If... (Prologue)

I always thought it was so cliché. But now when people ask me what my wish would be if given one? I would say “I wish I could turn back the clock…” (more...)


Till then... Chapter Two - I

Gotou sat solemnly in a cushioned foldable metal chair in a dim quiet corner of an otherwise stuffy and noisy film-set studio. The air in the studio was getting suffocating, as was the air in her chest. Moments ago, she had turned down Natsumi’s offer of a mini battery-operated fan, and it wasn’t that she didn’t need it, she just didn’t have the mood to use it. Natsumi had walked off looking rather rejected, but if she had been more observant, she would understand that the turning down of her good gesture had nothing to do with the little bicker that happened among senior and junior members this morning, but more with what’s happening in another part of the studio right now.

watashi otoko da ze.

watashi otoko da ze,” Ishikawa mimicked.

chigau anta wa onna deshou?”

watashi otoko da ze,” Ishikawa continued as she looked at the camera, paying no heed to Yoshizawa, who decided that she had enough.

kanojo boshuu chuu… please apply here,” Yoshizawa stepped forward and spoke into the camera, and made a gesture with her finger pointing down marking a line as if knowing that wordings would later be added to the footage during editing. And this time, her little gesture seemed to garner the much-needed attention from Ishikawa.

“Wait, what about me then?” Ishikawa protested.

“Don’t listen to her,” Yoshizawa continued while still looking at the camera. “She’s just a friend,” she said seriously.

“Yossi, I thought we’re always raburabu together?” Ishikawa pouted her lips as she pulled Yoshizawa by the arm and swung it side to side. There was nothing else Yoshizawa could do when Ishikawa had turned cute and cherubic.

“Oh mine,” she cooed as she looked into those black lovely eyes and couldn’t help but give Ishikawa a hug, who let out soft screams of delight.

Back in the dim corner, someone felt a tight grip seizing her chest…

Yoshizawa looked around the studio and could not find Gotou. It seemed to her that Gotou had just disappeared into thin air as soon as the filming had ended. After taking a double check, she was quite convinced that her friend had indeed vanished, but to where? When everybody else, Yoshizawa counted, was still in the studio.

“Yossi?” Ishikawa, who had made herself visible in front of Yoshizawa, said. “Let’s go shopping later.”


“Come on, you had turned me down yesterday, running off just like that even though we were supposed to go out together.”

If Ishikawa hadn’t reminded her, Yoshizawa might have felt better. She stood there mulling, thousand thoughts spinning through her head; well actually, there’s only one thought: where’s Gotou?

“I don’t care,” Ishikawa said as she pulled Yoshizawa along toward the exit. Left with no choice, Yoshizawa could only follow.


akai nikkichou: 15th October 2009

(author's note: not for innocent eyes, I mean it.)

Lazy, talk about being lazy. Yes, almost everyone knows how lazy she can really be. There are times you even hear her admitting it on TV and radio or event shows that she can be really really lazy - and let me tell you, she ain’t lying about it. She can be so lazy and lethargic that you won’t believe the degree of her laziness. An example is when we are having sex and I have the strap-on and we’re doing doggie style, she’d just lie facing down instead of on her knees and elbows. Yes, down and flat like a dead fish. How do I start, you ask. Well, she’d just raise her butt a little - even so, she'd do it as if it required her greatest effort - so that we can fuck. Yes, that’s how torpid she can be. And she’d be lying still, so still and so motionless that sometimes it feels as if I were having sex with someone who’s actually asleep, except that she really wasn’t in this case, because I can’t imagine anyone being able to sleep while engaging in some mind-blowing sex. Another tell-tale: with her face lying on her side, I could always see, from where I was behind her, a lazy grin on her lips when I glided in and out of her. Even though her eyes would be closed all the time, again giving you the impression that she’s sleeping, I know she’s enjoying it as much as I do; that's what really matters. But, sometimes I do wonder... what if one day, I just lie there and let her do all the work.


Till then... Chapter One - III

“So, do you like our new single?” Even when Gotou hadn’t responded, Yasuda continued, “I heard the TV station has chosen it to be the theme song for the Sydney Olympics.” It wasn't awhile before Yasuda realized Gotou wasn’t really listening, she waved a hand in front of Gotou’s face. “Gocchan?”


“What’s wrong? Is something bothering you?” Yasuda asked as she popped a piece of lettuce in her mouth and chewed.


Yasuda placed down her fork. “Oh you’re such a lousy liar. Come on, tell me what’s wrong.”

“No, I’m ok, really.” Now, if Gotou could see herself, she would understand why Yasuda hadn’t believed her.

“Then why aren’t you eating? I thought you like Caesar salad?”

