Archive for the ‘ Text Passages ’ Category

鳥船遺跡 〜 Trojan Green Asteroid


Satellite “Torifune”, Abandoned in Space
–The Two Members of the Sealing Club look upon an Isolated Paradise.

Sorry for the wait! I happened to have surgery the day this came out >.>

This is a wonderful addition to ZUN’s music collection and I am very happy I got to listen to, read, and translate it. I hope you enjoy it too and form a stronger bond with two of Touhou’s best characters.


Trojan Asteroid: [wikipedia]

Lagrange Point: [wikipedia]

The narrative switches between calling the space station “Torifune”, “Satellite Torifune”, and “Torifune Ruins”, even it it might seem a little awkward, I’ve tried to match the original text’s naming scheme.

‘true scientists’ – she’s supposed to sound sort of like Okabe Rintarou here.

The “English” title for track 7 was originally printed “Lonely Monstar”.

鳥船遺跡〜Trojan Green Asteroid.
 Torifune Iseki
 Torifune Ruins

01. 衛星トリフネ
   [Eisei Torifune]
   Satellite TORIFUNE

 「トリフネ? ああ、あの事故起こした宇宙ステーションの?」

“Hey, you know about ‘Torifune’ right?”

“‘Torifune’? Ah, you mean that space station that broke down?”


“Torifune” is the name of a space station that was lost, unfortunately, a few years ago due to an unexplained mechanical failure.


“Didn’t they load several plants and animals onto it as part of an experiment to test whether they could adapt to life in space?”

“Yeah, that’s right… But why are you bringing this up now?”


A highly specialized ecosystem was placed inside the Torifune. It was a test to see whether or not one could construct a complete ecosystem given a strictly confined area. The goal of the experiment was to implement “terraforming”.

However, it wasn’t planned for use on Mars or Venus, that’s the stuff of science fiction.

Ideally, this sort of terraforming would have been used on Earth.


“I think they might still be alive.”

02. トロヤ群の密林 (The Trojan Asteroid’s Deep Forest)
   [Toroyagun no Mitsurin]
   Trojan Green Asteroid

 「メリー、何言ってるの? いくらミニ生態系が用意されていたと

“Merry, what are you talking about? Even if it’s supposed to be a mini-ecosystem, there’s no way it could have maintained itself on a completely abandoned…”


Renko broke into a bitter smile.


“…Well if you’re the one saying it, there’s got to be a reason for it right?”


“Well, lately I’ve been able to see inside of it.”


The Torifune is said to have been lost to space, out of humanity’s reach, but the truth is that we know it has stopped at a Lagrange point in respect to the Earth and the Moon.


In case of an emergency and control of the station was lost or the thrusters were malfunctioning, the Torifune was equipped with a system that would automatically maneuver the station towards a Lagrange point in order to prevent it from falling to Earth and make it possible to recover.

03. デザイアドライブ
   Desire Drive


–A green forest, as chaotic as it is beautiful.


Stifling humidity… is this heat due to the computer malfunctioning?


A species of treehopper dances dream-like in this space of artificial gravity.

Is it natural for that morpho butterfly to have such a dazzling and venomous color?


I hear the sound of water flowing, but I can’t see a stream anywhere.

I wonder if the roots of all these plants, strewn all over the place, have completely covered it?


This is what you would call a “jungle” isn’t it?


Maribel Hearn’s adventurous heart was drawn in.

04. フェアリー冒険譚 (Fairytale Adventure)
   [Fairy Boukentan]
   Childlike Adventure


What she saw before her was like something out of a fairytale.


Maybe it was because of all the strong plants selected for the ecosystem, but even out of human’s care and control, nothing withered but only continued to grow.


Outside the window was a world of nothingness, buffeted by harmful solar winds.

But through it this spaceship was floating, an isolated green paradise.


It was as if Merry had caught a fever from all the strangeness around her, and she excitedly explored the area.

Maybe it was the unstable gravity, unlike Earth’s, that turned her head.


After exploring a bit she came to a place with thick ivy, and discovered something there that didn’t seem to belong.


Two pillars with a piece of wood over the top, a Shinto shrine gate.

05. 天鳥船神社 (Ame-no-Torifune Shrine)
   Space Shrine

 「え? 夢の話なの?

“…And that’s where I wake up.”

“Huh? You mean to tell me that was a dream?
Well in any case, your dreams really are frightening, Merry.”

“By the way, why would there be a Shinto shrine gate in a space station?”


There was a shrine to Ame-no-Torifune built inside the satellite Torifune.

