May 9th, 7:30 P.M. (Student Dormitory ・ Dining/Conference Room)

Well then, please let me introduce the tasks that I, the dorm manager, deal with every day.

 

Example number one:

“Onii-chan, Onii-chan. Do you have a moment?”

“Hm? What is it?”

“The fluorescent lightbulb in my room is flickering, and it looks like it might go out soon. Would you mind replacing it?”

“I see, got it. Just tell me the size, and I’ll buy one with our dorm budget later. Let me know by tomorrow or so.”

“Thank you very much. By the way, I assume Onii-chan will be the one replacing it?”

“Hm? It’s not something you can’t do by yourself, right? The ceiling’s not that high here, and you could always use the ladder in the storehouse.”

“That might be true, but, you know, I think it’s something a man should do. Besides, Onii-chan is taller than I.”

“That’s true, but…”

“And most importantly, I want to confirm with my own eyes that Onii-chan is a man I can rely on. I was thinking it’d be nice if I saw Onii-chan changing the lightbulb like it was nothing and then flashing his white, sparkling teeth. That way I could think ‘Onii-chan’s so cool!’ ”

“I wonder if changing a lightbulb would turn into that kinda thing… Well, it’s alright, I got it. I’ll do it.”

“Yaaay! Thank you very much!”

“By the way, let me get something straight. You’re not planning to do something when I’m about to step on the ladder, are you? Like shaking the ladder, then jumping on and raping me the second I fall off?”

“Ahaha, how could I~ Of course not~”

“Really?”

“Of course. That’s dangerous. What if Onii-chan fell from someplace high and something happened by chance? I wouldn’t be able to bear it.”

“I see. Well, that’s true.”

“To me, anything involving Onii-chan is top priority. Onii-chan’s the most important thing in the world to me, so I would never do anything to harm him. It would really make me sad if Onii-chan doesn’t trust me on this…”

“Yeah, I understand. No, I mean, I’m sorry I doubted you. On second thought, you’re right. Of course you wouldn’t do something like that.”

“Yes. I wouldn’t. I thought about it, you see. I’d spread something slippery over my floor, tempt Onii-chan into walking on it, and push Onii-chan down the second he falls over — or so goes the plan. Unlike with falling from a step ladder, with this plan there’s little chance for Onii-chan to get hurt. And to complete the security measures, I also intend to spread out the softest carpet I can find on the ground. What does Onii-chan think? Haven’t I taken care of every detail? Exactly because I love Onii-chan, he should have a generous heart and fall into this potential and gentle trap of mine as——”

“I’ll see if I can buy a bulb tomorrow and put it in front of your room. Then you can switch it out yourself.”

“Th— P-Please wait, Onii-chan! I was just joking, a joke! I swear I’m only going to push you down, so change the lightbulb in my room! Pleeeeeease!”

 

*

 

Example number two:

“Akkii. Do you have a moment?”

“Hm? What is it?”

“It’s about something that happened this evening. A suspicious door-to-door salesman forcefully pitching deals I understand little of came again.”

“Eh? Again? There have been many of them lately, huh?”

“It surely is that time of the year. There are many inexperienced people who just started living on their own, right?”

“Ah, I get it. That’s true, huh?”

“And so, this salesman offered me his advice, and I bought this vacuum cleaner.”

“Eh?! You bought something?!”

“Yes. This vacuum cleaner.”

“Uwa, it looks just an ordinary one at first glance… So, how much did you pay?”

“About 1,000,000 Yen.”

“TOO MUCH! NO MATTER HOW YOU LOOK AT IT, HE RIPPED YOU OFF?!”

“I was told that the location or the user’s skill level were irrelevant: anyone could use this cleaner. All you need to do is turn on this switch, and it will effortlessly clean the floor, scrub the windows, mow the garden, and wash the dishes all by itself.”

“Normally you wouldn’t be able to buy a cleaner with those specs for that price. Or wait, that kind of cleaner doesn’t exist to begin with! Use your common sense, use it!”

“My family’s corporation was developing such a cleaner.”

“Yeah, Nasuhara Corporation, right? Anyway, wouldn’t that be more of an all-purpose maid robot or something, not a vacuum cleaner?”

