A bit of mishmash, this is an SG—made by Epiphone and not Gibson, it is created in almost the same way as Nao’s vintage guitar. The sweat towels feature Ritsu (rear) and Yui (center)…if you look close enough, you’ll see the Mio and Yui Figma on top of the Ritsu towel. Also, is ‘HEART STATION’, probably the best Hikaru Utada album out there. Think of this as a tribute to Nao that includes others from the band.
Last time on K-ON!!!!! “Beautiful World’ the girls of ‘Hokago Tea Time’ took second place in a competition featuring the big names in music, this in turn caused them the beginnings of great stardom. Now, each group gets their own turn on stage in…
K-ON!!!!! “Beautiful World” Part 10.
Nao and Miho:
Nao understood, she understood that after the second place position or win at the Natsu Rock Fest that ‘Hokago Tea Time’ would become stars, so walking down the street was going to be a challenge because the press wanted to get the scoop on the new ‘big thing’ and on top of that, there were fans—a lot of fans.
The fans really weren’t a problem, none of them tried to strip her of anything, she was only wearing a green sweater with the top two buttons closed with a white blouse underneath and a short pleated skirt that was also green. Nao had on yellow thigh high socks and black vinyl lifted Mary Jane shoes; her short black hair was pulled back with a green headband and some of her hair hung over it just for style. Sumire wanted her to get contacts like Miho had, but she refused and continued to wear her red half frame glasses. She could start a trend?
Miho hung close to her mother wearing her school uniform; she had her sweater buttoned all the way and wore black shoes with pink laces.
Nao had plans with her daughter, but Miho understood that her mother had to stop and sign autographs and talk with the fans. Most of the signing took place upon the bands CD cover and most wanted a personalized greeting, which she was more than obliged to do so. On the ones that just wanted the signature, she made a joke “To Ebay Buyer” but just signed her name and said, “Listen to it anyhow.”
Some of the fans were giving her things and she was lucky enough to have her pink translucent back pack style purse over her shoulders so she could store the items in it. They were giving her fan made key chains which she would probably either use or put on display in her stage room; some drew artwork which was amazing, she would have to get frames and once again, hang it in the stage room.
Nao didn’t take the fans love for granted, she really did appreciate their thoughts and so she would display these offerings proudly.
The press was a bit of an issue, first she didn’t like the fact that Miho was getting photographed and that they were really prying into her personal life, so Nao decided to spin every negative thing they were attempting.
Nao had told Miho to pose for pictures with her which would probably be boring to the members of the press who wanted dirt, but would be great for those who just wanted a feature. As for answering questions, well, Nao took hold of that quickly saying that Miho deserved a private life…even though it was obvious which school she attended because of the patch on her sweater.
“So, you are a single parent, where’s the kids father?” One of the press asked. Nao knew how to reply, “Miho was living in the tent city in the local park for two years; one night we met and I took her in and adopted her. The goal of ‘HTT’ is to form a self contained charity for those living in this tent city and get them into a warm, comfortable apartment. From there, each will be given a job at one of Kotobuki-San’s plants; here they will receive a good pay that will enable them to live again. No one will be turned away regardless of age or background; all we are looking for is for them to make a life for themselves. Following the success of this plan which is already in motion, we will begin a nationwide organization to get the homeless off the street and working or on aid if they are unable to work. So, Miho was the first, she has no father, her parents are unknown, there are no records, no extended family, so now, she is my family and the family of the other girls of ‘HTT;’ does that answer your question?”
“You are being charitable to the homeless? Why?” One of the reporters asked.
“Well, although half of us had average earnings while just a few of us had more than we could ever need, we figured that between the record sales, and the stadium concerts that we have more than we’ll ever need for many lifetimes. As you can see on half the billboards around town and nationwide that we also make commercials and some of us have even had parts in movies and television; so what does one do with more Yen then they’ll ever need? You give to those IN need, but not just a hand out, you use the Yen to assist and allow people to gain on their own. The plant makes high quality, low cost goods that everyone can afford; as I said, the pay is enough to live, not to survive. The only down side is getting those who want to remain on the streets off; I don’t understand that at all?” Nao replied.
