Yakuzaverse/The Perfect... Part 1

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"Thank you," I tell the clerk in English as I hand her the 2,000 yen. But as soon as I'm out the door, I run face first into a big ol' cinder block of a man. "Can I help you?" I ask him, again in English; I like to play my cards close to my chest as far as being able to understand these kinds.

"You... are Fujiyama?" he asks slowly.


"You, ah..." The brick screws up his face trying to think of what to say to that. It's clear his high school ei-go course was a long time ago. He finally gives up and switches to Japanese. "You are Fujiyama, the woman that writes those reviews for gaijin?" So much for him being here with good intentions.

"Yeah," I reply, having also switched to Japanese. "Five stars out of five. Bonus points for your special treatment - the out of towners are gonna love it."

"Well, I'm with the Hashimoto Family, and unless I'm mistaken, the boss told you to butt out." He cracks his knuckles to make some kind of point.

"Look, it's simple. I eat at a place, I like a place, I tell people about it, business goes up. Everybody wins!"

"Except for the Hashimoto!" he yells. This seems personal, for some reason, so I make ready to fight-or-flight. "We're gonna make you sorry you didn't skip town!"

He tries to grab me out of the doorway, but I slip around his back side, giving him a little poke in the small of his back with my finger as I pass. He freaks out, as expected, and whirls around to plant a fist on me, but his swing is wide of the mark, and I'm about 6 feet away from him. I back up a bit more, until I feel a wooden bench in the middle of the avenue. Brick starts to charge after me. I anchor myself to the spot and hold my arms wide. As soon as he tries to take another swing at me, I snatch him by the arm and kick his feet out from under him. His momentum flips him forward, and he lands - on his spine - right on the back rest of the bench. The bench doesn't break, amazingly, but the cracking sound I've just heard must have come from him.

I peek around really fast to make sure he didn't have backup. He doesn't. A couple of concerned citizens are calling emergency services. I look him in his pained eyes and smirk. "That'll learn ya," I tell him in my best worst fake Southern drawl, and start to walk off. I think that I've just seen a camera flash from somewhere, but figure it must have been one of those obnoxious marquee lights from somewhere.

Some time later...

My phone buzzes a bit on the counter; the only thing stopping it from vibrating right off is the charging cable tethering it to the wall. "Sigh. That's my boss again, I guarantee it," I tell Yasuyo as I struggle to my feet from the kotatsu.

"It's probably important at this time of night," he remarks. Did I spy a wink? No, his eyes just always look like that. Maybe. I carefully take off the cable and check the screen, and sure enough, it's him.

TO: Fujiyama Ruby, RE: Mack desu!

Ohayo, Ruby-san! It's Mack! I'm still out in Hiroshima looking for my Perfect Shot - surely these minor league baseball farm teams will get me one eventually! - but I hear you've made a name for yourself in Sotenbori, and not just for writing those articles of yours! Wow! I didn't know any of my influencers did judo, let alone judo that can do that much damage!

Have a look at today's Perfect Shots on the MacSiv home page when you get a chance, it's a thing to behold!

-Mack Shinozuka

PS: If you're ever down south, ring me up, I'd like you to meet a guy.

I fire up the website, and sure enough, there's a picture of me throwing that walking cinder block at the bench on the main avenue. "Revelation!" says the lede. "I was just going home from a show, when I saw this out of towner about to get decked by a local heavy. But out of nowhere, she turned his heft against him, though not before pissing him off first. Fortunately, I already had my camera out! -anonymous"

Wow. Whoever this guy was, had perfect timing. They even managed to get the cheeky little poke on the backside. The shot only barely gets my face in frame, but it's not like anybody's going to miss the red haired woman in the sweater vest. "Yasu? Out of curiosity, do you know anybody named Hashimoto?"

"Hashimoto? Not personally, just what I hear around work," he says - never once betraying why he's heard of them. He adds, "Sounds like one of those old money types, though. Pre bubble, if not earlier."

"Probably loads of influence..." I'm going to have my work cut out for me if I'm going up against them. Pen versus sword, it'll have to be. Or maybe both. Pen in one hand, sword in the other. The image of a lady knight wielding a huge calligraphy pen dominates my mind for the rest of the night.