“Matane, matane!”

Yumiko waves goodbye to her classmates by the wrought iron gate marking the entrance to the exclusive, Ivy League equivalent international high-school, Kokusai Academy in Meguro. Her head is still almost aching from information overload, mainly about the periodical system and the mock exam she will need to prepare for in Chemistry. Not exactly her favorite subject, and this time they are not even allowed to collaborate, so she cannot rely on Yoko or any of the other girls from her class. Like your typical teenager, she is almost sleep-walking her way on the sidewalk with her eyes completely absorbed by her phone display, skimming through the latest messages on LINE. It is summertime in Tokyo, hot and humid, and the buzzing sound of the omnipresent cicada creates an oppressive atmosphere. Yumiko is already breaking a sweat. All one can do is rush from one small cool zone to the other. For example, from the air-conditioned school classrooms to the train carriages, perhaps stopping by a convenience store before finally escaping the heat for good when arriving in her nicely air-conditioned apartment with its cool room temperature. She can’t wait to get rid of the school uniform, especially the tight tie, and put on some more comfortable clothes as soon as she gets home. Yumiko is wiping the beads of sweat off her forehead with the sleeve of her blazer, dexterously avoiding getting any black eyeliner on her white shirt

She starts writing a longer message for Yoko and doesn’t notice the black Nissan President with tinted windows pulling over in front of her. Not even when the car window rolls down and a crew cut guy with sunglasses looks at her on the sidewalk, does she become aware of the peculiar interest she is attracting. Only when the luxury sedan accelerates and pulls away from the curb into the heavy traffic on Komaba-dori, does she look up, noticing the car and catching a glimpse of the crew cut man. Hmm, what a creepy guy, she thinks to herself, while continuing her text to Yoko.

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