Chatter in the park

A tumble over a bike, and some chatter under a tree on a beautiful summer's day.

Date: 2019-06-24
Pose Count: 28
Naru Osaka 2019-06-24 17:59:57 105697
It's a gorgeous summer day. The sort where people are out walking and cycling, where children are playing in the park. Where kites are flying up above in the breeze that keeps the weather to perfect rather than oppressively warm. It's also the sort of perfect afternoon that finds Naru sitting on the grass under a tree. She and this tree have been through a lot over the years, but right this second, they are having a quiet time. The tree is keeping her bike from having to lay on the ground (probably for the best, that is not a casual fixed gear sort of bike), and providing shade for Naru and her sketchbook. Peaceful, delightfully so.
Ami Mizuno 2019-06-24 18:02:21 105698
It's the kind of day where Ami Mizuno is looking for a place to study outside. She spots Naru, smiles, and heads over. Without too much fanfare, she drops her bookbag in the shade nearby and settles in with a smile. "Hey, Naru," she says warmly, if quietly. "I hope you don't mind company. It's just so pretty today." And the bluenette sighs contentedly, leaning back on her hands for a moment as she looks into the tree canopy.
Cecelia Stovjord 2019-06-24 18:07:25 105699
Though she'd hadn't just arrived in Tokyo Cecelia Stovjord was not quite used to the enormous city. To her, not only a Waldian but one from a pastoral upbringing it was a little overwhelming at first, a giant maze of 'glass castles' that took more than a little getting used to. Though the initial panics were over the chance at finding a wide open space full of greenery like the park was very relaxing. An almost total stranger to the land she is for the moment simply walking through the grass enjoying the warmth of the weather in her bog standard school uniform- never mind whether or not school is actually in session.
Yasumi Yumeji 2019-06-24 18:12:44 105700
Kotomi is making her way through the park heading away from the library, dressed in a pink dress with white vertical stripes; there's a bag of books slung under one shoulder which looks like it's only just barely big enough to contain all the books inside it. She also has her nose buried in one of the books she checked out -- a retelling of Carmilla, by the looks of it.

She clearly isn't paying attention to where she's going, however, and doesn't even notice that she's wandered off the path until she trips over Naru's bicycle, letting out a squeak as she drops the book and the bag, spilling various fantasy novels and magical girl manga! "Augh, whoops!" she says in a near panic; she doesn't have the girliest voice, while still clearly sounding feminine.
Naru Osaka 2019-06-24 18:17:25 105701
"Hey Ami." Naru glances up from her sketchbook as the bluenette settles her bag nearby. "Pull up some grass." She pauses a moment and then snickers softly. "Not literally, but you know what I mean. It really is a gorgeous day. Too nice to spend inside."

An absently roaming Cecelia catches her attention a moment, watching the girl appreciate the day for a moment before her bike and Kotomi have an incident. "Oh geeze, are you alright?" Her sketchbook settles to the grass, still open, as she gets up to be able to offer Kotomi a hand untangling from the bike.
Ami Mizuno 2019-06-24 18:19:22 105702
Smiling, Ami nods to Naru. "It's really gorgeous out here. I'm so glad it's breezy." And she relaxes more before cracking the books, also idly watching Cecelia. Then Kotomi trips and Ami sits upright, blinking. "Miss, are you okay?" she asks of Kotomi, looking distressed. Her natural shyness is overridden by concern for the poor stranger-girl. Then she remembers herself and flushes brightly.

