At least you'll never be a vegetable

Even artichokes have hearts.

Masterpost: Waiting at Tuberose Summary
Tego
9kinds

As I read through Tuberose, I was thinking it'd be nice to keep a summary going of the things that happen through out the book. This is not a translation, just a summary. I couldn't and I'm not trying to maintain Shige's writing style, but if you're curious to know about the general plot then I hope this is helpful to you!


Age 22





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Age 32






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Chapter 7 - 胎動 Fetal Movement
Tego
9kinds
The next day when Kouta arrives at Tuberose he immediately hears angry yelling, Mizutani, the owner of Tuberose, is screaming at Shizuku about a large sum of money and that he’ll make Shizuku take responsibility. When he’s finished yelling at Shizuku, Shizuku yells at the employees who have gathered and are wondering what happened to call everyone to the shop.

Within an hour all the employees are there, the only ones missing are those who had taken time off for prior appointments or are sick, and Amu. Shizuku tells them that the night before the money in the safe at Tuberose was stolen, and that Amu was recorded on the security cameras. Nobody comments on the fact that Shizuku isn’t speaking with a Kansai accent.

Shizuku tells them that Amu has disappeared, his cellphone contract ended and that Tuberose is closed for the day so that they can go and search for him. One of the men who had been a part of the group that attacked Kouta says that he saw him together with Amu the night before, which Kouta admits to.

Shizuku asks him if he knows anything and he tells him that he seemed to be the same as usual. There are mutterings amongst the other hosts that Kouta must also have been in on the plot. Shizuku dismisses everyone to go look for Amu but tells Kouta to stay behind. He also warns them that they are not to speak of this to anyone, including the police, and if they do they will be fired and worse.

Shizuku, Kouta, and Mizutani go into the staff room, and as soon as Mizutani locks the door Shizuku has Kouta by the collar of his shirt, holding him so tightly he can barely breathe. He asks him if he really doesn’t know anything. Kouta says that he doesn’t, that things were so normal the night before that he still can’t believe that Amu did it.

Shizuku shows Kouta the security camera footage showing Amu stealing the money, and it’s time stamped at 1:20 am, 2 hours after he and Kouta said goodbye. Shizuku tells Kouta to share anything even the tiniest thing that was odd about the other night, and Kouta tells them about the phone call Amu got and how he said he had to go somewhere.

Mizutani notes that it sounds like Amu had an accomplice, and Shizuku becomes worried that Mizutani suspects him. Mizutani questions Shizuku as to how Amu had gotten the key. Shizuku tells him that the other day after closing Amu had said that he’d forgotten something at the club and so Shizuku gave him the key telling him just to bring it back next time. This angers Mizutani and Shizuku bows down on the floor to apologize.

Kouta looks away, but out of the corner of his eye he can see Mizutani place his foot on Shizuku's shoulder pressing down. He tells Shizuku that he’ll be making up for the missing money, and that the thing they discussed will have to wait til after that. Kouta guesses that he’s referring to what Misaki told him about.

Mizutani dismisses Shizuku, and Kouta is left alone with him in the staff room. Kouta isn’t sure what he should do, but then Mizutani asks him his name and when he tells him Mitsuya he says he wants to know his real name. Kouta tells him and Mizutani tells him to call him papa. He asks him if he helped Amu, and Kouta panics knowing that if he talks too much it’ll look suspicious, but before he can say anything Mizutani tells him that he’s joking. He knows that both Kouta and Shizuku weren’t in on it.

Mizutani asks Kouta if he thinks that they’ll find Amu, and he says that he doesn’t. Mizutani tells him that he agrees, but that they must find him. He makes a very brief call to someone, telling them to search for the money. He then pulls out a wad of cash and hands it to Kouta, telling him that it’s hush money, he’s not to tell anyone what is about to happen. As he’s making Kouta take it, he whispers in his ear to do his best, speaking a kind but crazy sounding voice.

Mizutani then tells Kouta to go call Shizuku back. He tells them that what he’s about to say is a secret between the 3 of them, the next day they’re going to make it seem like they found Amu, retrieved the money, and that Amu is dead. He tells Shizuku that he’s going to have to work even harder than before, and make those under him work harder too. He tells Kouta that he has to work hard to make money for his family.

Kouta realizes that Mizutani knows things about him, things he only told Shizuku and Amu. Since he only told Amu right before he went missing, he guesses that Shizuku told him. At the end, with a slight smile Mizutani whispers that it’s possible that Amu actually is dead.

The next day Mizutani tells the rest of the employees, which puts a fear in them to work harder than usual. After work is over for the day, Kouta is called to the same bar as before by Misaki and she presses him to tell her why Tuberose was closed the day before. He warns her not to tell anyone, because it could get him killed, and tells her.

Kouta tells her that it’ll probably be hard for Shizuku to quit anytime soon and Misaki says that she’ll have to figure something out. She tells him she went to the hospital earlier that day and shows him a picture on her phone of her ultrasound. Hearing Misaki talk about coming up with a plan makes Kouta believe that Shizuku’s leadership skills must have been influenced by Misaki.

