Archive for the ‘ Text Passages ’ Category

disjoint

The following passages are excerpts from: Sound! Euphonium: The Kitauji High School Concert Band’s Turbulent Second Movement (響け!ユーフォニアム:北宇治高校吹奏楽部、波乱の第二楽章)

These excerpts contain content covered by the Liz and the Bluebird (which is an adaptation of parts of this novel), and so can be said to contain spoilers for it. You have been warned.

The excerpts chosen for this post are two prologues, printed at the beginning of each half of the novel, which describe Mizore and Nozomi’s starting points as they face each other in their final year in the band.

Please watch Liz and the Bluebird and read the Sound! Euphonium novels if you can.

Prologue (Mizore):

Her black hair swayed back and forth as she walked, her upper arms, perhaps because of the lighting, tinged a soft red under her short sleeves. Behind her, Mizore followed more closely with her eyes than her feet, watching the tips of her hair hanging from her high ponytail bounce as she walked. Her hair was much longer than it was in their middle school days. As she hopped up the stairs two steps at a time, her toned legs showed themselves under her dark blue skirt.

“Nozomi, wait.”

Mizore’s voice was like a whispered breath, a sigh she let slip, vibrating her vocal cords. This early in the morning, the school building was filled not with students but with silence. Mizore took a deep breath. The air felt dusty. Above her, Nozomi’s clamorous footsteps easily drowned out Mizore’s soft whisper of a voice. Why should I expect a voice like mine to reach her?

“Mizore? You still down there?”

Nozomi’s voice echoed across the narrow hallway and down the stairs. She must have gotten to the music room first. Mizore could no longer hear her footsteps. Mizore gripped the handrail and took each step one at a time. As she felt the cracks in the old wooden handrail, Mizore peered upward between the flights of stairs to the floor above, but there was no sign of Nozomi — at least not from where Mizore was standing. With no more reason to keep her head up, Mizore’s gaze naturally swung downward. She had just replaced her inside shoes for her third year of high school, and they were still bright white, without a smudge. They look like a first year’s shoes, Mizore thought.

“Hurry up! Hurry up!”

As soon as Mizore made it to the top of the stairs, Nozomi called to her, waving her hand back and forth vigorously. The light coming in through the windows lit Nozomi’s outline with a soft glow, and the large white ribbon at her chest swayed back and forth with her body.

She waited for me.

To hide the smile that started to spread across her face, Mizore pulled her lips back tightly into a horizontal line. Nozomi broke into a bright and carefree smile.

“I’m just so looking forward to practice, I must have walked faster than I usually do. I just really want to play!” said Nozomi, pointing to the lock on the door to the music room.

As soon as Mizore understood what Nozomi meant by her motioning, she froze up. She only waited because she had no choice. I should know better, she thought, ashamed of her giddy excitement just moments before.

“Unlock the door. Let’s get some early practice in together.”

“Yeah,” Mizore muttered quietly after a pause.

Mizore took out the key she brought with her from the staff room; a neatly written label dangled from it with the words, “Music Room”. Unlocking the music room every morning was Mizore’s job. It was an unwritten rule of the concert band — since when? Mizore wondered. Nozomi stood beside her with eyes full of anticipation. Mizore slid the key into the keyhole and shifted her gaze towards Nozomi.

“Nozomi, um…”

“Hmm?”

“Nozomi, do you…”

Mizore and Nozomi’s eyes met. Suddenly, Mizore felt as if she were suffocating. She pulled at her blouse, tightly at her chest, before silently shaking her head.

“Never mind. It’s nothing,” she said.

The door clicked as Mizore unlocked it. Nozomi hummed an audible response, but said nothing. She was smiled, but Mizore couldn’t help but think her smile was contrived.

“I am so ready to practice this morning!”

“You really like practicing, don’t you?” Mizore said, a moment later.

“What are you talking about? You’re more into it than I am,” Nozomi replied.

Nozomi threw open the door to the music room. The room was arranged so the whole band could practice together. There were far fewer chairs than last year. Without the slightest hesitation, flute case dangling in one hand, Nozomi waltzed straight over to a seat at the end of the first row and sat down. During a live performance, that seat would be the closest to the audience. It was a seat reserved for only the best players to sit. Nozomi flipped through the pages of her music binder.

—Liz and the Bluebird.

