I had never been one to place much faith in the Omikuji (sacred lot or fortune slip).
In fact, I had come to doubt that there was anything at all that I could believe in.
However, when my daughter expressed her belief in it, I realized that I couldn’t dismiss it so easily.
“Kaito, I want to go on a trip,” Chiaki said.
After our first shrine visit of the year, we returned home and found ourselves with some free time.
It was then that Chiaki seemed to have found out from her omikuji that she should take a trip, and from there she begged me to take her on a trip.
Hmm, It’s true that our omikuji suggested that we should take a trip, but this is too sudden.
After all, there were several factors to consider, such as making reservations and finding a suitable destination.
Furthermore, given the time of the year, it was likely that everywhere would be crowded.
“How about during spring break?”
Chiaki is such a good kid.
We should definitely splurge on a nice place for the trip.
“Chiaki, let’s decide where to go on the trip while we have the time.”
“Ohh, Let’s do it! Let’s do it!”
I took out my smartphone and showed it to Chiaki.
She sat next to me on the sofa.
“I want to eat something delicious!” exclaimed Chiaki.
“Well, how about Hokkaido’s zangi?” I suggested.
“What’s zangi?” she asked.
“It’s like the Hokkaido version of fried chicken, but not quite the same.
And it’s really delicious,” I explained.
I want to go to Hokkaido now,” Chiaki replied, her mouth watering at the thought.
“How about we go on a food tour? We can try shrimp, scallops, salmon roe, pork bowl, Genghis Khan (Mongolian barbecue), and Sapporo ramen,” I suggested.
“Guuuuu… Let’s go to Hokkaido!” Chiaki exclaimed, involuntarily swallowing her saliva twice and her stomach grumbling even louder.
I pretended not to hear her stomach and tried to ignore her embarrassment.
“Ahh… ah…,” Chiaki stuttered as her face turned red.
I had seen Chiaki acting childish before, but she was also a young lady in the making.
It was only natural for her to be ashamed of her stomach growling.
“N-no! Just now, uh… ge, gehongehon.
That was a cough!”
“Well, I don’t really understand, but I didn’t hear anything, so don’t worry about it.”
“O-oh, I see… If you didn’t hear it, that’s good….”
Chiaki breathed a sigh of relief.
It was also the role of a father to respect his daughter as a lady.
I pretended not to hear, not to understand as I squinted my eyes and smiled with my mouth turned up in a grimace.
I’m glad it went well.
“Oh, Hokkaido is fine, but let’s ask Chiharu, Chinatsu, and Chifuyu where they want to go.”
“Got it! I’ll ask them!”
Chiaki left the room in high spirits, her excitement for the trip apparent in her carefree stride.
Her cheerful footsteps were strangely comforting.
And her smile was so cute.
That was the key to everything.
Her personality was also adorable.
That was important too.
Honestly, wasn’t she the cutest daughter in the whole country? If people saw Chiaki’s dazzling presence at a school event, they might not even be able to see other children.
“Kaito! I asked them.
Everyone said they want to go to Hokkaido!”
Then let’s take a food tour in Hokkaido!”
Once again, the sound of Chiaki’s stomach growling could be heard, causing her face to turn bright red.
I pretended not to hear it, squinted my eyes, and smiled.
“Ah, ah, huh…I-it’s embarrassing…”
Ignoring the cute rumbling of her stomach, there was something more important to give her—the New Year’s monetary gift.
“Here you go, Chiaki.
Your New Year’s gift.”
“What?! H-here, thank you…”
It seemed that her pride as a young lady was more important to her than the money.
That was also cute about her.
“Oh, and this is for Chiharu and the others.
Please give it to them.”
Chiaki received an envelope with a cute character drawing and a golden seal on the flap.
Blushing with embarrassment, she hurriedly left the room.
She was still hungry.
Even though she had eaten quite a lot at the food stalls—beef skewers, meatballs, grilled octopus balls, shrimp tempura, potatoes, and crepes—she had devoured them all without any hesitation.
She was the one who ate the most.
Despite the disapproving glances from Chiharu, Chinatsu, and Chifuyu, she didn’t hold back at all.
Sigh, but really, when it comes to Chiaki….
It’s….totally okay to eat a lot! She was just in the prime of her growth spurt! Kids need to eat a lot to grow up healthy, and overeating is just fine!
I took pride in indulging her.
She was so adorable, I couldn’t help but think about her all the time.
She was the kind of daughter that any parent would be proud to have.
And if such a girl was hungry, there was only one thing to do.
I headed to the kitchen.
My adorable younger sister, Chiaki, who is so cute and lovely that even Snow White would be envious and unable to look at herself in the mirror, made her way to the second floor with a slightly red face.
It turned out that she had come to deliver the monetary gifts Onii-san had given her.
“Is it Onii-san’s New Year’s monetary gift?” I asked.