She tells him that when she passed by Tuberose the other day, there was a woman who had tried to go to the club and ask for Mitsuya and who had clearly never been to there before. Before the woman could leave, Misaki called out to her and they ended up going drinking together. Misaki hands Kouta the woman’s business card on which she had written various notes for Kouta to use in conversation with her.

When he looks at the card, he notices that on there is the company name ‘DDL’. He gets the feeling that he saw the fetus in the ultrasound photo on Misaki’s phone twitch.

← Chapter 6      Chapter 8 →


Chapter 6 - レモンの甘さ The sweetness of lemons
Tego
9kinds

Kouta and Amu go out to eat together at a yakiniku restaurant. They drink and talk and Amu tells Kouta a fun fact about how a single lemon has the same amount of vitamin C as four lemons. When Kouta asks him to elaborate he explains that when various products try to illustrate the amount of vitamin C they have compared to lemons it’s only taking into consideration the flesh of the lemon, not the fruit as a whole. So if you were to use that same standard to describe a whole lemon it would have the same amount of vitamin C as four lemons.

Kouta wishes he could just relax and enjoy the conversation but he knows there’s something that he has to ask him about.

***

The next section picks up when Kouta met with Misaki at the bar in Yoyogi. He learns that she and Shizuku have been together for a long time. They met back in high school in their hometown in Gunma, got together right away and once they graduated came to Tokyo together. However neither of them were able to hold a job for long and after turning 20 both of them began jobs in the nightlife entertainment district.

Kouta expresses surprise at hearing this because Shizuku speaks with a Kansai accent but Gunma isn’t in Kansai. Misaki explains that he picked the accent up from the owner of Tuberose who he and all the other host refer to as papa out of respect. She explains that they started working in this industry thinking that it would only be for a short time, but they were both better at it than expected and it’s been three years now. She likes the work but says that she can’t continue and Kouta notices that she’s touching her stomach. He then recalls that she ordered a nonalcoholic drink and surmises that she’s pregnant.

She confirms this and says that while she likes this life she can’t do it while raising a child and she doesn’t know how long Shizuku will be able to continue on like this either. She explains that she wants Shizuku to become independent from the club, however since Shizuku has became so good at being a host and is now the top seller at the club, the owner said he won’t let him quit until there are three others that are able to sell as much is he does. She had told him that they should just leave anyway but since the owner took care of Shizuku, he doesn’t want to do that. That’s why he was so desperately searching for new hosts to join Tuberose and trying to train them.

Kouta realizes that that is the reason behind why Shizuku seemed desperate the other night and why he hangs out with Amu, because he sees promise in him. Kouta asks Misaki why she’s keeping this a secret from Shizuku and she explains that men don’t like it when women intervene, she just went to the club yesterday to add a little bit of pressure.

Kouta tells her that he'll never be able to surpass Shizuku who has the natural talent that takes to be a host. Misaki asks him why he's being so pessimistic and tells him to just be quiet and do as he's told. She gives some several pointers on how to do better, all simple things such as to try to actively participate in conversation when he's helping other hosts, to make eye and physical contact. She warns him that he should view them not as people but as clients- money. Kindness or affection will only hurt him.

***

The next section picks back up with Kouta and Amu at the yakiniku restaurant. Kouta asks Amu what he and Shizuku did the other night and when he tells him that they went to the batting center until first train, Kouta conveys that information to Misaki via text.

Amu tells Kouta that lemons are actually just as sweet as strawberries, but the sweetness gets overpowered by the sourness. He notes that the same thing happens with people too, and Kouta scolds him saying that he’s making lemons out to be the bad guys.

Kouta asks him why he decided to be a host and since he seems like someone who could find a better job. And Amu says maybe it’s because he wanted proof. When Kouta asks him to clarify it’s clear that he himself doesn’t really know he talks about how recently there have been more earthquakes and he’s always been the type who can’t tell when they’re over, if it’s the earth that’s shaking or if it’s him. Amu asks Kouta the same question and he finds himself trusting him and honestly explaining that he needs money to support his family but failed to find a real job.

When they go to pay Amu says that he doesn’t have any money so Kouta offers to treat him since he had fun, but Amu insists that he’ll pay him back later. Afterwards they go to karaoke and Kouta pays for both of them there too. By the end of the night they’re so drunk that they’re hanging off of each other to keep walking, though they drank more and cheaper alcohol than they do at work neither of them gets sick.

Amu’s phone goes off and he tells Kouta that he has somewhere to be. As they go their separate ways, Amu tells Kouta that they should hang out again sometime, which makes Kouta happy. That night, Amu disappears with Tuberose’s money.


Chapter 5 - 共食い Dog-Eat-Dog
Tego
9kinds

The next chapter starts with the beginning of December and while Kouta has gotten used to working as a host, the pay is much lower than he expected. He’s making ¥8,000 in a day, or about ¥120,000 a month, just the base pay he’s gets from working at the club. He thinks, at this rate he'll never be able to make enough to pay for Meme's cram school fees. He has had the painful realization of this reality and also of his lack of skill as he's only been helping others rather than having been requested by a client of his own.

