isekai c-mart hanjouki · translation

Isekai C-Mart Hanjouki ch 009

← ch 008 ・・・・|・・・・ ch 010 →

The Inimitable Bubble Wrap

“Master, Master, what’s that?”

I was opening an Amazon box. The elf girl lavished me with charm and smiles as she drew close.

Working your wiles on me? That won’t get you anywhere.

“Uhh. It’s stuff I ordered off the inter—  Wait, that won’t mean anything to you. It’s stuff I bought on the other side.”

If I just kept going round in turn to the usual supermarket, usual home center and usual hundred yen shop, my merchandise would start to get skewed.

Also, depending on the item, I couldn’t quite find what I wanted at the supermarket or home center. For instance, the supermarket only had one kind of flashlight. Even the home center only offered a few different kinds. To get a quality one that was sturdy, solid and long-lasting, even if it cost a bit more… Well, in that case it was better to use an online retailer like Amazon or Rakuten.

So I had begun to use Amazon.

Though, I didn’t get back to my place in the other world much, so I had been stressing over where to have packages sent…

When, what do you know, it had become possible to do pick-ups at convenience stores.

“This would be a flashlight. This would be a survival manual. These would be stainless steel spoons. This would be a snow globe. This would be a solar-powered dancing sunflower.”

As I laid the items out on the table, I thought how the elf girl wouldn’t understand those words anyway.

Which was she interested in? The snow globe? The sunflower? She was an idiotic elf, so she had to mean the sunflower. Exposed to light, it was already starting a wiggly dance.

“No, not those. That one. That.”

“Which?”

I had already taken everything from the box.

All that was left was some bubble wrap used for packing. Maybe because there had been expensive items inside, the packing was unusually meticulous.

“You mean…this?”

I took out the bubble wrap and showed it to her.

“That’s it! That one!”

I had guessed right, apparently.

The elf girl nodded her head.

And, eyes a-twinkle, she stared at the bubble wrap in…utter fascination?

“Do you, uh, not know what this is? Bubble wrap?”

“Aah! You’re treating me like an idiot again! Of course I don’t know what things from your world are, Master!”

I supposed that was true.

“What iiiis it? What’s it do?” asked the elf girl, bouncing up and down with her eyes a-twinkle.

She was an idiot. She only looked like a pretty girl. Well…that wasn’t so bad.

“It’s, uh… Umm…”

Somehow I was unable to admit that it was just packing material.

I tried to find the words.

“Well, you see, where I come from, this product is one of the finest things ever made to be played with.”

“P—P—Played with!? How!?”

“Kind of like this.”

I picked up the sheet of bubble wrap and—
Pop.
Pop.
Pop.
—popped a few bubbles.

“Seems kind of dull? Is that really fun?”

“Try it and see.”

I tore the sheet of bubble wrap into approximately equal halves and passed one to the elf girl.

“Like this? Is this how you pop them? Like this? OK?”

“Yes. That’s right. Pretty good at that, aren’t you? Like that. Yes.”

As we chatted, we looked down and popped.

Before long, we had gone silent.

Wordlessly and mindlessly, we both went on popping the bubble wrap.

Pop, pop.
Pop, pop, pop.
Pop, pop, pop, pop.
Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop.
Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop.
Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop.
Huh!?

I came back to my senses after the last bubble had been popped.

“I popped it all, Master.”

Apparently the elf girl had finished at around the same time. She waved the flaccid sheet of crushed bubbles and said, “Next one, please. Next one.”

“I don’t have any more.”

That was all the bubble wrap there was. Only one sheet had been packed around the box’s contents.

“You really are a useless little lordling,1 aren’t you?” the elf girl said snidely with an adorable expression.

Yep, definitely thinking of her as ‘the idiot elf’ now.

“Did you call me ‘useless’? And what’s with the ‘little lordling’ thing?”

“I didn’t call you that. Auntie2 did.”

“But I’m not any kind of lord.”

“Master or little lordling, what does it matter? Anyway…you don’t have any more?”

“Well, you started it. But, uhmm. This stuff is… It’s just something you get as, like, a bonus. I guess?”

“OK. Then your job for today is getting more of it in stock.”

“Says who?”

“But, but…it’s amazing. It gets addictive. I’m sure it’ll be a popular product! Everyone will enjoy it!”

“R—really?”

“Yes! For sure! You’re amazing, Master! I’m counting on you! You have to get some in stock! A whole bunch!”

Well…that didn’t feel like I was being manipulated at all, did it?

I headed for the other world to pick up a bunch more bubble wrap.

Oops. That is, I headed for the modern world.

