That night, my stomach, which was so stuffed that it was close to bursting, finally settled down, and I managed to read the satisfying denouement of the novel I’d been looking forward to. It was already eleven at night when I finished and was considering of going to bed soon, but I was interrupted by vibrations from my mobile phone. Thinking that it was just an email, I left it alone, but the vibrations wouldn’t stop. Realizing that it was a phone call, I hurriedly picked it up. “Osanai Yuki – Mobile” was displayed on the monitor.
I had been surprised by Kengo’s phone call, but it had also been quite a while since Osanai-san gave me a phone call. I traversed my memories… I went quite far back into the past, but I couldn’t think of the last time that happened. I even started wondering if that was actually the first occurrence. Thinking that she must have some urgent business with me, I answered the call with slight tension. Osanai-san’s voice actually sounded awfully exuberant.
“Ah, Kobato-kun? You’re still awake? Sorry for calling you this late.”
“It’s fine, I’m still awake.”
“It’s so hot tonight that I couldn’t really sleep.”
Well, it is summer. Based on the layout of her apartment, she seemed to be upper-middle class, so she probably had an air conditioner installed in her personal room.
“You should get some of the night wind, then… So, did you call me for anything?”
“Yeah, just a little something.”
She seemed quite anxious, but she continued.
“Kobato-kun, you remember the talk we had a few days ago about going to the Sanya-dori Festival together, right?”
I answered vaguely. Indeed, I was consulted regarding that matter while we were going back from the fourth place of the Osanai Summer Sweets Selection after having their two-flavor ice cream combination. By the way, under Osanai-san’s supreme directive, I could only order the set with black sesame ice cream and soy milk ice cream, but deep inside, I really wanted to order the standard matcha ice cream. Then again, perhaps it was a good thing, for the black sesame and soy milk ice cream were superb, as expected of flavours that had won Osanai-san’s favor.
On that day, Osanai-san had casually asked if I had any plans on the day of the Sanya-dori Festival, to which I had half-heartedly responded with, “I don’t think so.”
Sensing the lack of excitement in my voice, she abruptly asked me a question, her voice brimming with enthusiasm.
“You’re fine with it, right? You don’t have any plans, right?”
She pressed me for confirmation.
“…I don’t have any plans. I’m free. I’ll go.”
An atmosphere of relief was transmitted from the other side of the call. With a gentle voice, she replied.
“I see, that’s good… I thought I hadn’t asked properly…”
I passed the phone to my other hand.
“You wanted to go that much?”
Osanai-san’s voice was filled with zeal.
“Why? It’s bad for me to put it this way, but I thought it was just one of those shopping street events.”
She earnestly spoke, as if talking to someone who couldn’t understand well.
“The Sanya-dori Festival itself is, certainly just a normal event. But Sanya-dori has Muramatsu House, which is the absolute best place to buy Japanese sweets in this town. That’s basic knowledge.”
What type of person would have that kind of basic knowledge?
“Anyway, Muramatsu House is also on the map that I gave you, right? Do you remember?”
“Yes, I do.”
I saw it on the day I met Kengo at the hamburger shop. Come to think of it, they sold…
“Delicious candied apples, right?”
I wonder what kind of expression Osanai-san is making on the other end of the call.
“Candied apples are mostly considered dagashi1, so it usually wouldn’t make the selection. But the candied apples at Muramatsu House are different. You got it, Kobato-kun? They’re totally different.”
“Every year on the day of the Sanya-dori Festival, the Japanese confectionary shop Muramatsu House will use the choicest apples and their best candy to make top-class candied apples, and sell them over the counter. They prepare apples with a strong acidic taste, and only peel off their skin after a customer orders them. The candy is also not too sweet, yet is not unsatisfying, and has a beautiful golden color that is definitely not achieved by using artificial coloring. The candy is lightly entwined around the apple, producing an exquisite combination of sweet and sour flavors. You could even say that they have taken the concept of candied apples one step further.”
“Is that so.”
Taking the concept one step further, huh…
“I’ve introduced you to all kinds of shops this summer, but if we don’t eat this candied apple, then I will have failed to show you anything of value!”
Now this one has real value, huh? Perhaps I should sit properly and listen.
I wondered if it would be possible for me to tell Osanai-san that I wasn’t exactly a fan of sweet things. But since she was looking forward to the candied apples at Muramatsu House that much, I decided not to rain on her parade. Instead, I gave a subservient reply.
“I’m really looking forward to it. So, are we meeting there?”
Osanai-san was silent for a short while, probably because she was displeased about being interrupted when she hadn’t spoken enough. She eventually answered, but her voice was, in contrast, frightfully calm.
“…No, not there. Come to my house first. We’ll go there together afterwards. Hmm… we’ll meet at about one o’clock at my house.”
“One o’clock, right? Got it. See you tomorrow.”
“Yeah,” I replied half-heartedly and was about to hang up, when Osanai-san added another line.
“This is the culmination of our summer memories, after all.”
…I hope it turns out to be a splendid day, then.
– On the 18th of August, at about 11:30 at night, Isawa Hasemi received a phone call from Kawamata Sanae. Kawamata reported to Isawa the movements of Osanai Yuki for the following day, the 19th.
After that, Isawa suggested to Kawamata to carry out the plan that had been previously talked about in their group. Kawamata wanted Isawa to stop beating about the bush, but due to their power dynamic, she knew that Isawa would not accept an interruption.
After hanging up the call from Kawamata, Isawa emailed the other members to give them instructions for the following day. Those emails were stored in the mobile phones of Isawa as well as the members who received those instructions.
That night, the temperature in Kira Town hardly fell, making it the hardest night to sleep in the summer.
Editors (Tier 2) : Joshua Fisher, _Maki
Assistants (Tier 1) : Definitelynotme, Rolando Sanchez
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