But then the next month he’s asked for by a client for the first time. He expects the client to be someone he helped Shizuku with previously, but instead it’s Misaki, the woman that had waited for him outside of the batting center.

When he sits down he asks her if it’s really OK that she meet with him rather than Shizuku. She tells him that she can see him anytime so it’s fine and Kouta gathers that their relationship must be personal rather than that of client and host. Shizuku tries to pretend that he doesn’t care but can’t help glancing in her direction every now and then.

She tells him that she’s heard a lot about him and how Shizuku talks about how he’s interesting and shows promise. Kouta protests saying that this is the first time he’s been asked for by a client, and Misaki acts surprised saying that she thought that Shizuku said he had. Kouta starts to say that she must be thinking of Amu, can’t bring himself to say the name.

When she says that anyone would have been fine, Kouta becomes disappointed but once she orders champagne he becomes excited again at the fact that this his first sale and in his excitement he misses what Misaki says and has ask her to repeat herself. She tells him that she has a favor to ask.

She asks him to track Shizuku’s every move and to tell her about the ranking in the club. Kouta asks her what he’ll get out of this deal and she tells him that she will make him the 2nd ranked host in the club. However Kouta has so little confidence in his ability that he believes it to be a bluff. Since the night at the batting center he and Shizuku have barely talked. He’s busy with clients and with helping other new people so he hasn’t invited Kouta anywhere, but he has invited Amu out which only contributes to his feeling that he’s not cut out for being a host.

When he hesitates she tells him that within three months she’ll make him within the top five. There currently are 40 hosts employed at Tuberose and Kouta is at the bottom of the pack. Even Amu who is able to quickly drum up shit sales, is only in 12th place. The people in the top five doesn’t change much and being able to enter into that ranking within three months is unthinkable, but he recognizes that if things continue on as they are now nothing will change so he tells her that if she's not successful he won't listen to her request.

Misaki gives him her card and tells him to call her once he’s finished for the night and if Shizuku asks what they talked about to tell him that she just came to check out the shop and that they didn’t talk about anything important.

After closing Shizuku does ask and Kouta follows Misaki's instructions. He asks Shizuku what he’s doing after and he tells him that he’s hanging out with Amu and asked him if he would like to join but Kouta declined saying he has errands at home.

Shizuku is annoyed and tells him that if he doesn’t keep up he’ll be weeded out, he doesn’t have much time. After three months the lowest performing hosts, those who don’t drum up any sales are fired. From Shizukis annoyed appearance Kouta guesses that Shizuku is desperate about something.

When Kouta heads back to the staff room to get ready to leave he passes by Amu who looks like he just threw up and he tells Kouta that it's the third time that day. He ask him if he’ll be ok to still go out after and Amu just replies that he has to go. One of the biggest strengths for a host is the ability to be able to go back and drink more after having thrown up. Ami is fairly small and unable to recover quickly after throwing up from alcohol.

Kouta offers him a drink to help prevent a hangover and Amu asks him to hang out the next day since the club will be closed for cleaning. Kouta hesitates because he hasn’t been able to see Megumi while he’s working but if he's to make good on his promise to Misaki he needs to get in Amu's good graces so he agrees.

After leaving the club and before calling Misaki he calls Megumi and tells her that he wanted to meet tomorrow but somethings come up and he can’t. Megumi tells him not to worry because she also has plans and they agree to meet up sometime next week or the week after. As he’s talking on the phone a rat is runs out around by his feet on the street.

Next he calls Misaki who tells him the name of the bar of where they should meet after he hangs up and while he is looking up the bar he sees that the rat has returned with another rat slightly smaller than itself in it’s mouth. Seeing the rat eat the innards of the other so enthusiastically makes him feel nauseous and he throws up on the wall of Inarikio Shrine.


Chapter 4 - パーソナリティクライシス Personality Crisis
Tego
9kinds

Shizuku and Kouta stay out at the batting center until the first train of the day. Shizuku had asked that Kouta give him advice on his batting, but is unable to improve at all, which give Kouta a momentary feeling of superiority over Shizuku when he’d been feeling down over how much better Shizuku is at dealing with the clients at the club.

When they leave the batting center, a woman named Misaki, who looks like she also works at a club, is waiting for Shizuku. Shizuku tells Kouta to come again tomorrow before going to meet her, apologizing to her saying that Kouta had insisted that they hang out.

The two leave and Kouta looks up at the sky thinking that if he was asked to come again tomorrow it must mean he passed. As he’s looking up at the sky, he’s suddenly hit in the back of the head and falls to the ground. Three men pull him into a van and continue to beat him up, Kouta sees that one of the men is the man he punched at the soba restaurant and the others also were at Tuberose earlier.

The soba restaurant man tells him that this isn’t revenge but a warning. No matter how much of a liking Shizuku has taken to him, he doesn’t belong here. Shizuku isn’t a guy that Kouta can talk to so casually. They take his license out of his wallet and snap a picture of it with their phones, warning that they know where he lives now so if he says anything about this to Shizuku they’ll send a picture they took of him working at the club to his family. With that they leave him in a deserted alley and drive away. Kouta stays in the alley for a while, noting that his new sneakers are dirty and scuffed.

