Happy New Year to all of my readers (if I have any)! I hope you've had a great holiday.
Words to look out for:
Phonetics: A study of how to pronounce words.
Linguistics: Scientific study of how the human language. Covers things like language history, semantics plus much more. Marii's linguistic subject will mainly focus on language history.
Gi: The training uniform that is often used in martial arts such as judo or karate.
Shinai: A bamboo sword that kendo practicioners uses.
Let's get ready for university life! Signing up for all sorts of lessons!
The clock showed 09:30 AM and the female had already gotten out of bed to sign up for her classes. Her room was in a pale shade of blue with a window towards the back yard. Marii had chosen a palette of blue combined with light green for her room. The blanket on her bed was navy blue with thin mint green stripes while the four pillows on her bed were navy blue. Her small rug however was pale green and the there were two posters on her wall. One was from Love Hina while number two pictured a forest scenery during an early summer morning. 'There we go!' thought the young woman with a grin. She had now signed up for Academical writing, English phonetics plus Japanese linguistics. 'Perhaps I should pay the sports centre a visit as well…I should probably sign up for karate as soon as possible' decided the teen as she packed down a small bag.
Her mother had been nice enough to buy her the basic groceries plus other necessities required to buy some food, but she had run out of tomatoes already. It felt a bit odd to be the one in charge of ALL your meals. The female was used to make breakfast as well as lunch but not dinner or snacks. 'Guess it is a part of growing up' thought the brunette when she entered the lobby. It was a wise decision to go there early in the morning; there were only two other people there. Both of them appeared to be juniors or seniors since they chatted about their bachelor paper. This made her a bit nervous. It would only be three years until she would have to do the same.
"Can I help you?" inquired a male voice. The young woman snapped her head a little when she realized that the young man was talking to her. "Uh, yeah. I zoned out for a moment. Sorry about that" admitted Marii with a somewhat nervous smile. "That's OK. Are you here to deliver your application?" asked the greenette while he looked at her papers. "I am. Do you need my ID as well or is this enough?" inquired the female. "Student ID or anything similar will suffice. You can get the ID at your college" informed the man. She slapped her forehead with her right hand; she had not gotten that yet! Good thing that the teen had taken a shower that day. "I have my debit card here. Is that enough?" asked the young woman. He nodded in reply, so she handed over her papers while showing him her ID. "Looks good to me…there we go. You will get your book list as well as your schedule in a couple of days. Do you have any questions?" inquired the male. "Uhm, yes. Were do I sign up for sport lessons? I would like to join the karate club" told the brunette.
The receptionist leaned back and picked up a small booklet. "Karate huh…do you have green belt or higher? We train by level here" replied the young man. "I have green belt with no stripes" informed the female. "You would need to speak with Norio Ueda who is instructing the green belt and up group. The karate sessions are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 PM to 7:30 PM at the sports centre. You can get the application there but you have to hand it in to the instructor" told the greenette. "Thanks. I suppose I can hand in the application tomorrow" replied the female. She then went off to her college building to get her student ID.
"Brazilian ju-jitsu…traditional ju-jitsu…judo!" muttered the male as he looked at the list. He had just signed up for his college courses and was now going to his first judo class. The judo classes back in Kosame used to be in a mini-martial arts centre that was ten minutes away with a bike. Now, the same classes were at the sports centre just five minutes away by feet.
'Judo classes are held on Mondays at 06:45 PM to 08:15 PM and Wednesdays from 07:00 PM to 08:30 PM. All of the classes are held in the first sumo hall. The sensei is Nodoka Miyamoto' thought the young man as he read the timetable he had received.
Stormy blue eyes then looked up at the map over the different halls. Where on earth was the first sumo hall!? He eventually found it; his training would be in a hall at the other end near the ballet room. The teen jogged while keeping an eye on the doors to find a wardrobe he could change in. The corridors all looked the same with white walls combined with pale wooden doors, which made it harder to find the right area. 'FOUND ONE!' thought the male when he saw three male wardrobes close to the ballet rooms. He entered and saw eight other people who were changing into judo gi's. None of them were people from his classes, but there was one who looked familiar. It was someone who had slightly wavy snow white hair plus a tattoo of the kanji for 'winter' at their back. The guy had his back facing him and was putting on his gi.