Gotou smiled. When she began to show signs of hesitation, Yasuda urged on. “Come on~”

And finally, Gotou succumbed. “Well, I’m just curious, but… have you ever been in love?”

“I knew it!” Yasuda said as she slammed her hand on the tabletop, and her action quickly sent Gotou back to her reticent self.

“No, it’s not what you think it is.”

“Aha. In a nutshell, you’re having love problems.” Yasuda resumed her eating and the glint in her eyes told Gotou that she believed nothing else. Gotou straightened her back and leaned forward, and then she began to whisper as if the people around them were all listening.

“No, you don’t understand. I don’t think you really do. I just asked what I asked because, you know, I was curious.” Emphasis was placed on the last word.

Was. So you aren’t now.”

“Yah…” Gotou drawled.

“All right, all right. I won’t tease you anymore.” Yasuda stopped her laughing and turned serious. “Well, the answer is ‘no’, but when I was in high school, there was this guy that I liked—” She stopped when the ringing in Gotou’s duffle bag became louder and louder. Looking apologetic, Gotou took out her cellphone, and after a quick look on the display screen, she muted the device and placed it back where it came from. “You are not answering it?” Yasuda asked.

“I don’t know the caller. Could be wrong number. Anyway, where are we?”

Yasuda thought she had seen Gotou smiling when she was looking at the caller’s name just now; Gotou must have known the caller, but why was she lying? Before Yasuda could continue, there was another ringing and this time, the ringing came from her bag. She dug out her phone and answered the call. “Hello? Yes. Yes.” A smile formed on her face. “Right, I’m with her. Wanna join us? Yep. The restaurant just around the corner. Wait for you.” Cutting the call, Yasuda turned to Gotou and said: “Yossi’s coming.”

The words seemed to have perked Gotou up as she looked in the direction where the restaurant’s entrance was. Silly me, she thought. She knew Yocchan couldn’t be this quick, however, she couldn’t help but look again.

Oblivious to the sudden change in Gotou’s behaviour, Yasuda continued, “ok, where were we? Oh yah. Actually, I feel it’s better if we concentrate on our career now as—”

“She’s here!” Gotou smiled and raised her hand.

Yasuda turned over her shoulder to see Yoshizawa hurrying to their table, and before she could acknowledge her junior, she received a hard slap on her shoulder.

“Yo! Check it out! CHO!” Yoshizawa said cheerfully, and perhaps a tad too loud, as some of the diners had turned to look in her direction.

“Cut it out, cho! You’re not recording now.” Yasuda rubbed her painful shoulder while Yoshizawa settled into the seat vacated by Gotou, who had shifted herself inwards, and when Yasuda saw Yoshizawa behaving nonchalantly despite the little hoo-ha she just caused with her grand entrance, she felt more pissed. “I thought you’re supposed to be with Rika-chan?” she hissed.

“Well, she dumped me.” Yoshizawa said and smiled without any tinge of sadness.

“What?” Gotou asked. “I mean why?”

“Yeah, isn’t it funny? You know, her mum called up and suddenly, she was rushing home,” Yoshizawa explained. “Oh, nevermind.”

Well, the truth was no one actually minded. Not Yasuda, although she would have preferred if Yoshizawa hadn’t slapped her. And definitely not Gotou, who felt rejuvenated. And so, the three girls made themselves really comfortable settling into their seats and they began to chat and chat. They talked and talked even when their plates were cleared and glasses were emptied and they never seemed to run out of topics: Pucchimoni, their coming trip to Sydney and their favourite, which was to gossip about Mayumi, their dance teacher and choreographer.

But when the sky had turned really dark and time had gotten really late, they knew they had to leave. Outside the restaurant, they bode each other goodbye and took a cab home respectively.

Now, the evening turned out to be great afterall, at least two of the girls felt.


Till then... Chapter One - II

In the noisy and crammed gakuya, Ishikawa Rika, who together with Yoshizawa, Tsuji and Kago had made up the four members of the fourth generation girls that was added to Morning Musume, stuffed her damp towel into her voluminous bag, looked around her makeup desk, satisfied that she had left nothing behind, and zipped up her bag. She turned to Yoshizawa and asked: “So Yocchan, where are we going to later? Dinner first then shopping or shopping first then dinner?”

The shocked expression on Yoshizawa when she looked up was evident. “What?” she asked.

“I just asked you ‘where are we going to later?’”

Yoshizawa’s eyes widened considerably, and from the look alone, Ishikawa knew that her friend must have forgotten about their yakusoku. “Jeez! You HAVE forgotten about it right?”

