Renko and Merry forever!

First I’m going to start off with a very important news announcement. You may have already heard, but:

鳥船遺跡~Trojan Green Asteroid
 Torifune Iseki
 Torifune Ruins

Will be the next Renko and Merry CD, and it comes out at the end of this month!!!! I promise to make translating it a priority.

This is a fan work that follows the same format as ZUN’s Merry and Renko CDs. It heavily references them, so while enjoyable on their own, I suggest that you read about Merry and Renko’s adventures [here] starting at 蓮台野夜行~Ghostly Field Club.

Sorry about the lack of posts and delay in answering comments, but I’ve had a bit of a busy week, and this took me a bit longer to translate than I thought it was going to. Plus, I’ve been a bit busy delving into the world of Haskell and going back to playing the piano some :3

Translated with a less strict, more readable paradigm in mind.

“Tohno” is constructed with the symbols “Far” and “Plain”

Renko’s theory on gravitation is wrong (Superpositioning and center of gravity and stuff: Gravity doesn’t work off the difference between masses but the combined pull of masses), but to preserve her integrity, I’m going to say she’s dumbing it down for Merry. THe “those with the same mass/weight wouldn’t affect each other gravitationally, is kind of not completely wrong in that because there is not a great amount of difference in mass the gravitational pull between humans is cancelled out by pretty much everything else.


I: Wayfarers go on a dreamy trip

01: Wayfarers / 少女秘封倶楽部|蓮台野夜行
02: Tohno soundscape / 遠野幻想物語|東方妖々夢
03: Folklore I / 芥川龍之介の河童~Candid Friend|東方風神録
04: Spirited away / 魔界地方都市エソテリア|東方星蓮船
05: Illusory scene in usual landscape / 明日ハレの日、ケの昨日|東方風神録

II: Odd scholars in the circle room

06: Astronomical observation / 夜空のユーフォーロマンス|東方星蓮船
07: Kaleidoscopic film projector / 幻想機械~Phantom Factory|夢違科学世紀
08: Folklore II / 蓬莱伝説|蓬莱人形
09: Parallel / 向こう側の月|大空魔術
10: Ouantum vacuum ocean / 夢と現の境界|夢違科学世紀

III: Hallucination

11: Galactic railroad / 大空魔術~Magical Astronomy|大空魔術
12: Terminal station / 衛星カフェテラス|大空魔術
13: Folklore III / 平安のエイリアン|東方星蓮船
14: Serene sky seen from the moon / 最も澄みわたる空と海|卯酉東海道
15: Pleasant occult circle / 少女秘封倶楽部|蓮台野夜行

I: Wayfarers go on a dreamy trip


Renko and Merry took the “Hiroshige” train from Kyoto to Tokyo, off again in search of gaps in the boundary between this world and the next. From Tokyo, they transferred to an older rail line that, unlike the one before, rattled back and forth loudly.


“No matter how the people of Tohoku like to take their time, it’s not like they don’t have any bullet trains. Why did you want us to take this local train so much?”

“I’d just gotten fed up with this new kind of train travel where all you get to see are pictures projected on a screen. In any case, bullet trains just go too fast for you to enjoy the scenery, you know?”

“But even if we took the bullet train, it still would have taken us hours for us to get all the way to Tohno.”

“Well, it’s not like we’re in any hurry. Let’s just enjoy ourselves.”

“I’ve got the feeling I’ve heard you say that before…”


Renko declared she wanted to go searching for a kappa a few weeks earlier. Ever since that one counseling session, Renko realized Merry had been unconsciously crossing over the boundary into another world. So lately, their occult club has been actively in search of a way to directly observe that “other side”


It’s natural to think there might be some sort of clue to crossing the worlds’ boundary in folklore. In Merry’s dreams, there were kappa and large rats, demons and other such fantastic creatures running all over the place. The more that is known about those sorts of things, the clearer the boundary that divides both worlds.

Speaking of kappa, the best place to go searching would be the same Tohno Renko and Merry had found looking for gaps in the boundary in Rendai-no. The plan was for Merry to tag along with Renko on the Higan-Mairi trip she takes every year to Tokyo, and from there, they would take a detour to visit Tohno once again.


Merry, whose eyes could see the gaps in dreams and boundaries and look beyond them, now stared tirelessly out the window, like an excited child. Renko on the other hand, stared at the panes of glass set between the train cars and enjoyed how their reflection of the landscape flowed backwards, in inverted reality.


