卯酉東海道 ~ Retrospective 53 minutes

The long-awaited! Ok, I really shouldn’t be kidding myself, I’m probably the only one that was looking forward to this wonderful work’s completion. *cries in a corner*

Notes:
If the English subtitle is almost exactly the same as a translation of the above, I’ll leave it alone, but otherwise I’ll put a translation of the Japanese in parentheses on the right.

(Track 2):
For brevity, and because they really are names, after introducing the “Eastern Seaboard” and “East-To-West Eastern Seaboard” rails, they are written as Toukaidou and Bouyuu-Toukaidou respectively.
The Jinki Era is (724.2.4-729.8.5 CE) however, because this takes place in a slightly alternate reality/alternate future the exact dates aren’t important.

(Track 3):
As for “places like Shinjuku and Shibuya” which have nothing at all to do with a historical feel (trust me, I’ve been there) I think it’s safe to say that in Renko’s Japan the capital was moved from Tokyo to Kyoto rather than Kyoto to Tokyo and that you can view the cities as switched. Kyoto is the place with all the historical buildings. (Or from a futuristic perspective it moved from Kyoto to Tokyo and then back to Kyoto).

Higan-mairi, generally speaking, is visiting a temple during the vernal/autumnal equinox – related to Buddhism.

(Track 4):
Higan is again a period during the vernal/autumnal equinox where events are held related to Buddhism, usually you visit a temple.

(Track 5):
Aokigahara is the forest around Mount Fuji, a popular suicide spot, and strangely, eerily quiet – it gave me chills just looking down at it from above… So I can understand Merry here.

(Track 6):
Hachiman/Yawata-no-kami is a Shinto/Buddhist diety, with the second largest number of shrines dedicated to him (after Inari), the largest of which is the Usa Shrine, in Usa located in Kyushu (the song title uses Usa as a name, so it probably refers to Hachiman). Usa/Hachiman is somehow related to Tewi (this could be due to the fact that Usa starts “usagi” which is “rabbit” and the second symbol in “Hachiman” (幡) is part of Tewi’s surname (Inaba 因幡)), who lies a lot. Also, Usami Renko’s surname (宇佐見) uses the same characters used to write Usa (宇佐). “Most Famous Hero” would refer to Hachiman because he is the primary deity of the Minamoto Warrior Clan (who ruled from Kamakura), and because he was said to give guidance to warriors, etc.

Somehow the saying for “shelved” is almost identical in Japanese and English, so the pun stays mostly intact – however there’s another pun linking to it. Rather than “shelf” Japan uses “shed” and the name Kamakura means “shed of sickles/scythes”.

It probably doesn’t need much more of an explanation, but Hokusai and Hiroshige were both print makers famous for views of Mount Fuji among other things.

(Track 8):
“townies, militants, and firefighters” == merchants, samurai, lower-class-samurai. Though firefighter may seem strange and irrelevant, it was a common post for lower-class samurai, including Hiroshige for instance.

(Track 9):
“So the city still has those sorts of unrefined plebeian amusements?” Yeah, I wanted to punch Merry too – but I’ve always been on Renko’s side from page 1, so this only reinforces my opinion.

You don’t believe me, but they exist: [food-theme-parks-wiki-page (jpn)]

“long ago”←→”nowadays” disparity: I attribute it to a subtle narrator shift, on one hand addressing the time of Merry and Renko (in the alternate future) and another addressing the audience. Part of me felt like correcting it, but I decided to leave it.

If you have any questions about specific terms used just ask and I’ll add an explanation to the notes.

卯酉東海道 ~ Retrospective 53 minutes
 Bouyuu-Toukaidou ~ Retrospective 53 minutes
 East to West Eastern Seaboard Route ~ Retrospective 53 minutes

 1.ヒロシゲ36号 (Hiroshige, Rail-car #36)
    Neo Super-Express

 ヒロシゲは二人を乗せて東へ走る。音もなく、揺れもなく、ただひたすら東に走る。

The Hiroshige, carrying both girls, raced towards the east. It went forward without a sound, without swaying or shifting, directly east.

 四人まで座れるボックス型の席には空きも多く見られ、二人で座っていたとしても相席
を求められる事は無かった。朝の反対方向は芋洗いの様に通勤の人でごった返すが、東京
行きは空いている。二人にとっては好都合だった。

Looking down the aisle, you could see that a lot of the four seat boxes were empty, so no one would have minded if two took one to themselves. The morning train in the opposite direction was packed, but this one headed for Tokyo was nearly empty. They couldn’t have asked for better.

 車窓から春の陽気が入ってくる。最新型のこの新幹線は全車両、半パノラマビューが一
つの売りである。半パノラマビューとは上下を除いた全てが窓、つまり新幹線の壁は殆ど
窓で、まるで大きなガラスの試験管が線路の上を走っている様な物だ。
 進行方向と反対に座っている金髪の少女の左手には、見渡す限りの美しい青の海岸、
右手には建物一つ無い美しい平原と松林が広がっていた。

Sunlight was starting to creep in through the window. One of the selling points of this new model bullet train was that every car had a “half-panoramic view”. With the exception of the roof and floor, everything was window. In other words, most of the wall of the train was window, and it seemed like a giant glass test tube was racing along the track.