Without being able to get the dirt that they wanted, the press moved on, but would take what they had for average articles in either news or magazines.
The trip to their destination was slow with being approached by fans often, but Nao wasn’t going to just walk by them, it was because of them that she and the girls of ‘HTT’ were able to do the things they did and live the way they could.
Miho had her arm locked with Nao’s and she smiled at the attention that they were getting; this was stardom, but it wasn’t enough; there had to be a way to make Miho happier, there had to be a way to make the world a better place—fame was fleeting, they wouldn’t be big forever, but this was just the beginning, so they had to do everything they could now before it was too late.
Regardless of the constant stopping, it was Miho’s bright smile that made it all worth while, Nao just hoped that she was giving her daughter enough attention, the last thing she wanted was for Miho to feel unwanted or ignored—something that Nao would refuse to do, but sometimes she felt like she wasn’t doing enough.
Yui and Ui:
Ui stood in the dentists office rocking the stroller of her infant back and forth while Yui lay in the chair with her mouth held open wide as an elder woman worked on attaching a permanent Yaeba to the left canine to make a fang that matched Aki Toyosaki’s. Ui thought it was kind of strange for her Onee-Chan to do this, but it had become an obsession.
Feeling relieved from her own obsession with Yui, Ui watched as the work was being done while holding her sisters hand and rocking her baby at the same time. It took a bit of time, but the dentist was finally done and Yui was relieved of the device in her mouth and got out of the chair to look in a mirror at her new style. She loved it, it was actually perfect and appeared subtle, a single fang raised off her tooth; it could be removed, but it would cost just as much—money wasn’t much of a problem anymore however, the teacher salary was fine, but the Yen of a rock star was so much better.
Yui, like the others agreed to the charity, however, she had never really experienced having money, so she wanted to spend a little on herself. New home, large, but not huge because she lived alone; driving was out of the question for her, she couldn’t pass her test, so no car, but she was considering a limo—her need to match Akira was kind of strange; after all, ‘Gang of Girls’ went everywhere in a limo. Yui was copying a lot of other people, but there was still a lot of her left in her personality.
Once they left the dentist, Yui and Ui had to make their way to a recording studio. Yui was going to do voice over for an Anime and Ui wanted to watch. From the voice work, Yui had a commercial for UCC coffee which she liked, so it wasn’t going to be an issue with drinking the product on screen.
Thankfully, the voice over and commercial would finish her day; there was going to be a meeting at the penthouse in which Mio and Ritsu shared, they would even have dinner there and probably talk about their day. Nao had specifically kept her workload low to just a few commercials a month which were on a bunch of video billboards in Tokyo to spend time with Miho—Yui, however had a full schedule every week which obviously meant that she had to quit teaching. Yui didn’t want to end her career as a teacher, but she did have the ability to go back to it IF or WHEN the ride of stardom ended.
Sumire was working on getting them shows in stadiums and theaters and that had been going well. Yui had to promote the new album which was self released through them—something that made everything harder for all of them was not being with a record company. This was decided by Tsumugi who was dropped by hers upon her single failed performance, so they all agreed to produce on their own with Sumire at the front of it all.
“Onee-Chan, we have time before you have to be at the studio, do you want to stop for a snack?” Ui asked pushing the stroller alongside Yui who kept feeling her Yaeba implant as they walked.
“Let’s get ice cream! It might actually be the only thing I can eat until the discomfort of my tooth goes away,” Yui replied.
The girls found a nice café and went in to stares—even from the wait staff—Yui did a ‘jazz hands’ wave and said, “Ya-ho!” Stardom was really for someone with Yui’s personality.
