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Ryu Motohashi

When I put my hands on my hips and arched my back as hard as I could, I looked up at the sky and saw that it was an incredibly blue sky without a single cloud. There were no tall buildings around me, just a small tree in the far left corner of my field of vision and the street.

The lawn in the school's courtyard is quite wide, and the four-story school building is out of sight. It feels so good to stretch my hips, and I let out a moan. I want to play bridge like this, but I can't do anything that sporty.

Although this blue sky is pure blue, it feels endless and deep because if you look closely, there is a gradation of colors. Suddenly, I fantasized about gravity reversing towards the sky, and I started to feel uneasy. There was nothing around him to grab onto, and he was thrown straight into space. It might be better to at least stay close to that tree in the corner of your vision.

“Then do you want to do that?”

Mori-kun, who was playing bridge next to me, started walking on all fours while still playing bridge. When I asked him if I could straddle him, he said, ``I'll kick you in the groin, but that's fine.'' Mori-kun is an amazing guy who really does things in times like this. Bridge walking may be a way for humans to move around in a world where gravity has been turned upside down. The reason Mori-kun didn't respond to this insignificant complaint was because the way he walked was quite tiring, and after a few steps, he laid down on the ground, then got up and started walking as if nothing had happened. His navy blue uniform pants and dress shirt were covered in stains from water droplets from the grass. Mori-kun was an interesting guy. I think Mori-kun is the real thing. I'm a fake pretending to be funny. Only Mori-kun knows that. Reach under the tree. It's an ordinary tree, neither big nor small.

"That's enough for now," Mori said.

“Sayana,” I said.

Even if a gravity reversal were to occur now, Mori-kun and I would be caught by the branches of this tree and our lives would be lost.

In the center of the courtyard, five boys are playing a game of throwing a ball high into the air. They are the school's stars in a band called ``Ankle Kickers,'' who play an absolutely entertaining game that involves two stages: throwing the ball higher and then catching it before someone else can bounce it to the ground. Their popularity is evidenced by the sight of some girls watching them from the windows of the school building and making a fuss about them. Mikey Senpai, the center of the Ankle Kickers and the guitarist and vocalist, threw the ball with all his might, and it flew so far that it seemed to exceed the height of the four-story school building. In the depths of the tremendous blue sky, the white ball becomes as small as a dot and disappears from view. Yes, at this moment, gravity is reversed. Ankle kickers falling into the sky. The athletic club members who were probably on the field beyond the school building. I looked around and saw the people of the town too. Clinging to a tree branch, I did see them.

Around the beginning of November 2021, I received the request to write for the blueover serial project ``AONOKU'' from designer Ichino, and I immediately accepted. In March of the same year, Mr. Ichino and I created a theater piece called ``Rubber Soles'' on Yasuragi no Michi in Nara City. People walking on a peaceful path were asked to step on clay, and the footprints of the soles of their shoes were collected, and the shape was used as a map of an imaginary town, and the play told the story that would take place there. I live in Tokyo and stayed in Nara City for a week before the performance with the members of the troupe. As we walked around the Yasuragi no Michi area, we chatted and said, ``Ichino-san's shoes are so cool.'' I heard that the two-tone navy blue and light gray sneakers were from a brand called Blueover. It had a simple, vintage feel, without even a brand logo, and I thought it was like a part of Mr. Ichino's body. Come to think of it, the footprints of the human species are basically the soles of shoes. If this is the case, I feel that clothes and shoes can also be seen as part of the body.

...When I received the writing request, I thought it would be a good idea to first write something like this, an essay. However, perhaps because my self-esteem has been on the decline lately due to lack of money and an uncertain future, I thought that no one would be interested in writing an essay about me that no one knows about, so I first thought of the title ``Aokuku''. I decided to write something like a novel based on the scenes from my high school days. However, it is not possible to write such a wide-ranging story within the 4,000 characters requested. However, I like reading and writing documents about the run-up to that expansion. ``When I put my hands on my hips and arched my back as hard as I could, I looked up at the sky and saw that it was an incredibly blue sky without a single cloud.'' The first thing I wrote was this line. From there, the world expanded like a big bang. By putting down the words that came to mind, the scenery expands again. You can see history.

Even though I'm in a mental state that makes me want to die, it feels good to type this sentence right now. Stop thinking about unnecessary things.

For some reason, the only people falling were people. The cars in the staff parking lot that can be seen a little ahead are stuck to the ground. When I looked up, I saw leaves and nuts lying in the sky. The changes in this world were such a convenient thing. I looked at my smartphone to check the situation, but it wouldn't connect. A couple, a man and a woman, had been hanging from the fence on the roof of the school building, and now they both fell down. Everyone is looking down at the sky from the windows of the school building and making noise. The situation was completely laughable.

“I wonder how long it will take to fall to space,” Mori-kun begins.

"It's hard to say because space doesn't seem to have clear boundaries. I'm sure the Space Shuttle and ISS are flying at an altitude of about 400km? That area is still within the atmosphere. 400km is roughly the same as Tokyo and Osaka. Well, I wonder how long it would take to go from Tokyo to Osaka at the speed of falling.It seems like it would take about an hour to go there by linear motor car.Ah, but I've heard that skydiving can go up to 200km/h. I wonder if the linear fall speed is twice as fast as a person's fall speed. Is that true?"

