ReLIFE Movie Pamphlet (Short Story)
The following is a short story that was given out to the first 20,000 people who saw the live action ReLIFE movie in theaters in Japan.
It takes place many years before the events of ReLIFE, During Kaizaki’s first visit to Tokyo on an 11th grade school trip.
- The story and images were copied from the pamphlet in Japanese by Yomirenshuu on Tumblr
- The English translation was done by pitz_meows on the ReLIFE Subreddit.
- I (TheWhiteHunter) cropped and touched up the images slightly.
Awesome!!! Shibuya really exists!
Standing still in the crowd, I finally realized.
Needless to say, I have known since forever that the place called Shibuya exists. I knew it, but I never could get myself to believe that the Shibuya that appears in TV dramas and in manga is real.
So many people everywhere, everyone speaking Standard Japanese, all those signboards that I’ve seen so many times on TV…
The Shibuya I had in my mind was something like a movie set. It seemed so unrealistic to me to see normal people here normally going about their business.
On the first day of our school trip we went to that huge amusement park. That place really deserves its nickname, “Land of the Dreams”, but still, it felt more real in comparison. Once you realize that it’s a well known tourist attraction, it’s not that surprising. There are tourist attractions even in my home town of Oita. Very few, but they do exist.
But this place was not a tourist attraction. I saw so many salarymen at work, and other people looking extremely busy doing god-knows-what. There was such an incredible atmosphere of people living their daily lives.
It was as if I suddenly turned into a character from a novel or something… My body began trembling impatiently on its own. I felt like bursting into a run with no purpose.
“You are such a child, Arata.”
“Just hearing that we have to travel in school uniform, and that cellphones are not allowed, was more than enough to kill the mood for us.”
“This is an 11th-grade school trip, not a kindergarten field trip! Pull your head out of that trip guide already!”
It was free travel time and we had just gotten off the bus. My friends noticed how excited I was and laughed at me. It was a bit embarrassing, but I knew that it was just them trying to hide their own excitement.
And as if to prove that, though we were told to travel in groups, our group has split up in an instant. In the end, they had all decided what they wanted to do ahead of time, and when we got there we all had different plans.
And so, I found myself standing alone in the middle of Shibuya.
Now what? I thought, and opened the trip guide… And then changed my mind and closed it.
It was to an extent because the guys laughed at me before, but it was mainly that the place I wanted to go to didn’t appear on the map that was included in the guide.
BatsuNeko ♪ Official Shop.
These shops exist everywhere in Japan (well, only in the big cities), but the one in Shibuya has some stuff that you can’t find anywhere else. A friend has asked me to get her something from there as souvenir. The girl was a kouhai of mine, with whom I was on friendly terms ever since we met in the executive committee for the Sports Festival. People asked me before if we were going out, but neither she nor I had any such plans. We were just friends.
It didn’t look like it was going to be a huge store though…
There were lots of signs and pictures hanging along the street, but most of them were ads. There were hardly any store signs. My kouhai did say that it was probably inside some building somewhere. Still, hoping to see at least a sign for the store I walked around for a while looking for it, but could not find it.
Well shit. I figured I should ask someone, but being alone in the middle of Shibuya, I was exceedingly anxious about stopping someone and asking them, and couldn’t find the right timing to do it. Before he left me here and went somewhere else, I told our group leader that it’s OK, that I know the chain and can handle it on my own. Now I just can’t get rid of the mental image of his “I told you so” face.
He’s been to Tokyo several times before, I guess that’s why he got to be group leader.
Not sure what else to do, I felt defeated. I then accidentally made eye contact with a guy giving out tissue packs, which was really awkward, so I took off from there and found refuge under the eaves of a huge building.
There I saw several people gathered around. One of them was a guy about my age.
He was in school uniform, though unlike me he had a blazer on top, and a largish bag slung across his shoulders. From the way he stood there, I gathered that he was no foreigner to this city. ‘Aha!’ I thought in admiration.
The blazer guy looked at me oddly. As if he somehow heard that “Aha” in my head.
Shit. Now I have to talk to him, right?
Wearing an awkward smile, and not sure what the heck I’m doing, I walked up to him.
