Volume 1, Chapter 8: Mishima Yuzuha
Editors: Yuuki, xyi
“Mishimaaaa!!” I shouted at the top of my lungs.
Hashimoto who was beside me jumped in his chair, surprised. The office returned to its usual silence a moment later. A few of my coworkers turned their gazes’ towards me.
The person in question however casually turned to face me, tilting her head in confusion.
“Don’t you ‘what’s up’ me!!”
I jumped out of my seat and walked towards her. The coworkers spectating the situation had expressions of ‘oh, it’s that again’ and returned to their work.
I raised my voice, ready to jump at Mishima’s throat as she stared on vacantly.
“I don’t know how many times I’ve told you this already, but check your work before sending it off.”
“But I did?”
“Because you checked your work, made sure all the system’s functions were working, and sent it off for the first time?”
“Don’t you ‘uh-huh’ me!! Your code is full of errors! How is it supposed to even qualify as a finished product!?”
Owing to the bluntness of my interrogation; it seems that Mishima has finally realized that I won’t stop pressing until I get an answer for her mistakes.
She opened her mouth in surprise, and then said.
“Eh, really? That sounds kind of bad, doesn’t it?”
“Don’t treat it like someone else’s problem!!”
“What should I do then?”
“Fix it. Get it done by today.”
“That’s just asking for the impossible though~”
I could feel a vein about to burst.
How did HR even manage to hire this incredible mess? Unskilled, irresponsible, and to be completely honest, not even worth considering.
“The product is due tomorrow so isn’t it obvious that you have to get it done by today? Don’t forget that I’m the one who has to clean up after you.”
“…Yoshida-senpai, will you be fired if I don’t finish by today?”
“Ah? Well, I doubt they would go that far, it’s just that…”
I put a hand to my chin, and continued.
“I might be removed from this project. At the same time, the responsibility of training you will probably be passed off to someone else.”
Passing off the responsibility for her training to someone else would be heaven on earth, but this project was something that I started, involving many of my coworkers in the process. I just couldn’t allow myself to drop out halfway through.
“Eh, you wouldn’t be training me anymore?”
“That might happen if you don’t fix this by today.”
Hearing what I said, Mishima, who usually bore an ever-present lazy smile, showed a stern expression.
“I’ll fix it right now.”
Mishima turned and hurried back to her seat.
She usually moved about the office as if it was a stroll in the park, so it was unusual for her to hurry back to her desk.
“What’s up with her…?”
Given that my interactions with her generally involved me chewing her out and nagging her, wouldn’t it actually be convenient for her if someone else was training her instead?
So why did she become so concerned when I told her that someone else might be assigned to her?
Well, if that’s what it takes to get her to do work seriously, then I guess it’s for the best. I returned to my seat, my head tilted slightly in doubt.
“The basis of the system that I made became something else entirely, somehow.”
“Quite impressive, isn’t she?” Hashimoto teased.
Despite his comments, Hashimoto was buried in the work I had passed along to him as well as the work he already had, so he didn’t take his eyes away from the screen even as we conversed.
“That said, Mishima-chan seems to be taking her work seriously now.”
“How are you even able to notice all this while you’re working?”
“Even if I’m looking at the PC, I can still vaguely tell what’s going on in the office in the corner of my eye. If a boss I don’t like comes in, I’ll head out to the bathroom.”
“That’s pretty deft of you.”
So that’s why he’s never around when I’m confronted by our bosses about something. I should try that too. Let’s practice grasping the situation in the office in the corner of my eye.
While opening my programming tools, I took a peek at Mishima.
Usually, she would be turning her head about, doing some stretches, or all-in-all not focusing on her work, but she seemed awfully serious today.
“…What the heck is up with her?” I murmured as I went back to my own work.
It’s good that she’s taking her work seriously, but she was still lacking in terms of skills
Although the assumption that her code might not be useable in any way weighed on my mind, I had to finish my part of the work.
With a light sigh, I began tapping away at the keyboard.
