On my way to our research lab through the campus’ main gate, I walked past a wave of young bachelor students leisurely walking towards the station.
It was the evening hour after school and the 5 PM chime added more clamor to the busy streets of Ookayama. Among the sea of strolling students in their white cotton tops and neon summer get-ups were a few couples holding each other’s hands and shyly looking down. As the setting sun made these young lovebirds look even more cinematic at the golden hour, I could not help but to reminisce about my personal college chick flick stories that somehow all began during the summer months.
The start of August marks the end of the first semester in Tokyo Tech, and while many were excited about fireworks displays and barbecue parties in the summer during the pre-pandemic days, I have always preferred to just stay inside. As much as I enjoy cooling myself with licks of popsicle sticks in the humid Tokyo summer, I just find being sweat-free in an airconditioned room more suitable. As I think about it, I only realized now that I spent much of my student life’s summer breaks inside the well-ventilated and centrally airconditioned library of Tokyo Tech. Since schoolwork during this mid-year vacation is relatively scarce, the solitary stays at the library in my younger years musing about summer flings were rather abundant.
There is something in the summer sunshine that somehow sparks the flame of young romance. Whether it is the heat, the sweat, or the sheer itch of a college student’s desire, the love bug flies around and those it lands on will be lovesick in no time. As a preview of my own coming-of-age stories, I will voluntarily embarrass myself with a collection of cheesy college love poems I all wrote at the Tokyo Tech library, appropriately nicknamed as the “Cheesecake”. Coupled with some Instagram-ready snapshots of various Tokyo Tech spots, these love letters yellowing with antiquity go as far back as 2014. So, dive in with caution and get ready to drown in melodrama and pure cringe.
As summer break officially starts in the middle of the pandemic, everybody is finding their own way to have a good time. Many may stay still, some may try something new, and a few may try a fling or two. No one has to look far, even the cicadas join together in a chorus after seventeen years of waiting, praying to attract potential partners as far as a mile away. In the age where romance now rests upon a simple swipe left or swipe right, be careful when you catch the summer season’s love fever. The symptoms are not as bad as COVID-19 but it sure does make you write cheesy love poems.