He was the undisputed King of the area, standing atop his throne and gazing down at the pathetic, inferior creatures below. Every Being of Importance knew and feared Him and His strength, and none dared trespass on His lands. Females unanimously called Him beautiful and bent to His imperious demands, and His mere profile was a well known sight, adored by the masses.
Yes, He was a very satisfied tabby grey alley cat, standing on top of a chain link fence and looking down at a bunch of humans waiting at a bus stop.
He had never really understood – or cared to understand – why those weird-looking two-legged creatures wearing ugly fake furs would willingly be eaten in whole groups by the big metallic monsters that roared when they moved. As stupid as humans apparently were, it was a surprise there was still so many of them.
But He was clever, and He had long since noticed that the noisy monsters were afraid of the red lights on top of the black poles, and liked to wander on the black ground a lot more than the grey. He also knew they always ate at the same spots, swallowing every human that had foolishly waited for them, and spat out a couple of them every now and then – probably the nastier-tasting one; He had had the misfortune of eating a few mice that had eaten something bad before, too.
Ah, and there was one approaching right then, towering above smaller monsters. It stopped at where the grey ground turned at the big cross of black ground in the middle of his Mighty Territory, opened both of its weird vertical mouths and let the humans walk in the front one like flying chirpers ramming into an invisible wall and falling into His powerful claws, while spitting out only one human from the back; it must have been pretty lucky in its last catch. When the humans were all eaten, it closed its mouths and set off with a deafening roar that made Him seethe; honestly, hadn't their mothers told them that a hunter should stay as quiet as possible, lest their prey learns of their presence and escapes?
…hm, but in this case, the prey jumped into its mouths… this bore reflection, perhaps mice would also walk in His mouth should He purr loudly enough?
From His perch, He continued to gaze down. The human that had been spat out didn't appear to be shocked at all. He had always had trouble telling male humans from females, but while this one had long hair tied in one of those completely failed tail imitations like a female would (oh, how He could understand their envy at not having a slender tail like His, but it didn't excuse that their imitations failed to look like a real tail at all—It was mounted on their heads, for one, and He felt mildly insulted that even they stupid creatures could confuse a sleek Feline face with a behind), it didn't appear to be female; He had noticed females tended to be a bit curvier, while males were more solidly built… but those few with the large outward curves still mystified him.
The bits of hairless skin – yech! – that weren't covered by those constricting fake furs they seemed to think were pleasant to look at were a bit darker than the skin most of the other humans had (although He had seen a lot darker before); kind of dark-yellow to the usual pale yellow. He had weird strands of fur sticking out of his cheeks and chin (most likely another Cat-imitation effort, mildly more successful than the first) and stood quite a bit taller than the average, which was to say that He doubted He would be able to get on his shoulder without sinking his claws into that ugly dark blue fur and matching jeans and climbing up.
…not that claw marks in those fake furs would make them any worse.
In fact, claw marks would probably make them better: everyone, after all, wanted to have reminders of the reassuring, all-powerful and far superior Feline race with them. Oh, if he was a house cat, he would thank the unworthy humans for their roof with this gift wherever he could sink His mighty claws. How generous He was!
The human gave a look around, as if he had only noticed now that he had been eaten and spat out by a Loud Two-mouthed Monster, shifted the weight of his weird bulging back – oh wait, it was another piece of fake fur hanging to his back by two straps… strange apparel, really – and set off to the Safe Corner, where he waited for the light to turn red for the Dangerous Side before crossing; he appeared to be heading toward the big building where He knew there was an impolite, foolish upstart who copied His exact movements from the other side of the invisible wall whenever it was sunny enough, like today.
He gave an imperious sniff, gave a look at His paw and saw, to His stupefaction and horror, that some of the flawless white fur that covered the very tip had been stained with mud. He could not possibly let such a thing be unattended, and thus began to clean Himself with His tongue, a process much more important than watching a boring human without food to give Him.
Had the human heard the cat's thought about their relative importance, he would have probably felt a bit offended. But, as he wasn't a psychic, much less a cat, he completely ignored the feline disdain coming from behind him. His eyes were firmly set on the tall and imposing mirror-windowed building in front of him (wincing as the windows reflected a ray of today's brilliant sunlight directly into his eyes), and he read the Kanji symbols over the front door as he crossed the parking lot.
Minato Ward Police Headquarters.
