Chapter 9 – I’m Back
Novel t.i.tle: 一生之计在于春 (Spring is the Plan of Life)
Author：御小凡 (Yu Xiaofan)
Translator: K (@kin0monogatari)
Protagonists: 姚锦夕 (Yao Jinxi -MC), 吴洋 (Wu Yang -ML)
*Please read at knoxt.s.p.a.ce, the original site of translation. TQ*
“I have to ask, what do you really think of that girl?”
Yao Jinxi inwardly sighed. But he kept a smile on his face. “Uncle Yan, I think I’m not really up to par for that girl. Look at her. She’s so well-off and I’m just running a small tea shop that could close down anytime. Why make her suffer by being with me?”
“Do you have to speak so low of yourself?” Yan Zhaowen clearly disagreed with his statement. His forehead wrinkled in displeasure. “What’s gotten into you? As traditional Chinese medicine pract.i.tioners, we also have the ability to judge people. I actually think you’re quite good.”
“Uncle Yan, you’re a doctor, not a fortune teller,” Yao Jinxi couldn’t help but hold back his laughter. Did traditional Chinese medicine really involve such practices? “I actually have an appointment with someone. I’ll leave first.”
Yan Zhaowen placed the teapot down, “It’s the third time now. You keep using this trick to fool this old man!”
Yao Jinxi smiled in an attempt to appease him, standing up and retreating, “Really, this time it’s not that. Absolutely not. This time there really is an appointment.”
“Heh, you rascal,” Yan Zhaowen chuckled as he watched him. “So, the first two times were just nonsense?”
Yao Jinxi quickly backed up against the door. He then leaped out and bid his farewell before closing the door, “Oh dear, I’m running late! I’ll bring you tea next time. Goodbye.”
He hurriedly dashed out, greeting others at the hospital along the way. It wasn’t until he got on his bicycle that he let out a sigh of relief. He couldn’t keep doing this every time, “Such a headache.”
Yao Jinxi took out his phone to check the time, figuring it was about time. He decided to ride his bicycle to the place that Xia Ruonan had mentioned.
The place, arranged by w.a.n.g Peng, was a hotpot restaurant—flavorful and lively.
Parking his bike by the roadside, Yao Jinxi haggled with the parking attendant with enthusiasm. But he eventually paid 2 yuan after failing to get a discount.
When he arrived, there were already quite a few people there. Most of whom he had seen before but hadn’t interacted with on a deep level. He was surprised to see Wu Yang there too.
Wu Yang smiled at him, “You’re here?”
Seeing an available seat next to him, Yao Jinxi walked straight over and sat down, “You’re here too?”
Their arrivals clearly held slightly different implications. Yao Jinxi couldn’t quite figure it out—didn’t w.a.n.g Peng dislike Wu Yang? Why would he invite him? Was it because of Xia Ruonan?
“Jinxi~ Jinxi~” Xia Ruonan saw Yao Jinxi turn his head and immediately beamed with delight, “You’re here.”
Yao Jinxi noticed w.a.n.g Peng’s slightly displeased expression next to her and inwardly mocked him, “You guys are here so early?”
Xia Ruonan giggled naively, “Well, the more, the merrier.”
w.a.n.g Peng took the opportunity to chime in, nodding at Yao Jinxi, “Long time no see.”
“Oh, long time no see,” Yao Jinxi absentmindedly replied before s.h.i.+fting his attention to his utensils. He already found the situation boring before it even started.
Whispering, Wu Yang asked, “Is w.a.n.g Peng treating us today?”
Yao Jinxi questioned, “Don’t you know?”
Wu Yang shook his head, “Ruonan just said we’re all going out to eat together.”
Yao Jinxi clicked his tongue a couple of times, “When talking to Ruonan, you need to use your imagination and infer context. If you don’t understand something, you have to ask right away. Otherwise, she’ll a.s.sume you know.”
Wu Yang chuckled, “I see now. Thanks for the advice.”
Their small conversation was interrupted as one of the cla.s.smates chimed in, “It seems w.a.n.g Peng is the most successful among us. Can we make around fifty thousand from this?”
w.a.n.g Peng modestly smiled, “Fifty-six thousand.”
Laughter erupted among the group.
Yao Jinxi rolled his eyes. He poured himself a cup of tea and immediately recognized it as the common hawk tea often served at hotpot restaurants. Although it was cheap, it was a strong brew that helped counteract the greasiness of the food.
With everyone present, w.a.n.g Peng began ordering dishes with a grand gesture, doubling up on most of them, and ordering three cases of beer. Among the men, only Yao Jinxi and Wu Yang didn’t drink alcohol. Instead, their gla.s.ses were filled with soy milk, just like the female guests.
w.a.n.g Peng laughed, “How could you not drink? It’s a rare occasion. So have a toast with us.”
Having been around w.a.n.g Peng for a while, Yao Jinxi knew this man was truly wild. He smiled awkwardly, “Sorry. I’m allergic to alcohol.”
