Jaku-chara Tomozaki-kun - Volume 1 - Chapter 1
A face-off against Nakamura on Saturday, and against NO NAME on Sunday. The Year 2 Class 2 classroom for the first time after those two days was, contrary to my expectations, fairly normal. Depending on Nakamura's arrangements, considerable deterioration of my social status would not be unusual – is what I had resolved myself for, but after actually attending school, I was relieved by the lack of interest.
The revelation that Nakamura, who had the reputation of being formerly strongest in middle school, also strongest in high school, and myself, who had the reputation of 『For some reason, he seems very strong』 would finally be having a showdown. While not to the extent of making headlines, that story had still carried the sensation of being the kind of incident that would only spread through the classroom once every two or three weeks. In comparison to then, during the now after the confrontation, nobody was even approaching the subject, probably meaning that everyone had vaguely guessed the outcome and decided it was best to leave things be . Well, something like that was the number one peaceful resolution.
Just like that, I continued as always with my days of solitude, the time I spent not being very exciting, but at the same time not particularly dissatisfying. One could say that I was enjoying my lukewarm everyday life. I accepted such an everyday, continuing to live on.
── In the middle of all this, when a small incident took place was during Wednesday's lunch break.
Appropriately, at that time I was walking through the corridor on my own, on the way to eat a meal or such. I had just so happened to come across Nakamura. Had this been under the same conditions as usual, then simply ignoring each other would have been acceptable but, this time, an irregularity had sprung forth. Nakamura was leading a girl. On top of that, it was Hinami Aoi.
Hinami Aoi. A yamatonadeshiko  gifted with both intelligence and beauty, with her innocence, liked by males and females alike, an undisputed perfect heroine. That she was first in the school for academics was natural, but she was even a cut above the rest in all manners of tests for physical fitness — short distance sprints and handball games to name a few — making her ranked first amongst the girls. No, to say nothing of the girls, she could even make for fierce competition  with the boys’ top athletes; it was exactly that kind of cheat specification. Despite all this, as part of her natural makeup, she sported a sociable smile devoid of disagreeableness. Notwithstanding that, she possessed, in some respects, an impossible to hate spontaneity, or should I say frankness, or otherwise ridiculous elements, but those weak points only served to perfect her even further as a woman, even leaving a sense of glamor drifting in the air, to the point that the construction was already beyond understanding.
Even the bad with riajuus me had a favourable impression, or rather, was already at the level of having completely embraced the feelings of awe.
Why she came to this Sekitomo High School was pretty much a complete mystery. Within Saitama prefecture, top private schools do exist but, at the end of the day, when compared to prep schools in the metropolitan area, they'd be no more than average in the rankings. I mean, there are an excessive number of surrounding rice fields. Talking about Saitama, if one were to move far away from the train station, rural areas would be numerous, right.
Previously, the two — well, ike but not really ike, though when compared with me could decisively be called ike — classmates seated behind me had discussed the matter, and I recall their conversation going something like this.
「Say, about Aoi-chan, what do you think of her?」
「Aoi-chan, meaning, Hinami Aoi?」
「My thoughts…… I super love her. Everyone's the same, don't you agree? She's an idol, so isn't that already a given?」
「It should be abnormal in itself, right. Studies, sports, figure, perfect in just about anything and everything. Isn't that at the same level as being a genius?」
「Soo true. For us, no matter how hard we were to try in whatever part of whatever genre, against her it wouldn't feel winnable…」
「Despite all this, she has an extremely good relationship with everyone, doesn't she. That part's so weird. After all, if I were asked by anyone which girl I'm on the best terms with, it'd definitely be Hinami Aoi.」
「……Me too. That girl's the one I have the best relationship with」
「Right? It's so weird. There isn't even very much merit to being on good terms with us. Yet, she doesn't discriminate. So, it's not a calculated thing, that.」
「Just what is with that, I wonder if it's okay to do something like call her a prodigy at life too…」
「Aaa, that's exactly the right feeling. A baseball prodigy, or inventive genius, titles like those aren't quite right, but rather than those, a prodigy at life. A deity.」
「For our school to be blessed by her admission, it kind of makes you want to express gratitude to Aoi-chan's parents doesn't it.」
「So true. Like, the only victory Saitama has over Tokyo, it's Hinami Aoi's existence.」
──That Hinami Aoi, far from even being on bad terms with, I had never even spoken once with, just how was this possible…? On the contrary, might she possibly be some kind of genius, is what I had been made to think. Also don't talk about Tokyo Tokyo, first of all we should defeat Kanagawa, I had also thought. Otherwise, Chiba. We can't be defeated.