At any rate, Ame-no-Torifune was worshipped for safe travel through space. It might have been put in place partially due to the fact that the Satellite Torifune resembled Noah’s Arc, which took pairs of animals onboard at the time of a great flood.

No matter how much science advances, in the end we still rely on gods.


“You really know a lot don’t you?”

“If you didn’t know that but it still came up in your dream, then there’s no mistake.”

Renko nodded.

“There was a shrine to Ame-no-Torifune close by here wasn’t there?”

“I guess there’s no helping it…
Tonight we’ll go off to “see it” from there.”

06. 夜空のユーフォーロマンス (Night Sky UFO Romance)
   [Yozora no UFO Romance]
   UFO Romance


“Wow! This is the inside of the satellite Torifune?”

“Wonderful, isn’t it?
It’s not often that you can see a world like this on Earth.”

“It really is dreamlike. An isolated paradise, huh.”


Renko and Merry were 380,000 km away from the Earth’s surface, inside the satellite Torifune.

Well, that is, in a dream.


Every time they find a way to the other side of the boundary, they can’t help but go adventuring.

 「理系の人間はみんなこうよ……ん? 何の音?」

“Most of the plants and animals here are probably derivative sub-species. With a resistance and vitality like this it’d probably be a bad idea to take them back to Earth…”

“Why are you analyzing all of this like a some sort of researcher?”

“All ‘true scientists’ are like this… huh? What was that?”


From somewhere a low growling sound was heard.

07. ハルトマンの妖怪少女 (Hartmann’s Youkai Girl)
   [Hartmann no Youkai Shoujo]
   Lonely Monster


An unknown beast stood before them.

A ferocious animal with wings on its back.

If you were to describe it in terms of “Earthly” creatures, it would be a chimera.


“Wh…What is that!?”


“Hmm, a composite beast?
But its wings are too small compared to its size… it wouldn’t be able to fly.
Since this is a closed environment, genetic abnormalities are more likely to occur…
So this is sort of like a “wing-cat”, hmm…”

 「じゃ、なくて! 何でそんなに冷静なのよ!

“Wait what? How can you be so calm?
That thing is clearly dangerous!!”

 「だって、これは夢でしょ? メリーが見せた」

“Well, this is a dream right? One you’re showing me.”


The chimera leapt towards the two.

08. 天鳥船神社の結界 (The Ame-no-Torifune Shrine’s Barrier)
   [Amenotorifunejinja no Kekkai]
   Space Shrine in Dream


“Phew… That was close.”


“Huh? That’s it?”


When they came to, Merry and Renko were back on Earth at the Ame-no-Torifune shrine.


“When I went by myself I only saw insects!
I didn’t know there was going to be something like that there!
Wait… Renko, aren’t you scared?”


“Well… it was in a dream, and isn’t it a waste to be scared when you discover a new lifeform?”


“Even if you saw it’s all a dream, scary things are scary!!”


“Hey, can we go again?”




Merry knew that this dream wasn’t just a dream.

What they saw was without a doubt the true inside of the satellite Torifune.

If what they were looking at was true, wouldn’t there be some truth to them being there?


Real and virtual, it’s clear which has a greater effect on humans…


“…Let’s stop.
It’s too dangerous.”

 「だってさ、いつでも逃げられるんでしょ? 今みたいに。

“Well, we can run away whenever we want right? Just like we did now.
Also, don’t you know?
Humans can be whatever they want to be in dreams.”

09. 感情の摩天楼 (Emotional Skyscraper)
   [Kanjou no Matenrou]
   Cosmic Mind


–Renko had overcome the unstable gravity and was leaping lightly all over the place.


“This is so awesome!
With this kind of agility, I’d be fine even if that monster came back again!”


“Don’t joke about things like that!”


“We’ll be fine!
Right now I’m like the protagonist of a shooting game!”


Renko took a pose as if she were shooting a gun.


“Even if this is a dream, I don’t think you’d be able to shoot anything.
This is -my- dream after all.”


“I know, I know.
But I also know that this is the real satellite Torifune, the ‘Torifune Ruins’.”


It is said that the reason the satellite Torifune malfunctioned was because of a computer bug. But there was no way to tell what actually went wrong from the backups of the system.

After the incident, with no way to keep the satellite Torifune from moving to a Lagrange point, an expert said, “Japan’s engineers have spent a large sum of money just to make a ruin in space,” in criticism of the project. Ever since then, the satellite has been called the “Torifune Ruins”.


“Which means, that monster really does exist in the Torifune Ruins.
Makes you excited doesn’t it?”


