Japanese Short Story Translation: “Five Minutes Won’t Cut It” by Kisaragi Shinichi [Chapter 3]

This is the third chapter of “Five Minutes Won’t Cut It” (大泥棒に5分は長い), a short story by Kisaragi Shinichi 1(如月新一). I have permission from the author to translate this work, and I plan to release the complete story in six chapters.

Thanks to Locksleyu from Self Taught Japanese, both for inspiration to start this project and for help with verifying the translation and editing.

Chapter 3: Why a Book About Kyoto?

On the right was a Japanese style room with a tatami floor, and the room on the left was set up like a bedroom.

I went to the bedroom on the left, Abiko took the Japanese style room, and after ten minutes of rummaging we met up in the living room to compare our findings. Abiko was carrying a Kyoto travel guide, and I was holding a watch and a ring.

Since Abiko said there was only a man living here by himself I was about to complain about how I had seen a woman’s dressing table, but an annoyed, “Why a book about Kyoto?” slipped out of my mouth instead. “I was just thinking about going there,” said Abiko with a smile as he dogeared the page with a flashy photo entry for Kiyomizu-dera Temple.

I couldn’t tell whether the watch I found was a name brand, and the ring I found was made of tarnished silver, so I assumed neither were worth much. I found them buried in the buffet table drawer in a pile of mechanical pencils, so they’re probably not high-end items.

I returned to the task at hand and scanned the living room.
At the front was a balcony, and on the right was a sofa and a large 42-inch flat screen TV. A big closet and a hutch were along the left wall, and a stylish kitchen with a peninsula was immediately in front of me.

“Alright. Let’s spend ten minutes here too.”

Abiko has a rule that you have to get the job done and leave the premises within thirty minutes. If you get greedy, the longer you stay, the more risk you take on. So no matter how hard it is to find a good stopping point, cut things at thirty minutes. My mom always nagged me to keep the video games to thirty minutes a day, so I feel like thirty minutes is a good duration for anything.

“I’m a bit thirsty,” Abiko said as he headed to the kitchen. He opened the the refrigerator, thought for a moment and pulled out a bottle of green tea, then pulled a cup from the hutch and began pouring.

“Here you go,” he said as he offered the cup to me. My boss is considerate, so I feel at home at the workplace.

I thanked him, took the green tea, and drank it. The cold, refreshing flavor really hit the spot.

Abiko coughed as he drank his share. It must have gone down the wrong pipe. I smiled mockingly—it was so like him.

Professionals can’t let their guard down when they are working. However, sometimes we forget we are pros, get greedy, and end up slacking off.

When I found a cup of instant udon on the hutch, I remembered the commercial I saw last night. I pointed at the udon and began to make small talk.

“Hey, it looks like that new kind of udon.”

“…Want to give it a taste?”

Next Chapter

  1. In this blog, I always write Japanese names with the family name first. Shinichi is pronounced Shin`ichi.

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