NARRATOR: "When Shizune and Misha arrive early the next morning to pick me up, they are dressed in something other than the school uniform I've grown used to seeing them in. It makes sense, since we're on holiday, but it's still jarring. Shizune's dress is sharp and fashionable, almost too much for a quiet place like Yamaku. Thinking back to what she wore at the Tanabata festival, I'm starting to notice a trend with her. All of her clothes are very tasteful and mature; very well thought out. So, then, I wonder why she herself is so immature. Well, at least Misha's clothes reflect her inner self on the outside."
SHIZUNE: (signing) "You're bringing so little."
HISAO: "I said I would. I said there wasn't much to pack."
NARRATOR: "Shizune pouts and rocks her own, rather large collection of luggage with her foot as if embarrassed. Misha only has one suitcase with her, but it's almost larger than she is. She looks self-conscious about it as well. God, that suitcase is as big as a compact car. The pea green color is unsettling, too. It's like something used to transport bodies. The way they look right now makes me want to tease them a little."
HISAO: "Aw, that's bad luck for you and Misha, isn't it? Having to carry those huge bags. Gotta pack light next time, like me. Everything fits into one little suitcase."
MISHA: "Like James Bond~!"
HISAO: "Yes, exactly like James Bond."
NARRATOR: "Shizune gently tugs at her glasses in concentration."
SHIZUNE: (signing) "We should split the amount we carry equally."
MISHA: "Wow~! That's a great idea, Shicchan~!"
HISAO: "What? No."
SHIZUNE: (signing) "It would benefit us all."
MISHA: "Yup~! Wahaha~!"
HISAO: "I'm going to have to say no."
SHIZUNE: (signing) "You're outvoted!"
NARRATOR: "She almost lunges forth as she signs it. Terrifying."
HISAO: "Ah, well. I was just kidding. I don't mind carrying a few extra. I just thought it would be fun to mess with you both. But, if you were going to try and make me carry it all, I was going to ride that giant green case down the mountain like a sled."
NARRATOR: "That seems to make Shizune laugh, and she holds a hand up to her mouth to hold it back. It's like she is hiding it. I wonder if she can laugh. If not, that might be why she does that. That kind of makes me feel sad. With that taken care of, we head for the train station, and a very uneventful ride follows. Shizune and Misha manage to fall asleep almost instantly, but I find myself unable to. That's never happened before. Maybe it's my medication. When we arrive at Shizune's house, it's quite a bit larger than I'd envisioned it would be. I don't think huge would be much of an overstatement."
HISAO: "You live in a mansion?"
NARRATOR: "Shizune indignantly stands up on her tiptoes so that we're at eye level, and frowns deeply, having had my comment translated to her by Misha. It's as if she's saying, “how can you even suggest such a thing?”"
SHIZUNE: (signing) "This is just a normal house. Nothing as ostentatious as a mansion."
NARRATOR: "I believe our definitions of those terms are quite different, then."
MISHA: "Wahaha~. Hicchan, are you surprised? Do you want me to point out where you'll be staying?"
SHIZUNE: (signing) "I think we have a guest room, but I'm not sure if we have two. I'll check."
MISHA: "Hm~, it's no problem, though, Hicchan~! Shicchan and I can share a room if have to. Well~, unless hers is being used for something else now."
NARRATOR: "“Not sure?” I'm starting to think Shizune doesn't spend a lot of time at home. Before I can make a joke of it at her expense, Shizune vanishes into the house, and Misha goes with her, leaving me alone on the grounds. I don't want to follow them inside just yet. I put my bag down by the front door, and take the opportunity to look around the grounds, just making a quick lap around the house. Even though it takes just a few minutes, when I get back the first thing I notice is that my bag is gone, and a tiny girl is in its place. She looks a lot like Shizune, although Shizune wouldn't wear red shorts and star-and-moon stockings."
HISAO: "Hi! Are you Shizune's little sister or something?"
HIDEAKI: "No. I'm her little brother. My name is Hideaki. It's nice to meet you."
