HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! How are you doing!?

This is the second instalment of my university story. Our beloved quartet is about to start at their second year at university. It won't be as hard as their first in some ways, but it will be harder in others.

Words to look out for:

137 Ibs. = 62,3 kg or 9 st 11 Ibs. Keep in mind that the person weighing this is 5'5" or 165 cm.

250 yen = 2,50 US$, 1,5 GBP£ or 1,8 euro.

Our sophomores returns!

A black Suzuki was driving towards the campus area. "There it is" informed the female as she pointed at Amegumo College. The older male did a small turn as he approached the building. "You can start carrying up the items Marii. I'll talk with the people in the lobby" told Masao as he stopped the car. "Sure" replied the girl with a smile before she climbed out of the car. She was glad that her father was going on a conference this weekend so he could give her a ride. Not that the teen had a lot of baggage with her; it was mostly clean clothes plus bed sheets. Her hand fumbled with the keys as she entered the building. Since the language student was not planning on changing dormitory building, she had been allowed to keep her dorm room. The only downside was that she had to pay a small fee each month for maintainance. She decided to say yes because she had three more years left.

Her grades had improved a bit as well; she had only failed her grammar exam but had gotten decent grades on the other two. She entered the lobby and was surprised of how empty it was. There were only two or three students in there with their parents. 'Maybe it was a good thing to come here early' thought the female. It was only 09:30 AM plus that it was four days until the school year would begin. Masao lined up in the queue while the brunette jogged up to her room. Her hands fumbled a little with the keys as she entered the familiar hallway. 'There we go…' thought the girl as she unlocked the room. She opened it moments later while she tried to hold her large bag. A smile formed at her face while a sense of familiarity spread through her body. The room was just as clean as she had left it with the same posters hanging on the wall. Her duvet as well as her pillow lay at the bed with no bed sheets. The carpet that covered her bed lay in a neatly folded pile in her big chair with the pillows at the top. An old or dusty smell lingered in the air since it had not been used in a while.

'I better start doing the bed before I pack out the rest. Then, I have to open the windows a bit so I can get this smell out' decided Marii. Her hands zipped up her bag as she started to pack out her deep blue bed sheets. It took a small while to put on the blanket since she had to pull a bit to make it fit. Good thing that her mother had insisted on buying one with a decent quality or else it would have shrank in the washing machine. 'Time for the duvet cover' thought the female as she turned it inside out. Her hands grabbed a corner each on the duvet before she put on the cover. It did not take long, but she actually had to go inside the cover in order to flatten out the duvet properly. 'Phew' thought the language student before her father showed up in the door frame. "I need you to come down for a moment. The man downstairs says that you need to identify yourself" told the man. "OK. I'll just put the duvet here for a moment" replied the girl as she laid the duvet on the bed. She then followed her father downstairs to the lobby with her debit card ready. The guard nodded as he saw her. "Good you're here. Please show me an ID card like your driver license or your credit card" told the man. The teen showed him her debit card. He nodded and handed her the contract plus a pen. Her hand signed both of the places where she needed to sign. "Here you go" said the brunette as she handed the paper back. "Looks good to me…welcome to another year at Amagumo" replied the staff member with a smile at his face. "Thanks" answered the female with a skinny grin. "I'll carry your TV up now Marii" informed Masao as they went out to the car again. "Good. I'll just do my bed before I unpack the rest" told Marii. They split up and started to unpack the rest of the baggage they had brought with them.

"Good thing we made it early Arkai" sighed Hisao as they drove into the campus area of Enrai. They had driven to the northern part of Kashiwa and had spent the night there. The duo had then continued their journey at 07:00 AM in order to get to Enrai before noon. "Looks like we made it in time; it's only 11:10 AM now" told the younger male with a smile. "Right…could you tell me where your college building is?" inquired the older man. "It's straight forwards for two or three minutes" replied Arkai as he pointed forwards. His father nodded as their car headed straight forwards. 'I can't wait to get back at university again. I just hope that some of my classmates are still going strong' thought the guy. He knew for sure that two of his classmates had transferred to Kintsuki in order to take some business-related subjects.

