Chapter 31:

Osaka: Chapter 26

The Kimochi Warui Diary

The porno magazine hit the counter with a slap.Bookmark here

Using my best Jotaro-face, I tried to make myself look completely unreadable. Bookmark here

The 7-Eleven girl furrowed her eyebrow in confusion—I could see that even behind her face mask.Bookmark here

“But… I see you before… You already bought?”Bookmark here

I tried to maintain my stoic demeanor, but it was going to take more than just a few words to clear this up. I broke down and told her everything:Bookmark here

The journal. The porno magazine. The grocery bag. The search through the karaoke bar, the alleyway, and everywhere in between. The fact no one knows who Shugo Tokumaru is. That my memories of Japan will have all vanished with the disappearance of the notebook, and this porno magazine being just one artifact confirming that the trip happened at all. That thinking in 2D is a habit one must break if one wishes to re-enter the realm of reality. That loneliness can be an addicting feeling. The bit of body fat that gets pinched by the bikini string.Bookmark here

I told her everything.Bookmark here

“It’s gone. I lost it. That’s why I’m buying another one. Here.” I handed her the money.Bookmark here

The 7-Eleven girl said nothing. She looked down at my money. She looked back up at me. Then, she put the money back in my hand.Bookmark here

She held the magazine out to me—the magazine containing the Japanese airbrushed titty girls and the neatly trimmed muffs.Bookmark here

“I see you before! You take it.”Bookmark here

“I… I couldn’t possibly…”Bookmark here

“No charge,” she insisted. “I remember you.”Bookmark here

I walked out of the 7-Eleven with a new magazine in hand. The street signs and the lights were ablur, but not because I was drunk.Bookmark here

It’s a terrible day for rain…Bookmark here

Bookmark here

I flung open the door of the hostel. Bookmark here

Everyone from before was still in the lobby. Bookmark here

It was time to deliver the good news:Bookmark here

“The search is over.”Bookmark here

“Ohhh. You found it? The diary?”Bookmark here

“It was a journal, but no, I didn’t find it. It’s okay, though. I’m just going to start rewriting from the beginning.”Bookmark here

“Seriously? That sucks.”Bookmark here

I looked off into the distance. And then I calmly said:Bookmark here

“The experiences I’ve had can never be replaced. They’ll always be in my memories.”Bookmark here

Damn… I can’t believe I really thought up something so cool and mature.Bookmark here

“That’s true. Hey, do you want a drink?”Bookmark here

Some minutes after taking shots of fruity alcohol, Tomonori came down the stairs.Bookmark here

“Hi, is this someone bag? I find in bathroom.”Bookmark here

In his hands? Bookmark here

A white grocery bag. Bookmark here

And through the translucent plastic, I could see it: Bookmark here

The outline of my blue Campus notebook. Bookmark here

Had the Japanese gods rewarded me for taking the higher ground? For rejecting my material obsession with the journal, had I then proved my worth and been rewarded for it?Bookmark here

I stood up. Bookmark here

Everyone was watching now as the scene unfolded. Bookmark here

I lifted my hand out to him:Bookmark here

“Yes! That is my bag!”Bookmark here

The room was frozen for the moment. Bookmark here

And then Tomonori said, “Wait, this yours too?” Bookmark here

And from the bag he pulled it out: Bookmark here

The porno magazine, with the vanilla-skinned, half-naked, air-brushed, Japanese adult video star on the cover.Bookmark here

This Novel Contains Mature Content

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