At any rate, that Hinami Aoi was together with Nakamura. Naturally, for the news of the face-off between Nakamura and I to have not reached her was highly unlikely. And so, a small explosion took place.
「Ah! Tomozaki-kun! I heard you had a match with Juuji  in Atafami? How did it go?」
「Eh, ahh Hinami-san, err, about that, kaba—」 
Completely bit my tongue. However, this wasn't a matter of me biting my tongue because I was a kimo-ota, but rather, probably one of Hinami Aoi being the other party, expectedly making it easy for me bite my tongue like a kimo-ota.
「Ahaha, what's with that, kaba?」
Completely being laughed at, yet for some reason without the feeling of being made fun of. I wonder if it's the innocence seeping out from that smile that makes that happen. Or else, perhaps the laughter's pure timbre. Or else, perhaps the elegant way in which she held her hand over her mouth. To be able to see Hinami Aoi-san in a joyous state, only pleasant feelings rose up. I wonder what this is. As for this smile, it involves magic.
「Ahahaha, ahh, fun. Err, what was it. Ah, that's right! Which side won?」
Fun? Fun. That I had been able to amuse Aoi Hinami-san, something as wonderful as this, I wonder, does it exist? Even the impression of a saint-like existence. The heck is this.
「Un un」 
However, Nakamura was in the immediate vicinity. It was evident that the sight of me had put him in a bad mood. At the time of the showdown, being caught up in the heat of moment, in the end I had continuously barraged him with all those words, so that was inevitable.
The problem was, under these tense circumstances, not to mention being in front the campus's heroine, there was the issue of, were I to say something like 「I'm the one who won」, just what would happen? Nakamura would likely want to be thought well of by Aoi Hinami, and for my stock to rise was something, I, from the bottom of my heart, would probably not be pleased about… yep, seems like it's about to become an unpleasant matter.
No, well, even I possessed feelings of wanting to show off my cool side just a little in front of the campus's heroine. I might be twisted but I too am human. However for me to show off that kind of slightly cool side, it would in no way be relevant hereafter; on the contrary, the possibility that I'd be thought of as an exceedingly strong otaku-kimoi-warota  existed. As for why, it's because Life is an unfair kusoge. With that being the case, saying here something like I lost might be the better way to go. If I did so, then as a result everything would probably work out peacefully. No, but on the contrary, that might injure Nakamura's pride…… After thinking this far, I suddenly came to a realization.
Wait a minute. This perfect superwoman Hinami Aoi, why was she asking me? They were on good terms, so no matter how you think about it, asking Nakamura would be natural. Could it be the considerate let's have a conversation with Tomozaki-kun, with whom I hardly ever talk? No, to begin with, given Hinami Aoi's skill at reading the mood, from the recent atmosphere at school, she should have come to more or less realize that Nakamura had lost. Under these circumstances, bringing up the subject with me was unusual. If that's the case, I wonder what this state of affairs is.
…I don't understand. As I thought this, Nakamura suddenly opened his mouth.
「Shut uuup Aoi, I'm the one who lost. Something like this is enough, so let's go. 」
Looking very unhappy, he spat that out. The mood froze. Oi oi, is this really all right?
