Rainbow of the Horizon—Illuminating Our Darkened Path
April 1, 2018, a Sunday morning.
‘Tis the day I fly away.
‘Tis the day I spread my wings.
‘Tis the day I find my way…
“Gin!!! Can you please stop making poems and pack your remaining things?!”
“Ahahaha… I’m very sorry Rin-ojou-san.”
We’re going to Japan. Yeah.
Hiro and Sean told us that it will be a vacation, but I know that I’ll just be working just like usual… but in a very different environment. The only thing I know is that we’re going to the North and that’s it. I don’t even know what part of Japan we’re going to.
Anyways, this all happened for the reason that the restaurant is undergoing renovations and Hiro and Sean, as my bosses, have decided to open a new branch somewhere in Japan.
The greatest conflict that I personally have in mind is the certain demographic in whatever place we are settling in. I may have studied the North’s culture by books and articles, but that is nothing when it already comes to the palates of those we will serve our food.
“Goodness, I finally packed everything.”
But amidst of the things that are bugging me, I am just too excited.
“Gin~ Can I borrow your bathroom? My hair’s so dry and I still have bed hair. Ah, I might as well take a shower if that’s okay,” Rin suddenly came to the door of my room as she’s scratching her head with a somewhat annoyed face.
“You can use the bathroom next door. The guest’s bathroom below is just for those that needs to release. I haven’t really spruced that up and I had the pipeline on the shower closed there.
You have a change of clothes?”
“Yeah, I have. Sorry for this.”
“We still have time anyways. There’s no need to rush. I’ll help you dry your hair.
Our departure time will be around one in the afternoon and that schedule is definitely bad news. Right now, Orio is once again enveloped in despair.
Well, not despair, but summer.
However, the flight duration will only be around two hours or so from the Capital to Tokyo. That just shows how close we are from the North, but we were experiencing a tropical climate until last year which the snow finally fell for the first time in the history of this country.
And it just got to me. It is April and the season is around spring in Japan. I guess I wouldn’t really be bothered by the cold anyway. Wait, that last sentence was somehow familiar for some reason.
I stood up and went out as I suddenly remembered something after hearing some ambient sounds from the outside of my room.
“Hey, Rin. Do you need a shampoo? You might not like what I have there.”
“It’s okay. Sis uses these sometimes in our house.”
“If you say so.
Is your luggage below in the living room? I’m about to place mine down.”
“Ah, it’s probably blocking some space.”
“Aight. I’ll move it somewhere.”
With that, I came back to my room and carried the container of my belongings down to the bottom floor as I sweat crystals that probably evaporate as soon as they drop to the floor.
As every box is pretty much ticked, I checked every room, appliances and miscellaneous things inside my house for one final inspection. It has been coming back and forth in my mind that I will be spending more or less a month away from my abode.
“Not being able to see this place makes me somehow emotional.”
“Gin. Where are you? I’m done in the bath.”
“Ey. Just stay put and I’ll dry you hair.”
~ ~ ~
And just like that time from our graduation, we are once again in front of a mirror.
“It’s kind of weird to see someone dry my hair since I usually dry mine.”
“Really? Then I’m quite proud to do this for you.”
“I’ll be bringing the hairpin you gave me, Gin. It’s so hot that I’m kind of uneasy with my hair.”
She said that, but I don’t see it anywhere. I saw her put it on her bag as we were packing. So instead, I took a red hair tie coincidentally and carefully tied the back of her hair without ruining it in front.
“I heard you used to tie your hair once or twice.
And I am telling you… your big sister is one weird woman.”
“How was it? Did I tie it properly?”
I stepped back as she stood up from the chair I made her seat when I tied her hair. I slowly walked onto my desk and rummaged through the containers I had and found my headband lying in one of those.
I stretched it up to my forehead, but then put it down and shoved it on my back pocket.
“To be honest, there’s a reason why I am growing out my hair. Part of it was to make me remember of the time I was inside the Room, and to grant one’s request.
