An Annoying Paradise - Daria 11 - It's My Happy Birthday! (1)

Jane shows up at Daria's lunch table, already overflowing with the other intermediate and remedial trainees. "Any room?"

"Aren't you sitting with the fine arts folks?"

"I don't want to punch out Brittany. That Jezebel gave my Tomu chocolate."

"Um, it is Valentine's day."

"I'm so mad I could just scream."

"You realize that if Tomu makes his debut, half the girls in the country will be chasing him?"

"But, this is closer to home."

Minamo, who has been trying to avoid laughing all this time, finally speaks. "Jane-senpai?"

"Yes?"

"I'm in one of Brittany's morning classes. She told me about giving obligation chocolate (2) to her second cousin. Could that be the chocolate you're talking about?"

"What?" Jane sends Tomu a text message. Within a minute she gets the answer. "Oh. Never, mind." Jane shuffles over to her normal lunch table in a daze.

Musabu nudges Minamo. "Legendary burn!"

Daria looks upset. "Hey, that's my best friend you're talking about. ... On the other hand it was a legendary burn."

The rest of the trainees laugh.

"But, I'm still not sure what to think of you Minamo. Why did you give me love love chocolate? (3) I know I am not a girly girl, but I am not trying to be an ikemen like Akira."

Minamo crouches sheepishly. "At least you could try one."

Daria fishes it out of her purse. "Okay." Daria gets a surprised look. "Woah! This is really good. May I pass it around to the others to show off what a great cook you are?"

"Sure, Daria-senpai."

Daria does so and the other trainees are also impressed.

"Well, it's official. If I have to tease Keiben or Brittany again, I will have you bake cookies."

Minamo looks lost. "Wha?"

"Long story."

Manako walks over. "Hey guys! Next week me and Risu are having our Happy Birthday Fan Club event. I want all of you guys there, no excuses."

Daria rolls her eyes. "To give you two moral support?"

"Not only that, but it's a great learning experience. Will everyone come?"

"Hai!" (4)

...

"It was a strip club that doubled as a bakery. Next on Hen Kanashii Sekai: a bakery called oppai's!" (5)

Daria turns off the TV to check her text messages. She calls Jane.

"Hey, thanks for sharing Minamo's love love chocolate. Maybe if you steal Tomu from me I will steal Minamo from you?"

"That's okay. I got an even more embarrassing box of chocolate."

"How so?"

"Here's the message that came with it." Daria reads the message in an melodramatic voice. "'Daria-senpai. I am sorry that circumstances have torn us apart. I want you to know that you are still my favorite senpai and I will work hard to show you that I can shine as a model as well, Natsuko.' Gross, huh?"

Jane laughs. "Give it a month. I am sure that Haruno will solve that problem for you. I saw how the two look at each other."

"Ewww."

"Any non-gross messages?"

"Utako sent this with her chocolate: 'I know that I still have a long way to go. Sorry. But, let's do our best, senpai!"

"Cute."

"Yeah, she is kind of scary that way. Did you get any?"

"Of course not. I'm not the one with a fan club."

"Yeah, you have the hot boyfriend thing."

"At least I will get chocolate on White Day." (6)

...

"Risu, Manako, thirty minutes!" The staffer briefly pokes her head into the dressing room.

While Risu and Manako fuss over their hair in the mirror, the rest of the trainees play various games.

There is another knock on the door. T enters. "Ladies?"

Most of the trainees except for Manako and Daria gasp. Daria gulps and Manako has a smile of relief.

"I know that Risu and Manako need to prepare so I will be brief. Daria, Minamo, Chisaki, and Bana, you are all official trainees now. Musabu, Nanamo, and Utako, you are all now intermediate. That is all." T leaves the dressing room.

Daria, Chisako, and Minamo stare daggers at Bana.

Utako jumps in front of Bana. "Senpai's, I can explain. T talked to us earlier. He wants the three of us to be aces in a group that will form in a couple years. Since Bana isn't ace material, she's okay with being a back dancer in your group."

