Note: Stories are posted in reverse order. (Select them from the archive to read chronologically)

Sunday, January 2, 2011


Yoshiro Odaka had a book out entitled "How did I ever become a Sectional Manager?" but since his first work was unfortunately released right after that of his colleague, Ōyama Takao's "You Gotta do This To Become a Sectional Manager!" its sales were far from spectacular.

Mutsuko, his wife, called her mother and sister-in-law over from their house in order to try and bring the now despondent Mr. Odaka back to the cheerful man he used to be. 

She really needed their help.

The three women, one with the maiden name of Yamamoto, one with the married name of Yamamoto, and one who had been a Yamamoto for quite some time, placed stickers saying "Company" over the word "Sectional" on his book. 

The former Yamamoto, now Yoshiro Odaka's wife, was a woman of enduring enthusiasm. When they had reached 50 hours of applying stickers, her mother and sister-in-law nervously suggested that she arrange some bullet train tickets for them all back to the Yamamoto household. 

"But I'm an Odaka now!" she said, her eyes flashing as she watched over their sticker application intently.

            Their work continued on for more than twelve years.

It might have been better if she had started selling them as they were being corrected, but if they began to sell out then they wouldn't have been able to make the replacements soon enough. The day finally arrived when all 3,000 copies of the first edition had "Sectional" replaced sticker by sticker with "Company," and the publication dates at the end of each book had been changed so that they could be set up in bookstores. Mutsuko Odaka read once more over the work of her husband who had stood by her over the long years, and tears of joy began to fall from her eyes.

Yoshiro Odaka was still in the bath, but when he heard the sound of his wife's sobbing he got out and ran to her, body still dripping. Odaka had already achieved the title of general manager by then. The nude, middle-aged man, wrapped in a wet towel, awkwardly held his wife and wept. 

Odaka had kept only one secret from his wife. He had already begun printing his second book, "Succeed in Apartment Management!" which he had entrusted to the publishing company of an acquaintance.
Ōyama Takao, his old nemesis, had just published "The Way to Cash-In on Condominium Management!" the day before.
He certainly wouldn't mention anything like pasting stickers saying "Single-Family Residence" over "Apartment." Odaka gently stroked the firm hair of his wife's perm as tears slowly trickled down his cheeks. 

Mutsuko, feeling a sense of warmth and affection in her husband's hand for the first time in a long while, trembled through tears as she threw off her skirt.

- i

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