/ Ennui, Chapter 0x000
Toggle Dark Mode

Prologue I: Yamada Imari

By Una Ada, April 01, 2023

February 9th, Reiwa 9 — Tokyo, Japan

The day starts with an alarm. Alarms are customary in these parts—that being the Earth of the 21st Century as a whole, really—to rouse one from their slumber should they not have the natural inclination to wake in a timely manner. The same saccharine beyond saccharine tune blaring at the same far too early time of morning every day might ingrain some habit in one’s mind, one of jolting up the moment the first or second note reaches their ears; on the other hand, it may, despite its tailor made sound for just this purpose, simply become the expected background noise of dawn. For the lackadaisical Yamada Imari, the alarm has very much become the latter. After a swift rise to swat at the snooze button, he flattens back out atop his bed.

The day starts with an alarm. The snooze functions built into the smart phones of this era conveniently delay the repetition of said alarm by a nice ten minutes. Certainly, if one were but a bit sluggish, then being pelted with the same irritatingly chipper tone mere minutes later might rouse them for good. Thus, with this second battery from the phone’s speakers, Imari was awake… enough to hit the snooze button once more, what the fuck? In most cases, Imari is the sort to be up at this point, really, yet we may gleam from the bags under his eyes, dried tears on his cheeks, or perhaps the brief glimpse of his bloodshot eyes from a moment ago that today was following one of those all too common nights. Those nights spent restlessly at best, when he breaks down in frustration over some inconvenience in life or another, are growing to be the norm as of late. I think this is due to his graduation being just around the corner.

The day starts with an alarm. Well, something like that.

“Imari, it’s morning!” A shout from his older sister, accompanied by an unnecessarily heavy rapping on the bedroom door, is the alarm this time around.

“You’re going to miss the train at this rate!”

This, finally, gets the wheels rolling on the day. Truthfully, a twenty-something minute delay on the morning isn’t much cause for concern. Imari definitely comes off as the sort to build his schedule around the assumption of his own shortcomings, setting alarms far earlier than absolutely necessary for just this sort of situation.

“Alright, alright,” he mumbles, trying to put some effort into his voice such that it would carry beyond the door. It does not.

“Wake up already!”

“I’m up! I’m up!”

Having resorted to such a boisterous response, he must be well and truly awake now. Sitting up at the edge of the bed, he takes a brief moment to stay up at the ceiling. A brief moment… on the scale of any given action on may be said to deliberately take, thirty seconds or even five minutes can be considered brief. Of course, staring at the ceiling does have a sort of perceived brevity to it in any case, due to that sort of timelessness one may feel when letting their eyes lose focus and their mind empty. Anyway, he’s taking a brief moment to stare at the ceiling as a means of letting all the thoughts that torrentially overflow ones mind once the haziness of sleep wears away settle. That’s all this is, a moment to calm down.

Next is, of course, the matter of dressing. Bathing was handled before sleeping; Imari is usually the type to shower in the morning for fear of sweat building up from restless sleeping, but last night was pretty rough for him emotionally… a bit of crying in the bath is a good appetizer for crying yourself to sleep, you know? Anyway, this is just going through the motions, slipping out of pajamas and into his school uniform.

He takes a pause in front of the mirror next to his door. His hair is shoulder length now, maybe a haircut is in order? Maybe he ought to tie it up? Either case feels like something of an investment into the style of it, so he decides that today, once again, he will simply push it to the back of his mind. He looks more like he’s trying to banish the thought for good, shaking his head like that. Corporeal form is in some senses ephemeral yet permanent in others. Cutting one’s hair is not in itself something that cannot be taken back, but it will still take time to regrow. That’s time he doesn’t have at the moment. Again, graduation would be quite soon, nothing he does to it now could be recovered by then. It just feels like the way he looks on the day of the ceremony itself will hold some sort of meaning, even if he can’t quite pinpoint what that meaning really is.

Moving on.

Breakfast: “The Most Important Meal of the Day.” Jury’s still out on that one. His mother cooked up some eggs and rice, so he’ll be eating breakfast anyway. The food is there, his body will require food at some point, might as well eat it now. That’s the essence of survival isn’t it? Well, surviving is enough of a burden for him at the moment, so let’s not dig too deeply into that one.

“I’m off,” he says as he slips into his shoes at the door.

“See you later,” his mother responds in typical fashion. “And Imari…”


“Try to hang in there. Any life is worth living, after all.”

This isn’t really part of their typical exchange, but it is quite typical for a mother, isn’t it? That unsolicited and vague advice any parent would claim the right to dish out. Imari, for his part, just responds to this with a quizzical look as he steps out the door. He might not realize this, but it’s obvious to anyone looking at him that he is very depressed. That, and, he wasn’t exactly crying silently last night.

What exactly was he crying so much about last night? We weren’t there, so we can really only speculate on this, but… there’s a good amount of context to sift through here. Not that much is really needed here, really. Yamada Imari could be described as a quiet type. He has friends if only few in number, most of whom are girls for one reason or another, so he isn’t necessarily a “loner.” No, one would more aptly describe him simply as “emo,” or maybe just “sad?” He’s not very cheerful, the exact label you pick for it is irrelevant. That’s why we’re following him, he’s just your average depressed teenager.

He really is quite average. By the terms of American education standards one would consider him on the higher end of a straight C student. He’s going to graduate with the rest of his class no problem, and he did get accepted to a university (albeit it a rather mundane one). His hobbies are the typical lineup of anime, comics, and games. He does dabble a bit into programming, not really a prodigy with that, but one of the few classes he easily passed was an introductory programming course. He’s not particularly tall, maybe a tad short for a boy but still a bit tall for a girl.

One might expect him to be a bit taller, given that his parents aren’t Japanese, so really he’s short for a foreigner perhaps? Really we only care that he’s in Japan because that’s where these sorts of stories are wont to take place, so it’s fine that he isn’t really of “average” descent here. None of this has really had all that much of an effect on his life anyway.

He certainly wasn’t crying about being reprimanded for dyeing his hair, that’s a sort of story one might expect for a foreigner at a school with such policies and he has actually dyed his hair. His natural color is a medium tone of brown, one might call it dirty blonde, so he dyed it black. This wasn’t even to avoid such an event, he simply prefers it that way and he can get away with it, apparently.

He’s normal, sure one could pinpoint a special thing or two, but that is also normal. He’s sad, depression isn’t unheard of in this day and age, that too could be seen as normal. Oh, perhaps we shouldn’t neglect to mention that he was born on February 8th, Heisei 21. Let’s convert the years for convenience: the current year, Reiwa 9, would be 2027 C.E. and his birth year, Heisei 21, would be 2009. So he’s 18-years-old now! Props if you managed to piece that together before I converted it! Wait, that’s not what we care about here, February 8th was yesterday.

Yes, we can deduce from all this that, for one reason or another, he was crying on his birthday. It’s a shame that we weren’t there to see it, then we might know exactly how the whole thing played out. I mean, we’ve all been there before haven’t we? A good old fashioned birthday sob is a mainstay of the being a depressed teenager genre, after all.

Anyway, he’s made it to the train station now. Let’s leave him to stare out the train window listening to some indie rock for now. Doubtless today will be another normal, average, mundane, boring day for the guy. Such a shame we missed his birthday, that would’ve been so much more interesting.