EP.0 – Full Name: Kishimine Kengo, Hobby: Reading
(Translation by Lucifier Jantork)
Kishimine Kengo had disliked the things called “games” ever since his childhood.
When we talk about “games”, there are many types of them, but Kishimine dislikes only one type, Television Games.
However, it’s not because of some exaggerated reason like his parents were killed by games, or his family broke up because of games. It’s just that he had something that he liked more than games, and since everyone was so engrossed in games, “that” favorite thing of his was being overlooked by everyone. It could possibly be called an unjustified resentment.
“That” doesn’t use electricity, there’s no need for adding buttons to it. For thousands of years, that thing was together with mankind.
That, is a Book.
It’s the only medium that propagates the intelligence from the olden days in the present time.
In those days, he used to like picture books, and every time he read the numerous variety of stories in those books, Kishimine was practically able to feel like the protagonist adventuring in the unseen world.
“Kengo, do you like books?”
“Yeah, I love them!”
When being asked that question, he has replied in the same way countless times, nodding his head.
Since he was about 3-years-old, Kishimine was engrossed in the fun world of Picture books.
“Read books, read books~,” his parents kept pestering him. In the beginning, his parents also used to gladly read stories to him for the sake of imparting good education, but after continuing the same thing day after day, as expected, it seems that they got fed up. And gradually, their reading style disintegrated to perfunctory level.
Although he was a kid, Kishimine noticed that change. Although he was a kid, he thought that he didn’t want to dislike his parents. But still, his desire of wanting to read books was obviously irrepressible. And so, although he was a kid, Kishimine managed to do some unexpected stuff.
He memorized Hiragana (is a Japanese syllabary, one basic component of the Japanese writing system, along with katakana, kanji, and in some cases the Latin-script alphabet (referred to in Japanese as romaji).) by himself.
He started reading the picture books he had in his house to the point of memorizing them by heart. The characteristic adaptability of children helped him in his job, and Kishimine was finally able to learn how to read with Hiragana by himself. “You are so talented. We really wasted our time, didn’t we?” Since then, he was often told that by his parents.
And so, Kishimine became unrivaled in his childhood days.
He finished reading the picture books he had in his house. Then he went to the bookstore and finished reading all the picture books while standing. The day he found out about the existence of libraries, he cried and earnestly requested his parents to take him there.
Kishimine used to quickly become completely absorbed in stories. He read many well-known stories, like Aladdin’s adventure stories, Momotarou’s (popular hero from Japanese folklore.) battles and the revenge tragedy of Saru Kani Gassen (also known as Monkey-Crab Battle or The Quarrel of the Monkey and the Crab, is a Japanese folktale. In the story, a sly monkey kills a crab, and is later killed in revenge by the crab’s offspring.). Books often used to move Kishimine’s heart, and introduced him to a parallel universe.
However, when Kishimine entered kindergarten, his surrounding environment completely changed.
The government carried out a certain policy. As a result, Television Games were acknowledged as one of the industries in the country. And then, with the words “Country’s Approval”, at least the tender parental generation were not able to resist the urge to buy games as a gift for their children.
“In Sanders, my individual points rapidly increased to 300 in level 80.”
“That’s good~! My character has high individual points and was able to get out of Gorky, but it has a reserved personality.”
As a result, all the kindergarten students, regardless of sex, were engrossed in games.
But, only Kishimine didn’t take part in that completely impossible to understand conversation, and being left alone in the classroom, he continued to spend his days reading a lot of picture books.
Naturally, Kishimine neither paid any attention to it, nor felt displeased about that thing. Instead, he was glad to get more opportunities to be able to read books without others’ interference.
It’s just that although he was a kid, he used to feel some resentment. “Why doesn’t everyone read such interesting picture books?”
That was just like Kishimine, but there was only one thing he felt bothered about. There was a girl who always used to remain alone during play hours.
She was probably a shy girl, and apparently wasn’t able to join the other kindergarten students in their games.
As a result of children’s simple mindedness, Kishimine thought about something. “If by chance I ever get a girlfriend, she would possibly be someone who would understand the fun of books.”
Thus, that day. Kishimine, who wasn’t able to call out to the opposite sex in his ten years of life, and who was also not some scary person, called out to the girl.
