Free Life ~Record of the Struggle of a Different World General Merchant~ - Chapter 3
Editor : morin
“We received your order for two ginger pork grilled set meals, three mixed fried set meals, and one pork kimchi bowl~~!!!”
“Aiyo~!…Damn it, just pick one of them, it’s a pain in the ass….!”
When I answered the order of Kaoru, the signboard girl for Manpuku-tei, which was located one street off the Middle District Avenue, I snorted by myself in a voice that no one could hear.
“Gahaha! What the hell are you talking about? You’re the one who thought up the dish! You had it coming! Haha!”
It seems I was easily heard. The name of the giant man who smiled vigorously as he patted the resentful-looking Takahiro on the back was Akatsuki, the owner of the “Manpuku-tei” restaurant, a middle-aged man with a half-Jipangu-born father. The discrepancy between his muscular physique and his delicate sounding name is intense.
I swear as I stare at his back as he smiles and walks away.
That’s right, half a year ago, this “Manpuku-tei” wasn’t prosperous.
A few months ago, a teishoku-ya restaurant opened in the vicinity of my shop. According to what I had heard, they served rice dishes made from Zipangu rice.
This caused me to jump up and down in a frenzy. After all, rice is the staple food of the Japanese. The place where I landed was in the western part of the eastern continent of Earth, or Europe. On Earth, the staple food in Europe is naturally bread and potatoes.
Some restaurants serve large Javanica rice as risotto, but it doesn’t feel right. Give me Japonica rice…! This desperate desire for a place to eat Jipangu rice has been building up in the depths of my mind.
(ENote: These are both types of Asian rice, though Javanica rice isn’t called that anymore. To learn more, check out this wiki page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oryza_sativa)
Then I overheard that a restaurant that serves Zipangu rice was opened. Speaking of the country of Zipangu, it’s called Japan on Earth…! Then of course the rice is Japonica rice! I ran out uninterruptedly.
With my heart on fire, I open the door to Manpuku-tei. It may be a curiosity, but even though it’s past lunchtime, you can still see customers inside the restaurant. The proprietor of the restaurant has the air of a Zipangu man about him. And the decisive thing is the cauldron sitting at the back of the kitchen…! This is very promising…!I took a seat fidgeted restlessly in his chair.
“Sir, welcome! Have you decided on an order?”
“What? Oh, oh, this … daily set meal.”
I’m so sorry.
I don’t know, I got spaced out… or maybe I shouldn’t have come here.
It’s the Silver Shari I’ve dreamed of. It would be impossible for me to not get excited. The fragrant aroma of rice tickles my nostrils. I’m so hungry now that I can eat three bowls of rice…!
(ENote: Shari is another word for Japanese sushi rice.)
The food is brought in front of me and I stare at it with hungry, beast-like eyes. Only about five minutes have passed since I stopped by. That’s wonderfully fast. Bravo!
“Here you go! This is today’s daily set meal.”
He bows lightly and hands me chopsticks! I take them gladly. In front of me is glossy, shiny white rice. Furthermore, it’s a complete meal.
Excellent! Excellent! With my heart trembling with emotion, I reach for the meal. Now I can enjoy my rice and reach heaven…!
Heaven did not begin.
The black liquid on the spinach that had been boiled, soaked in cold water and lightly squeezed, was not soy sauce, but balsamic vinegar.
I sip on a brownish-brown soup that I thought was miso soup. It’s a bean potage.
I take a bite of the teriyaki chicken for the main course. This… is a smoked chicken dressed in oil.
“Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh…!”
A storm of confusion begins in my mind, instead of the rice heaven I imagined. The taste of rice, which reminds me of home, and the taste of the side dish, which would go well with bread and potatoes, releases a cacophony of dissonant flavors into my mouth.
No, there’s nothing wrong with it. Rice is a calm, laid-back food, and goes well with many things. It’s harder to find something that doesn’t taste well with rice.
But what I, who was starved for Japanese flavors, received wasn’t even a ‘Western style’ Japanese dish, but just Western food on rice!
Where was the soy sauce?! Miso?! Dashi?! Especially the soy sauce!
“White rice with soy sauce…!”
I speak with a voice that sounds like it’s being forced through my teeth.
