[translation] Back Stage!! 2, Ch. 5 part 329
Type: Novel Translation
Title: Back Stage!!, Vol. 02
Series: Love Stage!!
Author/Circle: Eiki Eiki, Amano Kazuki
This time: Rei and the CRUSHERZ land in New York, but it’s Rei’s first time outside of Japan, and he’s feeling a distinct lack of confidence in his ability to be the manager he’s supposed to be here.
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Chapter 5 (cont.)
“Wait—what? You’ve never left the country before, Rei?” Shougo’s screech of shock echoed throughout the plane’s cabin as they found themselves on a flight to New York. They’d taken off some time ago, and the plane had since leveled out.
In contrast to Shougo’s relaxed posture, though, Rei’s mien was fixed into a hard, steel expression. “Correct.” He hadn’t thought it all that surprising a revaluation, but perhaps it did seem strange for someone like Shougo, who’d studied abroad for years and routinely found himself coming and going from Japan. “My mother and I were never very well off when I lived with her, so we hardly had the luxury, and I’ve been working 24-7 even since starting with SenaPro, so…”
But even as he spoke, his vision blurred and wavered, and he couldn’t seem to calm himself—and he strongly suspected his pallor didn’t look so good, as Shougo looked him over worriedly, head cocked in concern.
“Hey, are you…by any chance nervous? Rei.”
“Th—of course I am!” he grit out. “We’re traveling to a place where our Japanese won’t get us far, you realize? Plus, over there, you let your guard down for an instant and you’ll find your bag stolen or get yourself kidnapped or even blown to bits!”
But in response to his earnest deliverance of what must have been a rather biased understanding of American culture, Shougo only smiled wryly. “You don’t have to worry about that kind of stuff!”
“Easy for you to say!” He wanted to remind Shougo that this was all his fault to begin with. Rei had been in a sour mood ever since the moment it’d been decided that they’d travel to New York. It was his first time overseas, for one thing, and his English was absolutely dreadful, for another.
He understood that, from a management perspective, he really ought to improve his skills in the language—after all, this wouldn’t be the only time he’d likely find himself having to converse with foreign partners. But both Seiya and Shougo’s English was on par with their Japanese, so he’d never really had cause or opportunity to practice. On top of it, he was constantly swamped with work, and while he’d gone out and bought textbooks with the intention to practice, he’d had next to no time at all to actually open them.
If he got lost in New York, or if someone tried to speak to him in English—or worse, if he brought about some misunderstanding by not being able to adequately communicate with the local staff… All manner of horrible potentialities rushed through his mind, and he reasoned it was no surprise he was worried about this whole endeavor.
Shougo reached forward, giving Rei’s hand a squeeze as he saw his pallor worsen visibly, and Rei glanced up.
“It’s fine—it’s fine, really. I’m here, after all!” Unfortunately, these words of reassurance were little help, and Rei sighed to himself. Despite Shougo’s best of intentions, Rei still couldn’t bring himself to entirely trust the man. “Anyway, it’s gonna be a long flight, so just try not to think too much about it and get some rest.”
“But, I can’t…” He’d thought to at least get in as much studying as possible on the flight and had a textbook on conversational English tucked into his pack. He really ought to start leafing through that, but…
“Nothing’s gonna stick in your skull with you all tense like this. Just get some rest so you don’t wind up jet lagged when we get there.” Shougo had a point. It was summer at the moment, which meant the time difference between Tokyo and New York, with Daylight Saving’s Time factored in, was minus-thirteen hours. It was probably best to take care and ensure that he was ready to go to work as soon as they touched down. “Here, a sleep mask.” Shougo gallantly offered him the blanket and eye mask stuffed into his seat pocket, and with that, Rei tamped down his worries and nodded off.
A half-day later…
“So…this is New York, huh…?” Rei muttered to himself the moment they arrived in John F. Kennedy International Airport, before they’d even left the terminal, and Shougo snorted softly at the sentiment.
“It’s too soon for comments like that, Rei!”
“Shut up! What’s the harm?”
They made their way out of the terminal, following the instructions of an employee as far as the taxi rotary, and managed to make it into one of the cabs with minimal trouble—until Rei found he was unable to properly pronounce the name of the street their hotel was located on for the driver. Before he could make another attempt, though, Shougo jumped in, addressing the driver, and the cab pulled smoothly into traffic.