"Er, Naru's got you," she mumbles, and grabs one of her textbooks. Organic Chemistry. Jeez, Ami, you're still in high school.
Cecelia Stovjord 2019-06-24 18:25:10 105703
A quiet commotion might normally go unnoticed amongst the masses, but in the quiet vastness of a space like this it's easy to catch Cecelia's attention. She turns her head over towards the trio of girls, a brief gust of wind ruffling her clothes and sending her hair waving out behind her. Her gaze rests on the others and she nearly makes the decision to simply keep moving on, only to reconsider and walk the few steps closer it takes to bend- wait, no, short skirt- to crouch down and help pick up some of the fallen books, gathering a little pile before starting to put them back into the dropped bag, only to look perplexed at the cover to one of the manga. "Hm?" It's not completely out of the ordinary for a foreigner to be confused by manga, is it?
Yasumi Yumeji 2019-06-24 18:26:04 105704
Kotomi looks at Naru like a deer caught in the headlights, and stutters for a moment as Naru helps her. "I'm fine!" she finally blurts out, sounding oddly defensive. "I-I-I mean, I ..." Defensiveness gives way to nervousness -- she's even more shy than Ami. "-- I'm sorry, uh." She lets out a nervous giggle, and then groans softly. "M-My name ... is Kotomi Kobana --"

And then she's even more startled by the sudden arrival of Cecelia! "Um, hi?" she says in a tiny voice.
Naru Osaka 2019-06-24 18:30:31 105705
"Oh good. You didn't get any chain grease on you?" Naru is a gentle fusser, ensuring that Kotomi didn't get scraped up or anything. "Pleasure to meet you, Kotomi. I'm Naru. Sorry that my bike happened to be in your path."

The bike was nowhere near the path, but that's besides the point, and Naru's warm smile is easy going about it all. She turns that smile to Cecelia as well, as she picks up books and there's a chuckle. "I am pretty sure Kyouko's read that one, I think I've seen it on the coffee table."
Ami Mizuno 2019-06-24 18:33:29 105706
Ami hides behind her book for a moment before peeking out. "Ami Mizuno," she says quietly by way of greeting, then looks at Cecelia's perplexion. "It's manga, a kind of... comic book, I guess?" she says in Japanese, hoping against hope that she'll be understood. Her English isn't that great aloud.

She lets Naru take the lead. After all, Ami's not the people person her friend is, and it shows. She's not trying to be condescending, but may be being so, and isn't aware of it.
Cecelia Stovjord 2019-06-24 18:38:27 105707
    The blonde stops what she's doing and turns her gaze to Kotomi. It's very direct, with no hints of social anxiety but also contains a different kind of wariness. "You dropped these so I was trying to help," she offers in way of explanation-- in perfectly fluent but oddly accented Japanese. Her surprise at the book seemingly forgotten she releases what she had collected and stands back up.

Naru speaks to her and Ami clarifies as best she can and she nods, "I haven't read any manga or comic books." An awkward moment of pause, "...I apologize if I am intruding." Hands fold together, a small but proper bow, "Cecelia Stovjord," she introduces as the others do.
Yasumi Yumeji 2019-06-24 18:40:35 105708
Kotomi brushes her skirt slightly. "N-no, no grease," she says. "I'm ... sorry, I just ... I was reading my book and wasn't paying attention, ahaha ..." She starts putting most of the books away. "... oh, jeez, lost my place," she mutters when she takes the copy of Carmilla. "Um! P-pleased to meet you all ... Naru-san ... Mizuno-san ... and ... uh ... Stovjord-san ..." She just barely manages to pronounce Cecelia's name correctly.

And then she turns back to Naru, looking just a little bit suspicious. "Hey, uh, you said 'Kyouko'?" she says. "Um, you wouldn't mean ... the ... Kyouko who works at that conbenie, by any chance?" Her mind is racing. Is Naru a magical girl, too!? Or, wait, no, she might just be family. Don't want to say too much if she isn't in-the-know ... (Actually, Kotomi doesn't want to say too much in general, but still.)
Naru Osaka 2019-06-24 18:46:02 105709
"That would be my Kyouko, yes." Naru claims possession of the redhead, but explains only a moment later. "I trust you've met my girlfriend, then?" She asks of Kotomi, a little quirk of her brow, curious.

