Chapter 17:

March 25: Kyoto

One Month to Figure out my Future

It was already wednesay. That meant we were finally going to Kyoto for our field trip.Bookmark here

As we were still at home I talked to Miyo: “Hey Miyo, as your big brother I have to tell you to be careful on your trip, and try to behave.”Bookmark here

“Yes, yes I’m just a year younger…”Bookmark here

“I trust you.”Bookmark here

“Alright, alright I’ll be a good girl.”Bookmark here

“Perfect, now we can go.”Bookmark here

“Big bro…”Bookmark here

“What?”Bookmark here

“Can you carry my suitcase?”Bookmark here

“Not a chance.”Bookmark here

“Whaaaat?? Ok I’ll be a bad girl during.”Bookmark here

“Get a move on, the elevator is about to close.”Bookmark here

I heard her start running.Bookmark here

“You are so mean!”Bookmark here

We all gathered in the school courtyard. Different classes were all forming little groups, I could also see Miyo’s class.Bookmark here

Both Miss. Kamuro and the history teacher were holding flags with our class number. I was waiting with my suitcase along with Hayato. The plan was to first take a bus to the station, then the bullet train, and finally another bus to get to the hotel.Bookmark here

Miss. Kamuro started shouting: “Ok everybody, I think I can start making the roll call. Just say “here” and raise your hand when I call your name!”Bookmark here

Both Hayao and I did so when we got called, and fortunately, also Rihoko did the same. I was happy she made it.Bookmark here

“Hey Satoshi, be a gentleman, go help Rihoko put her suitcase on the bus.”Bookmark here

“I barely have the strength to lift mine, plus, I’m sure the bus driver will do it for us.”Bookmark here

“I guess you are right.”Bookmark here

As we were waiting for Miss. Kamuro’s approval to start getting on the bus, I put one hand in my pocket and felt a piece of paper. I did not recall putting anything on my pockets so I took it out.Bookmark here

There was something written on it: “Hi big brother, as I promised, here you have a complete list of the best romantic places In Kyoto. Don’t even try to throw it away, I’m watching you…” Then there was a long list of places.Bookmark here

I looked for Miyo’s group and she was looking straight to me. She started making all kinds of signs but I just ignored her.Bookmark here

As I predicted, the bus driver was kind enough to load all of our suitcases on the bus. We got on the bus and I sat next to Hayato.Bookmark here

“Ready for four days of pure excitement?”Bookmark here

“I guess.”Bookmark here

“Come on Satoshi I want to hear more energy!”Bookmark here

“Yeeees, let’s do it.”Bookmark here

“Now it’s better.”Bookmark here

“Hayato, have you ever been to Kyoto?”Bookmark here

“No, what about you?”Bookmark here

“Same, it will be my fist time.”Bookmark here

“Guys you now that in Kyoto there is the “International Manga Museum”?”Bookmark here

Rihoko just appeared from the seat behind us and stuck her head between me and Hayato.Bookmark here

I replied: “No… I didn’t now, have already been to Kyoto?”Bookmark here

“No, but as the literary club member I must be informed about everything regarding reading.”Bookmark here

That made sense. After that, she got back to her seat.Bookmark here

I turned around to check out who she was sitting with. It was a girl with headphones connected to her smart phone, but I had trouble trying to remember her name.Bookmark here

“So Rihoko, who will you be staying with, in the hotel?”Bookmark here

“With Saki.”Bookmark here

She pointed at the girl sitting next to her. Saki, yes, I don’t think she ever made something to stick out, exactly like Rihoko. I think she usually sits in front of Rihoko in class, but I might be wrong.Bookmark here

“Well, hope we can all have a nice trip.”Bookmark here

I turned back and took my smart phone out to play some games.Bookmark here

Hayato whispered me in the ear: “Hey, that girl, Saki, it’s pretty cute eh?”Bookmark here

“I guess.”Bookmark here

“Is there anything else other that “I guess” that you can say?”Bookmark here

“I guess not”Bookmark here

He gave me a harmless punch on the shoulder.Bookmark here

“Hayato, come on, let’s have a match.”Bookmark here

“Oh so you want me to teach you a lesson?”Bookmark here

“Sure, bring it on.”Bookmark here

We spent the rest of this short ride to the station battling each other. When we had to get off we were tied 2 to 2.Bookmark here