He finally arrives home around 8 am, when Meme is heading out to school. She asks him if he’s been playing this whole time and he tells her he’s been working. She leaves and Kouta sees that his mother is eating breakfast at the dining room table. His mother asks him where he’s been and he tells her that he’s decided to give up on job searching for now and has a part time job at a restaurant. She then tells him that Meme told her that she wants to go to cram school to study for middle school entrance exams, however both are worried about the cost. If she started next year, for roughly 4 years of cram school it would cost around 2.5 million yen.

They could never afford that, but Kouta does the calculation and if he works as a host he could earn that in a month. Part of him thinks that quitting would be best but part of him thinks he should stay. Kouta notices that his mother is eating Meme’s leftovers for breakfast and how tired she looks. He tells her that they’ll work something out because his new part time job pays pretty well. At first she looks relieved, but is quickly worried again first protesting that restaurant jobs don’t pay that well, then asking if he’s working a dangerous job, but Kouta reassures her and asks her to believe in him.

Kouta falls asleep as soon as he gets in bed, wakes up around 5pm, showers and gets ready to head back to work. As he’s getting ready to leave he sees Meme coming home from school, playing her 3DS while walking and he scolds her not to play while walking. He asks her why she wants to go to cram school all of a sudden, and she answers that when she asked her teacher how to become rich they told her to study and become smart. So she wants to study a lot so she can go to a good middle school with lots of other smart kids and become even smarter. Kouta goes to leave for work and tells Meme that if she needs anything she should call him, or if he doesn’t answer to call Megumi.

As Inarikio Shrine comes into view, the song Personality Crisis by New York Dolls gets stuck in his head. Once he gets to Tuberose, they’re in the middle of a staff meeting and he sees the three men from the previous night though none of the hosts there look particular inviting. When Shizuku sees him he calls him up to the front and introduces him, as well as another new guy, Amu.

After the meeting, Kouta goes to put his things away in the staff locker room, but one of the guys from the night before, the driver, trips him. Kouta brushes it off with a smile which pisses the guy off. Amu and Kouta are summoned by Shizuku right before opening to warn them that they’re not training any more, they have to do this on their own and can’t rely on him.

Amu and Kouta and the other hosts wait in the waiting room to be picked by clients, where there are monitors to see whats going on out front and the other hosts comment on the women who come in. Kouta, feeling overwhelmed, watches the monitors in silence until Amu who is sitting next to him strikes up a conversation. Kouta finds out that Amu was also scouted by Shizuku and feels embarrassed that he assumed that he was the only one Shizuku took a liking too.

Amu is friendly and polite and says they should help each other out. On the monitor Kouta notices that that the psychiatrist client from the night before is back, but Shizuku is busy with a different client. He looks down at his feet, he’d cleaned up his white sneaker before coming to work. Amu is called on to talk with the psychiatrist, and Kouta watches him appear on the monitor.


Chapter 3 - エントリーシートと白いスニーカー Résumés and White Sneakers
Tego
9kinds


This chapter begins with Kouta sitting in with Shizuku as he talks with a client who works as a psychiatrist. While Shizuku is talking with the client, Kouta refills her glass with champagne whenever Shizuku signals him to. Shizuku is able to skillfully make conversation with the client, comparing a conversation he had with a different client to one she had with one of her own clients.

Mid-conversation, Shizuku stops to remove an eyelash from the client’s cheek which increases the intimacy between the two, but Kouta notes that he couldn’t see the eyelash. The client then asks Kouta, calling him by his pseudonym Mitsuya, if he’s ever had a similar conversation. Kouta manages to say something, though he is unable to follow up on it, but Shizuku saves the conversation from becoming awkward. Kouta looks down at the ground and feels like the light reflecting off of his newly bought white sneakers is making fun of him.

***

The next section traces back to when Kouta first arrived at the host club. Behind Inarikio Shrine by Higashi-Shinjuku Station is a pink neon sign that reads ‘Tuberose’, the name of the club where Shizuku works. Shizuku had ordered Kouta to come in clothes ‘that aren’t embarrassing’ so Kouta arrives in a suit.

Kouta notes that the club doesn’t look like he expected it to, it looks modern and put together, with white flowers that he identifies at tuberoses adorning the tables. The men working there are all wearing casual clothes like jeans, sweaters, or hoodies and he notes that the man he punched in the soba shop is among them. When he tells them that Shizuku told him to come he is lead further into the club. Shizuku introduces him to an older man, Mizutani, who is the owner of Tuberose.

Shizuku then tells Kouta he’s glad he’s come and that he just has to relax, make fun conversation, and fill Shizuku’s glass when it starts to get empty, and only fill the guests' glasses when they request it. He also tells him that he’ll need a pseudonym as all hosts use them to protect their privacy, he comes up with his for him, Mitsuya (光也) which uses the same first kanji as his real name (光太).

