Chapter 20:

Visiting Jiji

Life Stream: Helping a cute girl gain views and followers

The next day, I set out early in order to secure the merch deal for Leona. It took about 10 minutes, but I finally arrived at my destination, G-retirement home. I went inside and knocked on the door.

“Grandfather, it’s me.”

“Oh good, how ya been boy?” my grandfather replied as he opened the door.

My grandfather had been one of my biggest moral supporters throughout my life. Despite my mother’s bad relationship with him, she begrudgingly allowed me to meet him. If it weren’t for my grandfather, I may not be here today. His moral support and positivity helped me from falling into complete despair throughout my life.

“So whatcha been up to? By the way, loved scorpion pop bit. Those shocked faces those girls made was hilarious gaha!”

“Not much. I’ve been doing some single player streaming with Leona in the background, but I’ve mostly been editing videos.”

“And you do a damn good job of it too. Guess you could say you got your nimble fingers from me.”

“Want to try gaming grandpa?”

“Ga ha! I’d probably fail. I’m way too nice to play as viciously as you young’uns. So, I imagine you came here cause you want to talk about something specific.”

“Yep, two things, but we’ll get the easy one out of the way. I’m gonna confess to Leona very soon.”

“Most important question: Can you make her happy?”

“Yes, I’ll stick with her through thick and thin. Heck, I’ve already told her I WILL confess to her.”

“*Whistle* Guess that Reiwa era energy ain’t all talk after all. Though I do need to tell you something very important so listen closely. Even though I was a poor businessman, I have no regrets about how I ran my business. I do, however, have one major regret. That being that I could never make your mother happy. If it was just me and Sayuri, she’d have stuck with me happily for the rest of her life. She knew what she was getting into when we married and didn’t mind living a life of poverty just to be with me.

Then Ouka was born. I failed to realize just how badly our living situation affected her. I may have brought smiles to many, but never to my own daughter. Once my business shut down, she hated me and asked Sayuri to marry someone with a stable job. That was too much to bear. Wishing to improve Ouka’s lifestyle, Sayuri divorced me and lived as a single mother with Ouka. I had no idea she worked herself to the bone just to make ends meet.

When I heard about Sayuri’s passing, I nearly gave up my craft for good. Had it not been for all those people whose lives I made better giving me their love and support, I would have fallen into despair. It was thanks to them that I’m here in a nice retirement home. However, if I had provided a better living situation for Ouka, things would be different. My point is if you have kids, you need to make sure they’re happy. Doesn’t matter if you’re poor or rich, as long as they’re happy that’s all that matters.”

“Thanks grandpa. If we have kids, I’ll make sure the entire family is happy. Though I will say this, you may have made a mistake with my mother, but you did so much good for everyone else. It was thanks to your generosity that made people want to support you when you needed it, and thanks to you that I was born and met so many friends.”

“I didn’t like the idea of people just stuffing money in my mailbox, but it did help me avoid going homeless and I’m very thankful for everyone’s support. As for you, you endured many hardships, but overcame them and grew up to be a wonderful grandson. Wish your father would hurry up and secure the retirement fund so he can bring a smile to Ouka though.”

"It’s still not too late to amend things with her. She resented my choice, but is at least showing an interest in what I’m doing.”

“All the more reason for me to cheer from the sidelines. I wouldn’t want to make things worse. If she comes to me, different story. Though what did you mean by that last bit at the end about me helping you make friends?”

“The grandparents of one of my friends were your customers. They still keep the blue bear preserved in a glass case.”

“Well, that warms my heart knowing that jerk values my work so much. Let me tell you, I was so livid when he hid the payment for the bear on one of my shelves. I told him it was free dammit!”

“Haha! He called it reverse shoplifting.”

“Now ain’t that something. Does that have something to do with your visit?”

“Yes, his granddaughter, Astrid has a streaming buddy who’s very interested in your work. He runs a store and makes restoration videos on the side. Oilerclean96 is his name.”

“Hah, well if he wants something bring him to Jiji’s secret shop. I still keep up my craft, though I prefer to keep a low profile. But if it’s to help you and your girlfriend out, I’ll go viral.”

“So, you’d agree to teach him your craft?”

“Hold up! Teach? Who is this guy?”

“His real name is Okishirou Kageyama. He’s the son of the current CEO of Kagemart.”

“Ga ha! Well, ain’t that a funny twist of fate? His grandfather and I were bitter rivals, but his father always enjoyed my toys. Now he wants to learn to make my toys?”

“Yes, he’s even attempted to replicate your toys, but to no avail.”

“Show me his videos.”


After watching some of Kageyama’s videos, my grandfather delivered his verdict.

“He’s got skill. Best of all he’s got heart. You have any idea what drives him?”

“He wants to make a blue bear just like yours to give to his crush.”

“GAHAHAHA! Well, give him the thumbs up. I’ve always wanted an apprentice and to spread my teachings to the next generation. Heck, I’ll even appear in his videos.”

“Perfect, I’ll call him over.”


“A pleasure to meet you Tsugihara Sensei. My name is Okishirou Kageyama. I run a local Kagemart and make videos on the side. I’m also a huge fan of your work."

“So, ya wanna learn my craft? Think you can make something that can impress your girl?”

“Yes. I want to try resurrecting Tsugihara toys so all can enjoy them. Would it be OK?”

“Hey, it’s your business not mine. I’m just the old mentor. As long as they’re not crazy high prices I’m good.”

“My grandfather would fume if he heard that. Good thing he’s retired.”

“He’s still kicking?”

“Yeah. Back when I first opened my store, he thought all my investments were crazy, but he begrudgingly acknowledged me when I delivered results.”

“Hah, that guy was an ass, but at least he respected a man’s craft and accomplishments.”

After conversing with grandfather for a bit, Kageyama then spoke with me outside in private.

“To think the same guy whose application I turned down a year ago would come back and give me the deal of a lifetime," Kageyama smiled.

“Hey, you should thank yourself for turning me down. It ultimately led to a profitable investment for both of us,” I replied.

“You’ve really evolved from the nervous wreck you were a year ago.”

“Love makes a man do crazy things.”

“Well, can’t argue with that! Let your girl know her merch will be ready within 48 hours.”

Kageyama then returned to begin his tutelage as I headed back home.

“I’m glad you can share your craft with the world again grandfather,” I smiled.


When I got home, I noticed my mother mumbling to herself as she watched a video. I was shocked to find out it was Kageyama streaming his tutelage under grandpa.

“Why is he reappearing now?” my mother grumbled.

“Sorry, that one’s on me. A buddy really wanted to learn how to make grandfather’s toys. He owns a shop, but he’s doing it more so to impress a girl. Doesn’t their positivity bring you a little joy?”

My mother attempted to smile a bit as she replied.

“My ties to him are severed, but if someone else can improve their life because of this, who am I to argue with them.”

It was the closest I had ever seen my mother come to smiling.

“Say mother, do you think me, and a friend could use the kitchen to make something later?”

“If you’re being more productive, then be my guest. Just make sure you clean up. Since your father will be coming home today, I don’t want him to see a messy kitchen.”

I couldn’t help but smile as I agreed to her terms.

Mario Nakano 64