Chapter 3: The Ginger Side Dish
Translated by Addison
Please understand that I can’t speak Japanese so the translation isn’t perfect but if you want to help correct some mistakes please DM me on discord.
I changed my lunch to rice balls and started to bring my own drinks.
The effect was huge, and I feel my expenses are going down exponentially.
Also, having made rice balls, I have realized how cheap it is to cook and eat by myself.
He has discovered that if he bought some side dishes, he could’ve made a better and cheaper meal.
“I’ve to cook rice and some premade food from the supermarket, this alone saved me a lot, if I start making my own side dishes, will I save even more?”
It’s a great day, I thought!
I decided that I should make some Ginger side dish, which seemed like an easy plate, so I decided to go to the supermarkets to buy the ingredients.
I walked out the front door to find Yamano-San in her school uniform, her skirt fluttering as she unlocked her front door.
She probably just came back from school.
“Hello, Yamano-San, did you just come back?”
“That’s right, I just came back from school, why did you change your clothes?”
“I’m going shopping at the supermarket, anyways isn’t it hot today, I mean, it’s still rather hot right now.”
It really was one step ahead of summer. Even though it was early evening the temperature was still high.
The heat was so hot that I couldn’t stop sweating from just coming outside.
“I was thinking of going to the supermarket too, it’s so hot and disgusting outside that I think going to a nearby convenience store will be fine.”
Even during this short exchange, a few beads of sweat rolled down Yamano-San’s forehead.
It was just then.
I came up with a suggestion.
But will she accept it?
It’s free to ask, at any rate, let’s just ask Yamano-San first.
“You know, Yamano-San, you were planning to go to the supermarket right?”
“Yeah, I was going to buy some dinner, but it’s too hot to walk…”
‘“Just a suggestion, but don’t you think it’s better to go alone than with two people?”
Perhaps because I wasn’t sure if my suggestion would be accepted or not, I made a vague and roundabout statement.
Even though it was a roundabout statement, Yamano-San understood what I was trying to say.
She said, “Oh, so you mean that. We tell each other what we want to buy and alternate between us, so we can cut the trips to the supermarket in half right?”
“That’s what I mean, what do you think?”
“Okay, let’s do it.”
That reply was great!
We sort of shook hands and formed a cooperative relationship, alternating between each other telling what we wanted and asking each other to buy it for us.
For starters, I decided I’ll go shopping today.
“Let’s see, what do you want Yamano-San?”
“I’ll have a side dish, I have some rice left in the rice cooker from this morning. I’ll eat it with that.”
“Well, when I get to the supermarket, I’ll take some pictures from the deli section and send them over to you.
“Okay. So I’m going to choose from those pictures. So, Mamiya-Kun, what are you buying?”
She asked me what I was interested in buying.
There’s no need to hide anything, so I’ll answer honestly.
“I’m finding an ingredient to grill with ginger, I’ve succeeded in making rice balls, so I was thinking of trying to make some side dishes.”
“You’re very motivated, that’s why they call you guys youngsters.”
She tapped on my shoulder like a boss encouraging a subordinate.
She spoke like a boss, which made me realize although she dresses like an adult, she’s just a high school student.
I thought she was more mature before we became friends.
“I’m only one year older than Yamano-san.”
“That’s right. Haha ……. I think I’ll try my best too. I’m not sure what to make, but I’m sure it’s a good idea.
“What does that mean?”
“I’ve decided to make a ginger side dish too, can you get me the same as you.”
She seemed to have demonstrated her competitive spirit once again and asked me to get her the same one.
Perhaps it was the sweat gushing from the heat, but she looked motivated.
“It’s fine. It’s a game, isn’t it? I’ll make up for my lunch.”
A beautifully triangular rice ball.
What I made, on the other hand, was a delicately somewhat triangular rice ball.
Feeling defiant, I shared my enthusiasm with Yamano-San, who had decided to make a ginger side dish as well as me.
“I’ll take it. The game is on. Have a good day.”
“Yes, I’ll be there.”
Yamano-San saw me off and I headed for the supermarket.
After I finished shopping at the supermarket, I came home.
I rang the intercom at Yamano-San’s house.
Then Yamano-San, who had changed out of her school uniform into a more mature blouse and skirt, came out of the door.
“Welcome back, Mamiya-kun. So, how much did you pay for the ingredients? I asked you to buy the seasonings, so it’s a fair price, right?
“Well, it’s 1,500 yen at the most. The cost of the seasonings was a little more expensive. Although, the next time, it’ll be cheaper since I’ll only have to buy the meat. Besides, the meat I bought today was not sold in small quantities, so I have enough for two meals.
“Okay. I’ll be right back.”
I put the money in my wallet and handed the ingredients to Yamano-San.
“Here you go then.”
“I’ll bring over my ginger-cooked food later.”