Aah… You know, it’s summer. But I’ll have to endure.”
“Uhh… Why are telling me that now, Gin? Anyways, do you even have a plan on cutting it? It’ll look so weird if your hair is even longer than mine.”
“I’ll probably have this cut after this trip. I’ll look dumb with a long hair in June.”
“You know, before even thinking about the future, you should probably take a shower. You're starting to smell burnt (lol).”
I looked down, left and right. I pulled the collar of my damp shirt and realized that the smell of the summer raided me.
“Woah, I really smell burnt. The sun’s too great.
Oh well. I have nothing much to do anyways. Can you keep guard of the house, Rin?”
“Mmm. Sure. Just reminding you that Hiroomi will fetch us at 11.”
“I don’t feel like going Super Saiyan. This won’t be long.”
~ ~ ~
After a clock’s full rotation, it is almost time for us to leave.
My unlocked door opened and the voice of someone calling me from the outside echoed to the unusually empty living room of mine.
“Gin. We’re just checking up on you. Is everything ready?”
“Mom, Dad. Here to pick up Haku? He’s asleep as you can see.”
“Before we even forget… Hand your keys to me, Gin.”
“Oh, yeah. Here," I placed the greatest treasure of my house to the hands of my mother. "Ah, Mom. Should I turn my power off?”
“No, don’t. It’s way too hot so it will be a trouble if your house isn’t kept in check. Though I think I’ll have to turn your AC if it’s time to do some cleaning here.”
“Well, that’s okay. As long as my bills won’t go up.”
“Alright, if everything’s ready, we should all go out now. Better bring out an umbrella for you two, Gin. Sun’s really exposed.”
“Can you get the black umbrella at the back of the door, Rin? I’ll go carry your things.”
“Thanks. I’ll give you shade.”
The heat truly is like walking inside an oven. It’s just a plain wave of heat continuously grilling our skin. You can literally cook an egg under this heat of the sun.
I’m sure of it since I have done that in our yard.
“Woah… This is deadly…”
I dropped off the luggage I was carrying and took a hair tie from my left pocket. I have expected that to happen so I might as well keep my hair at one place.
Actually, I’ll just tie what’s on the back. I don’t want to turn my forehead to a skillet.
And there, the big sister goes. As expected, her antennas will definitely detect some “abnormalities” in her surroundings.
“Ah, Sis. Are you seeing us o-
Without even taking a breath, Yuna strongly landed her two hands in both of our shoulder. Dramatic as it may be, Rin still took the jump anyways.
Do you know how happy I am seeing you two right now?!” she said with tears flowing from her eyes and snot coming from her nose.
I’ll tell you, this comedic short is stupid and kinda disgusting.
“Huh?! Sis! What’s happening with you?!”
“Ahahaha… Look at you two sisters. Sis, you’re aware that you’re crying over a cluster of hair, aren’t you?”
“Oh, for crying out loud! This is why I found you so weird, Sis!
Anyways! We granted your wish. Everything’s good now, right?”
“I now accept you as my brother-in-law.”
“Yeah, right. Do what you want. Thanks… Hahh…”
“I just said something stupid, didn’t I?”
And the world stopped its rotation.
“Anyways, what was that overacting coming from my sister?”
“Remember when we separated? She barged in to my house and mumbled about how we will look like with our hair tied together. She looks like she’s about to drool so I promised her.”
“Is that so…
I already found my sister weird, but I didn’t know she could be weirder than what I had in mind.”
“Hey, you two! Hiroomi’s here to pick you up!” Dad called.
“Yeah! Thank goodness you’re a tad early, Hiro!”
“Make it fast, Gin! Say your goodbyes before I say goodbye to this world because of the heat!”
It seems that I will inherit the restaurant a little too early.
Our things have been placed in the boot and I was poked by Sis from behind.
“How about a goodbye hug?”