“What for? I told you to leave everything to me, didn’t I?”
It was pathetic, relying on Shougo to do something that he should have been the one to do, but Shougo didn’t seem to mind at all. Later, as well, when Rei dithered with his wallet after forgetting to tip the driver, Shougo smoothed things over again. Even on arriving at the hotel, Shougo charged to the rescue when Rei grew flustered after being spoken to by a bellhop, smartly offering the young man a tip. Shougo had apparently been entirely serious in his vow to take responsibility here, constantly offering aid to Rei, who could hardly tell right from left.
By the time they reached their hotel room, Rei was utterly exhausted, but he realized that it was only thanks to Shougo that they’d gotten this far with hardly any problems at all. “I’m…soooo tired…”
“You really don’t have to be so uptight, y’know. New York’s just another city, after all. Just like Tokyo—just the same!”
From Rei’s perspective, the mere fact that all of the words filling his ears and the lettering on the signs around him were in English was enough to send him into a panic, but Shougo seemed no different at all from how he behaved in Japan. On questioning, apparently he’d been to New York a number of times before and even had most of the map memorized. “Just having you tag along with me here really pumps me up, so feel free to rely on me as much as you like!”
“………” Rei wasn’t sure that was such a good idea, considering he was supposed to be here on business, but anyone could see from their situation thus far that it was more efficient to just leave everything to Shougo rather than to try doing too much himself. Given how tight their schedule was, too, he felt it best to rely on Shougo where he could, and offered a reluctant nod.
Truthfully, this was the first time since their meeting that he’d ever really realized just how reliable Shougo could be—so much so that, if possible, he didn’t want to be parted from Shougo’s side for even an instant. He knew full well, though, that if he said such things aloud, it would only go to Shougo’s head, and so he elected to keep mum on his feelings.
Given that they were here on business, even if he’d wanted some time away from Shougo, they still found themselves holed up in the studio day in and day out. He didn’t want to trouble Shougo for help aside from when they went out together, after all, and he wound up moving about with Shougo most of the time anyway, so he experienced little trouble. He’d fire up his laptop, checking in with the office back in Japan while keeping an eye on the recording progress here in New York.
He mused that, like this, things weren’t so different from a day at the office back in Japan—but it seemed he was the only one who felt this way.
“Aren’t you pushing yourself a bit too hard…?” Rei chided softly, sighing to himself as he lay a blanket over Shougo as he slept back at their hotel that evening.
He and Shougo were rooming together, and while he’d initially been wary of the arrangements, Shougo had spent every day staying late at the studio before returning to the hotel, only to collapse onto the bed the moment he crossed the threshold, out like a light. There was a clear difference in his work ethic here and the slightly slovenly attitude he portrayed back in Japan. “I never would have thought he’d behave so differently…”
Seeing Shougo in this state prompted Rei to reconsider the merits of coming all the way to New York—and about how those known as artists could be surprisingly sensitive at times… Granted, they could hardly come to New York every time they needed to make a new recording, but…it did deserve some consideration.
In the end, thanks to Shougo’s amazing dedication to getting his work done, they managed to finish the recording a day early—which Rei thought impressive, given the time-loss factored in for travel. ’At this rate, we’ll be able to return a day early!’ Rei had mentally cheered, until…
“All right, everyone’s free to enjoy tomorrow as they see fit!”
As Rei was offering his thanks in garbled English to the studio staff, he heard Shougo’s announcement from behind him, shortly followed by Haru and Rinpei’s cheers of delight.
“Wait—hey! Shougo—” he started, a protest ready on his lips.
“Sweet! I think I’m gonna do some sight-seeing!” He whirled around to find that Rinpei was already leafing through a guidebook he’d shrewdly brought along for this very purpose.
“And I can buy some souvenirs for my family,” Haru rejoined, grinning broadly as he packed away his guitar.
Taking in this sight, though, Rei reasoned that it was because the CRUSHERZ members had worked so hard that the recording had finished a day early, and supposed that a break was indeed in order—so he swallowed his protests and released a sigh, recognizing any complaints were pointless by now.
His own work had proceeded on schedule without any particular hiccups, and he wasn’t under any real stress from pressing engagements. The three band members could have their free day, and he’d return to the hotel and finish up his work. He planned on putting in a final call to Japan early the next morning—knowing it would be evening in Japan—so he could always put his nose to the grindstone tonight and just sleep the next morning.
To be continued…