“Mamiya-Kun said it was a contest. So we have to feed each other.”
I didn’t know why Yamano-San was bringing up her food, but I soon remembered.
Come to think of it, I did say it was a match before I went shopping.
“‘Are you sure? Putting a man’s dish in your mouth.’
“‘Oh, now that you mention it, I’m a bit worried, so you might want to show me the cookware you use. I’ve overheard rumors about people who live alone and don’t wash their dishes, and it scares me.
“I understand. I’ll send you a picture of the kitchen and the utensils.”
She asked me to show her the cooking utensils, so I went back to my room and sent her a picture of the kitchen and the pans and other utensils I was going to use.
I went back to my room and sent him a picture of my kitchen and the pans and other utensils I was going to use. I’m totally fine with it. Let’s feed each other and see who wins. Let’s start the game!
The game of who can make the best ginger side dish started without any problems.
This time, the recipe I prepared was simple.
All I had to do was make a sauce with soy sauce, grated ginger, garlic, mirin, and sake, and grill it.
Put a thin layer of oil in a frying pan, fry the sauce and the pork, and you’re done.
It took less than 10 minutes.
“It was done.”
Just as I finished, the intercom rang, so I went outside.
It was Yamano-San with a plate in her hand.
In order to compete with Yamano-San, I put the finished side dish on my plate and returned to the entrance with chopsticks for eating.
“I’m ready, too.”
“Well, let’s taste it, shall we? It’s a little unmannerly to eat at the door. Oh, I forgot to bring my chopsticks.”
Immediately, I held out my own chopsticks.
She took them, and put the Ginger Yaki(1) in her mouth and took a big bite.
She was eating the food I made, her mouth huffing and puffing, probably because it was freshly made and hot.
Then the chewing was over and the mouth was opened again.
“Yes, it’s delicious. Have you tried it yet, Mamiya-Kun?”
“Oh, yes. I’ve tasted it.”
“Now it’s my turn to let you try. Here you go.”
I was offered the food, which I picked up with my chopsticks.
I took a bite out of it with trepidation.
It was simple that I was afraid.
For the first time in my life, I was going to eat food made by a girl.
Yes, Yamano -San made me eat the Ginger dish with the chopsticks.
“How is it? Is it good?”
She was waiting for my reaction, to see what I thought.
My immediate reaction was both true and false.
“It’s so good.”
It was delicious, that was true.
But my mind was occupied with the fact that a girl was the one who made it.
“Which was better, the one Mamiya-kun made or the one I made? Which was more delicious?”
“Well, no, the one that …….”
“Haha, you never know. We’re using the same ingredients to make the same thing. I couldn’t tell the difference between Mamiya-kun’s ginger-yaki and my own ginger-yaki.
Yamano-san concluded the conversation.
Yamano-San closed the conversation.
Thanks to her, I regained my composure.
“Yes. That’s how it is. We’ll call this game a draw.”
“That’s right. It’s great to cook for yourself. It’s really good to think that you can make such delicious food, but it takes a lot of work, though.”
“It’s true that it takes a lot of work, but the rice was so delicious that it made me feel so happy.”
“I understand. There’s a warmth to it. Besides, I had to spend a lot of money on seasonings this time, but I really like the low price.”
It was really cheap.
The price was very cheap, and yet there was plenty to go around, so I felt the appeal of cooking for myself.
I’m not sure what to do, but I’m going to keep trying. ……
But then I remembered something.
“By the way, I bought a pack with a large amount of pork because they didn’t sell a smaller amount, what are you going to do with the rest of the pork?
“I’m going to make some ginger based side again and put it on top of rice for lunch. It’s a great idea, although this will be the second time, I feel that it’s going to be better.”
“That’s good, can I copy you?”
“Of course. It’s just that the bento will be cold and won’t taste as good as it does now. Also, yes. I only used a bit of pork this time, but if you fry onions with it, it will be bulkier and more delicious. Although, I don’t have any onions.”
“I’ll see you later.”
“Okay, another time.”
This was how my first time cooking for myself ended up being more fun than I expected.
The next day.
I woke up a little early in the morning and made a ginger lunch box with ginger on top of rice.
Went to school as usual.
And then, after what seemed like forever, the morning class was over and before I knew it, it was lunchtime.
Looking at my lunch, my friend Yuki told me,
“Oh, man, that’s amazing. You’re not as good as you look. But you’re making steady progress.”
“I thought you were weak-willed and would go right back to relying on buying……. That, my dear, is motivation. What’s your secret?”
It’s not that I’m motivated.
Of course, the reason why I continue to cook for myself to save money despite my weak willpower.
“Maybe it’s because I have someone to save money with.”
Thus, my loose and fun-focused life of saving money accelerated.
(1): Yaki: Squid
Another note, is that the food they are discussing is like a side dish that has ginger in it e.g. kind of like frying pork with ginger.
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