ヒドンライス (Hidden Lies)
Why did you quit being an idol? Those words from her felt like a knife slitting my wrist. In a way, it almost felt like she was mocking me. I guess I could not fault her as she was unaware like so many others what it took to be an idol. So, what could I have said? The truth would have probably hurt her. Many fans of mine already did not like that I was leaving the idol world… heh… world, more like a market or business. The lie was I was leaving due to health reasons — which was true in the sense — but even so, there was more to the story then what the media wanted those to believe. All I ever wanted was a normal life. Was it so selfish for me to wish I had never became an idol in the first place? I never asked to be one…
During my years as an idol I learned that I was quite adept at keeping facades. A mask that hid the feelings that I buried deep down. So far down that I forgotten they existed. Goals, dreams, and desires, everything that I wanted was gone and molded in just two years. I was no longer Mikyu Haruna…
It started when I was about ten years old. I recall being with my mother and sister, walking around Nakashiya Prefecture and we happened to walk past a large building in which they were apparently holding auditions of some sort. A man in a suit approached us and asked my mom some questions. Before I knew it, I was dragged into the building and asked to sing a song. After that… my life changed.
The days of practice were long and hard as an idol. The company — Amatsu Inc. — was known to produce and market only the best idols or amateurs that they believed could be molded into the perfect idol. I was shaped into a cute, adorable, and kind idol by the company, hoping for my big debut. I released a single music video titled SKY & WHITE, which was released under my real name and leaked onto Utube. Once that happened, there was no turning back. The life of an idol had consumed me. Days would past as I would cry from the stress that built up hour after hour; there was never any break from it. A lot of people would think being an idol was great, however, they only see the fame and fun that the companies want them to see. No one ever sees the darkness behind the scenes or the work that it takes. Get up early, get dressed, get five pounds of make-up on my face, warm up the vocal chords… that does not even count learning the dance routine and remembering the lyrics for each song going to be published. Even when all is said and done there are still tours to perform from time to time and then on top of that there was the stress of keeping up with school studies.
Even on my days off I felt chained to the persona I created. I had to be this Lolita idol that everyone, but me, adored. Looking back on it… it was not healthy at all.
Being an idol would seem like fun to most, outside of the inner circle of idols, however, those of us that were idols knew how horrible it truly was. Idols had almost no say in anything, our managers, songs, lyrics, interviews, everything was planned out and predetermined for us. The sad thing was we had to pretend everything was fine, and hide the fact that it was all an act. I know if I had any say in anything I would have fired the manager I had. He was the exact definition of avaricious. On the outside he looked like a well dressed man with a nice suit and tie, but on the inside he cared nothing about my health, general happiness, or anything that did not directly involve profits.
Idols needed to keep a pure image in public, acting as a symbol for young girls. That is basically what we were. No, we were more like prostitutes, making money for an industry with our looks. It was sick, but there was no quitting. When we signed into the industry there was no quitting, you only left once you hit twenty years of age. In fact, I am sure a lot of girls wanted to quit but another reason they could not leave — aside from age — was mainly for the financial investment. Blood, sweat and tears were put into this job but no one outside of idols truly knew what it was like.
When I toured in America the stress of keeping a pure image drove me to some undesirable habits. Drinking and smoking became a stress reliever as I watched my life spin in the chaos of the sea. Any normal person would have gone mad from the stress of being an idol. Maybe I was just lucky? Yeah right…
Dealing with people was always a big pain as an idol. I was normally an introvert but being an idol forced me to become an extrovert. Even at the height of my career at sixteen I found it hard to deal with people. I was generally afraid of the many people online and comments they would post on media sites. Sometimes the comments would get to me. I was always afraid someone would do something gross to me. At the time it was my worse fear, and just before my eighteenth birthday, that fear almost became reality.
It happened while I was on tour in California at a resort in Beverly Hills. The best hotel money could buy. Of course, there was always a catch with my manager. He was too cheap to pay for any expensive place unless there was more to it, like a discount or some sort. As it turned out, I was right. The hotel was called Hotel California, which was a bit ironic. The manager of the hotel was a nice lady and seemed happy that I was staying at her hotel. Apparently, the only reason I was getting a discount off was due to the fact that her daughter was a huge fan of mine. I wish my manager didn’t use me as a bargaining chip.
One of the few good things about all of this was the fact that photo shoot was within walking distance. It made things a bit easier on me. With everything out of the way, I walked to the photo shoot and hotel every day as needed, getting up before dawn and getting back just around dark. Day after day I continued this routine and while the walks were not bad the loneliness would tend to get to me. Not because I needed someone to talk to but merely just for the safety in numbers.