But the rest remained uncertain…which he did not like. One thing the teen had missed about high school was to see his friends after the summer holidays. "Have you heard from any of your friends?" inquired his father as he stopped the car for a moment. "I know that Himiko arrived yesterday. Osamu as well as Tatsuo are coming later today while Kininata got here two days ago" shouted the male in order to drown out the sound of the truck passing them. His father nodded as he started the engine of their trusted Honda car.

"There it is" told the accountancy student as he pointed at Raiu College. The car slowed down as they approached the building. "I'll sign the contract for you while you lock up your room" told his father as he stopped the engine of the car. "Right dad" replied the guy before he went out of the car. The duo entered the college building and noticed that there was no queue there. "I guess we-". The male brunette stopped talking when he saw that the guard was sleeping behind the desk. Hisao looked a bit amused as he walked over to the guard. He grabbed his shoulders and shook them a little bit. "Hu-what?" muttered the man who had just been waked up. He blinked a couple times while he looked at the person in front of him.

"Excuse me, I'm here to renew a contract for my son here. He's starting on his second year at this university" informed the other man. The guard nodded before he pulled up a ring binder that had a couple of papers in them. "My name is Kurosawa Arkai. I kept my room over the summer. The number is 302" told the male as he approached the counter.

The older male flipped through the papers until he stopped at one with his name on it. "Do you have any ID? Like a credit card or a student ID?" inquired the guard. "Yeah…here's my student ID plus my approval papers from the school" replied Arkai. He then handed the papers he had brought with him over to the man. Light brown eyes checked the numbers on the ID card with the ones in his binder plus the letter from the university. "You're good to go. Welcome back Kurosawa-san" told the man. "Thank you" said the guy with a grin.

"NO…FRIGGIN…WAY" muttered Himiko as she stepped on the scale her neighbor had borrowed her. She had weighed 137 Ibs! 'I've gained FIVE pounds over the holidays! No wonder that my clothes are getting tight' panicked the female. She had not exercised as much during the holiday plus that she had stayed at her grandmother's house last week. This had resulted in a lot of nice food plus less exercise. 'I guess I can't eat like I want to…so much for leaving my teens' concluded the nurse student. This required a weight-loss plan. One that would make her drop at least five pounds plus keeping them away from her body.

'Maybe I should look up at the internet' thought the girl. She typed in 'diet loss plan' in the search engine before pressing enter. Millions of suggestions popped up just seconds afterwards. 'I should try to sort them out. Some of these look quite stupid; I don't think it is healthy to cut out stuff like carbs completely. Plus that I can't afford expensive diet pills…the cheaper ones will probably be a gamble I am not willing take' decided the inky-haired female. Her eyes then caught on something that looked like a more sensible approach.

It was a website that said 'Sensible dieting by dr. Mana Ueno'. She had heard about that doctor earlier; she had seen her as a guest at programs about health. Chocolate brown eyes read the text that stood at her web page. 'If you want to lose weight the sensible way, you should exercise moderately three or four times a week depending on age and weight. Don't cut out strength training since this will make your body burn calories for longer' read the female.

'Please use the calculator below to find out how much calories your body needs to maintain daily functions. This is called basic metabolic rate or BMR. Add 400 calories if you want to maintain your weight and add 150-200 calories if you want to lose weight. Start with the maintenance weight and cut down 100 calories per week until you reach the BMR. Stay on the BMR for a maximum of eight weeks before you increase your calorie intake by 200. Do not forget to exercise slightly harder or more in order to maintain your weight. DO NOT GO BELOW 1200 CALORIES UNLESS YOU ARE SUPERVISED BY A DOCTOR OR A NUTRITIONIST' read the text. The last sentence had bold letters. 'I suppose I can give this a go' thought the female. She typed in her height, weight, age as well as her activity level. The number that popped into the BMR tab was 1388. 'I should be able to reach my goal weight within two months if I do this diet. Which is more sensible than those crash diets that popped up' thought Himiko.