“Hehe, good work today.”
In a noisy and busy uniform-price pub, Mishima and I clanked our glasses together.
After work, one thing led to another and I ended up coming here to drink together with Mishima.
Mishima tipped her glass of Cassis-Orange towards her lips and downed the drink in one go. As I downed my glass of draft beer, the sensation of my clenching throat against the flow of liquid brought about a refreshing euphoria that rushed to my head.
“Really though, it’s great that we managed to deliver it in time.”
I took another gulp from my beer with a strained smile.
A few hours ago.
In a surprising turn of events, Mishima had passed along a data file that didn’t require any revision on my part.
I had already accepted that I would have to stay late into the night to perform revisions and touch-ups to her code, so I had waited for her to turn in her part without any real expectations. However, completely defying my expectations, what she turned in had caused my eyes to go wide in surprise.
Thanks to Mishima prompt debugging of her own code, I was able to focus on my own work, and so we were able to leave work sooner than expected.
Then, as we were leaving, Mishima suddenly asked me:
“Yoshida-senpai, do you want to go for a drink?”
Who would’ve thought that my junior, with whom my interactions consisted of mostly me shouting at her, would invite me to go drinking?
I was briefly worried about what Sayu would do for dinner, but she can probably make something for herself. I also left some money in case of emergencies.
Thinking that this should be fine once in a while, I readily accepted my junior’s invitation with a firm nod.
“Really, to think that you’d be capable of all that if you’d just focus. Why don’t you do that normally?”
Mishima responded as she stuffed her mouth with grilled chicken.
“fwis fresaus ge krant”
“Hey-, swallow your food before speaking.”
Mishima spoke incoherently as she was gobbling down on the chicken.
As the somewhat pleasant feeling of lightheadedness surged through my body thanks to the alcohol, I gazed at Mishima, who was chewing desperately.
Her chestnut-brown hair ended slightly short of her shoulders. The ends of her hair wrapped and curled towards her neck. Her eyes were large and bright while her nose and mouth were rather small. If I had to say, she belonged to the ‘cute’ archetype.
Her appearance seemed to be highly valued by the ‘old-timers’ amongst my superiors, at least, enough that her name came up several times during one of my drinking-parties with them.1 I’m pretty sure that her appearance was a key factor in her hiring.
With the surprising amount of new-graduates with a similar level of skill as hers, it might not be that strange for appearance to be the deciding factor for employment. Perhaps the old-timers at the company desired some eye-candy.
“W-, What’s up?”
In the time that I was staring at Mishima, she had finished gobbling the food in her mouth, and was now looking around restlessly and fidgeting with the ends of her hair in a somewhat distressed manner.
“Oh, sorry about that.”
Putting myself in her shoes, I would probably find it hard to stay calm if someone kept staring at me so fixedly while I was eating.
“I was just thinking that you would probably be better received if you could do your work well.”
Mishima said with a slight lisp.
“But the company seems to show favoritism for people who can’t work.”
Mishima giggled as I scowled with bafflement.
“Seriously, it’s the truth. To be completely honest, Yoshida-senpai, you’re the only one who ever actually scolds me!”
“What in the world? What about the other old-farts? Do they not say anything at all?”
Hearing me, Mishima made a somewhat sharp yet cool expression and said in an audacious and deep voice.
“‘Alright, don’t worry about it then. Let me handle the rest.’ Is what he said with a smug look on his face.”
“Woah, who said what? Hearing it already makes me feel kind of nasty. So who said it?”
“It was department head Onozaka.”
“What the heck! That’s amazing!”
I burst into uncontrollable laughter, slamming the table repeatedly.
Department head Onozaka was ‘well-known’ as the ‘2D closet barcode’2. There was an instance where his work-PC had frozen and he had passed it to Hashimoto to fix. It was then that we had found that the reason that the computer had frozen was because the PC had caught a virus upon accessing a file named ‘You will absolutely get off to this! A collection of carefully-selected anime’. This incident, combined with his hairstyle, gave rise to this nickname.