From the perspective of one blonde haired girl sitting in a seat facing the rear end of the train, there was a beautiful blue coastline extending as far as the eye could see on her left, with beautiful level plains and a pine forest spreading out on her right – not a building in sight.

 出発から25分ほど経っただろうか、遠くに雲の傘を破った富士の山が見えた。
 まるで仙人でも住んでいそうな厳かな姿をしている。

It had been about twenty five minutes since their departure, and they could already see Mount Fuji breaking through the clouds far off in the distance. It had such a sublime, majestic shape that one couldn’t help but think it was inhabited by mystics.

 富士山復興会の努力により、近年になって漸く世界遺産に認定された富士だが、ヒロシ
ゲから見えているこの富士の方が何倍も荘厳に見える。
 というのも、ヒロシゲのパノラマビューから見ると、高層ビルも送電線も高架橋も何一
つ見つけられないのも一つの理由だろう。

Due to the efforts of the Mount Fuji Restoration Project, Mount Fuji had finally in recent years been designated as a “global heritage location”, but this view from the Hiroshige made it look many times more magnificent.
Perhaps one reason was that when you looked out from the Hiroshige’s panoramic view, you couldn’t find a single skyscraper, structured bridge, or even power line in the distance.

 富士どころか、左手に見える海岸だって、世界遺産に一ダースほど認定されてもまだ足
りないくらい美しい。東海道はこんなにも美しいのだ。

Even setting aside Mount Fuji, the coastline on the left was so beautiful, if it were specified for global heritage a dozen times it wouldn’t be enough. I didn’t imagine the eastern seaboard could be this beautiful.

 だが、この卯酉新幹線『ヒロシゲ』から見えている極めて日本的な美しい情景も、金髪
の少女、メリーにとっては退屈な映像刺激でしかなかった。

However, to the blonde haired girl Merry, even this extremely beautiful Japanese landscape in view from the East-West “Hiroshige” Bullet train, was nothing more than a tiring picture show.

 2.53ミニッツの青い海
    Blue Sea for 53 minutes

「ヒロシゲは席は広いし、早く着くし便利なんだけど……
 カレイドスクリーンの『偽物の』景色しか見られないのは退屈ねぇ」

“The Hiroshige has wide seats and it’s really fast and convenient, but… it’s boring that all you can see is this ‘fake’ kaleido-screen view.”

  「これでもトンネルに映像が流れるようになって、昔の地下鉄よりは明るくなったのよ。
   まるで地上みたいでしょ?」

“Still, because of the tunnel projection it’s a lot brighter than the older subway systems you know. This way it’s like we’re riding above ground.”

「地上の富士はここまで綺麗じゃないかも知れないけど、それでも本物の方が見たかったわ。
 これなら旧東海道新幹線の方が良かったなぁ」

“Even if the real Mount Fuji up above the ground isn’t as beautiful as this one, I’d still rather see the real thing. It would have been better if we had just taken the old eastern-seaboard bullet train.”

  「何を贅沢言ってるのよ。旧東海道なんて、
   もう東北人とインド人とセレブくらいしか利用していないわよ。
   ま、メリーは東北人にのんびりしているかも知れないけどね」

“Really! The old Toukaidou? What are you acting all extravagant for? The only people that use that nowadays are North-easterners, Indians, and celebrities you know? Well, I guess you do laze about like those North-easterners do.”

「セレブですわ」

“No, I’m a celebrity.”

――卯酉東海道が出来たのは、二人が生まれる前の事である。

–The East-to-West Eastern-Seaboard Rail, the Bouyuu-Toukaidou, was completed before either of us were born.

 神亀の遷都が行われてから、大量の人間が東京と京都を行き来する必要が生まれた。旧東
海道だけではすぐに交通インフラに限界が来て、政府は急ピッチに新しい新幹線の開発に取
りかかったのだ。

Ever since the relocation of the capital during the Jinki Era, it became necessary for a large amount of people to travel between Tokyo and Kyoto. Very soon the older Toukaidou rail reached the limits of its original design and so the government pitched plans for a new bullet train.

 そして完成したのが、東京―東京間を53分で繋ぐ卯酉新幹線『ヒロシゲ』である。この
新幹線は、京都―東京を通勤圏内にし、あっという間に日本の大動脈となった。

The end result was this Bouyuu-Toukaidou “Hiroshige” that ran between Tokyo and Kyoto in just 53 minutes. With this new bullet train, Kyoto and Tokyo were within each others’ commuting range and the rail became an instant lifeline of Japan.