With Mori-kun talking about something in the background, I think about what I should do next. The tree I'm currently sitting on has several branches that are thick enough for me to sit on. If you think about it, you might even be able to rest your back on the tree trunk and get a light sleep. However, since things can't go on like this, Usagi also wants to evacuate to the corner school building, but there is a distance of nearly 10 meters from the roof of the possible breezeway. Inside the school building, teachers can be heard shouting, ``Is everyone okay?''

In fact, a few seconds ago we had no idea that we would fall into the sky.

Mikey decided on the band name Ankle Kickers on a whim. I feel like I was the one who suggested starting a band. When I was in first year of high school, my older brother made me listen to Ginkgo Boyz, and it felt like my world had turned upside down. Up until then, I had only been listening to music that was in the top 10 of the Oricon charts, but when I heard her shouting, "I hate women! You should do it for real!", I was like, "This is it!" I admired Mineta so much that I decided to have the same hairstyle as him, and his nickname became ``Obappa.'' Ginko wasn't that into Mikey and the other members, Marco (drums), Fals (guitar), and Shorty (keyboards), but they covered Mikey's favorite song "If You Cry" last year. It was great when we performed it live at the school festival. The number of live performances outside of school increased little by little, and senior bands told me, ``This is just a high school band.'' It was around this time that I began to realize that the world was quite large. During our annual game of catch in the courtyard, we somehow managed to talk about our future. Marco and Fors have already received offers from decent universities. Shorty is job hunting. Me and Mikey haven't decided what to do. I think Mikey will continue with music. Honestly, I didn't understand anything. The bass player I'm currently playing doesn't have much desire to improve. I don't think it's suitable. I really wanted to be the vocalist in the band, but I couldn't say it, and I didn't have the right to do it. I'm not a good singer, and I didn't feel like practicing. Once I told the band that it was okay to be bad at it, and everyone objected fiercely. But, the reason I was saved by Ginkgo BOYZ was because I felt like they told me, ``You're fine just the way you are.''

It's a moment! It's a moment! I feel like my life is limitless, and I don't understand it. I just want to think about the moment. Isn't that bad? Like a wild animal. It's no longer suitable for humans.

It feels like hours have passed since I started falling. I'm tired of fear and despair, and I'm starting to think about things like this. There's no need to think it's lame. Because it's just over. Even when I try to move my arms and legs, my posture doesn't change.

"Bobbed, do something fun," Marco said. While everyone around me looked at me, I took off everything I was wearing and became completely naked. Everyone laughs and takes off their clothes in the same way.

The sky is turning red.

December 19, 2021, evening. As I ride my bicycle to my night shift job, I'm thinking about how I'm going to finish this manuscript. Look at the sky as the sun sets. On the ISS floating in space beyond this sky is Yusaku Maezawa, the founder of ZOZOTOWN and known as the money-handing uncle, who gives a message that says, ``The secret to making money is not to try to make money, but to help people.'' I saw on the internet news that it was sent. In the first place, it was a word that didn't really bother me, as I'm a big fan of earning money on a daily basis. I wanted blueover shoes, so I looked them up and found a good price, but I could buy them with the money I paid for writing this manuscript. But I'll probably use it for living expenses. The Workman off-road sneakers I'm currently wearing cost 2,000 yen. Perhaps because of the way he walks, only the inner part of the heel of the sole is worn out first.

The sun soon set and night came. It's morning again. This year is over, and in the blink of an eye, life will be over. Nothing is decided yet. But I keep running.

The rusty chain of the bicycle is crunching. I saw something falling from the sky.

Mori-kun and I tried a lot of trial and error, but we couldn't find a way to move to the school building, and before we knew it, the sky was dyed bright red. Something climbed up from the sky and stuck to the ceiling. It was the uniforms and shoes of the people who had fallen. Looking at the unique shoes, I realized that the shoes that had fallen in the center of the courtyard belonged to the members of the Ankle Kickers.

Mikey, Bobpa, Marco, Folse, Shorty.

Suddenly, I saw something running on the road outside the school grounds. The man riding the bicycle was facing us upside down.

“Do you have any dreams for the future?”

Mori-kun suddenly asks. We never talked about the future.

I know. That man on the bicycle is now thinking about the necessity and meaning of us and this world. Please stop doing that.

We laughed and continued talking while looking down at the stars that were starting to twinkle little by little.

Ryu Motohashi Ryu Motohashi
Born in 1990. Born in Saitama City. Theater writer. Head of the theater unit "Ungezifa".

The feature of his creation is that he seamlessly moves between realistic depictions of daily life and illusions that exist in the subconscious mind, with expressions that take a bird's-eye view of the drama, creating a ``young fairy tale'' with a unique vividness and sparkle. thing. He calls himself ``wild theater'' and chooses a wide range of venues for his performances, from a room in his home or an empty lot to the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre.
The performance piece ``Moving Things'' won the grand prize at the 2017 Hokkaido Drama Awards. Since then, his performances (``Tenshokusei'' and ``Chrysalis'') have won the Excellence Award for two years in a row. Won the Hokkaido Drama Award for three consecutive years.

Photo: Hiroshi Nakamura