I said to Hayato: “I’ll finish you on the train.”Bookmark here

“Yes, keep talking…”Bookmark here

“Alright! Everybody get off the bus, hurry up! We don’t want to miss the train!” I think Miss. Kamuro’s reached also the people living in Kyoto.Bookmark here

We got off, took our luggage and got on the bullet train which would have brought us to Kyoto.Bookmark here

Hayato sat on one of those seats which have other two seats facing the opposite direction. I already hated the idea of having somebody in front of me, having the risk of meet his eyesight for two hours.Bookmark here

Fortunately the people who took those two seats where Rihoko and Saki. It wasn’t that bad after all…Bookmark here

Me and Hayato finishe our game while Saki was still listening to music and Rihoko was reading a book. I also noticed that since back when we where at school, she has not been wairing her messy bun.Bookmark here

I ended up winning the last match.Bookmark here

“Good game… but it wasn’t enough to beat me.”Bookmark here

“Whatever… Hey have a look.”Bookmark here

He was looking directly towards Rihoko, I looked and she was already sleeping still with the books in her hands.Bookmark here

“You know Satoshi, you helped her, you helped Megumi, you helped me, but there is still someone you have to help.”Bookmark here

“And who is this person?”Bookmark here

“Yourself.”Bookmark here

“What do you mean?”Bookmark here

“What about you career plan? I know it has been bothering you.”Bookmark here

“I just have to write it a little bit better and everything will be fine.”Bookmark here

“It’s not about how you write it, it’s about what you write. In reality you still don’t know what you want to do.”Bookmark here

“It’s not that easy…”Bookmark here

“I think you have done thing that are way more complicated.”Bookmark here

“I promise I will think about it.”Bookmark here

“That’s the spirit, now if you don’t mind I will also have a little nap. Can I rest on your shoulder?”Bookmark here

“Hell no.”Bookmark here

We both laughed a bit but not too loudly so we would not wake Rihoko.Bookmark here

I brought out my earphones to some music too. As soon as I plugged in the earphones in the jack, Saki stopped looking outside of the windows and said: “What kind of music do you like?”Bookmark here

That was unexpected.Bookmark here

“Well, I think they call it EDM, electronic dance music.”Bookmark here

“Yes I know that genre, you don’t seem the type to like that kind of music.”Bookmark here

“It’s good to listen to it when you play videogames, it gives a nice push.”Bookmark here

“I see, what’s your favorite DJ then?”Bookmark here

“Let me think… Steve Aoki. You know he is also half Japanese.”Bookmark here

“Yes, I know him.”Bookmark here

“What music genre do you prefer instead?”Bookmark here

“I listen to all kind of music, but if I had to choose one I would say Indie Music.”Bookmark here

“Sorry what is that?”Bookmark here

“Indie stands for Independent, is basically music produced independently from commercial record labels or their subsidiaries.”Bookmark here

“Ohh, I see, it sounds pretty cool.”Bookmark here

“You want to listen to something?”Bookmark here

No, I don’t really want, but I think in this kind of situations you are supposed to say yes.Bookmark here

“Sure, why not.”Bookmark here

In the end we exchanged a couple of songs and went back to listen to our regular music. I wasn’t really impressed by what she made me listen to, I needed to hear some good drops in my music.Bookmark here

After two hours we got to our destination, Kyoto. I woke both Hayato and Rihoko.Bookmark here

Hayato asked me: “Did I just sleep for the entire trip?”Bookmark here

“Yes you did.”Bookmark here

“Oh wow, I’m getting older.”Bookmark here

“That’s warring since I’m actually a bit older than you.”Bookmark here

Hayato’s birthday was in September.Bookmark here

We all got off the train and gathered all around our teachers. Miss. Kamuro checked if we were all there once again.Bookmark here

“It seems nobody is missing. That’s great, now we just have to take another bus and we will be able to relax a bit at the hotel.”Bookmark here

Once again I found myself sitting next to Hayato but this time he was able to keep his eyes open.Bookmark here

The ride took a bit longer that I expected, indeed our hotel was almost out of the city. I don’t know if this was a good or a bad thing but Miss. Kamuro had told us that we would have an onsen right inside the hotel.Bookmark here

