HIRAHIRA - Hijab For You
Chapter 1 - First Meeting
In a town somewhere in Japan, lies a big bridge that separates the rich living in the northern side while the poor lives in the southern side.
Shun, who lives in the southern side of the bridge, was watching the sunset alone again.
Suddenly, he heard someone singing. He turned around and saw a well-dressed figure, covered from head to toe. A gust of wind fluttered the green veil wrapped around her head, revealing her face from the side.
She doesn’t look like a Japanese.
“What a beautiful voice but her Japanese sounds weird.”
As he looked closer, he realized she was crying.
“Are you okay? You seem troubled.”
“My mum wrote me a song in Japanese. She taught me the language and the song, yet I forgot how to read that certain verse because it was so hard.”
“Do you need any help? I can guide you how to read it.”
“Really? You don’t mind helping me?”
“It is just a small matter. Anyway, I don’t like seeing people being sad.”
He held out his hand.
“I’m Shun. I stay around here. I’ve never seen you here before, you’re not from here, are you?”
She stared at his hand, looking hesitant.
“Umm…I’m Rania. I’m sorry but I can’t shake your hand.”
Shun doesn’t understand why but he withdrew his hand quietly. Things became a little awkward.
“I’m from abroad.”
The wind blew again and the cloth covering her head made that soothing, fluttering sound once more.
“I like the sound of your cloth fluttering – HIRAHIRA.” he said as he pointed towards the cloth on her head.
“HIRAHIRA? What is that?”
“HIRAHIRA means to describe the sound of cloth fluttering in the wind.”
“This cloth is known as hijab.”
Shun had never heard of it before.
“A precious gift from my mother that I’ve been keeping it with care.”
Chapter 2: Strong-Willed
“Can I touch your hijab?"
When he touched it, he let out a gasp of surprise as he realized the high quality of her hijab.
“You seem interested in my hijab.”
“Oh, because I work in Yamato textile factory.”
“Work? Don’t you need to go to school?”
“I go to work after school. Anyway, I have to work, to fend for myself.”
Rania looked at him from the side. She wondered what he meant.
“After my parents passed away, my boss, Nishi-san, was the one who took me in, gave me a place to sleep and work.”
Her heart sank, knowing this young man who’s full of smiles had such a sad past.
“How can you be this strong, Shun-kun?”
Shun could only smile.
“My mother passed away too. The pain is so deep and up until now I could not recover from this loss.”
Shun understood her feelings very well.
“Your mum in heaven, would be happier if you smile rather than crying." Shun turned and looked at her.
“That song, once you’ve mastered it well, let’s sing it together.”
Meanwhile, Sato, an agent assigned to look after Rania and her father, was waiting for her outside the hotel.
Finally, he saw her walking towards him.
“Where have you been, Rania-san?” asked Sato.
“I went out to play.”
She went inside as if nothing happened. He hurriedly followed her soon after.
“Heed my advice and do not go to the southern side of the bridge, alright? What if something bad happens? How am I supposed to answer to your father?”
“I just wanted to be alone.”
Rania headed back to her room.
“It doesn’t pay to be nice, huh?”
Sato’s expression changed.
Chapter 3: Treasure
“I’m just concerned for her well-being, sir.” said Sato to Rania’s father.
“I’m just worried, sir. She may run into bad people. There is an area with a lot of poor people roaming around over the bridge. I don’t want her to go there. Those inferior people are very bad.”
“Understood. Thank you, Sato.” he patted his shoulder.
Sato whispered to one of his men as soon as Rania's father headed back to his room.
“I want you to follow her. Anything, just update me.”
The following day, they promised to meet by the river. She brought along a book that contains lyrics written by her late mother.
“Rania-chan, why do you need to cover your head with this hijabu?"
“Due to my religion, this hijab acts to cover my modesty. Thus, no matter where we are, we have to wear modest clothing and practice good etiquettes. You sure are curious about many things, Shun-kun.”
“Yeah, because I’ve never met someone like you before.”
Shun tried singing it together with Rania. Progressively, she was able to sing it properly.
Her eyes brightened up gradually. Shun, too, felt happy for her.
“Rania-chan, now that you know how to sing the song properly, I hope that you’ll keep smiling from now onwards. ”
Chapter 4: Foreboding
“Washable Silk?” asked Shun.