The area now called “Tohno” was once a lake, and went by the name “Tohnup” or “The Lake with a Hill”. The valley of Tohno was underwater, and Mt. Hachiman was an island in its center.


“In the Ainu language, ‘toh’ is ‘hill’ and ‘nup’ is ‘lake’. Over time the pronunciation changed to the ‘Tohno’ that it is today.”

“You really do know a lot. I thought that it was ‘Tohno’ because it’s a ‘plain that you can see from far away’.”

“Well, that’s not exactly wrong either.”

“So… Why are we walking around in a place like this?”

“The usual kappa spots have become nothing more than tourist attractions nowadays. Most of the people that visit those places don’t don’t really believe kappa exist.”

“So, that’s why we’re out here in the absolute middle of nowhere…? But we’ve really been walking a long time. my feet are numb.”


“In Akutagawa Ryuunosuke’s ‘Kappa’ the protagonist lives in ‘The Land of the Kappa’.”

“Even if we find a kappa, I’d never want to live in a place like that.”

“I think it’s pretty interesting though. Better than living in this dreamless ego-ridden Japan.”

“Really? Japan’s actually not that bad. I mean, the food’s good and all.”

“Anyway, be on your guard if you come across something human-like with a red face. Tohno’s kappa are supposed to be red.”

“With only that description to go on, it could just be any old drunk.”

“But if it’s a drunk from Tohno, we might be able to get valuable information about the folklore.”

“Even if a drunk said he saw a kappa, it’s not like we should believe him. That’s the kind of story a tabloid would have run, back when they were popular.”

“Also, be careful not to run into a Tengu, You’ll get your arms and legs ripped off.”

“Hey, why don’t we give up on this whole ‘searching for kappa’ thing?”


On and on with such banter, the girls kept walking.


“It really is quiet today though.”

“Now that I think about it, it’s strange. Usually around this time all the insects would be making so much noise you’d want to plug your ears.”

“I wonder if they’re all asleep?”

“It’s still too early for them to be hibernating.”


Then suddenly, Renkoa and Merry felt as if they were being thrown into something.

Merry could see with her eyes a strange shadow, distinctly formed.


(You shouldn’t come this way yet, you should go.)


She heard this voice inside her head.
Rather than being scared or anxious, it put her at ease.


(Who are you? What lies ahead?)




(If I’m right… this place used to be an execution ground…)


Back and forth before their eyes, a light like a large firefly flickered, bending the space around it like an endless number of mirages. Renko tried to calmly analyze what was going on, but the both her field of vision and thoughts gathered noise, and as her consciousness lost its focus, she was unable to continue. Every time space bent it felt as if they were being drawn into the disturbance.


(Farewell, now and hereafter…)


“Who is this place, and where is my name?”

“Not funny – It looks like we fell asleep and kept on walking.”

“Then, we sleepwalked right into this ditch? That’s ridiculous.”

“I don’t really remember, but that’s probably just what happened.”

“Even so, this place is sort of all right. It sort of calms you down.”


After that, neither Renko or Merry said a word, and that was the end of their search.


Even though they weren’t able to find a kappa this time, Renko was sure that she had seen the other side of the boundary. Merry thought that the dream they just saw was an entrance to the world of the dead.


Both of them sat, seperately lost in thought, and they train they boarded was engulfed in the light of the setting sun.

II: Odd scholars in the circle room


“Haa… I’d love it if we could just get up and go to the moon.”


The Sealing Club was conducting their suspicious activites yet again today in their club room. Though it wasn’t really a special room, just a spare room in the university’s research building they happened to be borrowing. It was difficult to borrow a room for a club that focused on the “occult”, but with a bit of clever wording by Renko, they were able to take it. Merry was staring at the moon outside the window. Renko was making a lot of noise preparing some sort of machine.


“Renko, what is that huge machine anyway?”

“It’s a projector. I found a lot of laser discs in the back, so I thought we should play them.”

“Laser discs? In this day and age?”

“I know, but I’m sure there’s something great on one of these that’s just been overlooked.”


Once Renko started the projector, the screen on the opposite side immediately reflected an old looking image.”


“That looks like it’s an illustration of Mt. Hourai”

“The picture shows up really clearly… That projector’s pretty high tech isn’t it?”

“Well, the screen’s the same type of ‘kaleidoscreen’ that the ‘Hiroshige’ has.”