The hotel looked fairly modern with some accents of traditional Japanese architecture. We checked in and gathered in the hall. After another check from Miss. Kamuro we were able to reach our rooms.Bookmark here

“Remember, no boys and girls mixed! I will come and check every single room later. You will have some time to unpack and settle, we will eat here at the hotel at 13pm, we will discuss the plans for the afternoon then.”Bookmark here

Hayato and I had the room number 16, we found it and after sliding the electronic key we got in.Bookmark here

“Since I won the game, I shall choose in which bed to sleep.”Bookmark here

“Not fair…”Bookmark here

“I think it’s really fair, I’ll take that one.”Bookmark here

I pointed to the bet close to the window just because I wanted the one that was the farthest from the door.Bookmark here

The room wasn’t that big but felt cozy and since we were staying there just a couple of days, it was enough for us.Bookmark here

“Hayato, just remember one thing, if tonight you start snoring, you will receive a pillow directly in your face.”Bookmark here

“What makes you think that I would snore?”Bookmark here

“Before you said you were starting to get older.”Bookmark here

“Damn, you got me there. Anyways the same thing goes for you…”Bookmark here

Ten minutes before 13pm we headed for the hotel’s kitchen. Miss. Kamuro was already there with some other students. Once she saw us, she came to talk.Bookmark here

“Narukami and Kamizaki, good to see you, everything good?”Bookmark here

We both replied with a simple: “Yes.”Bookmark here

“Awesome, because this afternoon we will have some more fun.”Bookmark here

“What do you have in plan?”Bookmark here

“Do you know the Nishiki Market?”Bookmark here

“No…”Bookmark here

“You’ll find out, now let’s eat.”Bookmark here

We had lunch and right after that we were back on another bus. By now I have seen more means of transport than anything else. I was still sitting next to Hayato, and Rihoko was on my right with Saki.Bookmark here

I asked her: “Do you know anything about the Nishiki Market?”Bookmark here

“No, nothing at all.”Bookmark here

Saki jumped in the conversation although I’m still wondering hwo she was able to hear us with her headphones on: “I know, Nishiki Market is a long shopping street lined by more than one hundred shops and restaurants. It specializes in all things food related, like fresh seafood, produce, knives and cookware.”Bookmark here

Wow, that was one hell of a description. She sounded just like a Wikipedia page.Bookmark here

Rihoko told her: “That’s impressive, you know so many things Saki.”Bookmark here

Saki simply went back to listening to music. I don’t know how fun it will be to see some dead fish at a marker but we will see.Bookmark here

At the market we gathered once again around our teachers.Bookmark here

“As you can see we are the Nishiki Market, here you can find any sort of food, but we are not here to do some shopping. We will meet a master sushi chef! Alright let’s all go meet him, I’m sure he has something ready for you guys.”Bookmark here

A master sushi chef, that sounded pretty cool.Bookmark here

Miss. Kamuro guided us to the chef’s restaurant and she introduced us to him.Bookmark here

“He is chef Miyazato, you will join a sushi making class lead by him. I hope you can all find out about the history of this cuisine and how it evolved. And don’t worry, you will be able to eat the sushi made by you. Give it all your best.”Bookmark here

Cooking… anything but cooking. As I already said, the cooking talent went all to Miyo. Bookmark here

Chef Miyazato took over: “Young boys and girls, I would like you to work in pairs, choose wisely your partner, if you are not confident enough go with someone who has more experience. You will all have different types of sushi to work on, I will come to each one of you and explain more about the dish and giving some tips.”Bookmark here

I asked Hayato: “You are a disaster at cocking right?”Bookmark here

“Weeell, let’s just say that it’s not my best skill.”Bookmark here

I didn’t want to pair up with someone I didn’t know. Wait! I need to find Rihoko.Bookmark here

“Rihoko, do you already have a partner?”Bookmark here

She immediately turned red, I think she missed the point.Bookmark here

“…for the cocking class I mean.”Bookmark here

“Oh, right, well I think Saki will be just fine on her own if you need help.”Bookmark here

