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Tsukimi (月見) or Otsukimi (お月見), literally moon-viewing, also known as Jugoya (十五夜), refers to Japanese festivals honouring the autumn moon, a version of the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Tsukimi traditions include displaying decorations made from Japanese pampas grass (susuki) and eating rice dumplings called Tsukimi dango in order to celebrate the beauty of the moon. Seasonal produce are also displayed as offerings to the moon.
The shadow on the moon is said to be the result of the shade of the magic Katsura Tree, which cannot be cut down. A man being punished by the gods was sentenced to cut down a giant Katsura Tree on the moon, but it grows back and he can never leave.
With the Athletics Carnival coming up, as well as cram school, my after-school lessons, as well as the Bea-tan doll, each week was just swamped with things to do.
The Bea-tan doll was particularly bad. Since training for the Athletics Carnival made me so physically exhausted that I always went to bed the moment I got home. At this rate the doll wouldn’t have any progress at all!
I had planned on asking the other club members for advice but they were so busy with the wedding dress and their own projects that I couldn’t find the chance to. I was actually the club member with the most free time.
‘I should probably help somehow~ But there just isn’t much that I could do~’ I had thought, but my new Vice President, Azai-san, told me,
“As the boss, all we need you to do is be our rock.”
Boss… I was the boss, wasn’t I? What if the day came when they all started calling me ‘Boss Lady’…?
Anyway, our only male member, Minami-kun, was really proving his worth as far as the wedding dress was concerned.
“Your embroidery skills are truly remarkable, Minami-kun…” I praised him.
“I’m not that good. I’ve just been doing it for a long time is all…” he shyly disagreed.
No, really, he was so good that it would be fine even if he boasted about it.
“Ummm… By the way, Minami-kun. Is it true that Ririna has been calling you ‘Shop Boy’?”
“Eh-, ah, yes,” he replied as his eyes swam.
Oh my god! That idiot, Ririna!
“I must apologise. I only just heard about it. That girl has been too disrespectful of you. I will make sure to tell her off myself, so could you please forgive her? I truly am sorry.”
“No! I don’t really hate it or anything! Well, I mean I did at first but I’m actually quite fond of it now. Really.”
“Eh-, you like it!?”
Was Minami-kun actually some sort of masochist?!
“Ummm… Ever since Kotou-san began calling me ‘Shop Boy’ other people who never spoke to me before used that name to talk to me. I’ve made more friends thanks to that too. And before I was ‘Shop Boy’ she called me Apprentice(Minarai). My name Minami Raita can be shortened that way, right? And isn’t ‘Shop Boy’ better than ‘Apprentice’?”
“I honestly have no idea…”
“Really? I think ‘Shop Boy’ is definitely better.”
…Minami-kun, are you sure you haven’t been brainwashed? Well, as long as he was happy I suppose.
“If Ririna ever causes you trouble, please do let me know at once.”
“Gosh, she wouldn’t. Oh, but could I actually ask you one thing?”
“What is it?”
Minami-kun looked down as he fiddled with his knitting needles.
“What do you think Kotou-san thinks about boys who like handicrafts…?”
The towel thing had blown up even more.
“Oh yeah. Shuusuke lent me it once, and I liked it so I bought one too,” Kaburagi had said, which caused a little boom. By now pretty much all the girls in Suiran were using that towel.
I asked Yukino-kun,
“Enjou-sama uses that towel as well, does he not?”
“Did you not like it? I’m sorry… It just seemed so nice that I bought one for Oniisama as well…”
He seemed so down that I denied it in a panic.
“I liked it very much!”
Yukino-kun was kind, so it made sense that he bought one for his beloved Niisama. I guess it couldn’t be helped then…? Yeah.
More confident now after the summer, I had put my name down for the 100 metre sprint. Just like I did every morning with Coach Mihara, I made sure to stretch before I began training. Thanks to school I could only run on weekends now but 100 metres was still no problem for me.
Just running 100 metres that is. My speed was another matter, I soon realised. Oh dear…
Still, now that I was registered for it I could only give my all!
During my practice sprints, sometimes I ended up with Wakaba-chan once in a while. I guess she signed up for it too.
Today, Wakaba-chan and I were lined up at the start line. I overheard a girl from her class whisper,
“You get it, right…?”
Throughout the sprint, Wakaba-chan was making good time. But then just before we reached the finish line, she began to slow. Eh!? What the heck was this!?
“You were so fast, Reika-sama!” the people around me praised when I passed the goal, but just now that match was totally fixed, wasn’t it…
What the heck! What happened to sportsmanship!? I wouldn’t be happy even if I won like this!
Wakaba-chan’s expression didn’t betray a thing. She didn’t look like she minded at all. But I* minded. It was match fixing. I could let it slide this time since we were just practising, but it would be a huge issue if we did this on the day.