A smile drew itself on his face.
He was finally here. Finally, he was going to be a real Tokyo police detective.
Finally he was going to have a real partner.
His smile grew lewd.
And hopefully his partner would be a cute girl, hopefully a single one, and hopefully interested in changing that.
It was always good to have hopes, he reflected as he pulled the doors open and stepped inside.
Disclaimer: My HiME, its characters and anything you may recognize do not belong to me. However, anything you do not recognize does belong to me. What, you've never heard of Tokyo? Be right back, I'm calling the Japanese Prime Minister to see if he'd like to buy his metropolis back.
Prologue: Partner Blues
"Are they here yet?"
The receptionist sighed; it was the third time Ichidouji Eriko-chan, a Researcher from the Investigation Assistance Department, and her best friend/fellow bar stalker, asked this question in the last ten minutes.
"No, we still have time," she replied tiredly for the third time, twirling a lock of her short brown hair. With a disappointed grumble of "Mouu…", her busty friend went to busy herself elsewhere, though the receptionist knew Eriko would come back to ask the same question in a few minutes; she placed a mental bet of a thousand yen on two minutes or less.
Sakurazaki Haruko, twenty-four years old, sighed for the seventh time that morning. She felt like she had missed her calling in life in scoring this post as a receptionist in the Minato ward Police Headquarters. Oh, certainly, it was an important job with many varied tasks and that had a very nice salary to keep her interested, but it also came with a large amount of work, and, while everyone at school had known her as a friendly, likable and patient person, thus perfect for public works, she was also undoubtedly and unashamedly lazy (a trait arguably better fit for a government worker).
That, and boy-crazy. Actually, it had been the latter reason much more than any of the first that had initially made her interested in becoming a receptionist. After all, who meets more people, thus, cute men, in her life than the ever-helpful receptionist? The fact that the job had only asked minimal amounts of studies, mostly in Japanese and using word processing software, both of which she was pretty good in, and that it was either that or being someone's secretary (urgh, no, thank you) only made the choice easier.
She had found herself disappointed, however, after a few weeks into this job. The people working at the headquarters were friendly enough, but there was not one that had met her (admittedly steep) expectations. Most of the people she ended up meeting were involved in one way or another in a crime (she really should have thought about that) and thus were too shady for her mother to consider (not that she really cared about that, but it was the principle of the thing). And finally, she would have never thought there was so much damned paperwork involved in police work; she spent half her days helping the other girls in administration by separating documents and reports to be taken to the Archives.
It was a thankless, difficult job, not what she had expected, and with no or very little cute men to balance it.
At least she was well paid for her troubles. Maybe that lining wasn't silver, but it was at least grayish-white.
Still, the stories she heard from the officers kept her entertained well enough, which was more than she could have expected from working in a finance company or whatnot. Plus, this particular ward's police department had some… interesting agents.
And one of those agents, half of what was probably the strangest and functionally mismatched pair of partners in the whole department, if not the whole force, was the reason why the whole Headquarters seemed to be as active as an anthill today.
The venerable Kumaji Keitaro, the oldest agent on the field, had recently been promoted, and today would be his first day on his new duties as Captain. And since his partner was – cue to the understatement of the century – nowhere near as experienced as he was, she was now missing a partner, and Kumaji's replacement was due to arrive today, freshly transferred from a small sleepy village in Wakayama-ken.
Thus, everyone had planned a great big party in the lobby, both as a congratulations for Kumaji and as a welcome for… um… what was his name again… Tanuki… Yuuichi? No… Yuu—um…Tanaki Yuu—
The front door opened with a gush of warm summer air, and Haruko's train of thought suffered from a spectacular derailment. The sound of the crash, which resonated loudly in her mind, went like this: "Tanakhawt!"
The man who was standing in the doorway could have been described in details, from his sharp face that hinted to something foreign in his blood, to his long and somewhat messy long hair dark brown hair that simply looked perfect on him, to his smiling black eyes and almost childish rounded nose, to his finely built tanned body. He could have simply been neutrally described as roguishly attractive, which he very much was with his unshaven beard…
Or he could have been described the Sakurazaki Haruko way: "Yummy."
"Ah, Yumi, you said?" Ohmygod, he was talking to her! Could he be intere----
Oh, right. Receptionist. People-greeter. Of course he was talking to her.