“Hey! Why don’t you play together with everyone?”
The girl, who was called out by him, naturally didn’t hide her surprise. She blinked her distinctly big eyes many times, and after hesitating and flustering for a little while, she frantically spoke some words.
“Since there is only Dreamcast and Saturn at my home……”
Kishimine completely didn’t understand the meaning of those words. However, for the time being, he was only able to understand that for some reason she wasn’t able to play with other kids.
“Well then. During lunch break, would you read books together with me?”
It was probably an unexpected proposal, and the girl looked at Kishimine with a surprised look on her face.
“……But, I can’t read alphabets.”
“If that’s the case, I will teach you! C’mon, let’s read them together!”
Using some force, Kishimine took the girl’s hand, and took her to the front of the bookshelves. Thereby, this became an incident that Kishimine later on recalled over and over again. “That was the first time I proactively grasped a girl’s hand. Is that going to end up as the last time I would be able to do so?”
“I’m called Kishimine Kengo. What about you?”
“……Takamitsu. Takamitsu Miyabi.”
“Heh, Miyabi-chan. Well then, what kind of books does Miyabi-chan like?”
“All of them are fine! Kengo-kun can pick the one he likes.”
“Well then, let’s start with this! Kintarou (often translated as “Golden Boy”, is a folk hero from Japanese folklore.)!”
After that, Kishimine often started spending time together with the girl.
The girl called Miyabi was also perplexed in the beginning. But after Kishimine taught her how to read alphabets, she realized the fun of books. In a blink of time, they finished reading all the books in the kindergarten, and both of them even started bringing their favorite books from their homes.
The girl particularly liked Cinderella, and they read the books they brought from their homes together, over and over again. Naturally, Kishimine, who was a boy, was somewhat dissatisfied. At any rate, in Cinderella, there’s neither a battle scene with demons, nor a fight scene with a bear.
“Hey! What are the scenes that you like in Cinderella?”
Once, he asked that sort of thing.
“Oh, yeah! Just for a day, she becomes pretty with magic and successfully meets the prince she longs for…… Later on, that prince finds out about her…… I think it’s that scene?”
As expected, he didn’t quite get it. But, Kishimine was glad to know the fact that the girl was also enjoying reading the girly book. It’s fun to immerse oneself in a story all alone, but he noticed the fun of being able to enjoy a story together with someone.
Both of them reread various books dozens of times, and completely immersed themselves in those stories. Although they were looked on by others with odd eyes, they didn’t feel scared about anything while they were together.
However, even times like these doesn’t continue for eternity.
One day, the time to bid farewell arrived.
“Say, Kengo-kun. To which elementary school is Kengo-kun going?”
“Hmmm. What was its name? I don’t know much about it, but it’s the one nearest to my home. What about Miyabi-chan?”
“Now, my family would be moving to a different house…… That’s why I won’t be able to go to a distant elementary school……”
From the girl’s words and her sorrowful facial expression, Kishimine realized it. He realized the fact that both of them would be going to separate elementary schools.
“I see…… Well then, we’re going to separate, huh.”
“Yeah, that’s right……!”
Both of them sunk into silence. Both of them had no idea what sort of things would be fine to talk about at such a time.
The thing that broke the silence was the girl’s crying voice.
“Until I started talking with Kengo-kun, I was always alone and lonely, you know? But, thanks to Kengo-kun, I had so much fun!”
From the girl’s big eyes, many tear drops spilled over and fell.
Kishimine also felt like crying, but although he was a kid, he was informed that he should be cheering the girl at the moment instead. And so, holding his tears, he spoke to her.
“I also enjoyed reading books with Miyabi-chan!”
“Say. Let’s make a promise! ‘We’ll read books together sometime again.'”
“Yeah, that’s a promise! We’ll absolutely do that!”
After that, both of them immersed themselves in stories, treasuring their remaining time.
The “kindergarten” thing couldn’t keep them together anymore, so until the separation time comes, they couldn’t do anything but read books.
Before long, the girl got into her parents’ car, and left the kindergarten.
And Kishimine Kengo, the book lover, his ten years of life didn’t change much after that.