Pre-Chapter Notes: I swear this title will make sense. Also, I’m trying a new way of doing translation notes this chapter, let me know if you like it better or would prefer the old way of doing it.
As the time turned to 5pm, I finally closed the cafe for the day.
「Alright, let’s tidy up and finish…… Dad, is there any black tea?」
I take off my apron while asking, not getting a reply. Though strangely, when I think about it, my dad who’s always in the kitchen has a strong abdominal body.
Is there… is there a meaning to this?
Ah… I guess it’s fine, first of all, he’s probably getting ready.
I start to make the black tea.
—Since that day with Sato-san at 「Tea Pearl」, it’s been five days. Since then, Sato-san and I haven’t spoke once.
As if that day in “My Struggle”1 was a lie, at school Sato-san behaved in the same was as before, “Salt-God Sato-san”.
A person whose hand didn’t reach out, a flower above everyone else.
Naturally, I am also alone.
I don’t know why that happened.
But, I’m certain that it was the end of our final conversation, I think.
「—th, this time on Saturday, I’m going out to eat rolled ice cream! I wonder if Oshio-kun wants to come along!」
I recalled the words she frantically spit out.
What was the right way for me to answer?
Even if she’s alone, by chance, it doesn’t mean the ability to take photos will disappear.
I, who refused Sato-san’s invitation, maybe caused Sato-san to greatly change the way she thought of me.
The girl who behaved as “Salt-God Sato-san” at school, over the weekend would continue to take many pictures while visiting fashionable cafes.
Her photograph sense from here on was the beginning of her struggles, but it should improve over time as she takes more of them.
Thus, sooner or later, those photographs would be uploaded to Minsta. They would be seen by our classmates, and Sato-san would be recognized for them, and so she would make friends……
Look, there isn’t a problem.
……Thus, the only person with a problem is me.
I think while the tea is boiling.
Sato-san is cute.2
Features that one could talk about me, the face she would make when she laughs, an unexpectedly childish side of her, and all sorts of small things like that, just about everything is cute.
“Salt-God Sato-san” was a dishonor, if only it would die, she would make a lot of friends, and be very popular with the opposite sex.
Ikemen3 from the basketball club and baseball club would be confessing to her.
I woke up from my imagination with a crushing feeling in my chest.
I’m such an idiot.4
While thinking things like that, from my pocket I took out my smartphone, started up Minsta, and opened the page I saw hundreds of times.
—that’s Sato Koharu’s Minsta account, registered that night.
0 followers, number of images posted: 0.
The profile picture isn’t set, as it’s a brand new account.
……She certainly didn’t know, right?
Minsta has a function with Mine, when you open an account, it sends a notification to Mine friends.
Today as well, the amount of pictures was 0 and was not moving.
I was so cowardly, I thought, a dry laugh escaping from me.
It’s impossible that I’m relieved that no image was posted today…
It can’t be helped, it can’t be helped.
I made that kind of excuse as I made my black tea, then went to my father under the terrace.
「Your muscles are crying.」
My dad, seated in a garden chair, said something excessively vague.
Unconsciously, I gave my response.
What are you saying, you muscle daruma?5
「The muscles… come again?」
「Your muscles are crying, is what I said.」
「Now I really don’t understand the meaning.」
In a truly elegant manner, my dad puts his teacup to his mouth.
…Oi, don’t drink, and answer me.
「Sota… ever since your mother went ahead, with one hand I’ve protected this “cafe tutuji” and you, as both of them are irreplaceable to me.」
「That is…… honestly, I’m grateful, but why now?」
「There’s nothing I don’t know about this cafe or you, Sota.」
「So, what are you…」
「Sota, for the sake of me and “cafe tutuji”, are you giving up the girl you like?」
I tightly held my tongue.
In comparison to any other words, it was a confirmation above all else.
「Fufu, when I saw your face I understood, up until now I’ve been looking at pancakes next to Sota’s face, you know?」
Even if there was a lie there, put your son first.
「It can’t be helped.」
There’s no use keeping up appearances to my dad, so I start talking.
「……”cafe tutuji” has a good amount of customers, but it doesn’t mean we have the leeway to hire a part-timer, I know that.」
After all, from when I was born, I always grew up in “cafe tutuji”. It was easy to understand even without a concrete number.
