「 Even if you tell me that… 」
Like, taking a self-important attitude.
I mean, I’m facing some high-class ladies.
I feel like I’m rude if I take some self-important attitude.
「 For now, please put this on, Danna-sama 」
Misuzu hands me sunglasses.
「 We’re making it so that Kuromori Kou goes to formal places wearing glasses 」
Oh, if I put on sunglasses, I can keep off the dumb face I make.
「 Wearing dark sunglasses makes the other party not know where you’re looking 」
「 However, you can only do that with people lower than you. Don’t wear sunglasses when facing people in equal status 」
「 Why? 」
「 Wearing sunglasses means you’re concealing your thoughts. Trying to hide your thoughts in a battle of wits implies that you don’t have enough composure, and they’ll look down on you 」
「 I see 」
「 But it matters not, for now, the ladies have little to no interest with you. They’re bent on ignoring you… 」
「 O-Okay 」
I put on the sunglasses Misuzu gave me.
「 Is this one of your preferences? 」
「 No, it’s Shou-oneesama… 」
「 The one I chose got rejected by everyone 」
As usual, Misuzu’s got some strange tastes when it comes to what I wear.
「 I thought of asking you to put on some wilder sunglasses, but everyone said that the elegant looking one is better 」
「 Hmm, I think this is good 」
Jii-chan said that. Please stop with the wild ideas, for now, Misuzu.
「 The suit looks good with you. Is that from the usual? 」
「 Yeah got this from the shop you told me 」
Jii-chan told me to get some custom-made suits when going to events related to Kouzuki house.
He told me where to go, and get measurements on my whole body, and check on the temporary sewing…
I like the suits Katsuko-nee mends for me, but those were suits of Minaho-neesan’s Grandfather.
I feel sorry for putting on some memento suits, and so I accepted it and asked for brand new.
「 What do you think? Having suits that fit your figure feels great, doesn’t it? 」
「 Yeah. Somehow, it’s light and easy to move. This suit doesn’t get me tired 」
For real, this is what someone can expect from professionals.
「 Ruriko, Katsuko-oneesama, and I chose the material for the cloth 」
I don’t know much about the materials, color, and design, and so…
And so, I brought them to the store.
Michi was there, but she didn’t say a thing.
Well, Michi’s wearing nothing but her uniform all the time.
She probably doesn’t know much about fashion.
「 They listened to my opinion on this one 」
「 Hmm, the cloth is slightly gaudy and coquettish, but, Yoshinobu’s still young, and he’s not using it for business. I guess this will do 」
「 We also asked to make one for calm gatherings. That one didn’t use my opinions 」
Misuzu said regretfully.
「 There shouldn’t be any problems if you had Katsuko-kun look at it. Her guests were mostly dandy from the start. She’s seen good material and excellent tailoring. She’s much more refined than Ruriko or you 」
Jii-chan said and laughed.
「 Now then, shall we meet the ladies in the courtyard? 」
Jii-chan stands up.
「 Oh right, Yoshinobu. I will be calling you Kuromori-kun from now on 」
He said and smiled.
「 As I said earlier, I must show that I am someone with authority in public. Therefore, sorry, but we’ll be fussing with that 」
「 I know that 」
I’m not that stupid.
「 I won’t call you Jii-chan, but “Kakka,” right? 」
「 No, call me “Grandfather” 」
「 People know that I gave permission to your relationship with Misuzu, and so they’ll start doubting my character if someone from family calls me “Kakka” 」
「 Then, I’ll go with “Grandfather” 」
「 Indeed 」
Jii-chan said while smiling.
「 That way of calling is okay, but use it respectfully. I still am the head of Kouzuki house, an influential man 」
「 Ah, yeah 」
「 Misuzu and Ruriko’s friends will come to greet us, but don’t do anything until I greet them back. It will break my honor 」
「 Oh, the order of big-wigs, that it? 」
「 Naturally. Don’t look at the faces of the girls that come close, if you meet their eyes, you’ll need to greet them back, won’t you? 」
「 Oh, I see 」
「 If you’re away from me, then you can gaze at the women, however, don’t stare too much, and don’t look at them where you have to give greetings. It’s a must 」
But it can’t be helped. I can’t embarrass Jii-chan.