They were seated and Ui and Yui ordered—Ui picked something small while Yui got the largest thing they had which consisted of three flavors of ice cream, Pocky, and strawberries, banana and many other toppings; she didn’t gain weight no matter what she ate, so she didn’t care…although, Ui had mentioned that just because Yui didn’t gain weight, she could still get high blood sugar.
The sisters ate and every now and then a fan would come over and Yui would satisfy them with some chat or a signature, even photographs.
Yui and Ui finished and Yui paid the bill and left a nice tip on the table—something that was never done, tipping was something that was never thought of in Japan, but Yui liked the idea and she had more than she needed, so the sisters left to continue Yui’s day.
Tsumugi and Sumire:
They were both dressed very professionally as they were led to Tsumugi’s fathers office at the top of a large high rise building in which he owned in Tokyo. This was it, the first time Tsumugi visited with her father after he took the larger companies away from her. The goal was to take possession of an old factory that wasn’t being used and take hold of an old apartment complex that also was vacant.
Mugi and Sumire were prepared with paperwork in a briefcase that Sumire carried, it contained information on both buildings and Tsumugi was prepared to transfer funds. Lawyers would be present if necessary and everything would be set in stone and the gears would start turning.
Kotobuki’s secretary knocked on the large doors of his office and was told to enter, she opened the right door and stood bowed, allowing Tsumugi and Sumire to enter; she then took her leave as the girls went to the huge desk in which Kotobuki sat at.
“Tsumugi, it’s nice to see you—Sumire…” Kotobuki said flatly.
“Father, we are here on business as scheduled; shall we have our lawyers present now or after the proceedings?” Mugi said firmly.
“The lawyers aren’t necessary, have a seat, Saitou will be in to serve tea shortly,” Kotobuki said.
“Please don’t refer to my father as just Saitou,” Sumire said.
“Sumire, your family has been serving us for generations, it’s nothing new, your grand parents, your great grand parents—you were almost going to take over for your mother, but you were set ‘free’ so to say; my daughter wished to marry you and I accepted it, however, as long as your parents are in my employ…” Kotobuki was interrupted by Sumire who said, “I want to buy their freedom, I want them to retire; just name your price!”
Kotobuki thought about it for a moment and said, “That is what you really desire, a tradition to be broken over some kind of morals? Do you not think that your parents enjoy serving us? They get paid handsomely, we don’t treat them like slaves or anything; you do know we saved them from German rule in Austria during World War II; in a way, we do care about them.”
“I wish for their freedom…a million each…” Sumire said.
“A million Yen or dollars?” Kotobuki asked.
“The equivalent of a million dollars in Yen—please, my father is getting old and my mother too; I’m sorry that I was the cause of breaking tradition, but I really do, with all my heart, love Tsumugi, she is probably the only reason that I feel I exist sometimes—she was once my Onee-Chan, and now she is my wife or partner for life; I wouldn’t want it any other way,” Sumire said.
“You two don’t have servants do you? With all that you have, you are both self-sufficient, that is pretty impressive—your mother and I can’t even use the microwave without causing a mess…OK, once I find replacements for your parents, I will let them retire; a million dollars equivalent in Yen, so be it—do you have that?” Kotobuki asked.
“Yes, do you want it transferred now?” Sumire said.
“It’s not necessary to do so right away…now, Tsumugi, you want two of my vacant buildings, an apartment complex and a factory. The apartment needs a few modernizations, but that isn’t so bad, its in great condition and I have a small crew that keeps it maintained. I’d let it go for 700,000,000 Yen…the factory has equipment for making plastics and some metal producing machines…the condition is safe, it has been maintained, however, there are licenses and permits that you’ll have to obtain after the sale to open for business. One Billion Yen sounds fair for its condition…I’m just concerned that you’ll have to train homeless people to do the labor and make a proper product; everything is of high quality, but low cost, and in order to keep that up you lose a lot of profit; not enough to knock you out of business, but you aren’t going to make a lot for yourself after overhead—especially paying the workers. I read the initial paperwork which I gather you brought with and the fact that you want to pay the workers so well is beyond me…but, you do as you wish. Tsumugi, you do realize that after you girls perform, about seventy five percent of your earnings will go into the charity, you’ll live well, but nothing like rock stars should,” Kotobuki said.
