How They Made Chou Kawaii Go: Three

Filed in American Wota 3.0Tags: , ,

They should have at least
let you sing,
her little brother pouted.
That should have been the prize.
This was supposed to have been
a celebratory dinner,
the reservation made ahead of time,
a valediction of the sacrifices
they all made for her,
a sumptuous affirmation sweetened
by the prospects of fame and fortune.

But this was less a march to Kublai Kahn
than a bout of Kubler Ross,
Naoko having gone through the first three stages
as she endured that stupid line-up,
bargained herself through that stupider obstacle course,
and in the aftermath was feeling
an inevitability of acceptance.

There is no helping it, she finally says aloud,
helping herself to some more
spaghetti bolognese and garlic bread,
a part of her cautioning against eating too much –
but exhaustion and some vague sense of entitlement
overrode that caution,
told her that tonight, at least,
she has earned extra mouthfuls.
Though she chews slower now,
more deliberately,
and lets her family continue
to talk as they must,
to obscure the unspoken disappointment
at the loss of the sure prospect
of another, much-needed
income to the household.

They talk of fairness,
of competition with the other girls,
of when she’ll be allowed to sing,
of what will happen on next week’s show,
the last point tinged with dread,
with the fear of unsure prospects
completely disappearing.

Her mother frets,
At least they let you shower afterwards…
and Naoko laughed, Some of the girls refused!
They were so mad they just left the studio
the first chance they got.

I don’t blame them, Sho mumbles,
checking his keitai as he pouts.
Well, that’s the wrong attitude, too.
That won’t take them far,
her father says, perhaps hopefully,
and then Sho
lets out a yelp.
Mother! Where are her muddy clothes?

Right here, she says,
holding up a plastic bag.
Her shoes, too.

Tsuyoshi just messaged me,
somebody wants to buy them!

But they’re filthy with mud,
and sweat,
mother protests.
Sho deadpans, That’s the point.
Wait, wait! There are several bidders!

Bidders? Naoko asks now,
both delighted and ill at ease,
unsure of how to combine these impulses,
finding comfort in neither.
But the price her outfit finally fetched
was more than enough for their dinner.
It would have been much more
if Naoko agreed to sell her panties –
but that wasn’t a deal she was ready to make.