I had heard that he tried to make a move on some of the new hires, but I didn’t know that Mishima was also one of the victims.
“I see, so it was Mr. Barcode…”
“Hey, I’d feel bad calling him that.”
Despite what she said, her chuckling suggested otherwise.
“So what are you up to really? Should I take it that you’re purposely doing sloppy work so that your superiors pay attention to you?” I asked her with a stern expression.
Mishima looked at me perplexedly and shook her head.
“No way. I couldn’t care less about them paying attention to me.”
“Then what’s your plan? If you can do good work then why won’t you?”
“Mhm, I tried to tell you this earlier you see.”
Mishima took a sip from her glass of cassis-orange, and exhaled loudly from her nose.
“What are people who are normally hardworking supposed to do when they’re put in a situation where they have to work even harder?”
I don’t really get the point of what she said.
“Then they work even harder, don’t they?”
“Then what if they have to work even harder than that?”
“Then they work even harder than that.”
“Ahaha, come on, then they’ll die from all that work eventually, won’t they?”3
Mishima waved her hand dismissively as she put the onion part of her grilled chicken skewer into her mouth.
“Wits jecuuz I nomelly tok wit wezzy-“
“Do you mind just swallowing before you speak already!?”
I scolded her with a slight-smile. Mishima hastily chewed on the onion in a panic.
After swallowing it with a loud gulp, she let out a breath of air.
“It’s because I normally take it easy, that I can put in real effort when the time comes.”
“As someone from the same workplace, you should know that we’re always pressed for time given the schedule and deadlines at our company. You say that you’ll do it when the time comes, but honestly speaking, that’s every day.”
“Eh, that can’t be right.”
Mishima grunted as she raised her index finger in refusal.
“I mean, nothing would change at work if I was gone right?”
“Well, that’s cause you’re just a newbie though.”
“Hm, you’re not wrong but…”
Mishima squinted her eyes with a mischievous smile and continued.
“I don’t think anything would change even if Yoshida-senpai was gone though.”
I wanted to object, but I couldn’t quite find the right words to respond yet.
I’ve never once considered whether or not work would still go on as usual if I wasn’t present.
To be honest, I think that I’m someone who’s often relied upon at work. In the 5 years that I’ve been at this company, I’ve garnered quite a few accomplishments. Plus, any project that I’ve been involved in has been profitable for the company.
‘The workplace won’t function without me!’ is what I’d like to think, but I’ve never once thought of the contrary.
“Hehe, well, I think it would still be problematic if you suddenly disappeared.”
“I think that it’d probably be problematic, but not to the extent that the others won’t know what to do.”
Mishima nodded to herself as she continued.
“That’s why, in a way, I think that there is a need for people who stay on standby for when the people who normally work hard are exhausted.”
“…And that would be you?”
Mishima made a ‘peace’ sign with her right hand and grinned.
I could only sigh in response to her innocent gestures.
“As your superior, I’m inclined to say that you should do you work properly if you can though…”
“But I did my work properly today, didn’t I?”
“Well, you’re not wrong.”
I showed a strained smile and emptied my glass.
I didn’t feel like scolding her in a pub. Just knowing that she can at least do it if she tries is good enough for now.
“But you really are a kind guy, Yoshida-senpai.”
I scowled in response to her statement.
“Yup. I mean, you’re the only one who seriously scolds me.”
Mishima then continued with a hard stare.
“I mean, it must be tiring to scold someone who won’t do it even if you tell them to.”
“If you get it then don’t make me do it, would you?”
“Normally, people would just give up and judge that ‘they can’t do it after all’ after seeing someone fail several times. Even the superiors who act kind towards me do what they do because they want the ‘merit’ of me liking them better, you know.”
Mishima didn’t have her usual flippant and frivolous air to her anymore.
It was more philosophic, distant, if not somewhat cold. She can make this sort of expression as well, huh.