NARRATOR: "The voice that responds is straightforward, monotone, and also definitely male. I feel embarrassed to the point where I could almost turn around and leave right now, if I could remember my way back to the train."
HIDEAKI: "Are you the second person that my sister brought with her?"
HISAO: "“Brought with her?” I'm not luggage. Anyway, I'm Hisao. Did you take my bag?"
HIDEAKI: "Yes, it is my right to keep anything I find on my property."
HISAO: "No, it's not. That's not how it works at all."
NARRATOR: "I guess even particularly well-spoken little kids believe in the law of finders keepers. Even though I call him little, he doesn't seem that much younger, now that I think about it. Maybe two or three years younger, at most."
HIDEAKI: "I gave it to Shizune. It's inside. Are you on the Student Council?"
HISAO: "Yeah, how did you know? Does she bring it up often?"
NARRATOR: "I almost said “does she talk about it often?” That could have been bad."
HIDEAKI: "Yes, all the time. Do you get along with her?"
HISAO: "Get along? That's a weird question. I wouldn't be on the Student Council if I couldn't get along with her. What about you, do you two get along well?"
NARRATOR: "Even though he has a monotone voice, his face is as expressive as Shizune's, and belies how he really feels. It must run in the family. Looks like he isn't happy about my question, for whatever reason."
HIDEAKI: "I'm sorry. I was only asking because you both act so much alike."
NARRATOR: "I don't know why, but it feels like he's teasing me. Unfortunately, it works. I don't like being compared to Shizune."
HISAO: "You're a lot more like Shizune, but that's to be expected. I mistook you for her little sister, even. If you don't want people to make that mistake, you should dress more appropriately."
HIDEAKI: "I don't understand, my clothes are perfectly seasonal."
HISAO: "What's with the stockings?"
HIDEAKI: "They are cool. You act like my sister. Eventually people will start mistaking you for her."
NARRATOR: "I guess my comment hit him harder than I thought. That would explain this attempt at turning it around."
HISAO: "I hate being compared to other people."
HIDEAKI: "Shizune doesn't like it when she is compared to others either."
NARRATOR: "I'd thought that Hideaki was a little more mature than Shizune, but they have the same competitive streak and inclination to provoke people. I wonder if he's like this because of Shizune, or if it's the other way around."
HISAO: "And neither do you, right? Okay, I get it. I shouldn't be so petty."
NARRATOR: "Especially to little kids. Hideaki seems to accept this as an acknowledgment of defeat, which is something that I feel like I can't let go. Nevertheless, I'll just have to let it go while I have the chance. I can hear Misha's laughter bouncing through the halls the moment I step through the door to the house, and follow it into what I would guess is the living room. It holds more people than I'd expected. Among them I spot a distinctive and familiar blonde ponytail. I'm more confused by why Lilly is here than surprised. Shizune seems just as surprised. Lilly doesn't look ecstatic about this chance meeting either. Sitting next to Lilly is a tall, androgynous looking woman in a sharp suit. I'd like to assume that it's her older sister, but I don't want to risk it."
LILLY: "I didn't expect that you would arrive so early."
NARRATOR: "At first I think she's talking to me, but it turns out that she's referring to Shizune. I don't think Lilly even notices my presence. I've clearly walked in on them mid-conversation, and it looks like with her focus on Shizune, she couldn't hear me."
SHIZUNE: (signing) "I should have rearranged my entire schedule for you."
MISHA: "Shicchan says: I should have rearranged my schedule just for you~!"
LILLY: "That would have been nice, but I would not expect you to do such a thing."
MISHA: "Oh, hi, Hicchan~! You're finally here."
HISAO: "Yeah. Hello, Lilly."
LILLY: "Oh, Hisao? This is quite a surprise. Akira, this is Hisao, a schoolmate. Hisao, this is Akira, my sister."
NARRATOR: "She holds up her hand in a brief and quite casual gesture of greeting. So she is the older sister after all."
AKIRA: "I hope we're not messing up any of your plans. Since we're only going to be here for one more day, Lilly and I thought she may as well come with me."