"E-Excuse me," she said professionally, or at least as professionally as she could with her heart racing and his face less than a foot in front of her – she idly noticed he was bending a bit over the counter to move closer to her; she didn't really mind. "Welcome to the Minako ward police department, what can I do you f—what can I do for you?" damnit! She cursed mentally. She was not going to sound like an idiot – or a sex-obsessed freak – to the first cute guy to have ever walked in!
He smiled pleasantly; it did wonders to his already wonderful face, which did not help her stay calm at all. "I'm Tanaka Yuuki, I've been transferred here—"
Three things registered extremely quickly to her mind:
A real-life Ryouji Kaji was in front of her.
He was the new agent.
Meaning, he was going to be a frequent visitor.
"Haruko?" came from behind her; it was Eriko. It made her realize she had stood up and said the last part quite loudly. Her grin froze in mortification as she quickly sat back down and turned to her computer, pretending to do something. Yes. The turquoise glow of the desktop was much, much safer than the face of the man she had just embarrassed herself in front of. At least a computer wouldn't snicker at the bright crimson blush she knew was burning on her face.
"Oh, so, it's Haruko-chan, hn?" She heard him say; his low rumbling voice seemed much more interesting when one wasn't looking at him. "And what's your name, kawaii Ojousan?"
Cute princess! Why does she always get the god o----GOOD ones!
She heard Eriko reply her name in a high-pitched squeak that reassured her a bit; she obviously wasn't the only one making a fool of herself. After collecting her wits, she quickly checked on today's agenda and… yes, here it was, Tanaka Yuuki, twenty-four years old. She resisted the urge to burst into a little dance of joy. Of course, she knew he was going to be partnered with Princess, but…
…but if Haruko ended up losing this hunk to her, then she was going to go to a bar and try to drown her worthlessness.
"We've been waiting for you, Tanaka-san," She told him.
Oh, yes we have… or at least I have…
"Ah, I'm not late, am I?" he asked, a bit sheepishly. "The bus trip took longer than I expected, and I got lost a bit at Shibuya, and—"
"No, no," she quickly interrupted, earning a relieved sigh from him. "In fact, you're about half an hour early."
"Oh, good." He smiled; she felt her heart do a little flip-flop and her face heat up again. Damnit, if this kept her, she was going to have to change her name from Sakurazaki to Sakura-iro! (1) "Is my partner here yet?"
She frowned at the eagerness in his voice. Was he that happy to be partnered with her? What was he, some kind of deviant? Or maybe he didn't know about her?
Yes, that was probably it. Not many people knew about her, after all.
"No," she replied. "She should be here soon, though."
She noticed his smile growing a bit as he noted her pronoun use.
"Then I'd better put on my uniform," he said with a slight lift of his broad shoulders, making the backpack he was wearing bounce along. "Where are the changing rooms?"
To change. Verb, simple present tense. The action of removing one's clothing to put on something else. Implies a certain amount of nakedness.
"O-Oh, they're down that hallway," she quickly pointed at a door at the left, mentally cursing at her treacherous mind. In fact, she was so busy cursing it that she didn't notice her mistake as she told him the path she took every day to put on her uniform.
"Ookini," he thanked her before setting off through the door marked "employees only". (2)
Haruko, hn? He thought while he walked. He still didn't know why she had called herself "Yumi" when he had asked, but she certainly was pretty, he had to admit, with neck-length brown hair, brown eyes and a blush he decided was frankly cute. But in other departments, namely the breasts, she was somewhat lacking for his tastes. Now, her friend, though – Eiko or Eriko, he wasn't sure what she had replied exactly – she was equipped. Pity she had made a mousy first contact.
Oh well, the shy ones were always fun, he decided as he distractedly opened the door Haruko had pointed him at, but personally, he preferred the spicy, fiery ones.
As he selected himself an empty locker, put his backpack down on the bench and reached down to pull off his shirt, he wondered what type his (hopefully female) partner would be.
Unfortunately for him, he didn't notice the dress-wearing pictogram on the door.
The front door opened again less than a minute later, allowing two people, as different from each other as day and night, inside the building. The first was male, middle-aged, tall, had graying hair and an aura of severity about him that was very much helped by his dark blue police uniform. The other was much smaller, female, in her very early teens, wore a white sweater with blue jeans, a black plastic collar around her neck and a bored look on her china-doll face.
