Yononaka no Okugi (Part 1)

It has been days since I saw the magazines that opened up my perspective about what the world was like in the recent past that I previously never knew about. I hadn't told anyone else about it because I don't know how they would react to it. It is also hard to convince them too as the current world looked as if it has always been that way for years. Neither have I yet to find any convincing evidence which, in an age where pictures and video could be edited easily or, if looked at without context, be misinterpreted.

The magazines aren't a reliable source for what life was like and what the publisher wants you to do or buy, but they do tell you the fashion, trends, or whatever makes you feel good or desire for in those days. There's hardly anything else that would tell me what life was like, no matter how difficult it might had been. I need more sources to confirm if my suspicions, but where? There are too many places to look at, but I know for sure that my local and school library is not likely to have them. Online... where do I even start?

Well, a hint appeared in the newspapers: job postings as language translators. I had heard of rumours that, excluding translating to and from English and Japanese, none of those job posts have been filled up for many years: nobody alive today could understand any of the many hundreds of languages that were spoken in the past. Anyone who tried learning them found themselves unable to learn it as they would have completely forgotten it in a few hours, as if the brain is actively rejecting the learning of all but the only two specific languages that everyone knows. Computer-based translation that has existed for many decades is the only thing that can help us what the extinct languages are saying, but the accuracy is questionable that gets worse if you can't input it as text. I'm guessing the job postings are meant to find someone who could understand enough to fix this problem, except that nobody could understand them even if people did tried to learn it.

Another hint: mass immigration from rural areas to urban areas, design of old buildings, and the amount of books and signs in extinct languages that varies by location. Many people moved with the common reason being that the house they were living in we're awful. Why did they suddenly say it was awful and wanted to move if they have been living there for generations?

As mentioned earlier, everyone looks like a young "woman", so naturally the buildings built everywhere today are mostly contemporary style from here, even at areas far away from Honshu where older buildings of a different, but extinct, culture are present. Just what happened here? How did their "race", culture, and language all disappear completely without a trace in just less than a quarter of a century?

Well, the places they used to lived could have been vacant if it were not for the people from here who settled there, but in every single village, town, and city in large numbers that looked like a coincidence?

The population of people living in Honshu a quarter of a century ago seemed unchanged compared to today, and certainly nowhere near to fill in the population elsewhere, so, where do these people living outside Honshu come from? I find that suspicious. Unless these people were the original inhabitants of their hometowns before they were changed, there is no explanation for it. The fact I saw people with different colored skin, eyes, and hair that don't exist today could support what happened to them as they were probably turned into young "women" that look like the kind around me here at happening at the same time the "man" disappeared.

Anyway, let's talk about my school. It was founded about half a century ago. This school isn't particularly special, but did get some reputation for having the current president of one of the largest medical company to have graduated from this school. Not that I care about well known people, but hearing them coming from a normal school instead of prestigious ones like Mihara or Mizuho is surprising once in a while.

Like other middle schools elsewhere, the only people who attended the entrance ceremony as year one students are a handful of people, made up of mostly people whose given names are in kanji or hiragana that would soon become the minority. Everyone else seems to have transferred during the year. I am one of the transfer students last year, but I don't remember what I was doing before I transferred in within a week after my 13th birthday... Wait. If my current real age is only 1, doesn't that mean I had only just been born when I transferred in?

Everything around me looked looked controlled and perfect, but yet on closer look, people are not being controlled and are actually following rules. The world around me has evidence that it was completely different decades earlier, but I was born after it happened and I had nearly non-existent information about the past, so I don't know. All of my classmates seem to be living with one or two other people who share the same "upper name" (surname / family name), which is too coincidental.

I would like to think that people today are shaped differently than in the past, but the old magazines proved that we looked the same as them. At least, from what I could see on the outside. I'm guessing that everyone has been changed to make up for the fact that the "man" thing that is no longer around today but, again, I don't know enough history or biology to know what the changes are. I could be seeing it everyday and not realize it.

What are my options should I want to continue finding out more? I could look up at old newspapers at the local academy's library, but without knowing what headline or year to look out for, this is not easy: there's too many to look through! Well, maybe I could search for when it happened by looking through my school's yearbooks and see when the final batch of students who had the majority of their names in kanji was and subtract their age from there, or look at past population statistics and see where the spike of the female population happened. I don't think it will be easy searching for these.

Chapter 1
Prologue | Part 2


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