“Where did you get that from?”

“Well the film society’s not meeting today, and I thought…”

“What a troublemaker…”


The next slide showed a landscape both were familiar with.


“It’s like we’re riding on that boring ‘Hiroshige’ again. This’ll be Mt. Fuji.”

“But something’s different about it. In the forest at the foot of the mountain, there’s something engulfed in flames… a person…? and the smoke reaching all the way to the crimson moon.”

“I guess I haven’t seen a picture of Mt. Fuji like this either. But it feels like something I’ve seen before…”


Merry remembered the dream she had.

A scarlet mansion, light in a bamboo thicket, and a girl covered in flames.

When Merry looked at the moon, there were rabbits and nymphs dancing, just as always.


“There’s a vacuum between us and the moon, isn’t there? I guess it’s just not that simple, crossing over into another world.”

“Even though we say it’s a vacuum, it’s not like there’s nothing there, and it exerts a lot of influence on our world.”

“Hmm? Really?”

“According to quantum physics, there’s a theory that even in a vacuum, particles are constantly produced by energy waves that then fizzle out, endlessly created and exhausted.”

“I don’t really understand.”

“Well… There’s also the theory that gravity exists as a product of the interactions between an object and a vaccuum.”

“What do you mean?”

“Think of an empty box with something rubbery stretched over it. What do you think happens when you set a couple of ball bearings all with different weights on top?”

“Well, the lighter ones would roll towards the heavier ones, right?”

“Sort of in the same way, there’s a theory that says massive objects bend the space around them, causing gravity between objects of different masses.”

“Wouldn’t that mean that we humans, having about the same weight wouldn’t gravitationally effect each other? That’s pretty unromantic.”


“Even if you don’t have gravity acting between humans, there are plenty of other things that draw us together. Plus, the lack of a strong gravity between people allows us an unbound freedom.”

“I guess that’s true too.”

“The alternative would mean that once you had met someone, you wouldn’t be able to forget them as long as you lived.”

“That’s sort of scary…”

“I’d say that the ‘boundary’ acts as a mediator, sort of like the vacuum of space, between this world and the other side. Both worlds probably affect each other across it.

“That’s pretty philisophical. I guess physics can be pretty interesting after all.”

“The world would be a better place if more people thought that way…”


As the subjects of physical study have grown smaller and smaller on one end, and larger and larger on the other, the amount of energy needed to observe their related phenomena has become impossible to attain.

Observable physics has hit a dead end, and there’s a strong pessimism associated with the fact that physics cannot produce as many results as it did before.

And it’s not just physics. There are many people in other scientific fields that believe things just aren’t going anywhere anymore. Renko thinks that it’s just the kind of age we’re in.

For the time being, while continuing to establish theories and various explanations, we need to consider ideas that might lead to breakthroughs, and just imagine from there.


Now that an almost religious science permeates the world, there are no absolutes.


Because what we consider cannot be observed or proven, it is possible to hold on to dreams. Renko thought that age they were living in was left with a feeling of the occult, and that it wasn’t so bad after all.

III: Hallucination


“Well that’s strange.”
“What’s wrong? Isn’t there always something ‘strange’ going on?”
“Well yeah… but something’s definitely wrong. Since just a little while ago, time has completely stopped moving.”


Renko has an ability that allows her to tell the time just by looking at the stars.

No matter where she is in the world, it’s always in Japanese Standard Time, but she can tell that time to a very precise degree.


“Well there are three possibilities as far as I can tell:
1. There’s something wrong with your head.
2. Right now we’re dreaming.
3. Time has really stopped.”


Renko slowly approached Merry and put her hands around her face, and then slapped her cheeks from both sides.


“What was that for!? That hurt you know!”

“I just thought I’d make sure we’re not dreaming.”

“Don’t you usually do that to yourself?”

“Well I’m sure this is not a dream, and I know there’s nothing wrong with my head, so it must be number 3.”

“…Are you angry at me?”

“Not at all. Right now I feel like I could run around on the surface of the sea.”

“Something’s definitely wrong with you. Are you sure you don’t have a fever?”

“Didn’t I already tell you I’m fine? Well enough to know there’s something going on.”


Suddenly everything around Renko and Merry was blacked out and replaced by the night sky.

If you looked up, down, left or right, there were stars twinkling.


“Well you look more excited than usual.”

