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Chocolat (French pronunciation: [ʃɔkɔla]) is a 2000 romantic-drama film based on the 1999 novel Chocolat by the English author, Joanne Harris. It was directed by Lasse Hallström. Adapted by screenwriter Robert Nelson Jacobs, Chocolat tells the story of Vianne Rocher, played by Juliette Binoche, who arrives in the fictional French village of Lansquenet-sous-Tannes at the beginning of Lent with her six-year-old daughter, Anouk. She opens a small chocolaterie. Soon, she and her chocolate influence the lives of the townspeople of this repressed French community in different and interesting ways.
It was a Monday.
The mid-terms were right around the corner, so every second was precious for our year.
And yet here I was, reading another blunt summons from Kaburagi.
‘Small meeting room after school.’
Why the heck was I being treated like some doormat? Do you truly believe that this lady is such an easy woman!?
When I stepped into the room, Kaburagi was already there, poring through some magazines with a frown.
This guy was treating this place like his bedroom now.
He jerked his head towards a seat.
“Well? Sit down,” he said self-importantly.
I couldn’t stand it and voiced a complaint.
“…Kaburagi-sama, I am busy as well. How many times must I say this before you understand?”
“I’m going somewhere with Takamichi after the tests are over, hence the planning I’m doing.”
So you’re ignoring me now?
“…But I am sure you said you would think about it after the tests.”
“That’s too long. No matter what you’re doing, it’s always crucial to plan and prepare well beforehand.”
Since Wakaba-chan agreed to a date when he went over during that weekend, I suppose he just couldn’t hold it in anymore.
…Study for your exams, damnit.
The results for this year would affect whether you could continue on to Pivoine’s university, you know? Geez…
And on that topic, I was in the middle of coming up with an English vocabulary notebook with the colourful and lovely stationery I bought in Rome.
The comments I was adding to the answer sheets were colour-coded so it was taking a while. Still, it was quite stylish to behold, if I did say so myself.
Aahh, I need to quickly go home and continue it. This isn’t the time to be messing about here.
“Would it not be fine to talk to some other human being about your love troubles? For example, your friend…?”
With a gasp, I slapped a hand over my mouth.
“Could it be that you actually have no frien-”
“I’ll destroy you.”
It was like he had little fires in his eyes! He’s going to destroy meeee!
I went a little overboard. I’m sorry. So sorry.
Gosh, people really do get angry when you confront them with the truth.
I glanced at the magazines he’d been reading.
Not one of them was a magazine I’d ever expect him to read; they were basically all gossip magazines for regular people, focused on trendy places or the latest fads.
In a sense, the fact that he was trying to match Wakaba-chan and read these to find out was proof of a little growth on his part.
That said, I wasn’t sure about the fact that the content was stuff like ‘Special! Dirt Cheap Ramen Eats for Foodies’… Don’t just walk into the store and buy every magazine you can see, Kaburagi.
Even back issues are fine, as long as they recommend good amusement parks or date spots, right? What are you going to do with these?
Oh ho? Is that okonomiyaki on that cover?
Let me have a look at that.
For the next few seconds I went silent and read.
“…Have you ever eaten ramen before, Kisshouin?”
“More foolish questions, I see.”
Who did he think he was talking to?
Gosh, I could go for some pork okonomiyaki right now. Ah, but seafood okonomiyaki was great toooo. Hmmm, maybe prawns, squid, and scallops…?
“I’ve never eaten at a ramen place like this, but it seems pretty popular.”
Crunchy potato sounded yummy too…
“I can’t comprehend the feeling of wanting to eat ramen so badly that you’d line up. The average place has you waiting for an hour.”
But of course you just had to have a monjayaki before leaving.
Aahhh, I could really go for a cheese monjayaki.
“Honestly it makes me wonder if they’re really that good.”
“Oi, have you been listening to a word I’ve said!?”
“Of course. I am all ears.”
It does, it does.
Kaburagi clicked his tongue.
“…Well? What is it you’ve been reading about that’s had you ignoring me this whole time?” Kaburagi moved to my side and had a look over my shoulder.
What the heck~ Don’t look~
“The hell? Okonomiyaki? Pass that here and give me a look.”
I was reading that first!
Apparently it was okonomiyaki that interested him now, because he took my magazine and started reading it himself!
“Have you ever tried okonomiyaki before, Kaburagi-sama?”
“I have, actually. I was overseas, and there was a branch of one of our okonomiyaki shops.”
Why would you go overseas to…?
Well, I suppose being fair it wasn’t as though the son of the distinguished Kaburagi family would have a chance to eat commoner food like okonomiyaki or ramen.
It wasn’t like I’d ever eaten okonomiyaki with my family either.
I’d been forced to secure my own supply through visiting street vendors.
At any rate, that was how I ended up giving Kaburagi a food lecture. I’d covered the war between the Light Broth Ramen gang and the Thick Broth Ramen clan and was in the middle of explaining the intricacies of okonomiyaki toppings when the door to the meeting room opened.
It was Enjou behind it.
“So this is where you were. What are the two of you doing together?” he asked.
“I’m coming up with a date plan for Takamichi,” Kaburagi explained.
Oh, come to think of it that was what we came here for.
My mind was entranced by okonomiyaki and I forgot all about it.
Enjou hummed. “I see.”
He scanned the magazines spread across the table, and read the titles one by one.
“‘Ramen So Good You’ll Pay to Line Up!’
“‘Cheap Eats for Foodies: A Comprehensive Study!’
“‘Cities You’d Most Want to Live In!’…”
Kaburagi and I were silent.
