By the time I left the store, it was already past 06:00 pm. For a restaurant, it was the busiest time and it would normally require as much manpower as possible. But recently, my working shift has been blatantly reduced so I tend to go home at peak times. I’m a useless clerk after all.
(I wonder if I’m going to get fired from here soon…..)
I walked down the street while breathing out white air. The air in January was cold.
—early in the new year, the atmosphere was rejecting me with full power. The town that has also forgotten my existence.
Unfamiliar signs. Unknown chain stores. The popular song that I had never heard before, was playing in the neighborhood.
Everything that I saw was a foreign object, all those sounds entering my ears were uncomfortable.
I felt that I didn’t belong here. No, it wasn’t just a feeling. I indeed didn’t belong here.
The world had completely changed when I was in another world. I was a teenager who departed from Japan in 2000 and came back in 2017. I was in Urashima Taro’s kind of situation.
I heard that cellular phones were becoming as good as personal computers. I heard that GDP had overtaken China. I heard about a nuclear power plant accident, and so on…..
Have I returned to another different world?
It’s not my hometown.
There is no one who knows my success.
I’m all alone.
The only salvation for me was a smartphone. There was an application called a social game that has become the main support of my heart. Whenever I had spare time, I would be busy tapping my smartphone until I had run out of stamina (in-game).
From my point of view, I was amazed that I could play the contents of a game-station-level game on a mobile device.
The charge-inducing games that had gotten excessively intense these days, made me a little interested. I guess the game industry was also desperately trying to survive.
Huh, what am I? Worrying about such a big enterprise when I live desperately myself. Well, I guess there is nothing wrong with that.
I’m getting tired of thinking about myself. I will put my future on the shelf, I just want to randomly talk about politics on the Internet forums, or I’d like to spend my money on a game, and so on.
If I seriously look for work, I guess my physical ability could do a lot. But it’s impossible for me now. My spirit has withered. I have no right to do something big.
I couldn’t save you.
I killed you.
Here, I will live in misery to atone for it.
Therefore, please forgive me.
I will continue to hurt myself from now on.
When I think about the crime I had committed in that world, my vision still gets blurry. However, if there is an uncle who suddenly bursts into tears on the street, the people in the surroundings will be weirded out.
(Not good. I need to go to a place with fewer people.)
I rushed into a nearby building in a panic. I couldn’t see well because of the tears, but from the noise of electronic sounds, I could guess that I just entered a gaming center.
It was a suitable place for me. Nobody would care about an uncle playing a game here alone.
I sat down at the game table of the fighting action game in the corner, and took out a smartphone from my pocket. For a change, I launched my favorite application.
[Idol Maker ~ Princess Live!]
The title call started with a cheerful anime voice. It was a rhythm game to produce a beautiful girl that aims for the top idol. This was the use of my salary. This was how I contributed to the society.
I saw this app in the ranking sales, immediately after I purchased a smartphone. To tell you the truth, I also saw a lot of medieval fantasy-style RPG games. Or rather, it was the most popular genre out there.
I just couldn’t bring myself to play it at all, because until last year, I was really in that kind of world, cutting and killing monsters. I was just sick of it.
Also, the way the game character holds the sword was wrong, you wouldn’t be able to cut the opponent properly. I had become like this, so it wasn’t possible for me to enjoy that kind of game. I wondered if a veteran soldier who watched a movie about war would also have this kind of feeling.
Compared to that, the sight of the world which is unrelated to myself, the sight of polygon model idols was more soothing to my heart.
Accompanied by the sound of tapping and clicking, I gently stared at the screen.
The girls with long, black hair were dancing cheerfully. They moved their slender bodies hard, and invited me to charge more.
There were a lot of black haired girls with slender bodies, so I couldn’t help but became irritated.
The idols I organized in units inside the game, all looked like Elsa somewhere.
She also had beautiful black hair and a slim body shape.