Through the clear vinyl of the sheet protector, Mizore read the title of the page Nozomi had turned to, the title of this year’s choice piece for the national competition. The piece was based on a fairy tale and composed for a concert band. Mizore swept her hands under her thighs to smooth out the pleats of her skirt as she sat down.

“This piece is kind of like us, don’t you think?” said Nozomi, holding up her binder in one hand and grinning a toothy smile.

What is that supposed to mean? Mizore thought. Is that a good thing, or a bad thing? While those questions swirled around in Mizore’s head she said nothing.

“I guess,” Mizore said finally, her response far more cold and indifferent than she had intended. But Nozomi showed no sign of taking her answer in a negative way.

“Yep. I thought you’d feel the same,” Nozomi nodded with a smile, before turning to look at the room’s dark green blackboard.

Mizore followed with her eyes to the countdown written in a corner of the blackboard, marking the days until the competition. The white rounded numbers sentenced, without room for any doubt, a certain end to the dream-like days she still clung to.

“I can’t wait to perform this piece! I wish the competition would come sooner.”

Mizore gave a slight nod in response, willfully ignoring the voice in her heart exclaiming what she truly felt. If only that day would never come.

 

Prologue (Nozomi):

Nozomi looked at herself in the mirror. She ran her fingers through her hair, pulling together loose strands into a bundle she held with her left hand. She took the red hair band she had held in her mouth in her right, and fixed it tightly around her hair to make a ponytail. When she let go, her usual self looked back at her. Staring coldly at her reflection, Nozomi pulled the edges of her mouth into a smile, her white, freshly brushed teeth peeking through her lips. It looks like you’re having fun, she thought. It was a clear and fine morning.

“Good Morning!”

“Morning,” replied Mizore, after a pause.

It was the first day of summer vacation. While Nozomi marched onward in high spirits, Mizore wore her usual expressionless face. Nozomi traced the outline of Mizore’s face with her eyes, glancing over her pale skin, pale lips and emotionless eyes. Mizore’s eyes reminded Nozomi of the depths at the bottom of the sea. Whenever Mizore’s eyes, filled with stillness, were directed towards her, Nozomi felt her heart shudder. It was an unpleasant feeling, as if someone was rubbing a toothbrush raw against her instincts, and it ran from her chest all along her body, until she could not help but break into a self-deprecating smile. By then, Mizore had already looked away.

“Are you going to take any practice exams over the break?” asked Nozomi.

“Only one,” Mizore replied.

“Really? So you didn’t sign up to take any other exams? Taking at least three is almost an unwritten rule at a school like ours, but I guess that doesn’t really matter. Natsuki and Yuuko will be taking some too.”

“I didn’t know.”

Mizore turned the key in the lock and it answered with a resounding click. Nozomi took hold of the door handle and, like always, was the first to enter the room. Nozomi went straight over to a seat at the end of the first row — her seat. When she set her bag down she felt a wave or relief wash over her. Here she had a place where she belonged.

Nozomi took her flute out of the case she had brought with her, and glanced at Mizore. Mizore had laid her instrument case across her lap as she flipped through her music binder. The clear vinyl of her sheet music protectors stuck to her fingertips as she turned the pages.

“You’ve got another solo part this year, huh,” said Nozomi.

Nozomi scanned the measures of the competition choice piece, “Liz and the Bluebird,” with her eyes. In the third movement, there was a duet which consisted of a flute and an oboe solo. As the melodies of each instrument crossed each other, they expressed the thoughts and feelings of Liz and the bluebird. The tone of the oboe part had a clear determination to it, taken so far as to be painful, and this expression was complemented by the whisperings of the flute part, which followed in its wake. The first time Nozomi played this piece she was certain no one else but her could play it. The only one in this school who can support Mizore’s solo is me, she thought.

“Nozomi…” Mizore paused, collecting her words. “Do you like this solo?”

“Absolutely. I love it.”

Why wouldn’t I? It’s a flute solo! cried a voice inside Nozomi she wouldn’t let out. Someone like you, who plays a solo every year, could never understand how I feel.

“I mean I think it’s really great we get to play a solo together,” Nozomi continued.

Nozomi held a page between her pointer and middle finger and waved it about with no particular aim in mind. Light from the window reflected off the page’s clear protective sleeve and created a bright white spot, which flittered across the page, sometimes obscuring parts of the music. It was irritating, so Nozomi stood up, walked to the window and yanked on the curtain. A shadow swept across the room and dropped the lit room into semi-darkness.

