"A detective can't choose his criminal, but a criminal can choose his detective"
"The School of the Detectives who Don't Learn"
Another translation within a month?! Sometimes, the best way to get your mind off of things is to shut down your own brain and mindlessly translate detective stories you like. Or something like that.
I chose the short story Kirigamine Ryou no Houkago ("Kirigamine Ryou's After-School Hours") to translate, because it is a fun little story that kinda reminds of Ellery Queen's famous short story The Mad Tea Party. The school-setting also feels the most natural in this story compared to the other stories collected in Houkago wa Mystery to Tomo ni. This story has also actually been made into a short movie, that is available at the 'official' Koigakubo Academy website. Also note how I am trying to tell you nothing about the contents of the story.
It was interesting doing this though. I have translated short stories before, but as I didn't have a script to this story, I had to type down everything as I was listening to the radio drama (which are episodes 6 and 7 of the 10-part series, by the way). Which requires a very different way of working. There were some spots I just couldn't pick up, so I totally winged my translation at those points. Luckily, those moments were few and very short. Translating from an actual text is a lot easier!
Anyway, I think it speaks for itself. The text in italics is from the narrator (Kirigami Ryou herself), SOUND is of course for the sound effects in the radio play. The story's also quite easy to read and short because it's mostly conversation. Anyway, this is Kirigamine Ryō’s After School Hours:
Kirigamine Ryō’s After School Hours
Author: Higashigawa Tokuya
Script: Fukuda Takurō
Tōkyō, west of Kokubunji. This area, which still has traces of old Musashino, has been called Koigakubo since long ago. The school I attend is located in a neighborhood within Koigakubo. The official name of the school is Koigakubo Private Academy for Higher Education and has a geinō class, for young actors and idols and such. I am Kirigamine Ryō, a beautiful sixteen year old high school student from the normal classes, a mystery maniac, a Hiroshima Carp fan and vice-president of the detective club
It all happened right after the swimming class in the sixth period. After I had changed back to my half-sleeve blouse and mini-skirt in the dressing room, I went back to the classroom together with my classmate Nao. Koigakubo Academy’s girls dressing room is located inside an old building together with the gymnastics equipment storage room, next to the pool, in the corner of the athletics field.
NAO: Hey, what’s that?
NAO: There, from the window of the gymnastics storage room. Like there’s smoke coming out of there. Wait, that is smoke! A fire?!
KIRIGAMINE: No way! Probably just a delinquent student smoking there. You know, the places where delinquents smoke have traditionally been behind the gymnasium, or around the storage room.
NAO: Really? It might be a fire, you know.
KIRIGAMINE: Well, if you’re really worried… let’s go take a look.
SOUND: DOOR OPENING
KIRIGAMINE: Anyone here?
KIRIGAMINE: Nothing. Just the vaulting box, mats, balls, hurdles, the balance bar. The usual. I mean, this is the gymnastics storage room…
NAO: Maybe just my imagination… A broom is lying here. Let’s clean this up.
KIRIGAMINE: As expected of our class president.
NAO: This is the cleaning equipment closet, right?
SOUND: LOCKER OPENING
There was a someone in the locker!
KIRIGAMINE: Look out! Out of the way, Nao! Take this!!
SOUND: BALL HITTING PERSON
The basketball hit him, and the ghost from the locker fell down in pain. Nao hit the ghost with the broom.
SOUND: PERSON GETTING REPEATEDLY HIT BY BROOM
???: Stop it!!
KIRIGAMINE: Wa… wait, Nao! That’s Arakida! Arakida from the class next door!
NAO: Arakida Satoshi?
NAO: Aaah, I’m so relieved! It was just a delinquent!
ARAKIDA: What the hell were you doing?! Attacking me?!
NAO: Sorry. I thought you were some kind of pervert…
KIRIGAMINE: The locker is for cleaning equipment, you know.
ARAKIDA: I know! I heard something at the door, so I thought that it was some damn teacher and hid myself there.
KIRIGAMINE: Hmmm… So you were doing something you didn’t want a teacher to see. Were you… smoki…
ARAKIDA: I wasn’t smoking!! I don’t… I don’t smoke!
SOUND: DOOR OPENING
???: I heard that. You’ll get suspended from class for smoking at school!
It was Shibata Kouzou. Even among the wild gymnastic teachers, this teacher dressed in a jersey was considered the most aggressive.
ARAKIDA: That’s not fair! I wasn’t smoking! Wheres ya evidence, the evidence?! Do you have any evidence that I smoked….. Sir?!
SHIBATA: Who do you think you are! OK, I’ll do an inspection of all of your belongings. Show me what’s in your pockets. Don’t try to hide anything!
