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All different kinds of OTAKU

Ano Hana – Episode 4-3

One morning Jintan is eating breakfast cereal in the living room. Menma is sitting by him and his father is praying at the house altar in the next room.

Dad: Toko, I’m going to work then.

Toko is his wife’s name who’s past away. In Japanese culture especially among older people, it’s common habit that you speak to the died people about anything you want to report to them.

Dad: Jinta, a bill collector’s coming today, so can you pay it him with the money in the top drawer?

Jintan: OK.

Menma: Take care!

Jintan: Take care…!

He usually doesn’t say “Take care” to his dad as he leaves house but he happened to follow Menma against himself this morning. It’s a bit surprise both to Jintan and his father.

Dad: OK, I will!

He seems really glad at Jintan’s word, although Jintan is feeling a bit embarrassed at this unusual behavior. He looks at Menma with a grudge.

Menma: Yes?

Jintan: Nothing!

She just smiles back at him.

He comes to the kitchen to wash dishes.

Menma: Hmm… his head seems a bit strange. Hey, watch out! Something is about to fall from your head!

She’s speaking to herself watching TV in the living room.

Jintan: ( Come to think of it, she’s stopped saying anything about me skipping school since then. )

Then the doorbell rings.

Menma: Someone’s come?

Jintan: It might be a bill collector.

He goes to open the front door.

Jintan: Oh! You Tsuruko?!

Tsuruko: Good morning.

She’s come here in the school uniform.

Jintan: Shouldn’t you be at your class?

Tsuruko: Not really. We’ve been preparing for our school festival these days. My class decided to open a cappella Karaoke cafe during the festival. Very funny.

Jintan: Um…

Tsuruko: So could you please let me in?

Jintan: Sure.

Tsuruko: Thank you.

She steps up into his house and goes straight to the living room. He’s got a bit surprised at her.

She begins her story in the living room.

Tsuruko: Your house doesn’t seem to have changed at all, which reminds me of good old days. Hey, tell me why you have Kotatsu installed even in the wooden floor?

Jintan: How do I know that?

Kotatsu is a kind of table in Japan. It warms your legs with a heater during the winter and in the other seasons, it’s changed into a normal table being taken a heater off.

Menma: Hey, Jintan! You’re supposed to serve the guest! With something like a snack food!

He just gives her tea, then goes to the kitchen looking for some snack for her.

Jintan: I only have some cookies for you. Does it help you?

Tsuruko: That steamed bread you brought to us was a little harder than your mother had made for us.

Menma: Really?

She’s listening to her story.

Tsuruko: Sieve flour more carefully and adding some baking powder would soften it more.

Menma: Awesome! I thought it was because I omitted adding the raisins into it.

Jintan: I didn’t know you were good at cooking.

Tsuruko: No one would fail to cook anything if they knew the right recipe.

Menma: I couldn’t make it, though!

Tsuruko: Right quantity at right time, just keep it in your mind, and you’ll be succeeded in any cooking unless you make yourself stopped up where unnecessary.

She talks meaningfully.

Jintan: So why did you come here? I don’t have any good expectation of that.

Menma: Hey, watch your mouth, Jintan!

Tsuruko: First I have to tell you I can’t believe that kind of story Menma made the steamed bread.

Menma and Jintan feel down.

Jintan: It’s not that surprise. I don’t hope you could.

Tsuruko: Still, I have one thing to ask you all the better for the disbelief.

Jintan: Hmm…?

( to be continued )

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