|Volume||Manga Volume 2|
|Relationship milestones||The Tsubaki family visits the grave of their deceased mother. Later, Tsuabki takes Urabe to also visit the grave, and they do a mutual drool routine in front of the grave. Urabe states that many more 'improper' things are to come.|
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MYSTERIOUS MEMORY---CHAPTER 12 OF THE MANGA
( Anime cross-reference---Incorporated into Episode 13 of the anime, " Mysterious Girlfriend and Boyfriend " )
It is the day of the Spring Equinox, and the Tsubaki Family is performing their annual ritual and obligation. Once a year they visit the grave of their deceased mother, place decorations, and offer prayers. After the ceremony, they all go out to eat, with Akria and Youko exchanging thoughts about what each one mentioned in their individual prayers.
Days later, Tsubaki mentions to Urabe that he and his family visited the grave of his mother. Urabe is taken aback, as she did not know that his mom had died. Urabe then asks if she can also be able to visit the grave this coming Sunday. Tsubaki agrees.
On the faithful Sunday, the two meet at the bus terminal. Tsubaki is dressed casual, but is much surprised to see that Urabe is dressed like a little girl wearing a pretty birthday party dress, and carrying a bouquet of flowers. At the graveyard, Urabe also does a personal reverential ceremony, including offering her prayers. She then explains that she is dressed as she is, as cute, sweet, and innocent as she is, out of respect for the occasion and deceased person. When she is through, she questions Tsubaki concerning his memory of his mother. He confesses that very little memory of her has survived. They both then do a drool routine, one with another, in front of the gravestone. This makes Tsubaki somewhat uneasy, feeling it is not proper to be doing such things at his mom's grave. However, in a portent of what is to come, Urabe merely states that many more improper and unusual things are going to happen to them in the future. They both begin walking slowly across the graveyard, as Urabe takes note of the cherry blossems as a sure sign of the beginning of Spring.
It is the day of the Spring Equinox, and the Tsubaki Family is, once again, performing their annual ritual and obligation. They are at the cemetery, and visiting the Tsubaki Family graveside. Hiroyuki and Youko are at the gravestone, while Akria is filling a bucket with water at the public water faucet. He soon brings the full bucket down the steps to the gravestone of the wife and mother of the family. Youko orders Akria to wash down the grave headstone, and for Father to set up the flowers and burning incense. Finally, everything is set in order, and the ceremony is ready to begin. Once again, Youko takes command of it, by having all three of them to be in front of the gravestone, and having each one offer their individual silent prayers. Youko and Akria are kneeling in front of the display, with Hiroyuki standing behind the two. After a long, motionless silence, the spiritual obligation is done.
Walking through the graveyard, Father suggests that, on the way home, they eat out for lunch. A little while later, when Youko and Akria are walking by themselves, Akria asks his sister what she had prayed about. Youko's prayer was that she would be a good mother's role model for Akria, and look after him until he graduates from college. Akria protests, telling her that she should not have to wait that long to look for someone to marry. Father chimes in with his agreement. Youko points out the fact that the two of them can't even cook, other than boiling ramen. So how would they get by on their own ? Youko then asks Akria what he prayed about. Akria is evasive, stating to her that he only mentioned a number of things, wherein in reality, he actually mentioned only one thing; that he has a girlfriend, that he is regularly dating her, that he is socially and emotionally intimate with her, and that her name is, " Mikoto Urabe " !
A few days later, while they are walking home from school, Tsubaki very nonchalantly mentions to Urabe that he and the family visited the family graveyard last Sunday. It was a warm and pleasant day, and they ate at a Chinese restaurant for lunch. Urabe wants to know if it was his grandmother or grandfather's grave, and is taken aback by the fact that it was his mother's grave. Urabe did not know that his mom died when he was very young. However, Tsuabki says that he is now accustomed to not having a mother around. Urabe and Tsubaki do their usual daily drool routine. Then afterwards, Urabe asks in an off-the-cuff fashion if Tsubaki is free this coming Sunday, and can he take her to his mother's graveside ?
That Sunday morning, Youko wants to know if her younger brother is going out ? He is ! Tsubaki recalls that he is to meet Urabe at the bus station. He then ponders that is was unusual for Urabe to ask to see his mother's grave, and that this will make for a most unusual date. Tsubaki is dressed casual, in jeans and a hoodie, but he is shocked to see Urabe dressed in what looks like a little girl's birthday party dress, and holding a bouquet of flowers. On the bus, he can't take his eyes off of Urabe, now looking so, so super cute !
At the graveyard, Tsubaki walks Urabe to the Tsubaki Family graveside. He points out which gravestone is his mothers, and Urabe places the bouquet of flowers into the cupholder, in front of the gravestone. While Tsubaki is standing, Urabe slowly knees down, and offers her prayers. After a long, silent interlude, Urabe slowly arises, and lifts the hem of her dress, as if to curtsy. She explains that it is such a very important event to visit the grave of the mother of her boyfriend, and that is why she wanted to dress as cute and pretty as possible. Tsubaki is sharply taken aback by her holy reverence, not to mention her unbelievable cuteness and innocence.
Next, Urabe wants to know if Tsubaki ever knew anything about his mother ? He says that he was so young, that he remembers practically nothing about her. What did you feel at her death, Urabe now wants to know ? He says that he also does not remember. A very quirky and unusual request is now made. Urabe asks Tsubaki to put his left hand on the top of the gravestone, as she grabs his left wrist with her right hand. She now does a drool taste of his drool. Urabe begins to silently cry, with tears streaming down her cheeks. She announces that Tsubaki was crying so much at the death of his mother. Urabe now offers her drool to Tsubaki. Both are silent for a while, then slowly begin walking back across the graveyard. Tsubaki tactfully remarks that the both of them shared their drool bond right in front of his mother's grave. Urabe is unapologetic, stating that they will be doing many more 'improper' things in the days to come.
As they leave the graveyard, Urabe points to the budding cherry trees, seemingly as a predestination of something to come. She mentions that Spring will soon be here . . . .
( Program Note---With Urabe and Tsubaki observing the cherry trees and cherry blossoms, the anime adaption of Mysterious Girlfriend X ends, at this point in the manga. However, the further story continues on in the manga. )
Commentary and Opinion
By observing the ceremony at the Tsubaki Family gravestone, it is probably safe to assume that the Tsubaki family, as well as Urabe, are Buddhist, Shintoist, or Taoist. Most Japanese people who are religious, belong to one of those three religions.