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When Spring came to Tokyo, it came to Saitama too.
Right now, the ten other members of the youth group "The Law School Japanese Festival Culture Research Society"... alias "Omaken", were on the edge of a shopping district in the Saitama prefecture.
Indeed, they were in a very large parking lot owned by a sponsoring temple. They were gathered under one tent of several set up as if in a row in the corner, lined up with their necks outstretched in front of a single electric fan set standing there. They were hardly talking any more.
Now and then somebody would feebly murmur "the wind is whispering," and somebody else would, equally feebly, answer back as if on cue, "It's hot, too hot..." And when that happened, some people would simply laugh. Not knowing where they got it from and not having the energy to join in the mysterious byplay, Banri,
"Isn't Awa Odori something you do at night...? Why in this kind of heat...?"
Crouched down still, they pressed their cool upper arms against their flushed faces and muttered. When they closed their eyes, even their eyeballs had gone red: the heat had soaked through their eyelids.
Right behind Banri, seated loosely on a pipe chair, Kosshii-senpai,
Was all he said.
"...Is it Panmunjom?
'The Military Demarcation Line?' thought Banri, shaking his head.
"Right now. It's thirty-eight degrees! The temperature. You aren't thinking."
He showed them the screen of the smart phone he held in his hand. It was showing the current temperature around the area, so it had to be 38 degrees Celsius. Ugh... Even Banri could manage nothing more than a low moan. Indeed, it seemed he would have been a lot better off with no clothes on the open air.
At length, they'd tied back their yukatas from their chests so the drops of sweat would go rolling down and falling off. Even though they hadn't even danced yet, Banri's entire body was quickly sopping wet with sweat. Along with all the rest of the guys, the color of the cloth on his back had changed from being wetted.
Saitama in mid-summer was too hot in general, and there was no real objection to calling it Hell. They were close to hitting record temperatures for all of Japan, and what's more, there was hardly a cloud in the sky. The address in Hell was probably Block #1, Red Hot. Now and then the wind blew, but it was no different from fanning oneself with a blow-dryer. Shining, burning brightly, as the afternoon drew on the sunlight becoming even more energetic, as if it were trying to burn everything living on the surface world to a crisp.
If he went even one step outside the shadow of this tent, he would surely be bathed in rays of strong, direct sunlight. And then his skin would probably be burnt to a crisp as if he'd been thrown on the stove. Before Banri changed his clothes, he'd smeared sunblock that Kouko had brought along all over his face and arms. This was sweat now. He noticed it had practically all dripped off.
Saying 'Let's put on some more,' he pulled out a plastic container from a rucksack set by his feet, and shook it vigorously up and down. Making a sound like a cheerful Mexican shaking maracas,
Kosshii-senpai peered curiously over at Banri close at hand.
"It's sunblock. Senpai, how about you too?"
"Whaat? Sun block? No way, our freshmen have got that stuff on?"
He said 'You sissy～', while pointing and grinning at him, but Banri paid him no heed at all. Taking the white, fragrant liquid in his hand, he blended it in carefully around his cheekbones using his fingers. The bridge of his nose, his forehead, his chin, the nape of his neck, his upper chest. As Kouko had shown him, little by little, thoroughly rubbing it into his skin.
"I'm smearing it on. UV rays seem to be pretty bad news."
"Hahaa, sounds like something Robo-Girl would say. You've fallen completely under her influence."
"And isn't that all right? Sunlight like today's is rather incredible. It practically seems violent."
"Oh shut up, how's a real man going to notice sunburn?"
"Really, isn't is all right? Your skin cells, aren't they getting massacred? She said, 'Though the world says suntan, suntan so lightly, frankly, it's a burn! It damages your DNA! It's mass murder of your skin!'"
"You idiot, don't exaggerate. Everyone, even little brats, is used to getting sunburnt."
"Kouko's little brother forgot to wear a hat in Hawaii and it looks like honey dripped from the top of his head."
"Yes. It seems to have been syrup that dripped from some useless guy."
"...Then, then just a little...?"
"Here you go, here you go!"
"Ah, really just a little, eh? Because a little's okay..."
"Well, you didn't tell me that! Oops, oops!"
"Ah, so much... it's already over there, and over there..."
"No, no senpai, let's put a little bit more! It looks like you ought to have a little bit on the back of your neck! And if I could, the top of your head too! Here, do like this... with this kind of feeling."
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