“Hmm, is that so? I can say with reasonable certainty that we successfully made one. We’ve had a working prototype at my house since quite a while ago.”

“Seriously…? Your company’s doing a good job, huh? But still, normally something so convenient couldn’t be on sale. Not to mention the shady salesman. Jeez, you’re really oblivious, aren’t you?”

“You might say that, Akkii, but it’s your fault too..”

“Me? How so?”

“You don’t remember? I have told you that I’m a woman who’s completely useless at chores and cleaning. You said you’d make sure to look properly after and accommodate me as much as you could until I became useful.”

“Aah… Well, I did say that, but…”

“However, you’ve been busy, so you couldn’t teach me anything. Therefore, to mature by myself, if only just a little, I bought this cleaner from the shady salesman.”

“I’m getting the feeling that you’re trying to blame me…”

“You lied when you vowed to take care of me your whole life, didn’t you?”

“I didn’t say that. I said I’d take care of you, and the context was your lack of common sense, right?”

“You were only after my body.”

“Did I ever request something like that? Even once?”

“Anyway, I successfully spent a fortune on an ordinary vacuum cleaner. Should I throw it in the oversized trash, I wonder?”

“No no, even if we rarely use it, don’t you think it’d be a shame to throw it out? Rather, please just return it. You’ll get your money back too.”

“Even if you tell me to give it back, I don’t know how.”

“…Okay, got it. I’ll do it. What’s his contact information.”

 

*

 

Example number three.

“Akito. Got a sec?”

“Hm? What is it?”

“Usin’ the kitchen for a while got me thinkin’. This building’s 70 years old, and the plumbing and gas lines are gettin’ old. There’s nothin’ we can’t use right now, but it’d probably be better to discuss a full renovation.”

“Hmm, I see. It’s no good after all, huh…”

“I think I’ll be fine if I’m usin’ every trick in the book, but I don’t know if there won’t be some kind of accident eventually.”

“I guess so. A gas accident would be especially dangerous.”

“An earthquake would be problematic too. The dorm’s current condition is amazing for something 70 years old, but…”

“Yeah, true. It’s been a while since people lived here, and surely there’s damage here and there. This house was originally going to be demolished, after all.”

“Hm. I checked our dorm’s foundation. Even by older safety standards, it’s not in the best condition.”

“I see. It does seem like the foundation won’t support it.”

“Did the board of directors give you permission to renovate the dorm?”

“Well, yeah. They did.”

“To be more specific then, how are things progressing?”

“Yeah, well… I haven’t really…”

“Have you decided on a contractor yet? What’s the budget? What about the places gettin’ renovated? How long will it take?”

“Yeah, um, sorry, that’s still not…”

“You’re the manager here. Get your act together.”

“Even if you say that, I’m pretty busy myself…”

“So am I. I’m makin’ food for all of you every day, diligently attendin’ classes, and working in the student council — I have other things too. And I can’t split myself up, you know?”

“I won’t argue against that. Actually, that kind of thing should be Prez’ job to begin with. How did it end up being my job now…”

“However easygoin’ she may look, Isn’t it obvious that the she’s much busier than you? Nikaidou Arashi is undoubtedly a dictator, so she has to shoulder many duties by herself. I’ve noticed her dealin’ with many issues inside the academy, and I’ve seen her runnin’ around many times over. And yet, her calm demeanor in spite of all that is quite admirable.”

“That might be true, but…”

“Akito, it’s that bad habit of yours. You’re furiously vigorous in critical situations, but otherwise you’re lazier than a cat that’s nappin’ while holdin’ its stuffed tummy. You’ve given me a hard time many times over because of it. I want you to remember that.”

“Ugh. Sorry, sorry. I’ll be more careful next time.”

“I feel no sincerity in your words. Men like you are always like that: postponing bothersome things, lettin’ them all pile up, and in the end, not finishin’ any of them. I’ve seen it happen many times, and even you should be aware of it by now. And if you’re aware of it, improve yourself.”

“…There it is again, Ginbei’s preaching… Are you my mom or what? Jesus…”

“Akito. Did you say something?”

“Nope, nothing at all. Anyway, I get what you’re saying. I feel the same. We should deal with these renovations as soon as we can. I’ll do my best to keep you updated about my progress. Is that alright with you?”