The voice that came back sounded a little bit amused. A relaxed voice, with no trace of annoyance.
“Do you happen to know where I could find the BatsuNeko shop?”
He tilted his head to the side and thought for a short while. His hair, which looked unduly soft for a guy, swayed gently. His hair color and skin color, even the color of the vest he was wearing as part of his uniform, were all pale and weak. It was even more noticeable now that I saw him up close. I thought that his whole figure seemed oddly colorless.
“Ah, I remember now. It should be inside the department store a little ways down this street. I don’t remember on which floor it is, but you can ask at the information desk near the entrance.”
He spoke with a smile, and in a polite tone. I also spoke politely, we were strangers after all, but his words sounded to me like a salesman speaking.
“I’ll see it when I get there, right?” I asked, after verifying the directions one more time.
“Probably. Ah, I can take you there if you want.”
“Oh, I can’t ask you to do that! I’ll just ask someone else if I can’t find it.”
My voice raised in pitch a little, but he just kept smiling as before, not showing any reaction at all.
Is he making fun of me?
That’s how I would have normally felt.
I wonder if his way of speech, which didn’t sound annoyed or otherwise weird to me, was just his own personal style. Maybe people living in the big city just have this kind of nonchalant attitude.
“BatsuNeko… That’s a pretty cute hobby to have!”
As I was analyzing my impression of him, I heard his voice again, sounding amused as before.
“Oh, it’s not for me! A friend asked me to get them a souvenir from that shop.”
“Ah, I see. I’m sorry for my rude remark then,” he said, still smiling.
At this point, I start suspecting that rather than being a good-natured person, he really just doesn’t give a damn.
“A souvenir… Are you on a school trip or something?
“Hm? Yeah… Could you tell?”
“Yep, I’m just a country bumpkin after all!” I said, forgetting to speak politely.
“Oh, don’t say that. I simply noticed that you were wearing a school uniform that I’ve never seen before.”
“Er…” I was at a loss for words. I immediately regretted using such a stupid expression, “country bumpkin”. My being so self-conscious about what I said was yet another proof that I wasn’t used to being in the city.
“I’m sorry, it’s my first time in Tokyo, and I was just so excited about being here that I got a bit nervous…”
“You’re a very honest person, aren’t you. If that’s the case, are you sure that you don’t want me to go with you?”
“Oh, it’s fine, really.”
“You don’t need to hold back, it’s fine!”
“I’ll be fine, don’t worry.”
To tell the truth, I couldn’t get myself to accept his kind proposal to go together, thinking how I’d need to continue this conversation where I have to carefully pick my every word.
“Well, I guess I’ll be going there now. Thanks for the help!”
“Okay. I pray for your safe arrival…. Oh.”
I stopped still at his “oh”. It sounded like he remembered something.
“That shop… might be closed today.”
“Oh wait, no. After thinking long and hard about it I realized I was wrong. My bad. Sorry about that.”
He just takes it right back? What’s there to think long and hard about? He’s totally making fun of me isn’t he?!
My thoughts were probably written all over my face. The guy with the colorless blazer chuckled as he looked at me.
He even waved his hand at me cheerily. I shrugged off that behavior as just being part of his personality, and started walking again. The streets were packed as always, and I was sinking into a wave of people. When I looked back, I could still see his hand waving at me frantically.
I’m standing still in the middle of the busy street.
I smell the cuff of my shirt — the unpleasant stink of cigarettes is still there.
Naturally, none of the classmates I was just hanging out with smokes. The karaoke room already smelled like cigarettes when we entered. Maybe the smell was also mixed in the air that came out of the A/C vent.
I let out a sigh. I knew I should not have come.
I don’t really understand why they had to arrange the class party in the middle of Shibuya. Or why it had to be karaoke. Or what is the point of doing karaoke in the first place.
I mean, if you want to sing, aim to be a professional singer. If you want to listen to songs, listen to a CD or something. They say that karaoke will help you get to know your friends better, but at least in this case, they all just seemed to sing whatever they felt like for themselves. It didn’t feel like a bonding experience very much.
“Hishiro, you go next!”
I’m good, thanks.
