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[summary] "Daijina Mono" / "What's Important" by Kato Shigeaki (spin-off to "Pink to Gray")
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mou_kai
Thanks to mckee16_88, I got the chance to read the story published in Yasei Jidai #146 last December, so here is an attempt to re-tell it.
(Just in case: "Pink to Gray" summary by spilledmilk25 can be found here, along with a ton of NEWS-related translations)
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This short story is written from Kimoto-kun’s POV and set in the period starting from Gocchi/Shiraki Rengo’s death up to the time when the filming of “Pink to Gray” movie is in progress.
Kimoto-kun is an office clerk; he has a wife and a 3-year-old daughter whom he loves and gets along very well with (tickling, making funny faces, all the nice father-daughter stuff :)). The man never hid the fact that he used to live in the same condominium with the future star, Shiraki Rengo, and that they were childhood friends. Every time he nonchalantly mentions this, it’s like an ice-breaker helping him to communicate with people in a more smooth way. Nobody usually believes him right away, of course, so he shows them an old photo of himself, Gocchi, River-chan and Ishikawa Sari, it’s saved on his smartphone. Once, Kimoto was asked by somebody at work to get Shiraki Rengo’s autograph, and he just made a fake, hoping that Gocchi would understand and forgive him. His life and everything about his personality is completely ordinary, he’s chubby and has nothing to help him stand out, so he’s grateful that he’s got this one, unique “trivia” in his biography – that before he moved to another town around 4th grade, he used to be friends with a future celebrity. It’s like a miracle to him, his lucky charm. Besides, those are memories he’s sincerely fond of.

The story actually greets the reader with a simple, straight-to-the-point phrase: “Gocchi died”.
Kimoto reads the news on the internet during his train ride to the office. He is sad, but not really surprised. He remembers Gocchi as a guy who was always radiant, full of life, – yet gave off the feeling that he could burn out and vanish any moment. It had always been a mysterious part of his charisma, making one care about and be attracted to him all the more.
What does shock Kimoto is that Daiki/Kawatori Dai falls under suspicion of murdering Shiraki Rengo. Kimoto is bombarded with questions, “So, it’s another childhood friend of yours? Do you think it seriously was him? Why would he do that?” Our hero, naturally, feels he’s in no position to speculate about his old friends’ circumstances. It occurs to him, though, that those two had actually kept in touch, while he hadn’t.

Kimoto decides to attend the funeral - after all, it’s the last chance to meet Gocchi. His wife is the only person who is worried and thinks that he probably shouldn’t go. He goes there, anyway… but can’t even bring himself to enter the hall where the ceremony is held. The crowd is being divided into “the fans” and “people concerned”, those who had direct connection with the deceased. Kimoto feels that he is neither of that. Just a childhood friend.

Daiki is finally released from prison, and several months later his autobiographical/ biographical work, “Pink to Gray”, is published. Kimoto pretends to be not interested, but is actually very curious about the contents. Did River-chan mention his name? If yes, what exactly did he write? The book is sold out everywhere within about 2 hours on the 1st day, so Kimoto borrows a copy from a kouhai at work. Next day he tells everyone that he’s not feeling well, to stay at home and read.

It turns out he doesn’t remember clearly the first time they met Daiki (what’s written by the author himself: that he was playing catch ball alone, Kimoto wanted to throw the ball, too, but the thing bounced off the wall in a funny way and hit him right in the face; all 4 kids burst out laughing, and at that moment their bond was born). Kimoto had always thought that they began hanging out in an uneventful flow of everyday life, just because Daiki was their neighbour and went to the same school.
Well, okay, he says to himself, those are River-chan’s memories, and he is describing everything in detail, so it must be me who remembered our first meeting wrong.

Their memories align, though, when it comes to Markov. Kimoto family used to have a pet duck; one day he went missing, and then was found in a nearby park in awful condition: struck with an arrow, covered in paint, half of his feathers torn out. The delinquents who did it were caught and punished, poor duck recovered eventually, but the memory still made older Kimoto cry. The tears were partly caused by the thoughts about Markov’s suffering, partly by the fact that River-chan did remember, and found the event significant enough to write about in his book.

Kimoto starts remembering some other things that weren’t mentioned – that time the kids hunted cicadas, or when they thought Daiki had caught some terrible unknown disease, which turned out to be allergy… But then, again, he tells himself that the book is about Daiki and Gocchi, he is glad that River-chan mentioned him at all.

He was sneaky about reading the book, but his wife noticed, of course. Kimoto thinks that she’s acting weird, too distant, so he asks her what’s wrong. “It’s like you’re a different person”, he says half-jokingly. She retorts with: “Don’t you think it’s you who’s changed?” She is unhappy about her husband’s obsession over all that: the buzz after Rengo’s suicide, Katwatori Dai suddenly becoming popular and writing the book, etc. She accuses him of clinging to the past, to the lives of people he had nothing to do with anymore.
He is annoyed: “But didn’t you first spoke to me only because you wanted to know more about Shiraki Rengo?”

“Look, you are not “Shiraki Rengo’s and Kawatori Dai’s childhood friend”. The fact that they were your friends is totally random. They are not a part of you. Even if they both were gone, you would still be yourself. It’s time you finally realize that.”

The couple’s relationship gets a bit sour for a while, but that heated conversation becomes a turning point for Kimoto. He isn’t happy anymore with people pestering him about Kawatori Dai, isn’t amused with jokes that the child actor who plays “him” in the movie adaptation is not fat enough, etc. Now he is not interested for real. He found out from the book that Gocchi and Daiki got reunited with Sari at one point, and their lives got intertwined again. However, he comes to realize that if the older he met them, it would be completely different. They’d probably feel nostalgic and agree to go out for a meal some time - but that’s that. His wife was right. He has nothing to do with their lives. They once became childhood friends through pure chance. It was great, but there were other encounters like that, as well. He doesn’t have to use this part of his past to prove anything, to define who he is. He just had been afraid that everyone would abandon him if he disappointed them.
He has a family to come home to though; his life is ordinary, but every moment of it is very important.
“This is where I am now. I belong here, it’s a solid truth.”

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Thank you very much for the summary.^o^
i almost forgot that pink n gray had spin off if you're not post this summary X(

Thank you for dropping me a comment, glad to know that this post was useful to you! ^^

Well it's very pleasant to know all sensei's works, right? ^o^

Totally agree, each of them is precious, he works hard as a writer~

Thank you so much :D It's great then I can read this thanks to you :D

By the way you have in plan subbing the movie "Pink and Gray"? :D

Glad to know that it was of some help! ^.^

I'm working little by little on the 4th part of Shige's "Shin Jidan Koshounin Ura File" now, but if nobody takes up subbing "Pink&Gray" in the nearest future, I might give it a try

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