Chapter 3 – JK idol is interested in arcade games (part 3)
After various things, we both went to the arcade.
As it turns out, even an idol has a lot of problems to deal with.
However, I pointed out one problem to her.
"I don't want to be seen with Sakurazaki-san and 'burn' scandal."
Getting burned is scary.
If it became public that I went to the arcade with an idol, Sakurazaki Nako, it would definitely burn up on the internet.
If that happened, my peaceful daily life would be disrupted.
"You don't have to worry about that!"
There always seems to be countermeasures that she always does to not get caught that she is an idol.
"There are 'fake glasses'!"
Fake glasses... will it be okay with just that?
Sakurazaki took fake glasses out of her bag and quickly put them on.
"How? Does it suit me?"
With the red framed glasses, it wasn't obvious at first glance, but after getting used to it a bit it was obvious that it was her.
It's impossible to go to an arcade full of otaku in this disguise.
"It's impossible with such a disguise."
“That's true! But, that's not what I mean now! ...Cute, right?”
"Hmm... are you my anti-fan or what?"
"I'm just not interested, is there a problem?"
"All right, all right, then."
After getting a little irritated, she started walking in front of me.
As a popular idol and an introvert, normally we wouldn't meet, but this time we walked together without thinking about it.
"Now turn that way, right."
“Eh? That's not the way to the station, is it?”
“Yeah, you're right. Because it's impossible to take you who only wears glasses to a crowded arcade.”
"Then where are we going?"
“Today, we will just go to this place.”
As we turned right, I stopped a short distance away.
In front of me is a rundown arcade connected to a coin laundry. In front of it was an old sign with the word “Arcade” written on it.
“T-this is the arcade?”
"Yeah, it's a good arcade too."
“D-dirty... hey, have you ever dated a girl before?”
“I often eat with my childhood friend.”
"If you have any complaints, I'll just go home."
“I-I see, I won't complain… Ah, never mind. Unfortunately our time off is being used for this…”
“Don't comment before trying. During weekdays, this place is usually quiet so the risk of being caught as an idol is quite low. So let's just relax."
I quelled Sakurazaki's groaning anger and we went inside.
The arcade owner read the newspaper while listening to a horse race on the radio behind the counter.
The same scenery as always gave off a feeling of security.
“This place only has medal games and clichéd UFO claw machines, but please don't complain.”
“This place is like trash......but yeah”
Sakurasaki pouted dissatisfied and showed a sad face.
"Because if we were to walk alone in the crowd in front of the station and it became a scandal, it would be troublesome wouldn't it?"
Sakura suddenly blushed, tugged at my sleeve and looked down at me.
“But more important than that, teach me how to play! This is my first time to the arcade”
“Alright, alright…… But, is this really your first time here? You must have been here at least once, right?”
“This is really the first time. Because my parents are very strict saying that it is not allowed to go to a place like this since childhood”
... Well, parents like that are everywhere.
For now, we decided to try the medal game first.
“First of all, we bought 10 medals for 100 yen from the medal vending machine here. Then, we play with the machines around here and try to win more medals.”
After that, I put the cup under the medal ejection hole in the vending machine and put in 100 yen.
I gave the medal that came out with a jangling sound to Sakurazaki.
"Here, a medal."
"Woah, if I collect these medals and increase them, I will get something?"
"No, you will get nothing."
"... Hah? So, why do you have to collect these medals?”
“It depends on the person. Some people treat it like money and get tense while collecting it, while others see only the value in the medal. Basically, these medals are just tickets to play games and have nothing to do with grades or anything.”
Now, if we're talking strictly about profits, maybe there's a law or something involved, but I don't know the details so I'll just shut up.
"I don't really get it, but now let's try playing with this."
Sakurazaki sat on the big game machine chair in the middle of the room once she got 10 medals.
Even though it's late, I wonder if it's okay to bring an active JK idol into a dreary arcade like this.
"Hey, how does the mechanism work?"
“Oh, it's a pushing machine where the rolled medals will be pushed from behind and the medals will fall.”
"Wow, looks easy. Look at my bold figure, Himahara-kun!”
However, in less than a minute, the medals were gone.
“Ugh, what is this!”
I couldn't help but laugh.
"Wait! Do not laugh!"
“Sorry, but this is funny hahaha!”
“Grrr! Making fun of rookies is fun huh?”
"As expected of an active JK idol, you are cute here."
“If you make fun of it so much, can you do it?”
"No, if I did, I would play with the machines over there."
