Ballad Days: The Ballad of Kuroda Kaito

Stanza One
A Sudden Encounter

Things happened in rapid succession that Matsuhara Takumi didn’t notice anything besides a civilian dressed Yoshikuni Kazuma walking towards him and Ishimaru Masato.

Masato walked a few steps ahead to meet Kazuma, and reached out his arm in greeting. Turning around, Masato silently signalled to Takumi to look behind him, and upon doing so, Matsuhara Takumi finally realized what happened– a group of girls had just entered the convenience store, and one of them was Matsuo Asuka.


Stanza Two
An Urgent Message

Takumi immediately brought out his mobile phone, and sent out an SMS. He knew someone who’d be very interested to hear this particular bit of information.

Masato, meanwhile, was engaged in a lengthy discussion with Kazuma on the subject of space meat, and it was apparent from Masato’s face that he didn’t want to talk any further on that subject, if he had his way. A minute or two had barely begun to elapse, when they see Kuroda Kaito coming in from their left. He got the message.

Kazuma was running late for an appointment, so he bid everyone goodbye and left. Not wanting to be seen, Masato moved away from the convenience store, while the rest stood in direct view of the windows, the convenience store customers, and most particularly, Matsuo Asuka.


Stanza Three
The Perpetual Struggle

Kaito knew what he wanted to do, but at the same time he was unsure whether he should do it. It was as if an endless debate was raging in his mind; a battle of wills. He knew somewhere before that he had planned what he’d do in this situation. Yet, somehow as he stood there, he couldn’t figure out what his first step should be.

“Just act surprised! Then greet her!” hissed Masato from a short distance. “You don’t have to hold her hand!”

Finally, Kuroda Kaito mustered his strength and went inside the convenience store with another friend, while Takumi and Masato waited with bated breath.


Stanza Four
Kaito’s Refrain

Takumi and Masato both knew that the convenience store was a small place; Those two should have probably met by now. But why was Kaito lurking behind some shelves, looking through the merchandise like any other customer? They couldn’t see anything else from their vantage point, so they waited once more for any sign.

As quickly as how he entered the door earlier, Kaito came out of it just as quickly too, carrying a bottled drinking water and a sheepish grin. And for a full three seconds, not a word was spoken, whether within or without. Takumi and Masato pressed him for questions, but based on their friend’s silence, they already had an idea what the answer would be.

Kuroda Kaito had chosen once more that path which brought no fruit.


Stanza Five
Fragrance of the Bright Day

“Hey Kaito,” asked Ishimaru Masato with an evident hint of excitement in his tone, “Remember back in college when we saw your old crush Asuka at the convenience store?”

It was already nine years since that bottled water incident, where once again, Kuroda Kaito had given in to his shyness. At the moment, Masato was having a chat with Kuroda Kaito and Watanabe Shun.

“Yeah,” replied Kaito, “But I can’t remember what we were all doing there.”

“Stalking as usual, right hehe,” said Shun with a grin. Although he didn’t personally see the whole thing 9 years ago, Watanabe Shun immediately heard the story from Masato.

“I don’t think so,” said Kaito in defense, “I’m pretty sure that phase was almost over that time.”

“Well, aside from the amusing story of how you were too timid back then to talk to Asuka, I found one particular bit of information to be very interesting,” confessed Masato.

“What info?” asked Kaito, “I can’t even remember who sent me that text message.”

“As it turns out, it was 6 years after you bombed that opportunity with Matsuo Asuka, that you got married to Nakashima Asuka!”

It was clear that Ishimaru Masato couldn’t contain his amazement at the wonderful string of occurrences; at the connections and coincidences that he saw from random events that all happened years ago. Back then, not one of them would have thought that Kaito would get over his shyness when he met Nakashima Asuka. Or that he would actively court her, or that he would eventually ask her hand in marriage.

“We got married on the 28th,” corrected Kaito, “Didn’t you say earlier that the incident with Matsuo Asuka happened on the 27th?”

“I knew that,” said Masato. After all, he was the Best Man at Kaito’s wedding. Even gave an epic speech, as Watanabe Shun describes it.

“That’s why I focused on the month and the year,” Masato emphasized.

Ahaha, come to think of it,” chuckled Kaito, “That’s one interesting connection you found there.”

“I remember thinking back then, that you had once again chosen the path that brought no fruit,” shared Masato.

“Annoying.. but true,” admitted Kaito.

“Shun even said something back then,” continued Masato, “He highlighted the lyrics of a Weezer song.”

Bursting with laughter, Shun suddenly exclaimed, “What do you mean, bore no fruit?? Kaito’s already got two kids!”

Oyeh!” agreed Masato.

Grinning at the mention of this particularly happy and wonderful fact, Kuroda Kaito just replied, “Hahaha.”

I wish I could get my head out of the sand
Cause I think we’d make a good team
And you would keep my fingernails clean
But that’s just a stupid dream that I won’t realize
Cause I can’t even look in your eyes without shaking, and I ain’t faking
I’ll bring home the turkey if you bring home the bacon

-Weezer, “El Scorcho”
-Ed. E.

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