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“We’re here, in Morioka.” (Kei) [T/N: Morioka is the capital city of Iwate Prefecture located in the Touhoku region of northern Japan. This is from Wikipedia-sensei.]
“Oh, the air is so clean. I thought it the same in Hokkaido, too.” (Haru)
“There is a dungeon here too.” (Kei)
“Oh, and it’s night again.” (Haru)
It’s midnight and the sky is dark. The distance from Hokkaido to Iwate was surprisingly long, and it was impossible to arrive in the middle of the day. But I have a hotel reservation for today. I made the reservation from the bullet train, so there should be no problem. [T/N: Iwate Prefecture is a prefecture of Japan located in the Touhoku region of Honshu. It is the second-largest Japanese prefecture. This is from Wikipedia-sensei.]
“It was unfortunate that we had to arrive in Hokkaido and Iwate at night twice in a row, it was expected since we hadn’t thought about taking the travel time into account.” (Kei)
“Wouldn’t it be good to get rid of the fatigue from the long bullet train ride, right? I don’t even know how many more prefectures we’ll have to visit.” (Haru)
“Well, Hokkaido was good because I enjoyed the stampede. How about Morioka?” (Kei)
In reality, we hadn’t come here to play, but to find our father, so it was no wonder we are bored.
Still, the essence of what the two of us were doing was to have fun. As long as we had fun, that was all that mattered. We may consider the possibility of inconveniencing others, but if we can enjoy ourselves, we will do it without hesitation. Otherwise, we wouldn’t even think of going all the way overseas.
Are we heartless? That’s human nature. We’re not employees of a company or students at school so we don’t have to conform to our surroundings.
We ate ramen at a restaurant on the way to the hotel, and it was very good. We hadn’t had much time to eat since we arrived in Hokkaido, so it was even better. The food I ate most slowly was probably the calpas. Calpas is a snack, though. I also went to a convenience store to buy breakfast for tomorrow, and then headed to the hotel.
“It’s just a hotel. It’s quite normal.” (Haru)
“Well, we can’t waste money, you know. We’re about to traverse Japan, so it’s going to make a small difference.” (Kei)
“Hmm, the twin beds. If I had a single bed, I would have kicked brother out of the room.” (Haru)
“I’ll spend the money necessary. Before we came here, I’ve done all the research on the bullet train, so let’s sleep?” (Kei)
“Yeah. I’m not sleepy. I slept on the train.” (Haru)
The hotel was a business hotel and there were no other services, so I took a shower in my room and went to sleep.
Haru said she wasn’t sleepy but fell asleep on the bed before she could take a shower. I guess she’ll have to take a shower tomorrow morning.
Now, let’s go to bed. I heard that there were a number of mobile vending trucks in the Morioka dungeon. There is a good chance that my parents are among them. Well, we won’t know until we see them. It’s all up to tomorrow, then there’s nothing to do but sleep. Then,
“Haru, goodnight.” (Kei)
“Hmm… Gu… ny…” (Haru)
The reply she gave was just some sleep talk and snoring.
“Good morning brother, get up.” (Haru)
“Oh, good morning. You look like you’re the one who woke up first, but I woke up Haru, didn’t I?” (Kei)
“Brother, breakfast.” (Haru)
“Hey, don’t ignore me.” (Kei)
I threw Haru a loaf of bread that I had bought yesterday.
Haru takes it, tears open the bag, and put it in her mouth. Haru’s favorite is the bread with apples. My favorite was the yakisoba bread. After munching on it, we checked out of the hotel. [T/N: I don’t know about bread with apples in it. But I know about walnut and apple bread. They remind me of apple pie for some reason. Yakisoba bread is just stir-fried yakisoba between a hotdog bun. Noodles and bread are an evil and delicious combo. They taste good together but they pack a ton of calories. My old-man-body can’t deal with the calories.]
“So, ready to go?” (Kei)
“Yeah, the dungeon is close from here.” (Haru)
The hotel we stayed at was relatively close to the dungeon, and it would take us less than half an hour to get there.
When we arrived at the dungeon, it was already crowded with people. There were a number of people wearing equipment other than weapons, and the area was lined with mobile vending trucks and small stores. Just like in Hokkaido, it looked like a small festival was going on.
The first thing I did was to walk around and see if my father was there.
“Brother, I’m going.” (Haru)
“Oh, I’ll ask around for the time being.” (Kei)
Shopkeepers, receptionists. I showed photos to the people who often stayed here for a long time, told them about his features, and asked if they had seen him. There were some who said they might have seen him on the way to the dungeon, but they must have been mistaken because they said he was in the dungeon as an explorer.
After all, my father has a bad leg, so he can’t exercise too much. Dungeons were the last place he wanted to be.
“I knew it, he’s not here.”
“No, not here. Is he further west?”
After about two hours of asking the shopkeepers and other people around us, I finished questioning everyone. It was a reasonable amount of time since we even went to a nearby store that had nothing to do with the dungeon, just in case.
I’ve just finished questioning the owner of the last store, a Japanese sweets shop, an old lady. She kindly offered us some tea, which we drank while discussing our future plans.
