「Do you live at home, Mizuhara?」
「No, I’m living a carefree solitary life.」
I’m resistant to the idea of being alone with a single male I just met.
It feels as though Mizuhara is peering into my thoughts.
「Ah, there’s no need to worry. I have absolutely no interest in you at all, and I don’t even think of you as a woman. The only thing I’m interested in is your freshly made sweets.」
He’s saying it so straightforwardly, I’m not even angry.
Mizuhara sharply pushes up his glasses and continues talking calmly.
「Even if you were standing in the kitchen wearing nothing but a frilly apron, I’ll only look at the sweets, so don’t worry.」
「I’m not going to do that anyway!」
「Then it’s fine, right? Otherwise I wouldn’t mind ambushing you with a fork while you make your sweets at home, but I don’t wanna get reported to the police.」
But if you really want it that way, I can hide outside your house until you finish, Mizuhara whispers while breathing wildly.
How badly does he want to eat freshly made sweets?
「But I have a feeling that there are a lot of snacks I won’t be able to make at your house. Do you have any kitchenware?」
「Not a problem. Hey… how long is today’s lecture series?」
「Until the next lecture.」
「Okay then, wanna come to my place today? There’s something I really wanna show you.」
「Is it nearby?」
「It’s 10 minutes from here.」
「I like to be time-efficient. Proximity to school was a condition in my rental search.」
「Then you don’t really need the lab. Just study at home.」
Mizuhara quickly draws a simple map.
It’s a 10 minute walk from school. I know this area a little, so I doubt I’d get lost.
The paper he passed to me had an address and phone number written at the bottom.
「Call me if you get lost.」
「Nah, I’ll probably be okay.」
I fold the paper neatly and put it in my pocket.
He says goodbye, then turns around and opens the drawer.
I sneak a peek and see Mizuhara eating brick shaped chocolates.
I jump sideways repeatedly towards him, and take a piece without giving him the chance to block me.
「…Hey! I went all the way to Yokohama for this.」
Mizuhara called out, but I shut the door without listening.
The chocolate melts softly in my mouth with a rich cocoa taste. I leave the lab while licking the chocolate that stuck to my fingers.
「Hey, Mizuhara. I’m here. Hey, sweets maniac Mizuhara-kun. Highly knowledgeable but with an equally high blood sugar level, diabetic Mizuhara-kun.」
「You’re annoying. You already rang the doorbell so wait quietly.」
I reached Mizuhara’s place without getting lost.
It’s an apartment behind a famous snack store that people often buy from and gift to their guests.
Mizuhara nods his head and allows me to enter. It’s a 1 DK layout that’s about 8 jô in size.
[1. TL Note: 1 DK = 1 dining room and 1 kitchen, plus 1 bedroom.] [2. TL Note: 8 jô = 14.59 m² = 157 sq ft] 「I wanted to show you my kitchen.」
Upon entering the front door, I see a large kitchen.
Various kitchenware is arranged neatly in the kitchen that Mizuhara was so proud to show me.
The cake molds there were almost uncountable, lined up from basic molds to donut molds and chiffon molds of all sizes.
Madeleine molds, tart molds, cookie molds.
There are also three kitchen palettes, two weighing scales, and even a thermometer.
I’m surprised he even has chocolate cutters and fermentors. No one would normally buy these.
「…With all this kitchenware, you could make your own sweets too… You have a lot more stuff than I do. 」
He said he wants to eat freshly made pastries, but he might as well make some for himself.
「I can’t make them.」
I asked him, but to no avail.
I sigh to myself, thinking that the water that came from the same spring cannot be both pure and salt.
「Huh? Then what’s all this doing here? What did you buy them for?」
Now that I look at it, the kitchenware still has their stickers on them, and there’s absolutely no trace of wear and tear.
「Do you know the Grimm fairytale of the Elves and the Shoemaker?」
「Huh? Yeah… I do.」
It’s a heartwarming story about an old couple living in a shabby shoe shop, with the appearance of a few elves who help them make outstanding pairs of shoes.
「I really loved that story.」
「Oh, okay……… and?」
I don’t see where this is going.
What has this unused kitchenware got to do with the Elves and the Shoemaker?
「I’ve always had this small wish for an elf to come to my side someday.」
「I don’t know if that’s a small wish. And?」
「It was because the shoemaker had the tools, that the elves came and made the shoes.」
「…Don’t tell me… you…!」
「Just imagine. Even if an elf magically or miraculously came to my place, he wouldn’t be able to make snacks without kitchenware. He would probably have to leave just as he came, because it’s not like the kitchenware brought him here.」
「…Wait… are you serious?」
「It’s not like I seriously thought an elf would come. But I thought just in case it really did happen, then I would have to make preparations to avoid the worst case scenario.」
「They say the difference between an idiot and a genius is paper thin… In your case, I think you’re more like an idiot.」
Even the smartest people can rush into situations like idiots. That’s exactly what Mizuhara was doing.
He said just in case, but he’s even prepared all the basic ingredients like flour, sugar, eggs and milk.
「You’re too big to be an elf, but I found you anyway. Use this kitchenware as you will. …Jumbo Elf… I think I’ve found the right name for you.」
「Don’t give me ridiculous names. ……This is wonderful though. I’m getting a little excited. It’s the first time I’ve seen things like these cookie molds.」
「I found all this in Kappabashi-dori. I bought this over there too.」
[3. TL Note: Also known as Kitchen Town.] 「An ice cream maker. Ahh, what an idiot.」
「I’m not an idiot! They even had this too.」
「A waffle toaster! You really are an idiot!」
He’s proven his idiocy with all of these unused tools.
Mizuhara is just like a kid, bragging about his gadgets with glee.
「You’ll do fine with these, right?」
Mizuhara asks proudly with a whisk made of silicon in his right hand and a blender in his left hand.
It’s true I can make pastries with these.
Although some of these ingredients and wares are useless or excessive, I can make do with most of them.
「So, when do you wanna come over during summer break?」
He’s asking coolly, but I can tell with one look that he wants to eat my snacks as soon as possible.
Comparatively speaking, there are fewer part-time job openings in the beginning of summer break.
I told him my preference for an early date, but he gives a dissatisfied look anyway.
「Can’t be helped. That day is fine. Jumbo Elf, you may come early. Like 5 in the morning.」
「Don’t be ridiculous. It’s not like I can make the first train. Also, stop calling me Jumbo Elf.」
「You’re my elf. But you’re too tall to be called an elf, so I’m calling you Jumbo Elf. I wouldn’t know what else to call you if you don’t like the name.」
「Just call me Noda instead of Elf.」
「Jumbo Noda, then…」
「Get rid of Jumbo too!」
The old shoemaker and his wife give the elves some clothes as presents in the end.
As if remembering that, Mizuhara said in all earnesty that he would buy me a new shirt. I sent him flying with a kick and went home.