"Hey…have I seen you before?" inquired the brunette after touching his back. The white-haired guy turned around with a curious look at his face. "I – what!? Is that YOU Arkai-kun!?" exclaimed the guy. The said male recognized him almost at once. It was his old senior Shuichi Tsukino who was two years above him in school. "Tsukino-senpai!? I thought you were going to Kashiwa! What are you doing here!?" asked Arkai. "I decided to move up here last year to continue my degree. I just started on my junior year in physics and some of the courses here have a good reputation. Are you studying here as well?" inquired the young man. "I'm starting on my accountancy degree. First year" answered the younger male. "Great for you Arkai-kun…better doing that than just messing around. Let's get dressed so Miyamoto-senpai won't kill us" muttered the white-haired male. "Kill us? Don't you think that's a bit contradictory considering her name?" mused the teen. "Nope. She may be calm but she's old school. You'll find that out when you meet her" deadpanned the other male. The duo got dressed before they went to the sumo hall.
It was a somewhat large hall that was about 400 square feet (AN: 80 square meters for those who use the metric system) with a floor that was covered with blue mats. A gi-clad woman who appeared to be in her early fifties stood at the other end talking to someone in her phone. She had stone gray hair tied into a high ponytail that reached her shoulders, cool beige skin while her eyes were bright hazel brown. 'That woman must be the teacher of this group. I better introduce myself' thought the guy when he saw her belt. There was a black belt tied around her waist with two golden stripes. He approached her when she ended her call.
"Excuse me, do you have a moment?" inquired the brunette. "I do. What can I help you with?" replied the woman. "My name is Arkai Kurosawa. I'm one of you new students and I'm pleased to meet you" greeted the male before he gave her a bow. "It's nice to meet you in person. My name is Nodoka Miyamoto. I'm pleased to meet you too; I rarely have teenage students here at the university" replied Nodoka after she had returned his bow. "Really?" answered Arkai. "Yes. Most of the people at my university groups are in their twenties or teachers here. Now, please line up behind Fujimoto-kun. She's the blue belt at the left" told the female. "Right sensei" said the guy. He lined up behind Fujimoto as soon as possible.
"Welcome back to the judo classes! I've been looking forward to see you all again. We have three new students here today. Please give a warm welcome to Akiyama Takao, Fujimoto Miki and Kurosawa Arkai!" started the black belt. Everyone gave them a welcome applause. Takao turned out to be an auburn-haired guy who was close to the teen's age while Miki was a black-haired woman in her early twenties. "Let's start with the famous sunny warm-up! Rotate your wrists now…it's important that we warm up our joints" informed the woman as she started to rotate her wrists. 'This is easy' thought the teen as he started to rotate his wrists. They continued moving onto the underarms, shoulders, hips, knees before they ended it off at the ankles.
"Good job everyone…let's move on to part two. We will start jogging around in a circle" instructed the slate-haired female. Everyone started to jog around in a circle. "SPRIIINT!" yelled the female as she turned up the speed a notch. Her petite body then sprinted across the room with impressive speed considering her age. 'Whoa, she is fast for someone who's at my mother's age!' thought the male when he tried to keep up with her. It did not feel that bad in the start, but his lungs started to protest a little later. "Let's slow down to a walk. Try to catch your breath" said the female. Even though she was in her fifties, it did not appear that she was as tired as her students. 'Maybe I underestimated how easy this would be' thought the brunette as he attempted to catch his breath. He admitted that he was not in great shape but he was far from terrible. "Let's sprint again! We have two more of these to go!" shouted Nadoka before she started to sprint again. 'WHAT!? IS SHE KIDDING ME!?' thought the guy in disbelief. But he had not choice but to move his legs again. The next set felt longer than the first despite that the arms on the clock told a different story. "Breathe now…in through your nose…out through your mouth" told the woman in a calm voice. "This was harder than I thought…" muttered Arkai as he walked next to Shuichi. "Yeah. I know how it feels after the first part of the sunny warm-up. But it's gonna get worse" replied the other male. "HOW!? Are we gonna have push-ups or something!?" suggested the guy. "Get down on your stomach students! We are going to take push-ups! I want you all to be strong in your bodies as well as your mind" told Nodoka. Everyone got down at their knees and started to do push-ups. "We will take twenty at my count. One…two…".
