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.
To the me from 15 years ago,
To the me 15 years from now,
K Next, looking back on this past year, the things you need to repent for. Ok, who has something?
With hiatuses and members leaving, NEWS is a group that has faced many hardships and almost had their wings broken many times. I think that it wouldn’t have been strange if you were to think “I’m done with NEWS!” But despite that when we have concerts lots of people come, and I think the reason that there's such a warm and good atmosphere is because of all of your love and the bond we share from overcoming hardships together. I am confident that the strength of that bond wouldn’t lose out to any other group's. There were a lot of times that it wasn’t a given that we had fans, because of that I treasure making you all happy. I mean, already you are like my life partner. At times when you stumble or feel disheartened, I want to continue to be able to reach out to all of your hearts with my music and variety appearances. So, please continue to look after me.
You told me, “Since Tegoshi shines the brightest when he acts freely, no matter what the 3 of us will support you, so please don’t worry and take the lead.” That’s why I’m able to keep actively pushing forward. The one who supports me the most is Koyama-san, and for that I am really thankful. You're a reliable older brother and good partner, and also the one who keeps NEWS balanced. I like the current relationships in NEWS, all 4 of us understand and help each other. I think we all have really good relationships. However, while I think that we’re members rather than friends, the one person I think that I would have become friends with if we’d been in school together is Koyama-san. While our personalities are completely different, I feel like we get along well, he’s that kind of person to me. Speaking of, today [our] manager told me “these are from Koyama-san” and handed me socks that he had bought at a discount store. Please keep buying things for me too when you find something good.
Masuda-san is someone who can compete musically against professional artists. To start with, Tegomass is a unit we’ve done with the the idea that we wanted to change the notion that idols don’t focus on the music, and so having a partner who seriously faces music head on is extremely reassuring. I feel that music is an important common understanding between us. The two of us, Masuda-san who is serious and deliberate and myself who's lively, have very different personalities and so we’re the type that wouldn’t have been friends in school, but I think being in the same group like this and being able to get to know each other is amazing. You’ll propose things that I would have never thought of; you're someone who’s made me realize that by bringing together people who think differently, the things you can do and the variety of ideas increases. When you can’t decide on something due to your deliberate nature and knowledge from studying various things, I’ll decide so please continue to leave that up to me. (laughs) By the way, when I meet various artists at music programs, I’m overwhelmed by how how social Masuda-san is. Please teach me how to expand my social circle. (laughs)
Shige, from the start we’ve had a lot of things in common beyond just being in the same group- same year in school, only children, taking the same entrance exam for middle school… It felt like fate when I learned after the fact that we took entrance exams at the same place for 3 days. (laughs) Speaking more recently, practicing singing together during the ‘Neverland’ tour, feeling that we’ve grown much closer from talking to each other much more about work, and after messaging you “Let’s do our best together in order to advance NEWS” getting the reply “I was thinking the same thing” all made me happy. Through your drama appearances and books, NEWS has been able to sing the theme songs, I’m thankful that [your activities] are bringing work back to NEWS and I’m glad that you seem to be doing work that you yourself can be proud of. However, and I’ve said this many times before, but you walk really loudly. Please think on the fact that you walk so loudly that every time it sounds like Godzilla is coming. It makes me worry that you’re dragging the heels of your shoes
To the me from 15 years ago,
I guess this is right around when I entered Johnny’s. 15 year old me, listen up. In the future, you’ll meet many people and say goodbye to many too. There’ll be lots of fun things and lots of difficult things, it definitely won't be smooth sailing, in fact your life will be full of upheaval. However, right now at 30 years old, I'm having a lot of fun. I’m having fun. So, please don’t worry, no matter what happens don’t feel disheartened, don’t forget to be grateful to those around you, work hard, and do your best. Though around when you're 20 years old there’ll be a period when you withdraw into your shell, (laughs) that is also an experience. It’ll be ok, just have faith and move forward!
To the me 15 years from now,
45 year old me, I hope you're married and have kids. How are you? I think it’s a part of filial duty to show your parents their grandchildren. I wasn’t able to do it for my father, but I hope to be able to do it for my mother. Work… I don’t know what’ll be like, but I want to still be aiming high and continuing to grow. Furthermore, I hope that I’ve been able to build a road that makes it easier to work and live in the entertainment world for all of my many kohai who are working hard now. I think that currently it’s a really strict and tough time for idols. I might not be able to do much, but for the sake of [my kohai] who are carrying the future, I hope I can pave the way for some new rules so you can have fun and be free as idols.
Similarly to how Kato is a novelist, Koyama works as a newscaster for ‘news every.’, Tegoshi appears on variety shows like ‘Sekai no Hate made ItteQ!’, and Masuda produces NEWS’ costumes for concerts and other occasions, you give off the impression of doing a variety of solo work outside of the group. Was there any big impetus for this?
NEWS Cross talk
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