 

*

 

“——There’s so much work… or so? Don’t’cha talk so miserably.”

She shook her head exaggeratedly, heaving a sigh for show. That was Prez’ reaction when she overheard me complaining.

“Well, fo’ real, yer work load ain’t a joke, eh? But ya know that I ain’t assignin’ work to someone who can’t do it, don’t’cha? I examined ‘n left that to ya, but seems I got’cha wrong, eh?”

“Right… thanks. Sorry.”

“Stop sayin’ such miserable things, oi.”

Seeing me scratch my head, Prez made sure to look up at the sky and shrug.

“He certainly is miserable.”

Nasuhara-san agreed, chewing on some Mizuna no ohitashi[1].

By the way, right now we were gathered in the student dorm’s dining/conference room. As always, we were chatting while eating dinner.

“Akki’s workload is hardly remarkable when compared to that of the other student council members. I can’t see any reason to complain.”

“No no, you might say that, but I have problems here too, you know? I have to handle most of the dorm chores.”

“That’s not unexpected when you’re the dorm manager.”

“On top of that, I have to handle some of the student council’s work too…”

“You have it easy if those are your only obligations. Also, Prez attends to many errands which are, technically speaking, your duty.”

“That might be true, but in my case, I’m also the Himenokouji family’s backbone. I’m earning all of the money we spend.”

“As am I involved in multiple division tasks in the Nasuhara Corporation. Soon I’ll take over management of the company, so this acts as a rehearsal.”

Muu, is that so? We were just chatting casually, so I nearly forgot that these people were unbelievable.

“No, but… it’s also a student’s duty to study. If I have too many duties and spread myself all over the place, I wonder if my grades won’t just drop into a black hole…”

“Not to boast, but I’ve maintained top rankings in grades. Nevertheless, I spend about as much time on studying as Akki.”

“No, well, hm…”

“By the way, I also plan to earn some university credits this year.”

“Eh? Is that so?”

“Yes. Liliana already perfected the so-called skip-a-grade system, so this isn’t anything new.”

She said it casually, but isn’t that amazing?

I’ve never seen her making a lot of effort, but seemingly she does what has to be done, alright. Hm, as expected of someone who consistently places at the top of an elite school.

But I didn’t want her telling me that, especially when she was completely useless at cleaning and cooking! Even if studying was our main duty, there still are many other important things people need to do!

“I, too, agree with Nasuhara-kun.”

Straight away, Ginbei opened her mouth.

Not only were her abilities on par with other student council members, but Ginbei’s capabilities also encompassed a wide breadth that even extended to household chores.

“We recognize that you’re busy with work and that we gave you chores in the dorm. However, you should still have spare time left, no?”

“No no, that’s not the case, my hands are already full. For me, classes are tough, and so is managing the dorm.”

Incidentally, I still felt out of place in class.

“I’m already reaching a breaking point. I’m about to hit my limit, and if this keeps up, I’ll collapse.”

“We’ve been acquainted for a while. You are gravely mistaken if you think you can deceive me with that pitiful excuse.”

“It’s not an excuse. I’m only sleeping three or four hours a day, you know?”

“None of us are exempted from that. Everyone is busy, they make their own time, and they spend their days plenty productively, no?”

“That might be true, but——”

It certainly was a sound argument, but it didn’t change that I felt discouraged.

Getting up at five o’clock in the morning, doing work, seriously attending most of my classes, and then working for a student council that’s swamped in obligations — and while I’m dealing with my student council colleagues’ heckling, it becomes evening, when I have another set of responsibilities.

I should be commended for my dedication, but instead these elite school girls only complain.

“Just look at your little sister.”

Ignoring me as I pouted, Ginbei continued the tirade.

“She’s really givin’ it her all, you know? Aside from cookin’, she does far more chores than I, and her grades are higher than mine too, although she’s not on Nasuhara-san’s impossible level. I know this firsthand as I’m spendin’ a lot of time with her ’cause of our duties.”

“That’s, well, Akiko is a talented little sister——”

“Again with the excuses. A real man would get his act together after hearing that.”