ARAKIDA: Only got some change. And? Finished?
SHIBATA: No. If you don’t have it on you right now, then it means you hid it somewhere in this storeage room. Your cigarettes and lighter will be all the evidence I need.
ARAKIDA: No problem. Search 'til you’re satisfied.
SHIBATA: What brand do you smoke?
ARAKIDA Lucky Mild. And my lighter is a special commemoration zippo for Kanemoto’s 2000th base hit!
SHIBATA: Ok, got it. I’ll find them. You two, help searching!
He had already confessed before we even started looking. What a pair.
SHIBATA: Kirigamine! Search the vaulting box!
A vaulting box had been placed right against the wall separating the girls dressing room and the storage room. With mats and baseball equipment in the way, I couldn’t move it, and it was only used once a year, at the athletics festival.
SHIBATA: Inside the vault. Lift up the upper layer and check it!
KIRIGAMINE: Hm… heaa…
KIRIGAMINE: Looking… looking, but there’s nothing. Just the floor.
ARAKIDA: O.. of course there’s nothing there!
NAO: Isn’t this enough looking around? Do we have to look through everything all because of just one delinquent?
SHIBATA: You’re right. I’ll let you off this time. The next time I’ll definitely get you! Don't forget!
Who is the delinquent here?
SOUND: PEOPLE TALKING, WALKING AT SCHOOL GROUNDS
KIRIGAMINE: Where did Arakida hid his cigarettes in the end?
NAO: I wonder.
KIRIGAMINE: The storage room is small, but there are a lot of places to hide stuff there.
NAO: Yeah. Even if you’re not that smart, you’d manage if you tried.
ARAKIDA: Wait a second!
Arakida was waiting at the school gate.
ARAKIDA: You’re coming with me.
NAO: Wh…what? Don't come complaining to us! We’re going now.
ARAKIDA: You can go. Just leave. I have business only with Kirigamine.
NAO: I se…see. Well, I’ll go then. I’ll leave this all to you, Ryō. Don’t worry, you’ll figure out something. Bye!
ARAKIDA: I’ll have to pay you back, Kirigamine… What do you like?
KIRIGAMINE: Heh? …. the Carps.
ARAKIDA: No, what kind of food do you like?
KIRIGAMINE: Food? Bacon, I guess.
ARAKIDA: Bacon? I was guessing parfaits or crepes, but bacon? A difficult one… Bacon…bacon… Think! Think, Arakida Satoshi!! Ah, I have it! Come along!
KIRIGAMINE: Where to?
ARAKIDA: The café I usually hang out at.
SOUND: PLATE BEING PLACED ON TABLE
ARAKIDA: What do you think? The owner’s special, ultimate bacon burger! It’s my treat, so eat!
KIRIGAMINE: Bread. Lettuce. Bacon. Lettuce. Tomato. Bread. Lettuce. Tomato. Bacon. Lettuce. Lettuce. Lettuce. Lettuce. Bacon, bacon, BACOOOOOON! Like a mille-feuille of bacon and lettuce!
ARAKIDA; Stop talking and eat!
KIRI: I humbly accept!
SOUND: KIRIGAMINE EATING HAMBURGER
KIRIGAMINE: Mut my mmyoummeammingme?
ARAKIDA: Speak after you’ve eaten! Or eat after you’ve spoken!
KIRIGAMINE: Why are you treating me?
ARAKIDA: Be...because of just now.
KIRIGAMINE: The storage room? Oh, so you were smoking there, right? Pretty good place where you hid your cigarettes! Lucky the teacher didn’t find it, or you would have been suspended.
ARAKIDA: Good place…? It just happened to be in sight… Anyway, I repay the favors I get. Or else people start talking about me....
KIRIGAMINE: What are you talking about? I didn’t do anything to deserve getting treated. I only did like anyone would have done in such a situation.
ARAKIDA: If you really feel that way, well, that makes me feel easy too. You have some male chivalry within you. Aah, this is great! I feel really relieved knowing you're cool about it!
KIRIGAMINE: Err… I have no idea what you’re talking about.
SOUND: CELLPHONE RINGING
KIRIGAMINE: Excuse me. Hello?
NAO: Ryō? Help me!
NAO: When I tried to pay the bill at the family restaurant, I discovered I had only 370 yen left in my wallet . I ate for almost 3000 yen… Ryō, do you have that much on you?
KIRIGAMINE: You eat too much!
And so I was forced to go the family restaurant to save Nao.
KIRIGAMINE: Well, Arakida, thanks for the hamburger!
???: Wait! Kirigamine!