One day the photo shoot was running a bit late so I ended up getting to the hotel a lot later then usual. I made it to my room and opened my door, however, before I could enter I was stopped by the sound of someone greeting me. The man in question was quite tall, but then again I was generally shorter than almost everyone I would meet. He was an American and quite cute, aside from the creepy vibe he gave off. If I was being honest, I felt uneasy around him.
He spoke to me in English, wanting to know more about Japan and what it was like. Lucky for him I spoke English as well. We talked about many different things, common everyday topics like food, sports, news, and weather, but still something just did not feel right. I tried to enter my room, telling him that I would come back out in a second. However, that was a mistake on my part. After opening the door I felt him quickly push me into the room and close the door behind him before I could even react. Within seconds he covered my mouth pined me to the ground. In that moment, I had mixed feelings about what was happening. Part of me felt pleasure for some odd reason while the more logical side of me was afraid. I needed to get free and call the police or something. Struggling to break free was sadly in vain as one hand of his was able to keep both of my wrist pinned down while his other hand slowly made its way down my body.
Luckily he had not pinned down my legs well enough that I was able to drive a forceful knee into his genitals. He quickly fell over writhing in pain. I remember running out of the room so fast that my flip-flops came off but I did not care. After telling the manager of the hotel what happened and calling the police I decided that I was done. I quit my idol career just like that even if it meant terminating my contract and risking it all. Leaving behind everything I boarded a plane to Nakashiya and never looked back. The industry did not seem to care though as I later read on the news that they claimed I was quitting due to health reasons. Perhaps they already had a replacement for me. Figures…
To be honest, I was glad to be back here in Nakashiya. It was a nice city. After parting ways with Reira I made my way to the apartment complex that I was staying at. Even though my mom said I could live with her I wanted to live on my own. Once I made it to the complex I was greeted by the landlady as she swept the pathway leading up to the apartments. Ms. Arisako Otonakumi was a polite and compassionate elderly lady. She was like the grandma that was always making cookies for her grandchildren. After we exchanged our greetings I entered my apartment.
Inside, the apartment was in decent condition. A simple one bedroom apartment with one bathroom. The walls were a common white color with a few photos decorated on them from my live shows. I removed my shoes at the door and proceeded to collapse on the nice leather sofa in my living room. Even though I was no longer an idol, it was still tiring but part of me was used to it. After stretching for a second I made my way into my bedroom. One would probably think my bedroom to be overflowing with cute stuffed-animals and other cute pink things, however, that was not the case. While I did have bed sheets that were pink there was nothing cute about my bedroom. The only thing that stood out in my room, aside from my bed, was my large desktop computer. It was a good thing I knew how to build my own computers, otherwise it would have cost a lot more money than it should have.
I turned on the power to my computer. Booting up Vrch Iinux I waited a few seconds and then opened up a web browser called WaterWolf. Many people would probably question why I never use Mindows or WacOSX, which my response was that I just did not care for those operating systems. When you get to a point where you know how a computer works it just makes sense to use Iinux over anything else. Seeing as how I had time to waste I decided to research more on the Higgs boson. Discovered on my birthday in 2012, initially, it was a big deal because its discovery could work toward proving the Big Bang, but now apparently there might be more to it. I continued to read through articles and other scientific papers as hours flew by.
Looking at the clock it was almost 21:00 and I was completely starving. Cooking a meal would have been a nice change of pace but I was feeling tired. Deciding to order a pizza online I went with a simple pepperoni pizza with stuffed-crust, and proceeded to look for my cigarettes. I made my way out the door to at least smoke one cigarette. It was honestly a stupid habit that I wish I had never started due to the fact my body was slowly growing to want more cigarettes with each passing day. I stood there smoking for a few minutes as I watched Ms. Otonakumi leave the office. It was pretty amazing that even at her age she was still working hard. After some time the pizza delivery man came to the door. Once I paid him, I took the pizza inside to eat the beauty that was stuffed-crust master piece.
Finishing my lunch I decided to get a shower and wash my hair. I removed my school uniform and socks laying them on my bed and then proceeded to step into the shower. The warm water felt great on my bare skin and relaxed my muscles. Sadly, this standing was not helping the muscles in my feet. While it was not a big deal due to my training as an idol, it would be nice to be able to get a relaxing foot massage from time to time. After using shampoo on my hair and rinsing it out, I stepped out of the shower and dried off my body. As I looked at myself in the mirror part of me wanted to cut my hair a bit but I knew that if I did I would more then likely regret it later down the line.