“No, well, I get what you’re saying, but——”

“Akiko-kun. What do you think?”

Maybe because the conversation wasn’t getting anywhere, Ginbei brought up Akiko.

“Don’t you feel something when you see your older brother like this? Don’t you want Akito to get it together too?”

“Eh—? Um…”

Replied my sister with a blank stare. She was carrying cooked spear squid and taro to her small mouth.

“Um, I think Onii-chan is already amazing as he is.”

“How so?”

“Um, because even though he’s still a student, Onii-chan’s holding a job and supporting me with his income.”

“That’s only natural. He’s the one who wanted to live with you without relyin’ on anyone else, after all.”

“Not only that, Onii-chan’s also helped us out as the student dorm manager.”

“From what I heard, this dorm was set for demolition, and it was stipulated for Akito to assume full responsibility of its management if he wanted to use it. I’ve heard that Akito had been assigned a clause which has him to take over all the responsibilities of the dorm management so that he could use the dorm which was set up for demolition. In other words, Akito’s only doin’ this because he burdened himself of his own volition. It’s only natural, so I wonder if it’s praiseworthy.”

“But, but! Onii-chan is my unshakeable ally when he needs to be!”

“That’s unrelated to how amazing he is.”

“Ah, and Onii-chan’s good-looking.”

“Sounds more like your personal opinion.”

“It’s futile, Gingin. Regardless of how you might reason with her…”

While putting her spoon into her green tea pudding clad in sugar sauce, Nasuhara-san said:

“Himenokouji-san is perfect evidence that ‘love is blind.’ She finds a turtle prettier than the moon, and glass marble more beautiful than a diamond. It’s impossible for her to evaluate Akito’s value as a human being.”

“T-That’s not true! Onii-chan is plenty amazing! I can guarantee that as his little sister!”

“Then let us hear it. What makes your Onii-san so amazing?”

“Um, for example, Onii-chan is pretty good at studying!”

“Of course, although on our recent test I heard you’d find him faster from the bottom.”

“Actually, Onii-chan is an amazing cook!”

“Better than you or Gingin?”

“He’s really manly when time calls for it!”

“I think someone who’s consistently helpful is more amazing than a man who’s only helpful when the time calls for it.”

“And Onii-chan is unexpectedly popular!”

“Well, I wouldn’t call him unattractive, but it’s not enough to let him survive in society with that alone.”

“Um, right… Onii-chan is very kind!”

“Hypothetically speaking, I wonder how worthless and pathetic a man would be if kindness were to be his only virtue. At the very least, you couldn’t call him amazing.”

“No matter how much I try to seduce him, he doesn’t catch on. I think that’s amazing!”

“Rather, in society today it’s common sense not to ‘catch on’ if your blood-related sister tried to seduce you.”

That was the exchange between my sister, who gave example after example of my strong points, and Nasuhara-san, who crushed each example without mercy.

Yep. My sister was in trouble. I couldn’t find any strong points from my point of view either.

“Uuuu~ …You’re just arguing against everything I say without giving me a chance to explain! It’s unjust!”

“It couldn’t be helped. You provided not a single example of unquestionable merit. If you intend to refute me, provide an example so wonderful, so amazing, that we cannot be but speechless, unable to speak a word in dissent.”

“Uuuuu~!”

My sister was gnawing at her lips and groaning in frustration, but then…

“Onii-chan! Onii-chan—!”

“Hm? What is it?”

“Look at what Nasuhara-san said! Doesn’t it frustrate you?!”

“No, well, you know: her words were reasonable, I guess.”

“Please show them something right now that will prove Onii-chan is amazing!”

“Nope, sorry. To be honest, I probably don’t have any special appeal.”

“That’s impossible! Onii-chan won’t lose to anyone, Onii-chan has some special super power hidden away!”

“You see… I shouldn’t have those kind of powers.”

“Please think about it! There has to be something! Please show the entire world how heart-stoppingly amazing you are!”

“Hmm, is that so… I know some card tricks?”

“That’s too low on the scale!”

“Then how about this: I can open my nostrils without using my fingers.”

“Please distance yourself from those gags!”

