Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai:Volume 1 Yozora
After we got out of class I followed Mikadzuki to a chapel inside school.
It was a huge building with a cross decoration placed on top of the roof. Inside the building were rooms for ceremonies like masses and weddings. It also had typical church facilities which included a confession box. Finally, it had seminar and self-meditation rooms.
One of them, the ‘meeting room #4’, had become the Neighbor's Club’s activity room.
It was a beautifully decorated western style room the size of around eight tatami. There was a small round table, some sofas, and a small metal shelf.
This place seemed more like a salon than a church’s meeting room.
Unlike myself, once Mikadzuki entered the room, she immediately began to relax on the sofa.
“…Can we really use this room?”
“The consultant teacher said it’s fine, so yes of course.”
Mikadzuki answered as if it were obvious.
Right, this was a recognized club after all; it made sense that the club had a consultant teacher assigned to it.
As I slowly sat down on the sofa across from Mikadzuki I slowly said,
“…Someone is actually willing to be a consultant for this dubious club…”
“This club isn't dubious. ‘As dictated by the teachings of Christianity, those who attend the same school should treat their fellow students as their kind neighbors- with acquitted friendship, sincerity, and engage in caring and meaningful exchanges.’ All activities are carried out to uphold this clear and outstanding goal.”
“Huh, it sounds fishy no matter how many times I hear it… so what kind of person will come to enlighten us on how to make friends?”
I had never heard of that name.
As a Christian school there were a few assisting clergy-members sent by the church here. They were mostly here as teachers for Theology and Ethics classes.
Since I was not very interested in what Christianity had to say, I opted not to take any of those classes. I originally thought I would live a nun-free school life. I was surprised that I would make connections with them in the most unsuspecting place.
“A nun called Maria huh… I do feel a bit of something. I’m not very sure, but I think I will be able to learn some valuable hints from her.”
“Aah, that’s just your imagination.”
“…Maria-sensei doesn't have friends either.”
I thought she had just pointed out a critical flaw in her scheme.
“…Why-why would you get someone like that to be the consultant?”
“I am very bad at talking to people who have lots of friends… on the other hand, I can converse normally with people who have no friends, like you Kodaka.”
Yozora Mikadzuki: she was a more regretful character than I had ever thought possible.
“…In other words, you had no choice but to seek help from a teacher who is in the same situation as you?”
She cockily replied and imperiously relaxed herself into the sofa.
“Ah well, it would suck to spend time having a boring teacher lecturing us. I guess that’s the price to pay for having her agree to let us use this meeting room.”
“…That’s one way to interpret what she said.”
She agreed for now.
“So, what sort of concrete club preparation do you have in mind?”
“Before that, we need to get more members.” Mikadzuki replied.
“Aah, I see…”
Since the reason for her trying to make friends within the club is to not have others think that she is lonely, getting more members was naturally her top priority. I, however, thought the criteria for friends should have been ‘quality over quantity’.
Mikadzuki took out a roll of papers from her bag.
“Let’s make a recruiting poster first.”
She finished it quite quickly.
Mikadzuki handed me a notice.
“I think I did pretty well.”
I took a glance at it.
And... I was flabbergasted.
How should I describe it. It’s that thing; yeah it must be that thing. To sum it up, the poster is really ‘something’.
“…What is this?”
“It’s a notice, duh. I will post this on the school bulletin board now.”
When she saw my incredulous face, she became unhappy and asked,
“…What, you think there's a problem?”
“I don’t see how you can think there is nothing wrong with it. The poster doesn't even say what the club is for. You won’t be able to recruit any new members with this thing.”
“Fuun~, you are too naive Kodaka.”
For some reason Mikadzuki looked at me as if I were an idiot.
“Try reading the paragraph diagonally.”
I skeptically stared at the notice.
Mikadzuki lightly smiled.
“…Well, I guess you can say I get it..”
If you read the paragraph starting from its top left corner and worked your way down diagonally-
ともだち募集 = ‘Friends Wanted’
[‘We all are friendly and flexible neighbors ,
so let’s start a friendly relation with others!
To answer the call to train your mental health,
Work together today to start on this journey,
As we motivate each other with our common ideal,
We will become the most trusted people in the world!]