“Uhh don’t be such a party pooper!”
Party pooper? What does she mean by that?
Is she saying that I should join them and look like I’m having fun? Or perhaps, she’s telling me not to be so self-centered?
Even if I did make friends this way, could it ever be anything more than a boring, shallow friendship?
This is not what friendship is for me.
Even though I can’t explain what is.
What are friends really? Relationships?
I feel that the way everyone else does it is wrong, but I don’t really get it myself.
I use that often as an excuse: “they’re doing it wrong, so I can’t join.” But in the end, I never really do anything about it, and end up isolating myself from a lot of things. I’ve been taking it for granted that if there’s something that I can’t do, then I should just give up on it.
Only this way, I felt, I could keep being myself.
Even if I seem bothersome to others, I’m perfectly fine without partaking in any adventures to change myself.
I let out another sigh.
They’re having an afterparty now. After we left the karaoke, my classmates went to some teahouse and left me behind. That’s exactly what I had hoped for, but now I’m in the middle of Shibuya and a bit lost.
I want to buy a deodorant to get rid of the cigarette stink, and then go straight home. But whenever I come here it’s always with that group, so as pathetic as it sounds, it turns out that even finding the train station is a lot to ask for.
I absent-mindedly look at the large department store nearby. On the first floor, which is visible through the entrance, I could see what looked like a luxury cosmetics store. I wonder if they sell normal deodorants…
I decide that it’s not even worth trying, and make up my mind to focus on finding the station area. I turn my back to the store, look around and start walking again. I know that the station is at the lowest point of Shibuya, so I thought I’d try walking down the street.
That’s when he started talking to me.
“Err, excuse me…”
His voice made be stop by reflex. When I looked over, it was an action of surprise, like you do when you hear a loud noise coming from behind you.
A boy in school uniform, probably a high school student, is standing right behind me.
He appears to have just gotten out of the large department store I was looking at. In one hand, he is holding a paper bag with a fancy design.
“Excuse me, I’d like to ask for directions.”
He is smiling, even though he’s clearly in an inconvenient situation. I recall reading in a book somewhere that people smile not only when they are having fun. I wonder if that’s one of these cases.
“Uh…” he spoke again, keeping his troubled smile.
“How do I get to the Yoyogi stadium?”
“I’m here on a school trip, and couldn’t find the assembly place…”
“The stadium is your assembly place?”
“The bus should be waiting for us there.”
I see, if he’s on a trip then it’s only reasonable that he would lose the way. The Yoyogi stadium is actually in the other direction of the station, at a high area of the city.
Granted, I can’t just tell him to go to a higher place. Even if I was just following similar directions myself. This is the middle of the city, not the middle of some roadless mountain.
“I’m terribly sorry. I’m also not very familiar with this neighborhood.”
“Ah, I see,” he said, in a clearly disappointed voice. But the hint of a smile was still visible on his face.
He seemed like a clever guy.
“I’m terribly sorry that I could not be of help to you,” I said, closing my eyes and bowing. But at this action, the boy seemed really confused. Only then did his smile disappear.
Did I do something wrong?
“Oh, please raise your head! I should be the one apologizing. Sorry for talking to you out of nowhere!”
He bowed as well. This time he said “sorry” rather than “excuse me”. It sounded less formal to me, and felt a bit odd. It wasn’t unpleasant—more of a ticklish feeling. I’ve never felt that before.
“To tell the truth, I also asked my way to the store I was just shopping at. I managed to get there, but I didn’t stop to think how I’m getting back… haha”
We’re pretty much in the same situation.
He scratched his cheek nervously. The paper bag he was holding shook as he moved his hand. The fancy pattern on the paper bag looked like many small, black creatures.
“Are those… cats…?”
“Ah.. yes. BatsuNeko. I was asked to bring this back as souvenir…”
Now that he mentioned it, the pattern printed on the bag does indeed look like a cat. A grumpy-looking cat, as if something unpleasant happened to it. On its collar there was an ×-mark, possibly its namesake. Perhaps getting that collar was the unpleasant thing that happened to it.
Hmm, BatsuNeko…. What a likable, funny character.
“Is that a popular thing recently?”