 驚くべき事に、卯酉新幹線の全てが地下に、そして直線的に作られている。始点から終点
まで、空も海も、山も森も、太陽も月も、何も見ることは出来ないのだ。

Surprisingly, all of the Bouyuu-Toukaidou line runs underground, forming a straight line from start to finish. There’s no place at all where you can see the sky or sea, mountains or forests, the sun or moon, or anything at all.

 3.竹取飛翔 (Bamboo Cutter’s Flight)
    Lunatic Princess

「あっという間に着くのは良いけど、
 こんな偽物の景色を見てるだけじゃ蓮子は退屈じゃないの?
 夜は夜で空に浮かぶのは偽物の満月、ってのもなんかねぇ。
 東海道も昔は53も宿場町があったというのに、
 今は53分で着いちゃうのよ?昔よりも道のりも長いのに。
 こうなっちゃうと、もう旅とは呼べないわよねぇ」

It’s fine that we’ll get there in no time, but don’t you find looking at this fake landscape boring Renko? If we were riding at night, there would have been a fake full moon floating up in the sky. That doesn’t bother you? There used to be fifty three inn towns along the old eastern seaboard for travelers and now it only takes fifty three minutes? Even though the actual route now from Kyoto, distance-wise, is longer than before. You can’t really call it a trip anymore.”

 「道中が短くなっただけで、旅行は旅行よ。東京観光巡りは面白いわよ?
  京都と違って新宿とか渋谷とかには歴史を感じる建物も多いしね。
  そういう観光の時間が増えたと思えば良いじゃない」

“Even if the way is short, a trip is still a trip you know. Sightseeing in Tokyo is fun you know? Unlike Kyoto, there are places like Shinjuku and Shibuya where there are a lot of buildings that have a real historical feel to them. If you think of it as having more time to sightsee then there’s no problem right?”

「はいはいそうですね。
 あーあ、偽物の満月には、太古の兎が薬を搗いている姿が見えるのかなぁ」

“Yeah, I guess you’re right. Ah, but I wonder if you’d be able to see the same ancient rabbit grinding medicine up on the fake moon as well…”

 「そうそう、こんな話してる?
  実は、ヒロシゲは最高速を出せば53分も掛からないらしいんだけど、
  わざわざ53分になる様に調整したらしいよ?」

“Oh, did you know that if the Hiroshige were to go at full speed it would reach the end of the line in less than 53 minutes? It’s just set that way on purpose.”

「一分一泊ね。その調子なら三週間で老衰だわ。短い旅ねぇ」

“Oh right, one minute per night’s stay. Ugh, if it went that slow I wouldn’t have lasted more than three weeks. I guess it really is a short trip.”

 宇佐見蓮子とマエリベリー・ハーン(メリー)の二人は、大学の休みを利用して、蓮子の
実家である東京へ旅行する事になった。
 旅行と言っても蓮子の彼岸参りに便乗するだけだが、まだ東京に行った事が無いメリーは、
今回の東京旅行を非常に楽しみにしていた。

Both Usami Renko and Maribel Hearn (Merry) took time out of one of their university breaks to go visit Renko’s parents’ house in Tokyo. That said, Merry, who had never been to Tokyo before, was really just tagging along with Renko who was going for Higan-mairi. Still, she was really looking forward the the trip.

 道中の景色も楽しみだったのだが、あいにく卯酉東海道は全線完全地下の新幹線である。

She was also looking forward to the journey itself, but unfortunately the whole length of the Bouyuu-Tokaidou rail ran underground.

 それでも、昼間の外と同じくらいの光が窓から射し、そして外には美しい富士と太平洋が
映し出されていた。

Still, It was bright as if it were noon, with light streaming through the windows, and you could see a beautiful Mount Fuji and Pacific Ocean.

 それが、卯酉東海道最大の売りと予算を使った装置『カレイドスクリーン』だった。

That “kaleido-screen” was the number one selling point of the Bouyuu-Tokaido line.

 4.彼岸帰航 (Higan Retour – Return from the Further Shore)
    Riverside View

 「メリー。
  東京のお彼岸には変わった風習があるのよ。知ってた?」

“Merry. You know there’s a strange custom we have for Higan in Tokyo – have you heard of it?”

「ええ?どういうの?」

“Huh? No I haven’t – what sort of custom?”

 「お墓参りと一緒にね。
  お墓の周りの結界のほつれを見つけて、冥界参りもするのよ。
  お盆が冥界からご先祖様が帰ってくるでしょう?
  だからお返しに彼岸には、こっちから挨拶に行くの」

“Well it’s the same as a grave visit. You find frayed portions of barriers around grave sites and visit the world of the dead. You know how during the Bon festival your ancestors come back to visit? So in return, during Higan we go and visit them.”

「そうなの?
 あらいやだ、何の準備もしていないわよ。何で言ってくれなかったのよ」

“Really? Ahh… I’m not ready for something like that! Why didn’t you say so earlier?”

 「嘘だからよ。
  でも、折角だから、するよ?」

“Well, because I was just lying. But I mean, since we’re going all this way we might as well do it right?”