“‘Date plan’?” Enjou asked.
Enough already, Enjou.
Even the guy who brought that magazine is starting to get how ridiculous he was. Just look at his expression! Doesn’t that look like a man who just had his mistakes pointed out?
“U-Umm, oh look! A number of couples have submitted where they went for their dates.”
Kind person that I was, I changed the topic after finding something suitable on one of the magazines.
Kaburagi began reading with interest.
“What if you did as the couples in the magazine did? Meet up with her first, see a film, and then go to a café or out for lunch?”
“A film, huh?”
“That is what anyone thinks of for a date. See? Look at the ‘lovebird students’ column: ‘Going to the movies is great because you can go to a café afterwards and have fun talking about it!’.”
“I see. That might be good.”
Enthused with the idea, Kaburagi began checking which films were showing. Conveniently there were even recommendations for dates.
“Do you often watch films, Kaburagi-sama?” I asked.
“Yeah, I like them.”
Wasn’t this perfect then?
“Any genre in particular?”
“Hmm, I enjoy documentaries that follows an animal in its natural habitat. The magnificence of animals overcoming Mother Nature’s brutal trails is overwhelming. I often watch them at home for a change of pace.”
So Kaburagi was into nature documentaries. I guess it did suit him.
“But it does not look like any such documentaries are showing in cinemas at the moment.”
“No. Right now the most popular showing is this romance film.”
I began reading the summary of the movie he mentioned.
“Do you even watch romantic films, Krabugi-sama?”
Before Kaburagi could answer, Enjou cut in. “Contrary to appearances, Masaya likes love stories too.”
“My, is that so?” I asked.
“It’s true. He’s a romantic. Also rather than love comedies, he’s the type that prefers the traditional romances; the ones where the couple overcome setbacks together and live happily ever after.”
Maybe he was embarrassed about having that fact exposed, but Kaburagi didn’t look very happy right now.
“That makes this film perfect then, would you not agree? The forbidden love between a stranger in an insular village, and a young girl who lives there. I wonder if it is like Chocolat.”
“I liked Chocolat too. That was less of a romance and more of a drama film though.”
I see. So the boy who liked calling chocolate ‘chocolat’ also liked Chocolat the film. Since I was a person who called chocolat ‘chocolate’ I liked Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
But geez. So boys liked romances too, huh~?
“Could it be that you actually also watch romances, Enjou-sama?” I asked the boy who had been watching me and Kaburagi with a faint smile.
“Me? Gee, I’ve hardly seen any. To be honest I’m not sure what’s so interesting about them,” Enjou admitted. “Romances aren’t something you watch; it’s something you experience, right?”
The two of us turned to stone at his words.
“H-Hohoho. I see. Then what kind of films do you like to watch, Enjou-sama?”
“I like the classics. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. The Tin Drum. The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her…”
A horror film, a war film, and a crime drama.
…You could see glimpses of the type of person he was through his tastes.
I took a few steps away from him in my mind.
At any rate, Kaburagi and I looked through the magazine and hammered out the details for his date plan. I guess Enjou must have been bored or something because he grabbed the nearest magazine and indifferently skimmed through it too.
“Well, doing things this way isn’t exactly bad but…” I think was what he muttered.
“What was that, Shuusuke?”
“Hm? Ah, well, following a date course like this is fine and all, but I was just wondering if you’d really make a girl happy by doing so.”
Kaburagi and I glanced at each other.
“What do you mean?”
“Since you’re inviting a girl out, shouldn’t you be more focused on what she would find fun? In that case rather than following some stranger’s date plan to the letter, wouldn’t she have more fun if you tailored one to her own interests?”
He continued. “Even if you read these magazines front to cover, in the end you won’t find Takamichi-san’s opinion in there.”
…I see. Well, that’s what the experienced Chief of the Fulfilling Romance village says. What are you going to do, Kaburagi?
Kaburagi put down the magazine.
“Don’t just rely on manuals, Kisshouin.”
Wow, what a barefaced betrayal…!
What a guy.
He threw all of the the shame of relying on instructions onto me, and then had the gall to look like he was with Enjou’s camp all along! He was the one who brought these magazines!
He was the one who wanted a manual in the first place!
Wasn’t this making it out like I some unpopular kid who was the only one in the room without dating experience now!?
I’ve been on plenty of dates! Younger males, older males, you name ittt!
I was so angry that I decided to take some magazines as compensation.
I made a show of putting them in my bag. From his expression, Kaburagi seemed to have realised his miscalculation, but who cared about him?
If he was going to say all that, then perhaps this poor village chief――who was so devoid of imagination that she couldn’t come up with her own date plans――would like to know what the villagers of Fulfilling Romance would do.
“For reference I sure would be interested in hearing about the dates you have come up with yourself, Enjou-sama.”
If your plans are boring just watch how I sneer at you!
Enjou smiled pleasantly back.
“I wonder if anything I say would be useful as a reference. I’ve rarely been on a date where I did the inviting.”
God in Heaven! Please punish the Fulfilling Romance village with an ice age! Please turn their land of eternal spring into a frozen waste!
“Goodness, hohoho. Are you sure it is not because anybody you invited refused you the time of day?”
Enjou’s smile grew wider.
“Since the day I was born, not once have I been rejected.”
Off to Enjou’s side, His Majesty the Emperor was brutally punching some invisible foe.
That night, I received another bothersome message.
‘After the tests, take me for ramen and okonomiyaki.’
So I deleted it.
Accidentally turning on the stream too early.