Shizuku tells Kouta that tonight he’ll get to experience what the job is like and it’ll also serve as his first employment exam. If after tonight Shizuku doesn’t think he’ll make a good host then Kouta will never work at Tuberose again. He also tells him that a suit is the ‘most embarrassing’ clothes he could have come in and gives Kouta 100,000 yen and an hour to buy a new outfit for the night. He tells him that this will serve as his résumé, and if he he buys a lame outfit he won’t even get to try out the job for the night and he’ll never see him again.

Kouta runs to buy an outfit and buys white sneakers for 70,000 yen and a sweater a little over 20,000 yen. He changes into them in the bathroom, keeping his suit pants on. Shizuku tells him that he didn’t expect that he’d keep the suit pants, and that he has the same sneakers and that it takes guts to spend so much on shoes with the budget he had, but that he’s passed the first step.

He tells him when they’re at the club he has to use polite language with him because next the owner, he’s the most important person there. Then at 8, the customers arrive.

***

That night he talks with 10 groups of clients ending work around 3am, though he’s tired and wants to go home Shizuku asks him to stay with him for awhile longer and takes him to baseball batting range despite Kouta’s protests.

Shizuku is really bad and barely hits any balls, but while he’s batting he asks Kouta what he thought of the trial run and Kouta admits that he feels like he isn’t cut out for it.

After the first round of balls is up, Shizuku pays for a second round and Kouta takes his turn. He’s much better than Shizuku and hits one on the first try, explaining that he played for a bit in junior high. Shizuku hands him 100,000 yen telling him it’s his pay for the night, and Kouta only having handled so much money once before in his life- while buying clothes  earlier- tries to protest but is overruled.

While Kouta is trying to calculate how much that would end up being monthly, Shizuku sticks his hand out towards him. Kouta goes to shake it but is rebuffed, and Shizuku tells him that he owes him for the money he leant him to buy clothes earlier, so Kouta hands the money back to him.

Chapter 2 - やまない黄砂 The Unrelenting Yellow Sand
Tego
9kinds
The chapter picks up with Kouta, his 8 year old younger sister, Meme, and their mother celebrating her discharge from the hospital at a family restaurant. His mother insisted on a family restaurant because it’s cheap and with her medical expenses and Meme’s education expenses money is tight.

Kouta’s girlfriend Megumi comes to join them, bringing with her a gift for Kouta’s mother in congratulations for leaving the hospital. She protests saying that she’ll have to go back eventually anyway.

Kouta thinks about how his mother had had to leave her job at the bank in order to care for his grandmother, surviving off of only savings, the grandmother’s social security, and her goodbye bonus. She cared for her while working a side job to try and make money, never showing any signs of tiredness. Kouta himself had tried to help by increasing the amount of time he worked at his part time job, helping around the house, and taking care of his younger sister.

However when his grandmother’s condition suddenly worsened and she passed away, only 49 days later his mother’s health also declined. She wasn’t able to eat very much and because of that got sick easily so Kouta took her to the hospital where she was diagnosed with mild depression.

He tried to look after her but a month ago she got pneumonia. He had tried to do what he could to protect his family, but by failing to find a job everything he had done to this point was for nothing. Though his mother is looking better now than before, she hasn’t regain all the weight she lost, the one good thing is that she was recovering from her depression.

Meme plays on her 3DS the whole time they’re at the restaurant, refusing to stop when Kouta asks her until forcibly closes it. As they eat they talk about how Megumi is working at a well known travel agency, and Kouta’s mother praises her for getting a job at such a prominent company. Megumi brushes it off as a fluke rather than because of her hard work, but Kouta still finds the contrast intolerable. Kouta understands that his mother and Megumi continue to talk about travel to try not let the mood get dark which is also painful for him.

He thinks about how the last trip he went on was when his father was still alive, they went to Guam and tried to swim despite the poor weather. However, since their father passed shortly after Meme was born, she has never been abroad let alone even out of Tokyo.

Meme asks Kouta if he got the job with the game company and he tells her that he didn’t. The conversation is saved from becoming too awkward when Meme complains that she was looking forward to getting lots of games when he worked there.

Kouta picked that game company as his first choice because he knew Meme would be happy. He applied to 7 different companies, and made it to the final round with a company called DDL, a subsidiary company of the big game maker company AIDA, that makes mainly smart phone games. They started hiring people on their own rather after making a game that was a big hit.

Since it was the only final interview he went on, Kouta remembers it very clearly, and thought that he did his best in the interview. Since it went so well, when he wasn’t hired rather than regret, he felt something closer to hatred. He remembers the interviewers who didn’t pick him every night, cursing them despite knowing that it won’t change anything.

Megumi insists on picking up the tab for all their lunches and they head back home, where Meme and the mother retire to their room and Megumi and Kouta go to his. Megumi can tell from Kouta curt responses that he’s upset about something, and when she asks him what’s wrong he asks her why she paid for the bill, saying that they should have split it. He also accuses her of ordering an expensive lunch to spite him and tells her that his family doesn’t have the money to go on trips. Megumi says she didn’t know what they had ordered, and that’s why she felt she should pay also countering that it’s fun to imagine what trips you could take in the future.

