「American snacks are too sweet and lack subtlety.」
「I bet you could take it even if it’s so sweet that it could kill a colony of ants.」
He eats chocolate cake along with cocoa. He has a higher tolerance for sweet things than most people.
「You haven’t tried it yet, so you don’t know how it’s like. Trust me when I say American snacks are too sweet. Even undiluted Calpis doesn’t compare.」
「………You drink it…?」
I can’t imagine him eating anything sweeter than that, but what he said bothers me too.
「Any ingredients you need?」
I look at him quizzically.
He hasn’t even told me what he wants.
He hasn’t slept, and he’s way too tired.
I don’t think he should eat anything too heavy, but he’ll probably gulp it down anyway.
「I’ll look at what you have in the fridge, and go to the supermarket after that. There should be enough eggs and milk anyway.」
Maybe I should make some pudding or blancmange. Or a banana cake.
But maybe I should make some traditional snacks in this case?
Maybe some dorayaki? [1. TL Note: dorayaki is a sandwich of two small pancakes with a filling of sweetened bean paste.]
「Which do you prefer, pudding, blancmange, banana cake, or dorayaki?」
「All of it.」
I’m an idiot for asking.
I’ll make some dorayaki.
I can mix some bean paste with rice flour or whipped cream.
It won’t take too much time to make.
We pass an electric bulletin board next to a window of a classroom.
「Yo, Mizuhara. I heard from the professor that you just came back.」
「How was America, the country of freedom?」
We’re stopped by 2 guys who’re dressed fashionably.
It may be just a coincidence, but the words 「I LOVE NY」 are printed on his cap, as if making fun of Mizuhara.
「You got a cash prize from the contest, right? Treat me to a meal, man.」
I’m a little impressed, but I stand by and watch. Mizuhara looks annoyed.
「Could you get out of my way?」
「Why are you being so mean? We’re lecture buddies, right?」
They continue blocking his way.
「Stop that. Mizuhara, you just came back today, right? You must be really tired.」
The other guy stops him. Looks like they’re both classmates of Mizuhara.
「It’s fine, he shouldn’t be so stingy. I’m just asking him to share some… ouch!」
Mizuhara steps on the guy’s foot, runs him over with the suitcase, and runs away.
There’s nothing much in it so it shouldn’t hurt a lot. They’re both so childish.
I follow him to the front gate when I see the karate club members fooling around. I wonder what they’re doing. I try to pass them by.
「Noda. we’re going to a ramen shop to try the challenge menu. Wanna come?」
「If we win, we get to eat for free, and get a prize worth 10,000 yen! But if we lose, we have to pay a penalty of 3,000 yen.」
They’re taking on a reckless challenge.
3 bowls of ramen under 15 minutes. I don’t think it’s possible…. And they’re practically paying for the prize.
No way they’ll make it.
「No thanks. It’s reckless.」
I warn them not to get ramen into their nose. Mizuhara grabs me by the arm.
「What the hell! Why can’t I go home even though I’m back in Japan?!」
I want to tell him that I just happened to run into them, but it’s the club members we’re talking about. I shouldn’t waste any more time.
「Okay, okay. I’m going!」
He’s really pissed off.
We’re walking to his place at triple the normal speed.
「There’s not enough butter. I’m going to the supermarket, so clean up a bit.」
I just checked the fridge.
「Alright. Oh yeah. Here’s a souvenir for you.」
He hands me a massive vinyl bag.
「Something else besides the toothpaste?」
It’s from Narita Airport. I take a peek and see some whipped cream and chestnuts preserved with refrigeration materials.
「It’s not really a souvenir. The chestnuts are for making snacks.」
I’m surprised he could buy chestnuts in Narita Airport.
I look at him speechless, and see him slowly operating the laundry machine while rubbing his eyes.
Maybe he’s finally relaxing since he’s home. He looks really sleepy.
「I’ll buy some dinner on the way. Is there anything you want?」
「Okay. Onigiri and salad. What ingredients do you want?」
「Custard and whipped cream.」
「Okay. Cod roe and tuna.」
I’ll get him some instant miso soup too.
I’m at the supermarket, putting ingredients for snacks as well as anything that goes for dinner into the shopping basket.
Half an hour later, I’m back at Mizuhara’s place. I find him on the bed like a corpse in TV dramas.
Usually, there would be a sound coming from the microwave, or if he’s taking a nap, he would usually wake up from smelling the snacks. But he’s showing no sign of waking up.
I wanted to talk to him about Nonomiya-san, but I can’t do anything right now.
For once, I’m acting like an elf, making snacks and going straight home while he’s sleeping.