Haruko recognized both of them at first sight and loudly said, both for them and as a signal for the crowd in the back, "Princess! Kumaji! Welcome back!"
One of the young girl's dark blue eyebrows rose over her stunningly green eyes, as if she was silently saying "Wow, how unsubtle can you be?" Haruko pointedly ignored her; she was already aware of the plan. Haruko's next job was to somehow get Kumaji to go straight to the lobby, without making him suspicious.
Kumaji Keitaro gave a grunting nod. "I got her," he simply said, as he had done every day 'Princess' didn't have school for the past four years. "Is the newbie here yet?"
Chance! Haruko thought as she quickly nodded. "He came in just a little before you did. Maybe he's in the lobby?"
"Hmn." He noised, heading for the side door. Just before opening it, though, he turned toward her with a lopsided smile. "I'll pretend not to know about the surprise."
Both the girls flinched. "H-How--" the youngest began, but was interrupted by a dismissing hand wave from the new Captain.
"I wasn't born yesterday, Princess." And with that, he left through the door. Haruko and 'princess' shared a look, and the latter shrugged derisively.
"We should have known better than to try and surprise a detective. Anyway, I'll go fetch my present, I left it in my locker yesterday. Was the part about the newbie being here real or...?"
"Oh, he's real, alright," Haruko said with something of a lewd smirk. 'Princess' decided she had heard enough and quickly retreated through the doors marked "employees only".
I'm sure we can all guess what was about to happen.
The young girl went as she usually did directly for the women's locker rooms. She had been there often enough to know the way by herself. Once at the door, she turned the handle without saying a word or knocking - it wasn't like anyone in there didn't have anything she wouldn't have one day - and pushed the door open in one swoop, her eyes immediately falling on her locker, barely glancing at the Half-naked man in the process of untying his belt in the middle of the room. She moved forward toward---
--Wait, back up. Half-naked man?
She slowly walked backward, shut the door and glanced up at the pictogram nailed to it. Women's locker room, check. It was not an embarrassing mistake on her part.
She opened the door again. Half-naked man near the middle of the room, check. Half-naked man staring at her in complete shock, hands still on his untied belt, check.
Hands letting go of the aforementioned belt, check.
Grey boxers, hairy legs and black pants pooled on the floor, very, very check.
She took a deep breath and…
It was this chorused word, along with a big banner saying "Congratulations!" hanging near the entrance, that welcomed Captain Kumaji in the lobby. As he had said before, he pretended to be surprised, but he didn't have to pretend much when the busty research aide Eriko gave him a congratulatory kiss on the cheek -being careful not to leave any of her red lipstick behind; he was a married man, after all- amidst the whoops and applauses from the other people in the room.
The lobby was really an improvised waiting room; a lot of semi-comfortable chairs assembled in a more-or-less clearly delimited square, with more chairs near the middle, and a coffee machine within easy reach on the nearby administration desk; at most, this area could hold more than twenty-five people, but in practice, there was never more than a handful of seats taken. Surrounded by partitioned cubicle-office area, this wasn't where criminals waited, no; criminals were sent to the holding cells on the second floor. This place was for officers on a break or for the occasional person with a rendezvous with the Chief or some officer.
Sitting on the desk directly in front of the door, the aforementioned Chief, a hard-faced, ambitious and dreadfully attractive woman twenty years younger than his respectable fifty-four years of age who, as the story went, had shot up the ranks like a rocket, clapped her hands to take everyone's attention. With her authoritative voice that made even he listen to her very carefully, she declared,
"Now, as you may know, Kumaji here was finally rewarded for his few hundreds of years of service and granted the post of Captain, which means he's just one rank below me. That means he'd better forget about ever getting another promotion and knocking me off my job, or he might end up having an… unfortunate accident." Laughter followed. One of Kumaji's greyish-black eyebrows rose.
"First, at the rate you're going up the ranks, by the time I'm lined up to be promoted again, you'll be crowned Queen of the World."
"Empress of the World. Queen is such a banal title," she quickly corrected in the most serious of voices, ignoring the sniggers. "And second?"
"Second, I wouldn't want your job anyway; wouldn't want to end up bored to death by all the paperwork you push," he said with a bear-like chuckle, then waited for the snickers to abate before adding, "and besides. Hundreds of years? I guess that makes you a couple hundred minus twenty, right?"
