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Fujiwara no Narimichi was a Major Counselor (Dainagon) during the latter half of the Heian period.
Narimichi was famous for his god-like skill of Kemari (Japanese ancient ball kicking game), and a legend states that he made a round trip on the balustrade/railing of the Kiyomizudera stage, all while kicking a ball.
As such, he is sometimes known as the Kemari Dainagon (Kemari Advisor).
Tokugawa Tsunayoshi was a Tokugawa Shogun.
Owing to religious fundamentalism, Tsunayoshi sought protection for living beings in the later parts of his rule. In the 1690s and first decade of the 18th century, Tsunayoshi, who was born in the Year of the Dog, thought he should take several measures concerning dogs.
A collection of edicts released daily, known as the Edicts on Compassion for Living Things told the populace, among other things, to protect dogs. An apprentice was even executed because he wounded a dog.
Over 50,000 dogs were deported to kennels in the suburbs of the city where they would be housed. They were apparently fed rice and fish which were at the expense of the taxpaying citizens of Edo.
Therefore, he earned the pejorative title Inu-Kubō (The Dog Shogun).
The new 1st years were starting to look for a club.
If the Handicrafts Club wanted to thrive, what it needed was to secure new members.
I was going to show off Minami-kun to try and get some male members in.
Plenty of men worked in fashion and clothing so there had to be a few boys in Zui’ran that were interested in handicrafts.
I didn’t know where they were hiding, but I was going to snatch them all!
Or so I had thought, but it didn’t go as well as I wanted.
Wondering how the other clubs were doing their recruiting, I went over to the Soccer Club.
On the sports field, they were having a competition to see who could juggle the most times, which everyone was having a lot of fun with.
Hmm, so they were going for the thing where you gave newcomers a taste of the club, huh?
The 1st years seemed to be rather enjoying it.
In the end, the person who won the competition was the President of the Soccer Club.
Hmmmmm~ So he was actually the most skilled, then.
Even now, the president was effortlessly juggling the soccer ball as the spectators clapped ‘go, go, go, go’.
Walking over, I joined in and clapped along too, but the moment our eyes met he tripped over his own feet and dropped the ball.
What a shame.
Ah well, you did your best, buddy. Clap clap clap.
No sooner had I started applauding did he entirely ignore the ball in favour of running over to me.
Ah, was he here to thank me for cheering for him?
“Are you here to get dirt on me again…!?”
“Oh my, what a terrible case of persecution complex! All I wanted to do was see how your club was doing, and this is how you treat me…”
So mean~ So cruel~
And from your phrasing, can I take it to mean that there’s still some dirt on you to use?
I leant around him to get a good look at his club members.
Oh my. Were those boys from my class that I spied?
So they were in the Soccer Club?
I waved at them.
Ah-, they ran.
Suddenly, the President of the Soccer Club took a step to the side.
In other words, so that he was right in front of me.
By the time I got to have another look, the club members were long gone.
“What my club was doing?”
The President of the Soccer Club was looking at me dubiously.
“Why, yes. I happened to be passing by when I noticed how much energy there was, so I simply wandered over. I must say that you are exceptional at juggling. No wonder the presidency went to you. I was very impressed. Why, it was though I was watching the Kemari Dainagon reborn.”
Apparently in the Heian era there was a Dainagon who was an expert at kemari, and he juggled a ball as he made a lap of the Kiyomizudera stage guardrail from on top of it.Kiyomizu-dera (清水寺), officially Otowsan Kiyomizu-dera (音羽山清水寺), is a Buddhist temple in eastern Kyoto. Great place to visit, btw.
They even called him the Football Saint for that, but in my opinion being so obsessed about kemari that you’d dare yourself to juggle as you balance on the railings to a 13 metre drop actually makes you a Football Idio-…
Wait, no, no. Being so whole-heartedly dedicated is something to respect. Yeah.
“For your next challenge, I personally recommend that you try walking on the gym room balance beams as you juggle the ball.”
Soccer Club President, go forth and become the Kemari Dainagon of the modern age!
Even though I praised him, and even graciously offered some advice, the Kemari Dainagon just tried to shoo me away.