“Cut it out already.
No matter how many times you say it’s just a dream, what happens if you get hurt?”


At that moment, the monster attacked.

10. 宇宙に浮かぶ幻想郷 (The Gensoukyou Floating in Space)
   [Uchuu ni Ukabu Gensoukyou]
   Paradise Torifune


There are no plans to retrieve the satellite Torifune.

After all, it is thought that after humans lost control of the ship, all life inside it ceased, and that there would be no real merit to retrieving the remains.


Who would have thought that on an Earth/Moon bound Trojan asteroid, there was an isolated paradise brimming with life?


Renko waited in front of the hospital.


“Did everything go alright?”


“It was just a graze. It was a clean cut too, so there’s no risk of infection.”


“Well that’s good.
I was so worried after we woke up and your arm was hurt!”


“It’s not fair, you made it out perfectly fine…”



Hello, it’s ZUN. It’s been a while since I’ve done a music CD like this huh?


In the past year or two there’s been a space boom. The Hayabusa space missions and that total solar eclipse are probably to blame. Next month we’ll be having an annular solar eclipse too.

The kind of people who usually don’t talk about space at all with talk about meteor showers in daily conversation and and they’ll be throwing around words like “international space station”.


This sort of national space boom happened when I was a kid too.
That time it was definitely because of Haley’s Comet.


I remember everyone bought cheap telescopes or rubber tubes (*I’m joking*) and bundled up that cold night to watch.


I heard that you could see it cross the sky with the naked eye, and was really excited, but in reality the comet was really small and uninteresting.


Maybe that’s why, but since then I haven’t been all that interested in space.

Well then, I wonder how long this boom will last?

           上海アリス幻楽団 ZUN (日食見たい)
     Shanghai Alice Illusionary Orchestra ZUN (Wants to see a Solar Eclipse)



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

Violet Lotus Requiem

Sometimes Engrish must be left as Engrish. It’s more powerful that way.

First of all I’d like to simply point to Merami, the lead vocalist of Foreground Eclipse, and that she is the same person as めらみぽっぷ (Merami Pop); so you should all search the [Lyrics Navigation Page] for both terms.

Byakuren is a kind, strange, and scary person. I’ll use a small snippet from “Love and Peace” by Simadoriru to illustrate (at the bottom).

I think it’s got translation notes etc on danbooru – but if anyone wants me to translate it, I’m all for it.


A few days later the boat that carried the monk who had come to eradicate her approached. On the boat were a number of other humans. With all her strength she thought she might threaten them. With all her strength, she thought she would break the power of that monk.


But things didn’t go as she had planned; the monk was completely defenseless. She felt nothing more than she would from an ordinary human. In an instant, the ship had sunk, and all the humans were thrown into the sea.

東方星蓮船~Undefined Fantastic Object.より一部抜粋

An excerpt from Touhou Seirensen~Undefined Fantastic Object.

Sorry to do a post like this while there’s other stuff to be done and all, but sometimes I think it’s sad I don’t get to give enough attention to some song lyrics that are in Engrish. ^_^; Also, I’m curious about what I should do with posts like [Gungnir] which are more like picture book translations than comics, or if anyone’s interested in me doing more of them, or only if I have scans of those books etc…. Comment if you have an opinion either on that, or on the song.

This time the color’s only there to bring attention to the lyrics, there’s nothing to translate. ^_^;

Violet Lotus Requiem
感情の摩天楼~Cosmic Mind|東方星蓮船~Undefined Fantastic Object.
vocal / めらみぽっぷ
circle / Pizuya’s Cell (ぴずやの独房)
event / C79
album / Violet Lotus Requiem

While feeling keeps away, only cold is increasing.
Before breaking, I want you to help.
One life disappears.

What I do not.
It has been taken.
The reason made into desertion was got to know.
Their eyes are not averted.
Therefore, I want you to awake from sleep.

Deluding oneself with a lie or a bluff was continued.
It is not so miserable as the heart dying.

It has frozen.
I want you to touch you and to melt.
I want you to melt with your love.
Your eyes where hope in the world without anything.
Therefore, revive me.

What I do not.
It has been taken.
The reason made into desertion was got to know.
Their eyes are not averted.
Therefore, I want you to awake from sleep.

大空魔術 ~ Magical Astronomy

^Shinta is the Renko and Merry artist. You can search his tag in most places with “shinta (artist)” but here is his pixiv for good measure: [pixiv-link]

This is the first real large translation project that I’ve overtaken and finished in less than 24 hours. I’m a bit proud of myself ^_^. Also a bit tired, but oh well; ┐( ̄ー ̄)┌ it was a lot of fun. Unfortunately this is the last installment of Renko and Merry’s adventures. Feel absolutely free to develop theories connecting Merry Hearn and Yukari Yakumo while trying to decide the fate of Usami Renko… I know I will.