「Ehhhh! Was that how it went! Aren't you amazing, Tomozaki-kun! Juuji, don't mind it!」
It was the slightly teasing, affectionately nuanced kind of don't mind. The mood softened.
「……Shut uup, idioot!」
While laughing as if astounded, Nakamura retorted to Hinami Aoi.
「Heeh, but, to win against the can-do-anything Juuji, Tomozaki-kun must be very strong! Amazing…」
「N, not particularly」
「Next time I also want to try fighting you!」
「I-I think it might be best if you stopped that…」
「Right! Sorry, got caught up in the mood!」
With that, Hinami Aoi laughed with an ehehe. What's this, she's super easy to talk to. This must be that so-called communication skills thing. Furthermore, Nakamura, in spite of having his loss declared, was simply standing at the side with a thin smile as if watching over a child. Could this also be a result of Hinami Aoi's follow up? If I assumed that to be the case, it had truly been amazing.
「Ah, well I'll be, heading to the cafeteria.」
「Okay! Bye then. Do teach me the ropes next time, even if it's just the basics.」
In a small voice, Nakamura said something.
「It's nothing, bye.」
「Err, b, bye」
Thus, I received Hinami Aoi's second goodbye from the back as I walked off towards the school cafeteria.
…Some, somehow it turned out alright. I felt relief.
However, I get it now. Since the follow-up was appropriate, even though that topic came up, in the end, with some careful treatment, the swelling had amounted to nothing. An option unavailable except to a riajuu. It was something I'd have in no way been able to use to my brain to conjecture.
Be as that may, for Nakamura to have declared 「I lost」 by himself was something unexpected. Due to that, the hate directed at me hadn't had to accumulate, but……. As I reflected on this amongst other things, I arrived at the cafeteria.
In this way, the small explosion that took place was, by way of Hinami Aoi's overwhelming communication skills, able to be amiably wrapped up, shrunk, and given new form. Things like a riajuu's superb self confidence, or reckless raising of the tension in the atmosphere, I couldn't stand them all, and had thought of those as pointless; however, I could not help but accept that Hinami Aoi alone was amazing. In that manner, my sense of values had been changed slightly, it was that sort of significance that this small incident had held.
Then, on the Saturday that arrived, a large incident took place.
『I'll be there in about another two minutes』
The day of the appointment with NO NAME. As for our method of correspondence, our mail addresses had previously been exchanged with a 『If you need to get in touch, please use this!』. It would seem that NO NAME had already arrived. Only travelling one station, with a jolt of the train, I too reached my destination.
『Understood! I'm in front of the East Entrance convenience store.』
『Roger that! Please let me know what you're wearing.』
Upon exiting the east entrance, could be seen from the front convenience store there was an ashtray, with several males smoking cigarettes. I wonder if it's somebody among them.
My cell phone's vibration sounded. I opened the mail. Eh.
「The top is a white and blue shirt, the bottom is a black skirt!」
──female. Ah, well, so that had been a possibility. Against my better judgement, I had arbitrarily assumed them to be male but, certainly, it wasn't particularly unnatural for them to be female . Thinking as such, I arrived nearby the convenience store, and upon surveying the scene, I caught sight of a lone female staring at a vending machine. White and blue shirt, black skirt. It's this person.
Their appearance from the back was approximately shoulder-length silky black hair, skin a translucent sense of white. The face couldn't be seen but they were probably fairly young. It'd be nice if the voice didn't betray my expectations.
「A-ah, excuse me, might you be NO NAME-san?」
Skillfully said. At being called, the head of the black haired, innocent maiden turned. Just what kind of face would they ── Eh.
「Nice to meet you! Yes, I'm NO NAME… … ha?」
「… Eh … ? Hin…」
In comparison to the astonished voice I had raised earlier, Hinami Aoi let out a loud shout. Hinami Aoi!? The heck is this?