She then clicked onto the calorie count chart to see just how many calories there was in a number of common foods. A number of small icons that resembled food you ate everyday were ranked according to their calorie content. The 20-year old decided to go for one of her favourite food first, which was noodles. She scrolled up to the noodle cup to see how bad or good her comfort food was. 'HOLY…THAT'S WORSE THAN I THOUGHT!' mentally screamed the girl when she saw the number. It was almost a QUARTER of what she needed every day in just ONE CUP! A part of her felt a little sad since this meant that this dish had to go. But perhaps it was possible to replace it with something else? 'Good thing I'm not that much into beef or anything like that. The calorie content there is almost as high' thought the raven-haired female when she looked further up on the chart. Her mind then went to the cookbook where she had written down some of her staple dishes she had cooked after moving away from home.

'Some of the lowest calorie food here are vegetables as well as some types of fruit. But I need to get my proteins somewhere…Jun-senpai is quite avid about that' decided the girl. She then started to look for meat as well as other stuff with protein in it. Her muscles as well as her hair needed that stuff BADLY. 'Chicken does not look that bad as long as I use spices. Fish and tofu are good too. But I probably have to cut out the oil completely for that calorie content' pondered the sophomore. She then decided to have a look in her cook book to see what dishes she could tweak a little bit.

'I need to get rid of the noodles in my meals. The same thing goes for oily things. I can probably use something else instead' decided the female as she flipped through the pages. Her chicken stir fry was still within reach, but the mushrooms as well as the vegetables had to be checked. A small wave of sadness went through her when realizing that the sweets were out of the question too…thank Kami for light ice creams. 'I can't exactly gorge on those either since they're too expensive. But at least I can have them once or twice a week as a treat' thought Himiko. She decided that she had to write up a list of food to buy for her new diet. 'I probably have to get tough. This diet is supposed to be followed for at least eight weeks in order to see an effect. I just hope it's worth it' thought the girl. Her hand ripped out a page from a notebook before she started to write down the things she needed.

A small 'ding' could be heard as the male entered the supermarket. This was a big supermarket in the city center of Enrai. It had a bigger selection of food plus that the shop itself had a more open design. Finding food here was a bit easier compared to the other supermarket near campus, but it was not easy to get here by bus. His mother had agreed to buy some of the base foods with him on her bill. "I need to make sure you don't come home as malnourished as you did last Christmas" had Yukiko told her son when he had tried to decline her offer. She actually struck a chord there since Kininata had not looked that well when he had gotten home last year during Christmas. He had mainly lived off vegetables, omelets, toast, soup, crackers, candy plus some odd cups of noodles. This had resulted in dull skin plus a minor weight loss to begin with. Then was his crazy digestive system that rebelled due to the lack of fiber. His mother had then given him a crash course in cooking during the Christmas break with a follow-up course during the summer.

The guy had now improved his skills a fair bit. He was able to make some good breakfasts that would be a fresh breath of variation. On the new dinner menu was some stir fries as well as a couple of wok dishes. To make it even better, his mother had shown him some good places to buy frozen vegetables and meat fillets. "All right Kininata-kun! Let's start with the meat" told the woman after he had picked up a trolley for them. He nodded in agreement before they went towards the meat section. "We need three types of meat. One type of chicken, one type of fish plus some minced meat you can use in your stir fries or woks" said the ginger-haired female as she glanced down at the shopping list.

"Hm…" muttered the guy as he looked at the meat on the two shelves. Both of the shelves were placed conveniently near where the butcher worked. He only knew how chicken fillets looked like thanks to the barbeque he had been at with his friends. Emerald eyes scanned the shelves for the types of meat that his mother had told him to look for. There were at least ten types of chicken meat to look for and the sophomore felt a little lost. 'Focus now' thought the male as he picked up a packet of chicken. It had 1 kg in it, but it only cost 1000 yen. He laid it in the trolley while the female had already laid some salmon in there. "Good job Kininata-kun. I'm quite sure this should be easy to fit into your freezer back at your kitchen. Let's see if we can find the minced meat" told Yukiko with a smile. The duo did not use long time to find the minced meat. Next up was the frozen vegetables…they were A LOT harder than the meat. There were a huge amount of bags in the large freezer next to them.