Xia Ruonan quickly chimed in, “Jinxi doesn’t drink. You know that, right?”
w.a.n.g Peng frowned and then relaxed, “My apologies. I forgot.”
He then turned to Wu Yang, “You must be a drinker, right? You’re usually so sociable. There’s no way you can’t drink. Come on, have a toast.”
Wu Yang maintained his smile and looked at w.a.n.g Peng, “I’m also allergic to alcohol.”
w.a.n.g Peng’s expression immediately soured, “You’re not giving your brother a face.”
Xia Ruonan became anxious and tugged at w.a.n.g Peng, trying to defuse the situation, “Wu Yang is indeed allergic to alcohol. Last time during dinner, he didn’t drink.”
w.a.n.g Peng raised an eyebrow, “When did you guys go out for dinner?”
“It was with me,” Yao Jinxi picked a piece of beef tripe, calmly concocting a story, “Last time I went out for barbecue with Wu Yang, I noticed he didn’t drink alcohol. I found it quite rare to meet someone else who’s allergic like me. So I mentioned it to Xia Ruonan.”
w.a.n.g Peng seemed sceptical. But continuing to press the issue in front of everyone would only make him lose face. He shot a slightly reproachful look at Xia Ruonan and then turned to drink with the others.
Yao Jinxi’s beef tripe was done. He rolled it around in the oil dish before popping it into his mouth. It was perfectly cooked – just crispy enough. While chewing, he muttered to himself in a hushed voice, “What a man. So petty, acting like a little girl. Hey, you should take yours out.”
Wu Yang also put a piece of beef tripe into the pot. Hearing Yao Jinxi’s reminder, he picked it up.
“This piece is probably not good anymore. Didn’t you know? When it reaches the ‘seven up, eight down’ state, it’s ready to eat. The texture changes completely when it’s a bit more mature.” Yao Jinxi explained, demonstrating with his own piece before giving the successfully cooked piece to the attentive student, Wu Yang.
Wu Yang finished his food and praised, “It really tastes different.”
No one was trying to engage them in conversation. So the two of them ended up having an academic discussion on how to cook the ingredients to make them taste even better. Wu Yang gained a lot from the conversation, especially the samples Yao Jinxi had prepared in his bowl.
Observing Wu Yang enjoying the food so much, Yao Jinxi couldn’t help but ask, “So, you like hotpot, huh? Why didn’t you say so before?”
Wu Yang put down his chopsticks, “It’s not that I like it specifically. It’s just that the taste today is really good. Maybe it’s because it was prepared by your hands.”
Interpreting this as a compliment to his cooking skills, Yao Jinxi chuckled, “Indeed.”
The two of them seemed like they were at their own table, not engaging with others, just enjoying their meal. They completely ignored w.a.n.g Peng’s grandiose talks.
Yao Jinxi finally understood why they had been invited so early. d.a.m.n, with dinner lasting until 10 p.m., that was a solid five hours. He was already so full that he could only drink some hawk tea to help with digestion.
w.a.n.g Peng finally decided to pay the bill but immediately suggested that they all go for karaoke. Yao Jinxi admired their energy, but he quickly declined the offer, opting to go back and play video games instead.
Naturally, Wu Yang politely declined the invitation as well.
Everyone seemed content.
Knowing that her boyfriend and these two friends didn’t exactly click, Xia Ruonan didn’t insist. Yao Jinxi patted her shoulder, “If you need any help, just give me a call.”
As the night ended, they all went their separate ways, each heading home.
A group of men getting drunk often led to some trouble. Xia Ruonan had partic.i.p.ated in such gatherings before, so she had an idea of how things could go. “Got it. I’ll try to convince him to drink less.”
“Hey, he’s your boyfriend,” Yao Jinxi trailed off, not knowing what else to say. “Alright, go back quickly. They’re all waiting for you.”
“Sure. Take care on your way back.” Xia Ruonan also bid farewell to Wu Yang, who was standing nearby, before obediently turning around to join the group. Yao Jinxi headed towards where he had parked his bicycle, noticing that Wu Yang was following him. “What’s up? Did you also ride your bike here?”
Wu Yang asked, “You rode your bike here?”
Yao Jinxi casually stuffed his hands in his pockets. “Yeah.”
Wu Yang inquired again, “Then how about we go together? I can take a taxi ahead and wait for you?”
“Huh?” Yao Jinxi stopped in surprise, looking at him with disbelief. “What? Are you going to take a taxi and wait for me somewhere?”
Wu Yang was equally surprised. “Aren’t we going to your place?”
This left Yao Jinxi even more baffled. “When did we say we were going to my place?”
Unfazed, Wu Yang’s expression remained unchanged. “So, is it too late to decide now?”
Yao Jinxi was lost for words, blinking his eyes at him.
Yao Jinxi couldn’t help but laugh and sigh at the subtle communication deviations he sometimes encountered with Wu Yang. “What’s there to do at my place? Are you free for a while?”
“I have no plans.” Wu Yang shook his head and then added, “I really enjoy being at your place.”