“Recently..? Don’t you know it? I thought it was pretty famous. Isn’t it famous around here?”
He looked at my blank expression, surprised. I really haven’t heard of it. And it’s probably not a regional issue.
It’s quite possibly popular here as well, and it’s just me that never heard of it. If it’s something you’d bring as souvenir, then it’d be even more surprising if it weren’t popular.
I see. BatsuNeko, was it?
“That’s a cute hobby.”
“But I told you—”
“? You told me?”
“Ah, sorry. It’s the second time someone says that to me today. It’s just a souvenir for a friend, it’s not for me…”
“I see. Excuse my rudeness.”
As I bow again, the boy burst into laughter. Probably thinking it inappropriate, he immediately tried to hide it by covering his mouth, but in his clumsiness, this action only emphasized his laughter.
I initially thought that he was a clever boy–maybe I was wrong about this?
Clever or not, the boy standing in front of me just seemed strange to me now.
We are complete strangers, and also he’s a guy. How come I can hold such a long conversation with him?
I never had a conversation partner like that. Maybe I did when I was very young, but after a certain age, I have no recollection of anyone like that other than my family.
That’s why it’s so strange. Well, not exactly strange… It’s just completely new to me.
The person in front of me made me feel something new.
What a strange, unusual person.
“Well, I’ll go now. I still have some spare time, but I might not find the place easily.”
He said thanks, and turned to leave.
Surely, he will soon ask someone else for directions, just like he asked me.
That’s too bad.
If he’d asked someone else in the first place, I wouldn’t have wasted so much of his time.
I felt a sharp pain in my chest as I thought how I had let him down.
After meeting him, and having such a conversation, can I just let him leave?
“Excuse me please, do you happen to know the way to the Yoyogi stadium?”
He stopped and looked back as he heard my voice. I wasn’t talking to him, though, but to a woman who was passing by.
He ran back immediately, perplexed.
“Wait.. What are you doing?”
“Asking for directions, of course.”
“But Yoyogi stadium is the same place I asked you about!”
“Yes. I thought I’d help you out.”
Why..? Do you really need a reason to help someone out? But before we continue this conversation, the woman I just stopped looks confused, so I should get the directions from her first.
“I mean, thanks, but you really don’t need to do that…”
“It’s nothing, please don’t worry about it. You know how they say…”
The words didn’t come out right away. I thought for a while.
They both waited for me to continue.
“You know, that you should help each other in times of need.”
I felt that these words expressed it well. Somehow it wasn’t obvious for either of them.
“Do you mean, like, that you put yourself in my shoes?”
Yes, exactly. I was thinking how he must be feeling lost and alone in the city.
Huh? Me, thinking about how someone else is feeling?
Reading the emotions of a person in trouble, and trying to help him?
Helping someone in need….
I realized that this was the first time I said such a thing out loud.
“To get to Yoyogi stadium…”
I heard the woman speak. I raised my head, and came back to reality.
“You need to turn over there, go up the slope and you’ll reach it.”
The woman smiled, as if looking at small animals in a pet shop. She was pointing at the next street corner.
“Ah, is it that close..?”
He said in a relieved tone, looking towards the street corner.
The place we were looking for was so close, that rather than asking anybody, you could find it by just walking around for a bit.
She asked, giggling.
He said thank you and bowed. I did the same after a short while.
After that, we stood there watching her leave.
Then he started laughing.
“I can’t believe it was right there!”
“I’m glad we found it.”
After laughing for a bit, he looks back at me.
“Sorry. I think I embarrassed you there a little bit.”
“Hm? Not at all.”
“And also, thanks. You were very kind to me.”
“Was I helpful to you?”
He gave a friendly nod. I was relieved. I felt my cheeks bending upwards of their own accord.
“I’d like to give you something in return…”
He said, and started looking for something in his paper bag. The one with the BatsuNeko pattern. I wanted to tell him that I don’t need anything in return, but I was curious to see what he was doing, so I just kept looking.
Finally, he took something out of the bag. Through its transparent plastic wrap, I could see something small and cute inside.
“They gave those to everyone at the shop. There should be a cookie inside.”