I changed into my night time clothes which consisted of nothing more then a black thin tank-top and black panties. In truth, I was never one for flashy clothes, even if my idol photos said otherwise. Generally, my outfits were picked out by professionals but of course I did learn about different fashion styles and while I did find Lolita fashion cute, I felt that I was not the cutest person to be wearing outfits like that. After grabbing my laptop from my desk I lay back into the comfort of my bed.
The next day I awoke — noticing my laptop had fallen off of me — from a pretty deep slumber at about 05:15. Like a trained robot I plugged in my straightener and waited for it to heat up. While waiting, I played one of my favorite bands on my laptop. Winter Nightmare — an all-female metal out of the United Kingdom — was known throughout the world for their inhuman playing and catchy songs. Lucky for me I got a once in a life time chance to meet them when I was on tour in the UK. I guess being an idol had its benefits at times.
Still, it was almost, sad…
I fell into a daily routine to the point that even when I was no longer a part of that world I still had it conditioned into the hippocampus of my limbic system. What could I do though? Eight years of non-stop torment made me like a zombie. It was as if I was brainwashed by some religious virus that spread around the world. Sigh… I straightened out my long hair after spraying it down with some hair conditioner to protect it from the heat. In just a few minutes I had finished making my hair as straight as a board. Once that was done I proceeded to style it into two perfect pigtails; afterwards applying hairspray and brushing it upwards to give the pigtails more volume. Once I was happy with my hair I grabbed my school uniform. It was nice to have a school uniform, a simple piece of clothing that everyone had to wear, symbolizing we were all considered equal. It was nice knowing that everyone was, at least at the core, the same. Plus, it was a lot easier to wear a uniform instead of trying to wade through a sea of clothes, trying to pick out a good outfit to wear. It did make me wonder what overseas student’s thought about uniforms. After putting on my blouse and skirt I looked through my dresser for a pair of socks. All of them black; all of them knee-high length. Slipping them on, I looked over at the clock to see that it was 06:03. I still had time to put on my make-up and make sure I had everything ready for school.
I made my way into the restroom to apply a light foundation of make-up onto my face. Usually, I would be caked in about five pounds of make-up as idols always needed to appear young and pure. Child-like features sold more to the younger culture than older looking idols. Pigtails; tons of make-up and happy expressions… the industry knew how to milk the major parts of the world. Even though I kept telling myself I would stop wearing make-up and doing all this non-sense I continued to do it day after day. While applying eyeliner to the bottom of my eyelid, I questioned times like these if leaving the idol business was the right thing to do. If I had stayed would it have gotten better?
I pondered the question after making sure I had everything done and grabbed my bag. After putting on my shoes I made my way out the door to meet up with Reira. As I locked the door to my apartment I was greeted by Ms. Otonakumi who was sweeping the pathway.
“Good morning dear, how are you this fine morning?”
She had a soft smile about her while she continued to sweep.
“I am well Ms. Otonakumi,” I said returning the smile.
Continuing past her and down the quiet street I waited at the intersection where I first bumped into Reira. A few minutes passed until I finally saw her coming down the street. Reira Ishikawa… a beautiful name, for a beautiful girl. She could have been an idol if I was completely being honest. However, the chances of her becoming a musical idol were shot due to her being mute. Perhaps she could have gone with the model route which was in the realm of possibilities. As she smiled and waved, I returned a warm, genuine smile to her.
“Good morning Reira. How did you sleep?”
Letting out a cute, soft yawn she slowly rubbed her eyes indicating that she was still pretty tired.
She nodded. Without much more to say we made our way to the school. Walking with her was quite nice once the two of us started to talk about things we both liked. Even if she could not speak it was still fun to read her thoughts and views. There were many things that I wondered about her. Why was it she did not use sign language? What were her favorite things to do in her free time? What kind of guys did she like? So many questions to ask her, however, I would learn more about her in time. Maybe I should start with a simple question.
“Do you have any hobbies, aside from idols?”
(Does looking online at idol news count?)
“I said besides idols.”
She thought about if there was something else she liked as we continued to walk down the street finally coming into view of the school. Entering the school, I removed my shoes. She stared at the ground as if she was thinking hard about a topic for us to talk about. I slipped on the slippers after placing my shoes into my shoe locker. Afterwards the two of us went to our homeroom classroom and waited for the morning to begin.