Daria raises an eyebrow. "Our group?"

Manako snickers. "Daria, Daria, Daria. You should consider yourself lucky that Rikoko is in sixth grade. If she was one year older the group would have already formed."

"So, I have until April?"

"You got it."

Daria looks down disappointed.

There is a knock on the door.

Manako smiles a sneeky smile. "And, now for the real surprise!"

A staffer wheels in a clothing rack with costumes.

"All of the officials are sharing the stage with me and Risu."

A quick glace tells Daria that she isn't the only one who is mortified. "Um, I have to go."

Manako looks cross. "Daria, being an idol isn't something you can be complacent with. You must be ready to go on stage at any time."

"But, ..."

"Look, Risu and I will warm up the crowd for a little bit. Get changed and think of witty things to say. Believe me, you will never have an easier audience than today."

Daria puffs out her cheeks and pouts.

...

"How should I catch it? The love of a robot, because I wanna get those feelings, but it doesn't compute." Risu and Manako finish their duet "Miss Robo Love". Akira and Rikoko wave pom pom's in the backround.

"Hello everyone!" Manako blows kisses to the crowd. "I know you all came out to see myself and Risu, along with Rikoko and Akira, of course, but we have a surprise for you tonight!"

The fans mummer.

Risu looks indigent. "I don't think they know how big this surprise is."

Manako nods. "I don't even think they're ready. Do you guys want a big surprise?"

Some cheering.

"A surprise that will blow your minds?"

More cheering.

"A surprise you'll tell your grandchildren about?"

Even more cheering.

"Okay, then let's bring out the surprise!"

The stage hands prompt the new official trainees to go on stage. The new trainees line up in order of age: Daria, Chisaki, Minamo, and Bana.

Manako smiles expansively. "As of thirty minutes ago, these are the new official Harmony Project trainees!"

The fans erupt.

Manako points to each one in turn. "This is Daria, this is Chisaki, this in Minamo, and this is Bana. Now, Daria had a birthday one month ago and is older than me, so not only is this her happy birthday event as well, but she is also now the MC."

Daria gives Manako a dirty look.

"Here you go." Manako gives the microphone to Daria.

Daria rolls her eyes and then composes herself. "Everyone, I am Asamura Daria, welcome to my happy birthday event. I'm sorry if I seem unprepared, but I just found out about it myself."

A chant of "do your best" starts.

"Thanks. This is my first fan club event so I don't really know what they usually do. How about I gossip about other members?"

The fans gasp.

Daria sees Manako staring daggers at her. "Or, maybe not. What would you suggest, Manako?"

Manako runs over to the microphone. "Talk nicely about the other members."

"In what way?"

"I don't know! Why don't you do somethings silly like cast Sailor Moon with official trainees?"

The fans react favorably.

Daria smiles and cups her ear like she saw one of the girls who was doing a MC do during Alana's graduation concert. "Do you want me to do that?"

More favorable reaction.

Daria thinks. "Well, I have a poison tongue, or so I have been told by many people of lower intelligence than myself, so I think I would be Sailor Mars."

Some laughs.

"Now, Nomaru Minamo, ..."

Minamo raises her hand.

"... is great at cooking, so she would be Sailor Jupiter."

Some of the audience members go "huh?".

"I know that Minamo isn't tall and muscular like Jupiter, but I am not a talented singer and songwriter like Mars, so let's not worry about the small details."

Some murmurs of agreement.

"Now, Sailor Venus is a sneaky girl. One of her favorite things to do is go on a date with two guys at the same time without telling them what is going on. And, when you think of sneaky you have to think of Manako."

Manako feigns horror.

"But, Minako was an ace idol who had a contract waiting for her at the end of the anime, and was a working idol singer in the live action TV version, so Manako fits that as well.

The fans mummer approval.

"Now for Morita Chisako."

Chisako waves her hands.

"Now, Chisako is very much 'my own pace' are rarely understands anything the first time. However, she never quits or lets it get her down, so she would definitely be Sailor Moon."