NARRATOR: "Akira turns to me, like she feels compelled to explain. I'm grateful for that."
AKIRA: "I suppose my position here would be best described as a babysitter."
NARRATOR: "Akira ruffles Hideaki's hair as he carries on with his pastime of looking displeased."
HIDEAKI: "That is demeaning."
AKIRA: "Really? Maybe I'll change my title once you get a few more years on you. Or at least a few centimeters."
NARRATOR: "They make an interesting pair, although Akira looks more like a lawyer than a babysitter. I'm still not really sure why both she and Lilly are here, though. Taking a glance around the room, there are tennis rackets, golf clubs, and even a stack of fishing poles and tackle boxes secreted here and there. Behind every chair, in every corner, and under every table there is some piece of outdoor hobbyist equipment. I pick up one of the fishing rods and play with it."
HISAO: "This is a nice house. Shizune, it looks like your dad has a lot of hobbies."
NARRATOR: "For a moment I forget to sign what I say, but Misha's already in the process of interpreting what I said for her. I'm still a little impressed at how automatic interpreting is for Misha."
HIDEAKI: "Do you fish?"
HISAO: "No, I don't know how. I kind of want to learn, as I heard it's relaxing."
SHIZUNE: (signing) "There is a river only a short drive away, my whole family knows how to fish. If you want, we could go there sometime."
AKIRA: "You and Hideaki can fish? I didn't expect people your age to know, considering it's always seemed like a hobby for old men. Y'know, Lilly is great at cooking. If we had some fresh fish..."
NARRATOR: "It's not hard to follow Akira's train of thought."
LILLY: "If you want to eat fish, we could go to the store."
NARRATOR: "Lilly's voice sounds slightly more authoritative than usual. She really doesn't seem to share her sister's enthusiasm for the idea."
MISHA: "It's more fun to go fishing; we could even make it like a game and try to see who catches the biggest one~! That would be exciting, right? Yeah~! Hicchan, what do you think? It sounds fun, doesn't it?"
HISAO: "Yeah, it definitely could be."
AKIRA: "Sounds like a plan. I don't know how to fish either, so now's as good a time as any to learn."
NARRATOR: "Her eyes shift towards Lilly, who remains unmoved. This sours Akira's smile a bit, and makes me wonder why Lilly's being so obstinate about this."
HIDEAKI: "I don't think we have enough fishing equipment for everyone."
SHIZUNE: (signing) "We can take turns. It'll be a team battle."
HIDEAKI: "What is she saying?"
HISAO: "We can take turns. She also wants to make it a contest."
AKIRA: "Come on Lilly, we may as well make the most of it. So is this going to be a competition to see who can catch the biggest fish, or the most?"
SHIZUNE: (signing) "It looks like the older sister understands better, as always."
MISHA: "Shicchan says that she supposes Lilly would prefer to go to the store, right~? It's much less work, so it's natural that she would! Going fishing would be more fun, though, and save money. Akira, you have the right idea~!"
NARRATOR: "Akira gives a gracious, if slightly stilted, smile. Shizune's praise wasn't her goal, after all."
LILLY: "... Isn't the river quite far away?"
AKIRA: "I don't think it's that far, and I can drive if we have to. I'm okay with it, as long as you catch something."
HISAO: "Can your car fit this many people, and a whole lot of fishing gear on top of that?"
NARRATOR: "She purses her lips as her fingers subtly move, counting up the amount of passengers and the required cargo. If we're going to be taking me, Shizune, Misha, Lilly, Akira, and Hideaki..."
AKIRA: "Six people. Damn, my car can only take five. Actually, if Hideaki sat on my lap, we could—"
HIDEAKI: "I'm not sitting on your lap."
MISHA: "Shicchan says that her father's car would be big enough."
AKIRA: "What, the Fuga? If he doesn't mind us using it, then I guess we have no other choice. Feels kinda bad forsaking my car, considering I won't have it for much longer."