The day went by slowly, however, I was glad once it was time for science class with Miss Kotori Higikyuaru, one of the best teachers in the school, at least that was my opinion anyway. Miss Higikyuaru was known for her work in the realm of quantum mechanics and particle physics. She was known to be funded by governments around the world but left it all just to teach at a high-school. I found it a bit strange that she would give something like that up.
While Miss Higikyuaru was nearing her thirties she looked a lot younger then what some would believe. She always kept her long brown hair in a ponytail off to the left side. Her white lab coat made her stand out among other teachers while her style of dress was more simple then fashionable. A white button dress shirt that was untucked and a short gray toned checkered frilly skirt somehow complimented her white knee-high socks.
A lot of people did not seem to care for Miss Higikyuaru’s classes. It was a bit sad that students felt her classes were dumb and seemed useless to everyday life. The truth of the matter was that anyone could learn if they put in the time and effort to learn.
“The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that the total entropy can never decrease over time for an isolated system. The total entropy can remain constant in ideal cases where the system is in a steady state and can be written as the following formula.”
As she wrote the formula on the board I noticed that Reira was in a bit of a daydream. I guess she just had a hard time understanding what was being said. Taking out a piece of paper I asked her if she understood the lesson, waiting for a few minutes she finally replied.
(I don’t understand any of it! All of it is confusing and hard.)
(Well, would you like me to tutor you?)
After agreeing to help her we both decided that during lunch time I would try to teach her what I could in the library. Miss Higikyuaru continued on until my notebook had about ten pages full of notes. Time passed through each class we went to until it was finally time for lunch. Reira and I made our way to the library and sat down at one of the tables.
“So, first off, what do you not understand?”
“Okay, well do you understand the basics of science?”
She shook her head with a sad look on her face.
“Do not worry, I will teach you what I can.”
She smiled and seemed a bit happy, like that of a child getting candy. Teaching her science was going to be a big under taking. I started her off with a basic understanding of what it was and about physics. We covered the basic units used which she seemed to understand. Once she understood what the SI Standard — or Système International d’Unités — was I proceeded to teach her the basic formulas for velocity, distance and time. She seemed lackadaisical to learn, doing so at a slow pace which was kind of a drag for me as I was used to learning things much faster.
The rest of the day passed after we finished up our study hour. It was honestly quite boring for me. I was not learning anything new in school in most of the other classes aside from math and science. History was boring for me, while Language Arts class was a bag of mix feelings. After school was finally over, the two of us made our way down the hallway until we ran into Chizaki Kuroharu — the president — and Emira Gongetsu — the vice president — of the student council.
“Bonjour,” Chizaki said with a deadpan expression.
While I did not speak any French I at least knew what that phrase meant. I returned a polite hello in English. Chizaki was a lot smaller then me even though we were both third years, in fact, she was skinnier than me… does this girl even eat?
“I hope things are well Miss Haruna.”
She brushed the bangs of her white hair to one side though her expression continued to show no emotion. It was almost kind of cute, like she was a deadpan loli whose humor was dry. Contrast to her tiny, petite body was Emira who was towering in size, and huge breast, who always seemed to have a happy expression on her face.
“Everything is fine, Miss Kuroharu.”
She merely nodded and then turned to Emira.
As she said that the two of them started to walk past me.
“We shall converse at a later date, should you be free.”
Her monotone voice made her sound more like a cold-hearted girl out of an anime than some upstanding student council president. As the two of them made their way up the stairs to the second floor I noticed Reira had a confused look on her face.
“Oh, don’t worry. I just have some business with the president.”
After all was said and done the two of us made it to the shoe-lockers. By this point my body needed a cigarette and maybe a glass of wine. Usually, I could go all day without needing a cigarette but it seems that lately it was just getting worse and worse. Just push through it Mikyu… everything will be fine. Honestly, it was times like these that I wish I had some other type of addiction like masturbating everyday, or hell, even humping everything in my room. Anything would be better than being at the mercy of nothing more then a light stick with drugs and a drink that slowly killed the liver.
I sighed. I was lost in my thoughts again, forgetting about the world still moving around me, however, a gentle poke on my arm returned me to the land of the living. Reira seemed worried about me as I realized that I had removed my slippers but had yet to put on my shoes. Some would say being lost in your thoughts is a sign of genius; others, a sign of madness.
“Don’t worry. I am fine, I was just thinking…”
She did not seem completely convinced that I was okay.
“If you are free, do you want to come hang out at my place?”
With a simple nod and smile her expression told me that she was happy to spend time together. The only question was what would the two of us do at my place?