“But Yoshida-senpai, you always give it your all to be angry at me.”
“That’s cause you never learn.”
“Aww, you’re making me blush.”
“That wasn’t a compliment.”
Mishima giggled and emptied her glass.
“Ah, I’d like another glass of this, thanks.” Mishima called out to the pub employee.
She also grabbed my empty glass as she asked for another.
“Are you still going to drink?”
“Are you not going to?”
“Well, I guess I can keep you company if you are.”
“Hehe, please do.”
Unexpectedly, she can hold her liquor.
If I remember correctly, weren’t cocktails on the higher-side in terms of alcohol content? If she’s ready to order a second glass this quickly, it probably means she has confidence in her drinking capacity.
“Ah, continuing where I left off.”
Mishima fidgeted with the ends of her hair as she continued.
“Erm… How should I say this…?”
She seems awfully restless. What’s wrong with her all of a sudden? Maybe she’s drunk?
As I looked at her quizzically, she cast her gaze diagonally downward and her cheeks seemed to have flushed red.
“I wouldn’t want anyone other than you, Yoshida-senpai, to be in charge of my training.”
Why was she so bashful about it? The way in which she said that is making me feel embarrassed too for some reason, so I’d honestly want it to end.
“So! When it comes down to it, I’ll do my best!”
“No, do your best normally, would you!?”
As I raised my voice in response, Mishima burst out giggling.
I guess I shouldn’t expect her to normally give it her all at work from here on out either.
But, well, regardless-
I took a glance at Mishima, who began gulping down her drink again.
Well, getting to know her better and learning that she was sandbagging on purpose might be better, compared to just continuing the cycle where I would get irritated by her without being aware of anything.
Slackening my lips, I took a gulp from my freshly refilled bubbling beer.
“Oh, by the way-” Mishima said.
“Yoshida-senpai, you’ve been shaving every day recently, haven’t you?”
“Yeah? What about it?”
“Oh, I was thinking that you might’ve gotten yourself a girlfriend or something.”
Noticing my forehead warp in disbelief, Mishima waved her hands back and forth in front of her.
“I mean, I mean like, you used to shave once every three days right? But all of a sudden you started to shave every day instead. So I was just curious as to whether or not you’ve found yourself a girlfriend or something.”
“You pay that much attention to my facial hair?”
Mishima seemed to leap in surprise, her face quickly turning red.
“O-, Of course not! Don’t make me sound like a facial hair fetishist or whatever!!”
“Hey, I didn’t go as far as to call you a fetishist or anything like that.”
“It’s because you spend so much time scolding me! So I spend a lot of time looking at your mouth! I don’t have any weird feeling or anything like that!”
“What’s this about weird feelings regarding my facial hair?”
She really has a fetish for facial hair, doesn’t she?
I sighed loudly from the nose, and answered her curiosity.
“I don’t have a girlfriend or anything like that. I mean, I just got rejected not too long ago.”
Mishima’s eyes went wide in surprise, her mouth gaping open.
What’s with that face?
“Eh, you got rejected? By who?”
“It was Gotou-san.”
“It was Gotou-san!?” Mishima cried out loud.
The trio of salarymen sitting beside us shot a glance towards Mishima. Noticing their gazes, Mishima loudly cleared her throat and resumed.
“…Do you like them like that?”
“Is that wrong?”
“So you prefer the ones that are like ‘Boom! Bang! Slam!’?”
Mishima squinted her eyes and her expression seemed to grow a little grim; Even though my preferences should have nothing to do with her.
“But you were rejected, right? Well, don’t fret too much about it I guess.”
“Shush, I don’t need your cheap sympathy.”
“What? But I’m not sympathizing with you though.”
Mishima’s grim expression seemed to make a sudden 180 as it became a bright smile.
“Rather, I consider this to be quite lucky!”
I asked in response, but Mishima dodged the question by gulping down her drink.
“Excuse me~ Can I get another?”
“Hey, slow down would you?”
“I can still drink a lot more.”