Kouta notes that this is a fundamental difference between them, while Megumi has hopes for the future, for him the future is like a road that you must clean despite yellow sand constantly falling on to it. No matter how much you clean the yellow sand continues to pile up, but you can’t rest and have no room to think of the future.

Megumi tells Kouta that she thinks he’s too negative and that Meme shouldn’t spend so much time playing games and spend more time talking with her family. Kouta explains that Meme spends a lot of time alone since he had to be at school or work and would be lonely if she couldn’t play. So he intentionally tries to let her play as much as possible. He gets angry when Megumi still protests saying she wants Meme to be happy, countering that Meme is happy now playing games, which is better than chasing after some vague future happiness and that he’s the one who worries about her and understands her the most.

Both are upset and emotional, and when Kouta kisses Megumi she kisses him back and they end up having sex. Afterwards, when they’re lying in bed and about to go to sleep, Meme knocks on their door saying that she can’t sleep with their mom there, requesting to sleep with them. They let her in and the three of them lay together in the single bed and Megumi and Meme fall asleep.

Kouta thinks back to when he met Shizuku, after eating soba they drank together until morning and Shizuku kept pressing Kouta to become a host. That night Kouta never gave him an answer, still having a hard time excepting the reality that he didn’t find a job. He acknowledges that being a host might be the best way for him to support his family now. Shizuku told him that the previous month he made 1,000,000 yen and that Kouta could reach that level quickly if he worked hard.

Kouta thinks about all things he imagines you need to be a host, such as having looks that women like, being charming, and being able to drink. The only one he has is being able to drink. He also has always looked down people who work in the night life business, though Shizuku has started to break down his negative image. With his frank and relaxed manner, and the way he walked through Shinjuku with everyone calling out to him, he appeared heroic.

Though he still feels unsure, he has no time to be uncertain and Kouta messages Shizuku saying he wants to talk more and Shizuku messages him back right away sending a stamp of a character that Meme likes saying ok!


Chapter 1 - 二十二歳の秋 The fall of my 22nd year
Tego
9kinds


The chapter starts with the protagonist, Kanehira Kouta, suffering from the after effects of some heavy drinking. Having thrown up in the streets of Shinjuku after eating some cheap gyudon, he receives a message from Megumi asking about a potential job offer. The messages reminds him of how he had been rejected by yet another company. He got the rejection letter after coming home from visiting his mother in the hospital, who became sick after his grandmother passed away.


He reflects on how this company was his last chance, and how his fellow classmates who have all found jobs tell him he is being to prideful in only applying to the best companies. However he refuses to compromise, as the company he picks now he’ll likely work for for many years. As he is wallowing in his despair from his failure in job hunting, a young man spots him from across the street and eventually approaches him.


The man appears to be around the same age as him, looks flashy and speaks in Kansai dialect. He reaches out to Kouta and invites him to go eat. Despite having just been sick, Kouta suggests going to a standing soba restaurant and the man says he knows a place they can go to. The man introduces himself as Shizuku, and Kouta also introduces himself before they head to the restaurant.


As they walk there through Kabuki-cho, many people greet Shizuku. Once they reach the restaurant Kouta realizes he doesn’t have his wallet and without saying a word, Shizuku buys two food tickets. As they’re eating, two men come in and greet Shizuku. They ask who Kouta is and Shizuku explains that he just picked him up and that he’s thinking of having him work at his place. This causes the two men to complain that Kouta is too plain looking and that they’re not short staffed anyway.


Kouta, who had not been participating in the conversation until then, punches one of the men in the face, but before it can turn into a full out fight Shizuku tell them to cut it out, and the men, while unhappy, listen to him. Shizuku then asks Kouta if he was listening and if he’d like to be a host.



Chapter 2 →


2018.03 Potato - NEWS solo series: Letters - Massu
Tego
9kinds
Sharing a translation of the next installment in NEWS' solo series, Letters. This month is Massu's turn.



To all the fans,
Thank you for all your support. There are people who look forward to when we make music.  There are people who put NEWS songs on their music players and listen to our music casually. There are also people who watch us when we appear on TV and magazines. The reason that we’re able to do the jobs we love like this is truly because all of you are there. I’m happy if I can add even just a little bit of happiness or be a positive presence in someone’s everyday life. That’s why from now on too, I’ll continue to always be thankful, work hard everyday, sing good songs, give good performances, and do my best so that every one can enjoy it. Please continue to look after me.


To Koyama,
Somehow or another I remember when Koyama joined when I was a junior. You had the feeling of a ‘Urahara-like older brother’. (laughing) When NEWS was first formed we were told by various people that "NEWS’ MCs are boring". I was also really frustrated [by that], but the person who worked the hardest at that time was Koyama. You thought maybe you might be able to go between the members and manage NEWS’ MC. In that sense, you were the first person to think about what you could do [for the group]. I think it’s really amazing how that connects to not only NEWS now, but furthermore your job as a newscaster. I think it’s one of our greatest strengths to have someone like you in the group. You’re the kind of person who can absorb anything like a sponge. From now on as well, I hope you keep absorbing various things and staying just above the surface. I’m looking forward to it.