“Yes, you know I can’t even brew some tea.”Bookmark here

“Alright let’s go, this time I’ll be the one helping you.”Bookmark here

We were assigned the Temaki-sushi. The chef explained to us that it’s basically a sushi roll with raw fish and other ingredients wrapped in rice and seaweed in a conical shape and often eaten by hand.Bookmark here

The fact that it need to be shaped like a freaking cone made it really complicated to prepare.Bookmark here

“Ok Satoshi, let’s start from the sushi rice. We simply have to steam the rice and season it with rice vinegar, sugar, and salt.”Bookmark here

I gathered all the ingredients and tried to keep up with her.Bookmark here

“For the ingredients to put inside we don’t have much of a choice, we have tuna, radish sprouts, shiso leaves and cucumbers. You can get the vegetables washed and prepared, I will handle the cutting of the tuna.”Bookmark here

Ok, washing and cutting some grass, I can do it.Bookmark here

“Now for the assembly, we just follow the chef’s instructions. Correct me if I remember something wrong. We have to cut a square seaweed sheet in half, place the seaweed with the shiny side down, on the palm of the hand…”Bookmark here

I was following every single move of her and replicating it.Bookmark here

“… then we put some sushi rice at a 45-degree angle to the top left corner of the seaweed and we spread it evenly. Now we can add the ingredients however we want basically.”Bookmark here

“Waiit I’m a step behind, I got lost when you started talking about geometry.”Bookmark here

She laughed.Bookmark here

“Let me help you.”Bookmark here

She put her hads around mine to help me shape the sushi correctly. I could notice her cheecks get a bit colored, but it might have been the heat in the kitched.Bookmark here

When it came to put the ingredients we desired, I didn’t put nay cucumber because I have it, and If I was going to eat that sushi, it needed to be cucumber free.Bookmark here

“Alright we are almost done. Roll the bottom left corner up to the middle of the top edge of the seaweed to form a triangle, and continue rolling until you get a cone shape.”Bookmark here

Easier said than done…Bookmark here

Mine didn’t resemble much a cone but I guess it was close enough.Bookmark here

“Finally, put a piece of rice on the tip of the seaweed to make sure it doesn’t unfold.”Bookmark here

That was actually a cool technique. And there it was, a Temaki-sushi… I think.Bookmark here

Once we were all finished the chef came to have a look at the final results, needless to say that he complimented Rihoko’s one while he wasn’t really impressed by mine, whatever…Bookmark here

We ea our sushi’s and got back to Miss. Kamuro.Bookmark here

“Hope you had some fun making sushi!”Bookmark here

You can’t imagine how much fun I had…Bookmark here

I spotted Hayato and asked him: “Hey man, who did you pair up with?”Bookmark here

“Saki, it turned out that she is actually really good at cooking, but my skills are pretty horrific.”Bookmark here

“Guys, we still have some time left. You can wonder off in the market for an hour, try as much food as you want. But remember, I want you all back here in one hour! Don’t make me wait.”Bookmark here

Hayato and I explored the market a bit but I soon had to find a place to rest my poor legs so we ordered some drinks.Bookmark here

“Is Rihoko a good teacher?”Bookmark here

“I guess, and Saki?”Bookmark here

“Absolutely not, she doesn’t talk that much but when she speaks, it’s like a dictionary which spits super complicated words.”Bookmark here

We all had that impression…Bookmark here

At the of the day it was a fun experience, at least I tried something different.Bookmark here

Back at the hotel we decided to relax a bit in the onsen even tought I never really liked the idea of bathing naked with other people. I think there were many different baths with different properties but we didn’t really pay much attention to that. We chose a random one and got in. We were the only ones in it. It was super hot but it felt really good once I got used to the heat.Bookmark here

“Hey Satoshi, be honest. Do you like Rihoko?”Bookmark here

“I mean, as a friend…”Bookmark here

“Come on, she can’t just be a friend to you.”Bookmark here

“Why not?”Bookmark here

“Look at all that you did for her, considering the fact that you usually avoid to people… there must be something more than a simple friendship.”Bookmark here

“I don’t know, even if I liked her, I don’t think I would do anything to change our current relationship.”Bookmark here

“Why?”Bookmark here

“It’s not my thing, if I have to consider pros and cons of a serious relationship, well I prefer one hundred percent to be alone.”Bookmark here

Bookmark here

“You and your numbers…”Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.