“Yeah, he gave them to me,” she replied.
“I should say thank you…”
“I already did! And I even looked inside the envelope! There was 4,000 yen in it!”
“What?! 4,000 yen?!” Everyone exclaimed at once.
f-f-fo-four thousand yen? I exclaimed in surprise, my eyes widening.
But it’s not just me, my sisters Chinatsu and Chifuyu were also shocked.
“Wow, 4,000 yen is a lot of money, isn’t it? I can’t believe we received this much…”
“Y-yeah, it’s true.
We received so much…”
“But our Christmas dress was even more expensive than that.” Chiaki said.
“Why are you reacting so calmly to this?!” Chinatsu retorted
“I was surprised too, you know?”
“You don’t look surprised at all! This is a huge amount of money! We just received a generous gift from that guy! We just had food and drinks earlier, and now we received even more! He’s been covering our expenses for food, stationery, and utilities since summer, and now that guy is giving us a New Year’s gift on top of all that!” Chinatsu said.
“Oh, Chinatsu, you’re so grateful; that’s admirable!”
“That’s not what I meant! I mean, this is just too much…” Chinatsu explained.
“But Kaito said not to hold back, right?”
“But still…something feels off about this…”
“Then you should thank Kaito and show your appreciation until that feeling goes away! And don’t call him ‘that guy’! Call him Kaito, Kaito-san, or Oniisan!” Chiaki said.
“…Wh-what’s…gotten into you all of a sudden….?”
Chiaki looked straight at Chinatsu, who was slightly overwhelmed and looked away.
Compared to before, Chiaki had gotten much closer to Onii-san.
One reason for that was because he was a good person who treated her well, despite the circumstances.
But it was also a result of Chiaki’s own efforts to bridge the gap between them.
Chinatsu was also doing her best, sometimes focusing on the details to be considerate of Onii-san.
Even Chiaki understood that, that’s why she never tried to force them to get along.
However, Chiaki knew that it was important to express her gratitude and dependence on someone directly, and that it was okay to do so.
She believed that this would make both her and Onii-san happy.
“I’m sorry… I know Chinatsu has a lot going on too.
I know that both Chifuyu and Chinatsu have their own grown-up ways of thinking, but sometimes you need to just rely on Kaito with a clear head.
It will make him happy, and we’ll have fun! Instead of holding back, let’s express our gratitude by relying on him!” Chiaki said.
“….Aki… you….how did you become so good at saying things like that….” Chinatsu asked.
“Hmph, it’s only natural.
I’ve been reincarnated many times, you know!” replied Chiaki.
“I don’t understand what you said now… but I do understand a bit of what you said before that,” Chinatsua said, smiling.
“Fufufu, that’s good.
Now, go and do it!”
“Okay, okay, I got it!” Chinatsu said, heading off to find Onii-san.
Chinatsu was the first one to leave the room.
“Chifuyu, should we go too?”
“Yes, I’ll go too!” Chiaki said.
As the four of us departed from the room, we made our way down the stairs.
During our descent, Chinatsu turned to Chiaki and initiated a conversation, “Hey, Chiaki, didn’t you just use “I” (watashi) instead of your usual “I” (ga)?”
“……didn’t say that,” Chiaki replied.
“Huh? Are you sure about that?”
With a puzzled expression, Chinatsu tilted her head, wondering if she had just imagined Chiaki’s slip of tongue.
Did she just blurt it out without thinking?
I, too, was curious about whether she had uttered those words unintentionally.
However, we reached the living room before I could delve too deeply into my thoughts.
Upon opening the door, we were immediately met with a delicious and sweet aroma, which permeated the entire room.
In the kitchen, Onii-san was busy cooking something.
“Kaito, what are you making?”
“I’m making pancakes,” he replied.
“Hmm, I see.
You must be hungry, then.
Kaito, you’re such a glutton,” Chiaki said.
“Ahh, yeah, I guess so….” Kaito responded, averting his gaze as he spoke.
Although I couldn’t shake the feeling that he was hiding something, we all headed towards the kitchen, where Onii-san was.
“Kaito, thank you for the New Year’s monetary gift! I’m so happy!”
“Thank you, Kaito-san.
I will cherish it,” Chifuyu said.
“Thank you, Onii-san.”
“Ahh, umm…it’s embarrassing when you all thank me at once like this…but well, it’s New Year’s after all,”
“New Year’s is amazing!” Chiaki exclaimed.
As I noticed Onii-san’s bashful demeanor, I turned to my side and looked at Chinatsu, who had her lips sealed and appeared uncomfortable.
However, as if gathering up her courage, Chinatsu took a deep breath.
Th-thank you bery….v-very much,”
Chinatsu revealed a more grown-up and mature side of herself.
But to our surprise, she stumbled over her words.
Nevertheless, her fumbling was adorable.
