Gun-Ho said as he wiped the tears off Mori Aikko's face, "Why did you pick Otaru City?"
"I used to live in Otaru City with my family when I was little. Those are the happiest days of my entire life."
"Really? I remember that you told me that your father was a teacher in Otaru."
Otaru was a small city on Hokkaido island in the northern area of Japan. It took around an hour to get there by bus from Sapporo Citythe capital city of Hokkaido. Aikko's father worked as a teacher in Otaru City. On weekends, Mori Aikko visited his father in Otaru with her mother, and the whole family spent time together. They often took a walk along the canal and ate tasty sushi while enjoying each other's company.
Since Otaru was situated in the north of Japan, a lot of snow could easily be seen in the winter. Mori Aikko sometimes reminisced about the snowy port cityOtaruand recalled the old days when she walked around in the area holding her parents' hands. Her happy childhood didn't last long. Her father and mother passed away in a car accident simultaneously. Subsequently, the little Mori Aikko was sent to her grandmother and raised by her.
"We can live in Otaru City together. You can work as a fisherman, and I'll run a sushi restaurant," Mori Aikko said as she cuddled closer to Gun-Ho. Gun-Ho let out a slight sigh.
'She is so innocent. She doesn't seem to know how the world works.'
Mori Aikko had to grow up without her parents. The lack of her father's presence seemed to be filled up when she met Gun-Ho, and she felt like Gun-Ho was a husband and also a boyfriend to her. Moreover, Gun-Ho was the first man who she fell for despite the big age difference between them. Also, Gun-Ho was the first man she had ever slept with. Mori Aikko truly wanted to live in Otaru City with Gun-Ho. She didn't mind living as a fisherman's wife for the rest of her life.
Gun-Ho was thinking, 'Kiddo, I'm Korean and I'm a married man. I have my business and life in Korea. You are way too emotional and sentimental about this relationship.'
Mori Aikko spent most of her life in GionKyoto's famous geisha district and she lacked a sense of reality and also economy accordingly. Mori Aikko was making a lot of money by participating in a dance performance in various events and also working in a bar since she was standing at the peak of her popularity right now. However, all of her income was being forfeited by Mama San Segawa Joonkko because she was the one who was managing everything about Mori Aikko. She only gave Mori Aikko enough money to spend on living expenses. All the income that she made at the entertainment event in Nagoya or Kyoto was taken by Segawa Joonkko. In return, Segawa Joonkko would take care of Mori Aikko's life after retirement. Segawa Joonkko made an investment in Mori Aikko by providing a place to live and educating him in Gion. She was a businesswoman, and she had to recover her investment and also make profits.
In order to produce a dancing geisha, it took a significant investment, just like the management agencies that produced Kpop girl groups. Therefore, it was essential for Segawa Joonkko to procure a sponsor who would spend money on those geishas. The thing with Mori Aikko was that she seemed to be in love with Gun-Ho who was her sponsor, which made Gun-Ho feel a bit burdensome. Gun-Ho questioned himself while holding Mori Aikko.
'If I see Aikko with another man, will I feel jealous?'
Gun-Ho's answer was that yes he would feel jealous.
Gun-Ho looked down at Mori Aikko who was cuddling up against him. She was wrapping her arms around Gun-Ho's waist. She looked happy. Gun-Ho shoved a loose strand of her hair aside. Aikko said while smiling, "Oppa, I feel like I'm in Otaru City right now."
Aikko seemed to be thinking about the canal in Otaru City that was covered with snow.
Otaru City was not a strange city to us. The well-known Japanese movieLove letterthat was directed by Shunji Iwai was shot mainly in Otaru. Also, the city of Otaru was depicted as the hometown of Sekiguchi Shotathe main character of the Japanese cartoon seriesShota no Sushi.
Gun-Ho looked down at Mori Aikko again. She fell asleep in Gun-Ho's arms. Gun-Ho could hear the sound of her breathing. Gun-Ho couldn't resist the urge and started undressing her.
The next day, Gun-Ho and Mori Aikko woke up late in the morning. They always slept late whenever they slept together. Gun-Ho woke up first. He looked at his watch. It was almost 10 am already.
"Aikko, get up! It's already 10."
"I don't want to get up. I feel very comfortable and happy as it is now. I want to stay in bed for a long while."
Aikko hugged Gun-Ho more tightly. Gun-Ho kissed her on the cheek and said, "I'm running a large business in Korea, so I have to go back to Korea."
"Let's go to Tamachi in Minato-Ku. It's going to be fun."
"What do we have there?"
"They have canals. Keihin Canal is over there."
"You want to go there to see a canal?"
Gun-Ho's flight to Seoul was scheduled at 5 pm that day. Gun-Ho thought that he would be able to make it if that place was not far from where they were.
Gun-Ho and Mori Aikko took a taxi and headed to Keihin Canal in Tamachi.
Gun-Ho and Mori Aikko were walking along the canal in Tamachi. Gun-Ho was wearing a blazer with a t-shirt in it while Mori Aikko was wearing a trench coat. While taking a walk, they were holding each other's hand without realizing it.
"The canal is so clean and neat. There are people fishing over there."
The canal and its surroundings were very well maintained. The local government seemed to be doing a good job of keeping the canal clean and well organized. They even planted some flowers too. It was a nice fall weather with a clear deep blue sky. Gun-Ho could feel a fresh breeze on his cheek. Mori Aikko looked at Gun-Ho's face several times with a smile as if she wanted to make sure that Gun-Ho was feeling happy as she was. She indeed looked happy.
"This place is good."
Aikko stopped walking and stood on her tiptoes to reach Gun-Ho's face, and she removed a tiny leaf from his face, and then she smiled broadly. Aikko was always lovely and cute. Gun-Ho hugged her tightly and kissed her on the lips.
"Oppa, I love you."
"Of course, I do love you."
"Can we then move to Otaru City and live together?"
Gun-Ho didn't know how to respond to her innocent question.
All Gun-Ho wanted with Mori Aikko was to see her in Tokyo from time to time and have fun with her. He had to make an excuse to reject her offer.
"We can't for now. I have several businesses that I'm running right now. I can't just toss them up in the air. I have a lot of work that I need to take care of in Korea."
Aikko quietly released Gun-Ho's hand that she was holding tightly. Gun-Ho quickly grabbed her hand and said, "But, Mori Aikko, I will come to Tokyo more often to see you. I promise."
Aikko made a sad face and turned her gaze to the canal.
"Oh, how is the drama going in Taiwan that you have a role in?"
"The Taiwanese drama production company filed bankruptcy."
"You no longer work with them then?"
"They originally planned to make the drama with 35 episodes, but they had to end it in the middle."
"Did you get paid for your part?"
Aikko shook her head without saying a word.
"Hmm, that must have broken your heart."
"Mama San Segawa Joonkko was devastated about it."
"Mama San? Of course, she would. She is your manager after all."
"How was that drama's ratings?"
"It was low."
"How come? You were in that drama. It can't receive low ratings."
"I'm not even the lead role, but I appeared in it on several occasions. That's all."
"That's one of the mistakes that they made. They should have let you play the lead role. They would have probably succeeded."
Aikko smiled faintly while still looking at the canal.