「Dad, you didn’t force me, but, for example, if I, on the weekend with a girl who’s been on my mind, went on a date…… dad would be troubled, I understood that, so…」
—and so, that was the reason I rejected Sato-san’s invitation. “cafe tutuji” didn’t have the leeway to hire a part-timer. For this reason, I was extremely busy on weekends, and wouldn’t leave my dad alone to tend the store.
I didn’t want to blame “cafe tutuji”, so I didn’t tell Sato-san.
「It’s only that, so it can’t be helped, “cafe tutuji” is an important place to me, and while the advertisement on Minsta is putting us on the right track, I can’t just go.」
That was the true meaning.
Of course I like Sato-san.
But above all else, this is a place I must absolutely protect and can’t do without.
Dad rolled the black tea in his mouth while he quietly listened. Then, for a moment, he swallowed, and slowly opened his mouth—
「……during my college years, I belonged to a sweets research society……」
「Eh? You suddenly started saying something, but—」
「Stop, and listen!」
I was given a sharp rebuke, so I started listening.
Dad cleared his throat before speaking.
「The Sweets Research Society was four guys, consisting of a small number of people who thought alike, in those days we were a slave to calories.」
……What an incredible club.
I had a sudden urge to make a tsukkomi6 comment, but my dad was in Serious Mode, so I didn’t.
「However, your dad was in his third year when he had a turning point, when a person named 「Muscle Lord」 who had been exiled from the American Football club wanted to join.」
「With that nickname, they were exiled?」
「Secretly, they mixed protein in their drinks.」
「As their name suggests, Muscle Lord was so fascinated by muscles… they had fallen to the muscle side because of their strange attachment to them.」7
Where is the muscles side, and where is it connected from?8
「Their excessive and radical thoughts about the display of muscles drove away the American Football club from Muscle Lord, who escaped to the relatively peaceful Sweets Research Society.」
「And what happened to you, dad?」
「We accepted them, since if you put a pancake with similar pancakes, it would be like a brother, was the reason.」
Don’t say it like it was rice from the same pot.
「…..so? This muscle guy?」
At this question, my dad smiled.
「Protein went in our pancakes.」
「They’re already a psychopath.」
Finally, I was able to make a retort. I couldn’t help it.
「Then, we became fatter and fatter due to the overdose of protein, so we went on a harsh muscle training program and diet, and soon enough we noticed, all the members of this club have bodies as Muscle Lord expected.」
「……those muscles, that kind of origin is a joke……」
I don’t need to be aware of such a thing.
「Well, we who were angry at being tricked by Muscle Lord fought…… ah, and after this and that, eventually we were able to come to a reconciliation.」
「I think that ‘this and that’ must be something important, but…」
「No, it wasn’t something important, we just became aware that muscles were a good thing, and Muscle Lord eventually converted and no longer forced unwanted muscles.」
「Ah… Muscle-Psychopath-san, never regain your heart.」
「Well… Muscle Lord was your mom, you know.」
「My mother was Muscle Lord?!」
An excessively devastating feeling passed through me in a moment.
Eh… hold on a second… that’s a lie, isn’t it!?
My mother, who was smiling gracefully in her portrait, was Muscle Lord!?
「My story got interrupted, you know…… ah, what was it… No, the derailing is so shocking that I can’t remember what I was talking about… that’s right, Sota’s muscles are crying, is what I said.」
Tilting his head, my dad turned his head towards me with a gentle smile.
「Sota, when your muscles grow for the first time, they hurt, just like your father and mother.」
Up until now, I looked back at my dad quietly.
「People… when people come into contact with each other, they hurt each other, and it’s painful. But, muscles accept it, and after this, they grow happily, you know? So, if your muscles are crying, it’s a time when they could lose an opportunity to get hurt.」
I see, that style of talking where you have something to take away from it. But, even if I told you about that kind of thing…
「It can’t be helped, that’s the reality of—」
「It can be helped!」9
Dad yells, snapping his fingers.
Immediately after, somehow, from the garden bushes several rustling noises are heard, and from the bushes three muscled darumas appeared.