NARRATOR: "Despite Lilly's obstinacy, and Hideaki's questions of whether or not we'd prefer to eat first than bet on a fish dinner that might fail to ever materialize, there is no way to dissuade Akira and Shizune as they agree on the transport plan."
NARRATOR: "My expectations of a somewhat relaxing drive through the countryside are fulfilled. Akira's driving is as smooth and peaceful as the surroundings, to the point where Misha falls asleep during the trip. I thought this trip would have been rather too slow-paced for Shizune's liking, but she seems to genuinely enjoy it. Even with Hideaki awkwardly sandwiched between her and the door, she just keeps looking out of the window and smiling."
NARRATOR: "The area surrounding the river is quite beautiful. Akira and Shizune head off for the river so quickly that we have no choice but to chase them. We would be left in the dust, otherwise. I can see Hideaki and Lilly are just humoring their siblings, Lilly being the more unenthusiastic of the two. Misha seems as happy as ever, though. Looks like she managed to latch onto some of Shizune and Akira's excitement. As for myself, I'd rather eat now, but the thought of fresh fish prepared by Lilly is appealing. The river is larger than I'd imagined, although very scenic and peaceful. Other than a small pier apparently built just to fish off of, this place looks untouched by civilization, and it makes me realize how much greenery I've seen lately. Shizune pulls Misha away so that they can explain how to fish to Akira. Lilly and Hideaki are talking between themselves, so I decide to join the enthusiastic trio."
AKIRA: "Hmm... so which one of these lures should I use then? Can I use this cute little one?"
MISHA: "Wait, wait~! This is a contest, we need to pick teams first! Shicchan and I will be on one team, of course. Hicchan, you're going to be on our team too, won't you? We can be the Student Council team~!"
AKIRA: "All right, then. That makes me, Hideaki, and Lilly on the other team. Lilly, what should we call ourselves?"
LILLY: "I don't see why it matters."
(at the same time)
HIDEAKI: "I don't think it matters."
AKIRA: "Team No-Enthusiasm it is..."
NARRATOR: "Yet again, Akira's best efforts are rebuffed. Shizune and Misha, on the other hand, have no lack of enthusiasm whatsoever."
SHIZUNE: (signing) "Hisao! You can be our point man, please try hard to catch as many, or the biggest, fish possible."
HISAO: "Why me? No one's even taught me how to fish yet."
MISHA: "We can do that now~."
NARRATOR: "After a quick tutorial, Shizune immediately tries to draw us into a discussion about the strategy in a tag team fishing competition. Somehow, competition doesn't seem particularly applicable to a sport where you spend hours sitting down and hoping a fish bites a worm."
SHIZUNE: (signing) "It looks like Hideaki got stuck with the spare rod. You know it's just a string tied to a bamboo pole, right? That means when deciding the order, you should go against him."
HISAO: "What, why me?"
MISHA: "You have the least experience here, Hicchan~."
HISAO: "Yeah? So who's the best here? Shizune? Hideaki is your brother, he's probably just as good. He probably fishes all the time, since he lives closer to a lake. He might even be better."
AKIRA: "Watching you three makes my head hurt. You know I'm only hearing two thirds of a conversation, right? What's this about?"
HISAO: "Picking our lineup."
NARRATOR: "Akira makes a troubled face. She's getting impatient, which probably isn't too unreasonable."
SHIZUNE: (signing) "If you're impatient, that only makes me more excited. Now I want to play for higher stakes."
AKIRA: "What's she saying?"
HISAO: "She wants to play for higher stakes."
AKIRA: "I wouldn't be too hasty; we have beginner's luck twice over on our side, after all. The only way you'll be able to beat that is by catching a whole ocean."
MISHA: "This is a freshwater body of water, you marine biologist~."
NARRATOR: "A weird insult, delivered with unblinking and innocent good cheer. Akira doesn't seem bothered. She laughs it off, and Shizune looks like her usual mischievous self again. I'm glad they get along."
AKIRA: "So are we going to pick teams, or what? I'm getting kinda hungry..."
SHIZUNE: (signing) "Hisao, Misha, and I are on one team, and Lilly, Hideaki, and you are on the other, aren't you?"
