Freelance Announcer Aika Kanda: “I’m having trouble with my relationship with my friend” | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Freelance Announcer Aika Kanda: “I’m having trouble with my relationship with my friend”

Series No. 20: Me, Pink, and Sometimes New York

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Illustration by Kanda-san

A girl friend of mine was my closest friend in college, and I thought she was my best friend at heart. It has been more than 20 years since something happened on a graduation trip we took together, and I just can’t get my mind off of it yet.

For more than six months after entering the school, I was all alone. Not only was I too shy to speak to anyone on my own, but I also pretended to be a high spirited person, so it was difficult for people around me to talk to me. I was prepared to graduate without talking to anyone.

There was one girl who took me into her group of good friends. That was her. She was very cheerful and easygoing. We shared the same interests and points of interest. Since then, we would leave class together and go to Omotesando every day. We would admire the latest fashions while exclaiming, “It’s too expensive to buy! We would sit on the sidewalk fence and talk about what kind of adult we want to be. We would sit on the sidewalk fence and talk about what kind of adult we wanted to be. It was always the two of us, no matter what we did. Her presence made my college life active and full of smiles.

In my senior year, I went on two graduation trips: the first to London with my group, and the second to Phuket with my girlfriend.

The incident happened in Phuket. We were staying at a luxurious resort hotel for college students and were going to a shopping mall. I had not checked the transportation to get there, and when I asked her to check it with me, she said, “What? I don’t want to! That’s the kind of thing you should do, KAN-chan. Otherwise, what’s the point of coming with Kan-chan! I said. (…… What? Meaning?) I was amazed. She sometimes made jokes like this, but she always had a smile on her face.

But she had wrinkles between her eyebrows and her voice was low ……. She was seriously annoyed. Upset, I looked up how to get there, but she was grumpy the entire trip and we arrived with barely a word exchanged. When I tried to regain my composure and buy a dress as a souvenir, I realized that I had left my wallet at the hotel. Then she said, “What? What did you come all the way here for? If you can’t buy it, you’re wasting your time!” I said strongly. I did my best to retort, “Sorry,…… but it can’t be helped,……, these things happen!” I could only retort, “I’m sorry , but it can’t be helped!

If I recall, when we went to Guam and Bali, I asked her what she wanted to do and I did all the research. I never once thought of it as my “role” because it was such an enjoyable task for me, a travel enthusiast.

However, at the time, I was busy before joining NHK and had not done my homework. Did she think I was just a friendly coordinator? Was I the only one who genuinely thought we were traveling together because we were so close?

A blur that time has not solved.

After we became adults and stopped seeing each other so often, the events in Phuket became more deeply etched in my mind. I wonder if the time we spent laughing together was fake. Was I the only one who thought I had made a best friend for life? Did I trust her too much? What were those four years ……? The questions about her kept coming up. At the same time, I want to laugh with her again someday and remind myself that she thinks of me as her best friend too. I was waiting for the right opportunity to come along.

A few years later, she said, “I’m getting married. Maybe we will get married in Hawaii! She contacted me and said, “We might get married in Hawaii! I was happy. I had heard that she had a boyfriend, but I was so happy to hear that things had progressed that far! Excitedly, she said, “Let me know when you decide on a date! I’m going at my own expense!” I replied. But she got married without my knowledge. She called only her local high school friends and didn’t let any of her college friends know. I finally accepted the fact that I was definitely not on her best friend list.

It’s been 20 years since we graduated from college. I am happy to say that we are all getting together again. The LINE group of 11 good friends is up and running frequently, and she is in it. I’ll join!” I can’t make it that day. See you soon! The response was good. But when I see that (I don’t know how she is responding so cheerfully ……), I wonder. In my mind, the Phuket case and the Hawaii wedding case remain unsolved. I don’t want to face her until I hear the truth properly. I am sure she will say, “I don’t remember that long ago anymore!” she must say with a big smile that would make everyone around her smile. But I’m a grown-up now. My distrust of her is so deep-rooted that I can stand on my own feet firmly enough to stand on the ground without getting involved.

I loved her so much that even time will not solve this problem. Am I a persistent, jittery, jerk?

© Kazuki Shimomura

Born in 1980 in Kanagawa Prefecture. After graduating from Gakushuin University with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, she joined NHK as an announcer in 2003 and left in 2012 to become a freelance announcer. Since then, she has been active mainly in variety shows, and currently makes regular appearances as the main MC of the daytime TV program “Poka Poka” (Fuji Television Network).

From the August 11, 2023 issue of FRIDAY

  • Text and illustrations by Aika Kanda

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