“Hm? What’s a shoy?”
The signboard girl of the Manpuku-tei restaurant heard me and listened in. As she confirms later, she has never heard of soy sauce. She doesn’t know about miso or dashi, either!
“So you’re saying that this restaurant just serves Zipangu rice, but the food is the same as other restaurants…?”
…Somewhere in my heart, something broke.
Takahiro couldn’t remember much about the following week.
Akatsuki and Kaoru told him that he went into the kitchen with a devilish look on his face, caught Akatsuki and began to pound the Jipangu food into him.
I apparently said, “I’m sure you can make a rice meal with the ingredients we have now! Like fried rice! Try it with tartar sauce!” and then stuffed freshly fried mixed fries into Akatsuki’s mouth.
I said, “Hey! It’s soy sauce, miso, and Worcestershire sauce made with my chef skills [super-aging] and [seasoning creation]! Why don’t you start cooking with this, you bastard! I’ll even give you a recipe! Then I shoved a bottle of Worcester sauce into Kaoru’s cleavage, according to her.
I am puzzled by how angry I was at the time. Anyway, Manpuku-tei was reborn as a Japanese style teishoku-ya with the motto “Rice foods made well,” and within a month after the re-opening, the restaurant was completely transformed into a thriving business.
“That’s why I am having a hard time now… I’m certainly self-employed…”
I slumped at my desk, having finished handling the crowd of lunchtime customers plus the ones wo had just left the conference room. The time is 14:00, the last orders have been placed, and the restaurant is in the process of “preparing”.
“Hey, hey, Takahiro! I’m the one who made today’s sashimi! Here, now, try it!”
She worked as hard as we did, so I don’t know how she has that much energy left. The Manpuku-tei restaurant’s sign girl comes running up to me with a tray of rice and side dishes.
Even though I was too tired to move, I was still hungry as much as I worked. I reach for my chopsticks and peer into my plate.
“Ooh, so it’s levanilla today. Thank God, I’m tired… oh, that’s pretty good.”
“Oh, really? Is it good?”
“Yeah, it’s good. That makes my day.”
“I see. I’m glad. You love this kind of flavor, right Takahiro?”
I gobble up a heaping pile of levanilla and rice bowls. Kaoru looks at it with a smile on her face. Akatsuki stares at them with a grin. The surveillance society, this place… of course, you are at the bottom of the hierarchy. It’s hard to know.
“Yes, thanks for your help.”
I pat my full stomach and take a breath. I relax as if I’m going to take a nap as it is. Kaoru chuckles when she sees me and goes back to take the dishes to the kitchen.
(Oh no, let’s just butch the request for a walk…?)
Even though Mrs. Harold is from an upper ward, she’s only a commoner. She’s not a noble nor is she royalty. They won’t throw me in jail or inflict physical punishment on me for refusing a request. If you dazzle them for a month with your other tasks, they will surely forget about that looseheaded Leisurely Madam, this time.
“If you decide to……..”
“Well if you decide to do that, then what?”
“Eww! Why are you here?”
The live-in servant of the “Anything Shop – Free Life”, who has been standing in the background for some time now, speaks up. She looked down at Takahiro with her usual expressionless face.
“Ah, Takahiro! Yumi’s here!”
“You can’t wait to tell me that!”
Awwww…..and it makes me tremble in fear. Yumi’s eyes, clear as the surface of a lake, seem to anticipate what I’m thinking about.
Again, the servant takes a whip out of nowhere and cracks it against the floor with a twitch. That impact hurts so much……..but that pain eventually becomes a pleasure…….na, I’m kidding, that was just pain. Trust me, it hurts. Seriously.
“Yes, of course! I can’t wait to get going, or I’ll be done for the day. Hahaha…..”
“…I’m going to do an unannounced check, so I hope you’ll be able to work hard.”
It seemed that the surveillance society was still going on. Of course, the people being watched are noblemen. The lowest level of the upper hierarchy.
I am taken away by the servants and go to the next job. Kaoru’s voice behind my back says, “Good luck with your work~”. Instead of holding me back, it’s encouragement to get me to work hard and well.
I can hear the sound of “dona dona” seemingly coming out of nowhere….
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