AKIRA: "I suppose that's the most obvious arrangement. Wouldn't mixing it up a little be more fun, though? Eh?"
MISHA: "Hmm~, you don't want to fish with your own sister?"
AKIRA: "Well, neither of us know how to fish, so putting both of us on the same team is kinda..."
NARRATOR: "Well, it sounds like I've heard something kind of dangerous. I try to change the subject before Shizune can turn that incredulous look on her face into anything more."
HISAO: "So, I guess you and Shizune know each other?"
AKIRA: "Sure do. We go way back."
NARRATOR: "Akira throws a knowing grin at Shizune. It's not until Misha's finished translating what she's said that Shizune gains a troubled face. Akira sure is different from Lilly. Aside from how they look, she's much more informal and laid back. I expected Lilly's family to all be proper and formal like her, so this is a surprise. But, I feel like she's easy to talk to."
AKIRA: "As much as I like talking about catching fish, we should probably actually do it sometime."
SHIZUNE: (signing) "Would you suggest that there should there be a lineup, like in baseball? Or should it be everyone-at-once, or a tag battle style? Can everyone sit wherever they want, or do teams have to stick together? Do we call where we fish? What fish sizes will we be counting?"
NARRATOR: "Seeing Akira groan after Misha dutifully translates for her, Shizune rubs her glasses, laughing silently."
SHIZUNE: (signing) "Never mind. Let's just fish, then. It can be an individual contest."
NARRATOR: "I sit down, ready to fish, although I'm not feeling very confident. Everyone else is already sitting, except Akira, who takes a seat next to me and throws her line out after taking off her suit jacket and rolling up her sleeves. Misha and Hideaki end up sitting on the shore and fishing together, as there's not enough room on the pier for everyone. Truth be told, I'd rather be sitting next to Shizune, but Akira seems approachable enough."
AKIRA: "Careful there, you're a little close. Don't tangle our lines, 'kay?"
HISAO: "So, you've never fished before?"
AKIRA: "No, but I've seen a bit of it on TV. I always wanted to catch one of those big fish with a sword for a face. Marlin, I think."
LILLY: "If I recall correctly, those are from the ocean; they are saltwater fish."
AKIRA: "I know that. Why's everyone acting like I don't know the difference between freshwater and saltwater fish?"
LILLY: "If you aren't careful, you'll scare off the fish, saltwater or not."
NARRATOR: "Akira's voice is somewhat loud between her attempts to both egg on Shizune and keep Lilly entertained, so she may have a point. My line doesn't seem to be picking up anything, but I don't know how much of that is down to Akira. Shizune does her best to relax in the sun, and pulls the look off very well, but I can tell that she'd be slightly put off by not knowing what's being talked about. Not having Misha around can be a real problem."
SHIZUNE: (signing) "Hisao, what's the score so far? Are we winning? I hope we are, given that I've entrusted you with our team's success."
NARRATOR: "I manage to do some awkward signing with creative placement of my rod. It's probably close to being gibberish in spoken terms."
HISAO: "You're like, right there. Can't you tell?"
SHIZUNE: (signing) "Disappointing; you let yourself get distracted. You have to stay focused."
HISAO: "Should have known. Well, it's 0-0 in any case."
NARRATOR: "Akira chuckles, although it's clear that really took the wind out of her sails."
HISAO: "Is it just numbers now, or are we keeping track of size, too?"
SHIZUNE: (signing) "Both; grading matters."
HISAO: "Who's going to be grading them? Are you a certified fish judge?"
NARRATOR: "Shizune shakes her head to signify that she isn't."
SHIZUNE: (signing) "...But it doesn't seem like it would be very hard. Tell Misha to stop flailing her hands around like that, it's scaring all the fish away. And ask Hideaki why he hasn't even bothered to cast yet."
NARRATOR: "I look over to the two and yell what Shizune said to them."
MISHA: "Shicchan, I think he's upset that he's stuck with the backup rod~!"
