|First Mention||Chapter 11|
Mr. Seki becomes good friends with the owner of the miso factory he buys food supplies from, and Masumi Seki often goes on supply trips with him. This is a happy time during Seki's childhood, and he wants to inherit the store when he's older. However, the miso factory goes bankrupt and closes completely, causing the Seki store and family to go bankrupt as well. Seki begs his dad to reopen the store to make a little money, but Mr. Seki stubbornly spends his time drinking instead. After Seki's dad runs away and his mom struggles to pay rent on her own, Shimizu suggests he make and sell bento lunches, but Seki's phobia of fire renders him unable to use his family's portable stove. When Seki is 22, long after his dad has returned and he's overcome his own fear of fire, he tells his old friends at a school reunion that the two of them reopened the store together, although some readers question his honesty.