"Pleasure to meet you, Cecelia." Naru comments and then sends a question her way as well. "Are you new to Japan? I am pretty sure that pretty much every Japanese kid our age has read /some/ sort of manga.. but I suppose not quite everyone." She winks to Ami, teasing the girl. "Even Ami.. although I don't know if you managed to find educational ones. Those.." She gestures to the ones that Kotomi had. "Are totally engaging, but not precisely high literature. I .. haven't admitted to Kyouko that I've read them, so shhh." She mimes holding a finger to her lips. "Our secret, such that I can tease her still."
Ami Mizuno 2019-06-24 18:48:12 105710
Ami blushes. "There are educational manga," She protests quietly. She doesn't mention her love of romance manga, no sir. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Miss Kobana, Miss... Stovjord." She, too, stumbles a little over the unusual name, but recovers relatively quickly. "It's a lovely day. If Naru agrees, you're welcome to join us."
Cecelia Stovjord 2019-06-24 18:58:30 105711
Another name goes by that Cecelia doesn't recognize and it seems that some mutual acquaintance between the others means she's the odd one out. The stumbling over her name is a little surprising, but she doesn't let it show. "I am, yes. I've only just started to get settled in, it is very different from what I'm used to. It's a pleasure to meet you all as well, Kobana-san, Osaka-san, Mizuno-san." Parroting the others is the easiest way to try to fit in, at least for the moment, more somewhat formal small bows given to each in turn as she greets them. To the invitation she considers, again pausing and giving it some thought. "The shade here is nice," she admits after a moment, "perhaps for a few moments."
Yasumi Yumeji 2019-06-24 18:59:55 105712
Kotomi jerks in surprise at the word 'girlfriend', but then smiles. "Oh! Yes. She and her friend Mami Tomoe helped me with, um, a thing." Her eyes flit towards Ami, then Cecelia.

She tries to stifle a giggle at Naru and Ami's byplay about manga, but shrugs as she sits down. "I'll just say I met my girlfriend Unmei-chan while buying an anime, and leave it at that." Wait, no, that runs the risk that they'll tease her! She shushes her anxiety, it's teasing between girlfriends, okay, whew, crisis over. "Um, your Japanese is good, by the way, Stovjord-san!"
Naru Osaka 2019-06-24 19:06:18 105713
"I certainly don't mind. Pull up some grass." Naru gestures at the generous shady spot under the tree as she moves to lean her bike a little more securely out of the way of further mishaps. She's not in a school uniform, she's in a lot of cycling spandex, although her cycling shoes are clipped to the pedals, as she pads barefoot for the moment.

"Welcome to Tokyo, then Cecelia. The park is one of my favourite places these days, I'm glad you found it. It's a welcome chunk of green in a very urban space. Although many of the shrines are as well, a very different sort of peace there."

Naru settles again and grins to Ami as she mentions educational manga before looking to Kotomi and ahhh softly. "I'm so glad Unmei's doing well. I haven't seen her in ages, I've been wholly too busy with the race. I feel like I'm trying to remember what social is these days."
Ami Mizuno 2019-06-24 19:06:41 105714
Ami smiles and starts to relax again, before her phone chimes with a text. She reads it and her face lights up. "My mom unexpectedly got the evening off. We're going out to dinner. Please excuse my abrupt departure!" And she gathers her things, stands, and bows to the two newcomers deeply before waving to Naru. "Have a good afternoon. I hope to meet up with you all later. Naru--give me a call soon, and maybe we can study, okay?"
Cecelia Stovjord 2019-06-24 19:17:02 105715
As her language is complimented by Kotomi Cecelia gets a look of utter confusion on her face. What could she mean by that? At first nothing makes sense to the Waldian, but after a moment a nagging feeling sets in. Perhaps it wasn't earnest, but in jest? Her lips purse slightly and she momentarily regards Kotomi with a look of pride-driven disdain, "Yes, and why wouldn't it be? I may not be from an 'urban space'," she borrows Naru's term for the moment, "but that doesn't mean I don't know how to speak properly."