I called out to her without hesitation.
“Excuse me, Takamichi-san.”
“Yes?” she asked in surprise.
“You lost on purpose just now.”
“Eh? I, uhhh…”
I could see her looking at our spectators, unsure of what to do. It was obvious that everybody was watching us, my followers included.
“Winning because somebody handed me the victory does not make me happy in the slightest. Stop trying to accommodate me and just run as fast as you can. If I lose to you then that is simply proof that I am lacking.”
“Aahh… All right.”
Ruining the race with match fixing would just spoil everybody’s fun. It would spoil my fun too. Plus, if that Athletics Carnival maniac found out about it he would be angry for sure.
I think everybody cooperated because I lost pretty much every time after that.
The group I was assigned to for the real sprint was filled with girls even slower than I was. They really were accomodating me…
Each night I worked on Bea-tan’s parts while I fought to stay awake. The Kaburagi family invited me to a moon-viewing party but I of course declined. As If I had time for that. Moon-viewing parties were just eating parties for me anyway. I made sure to eat a lot at home.
Since it was a waste not to celebrate though, I decorated my room with susuki pampas grass and watched the moon on my own with salted bean daifuku to eat.
Sometimes I shocked myself with how refined I was.
Since tomorrow was a weekend I stayed up extra late to get more needle felting done.
Lately I had been shutting myself in my room the moment I got home. I guess Otousama finally got curious became he came to my room to check up on me.
“Otousama has been worried about you, Reika,” he said, “Lately you haven’t been leaving your room except to eat.”
“I apologise for that. However, I am quite busy preparing for the school festival,” I replied without stopping my hands.
I have no idea what he was thinking but he began talking about helping me out. Maybe he was trying to bond with me or something. Apparently he thought he could do it too after just watching me a few times.
“What do we have here. Otousama will do the torso,” he said.
“Do you know how, Otousama?”
“What do you mean ‘do I know’. It’s easy. Leave it to Otousama.”
But despite talking big the Tanuki was unbelievably bad!
“Otousama! You have broken off part of the needle inside! Aah! The torso is all flattened now!”
“Ohh! Sorry! Don’t worry though, if I do this…”
“Noooo! Just stop touching it! This part is dented now! Waaaah!”
Don’t joke with me, Tanuki! The torso was half-done already and you ruined it! God, what the hell! What the hell was this!
“Get out!” I screamed on the verge of tears.
God, I quit! I was going to sleep!
“Otousama was wrong. Forgive me, Reika,” I heard from beyond the door, but it was no concern of mine! This tanuki could just go repent by cutting down the katsura tree on the moon!
I was laying in bed with my pillow over my face. It was impossible for me to make it on time now! God, I was just sick of everything!
The next morning, Otousama’s secretary Sasajima-san came to visit.
“Reika-ojousama, apparently something happened…?”
Since Oniisama was on a business trip and apparently Otousama couldn’t wipe his own butt, he even went and called Sasajima-san here on a day off. What the hell was this tanuki doing!
“Sorry for wasting your weekend, Sasajima-san.”
“Please do not mind it. Do you think you could show me the handicrafts project you were working on?”
I said that it was fine again and again but he insisted, so I reluctantly brought the parts to the living room.
Sasajima-san began examining the torso from multiple angles.
“I’ll be borrowing this for a moment,” said Sasajima-san before using the needle to pull on the wool in the dented parts. Ehhh!?
Before long, Sasajima-san had skilfully restored the parts that Otousama ruined, and after some consultation of the design sheet, even finished the torso entirely.
“I am honoured.”
That was a capable secretary for you! To think that even handicrafts was child’s play!
All that was left were the head and legs. And the legs were almost done. Didn’t that mean I would make it on time!?
“Thank you so much, Sasajima-san!”
“It was no problem at all. Ojousama, do you think you could make up with your father now?”
In consideration to Sasajima-san who had given up his day with his family for this, I decided to forgive Otousama. I still had to thank him as well though. We had received a lot of dried fish as mid-year gifts, so I offered him as much as he wanted. Oh! Otousama had some good alcohol too, didn’t he? Here, take some! Oh, and some of Okaasama’s super high class bathing powders from France. I really recommend them, they’ll help keep you moisturised in the coming season. Oh, and sweets! Take some sweets too.
“And Sasajima-san, please do not forget to claim weekend penalty pay as well, all right?”
“You say some surprisingly working class things, don’t you, Ojousama…”
With gifts in both hands, Sasajima-san was seen off by Otousama and I.
“Otousama, please do not trouble your secretary with every little thing.”
“And besides the weekend rates, make sure to give him a bonus too.”
“Naturally all of this will be coming out of your own pocket, Otousama.”