“Me too,” Mizore said after a long pause. She was looking down and her eyelids quivered.

Nozomi sat down again, leaned against the back of her chair and made a bright smile.

“You know how we’re kind of like Liz and the bluebird in the fairy tale? When I first heard the duet of the flute and oboe solos, I was sure we were the ones most suited to play the part.”

Last year, Mizore didn’t quit the band. Even though I left, she stayed behind. Nozomi really wasn’t sure how Mizore felt about her. But since she always comes to practice with me in the morning, Nozomi thought, she probably doesn’t hate me, at least.

If I were the bluebird, Nozomi thought, I would visit Liz again. Even if it were impossible for us to go back to the way things were before, there should be nothing wrong with coming to visit every once in a while. There is no reason a tragedy must end forever in tragedy. At least that’s what I believe.

In response to Nozomi’s smile, Mizore’s eyes moved ever so slightly. Something, similar to a smile, crossed her face, before she turned to her music binder, flipping the pages, one after another. Nozomi blew across her flute’s mouthpiece, obliterating the dry sound of flipped pages with a high pitched shrill that sounded as if someone were screaming.

棄劇 Kigeki – A Comedy Which Should Never Have Been (Excerpt)

legion-web

No one asked for it, and you aren’t getting any more.

This excerpt is from Portrait de Legion (レギオンの肖像) which comes in four parts, and this is from the beginning of the second part (written first).

Don’t read this book actually. I don’t recommend it, unless blood curdling screams, gratuitous sexual and non-sexual violence, torture and cannibalism are your thing. It’s also confusing as hell until you’re most of the way through. It does, however, provide the set up for the events of Jane Does, which compared to this, is very tame.

Portrait de Legion’s other subtitle is La Machine Infernale and Jean Cocteau is the poet mentioned below.

This excerpt is safe for work.


The Witch’s Bedchamber

The frivolous poet prince wrote: forever, you must strive to be drunk — whether your drink be a glass filled to the brim with wine, or the dried dregs of the opium poppy, a nauseating degree of virtue, or a fit inducing depth of immorality. Whatever it be, whichever it be, we all must strive to be forever drunk.

The witch lay in her bed, staring at the accumulated tobacco smoke swirling above her. A hookah sat at her bedside, quietly toasting the tobacco leaves in its bowl hardened with honey. She inhaled shallowly from a golden mouthpiece, holding the smoke in her mouth and letting it sluggishly seep down into her lungs. She rose partially out of bed and rested her back against two pillows laid behind her. As her right hand held the mouthpiece she tossed her left arm out towards her bedside table, upon which there was a single plate. Upon the plate were three jujubes, seven pieces of hard candy, five dried figs, and nothing else. As she exhaled, the smoke formed a ring as it drifted out towards the stagnant smoke above, mixing with it until you couldn’t tell which was there first and which was there last — nothing of it could be told.

The witch looked to a hourglass upon her vanity table. It was filled with dark red grains that continued to fall slowly through its center. Her exhaled smoke danced as if on stage, as it lost all rhyme and reason drifting to all four corners of the ceiling. Furrowing her brow, she then reached for a book that lay beside her in bed, and flipped through its pages. There were no details in its pages. It was a void of nothing, page after page, only formed into the shape of a moldy book.

If sometimes, the poet continued: you find yourself on the stone steps of a palace, or the verdant slopes on the side of a canal, or in a gloomy room filled with ashen swirls, and drunkenness, like an gallivanting energetic child dances right out the gate and away, I dare you to ask. Ask what? What time it is now.

The door to her room creaked open.

“Shall I say, as always? — or how rare?”

A sickly sweet voice tinged with night-shaded sneer, danced its way with spider’s feet into the witch’s ear, piercing its hairy needles through the skull to stroke the brain. It was awfully unpleasant.

With exaggerated motions, the devil slipped through the thin gap in the door and walked toward the witch. She fanned the butterflies of smoke away as she pulled an old round stool to the bedside, sitting down cross-legged. She rested her elbow on a knee and her head on her hand bending forward to look closely at the witch.