My sister was at her wits’ end, but it couldn’t be helped. It was a pity, but Himenokouji Akito wasn’t that amazing. Rather, I was almost sorry that I joined the student council with these other amazing people as members.

“Jeez, don’t be so sloven.”

This time Prez opened her mouth.

“Himenokouji Akito, I was the one who dragged ya into the council. In other words, yer workin’ style was already contained in my evaluation. Ya know that, don’t’cha?”

“Well, that might be true, but…”

She was right, but for someone like me, who’d been forcibly dragged, it was still a matter that couldn’t just be nodded off.

“Although I know that yer burden ain’t easy…”

Before I knew it, Prez made a U-turn and softened her attitude…

“There are at most five people livin’ in this dorm, so ya shouldn’t have much to do. But it’s true that ya have many problems despite this. Anyone taking a closer look would immediately realize yer doin’ a fine job.”

“Yes yes. Isn’t that right? Isn’t it?”

“I heard there used to be a full time manager here. Fer the most part, Himenokouji Akito’s doin’ everything that manager did back then.”

Quite right. Jinno-san had been surprised too when she visited, but legally speaking this dorm should have a proper manager.

In fact, the 2LDK I’m using right now had been furnished for the manager. It had a much grander appearance than the rooms the other student council members had. I was ready to give up my room at any time if a new manager took on the job.

“Which leads us to this: we’re lookin’ for a student dorm manager now.”

Prez made a pretty serious proposal.

“I thought about talking with ya’ll after we finished up the other talk. Soon, someone the board of directors approved will start working as our dorm manager.”

“What to say… It’s still pretty sudden…”

“This discussion had been there from the start. Well, we donno what kinda person it’s gonna be yet, but to make that person turn out as capable as possible, the board of directors ‘n I are ‘bout to discuss the matter.”

Hm, even if she said that, Prez properly did what had to be done. It was great news for me since I was struggling through the everyday chores.

“So, this is also a good opportunity. I was thinkin’ ’bout askin’ you guys what kinda manager you’d want. So?”

“Surveying? You mean what kind of manager we’d like?”

“Aye. Might as well get someone who‘s capable of meetin’ yer demands, aight? Well, how far that person can comply is tricky though.”

“If that’s the case, then I’d like to ask you refrain from employing a man if possible.”

Akiko was the first one to raise her hand.

“I’ve heard this was originally a girl’s dorm, and even now most of its occupants are girls. So I’d think some people would oppose having another male here…”

“Hm. In my case, having a male manager wouldn’t be a problem at all.”

“That’s because Onii-chan is a man. We are girls, so it’d really be a bit… I think.”

“Well, I get it.”

I certainly did get what she was saying. Although, it was more of a problem that I was pretty much living in a women’s dorm. I probably shouldn’t meddle with the board of directors’ decision.

Or rather, my original ‘live alone with my little sister’ goal already crumbled, so I get the feeling I should reconsider our living environment from the root up.

“Hmmm… I think it’s more shameful that I’m the only man here with four girls. Also, a male manager would be more reliable. It’s an old building, so it’s less secure. If push comes to shove, having more men around would be better. For example, if a thief or a molester came…”

“It’s fine. I’m fairly good with aikido and our president is a first class swordsman. Nasuhara-san and Ginbei-san are also capable, one way or another. Any thief or molester that tried to break in would quickly meet his end.”

“Oh yeah, that might be true…”

“And if we’re only talking about me, I’d warmly welcome Onii-chan stealing my underwear. Please come stealing them at any time, okay?”

“Wait. How did it shift to this kinda talk?”

“To make sure it’s easier for Onii-chan, I always put the especially valuable underwear in places where it’s easy to find.”

“I didn’t ask for that intel.”

“And to make it so Onii-chan can molest me at any time, I always pay close attention in selecting what underwear I wear.”

“Let’s pay more attention to other things, okay?”

“What are you saying? For Onii-chan to see me, I’m diligently choosing my underwear. There wouldn’t be any point if you didn’t see them, now would there? It’s Onii-chan’s fault that I’m not blessed with good chances. Please consider the feelings of my pitiable lucky underwear.”

“Got it, I got it already. Anyway, you don’t want a male manager, right? Understood, let’s inform the board of directors through Prez.”