To Shige,
Recently, the opportunities to engage in concert production with Shige have been increasing. Since Shige is also someone who creates things, we talk to each other about things like “This is the kind of idea I had, what do you think?” Shige is logical whereas I’m a person who goes according to feeling, so I think the areas of the brain we use are different. But it’s because of that that there’s an interesting chemical reaction, or rather I think that with Shige I can create things for NEWS that I definitely couldn’t make on my own. Also, let me just say this. Shige, please just stop dirtying the dressing room. You always do things like spilling your drink so grandly that I can’t help but think that it was on purpose. I’d like it if you were more cautious about dropping things and being sloppy. Though I don’t think it’ll change. (laughing)


To Tegoshi,
We’ve been together since the time Johnny-san said "It’s better if you and Tegoshi sing together" when we were juniors. After that, when NEWS was formed too Johnny-san said "You two have to take the lead with NEWS’ songs, so do your best." In our generation there wasn’t anyone else who was working so seriously on music, it’s because I was able to meet you that I’m able to work with music the way I am now. Including Tegomass as well, I’d like to continue to make lots of music that only we can make. By the way, recently I’ve been disappointed because your pictures haven’t been very funny. In the past it was funny because they were so bad, but now it’s just plain bad and not funny. You can’t get laughs just like this. Please reflect on that. (laughing)


To the me from 15 years ago,
So when I was in high school… I entered Johnny’s when I was 6th grader in elementary school and I really only thought about work, I’ve lived my life for this job. So, when I advanced to high school, the basis I picked my school on was also for the sake of this job. And then when I was a second year student in high school, I was picked to be a member of NEWS and debuted. If I had prioritized school at that time, for instance if I took a break from work for entrance exams, then my entire life might be different. There’s something I want to tell the me from 15 years ago.  There’s probably a part of you that feels uncertain, but the 31 year old me is really happy, I live feeling like each period is ‘the happiest I’ve ever been’. So, it’s ok to push forward down the path you believed in without worrying.


To the me 15 years from now,
Dear 46 year old Mr. Masuda, how are you? Are you having fun? Do you still like clothes? 31 year old me is well and having fun. My dream right now is that in 15 years I’ll still be working hard at this job. So, please work hard for about 15 more years. (laughing) I hope this dream comes true. From Massu.

NEWS fanclub Newsletter #24
Tego
9kinds
Sharing my translation of the cross talk section of the FC newsletter that came out in December.





NEWS Cross talk

No matter how old you are, Christmas is a fun event♪

K       It’s almost Christmas!
S       When I was a kid, I looked forward to getting presents from Santa.
K       Is there a particular present that left an impression on you?
M       A long time ago, I received both a mini 4WD course and the album of an artist I liked at the time. I was really happy.
S       Ah, I’ve also gotten a mini 4WD before. When I was in kindergarten, I only received educational materials, I wonder if Santa saw me looking disappointed. (laughing) Once I became an elementary school student, I properly got the things I wanted.
T       I also wrote a letter to Santa every year and got what I wanted. I feel like it was mostly video games. Once I became an adult and Santa stopped coming, it changed into an event I enjoyed with friends.
K       It wasn’t from Santa, but I guess a memorable present for me was when a friend gave me a computer about 3 years ago. They said, ‘Since I didn’t get you anything for your birthday, I don’t mind getting you something nicer.” so I replied, “Ok, how about a computer?” and about 10 people pooled together to get it for me for Christmas. I was happy.
M       Christmas is a fun event, no matter how old you are. ♪
T       The city is beautiful all illuminated, it’s exciting just listening to that kind of music♪
K       It’d be nice if we can enjoy it in some way this year, too.

Through the tour this year, we felt how strong the feelings of the fans are.