“Of course I am! Ah, look how close the moon is! I wonder what its apparent magnitude is.”


Renko and Merry were close enough to the moon to see its spherical shape and its grey surface spread out before them.


“I wonder if that’s a station down there by that crater.”

“That’s what it looks like, and there’s a cafe. Let’s have some tea.”


“Renko, you don’t look surprised that we’re here drinking tea on the moon.”

“If there really is a world on the other side of the boundary, our laws of physics definitely wouldn’t transfer over.”

“How can you say something like that?”

“Well it’d be impossible for a human to burn for all eternity, and even if something like that existed, we’d have to throw out all our common sense.”

“…You really remember my dreams well.”

“I’d rather forget string theory than something that important. Anyway, are there any rabbits around here?”

“None as far as I can see… Ah, A UFO.”


Looking up at the sky, sure enough there was one, and it looked just like the kind of UFO an elementary school kid would draw, floating back and forth.


“I’m surprised that such a typical UFO would really exist.”

“It might just be that it only looks that way because that’s the way we see it.”

“Well every observation is really from a subjective point of view after all.”

“It might even be that we just feel like we’re on the surface of the moon.”

“What do you call this sort of thing in relative psychology again…? Even so, this is definitely not the same as an ordinary dream.”

“You’re probably right. Since we’ve come all this way, I’d like to meet an alien or two.”

“Do you think the aliens have eight legs? Or maybe ten?”

“Who knows, it they could be monsters, like Nue.”

“Though I guess it wouldn’t be fair to the aliens to imagine that they’re monsters before we even meet them.”

“Even so, the earth really looks beautiful from here.”


From where they were the earth looked clear and blue as it crossed over.

It was as if it was a hologram that suddenly appeared in the darkness of space, and didn’t feel real at all.

After a while of looking at it, the earth grew larger, and Renko and Merry felt as if they were being drawn into it.


“…It looks like we’re out of time. We still have more we have to investigate though.”

“Well for now, let’s just take a rock and a teacup and go home.”


The Sealing Club was conducting their suspicious activites yet again today in their club room.

Renko was working at some sort of PC, and Merry was elegantly enjoying her tea.


“What are you doing Renko?”

“I asked a friend of mine to analyze that rock we brought back, and here are the results.”

“It not like I’d understand anything about them, and couldn’t have you done the analysis yourself?”

“It’s not my specialty, and there aren’t that many universities that have the equipment to analyze this stuff.”

“Hmm. So, what about it?”

“The data from the analysis perfectly matches the data we have on other moon rocks. But that doesn’t mean we can prove we really got it from the moon.”

“I guess that we could have been sleepwalking, broken into a museum and stolen it.”

“So, while we were sleeping we’ve become criminals, huh? Anyway, let’s go.”


“Searching for gaps in the boundary. This time, let’s try to notice before we’ve already stepped in one.”

“Alright, alright. You’re really overflowing with vitality aren’t you?”


Having finished their strange journey to the moon, Renko and Merry returned to their somewhat peaceful, somewhat stimulating days.


all tracks arranged & txt / amo
jacket design & illust / hafuri
original / ZUN

    • hydoc
    • April 21st, 2012

    You translated it! Wonderful!

    Read it while re-listening to the album and got a kick out of it – the part that corresponds to Quantum vacuum ocean was particularly nice. Wish there were a bit more to the middle part of the third section, but that’s nitpicking. Definitely enjoyable, and though ZUN might be the best at his style and charm, I thought this was well-done and a neat little tribute.

    Thanks a ton – I’ve been hoping that at some point I’d be able to read the words amo penned to his music, so this made my evening.

    • I’m really glad I finally got around to it :D

      My favorite track was probably Galactic Railroad, because it was a direct reference to a book I like, but also the folksy tracks in the first section. >:3

    • saku
    • April 22nd, 2012

    There can never be enough Renko and Merry adventures.. Thankyou for translating this!

  1. Hey, kafka, I just wanted to let you know that you’re doing a super amazing job with these translations. I can’t imagine what it’s like to know all these things about the japanese language, but it’s good that you’re using your talents to help other people. I hope you’re feeling well, and I hope your days are long and healthy. And don’t forget: you’re awesome!

    • :D

      I like to do what I can – there’s always so much more to learn though!

      My ultimate dream is to be able to do stuff like this for a living. ;^;

    • scrpn516
    • April 25th, 2012

    What bramblehead said :D

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