Anyway about the music, this is one of my favorite disks; I do love them all absolutely, but Magical Astronomy, Retrospective 53 Minutes and Hourai Dolls come out on top. After all, Magical Astronomy contains 天空のグリニッジ (Greenwich of the Sky) possibly my favorite Touhou original track, 車椅子の未来宇宙 (The Future Cosmos in a Wheelchair), and of course 大空魔術, Magical Astronomy. If you like the music on this disk, I also recommend giving “Metallical Astronomy” by SOUND HOLIC a listen. If you like 天空のグリニッジ even a fraction of the amount I love it, I seriously recommend giving this [local-link] track by Buta-Otome a listen.

If you want to read more about Renko and Merry, look to my [translations-side-projects page] and you’ll find all of the works there translated ^_^.

As always, but especially with posts like these, I appreciate comments; Thank you for reading – if you want to skip the notes, just scroll down to the next picture and start from there. As always this story is best read while listening to the music it accompanies.

“Magic of the Skyward Heavens” might be making it a little too poetic, but I want to embrace the astronomy meaning with the image of a starry sky. You call them “celestial bodies” after all right? I didn’t use the commonly accepted translations of the titles of the tracks but translated them myself; especially because titles are short and thus more applicable to ambiguity, I’m not going to say anything like those translations are wrong or anything, I just wanted to pick/piece together the titles myself. I tried to fit them best based on the contents of the read-along below.

I tried to keep who’s saying what obvious enough so I didn’t have to throw in each of their names all the time, but if you need it, I can indent or color the dialogue.

I interchanged space, outer space, universe, and cosmos depending on the mood, but they’re all from the same word 宇宙.

I used “moon tour” throughout for brevity’s sake, but it really is moon’s surface tour, not to be confused with just circling the moon in a spaceship and riding back home.

I would also like to note that the individual notes for each section aren’t really that necessary to read, they’re mostly just notes on some terms, science, and a few of my comments. If I were skilled enough to make some sort of collapsing annotations system I would, but I’m not that skilled.

UTC stands for “Universal Coordinated Time” don’t ask me why, but some official abbreviations like this tend to be out of order. I researched this out of curiosity, and UTC is in fact less correct than GMT=Greenwich Mean Time (otherwise known as UT1=Universal Time 1 for the specific calculation formula etc.). UTC is based on the TAI=International Atomic Time, that has “leap seconds” added to it whenever UTC and GMT are more than .9 seconds apart. Solar time via the Royal Observatory at Greenwich is recalculated because the rotation of the Earth is gradually slowing down, tidal gravity waves from other planets and seasonal and weather changes and … (゚Д゚ノ)ノ time should not be this complicated. So that’s what Renko means by outside her ability.

A dango is a certain Japanese sweet, rice cakes skewered and roasted then dipped in sauce. They’ve very tasty and very autumn.

Stephen Hawking is probably greatest theoretical physicist and cosmologist of all time; due to a motor disease that he contracted early on, at this point in time he can’t really move much more than his cheek, which means he sits in a wheelchair and uses a voice synthesizer to talk. I actually have attended one of his lectures, and met (meaning really, say “hello” to and not that much more; I might have asked a question) him when I was younger. Hence, the “a wheelchair futuristic cosmos”.

Max Planck was a German physicist around Einstein’s time who founded quantum theory/quantum physics.

Hermeneutics is the study of explanations.

[Planck Length]

I want to try coffee that’s been exploded and frozen in an instant! (*´▽`*)ノ旦
I’d really like to see that experiment happen, I should send this to NASA and… oh wait (;ω;`)

The siphon system is similar (or equivalent) to the perlocated method (also now obsolete), which does technically use gravity to get the coffee back to the original chamber, but uses water vapor pressure to send the liquid through the grounds multiple times. I suppose if you made it more circular it would work just fine, however, personally, for coffee in the absence of gravity, I recommend the French press.

The four fundamental physical forces/interactions are: gravity, weak, strong, and electromagnetic.

I used necrofantasia and necrophantasia seperately. I figure there’s a nuance. Necrofantasia is the original title, but the subtitle is necrophantasia, what Renko describes.

“pond, lake” That’s just what was written. I’ll take it as poetic license. If it’s something with a fountain I’m assuming it’s rather small, but I could be mistaken.