Chisako does the Sailor Moon 'I will punish you' pose to a positive reaction.

"Now for Nakashi Bana."

Bana points to herself.

"Unfortunately, I can't make you a Sailor Senshi."

Bana looks crushed as the fans respond incredulously.

"But, you get to be the best friend of Sailor Moon, Naru, because you're from Osaka. Will you be able appeal with some Kansai dialect?"

"Fuhgetaboutit!" (7) Bana waves her hand dismissively ten feet away from Daria and Daria reacts like she's been backhanded.

The fans respond favorably.

"Now you all know Takechi Akira, right?" Daria waits for the fan response. "When you think of Akira, you have to think of the smooth ikemen Sailor Uranus, even though Akira is short."

Akira blows a kiss in a masculine fashion to a good response.

"Of course, there is Sasaka Rikoko. She's from a musical family and can be very graceful if she wants to be. So, I would say that she was the violin playing Sailor Neptune."

Rikoko does a ballet style dance move to a good response.

"And, finally we have Yamaka Risu. I like to think of her as a super villain, someone who is nice and cute out the outside but evil and sadistic on the inside."

Risu laughs and hurries to a microphone. "She's just mad I gave her kancho."

"So who would you be then?"

"Well, I do like the idea of being a villain, so I would be Death Buster Mimete, so be sure to support me!" Risu does a cute pose to a good response.

Daria now looks confused. "Now what?"

One of the audience members shouts out "Ouran High School Host Club!"

...

"A man's dog was having an emergency. Next on Hen Kanashi Sekai, the man who dailed 911!" (8)

Darai turns off the TV, lies on her bed and calls Jane.

"How did the happy birthday event go?"

"I was run over by a truck."

"Sounds serious."

"I am now an official trainee. T ambushed a bunch of us backstage."

"Ouch! Does this push the doomsday clock closer to midnight?"

"Probably. Then I had to go on stage, run an MC (9), and then perform."

"Hmmm. So, the big question is, how do you feel now compared to after the xmas show?"

Daria blushes. "Please don't pass this on to the rest of the trainees, but the MC was actually fun. I wisecracked, I made fun of people, and even at my rudest the audience was still with me."

"Wait a second. Who am I talking to? I thought I was talking to Asamura Daria. Would she say that performing as an idol was fun?"

"I wouldn't. But, I wasn't acting like an idol. I was acting snarky and subversive, which is what we do every day."

Jane laughs. "We're entering dangerous territory here. Tomu says that idols are supposed to act like themselves with the volume turned up."

"Oops."

"How did the performance go?"

"We did the same song as the xmas festival, so there wasn't too much stress there. We had Bana handle Natsuko's part and somehow she pulled it off."

"Hold on there! What? Bana, the girl with two left feet, is now official?"

"That's what I said, but I guess T has his reasons. It is a pain though. Since I am the oldest, they will expect me to help her and blame me if she doesn't improve."

"Bummer. But for now, what else for sparkly idol Daria?"

"Something that I am looking forward to, believe it or not."

"I'm afraid."

"I am supposed to write my first blog entry and submit it for review this weekend. I know it sounds dumb, but if I am going to be a writer, I need to recruit readers. I can't gamble on becoming a critical darling. So, if I get them hooked on my dairy, then maybe one or two of them will buy my first novel."

"So what will be in the blog?"

"Tons of self-put downs, pithy statements, and a reading list."

"I would love to see the expression of the person reviewing these bolgs. The other girls' blogs will be like: 'Me and some other Harmony Project girl went on a date and took cute pictures of ourselves. Check them out! flower flower smile smile'"

Daria blushes. "Oh. That's what those seven text messages are about. I feel like I am running a lottery now."

"Well, do your best."

...

Welcome everyone to the first entry to my blog. I am Asamura Daria. I have two nicknames that I hate and think are stupid: "Dar-Dar", and "Daria-sama". If you can think of a cute nickname then please leave it in the comments. Unfortunately, I will probably hate them as well, so maybe a nickname that you would give a mecha would be better?