◇ ◇ ◇ ◇ ◇

So where do you get a bunch of bubble wrap?

I walked around absentmindedly under the blue sky.

Only the sky was the same in this world and that world.

Blue from here to there. And over there. And everywhere.

Oh, crap.

When I walked around looking at the sky, I leaped between worlds. I had come back to the other side.

Anyway, I had never seen bubble wrap offered at the supermarket, so I headed for the home center. Rather than try my usual one, I took the bus to a much larger one in the next town over.

◇ ◇ ◇ ◇ ◇

When I got there, I was astonished at how busy it was.

There were so many people.

Unlike my usual home center, this store wasn’t merely one building.

Surrounding the massive parking lot were also places to eat, a supermarket, a movie theater, a home electronics warehouse, and so on.

But why were there this many people? Was something going on today?

As I thought, it occurred to me.

That’s right. Today is the last day of Golden Week3 or something.

That would bring the crowds.

And it had completely slipped my mind.

It seemed as if the other world didn’t even have days of the week. I wasn’t sure if they thought about or used calendar systems with days and months there.

But I think everyone would agree, if you’re not going to miss it, best leave it be.

As I became submerged in the other world’s slow and leisurely pace of life, I was beginning to put off doing anything that didn’t need to be done that day.

Although, I did still have to ask what ‘one mulg’4 was, at least. I mean, I was renting the shop from the old lady in the back alley. If I stayed ignorant of how many days that was, I might find myself behind on the rent. I didn’t want to see sorrow on the face of the nice old lady who had been so willing to rent me the shop. I sure wasn’t about to make her sad.

I set foot into the way-more-massive-than-normal home center.

The store’s layout was completely different and confusing.

Oh, well. I wasn’t in a hurry. I took my time looking around.

I know, I know. If I had looked it up on the store guide or grabbed a sales worker to ask, I could have gone straight to the spot.

But that was what somebody pressed for time would do.

I was doing this other-world style.

This time, by ‘other-world,’ I meant the slow-paced world on the other side.

I walked through the home center aimlessly, expecting I would run into what I was looking for at some point.

“Oh, hey, it’s Mr. Moneybags!” came a voice suddenly. I turned around.

A girl was looking at me.

She was probably a high schooler. A fairly cute one.

She was staring at me like she knew me, but…

All I could do was think was, Have we met before?

I didn’t know any high school gir—

“Huh? You don’t recognize me? You know…from the pawn shop?”

The girl gathered up her black hair in both hands and pulled it apart into pigtails.

“Aaaah! Ah-hah!”

I remembered. The granddaughter of the old man from the pawn shop. We had chatted a bit when I had traded the gold nuggets for Japanese yen.

When I had seen her in the living room at the back of the pawn shop, she had looked like any other girl in her casual, everyday clothes. The girl in front of me now was a stylish high schooler, so I hadn’t recognized her at first.

“Don’t call me Mr. Moneybags.”

The girl smiled.

“Why not? I happen to like guys who are well off.”

“Oh, come on.”

So she was the type to joke her way into…favors. I grimaced.

“Oh. Oh, no. I didn’t mean it like that.”

The girl looked a little embarrassed.

“Rich people have more chill, right? My family runs a pawn shop, so I see all sorts. People with no money are always so frantic and have no consideration for anyone besides themselves. It’s gross how they’re constantly like, ‘You have to give me more money for this.’ But people who are well off aren’t like that. They’re all easygoing and nice to be around.”

“Ooh.”

My eyes grew wide. A treatise on life was spilling forth from the lips of a high school girl. One that merited listening to, no less.

“Oh. Sorry. Things got real passionate there, didn’t they? Everyone always says I’m passionate.”

And just like that, she was being all freaky again.

“Oh. Oh, no. I didn’t mean that like that either.”

Realizing what she’d said, the girl went red again.

What a funny girl.

“Oh, right. Are you coming by the shop again?”

“Eventually.”

My capital was disappearing at a steady rate. I needed to find a way to get more yen before it was all used up. I had lots of gold and silver coins piling up, so I could try to find somewhere that was looking to buy old coins, but… What if I exchanged them for gold nuggets over there and took that to the pawn shop?

“Grandpa keeps saying how your gold nuggets were purer than he estimated and he should have paid three thousand per gram, not two. Like, he mutters that three times a day. Old people are the worst. Don’t you think?”

“Hmm.”

“I think he’d shut up if you came by the shop one more time so he could give you the extra million yen.”

“Ah. It’s not a big deal,” I said.

I wanted the old man to make a profit, too. Though, he might scowl at that rather than smile.

“But if I want to make Grandpa shut up…?”