"Yes, silk is generally sensitive and difficult to wash at home, right?" We finally made it possible! So, with this washable silk, YAMATO’s reputation will go higher!” explained Hide, Nishi's right-hand man, proudly.
Shun’s eyes widened in amazement. The WAZA technique displayed by workers in Yamato textile factory are truly the best in Japan.
As soon as he finished his work, Shun headed towards the river and waited for Rania.
As she approached him from behind, she heard him singing to the song.
“Rania-chan, let’s sing the song together.”
She sat down beside him and they started singing.
They were happily spending time together when they heard a man’s voice boomed from behind.
“Rania-san, I've told you not to go to the southern side of the bridge, didn't I?”
His men grabbed her arms.
Shun stood in silence as he was unable to grasp what was happening.
Chapter 5: Torn Hijab
As Sato’s men took her away, part of Rania’s hijab caught on one of the tree branches and as a result got torn.
Rania was at loss for words.
“Hey you, don’t get your hopes up that she’ll be your friend.” said Sato to Shun.
“She’s already my friend.” Shun remarked.
Sato snorted and left a while later.
“Now you are befriending such a poor boy?”
Rania remained silent.
“I’ll inform your father that you went to the southern side. I won’t let you meet the boy anymore.“
Shun returned to the factory with the torn hijab in his hand. Nishi saw and approached him.
“Are you alright?”
“My friend’s hijab. It’s torn.”
“Is it very precious?”
“This meant so much to her.”
Nishi looked as Shun headed back to his room, feeling sad.
Rania told her father about what Sato has done.
“He’s doing all these for your own good. I’ve heard stories about those people living in the southern side of that bridge. Heed our advice, okay? Even though they were trying to protect you, they too, feel sorry towards your torn hijab.”
“Dad, don't believe in such rumours. Both you and mum taught me to be nice to everyone.”
Chapter 6: Hope
Rania sat at the corner of the room as she hugged her torn hijab.
“Mum… I’m sorry for not being able to protect your hijab you’ve given me…”
Rania overheard Sato telling her father about Shun.
“No…Shun-kun is not that kind of person… He’s the nicest friend I’ve ever met.”
“Nishi-san, I wish to make a silk hijab for my friend!”
“To master the WAZA is not easy, Shun. It requires a lot of practice and patience.”
“I’m willing to accept any challenges, so please...” Shun bowed.
“Alright. I’ll let you do it. I want you to take this seriously and do not ever think of slacking off, alright?”
Shun nodded as he gave his word.
Everyone gathered for dinner. Nishi announced to everyone that Shun will be doing up a silk hijab starting from tomorrow.
“We are here for you, Shun!” Everyone at the factory cheered for him.
“By the way, Shun, I need you to accompany me to deliver some silk textiles to one of our customer staying at hotel, it’s quite heavy so I need your help.” said Hide.
Chapter 7: Awaits
Both Shun and Hide reached outside of the hotel.
A while later, that customer arrived. Hide conversed with him.
“Wow, it look so beautiful!”
“Boss, thank you for the purchase.”
Shun looked around and then, he saw a familiar figure sitting at a bench looking bored. Shun noticed her head covered with a pink hijab.
“Rania-chan!” Shun called out her name in a small voice.
“It’s me, Shun. I’m surprised to see you here!”
“Shun-kun…” Tears welled up in her eyes as she started talking.
She was unable to go out and meet him due to Sato's discrimination against people in the southern side.
Rather than being angry for Sato’s discrimination towards people like him, he was infuriated with Sato for making Rania sad.
“Rania-chan, I’ll write a letter to you from now onwards.”
“Really? I’m looking forward to your letter, Shun-kun.”
After the conversation with the customer ended, Hide and Shun headed back.
The following day, Shun met his childhood friend, Taro. Even though he comes from a rich family and lives in the north side, Taro is Shun's best friend.
“You want me to pass your letter to her?” asked Taro.
“Yes, can you help me?”
“Well, sure, no problem, Shun. What are friends for, right?” They gave each other a fist bump as usual before parted ways.
Chapter 8: Determination
Taro successfully delivered the letter Shun wrote to Rania. She handed over her handwritten letter over to Taro.
“Thank you, Taro-kun.”
“How about this, Nishi-san?” asked Shun.
“It is not good at all. Do it again.”