NARRATOR: "Since Misha is largely unable to sign anything coherently right now, she only gets a puzzled look from Shizune for a reply. Shizune just sighs after I translate it for her."
AKIRA: "Hey, even if you're depressed about it, you've got to try. You could catch the big one, for all you know. But you won't catch anything unless you do!"
NARRATOR: "I feel that at least half of her encouragement is because if Hideaki does catch “the big one,” she wants to be there to eat it, and having six people fishing just leads to better chances of catching something than having five. The constant awkward shuffling I have to do to communicate with Shizune, not to mention her increasing fidgeting, make me think it might be good to give her a go at fishing."
HISAO: "Hey guys, can we switch over now?"
AKIRA: "Sure. Lilly?"
LILLY: "No, no, please. I have no idea how to fish."
NARRATOR: "I sign what they say, given that I seem to have taken Misha's place as Shizune's interpreter right now."
SHIZUNE: (signing) "How magnanimous of you, Lilly."
NARRATOR: "Oh boy, here we go. I don't bother translating what she says for fear of sparking another fight."
HISAO: "Shizune says you should at least try. It might even turn out to be fun."
LILLY: "Very well. Akira, how do you use this?"
AKIRA: "It's pretty simple..."
NARRATOR: "I wonder how ethical it is to purposely completely change what Shizune said like that. At least it paid off."
LILLY: "...I think I understand. What bait do you think would be the best to use? I'd prefer something that wouldn't hurt the fish too much."
AKIRA: "If you're putting a hook through their mouth, I don't think the bait's going to hurt them much more."
HISAO: "And letting it go...? No, no, don't do that."
LILLY: "But if it isn't big, there's little point in killing it..."
NARRATOR: "With my hands freed, it's much easier for me to interpret what everyone's saying. Now Shizune's the one that has to deal with her hands being full, but she seems to take it in her stride."
SHIZUNE: (signing) "That's so arrogant. Okay, I'll only reel in the big ones too, from now on."
AKIRA: "What's she saying?"
NARRATOR: "Akira just sighs after I interpret for her."
AKIRA: "No, I don't like that “only.” You know, a fish is a fish, and you take what you can get."
NARRATOR: "Unfortunately, Shizune can't hear her and Lilly doesn't seem to be paying much attention now. Lilly's taking to fishing easily; it is a very relaxed activity, after all. It isn't long before they both catch a fish, and surprisingly, Lilly is just as interested in which is the bigger of the two as Shizune is. As the hours pass, it seems like they're even starting to have fun. At the end of the day, we have several good-sized fish between us. Even Hideaki and Misha managed to catch one. No one brings up that we were competing to see who could catch more. I don't think it matters to anyone any more. Shizune and Misha are talking between themselves some distance away, and Lilly and Hideaki are doing the same. I decide to take advantage of the quiet moment to talk with Akira."
HISAO: "Lilly and Shizune got on well today. I didn't really expect it, after seeing how they act towards each other in school."
NARRATOR: "She gives an amused snort. It looks like she doesn't take their feuding as seriously as I do."
AKIRA: "They've got their reasons. Lilly and I are going away for a while tomorrow, so we thought we'd just pop by. In the end, I'm glad we did."
NARRATOR: "After a brief silence, she stretches loudly and then claps her hands to get everyone's attention."
AKIRA: "Well, that looks like enough to feed everyone. We should be getting back, now."
NARRATOR: "Lilly nods, but then hesitates. Even with her face clouding a bit, she still looks to be in a better mood than this morning. Akira really seems to know how to handle her, and defused her antipathy towards Shizune pretty well."
AKIRA: "Today's catch looks delicious, I kinda wish I had some soy sauce so I could just eat it now."
LILLY: "I thought you wanted me to cook it..."
AKIRA: "You don't think eating it raw would be okay?"
NARRATOR: "Despite Akira's protests, or joking as I can't tell which, we decide to wait to at least cook the fish before eating it. It's already become pretty late while we were out, and by the time we arrive back at Shizune's house, it's a good time for dinner."
Next Scene: Use-Mention Distinction