She huffs lightly, clearly ruffled and only slightly mollified by Naru's pleasantries. "It is welcome indeed. I was starting to feel very confined before I found it. I haven't been to any of the shrines... there are many?" Just how big -is- this city? Slight surprise followed by mild embarrassment as the phone makes a sound and is checked, followed by returned bow as Ami stands and leaves.
Yasumi Yumeji 2019-06-24 19:22:32 105716
Kotomi shoves aside the brief panic over Ami leaving (there's no logical way it could have somehow been Kotomi's fault, she heard the chime), before she nods to Naru. "Yeah, she's doing well. We, um ..." She giggles, blushing faintly. "... sssssort of ended up together basically because we, uh, are both disasters in kinda the same way ..."

She hesitates, slightly shrinks back from Cecelia's sharpness, looking utterly confused herself. She does her best to settle down as Cecelia looks mollified, but she isn't sure how to answer the question. "Lemme look it up," she murmurs, getting out her phone. "There's probably like a dozen at least, maybe ..."
Naru Osaka 2019-06-24 19:30:22 105717
"See ya later, Ami. I'll text you!" Naru calls after her friend, well aware of the rare treat of getting to hang out with her Mom. She settles cross-legged under the tree. "Shrines? Feels like a bazillion, unless you're looking for one, and then rarer than hen's teeth." She shakes her head, laughing softly. "Actual numbers? I've no clue.. Ahh, Kotmi's looking it up. Excellent. As for how big Tokyo is.. well.. if you include all the sprawl, I think we're the biggest city.. population wise.. on Earth. We're crammed into not a whole lot of space though, cause island." She gestures a little. "I mean.. get up into one of the giant skyscrpers, or better.. the giant tower that opened a few years back.. it's mindboggling how ginormous the city is, really."
Cecelia Stovjord 2019-06-24 19:39:02 105718
"A dozen shrines..?" Cecelia's eyes glaze over a little at the thought of that. Nothing Naru says makes her think she's gotten the wrong idea, and as the extent of Tokyo is mentioned to reinforce it she gets a little wobbly on her feet. "I'll have to go see one of them for myself, sometime. For now I think I'll 'pull up some grass' after all." She lays a hand to the trunk of the tree for a moment to steady herself and then settles herself down in the grass. Mindboggling is exactly the correct word for the moment, as the foreigner clearly needs a moment to cope with the new information.
Yasumi Yumeji 2019-06-24 19:45:04 105719
Kotomi frowns at her phone. "Okay, everyone knows about the Ten Shrines that Emperor Meiji chose in a circle around the Imperial Palace ... and, um ... there's lots and lots of others ... there's the Hikawa shrine sorta near here in Uminari ... wow, I can't find an actual exact number." She giggles nervously. "Looks like there's too many!"

She shrugs. "And, um, yeah. Tokyo is big. It's just ..." She shrugs, looking around. "The districts here, Uminari, Pikarigaoka, and Mitakihara, sometimes they seem kinda small. I got rescued -- I-I-I-I mean, m-metaphorically ..." She goes red-faced. "... by a cool tough guy girl, and then I just randomly ran into her girlfriend." She gestures at Naru. "And Kyouko-san ran into her old friend Tomoe-san at the same time." She shrugs. "I met, um, Unmei-chan in one place, and my other friend, um, Maria Hanazawa in ... another ..." (She met the vampire Lacrima in the World of Dreams, to be precise.) "... and then it turned out that they live together." She smiles faintly. "And, um, that kind of thing keeps happening."
Naru Osaka 2019-06-24 19:55:15 105720
"For such a giant place, there's some very close knit communities." Naru comments serenely, with a little shrug. "And based on all of those names that you just mentioned, I am likely a part of that same community as well." She leans back against the tree, stretching her legs out to cross at the ankles and reaching to pull her sketchbook back into her lap now that they're all three settled again. "Over the years, I was rescued more times than I can count, it seems like. No shame there. Sometimes I get to do the rescuing these days, which is a nice giving back." She glances to Cecelia and her smile is gentle. "Still coping over there? I've lived in Tokyo all of my life, but most who arrive find it rather overwhelming all at once."
Cecelia Stovjord 2019-06-24 20:04:15 105721
Ten Shrines in a circle around the Palace, and a lot of others. "Emperor Meiji must have been some kind of god. Do people like that really exist? What is this place that I've come to?" The confusion on Cecelia's face ramps up to what is effectively compete and total culture shock. It might be a good thing for Kotomi, since her slip up goes completely unnoticed by the foreigner as she sits in the grass looking dazed, eyes peering forward but focusing on nothing.