“The girls and I agree that what we are doing is right, we don’t need to live like queens or princesses; we just need to live. We decided that Nao will spearhead the charity because she is a genius and she can probably handle it better than I can. As for 10-GIA and the café, they will still be controlled by me, they take in very good revenue and I want them to remain open—they can also serve as part of the charity’s work places. We know exactly what we are getting ourselves into, we have all decided that it is the right thing to do; we are Idols now—we wanted to be the rock band ‘Hokago Tea Time’ but its expanded to more than that. We have come a long way and now we will give back; we don’t want any kind of special treatment or anything, we just want to help others, nothing more,” Tsumugi said.
“I see; well daughter, I don’t think lawyers are needed, I’ll sign the two properties over to you, however, I want to see the success of each, so tell your friend Okuda-San that a lot is expected of her—all of you for that matter. And Sumire, as for your parents, I’ll have them in your hands with-in a month; I’ll miss them though, they are more than servants, they are like family—and I don’t think you saw that after all the years in which you were Tsumugi’s playmate; but, at their age, I guess retirement is proper, although they both are more than willing to serve forever—to the end of their days. I was concerned for you Tsumugi, getting part time jobs in high school and college, serving tea and cakes at the Light Music Club, and being so thoughtful to others even with your status—then, you go off and marry Sumire…now, what was I supposed to think of that? BUT, you are my daughter, and although sometimes I’ve been disappointed in the things you’ve done, I still love you very much and I fully except Sumire as the one closest to you—although I would have liked to have some grandchildren, I think I can accept your decision without any concern.
I’ll have my lawyer draw up the paperwork, total your payment and we can go from there. I won’t get in your way; I believe that you girls are making the right decision and if Okuda-San believes in it and is heading it, then I’m sure everything will turn out the way you planned.
I’m proud of you Tsumugi, and you too Sumire; I wish you both well, and I also wish all of you well in your ventures,” Kotobuki said with a smile.
Mio and Ritsu:
“Why of all things, does it have to be a play!” Mio cried then took a drag of her Kiseru and exhaled the smoke into the large main room of the penthouse in which she shared with Ritsu. The set-up of the room was beautiful in classic Japanese style with perfect Feng Shui. The girls sat at a large Kotatsu with the blanket over their legs wearing hooded sweaters and looking at scripts which they were sent that day.
“We did a play in High School—you can do it again; besides, it’s not like we have huge parts. You are Lady Macbeth and I’m a witch—no jokes! Its not so bad—at least we are both girls this time, you don’t have to reprise Romeo again,” Ritsu replied taking a bite of a rice ball, she exclaimed “Salmon! And it’s spicy!”
Mio looked at her plate of rice balls and holding her Kiseru to the side in her right hand she took hold of one of the triangular masses of rice with a wrapping of seaweed and took a bite—hers was salmon too, just mild in spice. When she swallowed, Mio said, “I guess its ok, its for the cause…I hope Mugi was able to obtain the factory—I think its weird having formerly homeless people working in a factory, but Nao said that the safety regulations are going to be very high and the pay very good. I don’t blame her for wanting to help people, and we shouldn’t be living like royalty anyhow.”
“There isn’t a need to…Nao and I didn’t grow up with everything, we understand that it takes a lot to get by. I was probably better off than her in some ways, she didn’t get to go continent hopping for her graduation trip like we did, so I think she is right in having us be charitable. I think it makes our popularity go way up too and we aren’t doing it for points either…who the hell pulls a homeless child off the street in the middle of a rainy night, once we’re fifteen we don’t even have to go to school anymore; but its what broke Nao out of her depression and she is finally happy,” Ritsu replied.