If Yoshizawa had tried to feign it, she had done a bad job. Oh shit… she hissed. And almost instinctively, she seemed to remember something else and quickly turned to look left, where Gotou’s makeup desk was, and saw, to her surprise, Gotou zipping up her bag with such force that she wondered if the zip could be broken. And before Yoshizawa could decipher what had happened, Gotou swung her bag around her shoulder and strode out of the room.

Now, if anyone would to ask Yoshizawa to explain Gotou’s sudden weird behavior, Yoshizawa would have guessed that Gotou must have overheard her conversation with Ishikawa; although that would be the last thing she hoped. She looked around the room again for Yasuda Kei, the other person she was supposed to go out with, and found herself somehow glad when she failed to see the latter around. Maybe Gotchan’s in a hurry to meet Kei-chan… maybe Kei-chan’s waiting for her at the lobby…

“Great! Just great!” Rika sighed. She picked up her bag, ready to leave, too, and this time she was heading right home instead of going out to have some fun.

“No, wait!” Yoshizawa called out. “I do remember,” she said, smiling. “I do.” She took a back step and sat in her chair, feeling her weight sinking into the soft cushion. She felt the same similar feeling in her heart. Well, she only had herself to blame for the double-date: if only she wasn’t this forgetful.


Till then... Chapter One

“CUT!” The voice resonated in the second largest recording studio in the building of Tokyo TV Station. Activities resumed. Spotlights were switched off and cameras were powered down. The recording crew began packing, while another group of women began heading for the exit. In the group, Gotou Maki, a pretty girl in Japanese standards, started looking around and when she saw her target, began walking towards her friend and fellow group member, Yoshizawa Hitomi, who ironically, was someone older in age yet less senior in rank. Despite her head had began throbbing from the raised voices of the other girls around her, Maki quickened her steps and soon caught up with the lone Hitomi. She tapped lightly on the slim shoulders.

Yoshizawa turned to look back, but she appeared to take a while before she found her words. “Tired?” she finally asked and felt, at the same time, funny that she had taken that long to just speak a simple word. She smiled when Gotou shook her head and, together, they headed back to their gakuya, both somehow glad that the day’s work had finally come to an end.

“Things ended early, ne?” Gotou asked casually as they turned a right corner into a long hallway, where at the end of it, was their resting and makeup room.

“Sure is. How about dinner together?”

“Great!” Gotou exclaimed, but was looking regretful almost immediately after. “No, you see… I can't. I already promised Kei-chan to go out with her.”

But Yoshizawa laughed. “That's easy, isn't it? We can go together.” It was always situations like these that made Gotou realize how she often complicates even the simplest things. She smiled inwardly when a loud scream filled the air.

“Tsuji! Kago! You two are SO DEAD!”

Gotou and Yoshizawa looked back to see two diminutive girls running past them and their leader, Nakazawa Yuuko, a few steps behind, arms on her hips, eyes glaring at the pranksters who had the slightest common sense to get away as quick as possible. Yoshizawa turned back before shaking her head, wondering how long it would take for Tsuji Nozomi and Kago Ai, her fellow same generation members, to understand that no one can mess with their nonpareil leader and expect to walk away unscathed. Though deep down inside, she knew she had respected them for their, what she would sometimes say, asinine guts; a trait she once had when she was their age, but not now, when the world just seemed wider and scarier.

“They will be all right, won’t they?” Gotou asked cautiously.

Despite not being sure herself, Yoshizawa nodded. She knew it would have to depend largely on their leader’s mood, which perhaps wasn’t that great at the moment.

“Abe-san! Shouldn’t you be keeping them in hand?” Nakazawa barked, her anger now directed at Natsumi, whose only involvement– sad to say– was because she happened to be there, nearest there, at the wrong time.

Abe Natsumi, a girl in her late teens who still had some baby fat on her face, though none of it showing on other parts of her body, knew she only was a victim of circumstances and thus, had decided not to hold any grudges against her grumpy leader. Nevertheless, she raised her left hand and pressed a spot on her wrist with her other hand. Then she leaned her head forward and spoke conspiratorially into her wrist as if there were an invisible transmitter attached. “Mummy, mummy, can you hear me? Help me here, I’m being bullied.”

Although everyone who saw it wanted to laugh, they all knew better. Somehow that seemed to make Abe more proud. “It’s funny right?” she gleamed

“What the heck!” Nakazawa cursed, and she could have gone on with profanities if she wasn’t distracted by a staff who was approaching them. The lanky man donning a pink tie against a white long sleeve business shirt came to a stop right before her.

“Excuse me, Nakazawa-san,” he said. “Tsunku-san would like to see you in his office.” He turned and walked hastily back even before Nakazawa could acknowledge with a nod and she wondered if he was in a hurry to go back to work or to somewhere else.