In the devil’s other hand swung a dark red pendulum — no, it was an hourglass. What should have been resting on the vanity, she had taken, and was now swinging in front of the witch’s face. She smiled — happily, joyfully, annoyed, sad, but smiling she swung it.

“Patchouli,” the devil said, in her sweet venomous voice, “soon Sakuya will die.”

“Again,” the witch replied, her voice low and hoarse. She turned a page, and then it was quiet.

“No, not yet, Patchouli. This play is always still beginning. Nothing will end, and so nothing will begin. Even so, this error-ridden love letter will continue, eternally. So we must end it. That is our promise.”

“No, it is a promise with you and me.”

“Patchouli, let us end this boring comedy, this idle tragedy, the kind of story no child would ever enjoy.”

The witch reached out to touch the devil’s face.

“Dying again, I see.”

Still dying.”

The poet wrote: so verily shall the flowing wind, the flying birds, the swaying trees, the open sky, all say to you: be drunk. Yes now, be drunk.

***

The Cast

  • Gramophone А: A Gramophone, broken eighty-one years ago
  • Gramophone Б: A Gramophone, killed two hundred and six years ago
  • Man: sitting for the past 19,683 years

Gramophone А, sits stage left. Gramophone Б, stage right.

Center stage, man sits in a chair. Beside him, is a puppet theater stage.

Man turns the crank on the side of the puppet theater stage.

Gramophone А and Gramophone Б start to sing.

Gramophone А: Koschei! Koschei!

Gramophone Б: Koschei the Immortal!

Gramophone А: Koschei! Koschei!

Gramophone Б: Koschei the Immortal!

Gramophone А: Koschei! Koschei!

Gramophone Б: Koschei the Immortal!

Gramophone А and Б: What do you see, in the depths of the skull, deep in the glass of your eyes?!

In the center of the puppet theater stage, a man and a girl dance, looking in different directions.

Man: Now shall we begin?! Will we begin? Are we beginning? Have we begun?! Now shall we end it? Is it ending? Has it already ended? Is it the beginning of the end? Is it the end of the beginning? Has it ended long ago?! Has it begun long ago?! What kind of story? That kind of story? This kind of story? Another kind of story? Do they want to hear? You want to hear? Yes? You want to hear? Am I telling you it? Are you already listening to it? Have you heard it long ago? What is it about? What kind is that? You want to hear it? Yes? You do? Shall I tell you? Yes I shall!!

Gramophone А: Koschei! Koschei!

Gramophone Б: Koschei the Immortal!

Man: He was sitting in that chair for forever, you see, without moving a finger, without turning his head! In a six-foot world he had been locked forever! All that was about him was rubbish, the kind of gorgeousness to make you doubt your eyes! You see he tried to reproduce the world, the flowing rivers and rotting apples and soaring wrens, the inversion of the hell living and eaten in the sea, yes everything! No, not a single thing! He tried to make a world, you see. Pipe organs, warped pearls, foreign mummies, living perfumes of rotten roses such a glorious scent as to wreck your nose, everything but that!

Gramophone А: Koschei! Koschei!

Gramophone Б: Koschei the Immortal!

Man: Now shall we begin?! Shall we end it?! Has it already begun, is it already over? Let me tell you a tale! One tale, no countless!! Or a hundred, if I may…"

The man’s hands stop.

Man: Because fairy tales belong to children!!

Comedic Mechanism: Parade of the Jane Does (Update)

Jane Does is available as a digital download in Japanese on Booth [link] for only 300 JPY. If you purchase the e-book, you should also have access to the theme song, which I’ve also translated (link at the bottom of the post).

If you plan to read my translation in English, please purchase the original first.

I am currently working on a revised EN version to be made available in .epub and .pdf formats.

In the meantime, here are the links to the first draft in installments.
The posts after the first have been password protected.
The password is the first French word on page 19 (case-sensitive), which should be easy to find if you have purchased either a digital or hard copy of the book.

[15/291]
[35/291]
[56/291]
[73/291]
[93/291]
[124/291]
[135/291]
[156/291]
[177/291]
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[256/291]
[291/291]

[Theme Song]

Protected: Comedic Mechanism: Parade of the Jane Does (291/291)

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Protected: Comedic Mechanism: Parade of the Jane Does (256/291)

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Protected: Comedic Mechanism: Parade of the Jane Does (190/291)

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Protected: Comedic Mechanism: Parade of the Jane Does (177/291)

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