“You’re scaring all of my club members. I’m begging you, please go back to your own club. Here, please take this.”
In the end he even gave me a sports drink.
Oi, Kemari Dainagon. Don’t think you can appease me with just a bit of protection money.
In the end I went to look at how the other clubs were doing.
The majority just did as normal while the new students watched.
The Choir Club invited their guests to sing along, which seemed like a lot of fun.
In the Go and Shogi Club, they played a few rounds together.
Yeah. The places that got the 1st years involved tended to do a lot better.
And since training often brought cheering fangirls, one of the sports clubs was even luring in 1st years with women.
Speaking of which, the Chief of the Casanova Village had once been in this very club…
As I was walking along, I dropped by the Judo Club for a peek, only to find Nonose-san calling out to Iwamuro-kun.
“Takashi-kun, I’ll leave a towel here, okay~?”
Ta ka shi ku n?
Maiden No. 2, don’t you have something to report to your Guru?
Spywork done, I decided it was about time to head back to my own club.
I had just started walking back when I bumped into Birdbrain Katsuragi.
Oh right, this guy was a new student as well.
The moment he realised who I was, his face turned sour.
“I thought I told you to stay away from Enjou-san.”
He was speaking to a third year, and that was the first thing he said, huh?
Since he had no manners, I simply ignored him and moved on.
“Pardon me. I have no time to spare on birdbrains that cannot even manage a greeting~”
Leaving a parting line, I ohohohoho’d away.
“Enjou-san already has Yuiko-san!”
Stop making a fuss, you noisy thing.
How many times are you going to repeat that the moment you see my face?
“My, what true love for your dear Yuiko-san~ How gallant of you~” I mocked.
Birdbrain flushed and was at a loss for words, so I just left him and quickly made my way.
Tsk. Things were going to get annoying with that guy around.
If he had any complaints, he could take them to Enjou.
Our recruitment efforts had previously amounted to explaining our club activities, and showing the 1st years around the club room.
However, after the new information I got from scouting, we were now incorporating activities so the guests would get a taste of what our club was like.
In front of the clubroom we placed a poster that read,
‘Free workshop currently available. Try your hand at handicrafts!’
Since it needed to be something simple, we decided that the course would involved making their own pocket tissue case.
We weren’t exactly 100% sure about the pocket tissue case, but at least the program showcased the atmosphere of our club to the visiting 1st years. Plus, it also made it easier for them to ask us questions, and by the time the course was over they were comfortable enough to chat about things besides the club activities too.
“I can’t believe we overlooked a trial program. As expected of you, Reiksama.”
“Thanks to you, we’ve been getting more visitors than last year.”
“Even a few boys.”
“Should we have a corner for something similar during the School Festival, Reiksama?”
Showered in praise from my club members, I smiled happily to myself as I counted the application forms.
Looks like I had Kemari Dainagon to thank.
I decided to grab some more application forms before we ran out, so I found myself heading to the Student Council Room.
Fellow Stalking Horse was inside, working with the other members.
They seemed rather busy, actually.
Wakabchan was wearing thimbles and flipping through what seemed to be balance sheets, using her other hand to tap rapidly at a calculator. It was rather incredible to see.
So this was the rumoured calculator technique of Takamichi Wakaba!
“Need something?” Fellow Stalking Horse asked from his seat.
I let him know what I was there for.
“Ah, hang on a moment.”
He got up to grab some for me.
Why did it feel like a section of the room seemed to be on guard against me?
Did they see this as a trespass because I was with the Pivoine or something?
Fellow Stalking Horse came back with the forms for me.
“Is this enough?”
“Yes, this much is plenty. Thank you.”
On the contrary, it would be great if we could actually get enough recruits for all of these.
“By the way, Kisshouin, there’s something I’d like to show you if you have the time.”
“What might that be?”
“President!” One of the others jumped out of their seat. “You’re letting her know!? Isn’t that as good as showing our hand to the enemy!?”
Eh? What was this?
“Kisshouin is one of their most reasonable members, so it’s fine.”
Having reined in his subordinate, Fellow Stalking Horse held out a piece of paper.
“Here, have a look.”
‘Manual for Dealing with the Pivoine’
“A lot of the new Externals mess up in their interactions with the Pivoine. That’s why we thought a manual would be good.”