“You know we are invited to Miho’s school festival right? I think she is performing with her Light Music Club; it should be interesting watching another club from a different school perform. I’m excited!” Mio said.
“I want to see if she learned enough from Yui, after all, you have to wonder sometimes what Yui is really capable of,” Ritsu said.
“Nao said Miho was doing very well with her musical skill, so we’ll see at the festival. Ritsu, I want to talk to you about something, I kept this…” Mio said taking a worn piece of paper from the pocket of her sweater and handing it to her friend.
Ritsu opened the folded paper and looked at it, she said, “This is the note I left you when I left the college, I didn’t know you still kept it—why?”
“I kept it because it came from you, written on it were your true feelings for me; not the fun lies you tell, not the open-leg ignorance, not the girl who always tried to scare me because she thought it was fun…this was you–Ritsu Tainaka—and I’ve treasured this note since the day I found it,” Mio replied.
“Dear Mio, I’m so sorry, I know that finishing school is going to be difficult for you without me there by your side, but you have Yui, Mugi, Ui and so many others…I know its not the same, we are like sisters, and have a love that only sisters can have. I made a mistake that I will never be able to fix, but I want you to know that no matter what, I love you Mio and I hope that someday, somehow, you’ll forgive me. Goodbye Mio…Ritsu…I’m sorry—again and again, I sound like a broken record…but I meant every word I said in this note…” Ritsu said handing the note back to Mio who took it and replaced it in her pocket.
“I carry it with me all the time, its important to me, you really cared enough to say those things…I have to admit that sometimes I’ve thought about a relationship like Mugi has with Sumire, but I don’t want that, I don’t feel that way; but at the same time I don’t feel like a relationship with a man either; I just want to be with you and I think our current arrangements are just fine the way they are,” Mio replied.
“I have to agree…I was always on top of commenting on Tsumugi’s attraction to girls, so I can’t really say that I want to get in bed with you Mio, but I would like what Yui and Ui have—NOW—not what their relationship was in school, that sis-con thing was really over the top!” Ritsu said.
Mio smiled and said, “Do you talk to your parents?”
“No, I refuse to do so; when I was in need they threw me on the street; I made a mistake, I didn’t kill anyone. I won’t speak to my mother for letting my father kick me out and obviously I won’t speak to my father because of what he did so publicly,” Ritsu replied.
“I think you should make peace with them before any of you passes away, then you won’t have any regrets—just in case,” Mio said.
“It’s not something that I’m taking lightly Mio, I have to stand firm on my decision. I’ve apologized for wasting my father’s money, I’ve apologized for being a disappointment; I won’t apologize anymore. I loved my parents a lot and I love Satoshi even more—but, this is my own private pain that I’m harboring. I’m sorry Mio, but this time, this is something that doesn’t concern any of you,” Ritsu said.
“Just think about it one day—right now we have to go over lines for the play that you dragged me into, but, to be honest, I really want to perform in a play with you again; even if we aren’t the main characters, we are still going to be together,” Mio said.
Ritsu was quiet and thought for a moment then said, “I remember one night, going to a club to see ‘The Wakaba Girls’ in concert, I stood by the door attempting to get myself drunk as I watched Azusa paralyzed and singing on stage, Nao in the rear close to Sumire…Ui and Jun on both sides of Azusa…in the audience was Yui and Tsumugi…they all seemed to be strangers to me, I knew them all pretty much, but they weren’t my friends at the time anymore—really…now look where we are. I’m glad that we are heading in the right direction—if not entirely together, we each have a purpose now and that makes me happy…”
Mio smiled and said, “It makes me happy too Ritsu…let’s hope that it never ends…for all of us…”
Next time on K-ON!!!!! “Beautiful World” The girls go to the Kaganui Family School for girls to watch Miho perform with her Light Music Club. Then, Sumire has the biggest announcement the girls will ever hear. Be here next Thursday for part 11!