Stepfather Step – Chapter 4

17 Mar

Translating the novel made me want to give the drama another shot so I did but this time I’m dropping it for sure. Having read the novel (and quite a few times at that), I can’t help but compare the two and the characters are so fundamentally different. Ironically, the only episode I’ve enjoyed so far was the one focused on an original character Nao. There are occasional funny moments but the mawkishness of the plot in general makes me roll my eyes so it’s sayonara ~~~

4.
To my surprise, the car I rented was still parked where I left it on the hill. It was dirty from the rain but I didn’t receive any parking tickets. After all, this little town had lots of space if nothing else so I guess they could be generous on this.

I managed to contact Yanase-san using the pay phone in the neighbouring town and when he asked in surprise “You still haven’t got the job done?” I made up some excuse to evade the question. If I told him I was being held hostage by a couple of 13 year old kids he would surely die of laughter. Though there were times when I wanted to kill Yanase-san, I preferred him alive and well when he was still of some use.

Strategically speaking, I couldn’t let Iguchi Masako discover my presence so after getting what I needed, I found a carpark to leave my car in and made my way back to the twins’ house using public transport and then on foot.

When I passed by Iguchi’s house, I looked up to check out the roof that was struck by lightning and saw that it was missing a few tiles but as the structure was sound, the damage was not extensive. The curtains were drawn as usual and it didn’t feel as if anyone was inside but when the wind lifted the curtains, something in the room flashed briefly. I suddenly recalled that I saw similar flashes when I was scouting the area before. What on earth was that?

The twins were already home when I got back. One was doing the laundry while the other was cleaning the house and that scene was like something out of a home economics class. The twins cooked up quite a spread for dinner like they had promised and looking at them cut the spring onions expertly, some words that I have not used in a long time came to mind.

What lovable kids.

“Who taught you how to cook?”

“No one, I’ve always like cooking. And didn’t I mention before, my mom only returns on weekends.”

True, this paradise-like town was quite a distance from Tokyo but since they decided to buy a house here, they should be mentally prepared for this. After all, you gotta spend some time getting to paradise.

“But perhaps for dad and mom, Tokyo is their paradise.” Tadashi said.

Seems like when kids are too reasonable, parents get away with things too easily.

“I will need help from both of you.” I made my request as we cleared the dining table and the twins turned solemn immediately.

“I’m not threatening you but if you need a big sum of money and want to make use of me, you can’t just stand at the sidelines.”

The twins leaned forward and asked, “Then what do we need to do?”

“You really want to do this?”

“Of course.”

“Because money is tight.”

I was taken aback. “Don’t you two have any neighbourly love?”

“What does that mean?”

“You’re asking me to steal from your neighbour ya know? Don’t you feel guilty?”

“But wasn’t that your intention in the first place Papa?”

Calling me Papa? Ridiculous.

“When did I agree to be your dad?”

The twins looked at the floor and laughed. Tadashi turned his head in the direction of the kitchen at the sound of the kettle boiling and stood up while saying, “I’ll go make coffee.”

“Listen, me and you two, we’re accomplices. Accomplices in crime, nothing more and nothing less. If you’re not willing to help me, it’s fine. I will give you a decent sum as thanks for taking care of me but once you accept the money, we will have nothing to do with each other anymore.”

Satoshi scratched his head beside me while Tadashi stood by the stove and replied, “Ok.”

“So you are gonna help?”

“We are willing.”

“Won’t you feel bad about it?”

“We don’t have any dealings with our neighbour,” Satoshi answered ernestly.

“She just moved in not long ago.”

“And a lady staying on her own.”

“Always staying at home.”

“When did she start doing so?”

“From the second day she moved in.”

“She ignored us when we greeted her.”

“Even if her back was to us,”

“She should have turned around and greeted us back when she heard us.” Tadashi returned with three cups of coffee on a tray.

“And … I heard this from others, our neighbour became a rich women overnight after receiving a large inheritance from her distant relative.”

“It wouldn’t hurt to give us some to spend right?” Satoshi seemed to be getting a little carried away.

I see, rumours were already flying about town even though the residents do not appear to be close.