“Then you take it. Consider that million yen your allowance.”

“Oh no, I couldn’t. I’d fall in love with you?”

“Ahaha!”

I laughed at the girl’s joke. That was a good one. A real knee-slapper.

“But I’ll bring by more gold nuggets if that’s OK. I have stock to buy. And I need cash.”

“We’ll be waiting.”

The girl smiled. It was as nice a smile as the idiot elf’s.

Both this world and that world had girls who could really smile, didn’t they?

This world was better than I thought.

“Are you looking for something?”

“Hm? Sort of.”

“I’ll help you. I come here all the time. I know my way around pretty well.”

“Wait a sec. How’d you know I’m looking for something?”

“Because I’ve been watching you for five minutes. You keep looking around. So I can tell.”

“You were stalking me?”

I smiled. This girl was way too much for me.

“So, anyway… I’m looking for, uh, what’s it called again? Those plastic sheets with the bubbles. Which I call ‘bubble wrap.’ That stuff. Do they have it here?”

“Oh, yeah! I know what you mean! Bubble wrap! It’s good for popping, huh!?”

“Yeah. That’s it. I need a large amount. I thought maybe the home center would have it.”

“How much is ‘a large amount’?”

“As much as I can get.”

“How much are we talking? Ten meters? Fifty?”

“Meters?”

I boggled at the suggestion of such unlikely dimensions.

“It’s over here. I’m so on it. This way!”

A split second later, I was seized by the hand and dragged off.

She had clamped onto just my ring finger and little finger, which kind of hurt.

◇ ◇ ◇ ◇ ◇

I was taken to the packing materials corner.

“Is—Is this bubble wrap?”

As it turned out, the stuff didn’t come in sheets; it came in rolls.

The names on the product labels were things like ‘Air Cushion’ or ‘Cellular Cushioning Material.’

One meter wide sheets were sold in rolls from ten meters long up to forty-two meters. The price for forty-two meters was 1790 yen.

“You could buy 4.3 kilos with what you have on you, Mr. Moneybags.”

“Yeah, no, I’m not getting that much. The ten meter roll should be plenty.”

“You might as well go with forty-two meters. Oh. But cut me off a meter. Because I love this stuff.”

I was pushed into buying the forty-two meter roll.

It was light enough to carry easily, but absolutely massive.

I guessed all I would be able to get back with today would be this one thing.

“See you, Mr. Moneybags. Come by the shop again, OK?”

The girl waved just the tips of her fingers as we parted ways. I left the home center.

Walking around under the blue sky with the massive roll in my arms, I looked for a back street to lose my way on to get back to the other side.

Ahh. Blue sky.

◇ ◇ ◇ ◇ ◇

“I’m back!”

“Whoa! Master! What is that!?

As expected, the idiot elf was amazed to see the giant roll.

That’s right. Be amazed.

Even I had been amazed.

And if you’re not amazed, where do I get off being amazed?

“Wahahaha. Bring on the snot-nosed brats. We’ll brainwash ’em!”

We called in some brats by offering free candies.

We passed out 30×30 centimeter sheets of bubble wrap and demonstrated how fun they were.

The kids called in other kids, and those kids went home and got their parents, who also became infatuated with the the bubble wrap.

The front of the store was a madhouse.

In voices high and low, quavering and strong, men and women of all ages requested the sheets. It was tough work to cut them up and pass them out. I couldn’t keep up at all.

Everyone popped together.

Pop, pop.
Pop, pop, pop.
Pop, pop, pop, pop.
Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop.
Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop.
Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop.

With single-minded intensity, they popped their sheets.

By evening, somehow all forty-one meters of the roll had completely disappeared.

Everyone headed off with looks of total satisfaction.

The idiot elf and I were flopped over on the floor of the shop, completely exhausted.

“Hey, Master…?” the idiot elf croaked.

“What?” I croaked back.

“You didn’t get any money, did you?”

“Haaah?”

I absorbed what she had said.

Now that she mentioned it, that was true.

Oh well. Whatever.

Everyone had smiled so much, after all.

← ch 008 ・・・・|・・・・ ch 010 →


  1. formerly “obocchan” 
  2. formerly “Oba-chan” 
  3. Golden Week: a series of holidays in Japan lasting about a week 
  4. formerly “murugu” 
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18 thoughts on “Isekai C-Mart Hanjouki ch 009

  1. “Do you, uh, not know what this is? Bubble wrap?”

    yeah definitely they would know, in that world, where salt is a commodity…
    and more plastic contamination…

    I like of this story how I kill the MC (in my mind) every time he does something idiotic..

    Like

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