Japanese Short Story Translation: “Five Minutes Won’t Cut It” by Kisaragi Shinichi [Chapter 1]

This is the first 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 1: Five Minutes is Just Too Long

“I thought it was usually three minutes. Only three. Five minutes is just too long.”

“Too long for what?”

“Look—Ultraman finishes off giant monsters in three minutes. What could possibly take five whole minutes?”

“Like I said—five minutes for what?” I asked in annoyance.

Pointing to the table, Abiko pursed his lips. “Over there.” An instant udon cup was sitting on the table, half-eaten.

I saw a commercial on TV for that kind of instant udon last night. The actress did a cute dance, hips swaying side to side as the announcer said, “Now with a hip new firmness.” I feel like all the udon commercials say the firmness of the noodles has gotten better. If they improve the consistency every time, does that mean they’ve been feeding us mediocre noodles this entire time? I can’t believe that.

Whenever I say, “Sorry, I won’t do it again,” Aoi—the girl I live with—snaps back with, “I’m sick of hearing that line.” I think it would be nice if she got mad at the udon commercials too, but that has nothing to do with the current situation.

“If it was three-minute udon, we would have made it in time,” Abiko said, nostrils flared.

His face was right in front of my eyes, so I could feel his breath—how unpleasant. I furrowed my brow and said, “Please be quiet!” lifting my index finger to my lips.

The living room door opened and the owner came in. Abiko and I held our breath as if underwater and peeked into the living room from the crack between the closet doors.

We’re not bad at getting out of tight spots, but right now we can’t even move.

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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