Day by day, Shun would ask Nishi for his approval yet he would ask him to do it again.
“Should I do this way…? ” Shun thought about how he could improve on his technique the whole day.
As night fell, Nishi noticed Shun was still at the factory.
“Shun? Why are you still here? It’s already late. You should be in bed. Resting is also part of your job.”
“I’m sorry, Nishi-san. I’m still…” Nishi saw the hijab he was holding.
“Shun, come and sit here.”
Shun walked towards Nishi and sat beside him.
"WAZA is not only about technique.
There are a lot of singers who attain success with their debut hit song compared to other songs, right? It is similar to that.
You cannot touch a person’s heart just with your skills.
Shun, apart from your skills, put your heart and soul in your artwork.
Do it while thinking of your dear friend."
Chapter 9: Letter
“I DID IT!”
After receiving a nod of approval from Nishi, he finally succeeded in making a silk hijab. The workers were so happy and shared his joy.
“Good job, Shun. Only you are able to do up such a heartfelt hijab.”
“Thank you very much, Nishi-san.”
Sato was smoking outside the hotel when he happened to see Rania and a boy were talking.
“From his attire, he looks like someone from the northern side but… I smell something fishy here…”
Sato followed the boy as he headed out.
“Here’s your letter.” Taro handed it over to him.
Shun and Taro were talking when a voice bellowed from behind.
“So, this is what you have been doing all these while?”
Both of them turned around and saw Sato with such an unpleasant smile on his face.
Sato snatched the letter from Shun, glancing through the content.
“I said don’t get your hopes up, didn’t I?” Sato tore the letter in front of them.
“My letter!” Shun shouted.
“How could you rip Shun’s letter!” Taro too, lost his cool.
“You are from the northern side, right? You should choose a wise friend properly.”
Meanwhile, Rania decided to tell her father everything.
“Dad, I wish to show you the letters he wrote to me. I hope that through these letters, you are able to see that he is a nice person.”
“Alright, my dear. I’ll read it.”
Chapter 10: Thank You
Rania successfully sang the song she practised with Shun, in front of her father.
“Shun-kun was the one who taught me Japanese, Dad.”
In all the letters, Shun wrote nothing but encouraging words for Rania. As her father scanned them through, he felt a tinge of guilt.
“I was wrong to judge him based on where he was born and believed in all these rumours.”
“Dad, allow me to meet Shun-kun, please?”
“Shun! Your friend from abroad is here.” Hide called Shun.
“Pass this to her…” Nishi handed over the hijab to Shun.
Shun hurried out and saw Rania standing outside with a man, whom he thought might be her father.
Their faces lighted up upon seeing each other. Rania introduced Shun to her father.
“Shun-kun… I wish to apologize for what happened… I’ve heard about Sato’s discrimination towards you. I have reported his actions to his superior. So, do not worry.”
Shun bowed politely.
“Rania-chan, I have something to give you. See if you like it.”
As soon as she opened the packaging, she burst into tears.
“This… Shun-kun, you are giving me a hijab? And it’s same colour as my mum’s…“
“Yes, I made it for you.”
Her father held the other end of the hijab. He was instantly fascinated by its smooth texture and something that was beyond explanation.
“Is this made of silk?”
Shun nodded. Then, Nishi came out from the factory and greeted Rania's father. Nishi began explaining about what YAMATO does and washable silk.
“Shun-kun, even if one day I go back home, will you still remember me?” asked Rania.
“Of course I will, Rania-chan. You are my friend. I will never forget you.”
Rania’s father suddenly thought of an idea and consulted Nishi.
“Nishi-san, can I purchase same hijab as Rania’s? I’m intending to give this as a gift to the Sultan’s wife in my home country.”
“Sultan’s wife? We are honoured to create one for you, sir!”
Nishi and Shun exchanged a brief look of excitement.
She noticed a message that came along with the hijab.
@Ryota - Chief Editor
@Nur Azimah - Story Teller
Jared - Painter
With the help of Yamatou Textile factory in Kyoto, we actually made “Washable Silk Hijab” which is depicted in this book.
An invention that uses WAZA technique.
It is our pleasure as you remember about this “Washable Silk Hijab” while giving it as a gift for yourself or your loved ones.
Proceeds will be used to support this activity in delivering this story to everyone.
If you like our story, please share! ARIGATO~