「One moment, let me calm down. …You are, if I remember correctly, Tomozaki-kun, right? From the same class.」
「Ah, ahh, that's correct…」
As I had thought, rather than being the splitting image, it really was the actual Hinami Aoi. I mean, ever since the earlier astonishment, she had been acting kind of strange. Her tone of voice was also completely different from usual. How should I put it, there was none of that cheerfulness, but instead, an icy impression. Considering all this, the kind of performance she'd normally put on was nowhere in sight.
An incredulous reply that was also, to say the least, overbearing. I answered flusteredly.
Guh. Her brows began to furrow. What's this. The Aoi Hinami I knew was not the kind of girl I'd expect to make such a frightening expression. Something more innocent and cute…
「Isn't this the worst……」
「If possible I'd rather not believe it. That nanashi's true identity would be this kind of no-hoper.」
Just now, what did she say? 「This kind of no-hoper」? Shouldn't someone of her disposition not be using that kind of language on another person? The heck is this? Split personality? No, I'm just too disgusting, is is that?
「Wh-What's wrong? Hinami-san, wait, your appearance is… and your tone is kind of…」
Greatly leaning backwards, with a terribly uncomfortable looking expression. With how unbelievably her face was contorting, her emotions were all too easy to read. Usually that face would be used for cuter feelings, but…
「Ha… When it comes to Atafami, I somehow manage to lose control of myself.」
「But if you've seen this much, it's no longer of any concern.」
「Tone and appearance, right? Enough already, with this it's no problem.」
「Uhh, by no problem, just what do you…」
It exists doesn't it, a problem. A lot of them. Who is this? That's the kind of level of confusion, really.
Then a moment of silence suddenly appeared. Awkward. However, Hinami Aoi, with a dignified expression, didn't display any intention of finding words with which to cover up this unpleasant atmosphere.
「At… at any rate, err, that NO NAME would be Hinami-san, it's surprising… or something.」
…I even made my words for filling in the gap in conversation come out in a jumbled mess. Even though the intention was for it to flow smoothly.
「That's right. I too was disappointed. Someone like you who doesn't even possess a fragment of aspiration, resigning yourself to a fate of losing at life, a trash-like human being is, the only one I had respected, that nanashi.」
I had always been belittling myself in my heart, but hadn't expected that it'd be from the outside world that I'd receive the final blow. Such heartless abusive language. Things like a trash-like human being. Earlier there had been use of things like honorific language, but that had was past-tense. I'd been completely preoccupied by the gap between the her now and the her in school being so large but, being deprecated to this extent, I could no longer hold my silence.
「Wa-Wait a moment. Uhh, why did I, to that extent……have to be told this?」
「I'm just saying the truth, though.」
「Truth? That's not… there are things that are good to say, and there are things that are bad to say, isn't that how it is?」
「What's with that?」
「To someone you don't really know that well, no aspiration or, resignation to a fate of losing? That's… that kind of sermon, there isn't any right to give it, isn't it impolite, is what I'm trying to say……」
「If you're talking about being rude to a person, shouldn't you stop talking like you've got something stuffed in your mouth?」
「There's nothing in there!」
I let out a loud voice, at last getting out a phrase without biting my tongue. Hinami Aoi brusquely looked in my direction.
「…… Though well, that's right. Impoliteness is impoliteness. Therefore I apologize for that. Excuse me. When it comes to that game I get a bit fired up. … Even so, allow me to speak impolitely. The personality I had uniquely respected was, the type of person I hate the most, after all.」
「Like I was saying, that kind of thing is…」
「If you're discussing the etiquette of conversations, shouldn't I be able to talk about the person? Just what is with that attire.」
Haa? Isn't that completely unrelated. Like, there wasn't a dress code.
「Ju-Just what do you mean? Isn't something like attire up to the individual to decide?」
「……Haah. As I've been saying, this is exactly the part that I hate.」
Still saying that? A while ago she had apologized completely.
