Chapter 1. Autumn: Autumn in Hot Spring
Walking around the town 5
Tsubasa's grandfather said, "RUICA and the town's intranet are only
available here. Residents want to trust visitors who come here to breathe
the same air, eat the local food and take a bath. They want to treat visitors
as members of the town even for a short visit and make them feel at home.
Therefore, though it's possible that visitors may betray the residents'
trust, it is better to believe them than to disbelieve. Thus, I think people's
warm feeling towards visitors may boost the prosperity of the town."
Ryoko was among the crowd at the station. She was teaching a young couple with a 5-year old boy and a baby how to use RUICA. Under the influence of Ryoko's serious eyes and gentle attitude, the couple seemed as if their worries about traveling with children had disappeared. Perhaps Ryoko was telling them about family-friendly shops and facilities, information about the hot spring, and how to cope with sudden illness.
In the same way, Ryoko had given Tsubasa's grandparents useful information, based on the data they had sent beforehand, that had helped them enjoy the town. After sending off the young family, Ryoko noticed Tsubasa and his family. She looked directly into Tsubasa's parents' eyes and greeted them politely. Then she turned to Tsubasa and greeted him. Tsubasa was nervous.
"The baby is pretty." Tsubasa blurted out the first thought that came to mind.
"Yes, she is adorable. The boy has been suffering from a skin rash and allergies. They came here hoping to cure him. They have visited several places so far, without success. I hope our hot spring will work for him."
"What allergy is it? Pollen?"
"No, food allergy. He is allergic to eggs and buckwheat noodles. Takafu-cho is famous for its delicious noodles."
On a sudden impulse, Tsubasa asked Ryoko, "Won't you come with us to a noodle shop, if you could suggest a good one?"