Brown eyes looked at the list over classes that could be chosen at the fitness centre. There were SO many to choose one!? Which one should she pick!? 'Kami, this is a nightmare!' thought the female with a somewhat panicked look at her face. She had decided to take up fitness when she moved to Enrai for two reasons. One: To get in shape. Two: To meet new people who had at least one interest in common with her. She had already signed up for the ikebana class, but they would not start until next week or so. "Do you need any help?" inquired a voice from behind. She turned around and saw one of the female staff members standing there with a smile on her face.
"I…I just don't know what class to pick! I would like to start getting in better shape but I don't know if I should choose spinning or treadmill lessons" sputtered Himiko. "So you're all new to training on a gym?" asked the other woman. "Not really. I have done some training at a gym back home in Kumono. I was at the gym once a week or so" told the young woman. "Maybe you should sign up for the women's fitness group? It's a group that does a varied type of training twice a week. They combined cardio and strength in their workouts" informed the staff member.
"Really!? When do they have their lessons?" inquired the teen with a gleam in her eyes. Working out with women could possibly be an opportunity to meet some new friends after all. Not to mention that working in a female only group felt more comfortable since she was shy around guys (especially those who were in physically good shape). "I'll check it out. Just give me a moment please" replied the young woman. She went back to the counter with the female in her heels. "Here it is. The female fitness group is training from 4 PM to 5:30 PM on Wednesdays plus 5:45 PM to 7:15 PM on Fridays" informed the staff member while pointing on a schedule printed on a piece of paper. "I suppose I can meet up tomorrow. How much do I have to pay?" asked the black-haired girl. "It is free if you have a silver membership. If you pay by term, you have to pay 7000 yen (AN: 7000 yen = 82 US dollars or 54-55 GBP) each term. It will give you access to all of our gym classes plus the swimming pool between 10 AM and 8 PM. But if you sign up before Friday next week, you'll get a 1200 yen discount" said the female. She raised her eyebrows; 5800 yen was not cheap. But it could be worth it since she would get access to a lot of stuff.
"Uhm…can I have a look at the different gym rooms? I want to see how it looks like before I decide" told the girl. "Sure. The workout room with the machines is at the second floor. The tennis courts are right in there while the swimming pool is at the end of the corridor" informed the staff member. "Thanks" replied Himiko before she went inside the corridor. She decided to check out the swimming pool first. Sepia eyes scanned the wall in front of her that had a map of all the rooms. 'Workout room is right there…dancing hall plus the martial arts rooms are at the west end. Group workout rooms are at the east wing while the swimming pool is at the right side' memorized the female. Her eyes then darted towards the guest entrance to the swimming hall. She peeked in after making sure there were no people around. The swimming pool was a standard 82 feet (AN: 25 meter) long competition pool with the numbers one to six on them. A small group were gathered at the end; they appeared to do some water gymnastics.
The nurse student closed the door before she made her way to the second floor. Her eyes looked at the map in order to find the workout room. It was right to the left next to the snack machines. She looked inside and saw a number of different machines. There were treadmills lined up next to the doors while some spinning bikes were at the east end. A number of weightlifting machines were at the other end while a small area designed for stretching was at the west end. Some of the machines looked quite similar to those at home while some were unfamiliar to her. One of them appeared to be a chair of some sort where you had to lean back. She closed the door before sitting down at a nearby chair to check her timetable to see how her classes matched up. The last thing the nurse student wanted to do was to miss classes because of the group. Her hand pulled up the small ringer from her pale pink and black messenger bag to see how her timetable was. 'I got psychology I at Wednesday morning from 08:15 AM to 10 AM. Then I have ten minutes break until I start my human biology I at 10:10 AM to 11 AM. Then I have ikebana from 2 PM to 3 PM. I should be able to fit in a gym lesson at Wednesday' thought the girl. Her eyes then looked at Friday. 'Friday has nutrition classes from 09:15 AM to 11 AM. I have one hour off until I start on my human biology classes again from noon to 1:45 PM. Looks like my schedule can fit it in' decided the black-haired female. Unlike Marii, she did not have any sport she had practiced on back in Kumono.