I pointed at the poker game placed on the wall.
"What's that? Doesn't seem very pleasant."
“It was a poker game with medal stakes. But, whether it's fun or not, depends on each person's taste.”
For fifteen minutes, I played in front of the poker machine quietly. And then,
"This is it, Sakurazaki-san. I earned 100 medals here, so feel free to use it to play on that pushing machine.”
"Wow, can I?!"
"Yeah, something should happen if you put 100 medals in."
“Thank you, Himahara-kun!”
As I passed the medal cup, I thought of something.
Perhaps, the way the world's economy works is like this image in itself.
An ordinary person like me does boring jobs to contribute to the happiness of idols, while those who excel get the better part...
“Himahara-kun? You look like you realized something, are you okay?”
“...Just enjoy your pleasure.”
The pushing machine has reached the point where if one more ball is added to that medal pile it will create a jackpot opportunity. I explained briefly, and Sakurazaki agreed to start the game while nodding.
"H-Himahara-kun, why don't you sit down? Standing for too long must be tiring, right?"
"That's right, I'll take the chair from there."
While loading the medal into the machine, Sakurazaki grabbed my arm with his other hand.
"The seat is empty, so sit next to me."
Sit with the idol in that chair where two people can barely sit.
There was no space between us and our arms touched as he thoughtfully loaded the medal into the machine.
“I have been a child actress since childhood, very busy every day, and never play with my friends. I think work is the meaning of my life. But one day I thought... That's no fun. Even being an idol isn't that fun these days."
"Is it true?"
"Yes. I grew to dislike being expected to do something – the expectations from fans, society and especially my parents.”
Well, with so much care and expectation, anyone would definitely feel a bit uncomfortable.
“So I wanted to do something fun at least somewhere else. Like you said earlier, you should find out for yourself whether it's fun or not.”
At that time, Sakurazaki's smile was different from her usual smile.
It was a pure smile that wasn't faked.
I couldn't tell just by looking at it... it should be, but I immediately thought so.
“Hey, if you don't mind…”
She took my hand and squeezed it with both of her hands.
“I want you to teach me fun things from now on...”
At that moment, the Jackpot music starts and the roulette wheel starts spinning, indicating the jackpot.
At that moment, medals came out of the jackpot and filled the place.
"What's this? Amazing! The medals are pouring out, Himahara-kun!”
“Wow, what a…”
The medals didn't fit in the cup, so I brought a small box and put the overflowing medals inside.
"It's a great feeling, even if it's just a medal and not money, why did this feeling arise?"
"I'm sure that's part of the fun of the medal game,"
“Oh, but I have to go home soon. what should I do with all these medals?”
"We can save it here,"
"Can you really do it?"
“I can, but it only lasts for about a month,”
After completing the procedures for saving the medals at the counter, I returned to Sakurazaki.
"I have save the medal in the name of Sakurazaki, you can come yourself and play with it later,"
"I want to play with you again next time."
“Uh…I'd rather be with you!”
“…But we have a lot of medals and I can secretly raise capital by myself, so I can play alone.”
"You do not understand! That's enough!"
I don't know what it was, but all I know is that it hurt Sakurasaki's mood.
A game caught my attention.
"Oh yes, Sakurazaki. Is there a prize you want from that game?”
The game is a rope-cutting prize-taking machine usually found in game centers as part of a stock sale.
If you can, with one coin, you can pick up the prize you want easily at the customer service desk.
“Huh? Why suddenly?"
“Never mind, just choose”
“Uh, then… this”
Sakura pointed at the popular mascot doll.
I confirmed and immediately put in 100 yen and started playing.
Then, with one try, I got it.
The doll fits right in Sakurazaki's arms.
"Eh, is this true?"
“Yes, I took it to give it to you. Not worth much, so forgive me.”
“...Ah, thank you. I will take good care of it”
While hiding her face behind the doll, Sakurazaki said that.
It was late at night.
The train Sakurazaki and I were on seemed to be going in opposite directions, and we had to part ways on the platform of this station.
“T-thank you so much today.”
"Does that ease your mind a bit?"
"Yes. With this I can fight tomorrow.”
Sakurazaki took off her glasses and turned her back on me.
"Alright, see you later, Himahara-kun."
"Yes, see you later."
Sakurazaki boarded the train and headed home.
Active JK idols must be busy.
However, one thing I do know is that while she is an idol, she is also an ordinary girl my age.
“See you later” ... yes.
It was tiring enough to walk with an idol while feeling so nervous.