I’m sure Onii-san thought so too, although he couldn’t look directly at her and had to cover his forehead.
Chinatsu’s face turned bright red with embarrassment from her verbal blunder, and her golden hair shook as she trembled with nervousness.
She was so cute.
“Oh, you’re welcome.
……” Onii-san replied with a hesitant smile, thanking her for her gratitude.
On the other hand, Chiaki burst out laughing.
“Hahaha! You’re such an idiot! You messed up your words!”
The cute sound of her rumbling stomach made Chiaki’s face turn bright red.
Without saying a word, she and Chinatsu both looked down at the ground as silence took over the room.
Meanwhile, Chifuyu pretended not to know anything and turned to look away.
“Let’s have some pancakes now,” said the kind Onii-san, breaking the awkward tension.
“Y-Yes…” replied Chiaki and Chinatsu in unison.
Thanks to Onii-san’s thoughtful gesture, the uncomfortable atmosphere dissipated.
We all enjoyed the pancakes together, although me, Chifuyu, and Onii-san didn’t eat much, leaving most of it to Chiaki and Chinatsu.
Even though they already ate so much….
Sigh, but really, when it comes to Chiaki and Chinatsu….
It’s….totally okay to eat a lot! They were just in the prime of their growth spurt! Kids need to eat a lot to grow up healthy, and overeating is just fine!
Somehow, thanks to Chiaki, everyone seemed to have grown a little more mature today.
Throughout the day, seeing Chiaki being so pampered and hearing those passionate words, I think I know that it’s okay to be a little more needy.
As a result, today’s MVP award goes to….Chiaki, Chinatsu, and Chifuyu.
They were all so cute and had grown in their own way, making it difficult to choose just one.
Yes, it was only the beginning of the New Year, but they were already adorable.
It was strange how they looked even cuter than before the year-end.
They were sure to keep changing and becoming even more adorable as time went on, and I couldn’t help but look forward to it.
When it comes to New Year’s, what first comes to mind? Playing karuta (playing cards game), spinning tops, flying kites, and doing the fukuwarai.
“Kaito, Let’s play something traditional for New Year’s!”
“Well, I have tops that can be customized with iron, and we have playing cards, but we don’t have karuta or regular tops.
But if that’s okay with everyone…”
“Okay, then let’s play cards together!”
I wonder if playing cards is really traditional for New Year’s.
Well, it doesn’t matter.
This is a great chance for me to spend time with my daughters.
Furthermore, this is my chance to show off my skills.
The five of us all crowded around the kotatsu and took out the playing cards we had brought up from the girls room on the second floor.
“So, what should we play?”
“Let’s play Concentration!”
“Chifuyu is fine with that.”
“I’m good with that too…”
“Kaito! This is a serious battle!”
Well, one strategy could be to let my daughters win by going easy on them.
But as Chiaki had pointed out, it wouldn’t be cool to do that here.
I had to show a cool side to my daughters.
If I did that, then surely… I could imagine all four of my daughters sparkling with excitement in my mind.
“Wow! Kaito, you’re amazing! You’re really amazing! Oh wait, it’s not Kaito, it’s papa who’s amazing!”
“Kaito-san… I mean, Dad… you’re really something.”
“You did well… well, it’s natural for my papa.”
“I was moved.
For this game of cards, there was a surefire way for me to become a papa.
I had to show a cool side and raise my papa level.
And so, the game of Concentration began.
The order of play was Chifuyu, Chiaki, Chinatsu, Chiharu, and then me.
If the numbers on the cards matched, we could turn over another card.
It was a normal rule.
However, I had the confidence that I couldn’t be beaten in terms of memory.
First, I tilted my own card slightly and used the method of loci to effectively remember where each of the four players had flipped their cards.
I had heard that the method of loci was used even in memory competitions around the world.
By associating a location with information, it supposedly enhances memory.
“5 is the toilet, 3 is the shoe cabinet…”
And then, I used my surefire strategy to achieve the final score of the game.
I had 40 points, while Chiharu had 6, Chinatsu had 2, Chiaki had 0, and Chifuyu had 6.
Perhaps I relied too heavily on cheating, but surely this would earn me some respect.
“Kaito, it’s not very mature of you… I’m not having any fun when it’s only my turn.”
“What?! But you wanted me to play seriously!”
“Indeed, Kaito-san… it’s not very mature of you.” Chifuyu said
“Yeah… I think it would be better to take things a little easier, Kaito-san.” Chinatsu said.
“Onii-san, even I think… you’re going too far.” Chiharu said.
…I’ll take it easy from now on.
After being met with the cold gaze of my daughters, I didn’t want to be disliked, so I learned to play cards with them and win just enough to keep it fun.
TN: Today I learned that Japanese people eat Genkis Khan in Hokkaido…
For the games, I can’t explain them because I never heard of them but when searched I could find them on internet.
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