“Really… Little sister here will get jealous, but I might as well gave you all one.”
“Take care of my sister.”
“Be safe, son.”
“Not a flag.”
“All is good, Gin?”
“Yeah…” I answered as I close the door of the vehicle. “We’ll see you all in a month’s time.”
▪ ▪ ▪
Finally, after an hour of traffic in the road to the Capital, we arrived at the airport.
“Rin, is that them?”
Oh, someone’s waving. It’s Shiro!”
In a distance is seen Shiro waving at us and Nagi is just standing there looking at us with a distressed face.
Nagi hates summer, after all.
“Sup, Nagi and Shiro. Are you with Sean and the crew?”
“Yeah, Gin. They’re just here somewhere.”
“Oh, they are there, Gin,” Rin pointed at a group of people.
Also, let’s not forget about the guy sitting leisurely in the chair beside us. So you really came, Jean.”
“Of course, I will. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for training and more so for learning other nation’s cuisine. I can’t afford to miss this, sensei.”
“Now we’re talking.”
“Hey, three people I really do envy, we just came to see you off. You better follow your crew now that you’re about to board.”
Nagi's distress over the heat didn't help in the fact that those two will be left alone while we were in Japan. Akira, show up at least.
“Ah, yeah. Thanks for seeing us off, you two. And sorry for the small amount of screen time.”
“Don’t mind it.”
“Bring us souvenirs, Ringo.”
~ ~ ~
The airplane we are in is one from an airline in the North and the feel of the inside is surely unique. It was our first time riding an airplane and it is natural for me to be nervous once we lift off.
“Do you want something to drink, dear passengers?” a Japanese attendant came to our seats.
“I’ll have a cup of coffee, please.”
“Then I will have green tea.”
“Just water, please.”
“Ugh. The Japanese attendant can speak our language. I’m itching to boast what I learned in a week,” I whispered to Rin the moment the flight attendant walked away from us.
“Well, anyone will surely be surprised hearing you speaking their language like it is bliss.”
“Don’t tell me you studied Japanese before coming here…”
“You’re right, Jean. It was rough.”
How exactly are we arranged on our seats:
In our row, Jean is just before the aisle, Rin is in the middle and I took the spot beside the window. The crew is either in front of us or behind us.
“Hey there, people. I suppose I haven’t explained anything yet,” the head from the front seat suddenly popped up and talked to us.
“Oh, Sean. So you’re seated in front of us.
I don’t get the point of why you need to hide where we will be going to. We’re inside the plane and all, but we still don’t know our exact destination.”
“Hahahaha… Sorry for that. But I know that you’ll eventually know where so I might as well tell you.
Giotto’s second branch will be in Kyoto.”
“Wh- Kyoto?! Dude, you serious?!”
Of all the places I can think of, it was Kyoto. The dream is on.
“Yep! Aside from the restaurant itself, where we will be staying is already set. We’ve been in contact with the guys there and we’ll be riding a van to our destination.”
“A van… Sounds like kidnapping.”
“Gin, you’re probably not listening, but we’re about to take off.”
The plane finally accelerated and I can feel that we are finally off of the ground. It is a weird feeling to see us lift and see the clouds closely in their full glory. As someone with a first experience on a plane, the scene is breathtaking.
It was fun and all as Rin and I gaze through the blue sky but…
“Gin, can I ask you something about the-“ Jean paused in his question.
We were so tired we fell asleep in the duration of the flight.
“Give me a break… You are asleep and all… but you really can’t let go of your hands…?
Now I am curious as to how it is to live as a couple.”
▪ ▪ ▪
“Ohhh… We’re landing.”
“Wahhh~ I’m excited.”
And so, the wheels of the plane finally made contact with the ground once again.
After a bit of time, we got out of the plane and we were met with a reassuring fair temperature. Thankfully, we came to this country in the middle of spring and it was said that this season is the best time to visit Japan. It is a cloudy day, but who cares?