It was the popular actress Ogasawara Reika, third year student of the geinō class of Koigakubo Academy, who called out to me as I was heading for the family restaurant. I think her real name is Yoshida Miyuki.
REIKA: Could you accompany me for a while?
SOUND: OKONOMIYAKI BEING FRIED
KIRIGAMINE: Aonori. Sauce. Dough. Pork belly. Egg. Cabbage. Cabbage. Cabbage, cabbage, CABBAGE!! Wow! Like a cabbage squat call! I humbly accept!
REIKA: I’m sorry there is no bacon.
REIKA: I was right beside you at the café just now.
KIRIGAMINE: I didn’t notice. But today’s a strange day. Delinquent Arakida treats me on a hamburger, now the popular actress Ogasawa Raika invites me to eat okonomiyaki… Are you all planning to make me gain weight?
REIKA: Maybe it was a bad idea to invite you for okonomiyaki right after a hamburger?
KIRIGAMINE: No, I have a different stomach for that.
REIKA: What a strange stomach. Hahaha
That smile. That was the smile that made the hearts of middle aged men all over the world go wild.
REIKA: About the talk you had with Arakida at the cafe… it wasn’t like I was eavesdropping, you know, I just happened to hear it… But it seemed like that Arakida was smoking in the storage room, was almost found out by the teacher, but that he got away thanks to you…
SOUND: KIRIGAMINE WOLFING DOWN OKONOMIYAKI
REIKA: Listen to me!!
Reika grabbed the okonomiyaki iron I held in my hand strongly with her chopsticks.
REIKA: What about a bit more self-control? Are you listening? Who do you think I am? I am Ogasawara Reika. The number one young talent, the heroine! Normally I wouldn’t be eating okonomiyaki with someone from the normal classes like this. Got it?
KIRIGAMINE: Do.. don’t get mad, Yoshida…
REIKA: Don’t call me Yoshida! … That conversation you just had with Arakida, I had the feeling you were talking at cross-purposes. Right?
KIRIGAMINE: Yeah.. I was forced to search for the cigarettes by the teacher, so there was no reason for Arakida to get mad at me, nor to treat me.
REIKA: Maybe Arakida was thinking as follows: You found the cigarettes he hid. But you pretended you didn’t see them. So he got away without suspension. And that’s why he treated you on a bacon hamburger.
KIRIGAMINE: That means…
REIKA: You actually searched the place where Arakida had hidden his cigarettes. That’s why he thought you knew where they were.
KIRIGAMINE: So I must have blind, for not seeing them even though they were there.
REIKA: Maybe… but there is another possibility. Where did you search?
KIRIGAMINE; Err… the baskets, between the mats that were lying on top of each other, inside the vaulting box at the wall, the bags of lime…
REIKA: I see, precisely like I thought.
I didn’t miss those words that came out of Ogasawara Reika’s beautiful lips
REIKA: Thanks, Kirigamine. Your story helped me. I’ll pay the bill here.
KIRIGAMINE: I can’t… I will pay too! … Err? Aah? That’s strange, I thought I had 3000 yen… Well… if you insists… Thanks for the food!
REIKA: No problem.
SOUND: DOOR CLOSING
KIRIGAMINE: Thanks for the food!
REIKA: Well, I have to go somewhere, so…
KIRIGAMINE: The storage room? If so, I’ll go too. I can’t leave feeling all confused like this.
REIKA: You’re probably wondering why I’m so interested in a delinquent’s cigarette, right?
KIRIGAMINE: No…no.. not at all….haha.
REIKA: I’m not interested in a delinquent’s cigarettes. I think there is something bigger behind this. Much bigger.
After the swimming class, class president Nao and I left the girls dressing room and discovered smoke coming out of the storage room the next door. Apparently, the delinquent student Arakida had smoked there, but even though the aggressive gymnastics teacher Shibata teacher ordered us to look for Arakida’s cigarettes and lighter, we couldn’t find them. I had searched the place where had hidden them, but I didn’t notice them, it seemed. Arakida thought I was covering for him and he treated me on my favorite food with a special bacon burger. It was Ogasawara Reika, popular actress and third year student of the geinō class, who pointed out this misunderstanding on Arakida's part.
REIKA: I’m not interested in a delinquent’s cigarettes. I think there is something bigger behind this. Much bigger.
SOUND: DOOR OPENING
We returned to the storage room after school.
REIKA: I think that this vaulting box is the key to everything.
Reika walked to the vaulting box that was pushed against the wall, lifted the upper layer up and looked inside.
KIRIGAMINE: Anything there? Cigarettes?
REIKA: Nothing. But I wonder if that's really the case?