I didn’t see why they shouldn’t.
Usually it fell to the class representative or an Internal Student to subtly teach the newcomers, but it was hardly comprehensive.
As a result, it wasn’t uncommon to see some External breaking out in a cold sweat after making a mistake.
Even the Internal Students had trouble sometimes deciding how much they could say.
“We’ve had something like this before, but parts of it were vague and unhelpful, so this time we clarified and itemised it all. What do you think?”
“It sounds like a good idea. Will you be providing these to all of the External Students?”
“No, just the class representatives. I don’t think it would be a good idea to hand these out, so they can pass the word on instead.”
The things on that list were unspoken rules rather than official ones, after all, so it wouldn’t do to leave evidence.
Fellow Stalking Horse looked at the manual with an ambivalent smile.
“Personally, I don’t know how I feel about the Student Council being the spearhead for a manual that promotes preferential treatment of the Pivoine. Takamichi was the one who argued that without the manual, it would be the Externals getting the short end of the stick.”
Come to think of it, most of this manual was identical to the letter that I gave Wakabchan, the one with the list of things to be careful about.
I looked towards her, still clicking away at her calculator, and hearing her own name she looked up in my direction as well and flashed us a smile.
“In your opinion, is there anything missing, Kisshouin?”
“Let me see… Hmmm… Do not sit in the reserved Pivoine seats. Do not casually abandon decorum with the Pivoine. Give way if you come across them in hallways. Do not step on peony flowers nor handle them roughly while on school grounds…”
“Is she the Dog Shogun or something…?” somebody whispered.
“My, that was a good one!” I smiled affectionately at him like he was a dear friend, but he suddenly looked downwards and fell silent. My~
Since the contents of the manual were basically the same as my own thoughts, there wasn’t much to add.
“I think this is fine as it is. Going into too many trivialities would become its own problem, after all,” I told Fellow Stalking Horse. “What if instead of leaving it as a manual for dealing with the Pivoine, you incorporate it into a list of customs endemic to Zui’ran as a whole? Things to watch out for that you would not have to in other schools. I think you would get less backlash that way.”
“I see. That might be a good idea. As it is now, it’s a bit too blunt about the special treatment that the Pivoine get. Still, customs that you’ll only find in Zui’ran, huh? Like what?”
“I have one! The ban on gumboots!” Wakabchan suddenly offered, shooting her hand up energetically.
“Is that something you’d really put in the manual…? I don’t think anybody but you would have done that anyway, Takamichi.”
“I’m serious. Come on, you should have noticed it from the fact that there’s no exclusive Zui’ran version of it.”
“Ehhhh. Then how about no running in the hallways, or not taking the stairs two at a time then?”
“Takamichi, there are rules against those in normal schools too.”
The two of them seemed to be getting along really well.
“Then what is one of Zui’ran’s special customs?” asked Wakabchan at a loss.
Suddenly all eyes were on me again.
“Let me see… For example, a note that only the girls are to use ‘gokigen’yoh’, perhaps.”
“Ohh~! I see~!” clapped Wakabchan.
“As almost everyone here entered Zui’ran during middle school or high school, what if you wrote down a list of what you were taken aback by when you first began?” I suggested.
“I see. Let’s try that. Any ideas, guys?” asked Fellow Stalking Horse.
“Homemade Valentine’s chocolates are frowned upon.”
“Why is that?”
“Beats me. I guess to avoid food poisoning?”
“I have one! The ban on using promotional towels with company logos on it!”
“Takamichi-san, the issue there isn’t some custom, but that you have no hope left as a girl.”
“Still, I can see some of the boys doing that, so maybe we’ll put it in anyways.”
“Bowing in front of the school gates.”
“Isn’t that actually in the school rulebook?”
“The ban on conbini bentou.”
“That’s an important one.”
“It is, isn’t it. I stood out so badly during my first few lunches because of that.”
“I have one! The ban on wearing raincoats!”
“Takamichi, I think that’s just you.”
“Geez, Mizusaki-kun. I’ve never worn one either, okay?”
Good luck, guys~
With my application forms in hand, I left the Student Council Room.