"Kami. What should I pick!?" groaned the redhead as he looked at the different bags. There were AT LEAST ten different types of vegetable bags that all had different sizes. Some were clearly meant for just two people while others were big enough to feed a family of four. "Now now. Think about what kind of vegetables you like to eat and look for them" advised the older woman. His eyes glanced at the different bags until they stopped at one sort in the middle. It was a bag that contained carrots, water chestnuts, broccoli, cauliflower plus mini corn. A smile formed at his face since he liked at least four out of the five vegetables there. He was a little unsure of the water chestnuts though. "Great. Let's go and find something you can have for lunch. I suggest we split up so we can find what we need a bit faster" stated his mother before they headed for the 'greens' section. Several types of fruits plus vegetables lay in different sections of each shelf. A couple of the large ones had been cut up into smaller pieces while some had been placed in small plastic boxes.

The guy headed straight for the pears as well as the bananas. Those two were his 'go to' snacks right after a hard kendo session. Not to mention that he could mix frozen bananas with some light peanut butter for an awesome dessert; he had to thank his brother there. His older sibling had shared a couple super-easy recipes that could be used for light meals. 'This should suffice' decided Kininata after he had laid six bananas in his plastic bag. He went back to the trolley where he saw the older female. "I got a packet of eggs too. They were on sale" informed Yukiko before she nodded her head towards the egg section. The medium eggs were now down to just 250 yen for twelve while the larger ones were 'buy 1 get 1 free'. "All that's left is milk, squash, beer plus some candy" informed the male as he looked at the list. He pushed the trolley towards the dairy section where he saw a familiar face. The sophomore biology student had to take a double take when he saw Hitoshi stand in front of the yogurt section with his mother. She had pale cornflower blue hair that reached her shoulders, pale skin plus a somewhat athletic body frame. The woman was about seven inches shorter than her son. "Hitoshi! Over here!" yelled the guy while he waved his hand.

His neighbor turned around with a surprised look at his face. "Kininata! Didn't knew you were here too" stated the other male with a small grin. "Who is this?" inquired the woman next to him with a curious look at her face. "Oh…this is my neighbor Kininata Yukimura. We agreed to keep our rooms since we're both starting on our second year this autumn. This is my mother Kininata" informed the bluenette as he gestured towards his parent. "My name is Chiyo Fuyutsuki. It's nice to meet you Kininata-kun. I was hoping that I could meet some of my son's university friends while I was here in Enrai" told Chiyo before she gave him a respectful bow. The redhead returned the bow; she seemed like a nice woman.

"Wait a minute. Are you from Yozamu!?" inquired Yukiko with a surprised look at her face. "Yes. Why do you ask?" replied the woman. "I'm from there as well! My name is Yukiko Yukimura" told the other female. "Whoa. It's a small world" laughed the female bluenette. "I guess we can gather the rest of the groceries while you two can chat a little bit. Can we meet at the check-out counter in five minutes?" suggested her son. The mothers nodded and the two university students headed off to find their candy. "Did Yukiko-san sponsored your food too?" inquired the chemistry student as they went towards the chocolate section. "Yeah. She wanted me to have some decent basics that I could cook from. She was quite insisting since I came home malnourished last Christmas" admitted the other male with a sheepish smile. He was quite sure that many students were going through the same ordeal, but it was embarrassing nevertheless. His neighbor laughed while he laid a bag of M&M's in his trolley. "I was getting a little worried about you around that time. I suppose I got a little lucky since my mother work as a professional chef in a restaurant. She gave me a HEAP of cooking lessons after my 16th birthday" said the other guy. 'Maybe I should have asked him for some advice during my first year' thought the biology student as he laid a bag of mini Snickers in his trolley.

"I got a crash course during that Christmas plus a follow-up this summer. I should be able to cook some more food now" stated the guy as he walked towards the wine gum shelves. "Good to hear that. Do you have any more at your list now?" inquired Hitoshi. Kininata glanced down at the list before he looked at the groceries in his trolley. "No, I think I have everything I need" confirmed the male. "Great. Let's grab some beer then. We only have two minutes left until we have to meet our mothers" suggested the other guy. "Sounds awesome" replied the redhead and followed his friend to the beer section. He could already feel that this year would be better than his first. The young man was now an official adult that was more capable of living on his own compared to the previous year. But what was left to see was all the experiences that would come this year…he hoped none of them would break him.

So...I hope this was a good start on the new story. Reviews or constructive criticism is much appreciated ^_^