"Don't make me demote you already, Kumaji," she replied darkly under the generalized laughter, but while her mouth was curved downward, her eyes were smiling.
Kumaji opened his mouth to continue their banter, but a loud explosion came from deeper in the office. It was an explosion of voice, an explosion of strength, and of the one of the most powerful forces in the known world.
It was an explosion of female outrage. And the sound of it went somewhat like this:
Exclamations, muffled by the walls, followed, along with various impact sounds and what seemed to be cursing. The sounds appeared to be rapidly coming closer, and as they did, some became audible enough to identify: they sounded like high-pitched whirrs and were inevitably followed by impact sounds. To quite a few people in the room, the sound was very familiar. The chief seethed visibly, her good humor having been summarily shot with extreme prejudice.
"She'd better have a damned good reason to create her Elements indoors."
The reason came through the door a few seconds later, wearing only a pair of grey boxers and a panicked expression --"Hubaah!" was Haruko's mostly ignored reaction, while Eriko went beet red and escaped to the safety of the archives— and followed by a righteously angry young teenage bluette with two derringer-sized oddly-shaped guns in her hands, both aimed directly at him.
"I SAID STOP THAT, YOU CRAZY LITTLE BITCH!" He was shouting, quickly ducking as one of the guns fired a ray of blue light that narrowly missed him and instead sailed over the assembled crowd's heads to smash into a cubicle partition wall, where it left an inch-wide hole in the artificial cloth.
"If that's supposed to make me want to hurt you less, it's not working!" She shot back, both verbally and with her guns. He avoided another blast by a hair, then flinched as a nearby flower vase was obliterated in a cloud of dirt and petals.
The Chief sharply stood; she'd had had enough. Kumaji quickly took some distance.
"BOTH OF YOU, STOP THIS INSTANT!" she yelled, loudly enough to knock a certain King off His perch.
Unsurprisingly, they listened. The young teen emitted a quiet "eep" and opened her hands; the guns disappeared like clouds of smoke being blown by the wind. The half-naked man seemed to notice his current situation (standing nearly naked in front of a room full of people) and decided to attempt to hide himself behind a potted plant barely enough tall to hide his boxers; it did not help his situation any, as it now appeared he was wearing nothing and was trying to hide that fact --"guh--!" went Haruko, quickly picking up a tissue for her inexplicably bleeding nose.
"Kuga, what's the rule about using your Elements indoors?" The chief asked pointedly.
"Um... don't?" 'Princess', Kuga, replied sheepishly.
She muttered something inaudible. The Chief cleared her throat sharply, and the young teen sighed and repeated louder, "under the threat of ending up spending a whole weekend on cleaning duty."
"Exactly. You're lucky today is a special occasion, but next weekend, you'll be helping the janitors."
Yuuki found the girl's childishly outraged face hilarious as she whined, "B-But that pervert--"
"And as for YOU," gone was all hilarity from the new officer's mind as the Chief turned toward him, eyes glaring angrily. She reminded him of an angry lioness. "Who the hell are you and why the fuck aren't you wearing any pants!"
"Um... about that, see, I was in the changing room, just about to put on my uniform, and suddenly this psychotic little brat pops up--"
"Who's a psycho!" The girl snapped, "and you were in the girls' changing room, pervert!"
"W-W--But I only the directions she gave me--" he waved at Haruko, who was holding a tissue to her nose and grinning sheepishly as everyone turned to look at her.
"Oobs?" she replied nasally.
The Chief gave her a loud sigh, then turned back toward Yuuki. "And your name---never mind, just… get back to the changing rooms and put something on, then go to my office and tell me. I don't want to have this in my mind every time I hear your name."
There was a nasal whisper along the lines of "says yuu" from Haruko.
Yuuki quickly listened and went back through the door. As the door closed, Kumaji turned toward the Chief, a smile on his face.
"Not bad, but next time you throw a party for me, try to arrange it so it's a half-naked woman showing up instead. Men don't do much to me."
'That could have gone better.'
Understatements were wonderful things, reflected the Kansaijin officer as he stepped into the Chief's office. There are very few things in this world, or at least the in English language, that can convey as big a sense of "well, crap. Now what?" such as what traveled through his mind at that moment.
