Nice to meet you all, this is Shimesaba.
This written work was a product of careful efforts piled together on the web, I had been quite fearful when writing this work.
Thinking back, when I first began writing this work on ‘Kakuyomu’, I remember looking at the site’s trends and thinking ‘well this isn’t going to get popular’ and laughing it off in a way. At the time, I had also been enjoying writing a trendy isekai fantasy story, but suddenly (if I remember correctly, it had been when I was sitting on the toilet bowl at home) the idea for the character ‘Sayu’ came into mind and after that I couldn’t stop myself running with it.
I believe myself to have been extremely lucky that a story that had begun with such a whimsical idea had grown to become what it was and be discovered by the managers.
I like to think that the character, the story, and how it turned out was all a product of coincidence, so I can’t help but feel blessed that there are now people out there who coincidentally came to like this work.
Now then, from here on I would say my thanks.
Firstly, to those who had discovered this work on the broad world of the internet, then decided to read it, I would like to thank you from the very depths of my heart for your support.
Next, to my manager W-san, who had discovered the possibilities of this work and pushed it all the way to publication, I would like to express my deepest gratitude. Though, perhaps I should be apologizing instead? I had cause them a lot of trouble throughout the process after all.
Finally, to the illustrator boota-san, who had given substance and breathed life to the characters, to the proofreaders, who had read the scrutinized the work more seriously than I the author did, as well as all those who were involved the process of it’s publishing, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to you all.
Whilst wishing for another coincidental encounter between everyone and my story, I will end the afterword here.
Word from the Translator
Hello, yuNS here.
For many of you out there, just know that you weren’t the only one click-baited. I remember seeing this book be number 1 on the Amazon Light Novel Rankings and thinking ‘what in the world has this world come to’, before being mildly surprised by a rather wholesome story with heavy themes instead.
That aside, let’s talk about the cultural background behind this work, since it may not be a topic that English readers are particular with.
The book’s setting is based on the frequent incidents of runaway girls, typically teenagers, waiting under a lamppost or an electronic billboard for a man to bring them to their home. For this, they have gained the alias of ‘神待ち少女’ (Kamimachi Shoujo), literally ‘Young Girls Waiting for God’ – derived from the halo effect that occurs when under these sources of light late at night. From what I’ve read on interviews with survivors as well as news articles, the motives of these girls is in no small part due to the combined pressures of coming of age, the systematic abuse, exploitation, and perhaps fetishization of High School Girls in ‘JK Culture’, as well as a Japan’s willingness to turn a blind eye to individual issues due Japan having a one of the most collectivist and conservative cultures on Earth.
Moving on, the act of bringing these girls home are referred to, in the case of a high schooler, ‘女子高生を拾う’ (joshikousei wo hirou), which in the most literal interpretation means ‘Adopting a Stray High School Girl’, in the same sense one would adopt a stray cat or dog. Evidently though, there are other interpretations of this term, so for part of the title of the book that used this term, ‘そして、女子高生を拾う’ (soshite, joshikousei o hirou), I rephrased it to ‘Then I Brought a High School Girl Home’, since in colloquial English, neither ‘adopting a stray’ nor ‘picking up’ would make sense.
With that explained what’s up with ‘I Shaved’ then? When translated literally, that part of the title means ‘I Shaved my Facial Hair’. Some might interpret this part of the title as figuratively meaning ‘being heartbroken’, in the same way Japanese girls cut their hair after being heartbroken, but as for whether that applies to facial hair? I’m not so sure. It may be, in the authors words, a happy ‘coincidence’ perhaps.
Anyway, although there’s still a lot more to unpack, I’ll leave it here for now. I do plan on creating a glossary of culture reference, if not a preface for this work when I have time, so stay tuned to that if you will.
Big thanks to Yuuki and xyi for sticking it out for over a year, and again, thank you all for reading this translation!
P.S. There’s still a Side Story for Volume 1.
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15 thoughts on “I Shaved. Then I Brought a High School Girl Home. Volume 1, Afterword.”
Thank you for the explanation, though I’ve heard a bit about it. Does this ‘adopting’ a stray pet also usually include expecting them to give of themselves in return? I think it’d be more surprising if it did not. Knowing that, what the heck goes on with these kids that they find this an acceptable exchange 🙁
Thank you very much for your all hard work!
This very informative thank you very much!
Thanks for the insight on cultural background. Vice News can be a sensational and unreliable/incomplete info source, but they did a meaningful piece years ago that touches on this topic. Anyone interested can search for the title on YouTube with “vice news schoolgirls for sale”. It’s about 15-20 minutes long, IIRC.
As I read the LN and manga, I wondered how much the author really understands a female, teenaged mind. I know I don’t b/c I’m not a female teenager. Sayu comes across as pretty heavily idealized, even with the intentional “troubled past” background. I liked how the LN has the narrative room to flesh out more of Yoshida’s thoughts on the complicated cocktail of his feelings towards her, without being excessively introspective like some stories get with Hamlet-esque internal monologues. There’s a wish fulfillment element to this for guys, and I wasn’t immune to it.
As much as I enjoy anime, particularly slice of life and coming of age type stories, I know that 1) I totally fit the unfavorable single middle-aged male stereotype, who shouldn’t be reading this kind of stuff, and 2) the subtle cues and reinforcement that feeds into the real-life attitudes and treatment of girls in Japan are eeeeverywhere in anime. From obvious exploitative stuff like ecchi, to the frequency bias distortion of having e.g. a magical girl genre but no corresponding magical boy genre where their sexualized bodies are gratuitously exposed during transformation sequences, to very mild but utterly ubiquitous gender role reinforcement.
I self-consciously really enjoy being emotionally manhandled by tearjerker anime tropes on war, love, friendship. I finally understand why women like romance novels. 😀 I appreciate the depiction of actual math, values of teamwork/community/family, accepting failure (sometimes overcoming and sometimes not) — all that good wholesome stuff. I also know that, even if I intellectually disapprove, an unfulfilled part of me viscerally fantasizes about a girlfriend who’ll dote, tease, or fight with me the way a 2D tsundere will. The blatant or subtle subtext about women in anime bothers me, but it hasn’t stopped me from watching. This is in the context of my having just binge-watched ALL of the Strike/Brave Witch series last week. Great production values on very pedestrian story tropes with maximum no-shits given ecchi fan service. I obviously enjoyed it, but I wished/wondered if the series could have worked with at LEAST women over 18 instead of girls 13 to women aged 21, or beyond that using a mixed male/female main cast where ALL the characters ran around in bikini bottoms equally. And if the story would have worked well, then would it have been anywhere nearly as financially successful, to warrant 3 seasons, two series, two OVAs, and a movie? And do even I believe myself, that I wanted to be able to watch a good comfort food/trash story without the underage panty shots? Side tangent: similarly, the long-time trend of unanimously favorable anime depictions of the German Wehrmacht in WW II alternate history stories really bothers me. I’m all for humanization of enemy individuals in war stories as fellow humans, but it feels wrong to see anime depict the Germans (or their equipment) as almost always the “good guys”. Another example being Girls und Panzer.
Reading this LN, along with your translator’s note, got me to thinking about these things again. None of my word vomit was really important though. 😛 TLDR thank you for the translation and thank-you to the author for several enjoyable hours!