“Speaking of which …” the twins leaned forward and asked, “You must have heard that Iguchi next door has a lot of money, that’s why you came here right?”

Of course I knew.

Yanase-san is someone who provides such information to me. He was a lawyer once and also spent some time in jail, but these were things that happened before the war.

In reality, he did open a law firm after the war but because he was always busy looking after those who were too poor to afford a private lawyer, he ended up poor as well.

Then one day, he had an epiphany.

In any era there would be someone like Yanase-san – posessing great moral integrity but in another manner of speaking, is also an upright person who did not know how to take care of their livelihood. They busy themselves for others without taking any time to think about making money so Yanase-san figured he would help people like these earn some cash.

At the moment, Yanase-san has contracts with thirteen clients. Though without an official seal, the contracts which state ‘if things are exposed, both parties will go down together’ are sealed in blood. Among the clients, there are seven law firms, three property agents, two private hospitals and an unlicensed childcare centre. Everyone of them work hard on careers with no payoff in monetary terms.

Yanase-san collects a fixed amount of consultant fee from them and sometimes collects information too. For example, if the client is a law firm, they can provide information such as for this case where profit is to be made. Lawyers are obligated to keep their client’s information confidential but as Yanase-san is also in the same line, they would more or less be willing to reveal some. Even if they do not mention the specifics, Yanase-san will be able to get his underlings to do the checking up based on a tip.
Once Yanase-san is sure he is able to profit from a particular deal, this is where I come it. There are two other professional thieves working with Yanase-san but there is no contact between us and I don’t even know who they are but I believe they must be pretty skillful too.

The stolen money is usually split 50/50 between me and Yanase-san. After he takes his portion of ‘handling comission’, the balance will be distributed to his clients. I am not sure how they divide the money but it should be in a fair manner. This time Yanase-san offered to split the money 70/30 because the previous job was tricky but I ended up not earning much and Yanase-san felt the problem was due to his error in judgement.
Of course I do not work exclusively for Yanase-san. I do work on my own too, just that the jobs introduced by Yanase-san tend to be much easier and in case any problems crop up on the job, Yanase-san promised to get his lawyer clients to help out.

So when Satoshi said ‘it wouldn’t hurt to give us some to spend’, it was difficult for me to argue against that. It wasn’t anything to be proud of to receive a fortune from a relative you had no contact with so it shouldn’t be considered a crime to take a bit from that fortune right? But I didn’t want to mention anything to the twins or else it would be troublesome if they started taking interest! Besides, I was obliged to keep all these a secret.

“It will be too late to regret later so if you want to back out, now’s the time.”

The sake bottle combination were unmoved.

“We will do it!” They chorused.

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6 Responses to “Stepfather Step – Chapter 4”

  1. Anonymous March 29, 2012 at 2:07 AM #

    You’re so amazing, you’re fluent in Japanese too? I just wanted to stop by and say hi.. hope all is well. 🙂 xoxo Fia

    • J March 29, 2012 at 2:30 AM #

      Hi dearie, I’ve studied Japanese but definitely not fluent enough to read a novel or translate one! I’m translating this from the Chinese translation of the novel. 🙂
      How’s Prosecutor Princess going for you? Getting to the angsty parts yet? hehe

      • Anonymous March 29, 2012 at 2:52 AM #

        LOL I see 🙂 Good job anyway!
        Yes, finished PP, the first part was light hearted then it turned all angst-y and serious. Love this drama to pieces!! I have a serious crush on Park Shi Hoo (me and the rest of the k-drama fans apparently!)
        Now I’m trying to decide what I’m going to watch/do next until TNNKK airs..

  2. Anonymous April 3, 2012 at 9:39 AM #

    Thanks you’re the best! -Zani

    Just wondering how many chapters is this?

    • J April 3, 2012 at 10:05 AM #

      Total of 7 chapters for the first story. What do you think of the story thus far? 🙂

      • Anonymous April 24, 2012 at 9:15 AM #

        It’s great! I hope you continue translating! But after your comments on the drama, I’m a bit hesitant to watch it. Well the original is always better than the adaptation.

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