 卯酉東海道は、最も効率よく東京の人間を京都に運ぶ為だけに作られた。
 だから、駅は二つしか作られていない。

Since the Bouyuu-Tokaidou line was created for the sole purpose of being the most effective means to move people from Tokyo to Kyoto, there were only two stations built.

 卯東京駅(ぼうとうきょう)と酉京都(ゆうきょうと)駅の二箇所だけである。
 つまり、始点と終点意外は駅が無い。
 二人が酉京都駅を出発して、すでに36分ほど経っている。

There were just the East-Tokyo Station and the West-Kyoto Station. In other words there were only stations at the start and end of the line. Since they had departed at the West-Kyoto Station, 36 minutes had already passed.

 外の景色は、歌川広重が見て歩いただろう東海道、その物だった。
どこまでもどこまでも美しい。空と海と、富士の山。五十三の宿場町。

The landscape outside was that of the Utagawa Hiroshige once saw as he walked from Tokyo to Kyoto along the eastern seaboard. Everywhere you looked everything was beautiful. The sky and the sea, Mount Fuji, and each of the fifty three stops along the way.

 5.青木ヶ原の伝説 (The Legend of Aokigahara)
    Forbidden Forest

「あ、今……」

“Ah, Just now…”

 「どうしたの?メリー、急に怖い顔をして……」

“What’s wrong Merry? You looked frightened all of a sudden…”

「急に顔が重くなった気がしたの。
 蓮子は感じない?ここら辺の空間は少し他と感じが違うわよ。
 それに結界の裂け目も見える……スクリーン制御プログラムのバグかしら」

“It’s just that I felt heavy all of a sudden… Don’t you feel it too Renko? Space here seems a bit different from everywhere else. I can also see breaks in the barrier… You don’t think it’s a bug in the screen control program?”

 「ああ、それはきっとここが霊峰の下だからよ。
  少しは空気も違う、いや時空すらも異なるかも知れないわね。
  過敏なメリーにはちょっと緊張が走るかも知れないわ」

“Ah, that’s probably because we’re under Mount Fuji, a sacred mountain. The air here, no, even the time-space here is probably a bit different than in other places. You’re overly sensitive to things like that so I wouldn’t be surprised if it made you a bit nervous.”

「なるほど、富士山の地下ね。
 なら判らないでもないわ。昔から富士の地下には冥界の入り口があるって言うもんね。
 でも、富士山って火山でしょう?そんな地下にトンネルなんて掘って大丈夫なのかなぁ」

“Under Mount Fuji huh.. Well I guess that makes sense. It’s been said that there’s an entrance to the world of the dead under Mount Fuji. But isn’t Mount Fuji a volcano? Is it safe to run a tunnel under something like that?”

 「心配性ね。そういう時はお酒でも飲んで考えるのをやめましょう?
  富士が世界遺産に認定された時に休火山から死火山になったと判定されたでしょう?」

“You really do get worried easily don’t you. Why don’t you just drink some sake or something and stop thinking about it? When Mount Fuji was designated as a global heritage location they determined it wasn’t a dormant volcano anymore, but an extinct one you know?”

 とにかく東京と京都を結ぶ事だけを考えて設計した卯酉東海道だったが、政府は霊峰富士の真下に穴を開けるという、恐れ多き事態だけは避けた。

At any rate, the Bouyuu-Toukaidou was constructed only with tying Tokyo and Kyoto together in mind, but even the government wasn’t about to do something as reckless as opening a hole under a spiritual mountain like Mount Fuji.

 卯酉東海道は、富士を避け、樹海の地下を走っている。

The Bouyuu-Toukaidou avoids Fuji, but runs right under the sea of trees that encircles it.

 ただ、樹海には古くから良くない言い伝えが多く、樹海の真下を走るというだけで新幹線
の運行や乗客数に影響が出てしまうかも知れない。

However, since ancient times there have been a lot of ill legends about the forest, so running right under it probably would have affected fares and the number of customers willing to ride.

 そう考え、樹海の真下を走っているという事は一般には明かされなかった。

So of course, the fact that the line runs right under such a forbidden forest was not released to the public.

 6.お宇佐さまの素い幡 (The White Flag of Usa)
    Most Famous Hero

 「あはは。朝からお酒が美味しいわね。
  そういえばこの新幹線、最初は京都と東京だけじゃなくて、
  鎌倉にも駅を作る予定だったらしいよ?」

“Ahaha, morning sake really is great! Anyway, did you know? Apparently this line originally wasn’t only planned to connect Kyoto and Tokyo but was going to have a station in Kamakura as well!”

「蓮子は物知りねぇ」

“You sure do know a lot Renko.”

 「そりゃ、物知りだもの。
  なんでも、三つの都を繋いで名前も繋都(けいと)新幹線にしたかったんだって」

“Well I guess so. I heard they really wanted to name the line Keito, ‘connecting all three capitals’.”

