There is a season for everything, if you only wait for it to come around. The phrase 夏炉冬扇 (karo tōsen) is generally taken to mean something useless, like a fireplace (炉) in summer (夏), or a fan (扇) in winter (冬). Looked at another way, however, it is merely a question of standing by until they are needed. People too, should be patient for their moment to shine. If one diligently performs the roles one is given rather than turning sour with regret, opportunity is sure to knock.
Noriko: A junior high school student.
Ishida: Her classmate.
Her father, a baker.
Class representative: “And now, the results of the audition for the title role in our class play, The Little Match Girl.”
“And the winner of the vote is Ishida!”
Noriko: “So bummed.”
Class representative: “You were great too, Noriko. Just a little bit too hyper.”
Classmate: “Maybe if it had been The Peppy Little Match Girl . . .”
Class representative: “But Ishida was so sad and helpless. Like a shrinking flower.”
Classmate: “I was in floods of tears. Literally.”
Noriko: “Thanks for your sympathy, guys.”
The day of the cultural festival comes at last.
The audience goes wild! “Encore! Encore!”
Noriko: “You were amazing.”
Ishida: “Thanks! I’m sure you’ll soon get your chance too.”
Ishida: “I’m positive.”
Noriko: “I’ve got this. I can do it. Starting with some voice training when I get home.”
The next month.
Angry neighbor: “How many times do I have to tell you?”
Angry neighbor: “That girl of yours makes too much noise. You can hear her voice all through the street.”
Noriko’s father: “I’m so sorry. I’ll tell her to keep it down.”
Noriko’s father: “Great timing, Noriko. You’re back early enough to help me sell off the day’s bread. The usual girl called in sick.”
Noriko: “What? You expect me to do that by myself!?”
Noriko: “I’ve never done this before . . .”
Noriko’s father: “But you see it every day, right? You’re on until seven.”
Noriko: “Ah, ahem . . .”
“Tasty, er, bread . . . Get it here . . .”
“I’m never going to sell all this!”
“TASTY BREAD! GET IT HERE!!”
Office worker: “That’s cheap. I’ll take one.”
Noriko: “Th–thank you.”
“TASTY BREAD! GET IT HERE! GREAT VALUE!”
Man: “Looks good. I’ll take this one.”
Noriko: “Nice choice. Thank you.”
Noriko: “THE BAKERY SALE IS BACK. CHEAP BREAD, TASTY BREAD, OH-SO-FLUFFY BREAD!”
Student: “Can I have this one?”
Housewife: “I’ll take one too.”
Noriko’s father: “I’m impressed.”
Noriko’s father: “Sold out completely. You can come back tomorrow.”
Noriko: “Sure thing. My pleasure.”
Noriko: “I see it now. I never was the ‘little match girl’ type.”
Noriko’s father: “???”
The following week . . .
Florist: “That girl’s great, isn’t she?”
Grocer: “We should make her the face of the ‘shop local’ campaign.”