I am finally standing on the land I dreamed of coming to, and I can’t contain my excitement. Seeing Rin full of energy definitely makes me feel at ease.
We were picked up, apparently by the helpers that are currently working to make the Giotto’s like Giotto’s. Our first destination is the restaurant itself, to take a look at the current progress of how it is going to look like.
“Hmm… I can definitely imagine this as a functioning restaurant with this progress.”
“Then let me explain what is going to happen,” Hiro, along with Sean called everyone for a short meeting as we take a rest inside.
“The current completion rate of this restaurant is at 75%. All the utensils, appliances, and furniture are all ready. But as you guys have observed, it’s still quite bare on the inside.”
“With that 75% completion, it is estimated that we can all finish everything and tick all the boxes in the remaining hours of the day.
Right now, the time is around 3… I mean 4pm. Sorry I am still not used in the changes in the time zone. I don’t want to say this but we have to work as soon as possible. I am quite sure that I have informed you all that we have to only drop our things in the places we are staying in and we’ll work right away.
I beg your forgiveness for this and I’ll make sure to give all of you a proper rest.”
The two of them bowed in apology.
“That’s all, and please go back to the van for you to be dropped off of your places. In an hour’s time, we will start work.”
“Hiro, Rin is asking if she could help. I bet she can’t just stay put and just sit in one place.”
“You can absolutely help us, Ms. Ringo. We are currently short-handed and we’ll definitely need as many people as we need to.
Thank you for this.”
“I would also want to help in the kitchen, in the same position as Jean. It would be great to have an experience as I will take on culinary as my course.”
“We’d gladly have you in our team, Ms. Ringo.”
~ ~ ~
We were once again inside the van but something is strange. Hiro and Sean specifically asked us to sit on the front seats and everyone is at the back including Jean.
The people that picked us up are Japanese, but they seem to be quite well versed in speaking the language of Orio so there was not a problem in communication.
Speaking of communication, it was very surprising to know that our SIM cards actually work here in Japan. That seriously blew my mind.
“Alright, folks! This is where you’re going to be staying at!”
“Woah~ That’s huge!”
Everyone in the car started making a racket because of the place we are going to be staying in.
It’s seriously jaw dropping. From the exterior it is like a mini condominium with four floors. Oh, how I am so glad to be staying at such a place.
“Alright, Rin. We’re the last one so let’s head out…”
I can’t open the door of the car.
The two of us both looked at the driver and it is evident that the smile on his face certainly has a meaning of some sort. With us unable to get out of the car, he stepped on the pedal.
Don't queue the eurobeat.
“Whoa…! Hey, Driver-san! Where are we going?!”
“I thought we were supposed to be dropped off there!” Rin started panicking.
“No, no… Please sit tight and let us calm down. I’ll soon drop you off…
Huehuehuehuehue…” the driver smiled wryly.
“THIS IS DEFINITELY BAD AT ANY WAY YOU LOOK AT IT.”
We’ve been silent for a few minutes and I am obediently sat thinking of how we ended up in this rather suspenseful situation. I tried to rack up my memory from earlier and once again observed whatever I have stored in my brain.
"I knew it when I said we're riding in a van… This is kidnapping!"
“Our things weren’t taken…”
“G-Gin…? What do you mean by that…?”
I have finally got into a reasonable conclusion from the thorough deduction I made.
“Hey, Driver-san… Are these all of our boss’s plan…?” I asked with an intentionally intimidating smile while I still steady this twisted situation.
“Was this all mapped out from the very start? You see, we were asked by boss to sit here in front so that we are separated from the others. And the door of our seat is intentionally locked for us not to come out.
I observed every single person that left the van and they all had their things with them. Our luggage is stored at the back but I did not see anyone taking it with them.
Now… tell me Driver-san. Tell me. Oshiete. Are the two of us staying at a different place, or are we seriously being kidnapped?”
