「氷の中」 (Kōri no Naka)
OH, THE ANCESTRAL WOOL
It’s that time of the week and I’ve spiraled into research on unprocessed wool I won’t be wearing any time soon. It’s true that with the breakthroughs of technology we now have available some cutting-edge textiles such as GORE-TEX INFINIUM, and to-die-for winter gear (be damned you Aether Apparel, take all my money and don’t ever speak to me again). And even so, oftentimes the solution to our problems can be found on what has been passed down through ancestral tradition. Archaeological evidence found in Iran dates the first woven wool garments from around 3.000 BC. This millennial old fibre does a job so well done that it’s commonly found as a companion component with new-tech ones in jackets, vests, pants and even ski gear.
And as the autumn weather breathes colder, Koguma is faced with the fact that handlebar covers won’t fill out all necessary functions needed for wintertime. Sweet bean Shii-chan steps in and gifts the girl with a massive “abrasive wool” sweater her father had given her a while back—one she has barely even worn. My entire wool research started with the fact that I had never heard the term abrasive wool before. My best guess would be this term gained a different connotation in Japan since steel iron/wool is what comes up when searching it on the web. Even the Japanese translation of the word is rewarded with polishing wool, the one used for tools that has with nothing to do with garments. But I digress.
COOPERATIVE GEAR UP
Gearing up for winter has opened up more opportunities for Koguma to engage with her small town community. Thanks to her Home Economics teacher, the oversized sweater gets turned into a vest for our main protagonist, a pair of socks for her assertive sidekick/besto-friendo and a thermos cover for their newest gang mascot. Despite the evident upgrade it seems there are still boxes left unchecked which, much to Reiko’s dismay, ends up resulting in “that.” a.k.a. windshield protector. A bigger investment than what we’ve seen so far. And what better way to be sure where to put your money than to test-try it?
The girls revisit Reiko’s acquaintance and have a go at his almost R.I.P.d blue cub—and part of me thought “is this foreshadowing to Shii-chan’s future cub?”—only to come to terms with the fact that the windshield really makes a difference. The investment is approved and the purchase is made. And even with all of these upgrades I can’t help but find myself wondering: wouldn’t it be better if they simply wore their P.E. pants underneath their skirts? Or even heattech tights? The ones from Uniqlo have a decent price tag. I understand there are very strict regulations when it comes to Japanese uniforms, but if they’re wearing pants while driving and taking them off when they get to school, I don’t see how that could be a problem. Especially once it really starts snowing.
With all that said and done, it was heart-warming to see how Koguma feels much more at ease within the context of her small community, when it comes to receiving and asking for favors or by engaging with others and therefore expanding her little world.
“We had done a number of things to prepare for the cold. We turned to a number of people for help. I felt more comfortable around other people than I had been before, when it was for my Cub. In time, autumn would pass, and winter would arrive. But I’m sure that with the bitter cold of winter under control, it will no doubt feel great and be enjoyable.” The transition of tones on this week’s episode was particularly enthralling!
As I mentioned before I have not read the novels but I’m really hoping that Shii-chan will join the girls Cub gang. I like how organic and natural it feels to see her slowly becoming closer to Koguma and Reiko as a duo. And they have a good synergy going on. Oh, and by the way, how hilarious was it that no one trusts Reiko’s sewing skills? I laughed out loud at this scene.
As always, many thanks for reading and I wish you all a great week!
Full-length images: 36.