Rumic Theater
As Long As You Are Here
Japanese Title: Kimi ga iru dake de
Originally Published In: Big Comic Original 1999 February

Summary: Mr. Domoto is a proud and stern businessman whose eye is always on the bottom line. He seems tailor made for life in the high stakes corporate world. Then, one day, his company goes out of business and he finds himself back home and out of a job. His wife has kept herself busy working at a small restaurant, but she has recently fallen ill and has been unable to go to work. With nothing else to do, Mr. Domoto decides to fill in for his ailing wife at the restaurant.

Meanwhile at work, the employees seem to be up in arms about the the newest employee, a young exchange student from Thailand named Achara. Achara's Japanese seems limited to "I don't understand Japanese." Not long afterwards Mr. Domoto arrives and it becomes clear that his hard-nosed boardroom demeanor is not going to work well at the small shop. Between Achara's lack of Japanese and Mr. Domoto's cold personality the store manager has his hands full keeping his customers business. The store manager ultimately puts Mr. Domoto in a giant rabbit suit in an attempt to make him seem less intimidating, but even that fails when he winds up attacking a punk who insulted Achara for being foreign.

Mr. Domoto is overhears the store manager's frustrations with him one day, and walks off feeling very hurt. Achara finds him and comforts him as he breaks into tears as he realizes how poorly suited he is for his new job. He realizes how much Achara has inspired him to keep trying. After all she has come all the way to Japan, and her Japanese has improved by leaps and bounds since he met her. Mr. Domoto returns to the store and apologizes to the manager. He has finally swallowed his pride.

Some months later Mr. Domoto finds a new job in another office and his wife returns to work. He still frequents the shop to see Achara, who inspired him so much when he was at his lowest point.