Categories > Original > Drama > Akasaka Moon0 Reviews
How Kato meets Kyoko and the rest of the villagers in his new home.
February 21st, 1977.
I thought I was going to be all alone after the deaths of Midori-chan and Michiko-chan, but then I found some new allies. Or rather, they found me.
Her name was Iijiri Kyoko. She was a bizarre and energetic woman. She reminded me of a younger Michiko in high school. There was always light in Kyoko's eyes. Her voice always seemed to be laughing at life itself. The laugh lines added onto her strong happiness that always floated around her. She just latched onto people without even trying. I met her when she knocked on my door early in that morning on February 21st, 1977. I had just moved into the village after my wife's death. At the time, I kept to myself. I just wanted to be left alone in my misery, easy to see why after losing my wife and daughter. Too bad Kyoko didn't see it that way at the time. They pounded on the door hard.
"Leave me alone!" I yelled inside. Kyoko did the opposite. The person knocked on the door harder. I kept trying to ignore the knocking at first. Maybe they'll go away after a while. Slowly she kept knocking on my door. I gritted my teeth and rolled my eyes.
"I'm coming! I'm coming!" I said at last as I clenched my fists. I pushed the door wide open. A tiny woman stood before me with a huge smile on her face. I looked her up and down. She looked about my age. Her deep royal blue hair was in two tight braids. Her brown and red hand-knit shawl was wrapped tight around her thin body. Her western-style clothes looked odd on her. Somehow she shouldn't be wearing jeans and a red shirt. She would've looked better in a kimono. This woman looked so tiny to me. I blinked as I thought that I saw Michiko standing before me. I looked at her funny.
"What do you want?" I asked. The woman grinned at him. I still looked at her oddly.
"Hi..." I mumbled. My neighbor stared on still. I looked at her as I tried to figure her out. What did she want with me? What was she doing here on my doorstep and why wouldn't she go away?
"Can I help you?" I asked. My neighbor smiled still as she gripped her shawl tighter around her body to block out the winter breeze.
"Just saying hi!" she chirped. I didn't seem to believe her. Something told me she wasn't going to leave right away.
"Why?" I asked.
"May I come in?" the woman asked. I raised an eyebrow at her.
"Why?" I asked again. The woman didn't answer. She just pushed past me and let herself in. I became slightly offended.
"Oh come right on in, why don't you?" I mumbled sarcastically under my breath. I slid the door shut behind them.
The woman walked around the house looking around as if she was in an art museum. I watched her annoyed as I followed close behind.
Feel free to leave now!, I thought over and over again. Then, Kyoko turned around to me with a puzzled look on her face. I stared at her as I tried to keep faking a hint of pleasantness.
"What?" I asked. Kyoko shook her head.
"You have no pictures," she pointed out. I narrowed my eyes at her with a flat look on my face.
"So?" I asked.
"That's so sad!" she announced in a pixie-like tone. I thought she had just lost her mind. I didn't know how much longer I could take of her upbeat mood. I began digging in my mind for an excuse to get her out of my house.
"And?" I asked. The woman shrugged at me.
"Don't you have any family?" she asked. Oh, she really pushed me over the edge with that question. She really hit a nerve there with me. I glared at her.
"They're dead!" I hissed. The glow in her face began to die away as she lowered her head.
"I'm so sorry..." she mumbled. I said nothing. I just leaned against the wall. I was tired from the grief and feeling helpless. I just couldn't take it anymore. The woman must have seen the sorrow in my eyes when I leaned against the wall. Though I couldn't see it at the time, I really needed someone. So, Kyoko leaned against the wall with me in silence. I didn't look up at her. Yet, I knew I had a new ally-somehow.
"What is your name?" she asked.
"Kato Iwao," I said.
"Ah," the woman said. "My name's Iijiri Kyoko. I live down the street."
"Ah," I said.
"This is a nice village. Nobody bothers you here. Not many find this place too easily. Did you just wander here?" she asked.
"Yeah," I mumbled.
"Ah. We barely get anybody young here," Kyoko said.
"You don't?" I asked puzzled.
"No. There is my daughter and Jamie's son. Tohma's boy is already in college and engaged," she explained.
"Jamie?" I asked.
"She's another lady in this neighborhood. She's half-American," Kyoko replied.
"Oh. How old is your daughter?" I asked.
"Twelve." Then, Kyoko paused for a moment. "Tell me, would it be too early to wonder if she's gay or not?"
I gave her a strange look. "Huh?"