「暖かそうな新幹線ね。って、鎌倉は都じゃないでしょ?
 それに鎌倉って、京都と東京の間にしては東京寄り過ぎじゃないの」

“That has a nice ring to it doesn’t it.. wait, but Kamakura was never the capital was it? And besides, compared to the distance between Kyoto and Tokyo isn’t Kamakura really close to Tokyo?”

 「ま、そういう理由でお蔵入りになったらしいんだけどね」

“Yeah, apparently that’s the reason that plan was shelved.”

「そんなこと、最初から判りそうなものなのに……。
 蓮子は誰かに嘘情報吹き込まれたんじゃないの?八幡様が好きな誰かに」

“You’d think that’s something that would be obvious from the start…. Are you sure someone hasn’t been giving you false information? Someone who’s a big fan of Hachiouji?”

 「そういえば、『お蔵入り』の蔵って、何の蔵なのか知ってる?」

“You know, thinking about it – we say “shelved” but I wonder what sort of shelf those things are put away on…?”

 富士と言えば北斎の『富嶽三十六景』が有名であるが、北斎は富士を幾ら描こうとも満足
することはなかった。富嶽三十六景は実際には四十六枚ある事からも判る。

When Fuji comes to mind, Hokusai’s “36 Views of Mount Fuji” is famous, but Hokusai was never satisfied when it came to drawing pictures of Fuji. In fact, 36 Views of Mount Fuji was originally supposed to have 46.

 自分の半分くらいの年齢しか無い、若い広重が『東海道五十三次』を出版し、それが人気
を博すと、過去に三十六景を出したというのに、負けじと北斎は『富嶽百景』を出版した。
その位、富士に魅入られていたのだ。

Then Hiroshige, someone less than half his age published “53 Stops Along The Eastern Seaboard” and gained fame. Even though Hokusai had already published 36, not wanting to lose to Hiroshige, he published “100 views of Mount Fuji”. To devote that much time to it, he really must have been taken with that mountain.

 しかし、広重もまた、富士に魅入られた者だった。

But then again, so was Hiroshige.

 7.月まで届け不死の煙 (Reach to the Moon, Immortal Smoke)
    Elixir of Life

何にしても現代の日本は広重を選んだのだ。
卯酉新幹線ヒロシゲは、地下を東に走り続ける。今はちょうど鎌倉辺りだろうか。

At any rate, today’s Japan picked Hiroshige. The Hiroshige rushed underground along the Bouyuu-Toukaidou line. Now, they were probably somewhere near Kamakura.

「ねぇ蓮子。トンネルスクリーンに映ってる富士山って、
 ちょっとダイナミック過ぎないかしら?」

“You know Renko, this Mount Fuji projected on the tunnel screen, don’t you think it’s a little too dynamic?”

 「うーん。余りまじまじと実物を見た事がないから何とも言えないけど、
  こんな感じだと思うわよ?
  きっと、周りに人工物が殆ど映っていないと、こんな感じに見えるんじゃないかな」

“I don’t think so – I haven’t had much of a chance to take a serious look at the real thing so I can’t say for sure, but isn’t Fuji something like this? Well, since it’s not projecting anything man-made anywhere I guess the view isn’t quite the same…”

「この富士は、広重と言うよりは北斎かなぁ。
 スケールだって、オートマチックビデオリターゲッティングの
 処理された様な感じがするわ。
 リアリティよりインパクトを重視した様な気がする」

“This Fuji seems more like one of Hokusai’s rather than Hiroshige’s. With the scale and everything, it feels like there’s some sort of automatic video re-targeting process going on. Rather than reality I think they’re focusing more on impact.”

 「メリー、広重も北斎に対抗して、富士の三十六景を描いていたってのは知っている?」

“Merry, did you know that Hiroshige, opposing Hokusai, published 36 views of Mount Fuji as well?”

「あら、パクリ?インスパイア?」

“Really? was it plagiarism? inspiration?”

 「その名も、『富士(不二)三十六景』というの。しかも北斎の没後に出版したのよ」

“Even the name was “36 Views of Mount Fuji”, just spelled differently, and it was published right after Hokusai’s death.”

「あらあら」

“Oh wow…”

 建物の少ないカレイドスクリーンの景色では、富士山は霊験あらたかで、迫力のある姿を
見せていた。

Within this kaleido-screen landscape with few buildings in sight, Mount Fuji showed itself as great, magnificent, miraculous, and intense.

 本物の富士山も、富士山復興会の努力により今は綺麗である。本来の富士の姿の余りの迫
力に圧倒されたか、復興会の厳しい掟に嫌気がさしたか、山を登る人の姿も少なくなり、観
光協会が大打撃を受けたというのは皮肉だが。

The real Mount Fuji, due to the efforts of the Mount Fuji Restoration Project, is now beautiful as well. Naturally Fuji commands a great amount of intensity, but perhaps because of the stringent rules put forth by the restoration committee, you don’t see as many people climbing it, and ironically the sightseeing association has taken a big hit.