At this strange situation, my body unconsciously moved back.
「Dowaaah!? What, what, what?! Who are these suspicious people?!」
「They aren’t suspicious people! They’re your father’s friends from the research society!」
「Ehhh!? That’s impossible!」
「It’s true! It’s everyone from the Sweets Research Society!」
「That stupid story earlier was foreshadowing!?」
When I shouted, they all struck a pose, appealing with their muscles as if to affirm it.
No, what’s with this situation?! You can’t be serious—
「……the truth is, I made a request, that only on the weekends they would help with the cafe.」
「Eh……? Wh… what……!?」
I continued to press for an answer to my bewilderment; my dad just turned to me and smiled sweetly.
「—I think it’s decided, because I want Sota, a child who wants to get hurt, to do what he wants to do… it would disqualify me as a father to take away the opportunity to get hurt, or rather—」
While saying something like that, dad stood up from his chair. To me, his son, he quietly bowed my head and said—
「—up until now, I am truly grateful. It’s thanks to Sota that we’ve been able to get by somehow. But now, please entrust it to your father, so Sota can do as he likes.」
It was thoroughly straightforward thank you.
At that time, the weight on my shoulders felt as if it was disappearing like smoke.
Surely, God is watching, isn’t that right?
My phone in my pocket buzzed.
I took it into my hand, and on the display was—
「Sato Koharu has posted a picture.」
—I need to prepare myself.
「……Father! I’m going to borrow the bicycle for a bit!」10
As soon as I said that, I ran to the bike in front of the store and mounted it.
Then, moving quickly to cut through the wind, I began to pedal.
—shaking off “cafe tutuji”, to go to Sato-san—
「—persevere, Sato! Your father will always be there to help you!」
The evening sunset made it a little hard to see, but from far behind me, I hear the call of my dad; however, I didn’t turn back.
- Oshio literally says 「マイン騒動」/「Mein Struggle」, so while I was tempted to translate it into “Mein Kampf”, I held off on that. Still caught me off guard as it was pretty funny. Not sure if he was actually referencing Mein Kampf though.
- OH REALLY, YOU SAY THIS NOW, OSHIO.
- Ikemen, or tl;dr “tall handsome guys”
- Baka mitai~ Actually no it didn’t say that, but I wish it did.
- These are round, traditional Japanese dolls modeled after the founder of the Zen tradition of Buddhism.
- Tsukkomi is the “straight man” of the two man manzai comedy duo, the other being the boke. Basically, Oshio wants to make a snarky comment to the silliness of his dad’s story.
- So this guy added extra protein into the football players drinks so they’d grow additional muscle for their fetish, WTF talk about dedication
- Pretty sure this is Oshio just internally snarking about “where the muscle side” is.
- Literally, in this case 「it isn’t that it can’t be helped」. I was trying to come up with a clever translation but settled for something simple.
- I opted for “father” as Sota was using more polite language here, so I used it rather than “dad” like in his internal monologues.
Dang this chapter was long. For comparison, Chapter 10 was 4 pages. This was 7.5.
Also, do you guys prefer it that I put translator notes in the middle like last time, or at the end where I enumerate them? I tried the former last time, and the latter this time. Let me know which one you thought was better going forward.
Either way, after this one, I’m going to try to shoot for a kind of 2-3 week cadence per chapter. Essentially, expect the next chapter around October 2nd. While the chapters are short (NOT this one though), this one was probably a solid 8-12 hours of effort; last chapter was about 5 hours. I have other IRL stuff to do, so this is mostly done during my free time, but I did want to regularly put out chapters in order to stop myself from slacking. Second, do you guys have a time preference for when chapters come out? We’re still early on in my translation shenanigans so let’s try to hammer down a goal time for myself.
Hopefully that’s a fast enough pace for you guys, haha. I don’t think I’m going to take any more projects on until I get more comfortable with my Japanese grammar parsing or I find another WN that I enjoy but was dropped; vocab isn’t too much of an issue since I can look up kanji and have started kind of recognizing them (especially with Wanikani too) but it is pretty rough trying to parse out grammar especially when some of the sentences are agonizingly long.
Anyways, see you all next time. Hopefully the post chapter notes start getting shorter, too.