Kyoko shrugged at me as she shook her head. "I don't know. She never seems to have any interest in boys."
"I wouldn't know," I said.
"Alright. Sorry for asking," she said.
"It's okay," I replied.
December 27th, 1977.
I sat in my living room looking at Midori-chan's old hand-made Christmas cards. Each one had cute little kitty cats with Santa hats on. Pigs were for my birthday. That was all she could draw. Still, those cats and pigs became my joy. Looking at those cards only made my heart hurt around this time.
My thoughts were interrupted by footsteps. I looked up and saw Kyoko walking in from the kitchen with a tray of tea.
"You looked like you needed," she said. I said nothing; I just waved the tray over to the table. My friend set it down likewise as I moved my cards.
"Cute cards," Kyoko spoke up.
"Yeah," I mumbled. The woman poured me some tea.
"Riku made me a Christmas card this year," she said.
"Ah," I said. Kyoko poured herself some tea.
"Funny," she said. "Eleven months and I don't know you." I glanced at her.
"What is that supposed to mean?" I asked. My friend shrugged.
"You haven't told me about your home or family," she said. I said nothing. Kyoko pressed her lips together as she picked up her cup.
"Midori-chan," I answered. Kyoko glanced up at me.
"Hm?" she asked.
"My daughter's name was Midori-chan," I said softly.
"What was she like?" my friend asked. I lowered the four Christmas cards in front of him.
"You have to promise me," I said.
"Promise you what?" Kyoko asked. I looked up at her with desperate eyes. I leaned in across the table.
"Stay by me no matter what," I pleaded. "Promise me that!" Kyoko gave me a sharp nod.
"Okay," she said. I took a moment to tell her my story.
"I used to be a priest in another village. However back in '59, I met a young woman named Hino Michiko-chan," I began. Kyoko looked at me with big eyes.
"Hino?" she asked. "You mean the sake brewers?" I nodded at her.
"Yeah," I said. "I originally intended on staying chaste for the rest of my life, but me being young and naive then, I fell in love with her. Michiko-chan was a bright and beautiful sweetheart. Very rich too, she came from a wealthy high-class family. I didn’t care about any of that. I loved Michiko for who she was. There was a problem, however. I tried to keep my vow of chastity, but that soon became close to impossible.
“I turned my boss at the time for help. He told me to act on my feelings in a pure way. He suggested to take it slow. I wasn’t sure at first. In the end, I asked Michiko out on a date. She said yes. From there, we became a couple.
“Four years later, Michiko-chan and I were married. We were a happy couple. Yet, Michiko-chan kept having the feeling that we were missing something. She didn’t know what it was for years. So one day, I wished that the answer would find her. Then in summer of ’68, Michiko-chan started feeling sick. I thought my wife had come down with a stomach virus. Turns out, Michiko-chan was pregnant. She had finally gotten her answer. On February second ’69, our little angel, Midori-chan, was born. Her mother and I loved her so much. You could say that we were an ideal family. But then, it all went to pieces.
“A month after her sixth birthday, Midori-chan fell ill. At first, it was minor with a little cough. But then, it just got worse and worse. The doctors couldn’t help her. Michiko-chan and I didn’t know what to do. All we could do was watch our daughter’s life slip away. On September twelfth, Midori-chan died. It didn’t help that she died on the day after my birthday. I couldn’t even do the funeral ceremony. Another priest had to take my place. Then a month later, Michiko-chan became ill as well. It all started out with the cough and got worse to the point that she ended up in the hospital just like our daughter. Six months later, she was dead. It was as if after Midori-chan died, my wife had lost the will to live.” I felt myself being drained of everything that I had left within me. But, I still went on as I had to do so.
“I have great healing powers,” he went on. How ironic! A man with great healing powers and I couldn’t even save my own family from illness! After that, I lost interest in life. I quit being a priest after Michiko’s death and have kept to myself ever since.” Kyoko reached out and touched my hand.
“It’s okay,” she whispered. I tried best to smile at her.
“I’m sorry I brought you down,” I said.
“That’s okay,” my friend insisted.
“Promise me that’ll you help me on my mission.”
Kyoko blinked at me. “What mission?”
“I want to help someone in any way to make up for not being able to my family. And I need all of the help I can get.”
“Say no more. You always have people that will have your back no matter what.”
I really began to smile for once since I came this hidden village. Within in a year, I had come to befriend Kyoko, Jamie, Tohma, Yuji, Miyuki, Hitomi, and Kenji. They all became my team for my mission that would occur six years later.