This is a su—per cute chapter about an outing to the Aquarium! Thanks to a co-worker agreeing to cover for him, Matsunaga-san is finally able to take a few days off for summer vacation, and he decides to take Shiharu and the kids someplace fun. So that the twins won’t be in danger of getting heatstroke, they try to think of something to do indoors, and the aquarium is the perfect fit! At the beginning of this chapter, Matsunaga-san looks like a serious Oji-san <3 I had a doki-doki moment of my own!
It seems like only Japanese aquariums have these “underwater tunnel” things? I’ve never seen one at an aquarium in the US, at least. The twins are so excited to see the fish swimming all around them and try their best to name all the kinds they can identify. When Shiharu points out a tuna, Matsunaga-san accidentally remarks that it looks delicious. After that, Shiharu apologizes to all the fish while crying and promises to be more respectful while eating them all in the future. After visiting a few more exhibits, Matsunaga-san suggests they eat lunch, and Shiharu whips out the lovingly hand-prepared bento she brought along. This time she made a really cute kyaraben (character bento), but all the pieces moved around a bit in transport, so Shiharu has to rearrange it quickly before they eat. The twins chow down as usual, but Shiharu gets a bit self conscious when, just then, she notices a boy asking his mom to buy him a potato in the food-court. She asks Matsunaga-san if it isn’t better to let the twins experience ‘eating out’ on special occasions like this, but he disagrees and tells her that once the twins grow up they’ll have plenty of chances to eat out, but eating hand-made food is something precious that they should enjoy while they can, and he thanks her for letting all of them experience ‘such luxury.’ Shiharu later praises Akane for how good she’s gotten at eating and it comes out that the twins’ 3rd birthday is coming up! Their birthday is in the end of September. After lunch, the group heads over to the area to watch a dolphin show, and are lucky enough to get front row seats even though it’s really crowded, because everyone else had been too modest to sit there (or perhaps too conscious of being in the splash-zone!) You can really see the difference in the twins’ personalities in this scene. Matsunaga-san can barely hang on to Akane because she’s so excited about the “HUGE FISHIES!” but Aoi-kun clings tightly to Shiharu at first and asks her if the dolphins are scary. The finale of the dolphin show involved a synchronized “big jump” featuring all 3 dolphins, and the resulting splash got Shiharu and co. completely soaked. Shiharu dries off the twins with some clean towels that suddenly materialized in her hands, and when she offered one to Matsunaga-san, he instead drapes it over her head, more concerned about her being wet than himself. *doki-doki* !!! Then the group heads over to the gift shop on their way out, where Matsunaga-san is recognized by a group of two middle aged ladies who are fans of his. They make a big fuss and ask him to take a picture with them. In order to avoid a scene, he asks them to go outside with him to take the picture where it won’t disturb the other shoppers (and where Shiharu and the twins won’t be noticed.) Some onlookers mention that there’s no way he’d be in a place like that by himself and wonder out loud if he’s on a secret date with his girlfriend or something. The twins get worried and ask where Matsunaga-san went, and Shiharu explains to them that he’ll meet back up with them in a bit and suggests they go stand outside to wait. While waiting, Shiharu thinks about how she’s come to see Matsunaga-san not as a famous person but a normal part of her life, and reflects on how weird it is to think that they’d be complete strangers if not for the twins. She remembers all the kind things he’s done for her, and the time they were mistaken for a married couple, and scolds herself for not being more vigilant that they won’t be recognized or mistaken again. When Matsunaga-san finally escapes from the middle-aged ladies and makes it back to where Shiharu and the twins are, she’s making a promise to herself that, because of how kindly Matsunaga-san smiles at her, she won’t do anything that would impose on that kindness.