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The Tosa Nikki (Tosa Diary) is a poetic diary written anonymously by the tenth-century Japanese poet Ki no Tsurayuki. The text details a 55-day journey in 935 returning to Kyoto from Tosa province, where Tsurayuki had been the provincial governor. The prose account of the journey is punctuated by Japanese poems, purported to have been composed on the spot by the characters.
The Tosa Nikki is the first notable example of the Japanese diary as literature. Until its time, the word “diary” (nikki) denoted dry official records of government affairs, written by men in Chinese. By contrast, the Tosa is written in the Japanese language, using phonetic kana characters. Literate men of the period wrote in both kana and Chinese, but women typically were not taught the latter, being restricted to kana literature. By framing the diary in the point of view of a fictitious female narrator, Tsurayuki could avoid employing Chinese characters or citing Chinese poems, focusing instead on the aesthetics of the Japanese language and its poetry.
Around the time when each student was decided in their class which events to appear in, Iwamuro-kun wanted to talk to me.
“Actually, I’m slated to appear in the costume race again but…”
This time his class was going with Peter Pan as their theme. Wasn’t that fine? You’ll get to wear cute outfits again, you know~?
Ah, but I guess he wouldn’t have been picked for Tinkerbell…
“My class were pretty enthused about the Cinderella we did last year. That’s why they bugged me to do it this year too… I mean, I don’t mind of course but… I’ve been wondering what Nonose-san would think of that…”
Apparently this was about the maiden in love worrying about what his crush would think about his cross-dressing.
“I think Nonose-san would find it funny and have a great time.”
“Maybe. You don’t think she’d be disgusted…?”
“Then what if you just didn’t participate then?”
Ah, he was conflicted. I see, so he wanted to cross-dress that badly. There weren’t all that many chances for him to openly cross-dress after all.
“…There’s something wrong with me, isn’t there?”
“What do you mean?”
“It’s weird that I have so much fun dressing like a girl…”
Iwamuro-kun’s expression was depressed. Eh!? Was he agonising over his secret hobby!?
“That is simply not true! It hardly hurts anybody so you have the right to do what makes you happy! And you do not need to worry! The world is overflowing with men who secretly wish they could try being a girl!”
“Absolutely! Please think back. Think about last year’s cross-dressing maid café. Do you not remember all of the boys who gleefully put on the maid uniforms? It was certainly not just you, Iwamuro-kun. Have you ever read Ki no Tsurayuki’s Tosa Nikki? Even a thousand years ago there was a senpai of your hobby. It is okay. You are not the only one, Iwamuro-kun. If you still feel worried then I will ask Nonose-san myself what she thinks about the cross-dresser in the race.”
“You’d do that!?”
“Yes, leave it to me. I am absolutely on your side, Iwamuro-kun.”
With a brighter expression than before, he told me, “Even if I end up as Wendy, I’m going to curl my wig!” before heading off.
I suppose I needed to track Nonose-san down now. Iwamuro-kun’s awakening was probably in large part due to my temptations, so I felt a kind of responsibility for him.
I found her chatting with some friends in the classroom.
“Nonose-san,” I said casually.
“Actually, during the Athletics Carnival, would it be possible for you to take over the class for the periods when I am participating myself? I do apologise for this. I still feel bad for the time we went on that excursion…”
“Of course it’s possible! I’ll help as much as you need me to. Please ask whatever you need!” she said.
“Reika-sama, if there’s anything we can help you with then don’t ever hesitate to ask for our help!” said one of her friends.
“Thank you. Hearing that overjoys me.”
Her friends all agreed to help. Now was time for the main topic though.
“Speaking of the Athletics Carnival, apparently in the other classes they have been having a great time forcing the costume race’s female roles onto their boys. It sounds like fun, does it not?”
“Goodness! Is that’s what they’re doing!?”
“Actually, the class I was in last year had a boy who played Cinderella. That was a great time.”
“Huh. Ahh! Wasn’t it Iwamuro-kun that did that?” she said as her face lit up in remembrance.
“Why yes, it was. Iwamuro-kun is a diligent person so he truly gave the role his all. Because of that, I think the costume was very polished.”
“It was, wasn’t it. I feel a bit bad but I was dying from laughter as well. Who could have imagined that huge frame in a dress… Haha,” she chuckled.
At the very least, Nonose-san didn’t seem to be disgusted. Alright!
“Say, Nonose-san? Could I speak to you for a moment?”
She followed me away from her group of friends.
