The Straw Millionaire, the Cat, and the Princess Volume 1 Chapter 3 part 4

In early February of the 22nd Calendar year, I was engrossed in a game. Through the exchange at the junkyard I had been doing alongside money-making, I finally hit the jackpot.
“A space game… amazing!!”
“To me, seeing someone genuinely impressed by an ancient game is more impressive.”
A diamond-shaped machine connected to the space TV, holovision… A controller with a fairly familiar feeling. Covered in stickers of characters I’d never seen before, it seemed to be a game console from about 200 years ago, according to Mars.
This had been exchanged in a tattered box with about fifty card-shaped cartridges and an onion in mid-January. When I realized it was a game console, I hugged it and danced around, much to Mars’ amazement.
“To think something like this would be exchanged for an onion… My skills are dreams.”
“Just so you know, that game console is pretty valuable due to its age. If it were a more recent one, it would’ve been practically worthless, probably exchanged for onion skin or something.”
“Even in space, some things don’t change.”
A tank filled with mist where various images emerged. My limited vocabulary could only describe the holovision images like that, but there, a space alien shaped like an octopus shot a huge gun with four arms.
“When I learn that familiar-looking games were released, it makes me happy to know that people in space have similar senses to us.”
“Just so you know, that’s an extremely, extremely, extremely old-school game. The trend before I was put on ice was Real God Game.”
“Real? God?”
“There’s a company with technology to create miniature planets. Players use these mini-planets to guide stars to prosperity as gods.”
“Hmm…? I’m not sure if it’s small-scale or large-scale.”
“Well, the actual event wasn’t about the simulation of the god part, but a PvP league between the nurtured stars.”
I feel like I want to see that league, but I prefer games that are more familiar like this. I can play them even if I don’t understand space language.
“Oh, by the way, Tonbo, Tomoko sent some mandarin oranges. And there’s some strange beans too.”
“Can you please not call my mother by her first name…?”
“Does that really bother you?”
“It bothers me.”
While Mars gave a disinterested response, he piled up about ten mandarins in the basket on the kotatsu, and put the rest and peanuts into a food storage container resembling a logistics container. This food storage container is a mysterious item that keeps the freshness of food at room temperature. Of course, it doesn’t match my junkyard’s storage capacity, but the advantage is that Mars can freely take things in and out.
“After all, this room has become quite convenient.”


He sat at the kotatsu, peeling the mandarins, talking like that. He was sitting on something like a space bead cushion, not a blue slime. This cushion automatically moves to relieve stress on the same parts of the hips and lower back, making it a much-appreciated cushion.
Although I got two of them, I prefer sitting on cushions at the kotatsu when I sleep. While it does help me sleep better, it doesn’t visibly squirm around. To be honest, it’s too plain, and I still can’t believe these are space items.
Space products, for the most part, don’t need charging because they generate their own energy, and they’re so mass-produced compared to Earth’s products that they’re deathly plain. Products of civilizations that have progressed too far are strangely indistinguishable from Earth’s.
“I’ve been thinking for a while, but don’t space items seem plain?”
“Do they? Tonbo, you were pretty impressed by the game, weren’t you?”
“Yeah, but games, barriers, guns, they all have easily recognizable appearances…”
I paused the game and turned to Mars, pointing at the wall.
“Things like that, they don’t look like space items at all.”
“Oh, the sound absorber. But hasn’t it made things much more comfortable? You know how Tonbo complained that you couldn’t sleep when your neighbor brought his girlfriend over?”
On the wall of the apartment I pointed to, there was something like a bug repellent with hooks hung on thumbtacks. This is literally a device that absorbs sound.
Sound blocking is done by heavy and hard soundproofing materials to block sound, and by using complex structured sound-absorbing materials to reduce the energy of sound… It seems. But sound absorbers ignore such theories and are devices that absorb and erase sound. It’s a mysterious object that, when you go near and speak, makes it seem like you’re wearing earplugs and can’t hear anything.
No, the effect as an object is amazing… but it’s just too plain-looking. It’s exactly like the one my mother hangs on the doorknob at home to repel insects. Personally, I wish it had more mysterious rainbow gradients or shone brightly in skeleton colors.
“Oh, and that thing in the sink too.”
“What’s wrong with the detergent ball like appearances? You were impressed too, weren’t you?”
“No, I understand it’s really good practically… but the appearance…”
Inside the red net hanging above the kitchen sink were several yellow super balls. This is a grateful ball that kills bacteria around the sink and prevents slime, smells, and even the occurrence of flies, a super cheat product. If only it didn’t look exactly like a toilet ball…
“In Japan, that’s an antibacterial agent used in men’s urinals…”
“I know that even if you don’t tell me, I’ve seen it.”
I pointed successively to the rolling tape-shaped silent vacuum cleaner on the floor, the miniature figurine-type insect repellent device placed at the entrance, and the space air purification plant on the windowsill that only looked like a cactus.
“What I mean is… couldn’t they have made it a bit more, just a bit more dreamy-looking?”
Mars placed three remaining tangerines on the kotatsu and turned his head towards me lazily.
“Tombo, I don’t know what you’re expecting from space… but it would be troublesome if you expected something like that.”
“But it’s space!”
“For example, if we aliens suddenly demanded that all Japanese people wear topknots so we can recognize them at a glance, you wouldn’t like that either, right?”
“Well, yeah, I suppose.”
“Even in space, it’s the same. In the end, the shape of something easy to use is determined, and most useful things are more or less the same. Good-looking designs may have demand, but ultimately what remains is the industrially refined practical shape.”
It’s an undeniable truth. And it’s frustrating, but space goods are so convenient that you can’t say things like “I won’t use space goods that don’t look space-like.”
I stood up straight. I drank the half-empty juice pack I had put in the container-like food storage cabinet since yesterday, then drew water from the clean sink without any unpleasant smell, and watered the window-side pseudo-cactus.
I closed the lid of the box named “Life” in my mind over “Romance” and stopped thinking deeply for now.

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