I wouldn’t have known for how long the underwear talk would have gone on if I went with it, so I decided to forcefully end it by picking up our original topic.

“Eeehm, then how about Nasuhara-san? What would you want our new manager to be like?”

“Right…”

She stared into the sky with her usual pokerface:

“I like cute people.”

“No, cute people… Are we still talking about the new manager?”

I knew that she liked cute things, but it was worrying when she brought it up in this kind of discussion.

“Rest easy. I won’t say something selfish like Himenokouji-san. I wouldn’t mind a man either, provided he was cute.”

“Don’t you think you’re being pretty selfish yourself?”

“At the very least, they can not be taller than 150cm, nor weigh greater than 40kg.”

“Yeah, that’s definitely selfish.”

“It’s fine. As long the new person looks cute, I’ll refrain from asking their age.”

“Even though you’re making that self-satisfied face with that compromise…”

“Then let’s settle with not asking their race.”

“Nope, that’s… no, never mind.”

I shook my head, giving up my protests. Honestly, if I went along with Nasuhara-san, there’d be no telling when it would end.

Even if we consider it, Nasuhara-san’s request was impossible. She was basically asking for a cute and small child. Children were the least likely to fit as a dorm manager.

“Then how about Ginbei? What’s your opinion?”

“Right, nothing special really, but…”

While pouring an after meal tea out of a thermos flask, she smiled:

“Diligent, well working, and we must find him reliable, yet not unpleasant after we start living under one roof — that kinda person would be good. When that manager gets appointed, I want to be an interviewer too. Also, I’d be grateful If we could have a trial period so we could check on that person’s working style.”

“…When you say you don’t have any special opinion, I get a hunch that you’ve really got quite a few of them…”

“What are you saying? Isn’t that obvious? Even if it’s just temporarily, we’re going to live with the person we pick for a long time. Actually, you could even say that I’m humble for only requesting that much, you know?”

Well, probably.

The Kiwatari Family’s lineage was composed of mainly merchants, and they were twice as picky in hiring employees.

“And also, it’s going to be tough finding someone that meets Ginbei’s standards. Just publishing a job offer won’t be enough.”

“By the way, the salary ain’t high, ya know?”

Prez joined in again.

“This ain’t just limited to the dorm manager. Liliana academy does have cash, but they’re frugal, and fer a prestigious institution, the teaching pay ain’t much. Yet people who wanna teach here never cease. It’s gotta be because even top class enterprises can’t compete with Liliana’s prestige.”

“Right… Our school is that amazing…”

“Aye. After teachin’ in Liliana gives them enough prestige that they won’t need to worry about their careers anymore. But then again, I doubt bein’ a manager at this poor dorm’ll give ’em much.”

“…Is that true. Ginbei?”

“Please don’t look at me as if you’ve given up without even tryin’. Even if it’s extremely unlikely that we’ll find someone like that, givin’ up right from the start is for dejected losers. I don’t like it.”

“Well, that might be true…”

“At any rate, I welcome a new manager. Our dorm is unorganized at the moment, so it’d be great to have a new competent manager improve our living conditions. Let’s trust that our board of directors and student council president can do that much.”

“Aye, well said, Gingin. As expected of my number one love candidate, yer down to earth.”

“When did my ranking get that high?”

“Well, it’s so for now…”

Ignoring Ginbei’s humble complaint, Prez clapped her hands.

“I’m repeatin’ myself, but we’re gonna get a manager for our dorm. The board of directors decided it, and I see no reason to oppose it. Well, I’ve got some authority in pickin’ the personnel, so I’ll promise ya I’ll lure a splendid one in, aight? Obviously, I want to get someone I can use, ya know?”

She surveyed us for confirmation. Prez made some solid points, and my sister, Nasuhara-san, and Ginbei didn’t object. The same went for me, of course.

“Aight, I’m countin’ on you guys. At any rate, goes without sayin’ that ye guys are makin’ demandin’ requests, so we won’t find someone instantly. Let’s pray we’ll get a manager we can accept.”

 

…And with that, we decided to get someone to replace me, a mere minor, as the dorm manager.

And I didn’t know whether I should look forward to it or not.

 

Translator notes and references

[1]Foodstuff. Google knows things.