“The truth is, Iwamuro-kun is cross-dressing again for the costume race this year.”
“Yes. Although the details are being kept hush-hush until the day, that is what I was told.”
“Huuh~ Iwamuro-kun is cross-dressing again. Maybe I should tease him about it later.”
“The issue is that the person himself is a little worried about how others will see him.”
“Gosh. He shouldn’t have any reason to worry at all. I actually really want to see it again.”
“I thought you would say that! Then please tell him that as well! Let him know that you look forward to it.”
“I will then. Maybe if the circumstances permit I’ll get a photo to commemorate it too. But huh, cross-dressing again. Maybe our class should do something like that too.”
Incidentally, my class had decided on ‘The Town Musicians of Bremen’ for our costume race, with the competitors dressed as different animals.
And as for why it ended up as ‘Town Musicians of Bremen’, thanks to my mouse and sheep costumes last year everybody had this weird idea that I liked costumed animals. That’s why they, in a show of misguided consideration, decided to try and put in as many animals as they could for me.
Hold on guys, I don’t actually have much interest in costumes. I just wore those because I had to.
Anyway, although they had chosen that theme for my sake I firmly rejected it. As for my reason…
“Last year Kaburagi-sama cautioned me for my lax attitude in failing to wear a nose. But running while trying to breathe in that would be too much for me…”
Just bringing up his name had caused an immediate effect. As expected of the Emperor.
But after that they stressed to each other that ‘the Emperor is fussy about noses’ and began preparing them for the costumes. Oh boy~
At any rate that was what was happening with my class as a whole, but right now I was talking to Nonose-san about Iwamuro-kun. I brought up the idea of having her help me with Iwamuro-kun’s transformation.
“Last year I gave Iwamuro-kun help with make-up and his clothing. I must admit I had a lot of fun.”
“Really!? That sounds so fun!”
“Well, this year pretty much everybody in his class is helping him, so I am unsure how well they will take if we intrude. Still, I think just a little bit would be fine.”
“Yeah. I want to try putting make-up on Iwamuro-kun too.”
“I have no doubt that he will allow you if you but ask.”
I even managed to get her to invite Miharu-chan and Class Pres. Gosh, what a skilled cupid I am!
Now that he was discharged and healthy, Yukino-kun gave me scented candles and towels from the UK as a thank you for carrying him to the nurse’s office.
Unfortunately he wouldn’t be allowed to participate in the athletics meet.
“Please do your best in my place. I got you the towel for when you’re training. I’d be really happy if you used it,” he told me. Yukino-kun! You’re such a good boy!
“The aromatic candles are like the ones that Niisama uses at home. They smell really nice, so I think you’ll like them, Reika-oneesan.”
The same scented candles as Enjou… I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. But Yukino-kun had meant well by them. In that case I’d accept them gratefully.
I was going to be competing in the three-legged race with Ru’ne-chan. Last year I suffered a frustrating loss against Wakaba-chan but this year I was taking 1st place!
The two of us headed outside to train when I caught sight of Wakaba-chan being bombarded by bean bags. Don’t tell me she was competing in the ball toss event? So reckless… You’re going to end up black and blue, you know.
Ru’ne-chan and I began our three-legged training. While we were training I heard girls cheering from the other side. In the ring of girls were Kaburagi and Enjou, training for their own races. It was nice to know how lively they were.
The longer I practised with Ru’ne-chan, the more our breathing grew in sync. Seeing our progress, we decided to take a short break.
I immediately used the towel I got from Yukino-kun. It was a towel that he’d picked as being the softest one, so little wonder that it felt wonderful against my skin!
“Oh my. Doesn’t the towel that Reika-sama is using seem to match Enjou-sama’s?”
Somebody with a sharp eye had noticed the towel I was using. When they brought it to attention, everybody who had been cheering for those two began to compare our towels.
“My! They really do match!”
“I know that brand! Very few shops in Japan sell it!
“Could it be that one of them had given the other as a present…?”
“No! I received this from Enjou-sama’s younger brother!”
“Goodness! Even your families know each other!”
“That is not what I…!”
I tried to deny it but nobody could hear me over the noise of the girls.
Yukino-kuuuuun! It wasn’t just the candles that matched!? That’s something you really need to tell me in advance, okay!
Sometimes the pure and good-natured Yukino-kun would create dilemmas without knowing…
I sealed that towel away as something to only be used at home.
Ah! My Bea-tan doll hadn’t progressed at all!!