「When meeting a person, furthermore, meeting someone for the first time, there's a minimum standard of attire that one should have, right? Well, this time, coincidentally it wasn't the first meeting but, that should have been the intention for the first meeting, isn't it so? Just what is with that wrinkled shirt. Doesn't it need a proper ironing? Also, the cuffs of those trousers, they're tattered aren't they? How long have you been wearing those? Haven't you ever felt like buying a replacement? A high school student who is still wearing those high-tech sneakers, that's something I haven't seen in a long time. They're covered in dirt, and the shoelaces are also worn out. I wonder, isn't it easily understandable from the way they're left untied when walking. Look, even that hair, isn't it bed-head. Did you properly style your hair? By any chance, did you not even look in the mirror? Meeting someone for the first time when in such a state, can be called 『impolite』, is that not the case? Tomozaki-kun?」
Having it pointed out, I became conscious of it myself. I hadn't paid it any attention, but, well, certainly, saying I had tidied up my personal appearance might not be possible. Well, I got that part. But, just what is this person's problem. Just why does she, to some guy she doesn't really know too well, have to suddenly go this far in stabbing them repeatedly?
「B-But, that kind of thing, doesn't it have nothing to do with you, it's the person's freedom of selection.」
「That's right. You think it's fine like that, so to you there's no problem. Just, about the meaning of what you said, 『impolite』, you're also doing the same thing as I am. That's all I'm saying here.」
「The same thing?」
「Well, in reality this wasn't actually our first meeting so, there isn't really any need for you to apologize. Supposing it really had been a first meeting, there would have been a need to apologize, though.」
Far from being disdainful as if looking at an actual piece of trash, Hinami Aoi faced me with a repugnant gaze.
「…… Be as that may, considering what has been said up to this point, as expected I've been one sidedly impolite. I don't believe I'm wrong but, for my impoliteness, as expected I will have to apologize again. Excuse me. The desire to talk about ATAFAMI and to do a revenge match has vanished. Goodbye.」
Saying so, Hinami Aoi turned around in the direction of the station and walked out. That expression was fleetingly visible.
──That the me who should have been planning to say goodbye as soon as possible to that kind of rude girl, had, over here, now involuntarily opened his mouth, it might have been due to annoyance at what had been said earlier, or else the way in which Hinami Aoi's expression for that fleeting moment she had looked over her shoulder had felt like disgust rather than disappointment; what the reason was, even I was unable to judge.
「…Just wait a moment. Don't go around saying as you please on your own here.」
Hinami Aoi stopped moving and looked over her shoulder.
「Was there still something else?」
I had unconsciously blurted that out to keep her from leaving, but to tell the truth I hadn't had anything in mind. No impatience could be read on Hinami Aoi's face. Rather, something like disgust as well as anticipation was visible. My mind had whited out; all I could feel was my fingertips that had become cold to the touch.
「You, were saying something about me losing at life, weren't you.」
At this point even I wasn't sure what I wanted to say here. The sound of my heart was echoing in my lungs, causing my brain to shake.
「Someone who has had high parameters from early on like you, of something like my feelings, you have absolutely nooo idea.」
Perhaps as if to repeat my words, Hinami Aoi opened her mouth very slightly but, whatever she was saying, I was already at the point of being unable to hear it. I wasn't really aware of what kind of tone of voice I was talking in either.
「Life is unfair. Someone like me, unattractive, of poor physique, overthinking things so never being able to take a step forward, mentally weak, ridiculed no matter what they do, possessing neither communication skills nor self confidence; that kind of human being, just how are they meant to win against a strong human being like you?」
This was perhaps the first time I had ever said something like this to a complete stranger.
「But isn't it fine like that. Due to that inequality. Doing one's best bears no fruit. If it gave results then I'd do my best. But in Life, there are nooo rules. No reward. No correct answer. Isn't it a kusoge? Then, there's no use in trying your best is there, since there's no correct answer. To begin with, you know, the kind of life led by riajuus like you, I hate it. With nothing more than baseless self-confidence, crowding together like you're having fun.」
Now that the dam had been broken, the flood of words could no longer be stopped.