“What should we do with the rest of our time? I’d like to stay in Morioka today, but I don’t feel like diving into a dungeon.” (Haru)
“We’ll start at the first level anyway. I’ll only get bored.” (Kei)
“Ah, why do we have to look for him in the first place? If our parents aren’t here, I believe we should be able to apply for passports on our own.” (Haru)
“Well, the documents say that we’re living with our parents. I don’t want them to think that we were abandoned. If they think we’ve been abandoned or something, that’s true, for sure, but then they’ll probably put us in an institution or we’ll have to fill out some complicated paperwork.” (Kei)
I held up a rather unflattering picture of my father in front of me, complained a bit, and drank my tea.
“Well, let’s just take a look around Iwate for sightseeing.” (Kei)
“Yeah, I guess so. I wonder if there are any places that rent bicycles?” (Kei)
I drank the rest of my tea and stood up. I put the photo I was holding in front of me back in my pocket.
“Excuse me. Is that person Kizaki-san?” (Voice)
It was then that I heard a voice from the back of the store.
Startled by the voice, the words, and the presence, I looked behind me. There was a very beautiful woman, probably a little older than me, peeking out from the back of the store.
“Oh, Karen. What is the matter?” (Old Lady)
The Old Lady, the owner turned around and asked with a smile.
“Oh, I’m sorry, Grandma, but I recognized that man in the photo.” (Karen)
The woman then turns to look at me.
“Nice to meet you. I’m Karen Isogi. Are you a child of Kizaki-san?” (Karen)
And that person. She seems to know our father.
“Yes. I’m Touka Kizaki. I am the son of the man in this photo. This is Haruka, my sister.” (Kei)
“Nice to meet you.” (Haru)
I greet her and introduce myself, and Haru also bows her head in response.
“We’re looking for our father right now. Do you have any information, even a little?” (Kei)
What I want to ask is where my father is. I didn’t want to stay here too long if I could help it, so I got right to the point.
“Sorry, I don’t know about that, but I’ve talked to them a few times when I was living alone in high school. In Osaka.” (Karen)
“Osaka? Excuse me, but how many years ago is that?” (Kei)
“Six years ago. I was helped by Kizaki-san from a drunk man who was trying to pick me up. We talked for a little while.” (Karen)
Considering my age, that was six years ago.
“I was in elementary school or junior high school?” (Haru)
“I don’t remember most of it, but didn’t he say he was going to Osaka a few times on business trips?” (Kei)
“Oh, I think he did. I don’t remember if it was in Osaka or Kyoto.” (Haru)
“It was probably Osaka. I remember it just barely.” (Kei)
I remembered that he had been away from home for about a week on business several times when we were about that age. I think,
“Did my father help you? From being picked up?” (Kei)
I highly doubt it. After all, he is a very random person. He’s the kind of guy who would make fun of anyone who was being hit on.
“Yeah, he was cool. ‘Oh, you want to pick up a girl. Play with this old man instead of that girl.’ he said, leading the man away from me.”
The woman said with nostalgia.
“The man got angry and tried to hit him. He just ducked and said something, and the guy ran away. Does Kizaki-san do any martial arts?” (Karen)
It’s hard to say if he was a martial artist or not. I’ve never heard of it, though.
“He gave me some advice on my aikido, so I think he might have done aikido.” (Kei)
“I don’t know, maybe he did. I don’t know, but he was dodging very skillfully.” (Karen)
“Oh, is that so?” (Kei)
As I listened to the woman’s story, I tried to sort it out in my head, but all I knew was that this person was an old acquaintance of my father’s, and I couldn’t locate him now. Besides, it was too much trouble to listen to my parents’ heroic tale forever.
“I’m sorry. I’m about to go. Thank you for the information.” (Kei)
I broke off the conversation at a good time.
“Oh, I see. You said you were going sightseeing. I hope you enjoy Iwate. But I’m only here because I have a few days off from work.” (Karen)
“Yes, I’ll have fun. Thank you very much.” (Kei)
I bowed my head and thanked the elderly woman who owned the store, and Haru bowed his head as well. When I was about to leave the store.
“Oh, wait a minute.” (Karen)
I was stopped in my tracks by a voice calling out for me to stop.
The woman quickly went into the back of the store and came out in about 30 seconds with a piece of paper.
“This is the information of the person who was close to Kizaki-san who I talked about earlier. The Japanese bar that I said I often go to. It might give you a clue.” (Karen)
On the paper, she handed me, her name, the name of the Japanese-style bar, and the location was written in clear, bold letters.
“Thank you.” (Kei)
I bowed again at her thoughtfulness, and this time I left the store. And finally.
“Thank you very much for my father’s information. Please do your best to explore the dungeon.” (Kei)
“Yeah, thank you. I’ll do my… best?” (Karen)
By the time the woman questioned her words, we were already walking out of the store.
The next stop is Osaka.
“Brother, next time we’re going to Osaka. I want to eat takoyaki.” (Haru)
“We went to Kyoto on a school trip in junior high school, but we didn’t get to go to Osaka. I’m looking forward to it.”
The next stop for the siblings was Osaka. They decided to visit a man in Osaka.
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