As you can see by my picture, I am not suited to be an idol in any way. Truthfully, I am only doing this so that I can get mentored in writing by one of my favorite novelists. But, it was kind of fun to do an MC at Manako's and Risu's happy birthday event yesterday, so who knows if I will last?

Even though I am older than Manako, she is sort of my mentor, so she picks on me a lot. I would hate her, since she can do all the things that idols are supposed to do without any effort, even though they are torture for me. However, she's sneaky so it's hard to hate her, so if you decide to support her you won't be disappointed.

Another new trainee is Nomaru Minamo. She looks up to me a cool senpai and mentor. Wow, is that a bad decision. You would think she would pick someone better that her to learn from, not someone worse. Please support her so that her self-image will improve and she will pick a more talented mentor.

I have not included any pictures of me with another Harmony Project idol or trainee in this blog entry. Sorry. I had seven offers to go out on dates today, but I am still not over the performance hangover phase and needed to hang out in my creepy dark room by myself. Maybe next blog I will feel better? I am not against those sorts of things, honest. It's just today wasn't a good day for me.

One thing you should know about me is that I am a very analog person, rather than a digital person. So, don't expect me to review all the latest games on the most chic cell phones out there. I have a flip phone.

Let me conclude this blog entry with a reading assignment: A Tale of Masks by Enchi Murasaki. Please read it because I will be giving a quiz.

Insert nickname here Daria.

...

Daria enters the Harmony project building. Has it only been ten months since I accompanied Quinn to a idol trainee audition here?

Minamo gives her a nudge. "Senpai, don't space out."

Daria nods.

An unfamiliar girl approaches them. "Rikoko! Are these the new recruits?"

Rikoko nods. "This is Daria, Minamo, and Bana."

The girl smiles and shakes everyone's hand. "Hello everyone. I am Hirosa Ayako, the leader of Daifuku School. Please treat me well."

"Please treat us well."

"And, yes Daria, I have breasts."

Daria pulls her eyes up to Ayako's face.

"The reason that you were sent over here was to learn how to back dance for my group. Rikoko already knows the ropes, so you can lean on her if you have any problems. Diafuku School fans are pretty forgiving, so when you back dance for us just go out and have fun and don't worry about being perfect."

Daria nods. "So, how many people come to your concerts?"

"Three thousand a house for a tour, six thousand for a special event."

Daria turns white.

"You'll get used to it. By the way, Daria, nice blog. You have no idea of the drama it caused behind the scenes."

"What?"

"The blog editor wanted you to rewrite it completely but T told him not to edit your blogs at all or else he would fire him and give you his job."

"That's good. I would have probably gone into emoji shock if I had to edit idol blogs all day."

"So lets get started!"

To Be Continued

Author's note

The next chapter is the finale of "season one" of the fan fic.

(1) In Japan the English phrase "Happy Birthday" means "birthday".

(2) Obligation chocolate (giri choco) is chocolate given to someone in your group or class or club. It is usually cheap and store bought.

(3) Love love chocolate (honmei choco) is supposed to be more personal and either more expensive or hand made.

(4) "Hai" means "I understand" or "yes".

(5) "Oppai" (oh pie) refers to the female breasts in Japanese.

(6) White Day (one month after Valentine's day) is when guy's send chocolate to girls as opposed to Valentine's Day where girl's send chocolate to guys.

(7) Bana actually says "nandeyanen" which is "why" in Osaka dialect (doushite would be standard Tokyo dialect) but nandeyanen is a standard punchline which the straight man (tsukkomi) uses to put down the dummy (boke) in a Manzai comedy duo. Fuhgetaboutit was used in the same way in the Azumanga Daioh manga translation.

(8) In Japan they assign the sound "wan" to the noise a dog makes (as opposed to "woof"). So the man was dailing 9-wan-wan.

(9) In Japan a talk segment at a concert is referred to as a "MC".