MTL: Dexter, Kael
FTL(Hardest Part): KayL
Final Editors: Kakarotto (aka G-String)
Note: We are using the Chinese Official Translation and Original Japanese Raw in our translations. Our Editors and Raw Readers (Translators) have done their best to give you the best quality English translation. We hope you enjoy reading Chiramune as much we do!
After we finished our dinner, Yua immediately started getting ready to leave. She explained that her family had scheduled an early outing the following day, and she might be late coming to cook dinner.
Only then did I realize that it was August 12th, and the next day marked the start of the 1Obon Festival. As usual, my family had never informed me of anything, leaving me completely unaware.
As Yua put on her shoes, I called out to her.
“You should spend time with your family during Obon. I’ll be fine on my own.”
“Are you sure? Will you eat properly?” she asked.
“Don’t worry about me. I’m a high school student after all. I can handle instant noodles or grab something from the convenience store,” I replied, imitating what her younger brother had said before.
“That’s not healthy, though,” she pouted, her cheeks puffing out.
“I was joking. I’ll be careful. Luckily, I have plenty of time.”
“…Alright, if you say so,” She accepted my slightly self-deprecating words with a smile. “Well then, I’ll see you after the Obon Festival.”
“Yeah, see you.”
As she turned to leave, I called out to her again, “Thanks for everything. You’ve been a huge help to me.”
She turned back, her eyes softening. Then she closed the door, and the sound of her footsteps faded away.
In the ensuing silence, a sense of emptiness pervaded the room.
I made a deliberate effort to create some noise as I locked the door, but it did little to dispel the lingering feeling.
I poured myself a cup of barley tea and then plopped down on the couch.
“Obon, huh?” I muttered absentmindedly while gazing outside the window.
I realized that the end of summer was approaching.
Since I was a child, for some reason, Obon had always felt like a boundary line to me.
I eagerly looked forward to the long days of August, where I would catch beetles, swim in the pool, and go searching for rainbows at the foot of the mountains on my bike. But as soon as the festival ended, a sense of melancholy took over, much like the feeling after any festivity.
I would then start counting the remaining days of summer, worrying about unfinished homework, and reminiscing about the days when I had planned so much but ended up doing nothing.
I would feel frustrated and stomp my feet, thinking that there should have been more excitement, more adventure, and a summer story waiting for me that nobody had ever seen.
Yet, despite all that, jellyfish still appeared in the sea, the days gradually grew shorter, and the sounds of cool insects became louder and louder.
Come to think of it, for me, Obon meant…
──Ring, Ring, Ring.
The sound of an incoming call, like a premonition of the approaching autumn, echoed in the air. I looked at my smartphone and saw Asu-nee’s name displayed on screen.
After I had explained the situation with a confused mind, I had been worried that I had said too much and heard nothing back from her since.
But when I thought calmly, we didn’t have any means of communicating with each other until recently, other than meeting by chance.
I cleared my throat once before answering the call.
“This is Asuka, do you have a moment to talk?”
“Yeah, I’m free. What’s up?”
I heard Asu-nee inhaling softly on the other end of the phone.
“Tomorrow, would you like to visit your grandmother?”
I was at a loss for words. That was the very scene that had just floated through my mind.
A mirage of the scene that I nostalgically looked back on.
Because, for me, the Obon meant staying at my maternal grandmother’s house every year and walking on the rice paddy paths with my first love.
──It was the summer we spent together.
“Are you going?”
Hearing that question, I scratched my head vigorously.
“Sorry, hold on a sec.”
I placed my phone on the low table and washed my face vigorously in the bathroom, as I couldn’t allow my heart to be even slightly agitated.
I scrubbed my face again and again as if I was trying to wash away stubborn dirt. Then, I gulped down my barley tea until my head finally cooled down.
Come to think of it, I had told Asu-nee that we should someday visit my grandmother together. She must have remembered that promise.
There was no more suitable day to visit my grandmother’s house, where I hadn’t shown my face since starting high school, than during the Obon festival.
…But at this point, it felt like a cowardly move to make such a decision.
“Sorry to keep you waiting,” I said, holding my smartphone to my ear, “Can we stop by and buy some Habutae Kurumi at the Fukui Station? Grandma liked them.”
“Of course!” Asu-nee replied happily.
Then, after we agreed on the meeting place and time, we hung up the phone.
If I couldn’t undo my decision, I had to move forward. I had decided not to stand still anymore.
I would face reality properly.
Then, now, and in the future.
1. お盆(Obon) also known as Bon, is an annual Japanese holiday that commemorates and remembers deceased ancestors. You can find more about the festival here. The festival lasted for three days.