In the small wrap, there was indeed a cookie in the shape of that cat figure.
He’d give me that as thanks? Just for helping him ask for directions?
“I really didn’t do that much, you don’t need to…”
“If I took it back with me, it would crack and turn into powder inside my suitcase. And there’s two more days left for my school trip…”
“But… I mean…”
“Just take it!”
He’s still holding out the small package for me to take.
I looked at it again. It would be a waste if such a well-made pastry got ruined…
“Thanks again for the help!”
He smiled again, and turned to walk towards the nearby street corner.
I looked at him as he got swallowed by the crowd of people in the street.
The small package with the BatsuNeko cookie was resting firmly in my hands.
He gave it to me as thanks, but for me it was something else. For me, it felt like a present. A reward for having a slightly unusual conversation, and for thinking a bit differently than I usually do.
Wow, it was really that close.
After turning at the street corner and going up the street for a short while, I saw a sign saying “Yoyogi National Gymnasium”.
Ah, so it was “gymnasium”…
Maybe that’s why she didn’t know the place? Because I said “stadium” instead?
I think back to when I went out of the store building. She was standing there, as if left behind by the stream of people in the street. She didn’t seem especially easy to talk to or anything. I just happened to notice her first so I asked her.
She was in school uniform, but didn’t really look like a middle-schooler. She’s probably in high-school.
Her speech sounded very polite and calm, so maybe she was older than me.
In my excitement I completely forgot to speak politely. I hope that was OK…
It’s a bit too late now, but I should have paid more attention.
That said, if she’s really older than me, maybe she would see my impoliteness in a more mature way and forgive me. That would be convenient.
I recall for an instant that day in elementary school, when a university student came to our school for teaching practice. I really admired her.
As I climb up the slope, I pass by a lot of people.
As before, they all look extremely busy, to the point that I wouldn’t have been able to find the right timing to talk to them.
She stopped and listened to me, in the middle of this madness…
I feel grateful for her help again.
Then, out of the stream of people, I suddenly see a familiar face.
“Oh hello, aren’t you the person from earlier?”
He raised his hand smiling. It was the same guy who gave me the directions to the BatsuNeko shop. The colorless one with the blazer.
“What a coincidence. Did you manage to find the store?”
“Yes, thanks to you.”
I raised the paper bag for him to see.
“Oh great! I’m relieved.”
“But I didn’t know my way back, and had to ask someone for directions again…”
“Wow, you’re a really hopeless person, aren’t you.”
“Well I’m sorry about that!”
Once again seeing his smile, and his non-smiling tone that went with it, I raised my voice without thinking.
“Are you, by any chance, lost again? Do you know the way from here?”
“Yes, I’ll be OK, don’t worry!”
“People who get lost a lot would say that kind of thing.”
… I didn’t know what to say to that.
“I’ll be fine this time. I even found a sign.”
I pointed at the sign saying “Yoyogi National Gymnasium”.
“Ah I see”, he nodded.
“Thanks anyway man.”
“Don’t mention it!”
An awkward silence followed. It was nice that I could hold a light conversation there for a while, but I couldn’t keep it going. I’m not used to the big city after all.
“OK then,” I said, and started walking, hoping to break away from this uncomfortable situation.
“Take care,” I heard him reply from behind me.
His nonchalant attitude was pretty cool. I got a bit sad as I compared myself to him.
Though it’s also true that his never-waning smile stressed me out quite a bit.
I wonder if everyone becomes like that if they live in the city long enough. Is Tokyo just that kind of place?
I admire it… but it’s also kinda scary!
Twilight began to approach the streets of Shibuya.
It was almost assembly time.
In a brisk pace, I followed the slope leading to the gymnasium.
-  Tokyo Disney Resort is often referred to as yume no kuni, or “land of the dreams”.
-  The entire dialog is in Oita dialect. Also, it seems that schools in Japan prepare their own trip guide for school trips.
-  “X-Cat” (?) is the name of the ugly black cat on those stickers that Hishiro sends over LINE all the time.
-  omiyage
-  Tissue-pack marketing
-  sumimasen → gomen’nasai
-  The x-mark is called batsu in Japanese.