I said that I would keep her company, so I can’t be the one not drinking.
Well, I least I came with deep pockets. Sighing to myself, I upped my pace and gulped down my glass beer.
When Mishima had said ‘girl’, the image of Sayu came to mind. 4
Now that I think about it, I had started shaving because of what she said.
I fleetingly thought, but these thoughts quickly disappeared from my mind with another gulp of beer.
“You’re lateeeeeee…” Sayu groaned as she rolled on her futon.
“Uh, sorry about that.”
“And I even made dinnerrrrr”
I could only earnestly apologize.
When I returned home, Sayu was in an incredibly bad mood.
Mishima was quite the heavy drinker.
I had planned to stay until Mishima was satisfied, but we had continued drinking at the same pace for more than 2 hours.
In the end, I didn’t drink along with her, and instead devoted myself to finishing up what was left of her side dishes.
So, even though I left work on time, it wasn’t until 10pm that I arrived home.
Sayu raised her head from the futon to look at me, as I sat down on my heels.
“…Was it a girl?”
“…Well, you could say so.”
I added later that it was a junior at the company who won’t do her work properly.
Although she was the one who asked, she seemed to be taken aback in surprise. Then, she exhaled heavily from her nose and continued.
“Hmpf, I see how it is. You’d rather go out to eat with another girl than eat the dinner that I cooked.”
“I’m really sorry about that.”
“Was it fun to go drinking with a girl?”
Stop being such a pain in the ass already!
Well, I couldn’t actually say that out loud though. It was true that she had made dinner.
Noticing that I stayed silent apologetically , Sayu began to tremble uncontrollably.
I raised my head to see what was happening, only to see her covering her mouth with her hands.
So it seems like she was just teasing me.
Sayu tried her best to prevent herself from bursting into comical laughter.
“Ahaha, ahh, that’s funny. Hey, I’m not angry at you or anything.”
“Geez… Don’t tease me like that would you.”
“I mean, Yoshida-san, it was just sort of funny to hear you say ‘sorry about that’ and ‘I’m so sorry’ and stuff like that.”
Sayu lifted her upper body off the futon while chuckling.
“But make sure you eat breakfast tomorrow, okay?”
“Yeah, sure thing.”
After that, she returned to rolling around on her futon with a lighthearted smile.
“Hmm, say, you don’t seem drunk at all, Yoshida-san.”
“Well, I have work tomorrow, so I won’t drink enough to get that drunk.”
“You were in total shambles on the day we met though.”
“Well… I was heartbroken back then. Plus the day after that was a paid vacation.” I said with a bitter expression on my face.
Sayu chuckled and asked.
“Did you like her that much?”
As I nodded in response, Sayu showed a smug expression and continued.
“What part of her exactly did you like?”
The first thing that came to mind was-
“You’re so straightforward!” Sayu cried out as she started laughing again.
She really manages to laugh at everything, doesn’t she? And I was being as serious as I could be.
Be it Sayu or Mishima, I’m not really good at dealing with girls that can control the pace of the conversation.
 In Japan, it’s a rather deep-seated tradition that lower-level employees accompany their superiors to go drinking after work. It’s considered one of the factors that contribute to the ‘overwork’ culture in Japan.
 Wordplay here. The full phrase here is むっつり二次元バーコード. むっつり (muttsuri) is used to describe someone who is taciturn, but a common extension of the phrase also means ‘closet pervert’ or ‘quiet lecher’. 二次元 (nijigen) stands for 2D, the context of which is explained later. While バーコード (barcode) is often used to refer a hairstyle for someone who is balding but slicks their hair back to hide it, creating a ‘barcode effect’.
 Death-from-overwork (karoushi) isn’t uncommon in Japan. There’s even a standard measure for ‘excessive hours of overtime’.
 In Japanese, the term for girlfriend and girl are the same (彼女). So while Mishima is clearly implying girlfriend, it would be a lie for Yoshida to answer affirmatively saying he found a ‘girl’.
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