「 When I’m talking, look at my face. Don’t look away. Be sure to listen earnestly 」
「 Okay 」
「 Then, let’s go 」
Ootoku-san and Choumoto-san are waiting in the corridor.
The two are full-time bodyguards. Anyway, they’re huge. You can tell that they’re strong from a glance.
The two follow right away, even without Jii-chan telling them anything.
「 Oh right, you’re free to talk to me whenever you want. It would be an annoyance if the girls think that you’re too nervous that you can’t say anything, don’t you think? 」
「 That, or maybe I’m standing next to Jii-chan, so I only answer when I’m asked? 」
「 You’re still a relative, you know? Is there a family that is too tense like that? You can go with normal for that one. However, don’t let them think you’re stupid in the conversation 」
「 Well, I’ll do my best 」
I mean, I’m an idiot. So I think I’m going to say something stupid.
Therefore, I prefer to stay silent all the time, but…
Jii-chan told me to join conversations like normal.
「 I think that everyone in the courtyard would be listening to the conversation Grandfather and Danna-sama will have 」
「 Women loves to prick up their ears and listen 」
I guess that’s what’s similar between the high-class ladies and my classmates.
「 Danna-sama, this way 」
We head to the terrace on the second floor, looking out the courtyard.
However, this mansion is so vast and anciently.
However, this building is the third oldest among the buildings in the Kouzuki clan plot. If I recall correctly, it’s built around the middle of the Showa era.
The other one is a western house built during the Meiji era.
That building is too precious, yet hard to live in, and so, it’s preserved and used only during exceptional occasions.
The heating is just firewood in the fireplace, and the chimney is connected to each room.
A part of the window glass comes from the Meiji period, and it’s impossible to reproduce at the current age.
「 Traditional buildings are beautiful, but to live in it, is a different story. Designs with no air-conditioning system will always be hot in summer and cold in winter. The ventilation improvement during summertime is a priority. If you were to put in air-conditioner, the cold wind would only escape. It’s hard to cool off. And the cold wind outside comes in during winter 」
「 It’s better to live in a new house instead 」
With that said, Jii-chan’s living in the building constructed during the Heisei Era. That one’s much more spacious and it’s fully equipped with air-conditioning. Ruriko and Yoshiko-san’s living there too.
「 Although, if you were to hold a party, this older building retains the charm 」
And that’s why the Garden Party is held at the Showa era Mansion courtyard.
「 I see. Most of them have gathered now 」
Jii-chan looks down at the courtyard from the terrace.
Oh, beautiful women wearing party dress sits down on white chairs and is having a fun conversation.
Then, each of them has their personal bodyguards on their sides.
「 Other than the female personal bodyguards, the others are standing by outside the courtyard. Naturally, that includes everyone from the Kouzuki SS as well 」
Oh, those that aren’t female bodyguards…
That means that they have male bodyguards brought in too.
「 It’s our informal social gathering. Besides, Shou-oneesama and Reika-oneesama, the elites of Kouzuki SS will be giving them lectures, and so the bodyguards from other companies are refraining themselves 」
I see. Kouzuki SS won’t be teaching their ways to their business rivals.
「 Hmm, very well 」
Jii-chan looks at the girls.
「 Don’t you think they’re all beautiful? 」
Sure. The ladies from wealthy families are all beautiful and have good builds.
「 Why do you think so? 」
Jii-chan looked at me and smiled.
「 Why? It’s because they’re pampered, right? 」
「 That’s what I’m asking, why are these young ladies beautiful? 」
「 It’s because the family only marries to beautiful women? 」
Hit or miss. I answered that way.
「 Well, that’s right. The rich and powerful love beautiful women. If you make a child with a beautiful woman, then the child would become genetically attractive as well. And if you repeat that each generation, the mother’s beauty adds up, and soon enough, only beautiful children would be born 」
「 I see 」
Misuzu, Ruriko, and Yoshiko-san, they’re all beautiful.