 日本が広重を選択したのは北斎の奇才を認める事が出来なかったからである。日本は狂気
を徹底的に嫌ったのだ。

Japan selected Hiroshige because it couldn’t recognize Hokusai’s genius. After all, Japan has a fundamental problem with insanity.

 だがしかし、もしこの新幹線がヒロシゲではなく、ホクサイだったとしたら、カレイドス
クリーンにはどういう情景を映し出されていただろうか。

However, if this bullet train was not called Hiroshige, but instead Hokusai, I wonder what sort of landscape the kaleido-screen would show?

 きっと、今よりも目的地に早く着く、36分間の狂気の幻想を楽しめたに違いない。

Well there’s no question about it is there? Surely you would be rushing along toward the final destination even faster, enjoying a thirty six minute fantasy of insanity.

 8.レトロスペクティブ京都
    Retrospective Kyoto

「もうすぐ東京かしら。
 やっぱり物足りないわね」

“I guess we’ll be reaching Tokyo soon. Still, this trip really feels like it’s missing something.”

 「確かにね。でも着く前に疲れなくて良いじゃない」

“Yeah, but at least we won’t be tired out before we arrive.”

「ま、東京見物できる時間が増えたから良いか。
 今日はどんなところを案内してくれるの?」

“Well, like you said, this way we’ll have more time to go sightseeing. So do you have planned for today?”

 「そう焦らないの。
  まずは実家に着いてから彼岸の墓参りを済ませて、
  荷物を置いてから見学に行きましょう?」

“Don’t get too far ahead of yourself. After we arrive at my parent’s house, first we’ll have to do a Higan grave visit. Once we’ve dropped off our luggage, why don’t we go and look around?”

「あれ?冥界参りに行くんだっけ?」

“So, you mean we’re going to visit the world of the dead?”

 「東京は、京都に負けず劣らずの霊都だから、きっと楽しいわ。
  メリーと一緒なら」

“Tokyo is no less a spiritual capital than Kyoto is, so I’m sure it’ll be fun. Well, as long as we’re together, right?”

アスファルトで固められた地震の罪も時効を迎え、東京の道のそこら中にひびが入っていた。

Though hardened with asphalt, having faced earthquakes and above all else the test of time, the streets of Tokyo were filled with cracks.

 環状線も一部が草原と化し、葉っぱもなく、茎と赤い花弁だけの奇妙な花が道を覆いつつあ
る。人口の減少と共に、自動車という前時代的な乗り物も減っていた。道がどうなろうと不便
な事は無かったのだ。

Part of the city’s encircling rail had become grassland, and mysterious leafless red petaled flowers were covering the roads. As the population had dwindled the number of outdated transportation devices called “automobiles” that used them had as well, so no one seemed to care about what happened to the roads anymore.

 派手な格好の若者達が、独自のルールを形成している事が特徴的な東京。
 町奴や旗本奴、火消しが暴れる町の様に……。

Tokyo had become a city where young flashy people lived according to their own rules. It has become a city of townies, militants, and firefighters running all over the place…

 東京は昔の姿を取り戻しつつある。

Tokyo was returning to the way it was long long ago.

 9.ラクトガール ~ 少女密室
    Locked Girl

 「京都と違って東京は田舎だから、懐かしい物が沢山あるのよ」

“Tokyo is really rural, unlike Kyoto, so there are tons of nostalgic things about.”

「例えば?」

“Like?”

 「閉塞感ある狭くて高いビルの中で遊ぶテーマパークとか、
   超大型ショッピングモールとか」

“Like the theme parks and huge shopping malls squeezed between all the clustered tall buildings..”

「良いわねぇ。その洗練されていない庶民的な娯楽がまだ残っているのね」

“That sounds fun – So the city still has those sorts of unrefined plebeian amusements?”

 「その辺、京都は厳しいからねぇ。
  娯楽と言えば新茶道とかしかないし」

“Well lately Kyoto’s been pretty uptight.
As for “amusements” all I can think of is that ‘new tea ceremony’.”

「あら、お茶は好きよ?
 あの茶室の密室さ加減が」

“Well I like tea you know?
And that locked up feel of the tea room is just right.”

 東京にはその昔、食のテーマパークが流行った時代があった。
 全国各地から美味しいと評判の店を持ってきて、一箇所に集めただけという何とも風情
の無いテーマパークだったが、それでも東京の人間には大好評だった。

Long ago in Tokyo there was a time when food theme parks were popular. There were shops boasting delicious food from all over the country, gathered all in one place. Maybe it lacked elegance, but it was really popular among the people living there.

 東京には、江戸時代の頃から、闘食会と呼ばれた死をも恐れない食の大会があった。そ
れを考えると、現代の東京で食のテーマパークが流行るのも当然の事である。

Even as far back as the Edo period, there were great eating competitions with fearless participants undaunted even by death. If you think about it that way, food theme parks being popular in Tokyo nowadays just makes sense.

 江戸の血を確実に引く東京の街。

The blood of Edo surely runs through the streets of Tokyo.