She's listening as the other two keep talking, but doesn't have it in her to join in at first. The continued talk of needing rescue and being rescued does eventually help her pull out of the haze, however, replacing the befuddlement with a cold cynicism. "An Emperor with ten shrines and it still isn't enough. It seems the shrines here are just as feckless," she mutters under her breath.

Cecelia takes in a breath, smelling the grass and fresh air before looking over to Naru as she's addressed, "It is overwhelming, but I will cope." She'll have to, so she will.
Yasumi Yumeji 2019-06-24 20:19:57 105722
Kotomi relaxes somewhat, although there's still something of an undercurrent of tension. Ah, it looks like Naru is a magical girl, after all! She smiles at Naru. "I still sort of feel like I'm ... on the edge of things," she says. "Hope to, uh ... integrate myself better, but, um, that's kind of a project I only sort of know how to start on." She giggles nervously. "I still need to talk to Ariel-san, I guess, but, uh. Yeah. Have I mentioned I'm kind of a disaster?"

She's still a bit befuddled by Cecelia's comments, but she can't work up the nerve to say much about it. The girl is clearly a foreigner, and Kotomi just doesn't know how to examine or question any of that.
Naru Osaka 2019-06-24 20:27:19 105723
"The Emperor is.. more of a political figurehead these days than actually functional in day to day living." Naru comments thoughtfully to Cecelia. "Most communities are much more self contained. Either municipal, if it's mundane stupid stuff like traffic laws and that sort of thing, or friends who look out for each other when things go weird. Friendships are really important, that's the community I was talking about, except a more general sense.." She glances to Kotomi and nods. "I think we're in a period of time where everyone feels a little on the edge of things. I know I certainly do, and that's wholly on me really. I've been focussed mostly on a race, and on school and not other things, and certainly not on making myself available to people. It's hard to find that balance amongst all the things trying to draw on our time." Her smle turns wry. "I swear, I mostly keep vaguely in touch with people by texting Kun.. Kazuo an unreasonable amount. Endy too, but Kazuo bears the brunt of my texting that vaguely almost sort of keeps me near the loop." She glances to her phone and wrinkles up her nose.

"I should be getting back, in a hope of getting some homework and some art done tonight before Kyouko gets home from work, speaking of balance and the lack thereof." Naru shakes her head at herself as she stands. "Feel free to text me, either of you, if you want. If you don't have a phone yet, Cecelia, you should get one." She ensures that her number is available, as she tucks her sketchbook away and gets her shoes back on. Cycling shoes are not for the faint of heart, nor built for walking comfort.
Cecelia Stovjord 2019-06-24 20:43:21 105724
"Ah, you don't say?" Cecelia responds to the comment about the Emperor, her voice betraying a hint of some familiarity or amusement with the idea. She finally regains enough of a sense of presence to look to Naru and Kotomi as they talk about being on the edge. On the outside, looking in? It feels that way for her as well, but it seems all to obvious a thing to point out as an obvious foreigner, especially after having gotten so confused and overwhelmed by things others are taking in stride.

She's completely oblivious to the names of other people being spoken of, only aware of the members of whatever specific community of friends Naru and Kotomi speak of that are currently present. This isn't one of the things that bother her, though. It's an expected thing when moving to a new city, let alone a new world.

"I will take my leave as well," she announces, picking herself up and accepting the given number with more of that hazy confusion. "I'll see that I do, thank you." A short pause and then more formal bows, "Thank you for speaking with me. Osaka-san, Kobana-san. It was... illuminating."