REIKA: Kirigamine, pretend you’re a delinquent. You skipped class and are smoking in the storage room.
REIKA: You’re smoking somewhere near this vault. Just try it!
REIKA: Got any cigarettes?
KIRIGAMINE: Of course not.
REIKA: Then use this handkerchief instead. Ok? You’re a delinquent. Or the boss of a girl gang. Become the part!
KIRIGAMINE: Err? I a…. am a delinquent. I’m the boss of a girl gang!
REIKA: Ok, let’s go! Camera…. And action!
I leaned against the vault and pretended the handkerchief was a cigarette.
KIRIGAMINE: Aah…. Boring. Who’s going to class now?! Haha, skipping class and smoking is the best! Gonna smoke like hell!
REIKA: You’re kinda like a 80’s delinquent, don’t you think? Well, no matter. Suddenly, the sound of someone outside! A teacher! Gotta hide your cigarettes. Where are you going to hide it? You’re looking at the vault. Aaaand… hide it!
I pushed the handkerchief in one of the holes in the lowest, tenth layer of the vaulting box.
KIRIGAMINE: What’s with this play-acting?
REIKA: This is not a play-acting. It’s a magic trick. Come. Open this and look inside.
I lifted the upper layer of the vaulting box and looked inside.
KIRIGAMINE: No…nothing! The handkerchief has disappeared!
REIKA: Don’t panic. Observe. The bottom of the vaulting box looks like the floor of the storage room, right? That’s a fake bottom. There is a fake bottom between the ninth and tenth layer of the vaulting box. Looking from above, you can’t see the difference and you can’t reach it with your hands, so you mistake it for the floor. It’s just a trick.
KIRIGAMINE: This vault has a fake floor?
ARAKIDA: Yes. Arakida hid his cigarettes and lighter in the hole of the tenth layer of the vaulting box like you did just now. When you looked inside the box from above, like the teacher told you to do, Arakida must have thought that it was all over.
KIRIGAMINE: But I didn’t notice the fake bottom and told the teacher there was nothing there.
REIKA: And so Arakida thought you were just pretending to have seen nothing and that you were covering up for him. He should have treated the bacon hamburger to the person who made this fake bottom.
KIRIGAMINE: Wow, incredible. You’re like a great detective.
REIKA: To me, this mystery was just child’s play.
KIRIGAMINE: But why is there a fake floor here in the first place? Don’t tell me it was made just to help out Arakida.
REIKA: Of course not. I don’t know who the person is who made this fake floor. But I think I know why it was made. Let’s pull out the fake floor.
We lifted the layers of the vaulting box down to the ninth layer and there was a thin vinyl plate placed there that looked like the room’s floor.
KIRIGAMINE: This is made pretty good. No wonder I was fooled.
REIKA: Don’t get impressed by this. Let’s pull it out.
We pulled it out, there were the handkerchief I had pushed in, the Lucky Mild cigarettes and the special commemoration zippo for Kanemoto’s 2000th base hit.
KIRIGAMINE: So Arakida really hid it here. Hmm? What is this black box here?
The black box looked like thick book and a tube was sticking out of it like an insect’s antenna.
KIRIGAMINE: This tube… goes all the way into the wall.
REIKA: At the other side of this wall…
KIRIGAMINE: Is the girls dressing room! This.. this is…
SOUND: BOX BEING PULLED FROM THE WALL
KIRIGAMINE: Look, there is a lens here! This is a camera! A mini camera!
REIKA: Precisely like I thought.
KIRIGAMINE: You knew?
REIKA: You must have heard the rumors about hidden cameras in the girls dressing room? Famous people like me are the targets, so it had been on my mind for a long time now. Then I heard the conversation you and Arakida had and when you told me the details… it just came to me: there was something wrong with the vaulting box.
KIRIGAMINE: You deduced that the location of the cigarettes, was also the location of the camera.
REIKA: Yes. The culprit probably planted it for the swimming classes, placing the camera here and switched it on. Everything in the girls dressing room is filmed until its memory is full. Afterwards, the culprit retrieves the camera. Probably something like that.
KIRIGAMINE: So this camera has footage of us changing ourclothes?!
REIKA: Really horrible that someone would do something like that. I can’t forgive him. We can’t just leave this here. The teachers won’t tell this to the police, they will think it’s shameful to the school’s reputation. Let’s destroy this. Completely.
KIRIGAMINE: What? Destroy it?
REIKA: Of course.
Saying that, Reika raised a metal bat.
KIRIGAMINE: HOLD IT!
The metal bat hit the floor. Because I had kicked the vaulting box, with the camera, away.
REIKA: What are you doing?! Why are you interfering? What do you think you’re doing?!