 本でしか見た事の無い、時代を超えた街、東京に近づくにつれて、メリーの気持ちがま
すます高揚した。

Drawing closer to a city that had passed age upon age, one she hadn’t seen except for in pictures in books, Merry’s excitement rose.

10.千年幻想郷 (Gensoukyou of a Thousand Years)
    History of the Moon

 「富士が小さくなっていくわ。もう東京は目の前ね」

“Fuji is getting smaller. You can already see Tokyo ahead.”

「蓮子の話を聞いていたら、なんだか楽しみになってきたわ。東京が」

“After listening to you talk, I’ve really started to look forward to Tokyo.”

 「そりゃ私の話だもの。
  でもね、京都に比べるとやっぱり、精神的に未熟な都市って感じは否めないわ」

“Well, it’s coming from me after all. Even so, I can’t deny that looking at it from a psychological-emotional standpoint, compared to Kyoto, Tokyo’s still immature as a city.”

「たまには馬鹿になるのも良いじゃない」

“Well it’s fine to be that way every once and a while.”

 「結界の切れ目もほったらかしだしね。
  千年以上も霊的研究を続けてきた京都とは大違いだから」

“The gaps in the boundary are all left as is around here. It’s a huge difference compared to Kyoto, which has been conducting spiritual research for over a thousand years.”

「あ、スタッフロールよ。
 こんな風景まで作者の権利を主張しようとするのねぇ」

“Ah, here comes the staff roll.
So they’re claiming their rights even over a landscape like this.”

 窓の外の景色に文字が浮かび上がっている。
 53分のカレイドスクリーンの映像が、終わりを迎えようとしていた。

Outside the window letters started to appear. The 53 minute kaleido-screen was reaching its end.

 本来、景色には誰の著作物である、という考え方は無い。さらに言うと、この映像は広
重が見たであろう東海道を基にしているのだ。

Naturally, you wouldn’t think a landscape as someone’s work of art, and this was supposedly based off of what Hiroshige saw on his journey along the Toukaidou.

 それでも、人間は自分の物だと主張する。乗客は皆、本物の景色ではないかと思って見て
いた立体的に、映像の制作者の名前が浮かんでは消え、消えては浮かんでいる。

Even so, humans were trying to put their name on it. All of the passengers, looking out at the landscape they might have taken for the real thing, saw creators names appear and disappear, disappear and appear.

 風景の真ん中に「Designed by Utagawa Hiroshige」と言う文章が浮かんだのを最後に、
世界は闇に閉ざされた。

At the very end, right in the middle of the scene the sentence “Designed by Utagawa Hiroshige” appeared, and then the world closed unto darkness.

11.最も澄みわたる空と海 (A Perfectly Clear Sky and Sea)

ハイダイナミックレンジの映像も
 極めて日本的な情景も、
  本物の空の色には敵わない。

Neither the high dynamic lens projection,
 Nor the penultimate Japanese landscape,
  Can match the true color of the sky.

という前時代的な認識を持つ人間は、もはや居ないだろう。
 ヴァーチャルの感覚は、リアルより人間の感覚を刺激する。
  夢と現は区別できない様に、人間と胡蝶と区別できない様に、
   ヴァーチャルとリアルは決して区別出来ない、と言うのが今の常識である。

There probably isn’t any one human left who holds such an outdated view.
 After all, virtual reality is more stimulating than actual reality.
  Just as dreams and reality cannot be differentiated,
   How humans and butterflies cannot be differentiated,
    It’s common sense that virtual reality and actual reality cannot be either.

言うまでもなく、ヴァーチャルが人間の本質なのだ。

And it goes with out saying, Humanity’s true nature is virtual.

  身は華と与に落ちぬれども
  心は香と将に飛ぶ

  Though the body may flutter to the ground like a flower petal
  The soul floats up into the sky like an incense.

                         –Kukai

53分間の他愛の無い会話の続きを地上でする為に、二人は東京駅を後にした。

Continuing their trivial 53 minute conversation above ground, the two girls put Tokyo Station behind them.

あとがき / Afterword

 初めまして、みたいなZUNです。

Nice to meet you, (or something along those lines) this is ZUN.

 この卯酉東海道は、展開無しでオチも無しですね。秘封倶楽部の二人が普段どういう会話を
しているのかを盗み聴いたという内容です。ある意味ハッピーエンド。

This Retrospective 53 Minutes has no development, and no plot points. It’s basically a narration by someone eavesdropping on an ordinary conversation between the two members of the Sealing Club, wondering what they’re talking about. Still, it’s a “Happy Ending” of sorts.

 隣の席に座っていた人が、二人の会話を聞いて心のなかで突っ込みを入れていただけです
ね。その突っ込みがナレーションです、ほんとか?
 二人は平均的な若者より、少しだけ頭が切れるみたいです。頭の良い女の子は格好良い。

The person sitting in the seat next to the girls listens and sort of acts the straight man to the girls based on what he’s thinking. That’s the narration. Yeah… really.
But those two really are sharp for their age. Smart girls are cool.

