Saotome-san Does not Compromise
「You saved me by agreeing on taking a holiday work. Because there’s usually lots of couples here and there that make me light headed.」
「Please don’t worry.」
She really likes to specify that this is a holiday work. As an employer she likes to keep things clear, and due to that, this outing is purely work and the feeling of going on a “date” is gone.
「It’s nice to have stuffed toys at home, but it’s really hard to buy them. They’re really bulky.」
Even stuffed toys have their own specialty store. I only learned of that just now, when we arrived at this fancy store in Tokyo.
Really, if you think about it, it’s pretty natural for them to have one. But coming to a place that I have never imagined, and getting into this otherworldly atmosphere, it makes me feel really out of the place.
If I had to say something, it would be that I am currently getting overwhelmed by this cute army of octopuses.
「It’s not like I won’t buy online, but it’s really hard to appreciate it if you don’t like the texture of it when it arrives.」
While getting overwhelmed by this cuteness, I was answered by Mio-san who is currently squeezing the red octopus with a serious face. From outsider’s point of view, rather than a shopper, she looks more like a professional that’s on a research about stuffed toys.
But what is up with these octopus stuffed toys? Are they in demand?
I tried to squeeze some and indeed they felt good. But would I buy them? That’s unclear.
「So what were you buying so much online?… Aahh, I get it, I remember now.」
Clusters cardboard. Then lots of plastic bottles. If you think about it, the answer is right there.
「Yes, it’s water. The current trend is Tokyo Water.」
「Tokyo Water. Ahh, that one.」
「It’s just your everyday delicious water. It’s actually bottled tap water from Tokyo, and even the seller comes from the tap water company.」
The one from my home, Fukuoka, has this “Drinking Seawater” and it really is drinkable seawater. But in this case it seems to be only a tap water. Maybe this is what the locals are buying?
Why doesn’t she just turn on the faucet? Since she’s living in Tokyo.
「Just now, you thought that we are living in Tokyo right? You’re naive.」
She read my thoughts. Actually she was faster than my thoughts. Maybe she always get asked about this?
「It looks like it’s something that you usually hear.」
「Well I usually get to use this subject as an ice breaker. This is a really good opening subject for a first time customer. Not to mention that I can use this to encourage travelers to buy some of these as a souvenir.」
Then why does a person with such a good communication skills turn into such a child during at night? And why does this person come to my house with a 10,000 bill just to ask for an outing?
Human beings are indeed strange.
Though I am not really interested in things like that, because I am currently flooded by glances from this onee-san who can’t help but want to start talking about Tokyo Water.
「So Mio-san, what is so different about this, uh, Tokyo Water?」
「Tokyo’s water treatment is top class, but if you want to run that water into the city as tap water, you really need to add chlorine into it. It’s decided by laws.」
She said everything pretty quickly.
All of those words were said by this Mio-san who’s currently squeezing this mushroom stuffed toy, and not to mention with a completely serious face. I did not know that she really likes Tokyo Water that much.
But the real question is, are there really demands for mushroom stuffed toys?
When I tried squeezing it, sure there really is this some sort of uniqueness to it. However, in my opinion, the octopus one was better.3
「So does it mean that Tokyo Water does not have any chlorine? And isn’t chlorine used for disinfection?」
「Don’t you have to disinfect the water? Or maybe they boil the water?」
「Those triple oxygen molecules will kill both molds and trihalomethane, which are the source of odors and miscellaneous tastes.」4
「Heeh~ that sounds delicious, maybe I could get one bot– 「Found it!」」
I was obstructed by that single line.
「This. This one is good. This will be it.」
「Close, you’re close Mio-san. Did you want this? Do you like dogs?」
The stuffed toy that Mio-san is stuffing onto my face is a chocolate-colored dog that is wearing a yellow jacket. Also too close. My sense of smell is working more than the sense of vision. I don’t know why she smells like this but she smells like a really good freshly baked bread.
That thing aside, this is indeed a good one. When I touched this, unlike the texture of the octopus, this one has a fluffy feeling. It feels like a real puppy.
「Handicraft, design, material, and sewing. Everything is perfect. The size of this is perfect too.」
「You’re right. So are you only buying this one? Weren’t you looking at many things? That octopus for example.」
Fubuki is the official name of that white fox stuffed toy. Fubuki or “Fuu-chan.” You know which version of Mio-san would use each of these names. 5
「That’s true. But since we’re going to visit more stores, let’s pick this one for now.」
So you’re going for more stores…
「….Perhaps you want to go home now?」
Isn’t it really unfair for you to ask me that so suddenly Mio-san?
Normally, the best answer here would be “That’s not the case Mio-san, I’m having fun as well.” But from the looks of it, she’s affected by this mental poison that she wouldn’t take any positive answer.
「No, I will be with you till the end. Since this is work.」6
「I see, you’re right, it’s work. Work is best!」
Mio-san’s heartfelt expression told me that this strange answer was the correct one.
「Now let’s go immediately, work should be streamlined.」
「Such style of working have gotten up to this point….」
After the payment was done, we went outsite, and the moist and warm air peculiar to the sunny days of June wraps around us. During the month of May it was either cold or hot, so this warm temperature is pretty good.
From my back, Mio-san came out with small steps while she was carrying the newly bought dog inside the cream colored paper bag.
「It looks relatively big, should I carry it for you?」
「No, it’s okay. If it’s about this size, everything is alright. Not to mention you have your own luggage too.」
After saying that, she held the bag so preciously at her chest that the question itself was something unnecessary. Even if it was something heavy, most likely she won’t let go of it.
「Is that so.」
「I’m glad that you’ve enjoyed it too. I thought that it will be something boring for men, what did you like so much in there?」
Meanwhile, there was a similar cream colored paper bag in my hand, one which had octopus in it. It’s somewhat vexing that Mio-san is looking at me as if saying “I know, I know.”
While feeling that strange sense of defeat, Mio-san walks in the direction pointed by the map in her smartphone.
Some time passed, and suddenly, we could see this building.