“Ahahahahahaha…! I wouldn’t think you would actually get it! So that was why the boss told me to be very careful of you. Ahahahaha…!”
“Those two… I’ll definitely make them regret this…”
“Anyways! We finally reached our destination. You can get out of the car now. I’ll take out the luggage as an apology.”
“Thank you very much.”
I opened the door of the van and just as we stepped out, we were immediately welcomed by a woman wearing a yukata in front of a gate.
“Welcome, Gin Sakato-san and Ringo Akanami-san. This is where you will be spending your stay in this country.
Welcome to Japan.”
It was at that time where my mind almost went completely blank… And the only thing that revolved in my mind was…
“Now I feel like my studying of Nihongo has gotten more and more irrelevant…”
“Oh, yeah. Hiro told me to call him once we got out.
Hello, you one heck of a boss?”
“Oh, Gin! Are you finally there?”
“I demand an explanation.”
“I’m really sorry for suddenly irritating you. Ahahaha…
Anyways, that is indeed where you two will be staying. The lady in front of you is Kamichi Yuzuri, the caretaker of that place. Where you are at is actually a private residence that one of our partners generously lent us to be of use.”
“A-A private residence?!”
“Yes, I just said that.”
“W-W-Wait a damn second. You’ve gotta be kidding me! Do you really think I can stay in a place in such luxury?! Hiro, you are seriously misjudging me! There is no way you can ever lure me in! I’d rather be homeless than-“
“The house has two private onsen.”
“Onsen… Onsen… Onsen… Onsen… Onsen… Onsen… Onsen…”
“Rin, let’s quickly put our things inside,” I smiled full of anticipation, like I was not even trying to be humble a few seconds ago.
“Pfft… Ahahahahahahahahaha…! I knew you’d be lured by that! Ahahahahaha!
Hahh… My stomach hurts… My goodness…!
Anyways, I did tell you that I’ll give you two a vacation, right? I’m a man of my word. So here it is. That’s my present. After you’re all done with work, everything’s up to you two!”
“Well, what can I say…? Thank you… Hiro.
Alright, I’m going to hang up. We’ll just put our stuff down and we’ll immediately go back there.”
“I will help you two with your things.”
“Ah, thank you very much, Kamichi-san.”
The caretaker told us that she will be putting our luggage in and she will also get things ready for when we go back after work.
“What were you talking about earlier with Hiroomi, Gin?”
“He explained that this place is a private house owned by a partner in business of the resto and they lent us this place for us to stay at.”
"And there are hot springs."
"Woah, Rin?! Where did the galaxy background behind you come from?!
Anyways, let’s go back to the resto and get things done there. It seems that Driver-san is waiting for us.”
~ ~ ~
Meanwhile, it has been fifteen minutes since the entire team got to their place of stay. It was at the same time when Gin was about to go back to Giotto’s.
Jean is just walking leisurely while pulling his luggage with him.
“You know… It’s kind of irritating that you two are so quiet after we got out of the van.”
“Oi! Are you listening to me, Gin?!” he finally decided turn his head to look behind.
“WHERE IN THE CHERRY BLOSSOMS ARE THOSE TWO?!”
Jean finally realized that Gin and Rin are not with them.
▪ ▪ ▪
At the Giotto’s…
“Gin…!” Jean opened the door of the restaurant with such tremendous force.
“Woah, Jean! Don’t break the door. We just arrived here.”
“What in the world happened to you two?!”
“You’re just as confused as we are, so you may want to ask those two nincompoops there,” I replied whilst pointing my thumb to Hiro and Sean.
“Alright! Let’s finish this jigsaw puzzle once and for all.
While we’re all cleaning and setting things up, I’ll explain some things to you.
The day after tomorrow will be our soft opening which will last for a week. Seeing that we can finish the interior work in the remaining hours of the day, we could be right in schedule. The only problem is that the logo that is going to be placed in from will arrive at Wednesday, which will be the 4th.
