Saturday, 18 July 2015

Chapter three (segment eight), 2016, August, Ryu

When the camera crew took at short break Ryu called for attention and had his groups walk past the set. He made a show of walking over to Kuri and exchange pleasantries. In reality he asked her how Urufu was doing, but that wasn't what it looked like.

As an added bonus he received a few murderous stares from the male models, especially after Kuri saw through his ploy and gave him a friendly hug in the Swedish fashion he still had problems getting accustomed to. Urufu was just as bad and usually hugged people left and right when greeting them.

He high fived Kuri and made off with two groups before Noriko came up to Kuri and repeated the process. She got no murderous stares though, but Ryu felt rather certain a few of the crew leered at his sister. He'd seen her get her fair share of looks in school, and compared to what the models here wore she could as well have been undressed.

“That's my friend and she's off limits!”

Kuri's voice confirmed his suspicions and he turned, prepared to interfere. There was no need. How do you manage to look down on someone half a head taller than you? The next sight caught him by surprise and he slapped a hand to his mouth to stop the laughter that was bubbling up. Way to go sis! And you're even shorter than Kuri is.

“Gentlemen, let's proceed to the next station,” he said to the members of his two groups who stood studying the silent exchange between the girls and the models. “On our way there I want you to find a solution to the last problem, but this time the setting is Normandy a generation after the invasion of England.”


“You have your tablets. Look it up! Noriko will help you with locating any specifics you believe are needed.”

Running a walking talking session was more fun then he would have believed, and Ryu began to understand why Urufu put so much effort into them. By now it was clear that the problems themselves held less importance than the process of solving them. The answers, right or wrong, mattered little.

“I have a question about late eleventh century banking in Europe,” one man said.

Grinning Ryu waved his sister to him and had her help that group.

The next step would be harder. Collecting and understanding process data was beyond him. Urufu always did that work, and Ryu had noticed how even Kuri sometimes was left flabbergasted. That guy sure knows his crap. I'll steal her from you but still keep you as my friend. How he would succeed with that was still an unknown, but solving social problems was what made him tick. In a sense he suspected he was a lot more similar to Urufu than he wanted to admit.

I'll need you after lunch. Kuri's busy so I guess I'll have Yukio get you down. Ryu kicked some sand into the air and silently cursed Principal Nakagawa.

Around him the middle managers were occupied with the problem he had invented and this time both Yukio and Kyoko were able to participate. They had done a thorough reading on medieval Europe when Urufu forced the club to compare Heian era Japan with Saxon England less than two weeks earlier.

Noriko shone as usual. That day she had left Urufu laughing curled up in a ball when she caught him in some kind of error where he painted himself into a corner. Exactly what was so funny about it Ryu never understood, but she had made a conclusion that had Urufu laughing helplessly while at the same time giving her a look filled with admiration.

I can see why you're in love with him, but he's wrong for you. Too old and too cynical. And that thought had Ryu reflecting on his own feelings for Kuri. But she's not cynical, just awfully cold sometimes.

He had to admit Urufu and Kuri made a good pair, but Nakagawa's latest brainchild only served to drive them further apart. Now, there's a cold man. We're just tools to him. But I think he cares for us in his own twisted way.

Feeling depressed he wondered how his parents had gotten involved so closely with the principal. They were alumni of Himekaizen, Ryu knew that much, but Nakagawa couldn't have been their principal back then.

Gods! I need a nice chat out with some of the girls. Karaoke would have been nice. Damn, they should be on their way down from the camping site by now. He wondered who had taken command now that none of the founders of the club were present.

Caught up in his thoughts he almost missed their next station. It was a simple thing with foldable chairs and tables. A few bags held large sheets of paper, post-its and marker pens in different colours.

“This will be the last task before lunch,” Yukio said to the questioning faces looking at Ryu for instructions.

Thanks Yukio. It felt good knowing he had his back covered. Wingman. I think I understand what sis meant when she told me you need one to shine.

Kyoko helped her boyfriend with setting up the tables, and Noriko quickly instructed the groups one by one.

“What's the point with this exercise?” For once it wasn't the old goat who had complained about just everything the entire morning, but the mid thirties something Kuri had warned him of.

Ryu bent over the man's shoulder and resorted to more or less quote Urufu. “Called retrospective. Basically four quadrants representing what worked, what didn't work, which processes should be used in the future and problems that need fixing.”

“And the purpose being?” the man said smiling. He didn't look malicious, just interested in a condescending way.

“It's a powerful tool for teams adhering to an ideal of continuous improvement. Primarily for processes,” Ryu said not knowing exactly what it meant. “If I'm unclear Noriko would be better for clarifying the underlying concept,” he continued and hoped it would be enough to let him off the hook.

She had heard him and came over. Sis, you're also covering for me. This gang is the best!

A short conversation between Noriko and the man told Ryu how much better she had grasped Urufu's teachings. Whenever it was a matter of knowledge she was brilliant in a way he would probably never become.

The time at the station ran to its end, and Ruy sighed with relief. Exhausted, he wouldn't have guessed how tiring it could be. The baking August heat didn't help neither, but the knew it also made the businessmen less alert in catching up on the errors he must have been guilty of the last three hours.

Now he only needed to get them all to the dining hall, and that should buy them another hour. After that it was a matter of make or break with Urufu either handling the afternoon or staying like a zombie. Zombie would be bad, very bad.

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