“…What a subtle hint…”
“It’s not a hint.”
Mikadzuki looked surprised.
“For a person who keeps on looking for ways to make friends, they will notice the hidden information in this notice. On the other hand, to people who have no social problem, they will just read the paragraph and leave it as such. In other words, we don’t need to explicitly write out the embarrassing intention ‘friends wanted’ yet we can still get people with the same goal to join us.”
Mikadzuki looked so confident; I was at a loss as to what to say.
By the way, you do realize that this is embarrassing…
“Okay, let’s take a hundred steps back and assume that your hypothesis is correct…”
“Why do we need to take a hundred steps back?”
I ignored the puzzled Mikadzuki and continued,
“We'll leave the text alone for now. What is that drawing?”
“Isn’t it obvious?”
“I am asking because it’s not obvious to me at all!”
Mikadzuki started smirking at me as if I was the moron here. As if she was patiently and kindly teaching a dummy to understand simple things, she gently explained,
“Wasn’t there a folk song about making a hundred friends and eating rice balls together at the peak of Mt. Fuji? That’s what I had in mind. I didn’t mess around when I drew it.”
“The picture is for people who missed the diagonal sentence. Even if they missed it, they can still realize the intention of this club through this drawing.”
“…Okay, let’s take a hundred steps back and assume what you said is true.”
“Why do we need to take a hundred steps back?”
I again ignored Mikadzuki’s question.
“So the people in this drawing are eating… rice balls? Like food? Why do they have legs and eyes on them?”
“They look cuter that way.”
“…I really hate the feeling that my food is going to go berserk whenever I try to bite into it. Don’t anthropomorph-ize food…”
“Are you denying rightful honor to these national heroes?”
“They are good people who let kids bite off their heads.”
“The ultimate sacrifice they believed in to become your stomach acid. I can resonate with the love and courage they held to their friends.”
“Anpanman will only be troubled by your understanding!”
Out of nowhere, Mikadzuki looked at me suspiciously.
“…You know Kodaka, you didn’t see the hidden meaning in this paragraph, nor did you understand the true intention behind the drawing. Are you really here to make new friends?”
“I don’t want to make friends with people who are tragically talented enough to understand this kind of poster…”
“Huh, you still think that you are the reasonable one here. Kodaka you are a World Genre kind of person.” 
“You are the last person I want to hear that from.”
As Mikadzuki looked at how worn out I was she started to get displeased.
“…I just noticed it, but stop calling me ‘you’ all the time. It doesn’t feel good.”
“Eh? Aah… okay.”
“Then how about…”
I was always unsure what I should call others.
Should I call them by their last name, full name, or nickname? Should I add ‘San’[Mr.] or ‘Kun’ or ‘Chan’? Or should I just use their first name like we are close together?
That’s why I usually tried to refer to others by their full name.
“…Then how about….Mikadzuki… -san?”
Mikadzuki replied sternly.
“Call me by my first name, Yozora.”
“O-Okay… then, Yozora.”
“Why are you blushing? So disgusting.”
Still looking displeased, Mikadzuki irritably stated as such.
Am I the only person who becomes shy whenever one tries to intimately call a girl by her first name?
“…Hey, do you have some sort of nickname? I’m more comfortable with them…”
“It is… was…”
Mikadzuki looked even more annoyed than usual. She said,
“…I had one, but I can’t tell you.”
I asked, and as if she was about to cry, Mikadzuki looked at me with a lonesome smile.
“Because nicknames are only for friends.”
I still didn’t understand what Mikadzuki- no, I mean Yozora was thinking.
“…No choice then… Hey, let’s post the notice first… Yozora.”
Feeling a bit embarrassed, I stood up from the sofa.
The very first activity of the Neighbor's Club...
We finally had classmates that are on a first name basis.
…If we ignore the events that happened between the start and the end and just look at the final result, it’s hard to say that we did well.
- a traditional Japanese rug, also used as a measurement for room size
- [TL note: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anpanman]
- [TL note: セカイ系, explaining what it means would need a broad review of the evolution of post-EVA era anime industry. Anyone interested can read the links
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