The plan for tomorrow is the interviews for the regular and part-time workers. Everything is finally organized and I will all show you the list of the possible people that will work here. Additionally, our supplies and ingredients will be delivered in our inventory tomorrow. Gin, I'll be putting you in charge of organizing them. Don't hesitate to assign others from Japan team."
"Gin, at least don't click you tongue. We're already sorry."
"Lastly, every one of us won’t have a uniform for the time being that’s why the Orio team won’t have to be bothered by it in the duration of our work here.
With that, let’s do our best for a successful opening!”
And so, every one of us are currently doing our designated work.
“Is there anyone that is free? Can someone carry those boxes? It’s heavy so at least two people should carry one at a time.”
Hiro pointed at two boxes that apparently need two people each to carry.
“We’ll take care of that.”
Woah, wait a second. Are you sure Ms. Ringo can carry those…?”
“Those two boxes only?”
“Ah, yes. The box labeled ‘23U’ is heavier so please be careful.”
There’s one thing that they don’t really know about Rin. She is actually a very strong woman. Of course, I took the 23U box with ease, as I do expect and Rin carried the other box and we walked out of the main room.
“W-What in the world… We are grinding our butts down just to carry one box that heavy… and they just easily carried it like it’s nothing…!”
“Ughh… It feels like my masculinity was defeated…” a worker's morale went down.
▪ ▪ ▪
Cleaning and anything that requires manpower are all finally done in about five hours, which makes it 10pm—An hour advance from the time of Orio (9pm).
In total, 94% is now the completion of the second branch. The remaining six percent is the target amount of employees needed and the logo.
The adults are now drinking as their celebration, and we are currently being sent by Driver-san to our places.
“See you tomorrow at work, you two. Get a lot of rest.”
“Same to you, Jean.”
“Ahh… That was fun, but tiring…”
“Yeah… It was so different from the usual work I do back home.”
“Well, we can finally go get some rest…”
“We have arrived. Sakato-san, Akanami-san, I hope you have a good stay in Japan,” Driver-san bid his farewell.
“I do hope so.
Well, see you at work, Driver-san. Don’t drink too much.”
“We’re finally here…”
“Now that I think of it, I haven’t really explored the house.”
“You’re right, Gin. We were so busy today.”
“We already had dinner earlier, and I think I’ll go take a bath and sleep. Hot spring will come later. How about you, Rin?”
“Probably the same. Yawn~ I’ll retire for the night.”
Kamichi-san…? We’re back.”
All the stress of my body went away after I took a plunge in the bath. After that, I waited for Rin and we kind of toured the place and discovered a lot of things like paintings and the small things that makes up the culture of Japan.
The only problem that we encountered is…
We don’t know where our rooms are.
We once again walked through the whole house and found one large room which is actually one of those cozy types.
We opened the sliding door and we were welcomed with a traditional Japanese room with tatami floors. It is considerably big as an 8-tatami square room. On the table in the center, there is a note written in Japanese.
They were written in this country's characters which gave me a hard time understanding but thankfully, there is furigana that made it easier for us to read. If I translated the message to our language:
“I apologize for having forgotten to tell you that this room will be the room for you two.
Thank you for understanding, and goodnight~ <3”
*insert the lightning and thunder effects and sounds*
In the end, they slept in their futons with roughly a distance of two meters away from one another since they could not find a divider.
You've finished 001!
I swear this chapter was written sometime in 2018 and I didn't think that this would relate to physical distancing that is happening in the world right now.
That aside, I really think that this is an anomaly of a first chapter. By convention, first chapters usually sets up the story a whole lot, but I decided to just with the "this is the sequel", but I am by no means not forcing to read NoFutsuu. I tried to make this story as much as a standalone story while still connecting to the prequel, and that it will be unavoidable to have a follow-up context to the predecessor. Thus, the flow would be on its own and might even be confusing sometimes. But a feedback on how this was written will be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for reading!
002: Why is an 18 year-old a job interviewee...?
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