Longing for a girl who I could never meet again, it seemed I had unconsciously sought her figure inside the game.
It was truly miserable, and stupid.
What’s wrong with that? Of course I couldn’t forget her!! —while making excuses to myself, I pressed the side of my smartphone for a few seconds.
“click”—with a snapping sound, the fixed pose of the idols was preserved.
You should look at these pictures when you’re feeling down. Their cuteness can turn the gloomy feelings into something green and refreshing. I wonder how this picture was taken? When I flipped the screen of my smartphone—
—I was called from behind.
It was the voice of a young woman. however, her voice had a threatening tone to it.
Did she call me? I turned my face in the direction of the voice reflexively.
I doubted my eyes.
Because in front of me, there was the girl from another world, who I loved with all my heart.
Because there was the girl that I had killed with these hands.
Straight black hair stretched to her waist. On her well-proportioned face, light make-up was applied. From her blazer that went down a little, a glimpse of her modest valley could be seen.
Yes, it was a uniform.
She was not her.
She was a stranger that resembled her.
When I was taken aback, the high school girl that resembled Elsa, raised her voice again.
“You saw my panties a while ago and took a picture. Did you think I didn’t notice it?”
However, it was amazing. Although she was Japanese, among all the people I’ve seen so far, she looked like a person from that world the most. I was admiring her unintentionally.
She was a beautiful girl of an incredible level. Even if she aimed to be an actress or idol, that was not something impossible. She would become one in a flash. If I was a producer from an entertainment business or something, I’d give her my business card right away.
“Are you listening to me? Creepy Uncle!”
While I was having a thought trip, the black-haired high school girl raised her voice even more. It was a bad habit that I picked up from the other world. I got used to the roar of dragons and ogres so human shouting sounded like the cry of crickets to me.
But even if you don’t talk in a loud voice, I….. eh, is she angry now? I just realized it.
“Do you need something from me?”
“You took a picture of my panties with your smartphone, right? I know it immediately”
“Of course not. Look, I was just playing a game!”
I showed the screen of my smartphone to the high school girl who was fuming.
What would you think when you see an uncle playing a game where beautiful girls are dancing and shaking their chests? The girl’s reaction was:
It was expressed in a single word. Even in 2017, there was a bad compatibility between Otaku culture and young girls after all.
This was the Japan that I know. It wasn’t a nice situation no matter how I think about it, but I felt a little relieved to find something still unchanged.
While I was reminiscing over the old days, a group of high school students came from around the photo booth corner. There were five boys and two girls.
Every one of them has brown or blonde hair and piercings on their ears or nose. Everyone wore sloppy uniforms without exception.
Rather than returning from school, they seemed to have come straight from the delinquent course. They had that kind of air.
“What’s wrong, Rio?”
“He was secretly taking my picture. Or maybe not, but I don’t care because this uncle is an Otaku. He must be up to something bad.”
“Seriously? What a bastard.”
(I see. This high school girl is called Rio. Isn’t it your name cute? It suits you well.)
Of course, even with this happy thought, I understand the situation that I’m in. It seems the act similar to that badger game is about to begin.
I nodded when I’ve decided my next course of action.
When I was in the other world, I killed cyclops with my bare hands and turned them into barbeque ingredients. So it was impossible for mere high school students to give me a fright.
Did he get fed-up with my calm attitude? The conspicuously large-built man grabbed my shoulder roughly. He was a boy with villain-like eyes and had piercings all over his face.
(Are you mistaking your face with a piercing holder? That’s not a place to play with holes.)
“Let’s go out for a bit, Uncle. How about behind this building? …..come quickly!”
The boy who had piercings all over his face, prompted me with his jaws. This wasn’t an atmosphere which could be solved with a talk.
It can’t be helped. Let’s run wild for the first time in a while. I cracked my neck.
But before that, let’s confirm their strengths.
“………. Status Open.”
Proofreader : Meihua