この話のテーマは、前回の夢違科学世紀と同じです。夢と現、ヴァーチャルとリアルのお話。
今のヴァーチャルをもっと頭の中で進めて想像してくださいまし。夢違より安心して聴ける
(読める)CDになってる、よね?

The theme of this story is the same as in Changeability of a Strange Dream: dreams and reality, virtual reality and actual reality. I would like you to imagine a more advanced form of virtual reality than is available today. This CD is one you can more comfortably listen to (or read) isn’t it?

 良く、アニメやゲームは猟奇的な犯罪が起こる度にやり玉に挙げられます、その都度、リア
ルとヴァーチャルの区別を付けろ、なんてお偉いさんが言ったり、誰だって区別してるに決ま
ってるだろ、なーんて言う訳ですが、そんなん無理です。と言うか付く筈が無い。

Often, in anime or games whenever a bizarre crime occurs, there’s a victim. In this case someone high and mighty would probably say “Properly distinguish between actual reality and virtual reality!”, or “This is something that everyone can do!” etc. etc. But that’s pointless. You shouldn’t be able to in the first place.

 天才は、夢で閃くという。心は体を捨て、現実の外に呼び出す事が出来ます。そこで得た知
識や経験は決して無駄ではない。ヴァーチャルとリアルの違いは、ソフトとハードの違いみた
いなもんです。分けて使う事は出来ません。

It is said that geniuses excel in dreams. The soul abandons the body and you can call upon things outside the realm of reality. The knowledge and experiences gained in the process aren’t meaningless. The difference between virtual reality and actual reality is really like the difference between soft and hard. You can’t properly divide things between the two.

 だってそうでしょう?

Don’t you think so too?

 そうでないと、音楽では人に影響を与えない事になってしまう。
 音楽におけるヴァーチャルとは、存在するであろう音楽を再現する事だから……。

If that weren’t the case, music wouldn’t have any effect on people.
The virtual reality you experience when listening to music is the result of replaying something that didn’t necessarily exist in the first place.

 音楽活動する以上、リアルとヴァーチャルを区別するなんて言わないで、
 区別出来ない事を意識した上で行動したい。

Once you’ve experienced music, don’t say anything about differentiating between actual and virtual reality, but instead act with the knowledge that it can’t be done.

                     上海アリス幻樂団 ZUN(旅に出たい)
        Shanghai Alice Illusionary Orchestra ZUN (I want to go on a journey)

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  1. This is… so amazing. Im impressed in all the work and effort you’ve put into this! And I enjoyed it 100%. It was kind of difficult for me to understandsome parts, because I’m a spanish speaker and I have few knowledge about Japan. However, I loved this. You, my friend, are truly an amazing person.

    T.T Renko is so cute <3

    • n
    • November 23rd, 2010

    A bit late, but… this is awesome, thanks for the well-done translation! ZUN’s writing is always so nostalgic for some reason, and it’s also interesting to read his philosophical ramblings. Wish he’d release more Renko/Mary-related stuff.

    • Yeah, I’d really like to see more Renko/Maribel material as well. After I do Magical Astronomy there will be no more! D: I may just go back to Kourindou… Or write Renko fanfiction ∑d(゚∀゚d).

      At least we’ve got Ibara Kasen for now…

    • Kaena
    • January 21st, 2012

    Could it be that instead of the capital being moved once more, that Shinjuku and Shibuya are nostalgic because the story is set in the future? I know what you mean, they are very modern; but they are very modern now. What if they did not change much?

    • “Unlike Kyoto, there are places like Shinjuku and Shibuya where there are a lot of buildings that have a real historical feel to them.”

      Rather than nostalgia, it’s “This place has a lot of history” – It’s kind of like when you go to Europe and there are buildings hundreds of years old, and nothing has changed, or at least it feels like nothing has changed. Renko says that Tokyo is “rural”, and backs it up with describing clustered tall buildings and shopping malls and amusement parks. First of all rural doesn’t really coincide with “capital city” so the capital wouldn’t be in Tokyo, but in Kyoto in Renko and Merry’s world. But at the same time, her description for rural is like how Tokyo is now (albeit our Tokyo isn’t as deserted), which brings up the possibility that this is just set way in the future. However, Renko also mentioned a capital change in the Jinki Period which was when the capital originally changed, a really long time ago. So either you can assume that it changed and then changed back (but that’s not mentioned) or that the time periods are aligned differently or Tokyo was the original capital, or that no one remembers when or that Kyoto was the capital before Tokyo was the capital before Kyoto was the capital again.

      That’s why I suggested that either capital was moved twice, or just once from Tokyo to Kyoto because Kyoto’s the capital in Merry and Renko’s world which is the opposite of how it is now. But yeah, I basically agree with you about the nostalgia and change.

      Renko and Merry’s world is definitely “in the future” in terms of technology, but how much in the future, and is it a future derived from our present?

      I guess we’ll only get answers to these questions if ZUN keeps on writing stuff for them ^^

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