「 Naturally, some families marry their daughter to their fellow to strengthen their connection. However, still, that family will take the beautiful woman. Back in the old times, some children were born from the mistress womb who inherited the family, as the legal wife didn’t give birth 」
Noble families mean that they’ve gathered beauty genetics.
「 And the women in there aren’t just daughters of wealthy families. They’re not daughters of upstarts. They are daughters of noble families that were in the upper class for generations 」
「 Therefore, they’re all beautiful 」
I look at the women once again, but…
「 My, Kouzuki-sama’s present! 」
「 Oh! “Kakka” …! 」
Oh, the girls noticed us watching them from the second floor.
The merry conversations they had earlier quiet down.
They must be tensed that Jii-chan appeared.
「 Don’t look at their eyes 」
「 Y-Yeah 」
Jii-chan whispered to me.
「 Let’s go, Danna-sama 」
Misuzu takes the lead, then I follow her. Behind us are Jii-chan, Ootoku-san, and Choumoto-san.
We head down the white staircase from the terrace’s side to the courtyard.
The women in the courtyard hold their breaths as they watch us come down.
I’m getting nervous now.
The tension is so high that if it was Ai, she’d already say “shuffle” on herself.
「 Oh, by the way, Kuromori-kun 」
Jii-chan speaks loudly while we head down the stairs.
「 I heard from your sister about the business you want to start with Katsuko-kun 」
Huh, Katsuko-nee, and my business?
「 When it comes to business. Failures aren’t allowed for professionals 」
Oh, the bakery?
Katsuko-nee scolded me when I tried baking something arbitrarily.
Did that reach Jii-chan?
「 Oh. I thought that the customers wouldn’t like the same product every time. Selling failed products harms the customer’s trust. That’s why I can’t fail 」
「 Hmm. From a business management perspective, that is correct. We never sell a failed product no matter what. However… 」
We’re already down the stairs and in the courtyard.
「 However, to profess your work also means that you must not fail in your business. That’s indeed a difficult problem 」
The ladies and their bodyguards pay their attention to Jii-chan and me, who got down the stairs.
Some of them left their seats and is coming to greet Jii-chan.
「 I’ve been thinking recently about “business,” and “work” 」
Jii-chan ignores the girls and sits down on the seat in an open table.
「 Well, sit down, Kuromori-kun 」
「 Ah, okay 」
I also ignore the gaze of the girls and sit down.
Misuzu sits next to Jii-chan.
Ruriko comes in naturally with a smile.
「 Grandfather and Kuromori-sama are in the middle of a conversation… 」
Misuzu tells Ruriko.
「 Indeed, just like usual 」
Ruriko replied with a smile.
「 Indeed, just like usual. I’ll leave the others to you, Ruriko 」
「 Yes, Misuzu-oneesama 」
Ruriko calls Misuzu “Onee-sama” in public.
The girls in the courtyard observed us.
They’re all looking this way, saying nothing.
「 Well then, Kuromori-kun. Do you think that there is work in this world where you must never fail? 」
「 I think they exist 」
For example, the fight with Cesario Viola.
Failure means everyone’s death. And so we can’t lose.
「 True, there are that sort indeed. Especially if it’s a life-or-death situation, doctors, rescue team, firefighters, police, and soldiers 」
「 However, let’s put that unique jobs aside. Let’s think of the general occupations people take 」
Jii-chan starts to speak, he’s looking only at me.
「 For example, a professed job means “I can’t fail this,” and “if I fail this, I will get fired,” which do you think that is? 」
「 Well, there’s none. What decides the fate of a company is its big projects. However, does that mean that you must not fail? Would you lose your job if you fail? 」
「 Before we reach a conclusion, let me say this, no matter what job it is, if it’s a professed work, then failures are forgiven to some degree. Well, it may result in a demotion or a halt in your success, but you won’t lose your job. It won’t drop you to hopelessness where you have to die as an apology 」
Failures are forgiven?
