Saiyuu no Ryokou: Adventures of Yuriko
The Story So Far: Yuriko's first day of preparation for the tour
is turning out to be odder than expected. The staff for the production is impressively
international - and quirky.
Volume 1, Issue 8
"Fit the First"
Yuriko put one hand to her head as she regarded Amba, whose smile
twisted slightly as she approached in her wheelchair. It was obvious that she was waiting
for Yuriko's next words - and that this was as much a test as Madam Sophia's "you
dance now" had been.
Yuri smiled a little unsurely and ventured, "I suppose I'm
supposed to either ignore that," she gestured at the wheelchair, "or say
something really profound, but frankly, I'm kind of at a loss for words."
Amba's face relaxed slightly, and Yuriko relaxed along with it.
"Actually, I was kind of hoping you'd do neither. It gets tired, hearing pearls of
wisdom dropped my way about enduring and moving beyond my limitations." She looked
down at herself. "I'm just your average cripple," she said.
"Only cuter," Yuriko ventured. Amba looked up sharply, but
when she saw that Yuriko was not offering pity or cold comfort, she smiled openly.
"Well, yes, there's that," the Indian woman agreed. She
seemed to come to a decision. "Let's get to it, then." Amba propelled herself up
the ramp onto the platform, turned the chair around and faced Yuriko. "Strip."
Yuriko shed her jacket with dispatch. "You know," she
joked, still a little uncomfortable, "this is easier with music." She looked
over her shoulder to gauge Amba's reaction. The costume maker responded with a hearty
bump-and-grind riff. Yuriko grinned and turned around, lifting her arms once again. Amba
gestured for her to spin around slowly and the blonde obliged.
As she completed her turn, Yuri asked, "How'd you get your hair
that color - it's very cool."
Amba took one lock in her hand and gazed at it. "After the
accident," she looked down at her legs, "my hair grew in white - but just here.
When my parents turned me out, I figured I had nothing to lose and started dyeing
it." She shrugged. "It's purple now, but I think I'm getting tired of it."
"Don't change it! It becomes you - gives your eyes violet
highlights." Yuriko met those dark eyes as she spoke and she could see a little color
darken Amba's cheeks.
"Yes, well," Amba continued quickly, looking at her hair
once again, "that's how."
There was a moment of silence. "I was thrown out by my parents
too," Yuriko said softly. "They didn't want a dyke for a daughter."
Amba's lips tightened, but she didn't say anything. Yuriko could see
that her sharpness was just a way of masking herself, but she seemed a genuine enough
person behind that mask.
"Anyway," Yuriko continued in a lighter tone, "it all
worked out I guess, because here I am, getting measured for clothes I'd never have had if
I was quote-unquote normal." She made the quotes motion with her hands, finishing
with a flourish.
"Then let's get down to business." Amba said. "Orders
came down that you were to be fitted with a bloke's suit and a lady's dress - that sound
right to you?"
"Right. What colors are out?"
Yuriko thought carefully, "Orange, definitely no orange
anything. I like red, but don't look great in it, unless it's a car, um and I'm not
terribly fond of yellow-green."
Amba nodded. "What colors do you usually wear?"
"Fawns and grays, blues."
Another nod. Amba pulled a pad out of a pocket on the side of her
chair. "Men's-style shirts?" she inquired.
"Buttoned right or left?"
Yuriko smiled. "You have me there - buttoned from the
Amba returned the smile. "You know why that is?" When the
blonde shook her head she continued, "It comes from European sword fighting. Since
you fought with the right hand, you had to be able to unbutton your jacket or shirt with
"I never knew that," Yuri admitted.
"You learn some really strange things here in costuming."
Amba turned back to the pad, "Collar?"
"Height - one, no button down, not too tight over the
"Damn, you're easy," Amba laughed. "Cuffs?"
"Let me make this as simple as I can," Yuriko said,
sitting on the edge of the platform. "Cuffs - two button, one button on the tab,
watch on the left hand. One pocket, left breast, no button. Anything else?"
Amba shook her head. "No - that just about covers it, since you
don't "dress." She squinted at Yuriko, "You don't, do you?"
Yuriko shook her head with a laugh. "No, I don't."
Amba nodded. "Then all we have left is the actual
By the time Chiyako returned to the room weighed down with fast food
bags and cans of tea, she found Amba and Yuriko laughing together at some of the singer's
peers' more interesting foibles. Chiyako hung back, wondering at the change of attitude
from earlier that morning, when Mayumi's presence had left her co-worker in a dark cloud
of bitterness. Maybe, she thought, this tour wouldn't be that dreadful after all.
The door opened and Renzo entered, his apology already begun.
"I don't know when I became so consistently late," he said, "It's just
dreadful and I don't what to do about it!" He grinned cheerfully at Yuriko and Kishi
as he seated himself.
"That's alright, Ren-san, you're always worth waiting
for," Yuriko joked.
"Well, that goes without saying," the director replied
with self-deprecating sarcasm. "But since you're being so gracious today, Yuri-san, I
won't waste any more time than necessary." Renzo sighed slightly and Yuriko noticed
the lines at the corners of his eyes.
Kishi cleared her throat. "What were her demands?" she
asked, cutting through Renzo's hesitation.
The director gave the manager a slightly pained look. "The
realistic ones? Or all of them?"
Yuriko shook her head in wonder. "What goes on in that girl's
"Not much, from what I can tell," Renzo sighed again.
"She's insisting that you go on first, of course - she persists in thinking of you as
her opening act." He shot the blonde a wry look as she laughed. "You may think
its funny, but she's serious. Anyway," Renzo ran his hand through his hair as he
often did when he was distressed, "let's get on with this. We'll need to design a set
for you, and a few songs for the two of you to sing together. If it's alright with you,
we're planning on one set from each of you, then a half set to end with you both. So,
then, have you thought about what you'd like to sing?"
They ran through Yuriko's music, selecting and discarding songs
until they had picked what they thought would be the best possible set for Yuri. The three
sat back with a sense of satisfaction when they were finished.
Renzo turned his cynical eyes on Yuriko once more as he said,
"I hear you've met our choreographer? what do you think of her?"
Yuriko thought of her bizarre encounters that morning and gave a
chuckle. "She's barking mad."
Renzo's face split into a huge grin as he nodded. "Isn't she