The Chief's office was a small and cozy place. A small square room on the third floor, within easy access to the first and second, it was framed on one side by a window with a very good view on the parking lot and the streets, although the surrounding skyscrapers and tall buildings stopped the skyline from being too impressive, and on three others by light-blue painted walls. A cardboard white roof equipped with a single and far sufficient neon light made the ceiling, while a thin blue and grey carpet covered the floor. The office was divided in half by the Chief's blue-themed artificial-material desk, behind which its owner sat with visible impatience on a comfortable-looking dark blue office chair.
Yuuki had a feeling she liked blue.
The Chief, he had to admit, was stunning, in a voracious way. Long shiny darkish-green hair complimented by a sharp-angled feminine face, deep cerulean eyes and small green gem earrings, full lips covered by a very light shade of lipstick, lithe, tall and voluptuous body clad in a tight dark blue uniform jacket and form-fitting jeans in the same color.
It wasn't the beauty of a majestic waterfall, or that of a field of flowers, but the beauty of a fierce tiger on the prowl, ready to rip anything that bothered it to shreds.
His favorite type.
Had things been different, Yuuki would have probably tried to chat her up, even if she was probably ten years older than him. However, he felt that, with the angry glare coming from the psychotic little girl – Why the hell was she here anyway? And where did her guns go? – and the mere presence of the brawny veteran sitting on the chairs in front of the desk, and with the icy stare that came from the Chief's blue eyes, it would have been a Very Bad Idea indeed.
"About time," was her reaction when he came in. "So, your name? I'm guessing you're the transfer."
"Ah... yes, I'm Detective Tanaka Yuuki, I just transferred from Misato-cho... and sorry 'bout earlier. It won't happen again."
"Well, I hope so, or I'd have to get you arrested and thrown to jail for corrupting minors," she said coldly with a general wave at the young teen, who sniffed disdainfully (and muttered something he preferred to ignore about there being nothing big to corrupt her with). Although the Chief's voice told she was dead-serious, Yuuki guessed the words couldn't be anything but a joke.
...right? Couldn't be true, right? Right!
"But let's leave that incident shot repeatedly, left in a ditch and buried," the Chief continued - "Can we do the same for the cause?" the little girl asked, and was ignored, - "It's time for the introductions. This here," she pointed at the broad graying man, "is Kumaji Keitaro, this station's Captain and thus, your new superior. I am the Minato Ward Chief Constable, as I Hope you have figured out by now-- You may call me Chief Akitori, or Boss."
Yuuki winced at the formal and distant appellation. Most excellent first meeting, indeed.
"And this one here," she pointed at the psychotic little brat, who had crossed her arms in a childish pout, "is Kuga Natsuki, a HiME who helps the police due to… extenuating circumstances. She's also your new partner. Do try to get along."
Oh, a HiME. That explained where she got the guns---
...wait. Hold up. Partner?
Him and that psychotic trigger-happy little brat!
His hopes gave a strident scream as they were shot in the head repeatedly.
Well, on the third try, I finally got this story started. The first book is planned in its entirety, and two more books are planned to be done. Everyone from the Mai HiME cast will eventually have a role (except maybe Alyssa… but she's in there somewhere), which means a lot of people. Maybe I'll even manage to stick the Otome group in it, too.
At the moment, I have chapter 1 written completely, chapter 2 is underway and chapter 3's introduction has been written.
And before you yell at me for being nonsensical, there's actually an explanation, an actual divergence point, for HiMEs being common knowledge in this version of the HiME world. Of course, being the teasing bastard that I am, I'll leave you hints (bigger or smaller) about it until I get around to explaining it for real. (Either book 2 or book 3, most likely the latter. At this point, book 2 and 3 can still be switched around, so…)
There's also a very damn good reason for Natsuki… which I'm not going to reveal completely for a while. Or at least until I get to (muffle, muffle).
Final note: The ending couple will probably be Shiznat, though don't expect much romance in this book; Natsuki is 13, Shizuru is 14. Don't worry about Yuuki stealing Natsuki away.
Special Thanks to Sebastian Palm for (admittedly minor) edits.
Please note that Japanese or oriental names used in the span of this story will be in the Asian order, namely (no pun intended), Family name first, then surname. Occidental names, however, will be said the regular way.
(1): Sakurazaki means Blooming Cherry Tree. Sakura-iro, however, means Cherry-colored (I.E.: light pink).
(2) Ookini is "Thank you" in Kansai Japanese.