With quickened steps, Nakazawa hurried down the corridor and went up two flights of stairs. When she reached the floor where Tsunku’s office was, she couldn’t stop wondering why Tsunku had wanted to see her as she approached the room, her eyes fixated on the name 'Tsunku' tagged against the door of the office. Perhaps, she thought, her time has come…


Till then... (Prologue)

They strolled on the path built alongside the canal surrounding Tokyo TV station, pausing occasionally to enjoy the cooling evening breeze. They were chatting, happily at first, sharing jokes when their conversation segued to something else; the sole purpose of the person who had initiated the walk. And no one had talked since then. For five long minutes, they stood facing away from each other, their bodies leaned, their elbows resting on the rails guarding the deep and wide canal beneath, their eyes straight, staring into space, when one of them cleared her throat.

“You have decided?”
“And you want it this way?”
“Why? Aren’t you the least happy for me?”
“I am, but…” Her eyes looked down, yet watching the rapid waters gushing through the canal beneath did nothing to calm her emotions.
“It has always been my dream. You know about it.”
“I know, but what if I want you to stay?”
“Why? Are you against it? You know it is my dream since the day I joined…”

The pause was not deliberate. “But then we will be seeing less of each other…”

A laugh. “Oh come on, I’m still in haroporo.”

mou… mou ii yo.



akai nikkichou: 28th March 2008

We flipped through some of her photobooks today—just because we had a lot of time to kill—and I was reminded, once again, how beautiful she actually is. Anyway, I told her I like the photos, especially those from her first photobook and she gave me a weird look. A look that told me she’s happy to hear it. But I wasn’t lying to make her happy, I mean it, I really do: she’s beautiful. I like her straight black hair, with her fringe swept to one side, and her delicately trimmed eyebrows, drawn into this really beautiful arch which accentuates her eyes, and her sharp nose, and her sexy mouth. But of course, I did not tell her how I felt about her. I kept my eyes focused on her face in those books and gave basic compliments based on her looks alone and purposely left out any comments regarding her sexy poses, because, the truth was, I did not dare look at her body. You see, not when she’s seated just beside me; I couldn’t let her see me drooling at her body. That would be inappropriate—definitely not something a girl would do when shown photos of other girls in scanty swimming suits.

And then she asked me a question. She asked why I never had a Bikini photo book? It was a funny question. Funny because I realized she had never asked me this before even though we have known each other for seven years now. She never asked me how I managed to own two photo books in my name and yet none of it had me in a swimsuit, while all my colleagues, who had photo books, had. Why am I the exception? I guess her question caught me off-guard because I was stumped for quite sometime, and then she laughed and I followed and that question quickly became buried among all other stuffs.

But deep inside me, I am sure she knew why. I stopped wearing bikini when I became uncomfortable in it, which was back in year 2002 when my weight had suddenly gone bonkers. That really was a dark period of my life and I had since forgotten many things that had happened back then. I didn’t want to remember them. Luckily, for me, I did not take many pictures back then to have them remind me again of those days, and although I am in my best shape now, the discomfort and dread had decided to stay. And for five years, I never wore a bikini again… except for one really special case last year.

Maybe she had seen those official pictures and that’s why she asked, right? Well, maybe she hadn’t or she wouldn’t have asked. Am I confusing? But does it matter? No, it didn’t. It wasn’t as if she hadn’t seen me baring skin. We were often down to our undergarments during backstage and in futsal changing room. She had seen me partially nude as many times as I’ve seen her. But I have never seen her naked. Hey, what am I thinking? It’s a pity. I might have if I had followed them to the onsen tour three years ago. Yaguchan, Kemeko and her. I did not go because I wasn’t really close to them. Ironic, isn’t it? Who would have guessed we would be so close now? Now, if someone would to propose another onsen trip, I’ll be all ready. Wait a minute, maybe I should…

Nah, on second thoughts, that can’t be done. I don’t think we could squeeze that into our schedules. I’m really regretting now that I hadn’t gone with them. It would be so fun and who knows, we would have gotten closer even back then, instead of now… so it's very funny. Anyway, it’s all fated, because we were supposed to be close back then; in fact very very close. Then we started to drift apart and became alien. I guess that transition period when we were actually not talking anymore was important. Two very important years - it let things cool down and made me forget. I bet it did the same for her. Now I could see that she has really forgotten, too. I could sense it and my gut feeling tells me so. These things can’t be lied. Nobody could be this good in hiding her feelings unless she really had forgotten. Like her, I had forgotten about them, too. I’m not lying. Now, I only remembered something had happened back then, something big and regretful but I couldn’t recall clearly the details. The memories had all turned vague and the more I tried to recall, the more they just eluded me. The only thing I knew, those were some really unhappy stuffs. And yeah, how I’m glad we’ve both forgotten about it. Hey… why am I bringing this up again?