K      And let’s decide on the top 3 topics for NEWS. Looking back on the group’s activities this year, first of all in the first half of the year we released the single, ‘Emma’ and the album ‘Neverland’.
M       Maybe that’s the first topic.
K       ‘Emma' was used in the drama Shige appeared in, ‘Kirawareru Yuki’.
S       Yeah, I’m really grateful that it was used [in 'Kirawareru Yuki’]. I’m also glad that the costumes that Massu made for us had a big impact.
M       Thanks! As for the album, I think it was a good challenge for the group to create it with ‘Neverland’ as one of the themes.
T       Yeah. I think we’ve come to understand a little more one direction NEWS should go, or rather ‘Doing this kind of thing makes the group look good, gives it a new color’.
K       NEWS is always establishing new concepts and creating new works, right. I feel like, in a way, the flow from ‘Emma' to ‘Neverland’ is a compilation of one of our styles. It felt good to properly bring to life the things we want to do.
T       The flow from that into the tour was also good. Speaking of, having the tour as the second topic is good, right?
M       Yeah. We were able to put out an ambitious album, and then really think about what kind of concert would express that world view. Since we were really particular about even the smallest details, finishing the concert successfully gave me a bit of a sense of accomplishment. Having all the fans come out somewhere, to the place called ‘Neverland’ that we produced, made me feel the strong feelings of the fans all over again, and in that sense as well I think it was a really good tour.
S       We’re adding new things while building off of the things we’ve done up til now and I think it’s made for a tour that’s very NEWS-like. I have a hunch that having done this will change what comes next.
T       Tour… Like what Shige and Massu said, I also have confidence that we pulled off a really good performance. But, the difference in my mental state between when it started and ended was so severe, I was surprised by how different it could be within one tour.
K       Coming from the always positive Tegoshi…
T       Yeah. But I feel so grateful to everyone who supported me. For various reasons, it’s tour I’ll never forget.
K       For me, ‘U R not alone' was huge. My impression of it is that it’s world view became even larger during the tour than it was at the time of recording. I think it encouraged a lot of people, and I think it was great that the four of us were able to sing it together on ’24 Hr TV’. It’s amazing that an album song has spread this much and reached so many people.
M       I wonder what the third topic is… I think it's a big deal that all of us are in our thirties now. We all met in our teens right? I think I was around 13 when I met Shige?
S       I think Massu was 13 and I was 12.
K       You were children! (laughing)
T       It’s the period when you overreached yourself.
S       I didn’t!
K       …When you think about it, a lot of time has passed since we all met.
M       We spent our 20s together as NEWS and now we’re all in our 30s.
K       Tegoshi, what do you think? About being 30.
T       Well, I’m happy to finally be 30. The "I’m 30 years old" "Ehh, you don’t look [that old]" kind of interaction is nice. (laughing) I think the four of us, we’ll be very ambitious in our 30s so I look forward to seeing how far we can go building off of our experiences so far!
M       Yeah we want to make good use of our experiences so far. I want everyone to expect a lot [from us]!
K       Next, besides the three big topics we just brought up, September this year is the start of our 15th debut anniversary, what do you want to say about that?
S       15th anniversary… Rather than because of how hard we’ve worked, I feel like it’s about how all the fans have continued to support us.
T       It’s the same for me. Rather than ‘We’ve worked really hard to get here’ I want to make this a year where we pay it back to the ones saying ‘Congratulations on your 15th anniversary!’
K       Yeah, pay it back.
M       Yeah, the feelings of ‘Thank you for always supporting us’ are the strongest.
S       It’d be good if this year we could pay them back by doing stuff like going to even more places for concerts.

The members were manipulated by Tegoshi’s mysterious actions


K       Next, looking back on this past year, the things you need to repent for. Ok, who has something?
S       I don’t have anything in particular.
T       Is it ok if I say something? I really feel sorry for how I cried on the last day of the tour in Tokyo Dome. (laughing)
SKM (burst out laughing)
T       And then that was the footage used by all the morning shows right? Since we have pride in this show we all made together, I wanted them to cover that… I’m really sorry! That's why I didn’t want to go on stage in that condition!! (pretending to cry)
M       There’s no way you thought that far at the time. (laughing) I actually have something I want to repent for to Tegoshi. On ‘The Shonen Club Premium’ the two of us went on a location shoot, one of us was supposed to sumo wrestle, but my lower back hurt and I left it all to Tegoshi. I felt bad about it. But Tegoshi just easily said ‘Ok!’
S       How nice of him.
T       Yeah.
M       If it had just been me doing the location shoot by myself there wouldn’t have been much to film (laughing)
K       Well, I actually have something I want Tegoshi to repent for. Recently I got message from Tegoshi after midnight saying, “I have something I really want to talk with you about."
T       Stop it! Not this story! (laughing)
K       I thought maybe it was serious, so I went to go see him. At a yakiniku restaurant. We talked about various things and I listened to him the whole time, and by the time I realized it, it was over before I got to eat a single piece of meat. (laughing)
T       Hahaha that’s true.
K       What was with that.
S       Well if you’re sharing that then I have something I want Tegoshi to repent for! On the day of the Tokyo Dome performance.
M       The concert where Tegoshi cried, right!
T       Cut it out with that phrasing. (laughing)
S       After the concert ended, Tegoshi and his friends got together to celebrate. Then I suddenly got a call late at night saying “Come here”.
K       That’s the same way it was with me (laughing)
S       It seemed serious, and he cried so much during the concert, (laughing) I got worried and went to go see him and this guy was asleep (laughing).
KM    That’s awful!
S       He woke up once, looked at me and said “Shige, thank you” and went back to sleep.
T       And on your lap too.
S       And then his friends made me sing ‘Ayame’!
TKM Ehh! (burst out laughing)
S       In the end, I sang ‘Ayame’ 3 times that day! (laughing)
T       I didn’t know that! That’s funny! That (Tegoshi can’t stop laughing)
K       Having had Tegoshi properly repent here, I want to make 2018 a year where Tegoshi repays his debts to all of us! (laughing)
S       By all means!
M       But I have a debt too...
T       Yeah. Which means I have one outstanding loan and 2 debts. Okay~ Okay~
S       What’s ‘okay~’ (laughing)
K       Now that everything’s come to a conclusion, this is the end of our round-table talk! (laughing) To all the fans, thank you for all your support this year!

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