KIRIGAMINE: No, what do you think you are doing, Reika? Lying to me…
REIKA: Lying? When did I lie?
KIRIGAMINE: You said you happened to hear the conversation I had with Arakida, but that was a lie, right?
KIRIGAMINE: Reika, you said this at the okonomiyaki restaurant.
>>“I’m sorry there is no bacon”<<
KIRIGAMINE: How did you know that my favorite food is bacon? Because I was eating a bacon-lettuce-burger? But normally, you’d just think that I like hamburgers.
REIKA: It was… because..
KIRIGAMINE: The only time I confessed my love for bacon was during my conversation with Arakida at the school gate. So that means you heard that conversation then. You didn’t happen to be at the cafe, you had been following us from the school gate, or maybe even earlier.
REIKA: Why would I have been following you?
KIRIGAMINE: Because… you are the culprit behind this case.
REIKA: Hahaha…. I’m the culprit? Don’t joke around. You’re saying I was the one filming the girls dressing room? Haha, you know, Kirigamine, people filming girls dressing rooms are usually hopeless men and such… Furthermore, I am from the geinō class! I am normally the one being filmed…
KIRIGAMINE: I didn’t say you were the culprit behind the filming.
KIRIGAMINE: You are guilty of theft! You took money from our wallets, right?
REIKA: What’s this so suddenly? I have no idea what you’re talking about.
KIRIGAMINE: My classmate Nao found out she had not enough money to pay the bill at the restaurant and asked me for help.
>>“When I tried to pay the bill at the family restaurant, I discovered I had only 370 yen left in my wallet . I ate for almost 3000 yen… Ryō, do you have that much on you?”<<
KIRIGAMINE: And from my wallet bills had disappeared too.
>>“That’s strange, I thought I had 3000 yen… “<<
KIRIGAMINE: Nao and I were sure we both had several thousand yen. Is it possible we were both mistaken about the money in our wallets? It is more natural to suppose that someone took money from both my and Nao’s wallets at the same time. That was only possible in the girls dressing room during swimming class. I am sure there are more victims.
REIKA: Even so, do you have evidence proving I am the thief?
KIRIGAMINE: Yes, you are the thief. I became sure when you swung that bat. Why did you try to destroy this camera? Why… didn’t you even check the footage on this camera?
KIRIGAMINE: You couldn’t risk anybody seeing you, right? Because you were filmed as you snuck into the girls dressing room and stole money from our wallets.
KIRIGAMINE: You were near the girls dressing room and noticed the ruckus in the storage room. Worried, you followed us. That’s when you heard the conversation I had with Arakida at the school gate.
REIKA: If I were the thief, I wouldn’t have dragged you here. I would have come here alone to get rid of the camera.
KIRIGAIME: Yes, a normal thief would have done that. But you are… an actress. As you were talking about the case with me, you got into the role of the great detective and became enthralled in playing the part. And a great detective needs a foolish Watson like me… Am I right?
REIKA: You’re wrong… I didn’t steal anything, I am not a thief!
KIRIGAMINE: Then you won’t mind if I show the footage on this camera to the teachers. I am going to the teachers room now…
REIKA: Don’t joke around! As if I am going to let you do that!!
SOUND: BAT BEING SWUNG AROUND
KIRIGAMINE: Aaah! Wha… what are you doing!!
REIKA: I am an actress!!
KIRIGAMINE: I know!
REIKA: Do you know how stressful it is to be at the center of attention constantly?!!
KIRIGAMINE: I don’t know, but relax! Relax!
REIKA: I can’t stop myself anymore!!
SOUND: BAT BEING SWUNG AROUND
KIRIGAMINE: Aah! It grazed me!
REIKA: If not for you… Stay still! Stay still!
Just as the iron bat Reika swung grazed my head…
SOUND: THINGS FALLING AROUND
It was Arakida who had body slammed Reika and knocked her out.
KIRIGAMINE: Did you come to save me?
ARAKIDA: I… I only came here to get some things I had left here… My important, important special commemoration zippo for Kanemoto’s 2000th base hit.
KIRGAMINE: Aaah, saved!! But you were still wrong for smoking…
ARAKIDA: No, you don’t have to thank me! I only did was right. By the way, I love unagi. Don’t forget it!
After that, Reika transferred schools. The teachers are still looking for the person who secretly filmed the dressing room. And I took Arakida to the cafeteria where he had treated me on the bacon-lettuce burger.
SOUND: PLATE BEING PLACED ON TABLE
ARAKIDA: Wha.. what is this?
KIRIGAMINE: Unagi. The owner’s special unagi-lettuce burger!!