That day, I was sitting alone at a table in a sunny coffee shop at my college.
In my hand, a strawberry milk gelato served in a crispy waffle cone.
Its color, a lovely pink. And on each little bite, the rich flavor of evaporated milk together with the light sourness of fresh strawberries spreads in my mouth. Truly the most wonderful dessert.
This coffee shop’s patrons are almost exclusively the female college students of this college, and many wonderful desserts like this gelato are their specialty. Such is a way to captivate the hearts of young women. As an ice cream shop, they serve gelato cones at the counter. Today I’m trying the strawberry milk single.
“Ah, delicious! Strawberry Milk is the ice cream of the gods! I’m happy~~~!!!”
I was just smiling, smacking my lips at every bite of the sweet and sour gelato, and simply enjoying my free time after school.
My name is Michiru Osawa. I am a third-year Japanese literature student in a women’s university with its campus in Tokyo.
I don’t think my face and figure are ugly or anything, but there is nothing special worth mentioning about them and, let’s just face it, my looks are very ordinary.
And well, more to the point: in this day and age where, for my age, girls with well-attuned fashion sense are a dime a dozen, and everyone is always looking for the latest clothes, accessories, and looks to stand out. I stick out like a sore thumb due to my rather plain looks. I draw plenty of attention from my friends, but mostly in the form of, say, a well-placed ‘You could put a little more care in your beauty choices, you know?’ jab.
No, it’s not like I hate cute and glittering things, I rather like them, but I much prefer to look at them, collect them and hold them in my hands instead of wearing them as accessories.
That’s why there is a sizable amount of cute accessories and goods lined up in my room. There is a handmade display shelf on my wall and, since my mom runs a select shop for miscellaneous goods, so I save up, get the bargains, and put them there for fun. There is also a corner where you can find my favorite stones.
My hair is black and shoulder-length, and I have it expertly done at the hairdresser. Fashionably speaking, it’s a jet-black straight midi bob (It’s a riot for my friends when they notice the reflection of light on my hair makes an “angel ring” halo just as it so often happens with the bowl cut hair of grade-schoolers. ‘Don’t laugh; turn it into a compliment!’ I’d like to talk back to them). But unfortunately, I don’t think this choice of mine makes for a trendy hairstyle combined with the soy-sauce-loving Japanese female face.
Umm, am I clueless when it comes to choosing good combinations?
Even though I’m sporting a midi bob and not a run-of-the-mill one, a friend once even told me I look like an adult version of zashiki-warashi.
At the time, I received it as a compliment because it sounded like being linked to a good luck being, but now that I think about it, I’m being made out to look like a ghost!
Hey, isn’t that a cruel thing to do to a girl!?
Who goes around comparing a young woman in full bloom to a ghostly character!?
My default looks are t-shirts and jeans.
Although I have worn skirts, for example, to a mixer party at a fancy Italian restaurant. I was just uncomfortable the whole time, and I didn’t even get hit on for my trouble.
When I feel like unwinding a bit and sit down at the counter of the izakaya for a quick drink, and sometimes some random middle-aged dude will buy me a snack for no reason. Well, I am not one to say no to delicious free food, but of course, I am a bit creeped out and perplexed at this attention.
Maybe they think I am actually zashiki-warashi in disguise, mixing it up with humans, and they want to earn my blessings of good fortune with an offering?
And so here I was, this ordinary female ghost… I mean, an ordinary female college student, about to, without notice, get tangled up in a trip to another world.