She had started training once or twice at the gym when she was 15-16 years old since she had felt in love with spinning during a P.E. lesson. But training twice a week and perhaps visiting the pool once a week should be good exercise…a nurse had to be in decent shape.
"Phew. I'm cooked" muttered the male as he laid down his shinai. He had signed up for kendo lessons earlier that week and had his first lesson today. There were three groups that were divided by skill at this university. His group (which was the intermediate one) had about ten-fifteen people in it in total. It was not that many since there were quite a big variety of martial arts to choose from at the university.
Kininata headed straight for the shower after he had taken off his uniform. "Aaaaah…" sighed the guy when the warm water trickled down his body. His scarlet hair had now turned almost blood red and was plastered to his head. A faint smell of sandalwood mixed with some musk wafted through the air when he shampooed his hair. It reminded him a bit of home and a small pang of homesickness went through his body. The male did not dislike the university life apart from that he had to cook and clean more often. But he was wondering how his father plus his friends who stayed behind was doing. Enrai was quite far away from Kosame after all. 'Get a grip Kininata' thought the teen while he turned off the water. He then dried himself since his neighbour probably wanted to use the shower as well.
A few minutes later, he was back in his room. It had a warm beige colour on the walls while the window gave him a view of the road that went to the park. His bed was covered with a light orange carpet with pale golden-yellow squares plus three pale yellow pillows (his mother had insisted to buy this for him before leaving Kosame). There was no rug on the floor but there were three posters on the wall from various samurai movies. 'Maybe I should make myself some dinner…thank Kami for the frozen meals' decided the male as he left the room. He had found a large supermarket in the centre yesterday when he was going to buy some school supplies. The downside was that the redhead could only shop as much as he could carry since he had to take the bus. But the upside was that the prices were a bit lower there than on the school at campus.
He pulled out a frozen ready meal on beef curry that was packed with vegetables. 'This pack contains two portions...I think half of this pack should suffice for dinner' thought the guy. He emptied half of the pack into some water and turned on the heat. "Hey Kininata-san" called a familiar voice from the door. Hitoshi entered the room with a grin on his face. "Hey Hitoshi-san. You're beat after the training too?" inquired the biology student. "Yup, especially since I did not exercise that much during the summer. Do you need any spices with that?" replied the guy as he nodded towards the kettle.
"Uhm…I think so. I don't have any spices apart from salt and pepper" admitted the male with a sheepish smile. He was TERRIBLE when it came to cooking; he had even turned some ground meat into some black mass once. Not to mention that anything more complicated than a homemade curry was a foolproof road to disaster. "Hm. Maybe you should take some cooking lessons. I know that the chemistry student down the hall is a pretty good cook. What was her name again…" muttered the chemistry student. "You mean that pretty white-haired girl with brownish eyes?" suggested Kininata. "Yeah, her. I saw her cook up a really impressive tsukiyaki once. Maybe she'll give you some love lessons if you're nice" answered the other guy with a sly smile. "Ehm, no thanks Hitoshi-san" sputtered the guy with red-flushed cheeks.
"If you say so" replied the bluenette before he turned on the water boiler. The redhead started to measure up his portion. A part of him wished that he had paid better attention during cooking classes…those skills would have been quite handy to have now. His hand turned on the stove while he pondered how his life would be here. The male did have more responsibility as well as duties at university compared to his home back in Kosame. But this was the time where one could participate in study groups, sign up for a new sport, get friends from all over the country as well as signing up for subjects that interested you. You did have to take the obligatory lessons off course but there were still some fun minors to take. Kininata smiled while he stirred the curry a little bit; it already started to smell a bit burnt. "Maybe you should turn down the heat a little bit. Curries like these get the best taste when you increase the heat gradually" suggested a female voice. He looked up and saw the white-haired student he had spoken about earlier. "Uhm..thanks" replied the guy before she opened the fridge. Perhaps living at university would mean that his love life would get an upgrade too?
I hope you guys enjoyed reading this chapter. Please read and review!