hours every day.
Participation is “by application,” but since the last school trip is in second year at this high school, this is the special event for the third years. Consequently, no less than half of the students apply.
Honestly, Yasuki thinks “it’s a pain,” but all of his friends already applied. If he doesn’t go he wouldn’t be able to keep up with the topics of conversation for a while, plus he’s still hated. At times like this, he knew it was best to fit in with the surroundings.
“But I said I can’t go 3 days and 3 nights without a smartphone or internet, it’s like torture, you know? What am I supposed to do about things like my favorite forums? I’ll guess I’ll have to get my little brother to help.” (Katsuya)
“Just that much isn’t torture, you know?” (Yasuki)
While Yasuki tried to pacify Katsuya like that, from behind, shrill laughter sounded from a group of girls.
The moment he saw the girls, a chill went up Yasuki’s back. It was a noisy and showy girl group. And the one in front was-
(It’s Kitaoka……) (Yasuki)
She was like the figurehead of the movement to ignore Yasuki and Katsuya. She started speaking to the girl next to her.
“Juuri, you said you bought that Pique roomwear. About how much was it?” (Kitaoka)
(TL: Gelato Pique is a Japanese clothing brand)
“Umm, it was on sale, so it was more or less the same as Nanago I think.” (Juuri)
(TL: Not sure what ナナゴ― is)
“Ohh, must’ve been nice. Maybe I’ll buy one.” (Kitaoka)
“Don’t. Then we’d be the same at the training camp.” (Juuri)
Speaking like this, the noisy girls blew through like a storm.
After the girls were ten minutes away, Katsuya cautiously opened his mouth to speak.
“……those guys are also going to the training camp, huh.” (Katsuya)
“Seems like it……” (Yasuki)
In order to keep his hatred hidden, he answered as such. In his mind, however, he wasn’t calm. It would have been nice to leave without seeing them, too.
Kitaoka — the girl who trampled on his good intentions right after we entered the school. That perfect makeup, short skirt, and gaudy appearance catches the eye whether you want it to or not. (TL: Just to be clear, gorgeous and gaudy are the same word)
It’s not that he hates flashy girls. If one is not involved with them, they are nice on the eyes and fun.(関わり合いにならなければ、見た目を楽しいませてくれる分だけ役に立っている)He has that kind of feeling. It’s just Kitaoka that’s different. Her rule breaking fluffy curled hair, carelessly sparkly piercings, and necklace give him flashbacks to his bitter memories whenever he sees them.
“……now that you mention it, why is Kitaoka in the science track I wonder.” (Katsuya)
Once in second year the classes were separated. At Yasuki’s high school, students choose either Geographical History or Mathematics III for their third year and are classified based on that choice.
Flashy girls like Kitaoka generally pick the Geographical History track and gather in the humanities classes. She also didn’t seem to need to take an exam for Mathematics III. Despite this, somehow she also wanted the same science and technology track as Yasuki and so picked the same Mathematics III. When the unpleasant feelings of remembering the coincidence of ending up in the same class were coming out, Katsuya drawing on that, said.(偶然にもまた一緒のクラスになっ気まずい思いで吐き捨てると、克也がそれを汲んだ様子で言った)
“I-It’s that isn’t it? Because ‘Kimura-kun’ is there.” (Katsuya)
Kimura-kun. That he and Kitaoka went out for a while was rumored among the boys. With a tall stature and a current hairstyle, last year in the cultural festival with his band, he sung a song he wrote himself. He chose the same Mathematics III as Yasuki, but he’s in the next class over.
Recently they haven’t been seen together, but…. A useless investigation is unnecessary. Whether they break up or go out is of no concern to him.
“Oh, is that so……” (Yasuki)
Yasuki replied while taking off his glasses for a bit to wipe the sweat from them.
From the gymnasium one could hear the sound of basketballs bouncing and someone chasing them overlapping.