You don’t lose your job that easy?
「 That’s how it is with regular employees. The employee who failed won’t lose his job unless it’s a significant loss of profit 」
「 Err, so, how big are we talking? 」
「 Well, we’re talking about cases where it affects the foundation of the company if it’s an ordinary one. If it’s a bigger one, then they will start firing when there’s hundreds of millions of loss of assets. Oh the other hand, if it’s a small company, a million yen decline may cause the person who failed to file his resignation. And if it’s not a problem of money, it depends on the company or the person who broke the trust, and so it must be dealt with 」
「 However, the business won’t discharge its regular employees unless it reaches that extent. The labor union is a noisy bunch, and the law protects the workers too 」
Jii-chan looked at me.
「 Above all, mistakes and troubles is a common thing. An employee’s error or troubles shows the handicap of someone in the company. That’s common. It’s indeed common. If a company were to dismiss every employee that makes mistakes, then, they’ll lose every personnel they have 」
Oh, I see.
「 Making mistakes, bowing heads, and piling up experience is what develops an employee. If one’s afraid of making failure in a creative job, then that person won’t be able to do anything 」
「 In my professed work, a mistake is a complement. Or should I say that success all the time isn’t a necessity? Therefore, I don’t tell my subordinates to succeed or to not fail. Those words will only hinder the employee. Once that happens, they’ll work without taking risks 」
「 People will fail, no matter what. A person who never fails doesn’t exist. Do you understand that? 」
「 Of course 」
「 That is why you must endeavor to not make mistakes as much as possible. But if you were to fail, then smile bitterly, and you must know that it happens… 」
「 I see. People who think, “I’ll succeed for sure. I can’t fail” are those who don’t think of failures 」
「 Indeed. Humans who believe in the supremacy of success are always taking their last stand. They never have the composure 」
If they considered the likelihood of failure from the start, then their thoughts would start to crumble.
「 Remember that. Anything that is a business will make some failures at some point. On the other hand, if everything is wasted after a single mistake, then it’s a job, but not a business… 」
Jii-chan speaks with a serious face.
「 For example, F1 Race has racers, right? For those whose occupation is known as a racer, then even if they were to disappear in one year, they can still join the next year’s race. He’s a known racer, and his talents and achievements are recognized 」
Yeah, someone who became a champion once…
They could have a year with poor performance, but they’ll think, “it must be the car’s performance issues,” and so, the person can attend the next racing event.
「 A person who entered a race one year, and made a contract with some team in the following year. That person can be called “F1 racer,” but, I don’t think his occupation can be called an F1 racer 」
「 Maybe the person will only do it once. Or maybe, they could only join for one year. And so, failure isn’t an option. That kind of harsh job can’t be called an occupation. Occupation means that you can continue, no matter how many failures it takes 」
「 Katsuko-kun is correct. However, it’s lacking. Even if it is a custom within the bakery 」
The bakery is my job.
「 Yesterday, you baked your products as usual and sold them to your customers. However, what if you encountered trouble, and for example, you weren’t able to obtain your high-class raw materials? Or, you weren’t able to secure your workers? Well, it could be any of a lot of things. Either way, the product became something different 」
Jii-chan speaks to me.
「 That happens in reality. It’s hard to avoid. Unexpected troubles always come. They do come at miraculous moments 」
Inevitable failures exist.
「 The ideal is to sell the same taste every time. It’s what we prefer, and what we have to do. However, it can’t be consistent all the time 」
It never does.
「 However, if that bakery is an established business, and the customers notice that the taste of the product changed for one day, you can still take it back. That’s how it is 」
If they know that our products are delicious…
Then, even if they bought some bad products for one day because of some reason…
Their trust won’t break.
We can regain their trust.
No, we have to.
「 “Don’t fear failure,” doesn’t mean that you are free to fail. It means that failure comes, inevitably. That is why one must think of how they can stand up again, even if they fail. Especially the relationship with customers 」
「 If you’re making business, then there’s always customers… 」