「Even if the foundation for it is there, I don't possess the feeling of something like self-confidence. Even in a crowd, there's still a feeling of solitude, so I can't come to enjoy myself. That kind of way of living indelibly stains one's body. I don't even know a single cause behind it. Is that bad? When I came to my senses, it was that way, this is how I am. I'm fine like this. This solitary, but in its own way enjoyable everyday, it's fine as it is.」
I clenched my fist.
「…That's why, don't impose on my sense of valueees!」
──Suddenly I felt a burst of passion. The mist that had been flickering from the beginning had now been cleared, and with the return of my vision, I was recovering my sense of composure. Gradually, I was able to make out Hinami Aoi's facial expression.
Hinami Aoi was, expressionlessly, just steadily looking here.
「… The whining of a loser.」
Then, Hinami Aoi, vacantly said as such with a tone of voice as if simply pointing out the truth.
「What's with that.」
「I said, the whining of a loser. Hate for the riajuu-like life? Even though you have never led the life of a riajuu? Just like a fool. Do you know why you hate it? Had you, after tasting the enjoyableness of the life of a riajuu, then said it is not enjoyable, that would be logical. But, you haven't ever tasted it, have you? If that's the case, isn't that just sour grapes, the whining of a loser.」
… a similar line of reasoning, I had a feeling I knew it from somewhere. In addition, from a source quite close to myself.
「You know, I, of the people who in spite of their loss, justify it without putting in any effort, those people are what I hate the most.」
Truly, a familiar line of reasoning.
However, well, this and that are different.
「What you want to say, I understand. But, you know, the situation's different. In life, well, chara alterations are impossible.」
「At the instant of birth, it's to some extent already been decided. Were I like you, a tsuyo-chara with a pleasant face, able in studies and athletics, then I'd be a bit more successful. But, that's not how it is. I don't know if it's sophism or rebelliousness, but far from being rather irrelevant to Life, if you think about it, if just self-confidence and motivation are lost from your parameters, your attribute values are given the cold shoulder, and there's nothing you can do about it!」
Hinami Aoi just silently stared into my eyes.
「It's the character difference. That's why it's fine, like this. Besides, I do, fairly seriously, believe this situation to be enjoyable as it is right now. Therefore! Just leave me alone…」
「…Character difference, huh.」
Hinami Aoi's eyes faced downwards for a moment. Suddenly, outside my expectations,
She grabbed my arm.
I, in a state of bewilderment, more than half against my will, was dragged off somewhere by Hinami Aoi.
 Original: 腫れ物扱い. Literal translation is something like "the treatment one would give to a swelling"… I think. Which I decided to interpret in this context as: just ignore it until it goes away->best to leave things be.
 Yamatonadeshiko: 大和撫子, personification of an idealized Japanese woman.
 Original: しのぎを削る (互いに力を出し合って、激しく争うことのたとえ)
 The ike used here is presumably a shorter version of ikemen. (For which, if you've been reading previous translation notes, you should already know the meaning).
 Nakamura's given name. Kanji: 修二
 I have no idea what he was trying to say here before cutting himself short. Original: かばっ, and I'm pretty sure he's not saying the Japanese word for hippopotamus.
 Once again, couldn't think of satisfactory equivalent that flows well in English, but I'm sure you understand what it means. She's kind of expecting him to finish his sentence. Likely accompanied by nodding.
 otaku-kimoi-warota: A bit like otakugrosshaha ?
 Yes, he just assumed NO NAME's gender.
Phew. I probably haven’t done the original work justice, but I hope you found this part interesting. In this part we see a glimpse into why this is considered a kind of self-help guide sort of literary work.
Next part is only about 10 pages, but I’ve got a few things to attend to so it will probably once again take me longer than a week.
PS: If you’re reading this on an aggregator site, fine, that’s your choice. Just be aware that I will often correct various translation inaccuracies I’ve made some time after publishing the translation (I’m still learning, after all). The corrections I make aren’t carried over to those sites.
That is all.