Narrowing his eyes slightly, Yao Jinxi tried to discern whether Wu Yang’s words were just polite or sincere. After a moment, he chuckled. “I’m flattered by that. It’s just a small shop. You don’t even like drinking tea, do you?”
Wu Yang gazed at him with a focused and gentle expression, “I’ve developed a liking for it now.”
Yao Jinxi felt an inexplicable skipped beat in his heart. He thought to himself that this guy’s smile was way too provocative. Even a casual conversation sounded like flirting. “Alright, if you don’t mind, you can go ahead and wait… never mind.”
Reaching into his pocket, Yao Jinxi took out his keys. “You can wait inside the shop.”
Wu Yang paused for a moment before taking the keys with a smile. “Aren’t you worried I might steal something?”
“If you find something worth taking, feel free.” Yao Jinxi gave a sly grin. “Just make sure to choose something that won’t sell. I have a clear memory of everything in the shop. If you take anything, it’s going in the books.”
With that, both of them arrived at the parking spot. At this point, only Yao Jinxi’s bicycle remained. It was lonely and untouched. The parking attendant sat on a stool nearby, blowing his moustache and scowling as he yelled, “You, really! I told you I finish at 8 o’clock. What did you say back then?”
It was only 5 o’clock at the time. How was Yao Jinxi supposed to know that this dinner with w.a.n.g Peng would drag on for so long? “I apologise. There was an unexpected situation that delayed me a bit. How about I give you some extra money to make up for it?”
With the parking attendant declining the extra money and once again emphasising the importance of keeping promises, he walked away, still complaining. Yao Jinxi thought the attendant was acting quite cute. He then turned to Wu Yang. “You should head over now. I’ll be back soon.”
Watching Yao Jinxi ride away, Wu Yang then hailed a taxi and made his way to the tea shop.
Wu Yang arrived at the tea shop first. He opened the door, switched on the lights, and sat down in his usual spot to wait for Yao Jinxi. As he waited, he found himself lost in thought, until a clear voice saying, “I’m back,” snapped him out of it.
Wu Yang abruptly looked up at the person walking towards him. He opened his mouth as if to speak but found himself trembling slightly.
A sensation, as if his heart had been struck, surged in his chest. He suddenly realised that what he had been yearning for might be just like this.
It was in moments like this.
As Yao Jinxi walked closer, the smile on his lips remained. His eyes sparkled with a playful glint. Wu Yang’s gaze was fixed on him. He found himself lost in the enchantment of the present, where time seemed to stand still.
>In Chinese culture, the concept of “giving face” (給面子 or 给面子 in simplified Chinese, gěi miànzi) is extremely important and carries significant social and interpersonal implications. “Giving face” essentially means showing respect, honour, or consideration to someone, often in a public or social context, to maintain their dignity and reputation. It’s a complex social concept deeply rooted in Confucian values and plays a crucial role in Chinese etiquette and social interactions.
Here are some key points related to the concept of “giving face” in Chinese culture:
(a) Respect and Recognition: When you “give face” to someone, you are acknowledging their status, abilities, or social standing. It’s a way of showing respect and demonstrating that you value their importance or contributions.
(b) Maintaining Harmony: Giving face is also about preserving harmony and avoiding conflict. By showing respect and consideration, you can prevent embarra.s.sing or confrontational situations.
(c) Face as a Social Currency: “Face” is often described as a form of social currency in China. Losing face (失面子 or 失面子, shī miànzi) can be humiliating and damaging to one’s reputation, while giving face can enhance one’s social standing.
(d) Indirect Communication: In some situations, especially in conflict avoidance, “giving face” can involve indirect communication, such as not openly criticising or contradicting someone in public.
(e) Gift-Giving: In gift-giving customs, giving a face can involve presenting gifts as a token of respect or grat.i.tude, especially during special occasions or when visiting someone’s home.
(f) Face in Business: In business dealings, giving face can be crucial for building and maintaining relations.h.i.+ps with partners, clients, or a.s.sociates. It often involves gestures like offering gifts, showing deference, or acknowledging achievements.
(g) Face in Family and Relations.h.i.+ps: The concept also extends to family and personal relations.h.i.+ps. For example, children are expected to give face to their parents by being respectful and obedient, while parents are expected to give face to their children by supporting their achievements and social status.
(h) Cultural Sensitivity: Understanding and respecting the concept of “giving face” is essential when interacting with Chinese people or conducting business in China. Failing to do so can lead to misunderstandings or offence.
It’s important to note that “giving face” is not limited to China but is also prevalent in other East Asian countries influenced by Confucianism, such as j.a.pan and South Korea. However, the specific customs and nuances of “giving face” may vary across different cultures and regions within China.
>In Chinese culture, the concept of “losing face” (丢脸, diūliǎn) is a significant social and psychological concern. “Losing face” essentially refers to the loss of one’s reputation, honour, dignity, or social standing, often resulting from actions or situations that bring shame, embarra.s.sment, or humiliation. It is a deeply ingrained concept in Chinese society and plays a crucial role in interpersonal relations.h.i.+ps, communication, and social dynamics.
Next update: 2023.09.29