It would help my finances if the dollar to yen rate were still 120 yen to a dollar.. it’s around 85 at the time of this writing (for your reference).

大空魔術 ~ Magical Astronomy.
 Oozora Majutsu ~ Magical Astronomy
 Magic of the Skyward Heavens ~ Magical Astronomy

 1.月面ツアーへようこそ (Welcome to Our Tour of the Moon’s Surface)
    Welcome to Lunatic City.


“One of mankind’s dreams, a journey to the moon, is now finally within anyone’s reach!”
“Next month, travel companies all across Japan will start tours!”


In front of a crowded private railway station a newspaper extra was flying this way and that.


It was rare for there to be an extra not sports related, and such bright news as this; normally people would just throw extras like this away, but just this time everyone was putting them away in their bags. While certainly some were interested in the contents of the article, I’m sure there were just a few taken in by the picture on the front.


Photographs of the universe have a healing effect on people’s hearts. If I had to say why, it’s because just seeing it forces people to realize the smallness of what it means to be human. Facing that directly is difficult, but when you feel how incredibly small you are compared to the rest of the great, expansive universe, it calms you. Because the universe is just so wide, each person’s individual efforts aren’t that important. Whether it be a superior, a politician, or a dictator (though now there are none left), all of them are human. So it’s fine for you to just put out as much effort as you can. You an feel all of that intuitively just from a picture of space.


Usami Renko and Maribel Hearn were having an excited conversation on a cafe terrace within the university grounds.

 2.天空のグリニッジ (Greenwich of the Sky)
    Royal Greenwich Observatory


“It says, ‘Furthermore, we’ve just sent another manned mission to Mars.'”


“Really? Well, I don’t really care about the missions to Mars. Merry, first I want to talk about that “Trip to the Moon” from the newspaper extra article.”


“Well, with you being able to tell the time and place by just looking at the moon and stars, I’d really like to know what you’d see on the surface of the moon.”


“Well I’d probably just know, ‘This is the surface of the moon.'”


“What about the time?”


“The only time I can see is Japan Standard Time (JST), Universal Coordinated Time (UTC) is outside my ability range. In the first place I think it’s strange to use the same time on the earth and on the moon.”


“Wait a minute, “outside your ability range”…. it’s it just a matter of subtraction?”


In outer space we now use UTC, but this “universal coordinated time” is basically the same as Greenwich Mean Time. The Royal Observatory at Greenwich was established in the 17th century; but when I think that the time originally used for viewing the universe is now being used throughout it, it feels just a little ridiculous.

 3.東の国の眠れない夜 (A Sleepless Night in the Eastern Country)
    Vampirish Nightlife

 「で、いつ行くの? 月面旅行」

“So, when should we go on this moon tour?”


“Merry, you really are hasty aren’t you? Well it’ll probably be crowded so I’d like to get reservations before long.”


“Since during summer vacation it’ll probably be ridiculously crowded, and it’ll be hot and all, so… shouldn’t we wait a little longer and go in the fall?”


“I’m pretty sure it’s not “hot” on the moon or in space, but I agree – going in the fall would be better, very Japanese. Anyway, why don’t we go during this year’s harvest moon?”


“Yeah, and take along dangos! Let’s do it, let’s do it!”


Even with all the information we have now, space has and will always be something of a romance for us. If it were possible to fulfill a part of that romance, to land upon our utmost captivating moon, I think anyone would want to take the opportunity and go at least once.


That said, those two still didn’t know how much the tour would cost.

 4.車椅子の未来宇宙 (The Future Cosmos in a Wheelchair)
    History of Time


“But really, we haven’t had a manned mission to Mars go well yet have we? I wonder if a day will ever come when we can confirm with our own eyes the cosmos inside Hawking’s head.”


“It really is a problem that no other physicist has been able to surpass Hawking.”


“Well, you should be able to do it if you try you know? You have a pretty rare ability after all.”


“My major is different you know? But well, I guess at least intelligence-wise you could say I’m on level with Planck. And anyway, that black hole evaporation thing that Hawking talked about, I don’t think we’ll ever be able to actually observe it. To tell you the truth, I don’t even think mankind will ever make it to Mars.”


“Well that’s pretty pessimistic. But if you’re the one saying it, it must be true.”


“The amount of energy required to make observations is just way too costly. Theory aside, realistically speaking, observational physics is coming to an end. And, by the way, this moon tour is too expensive isn’t it?”


Physics from a realistic standpoint is facing its end. Physics is already giving way to hermeneutics and philosophy.

 5.Demystify Feast
    神秘性のベールの向こう側 (Beyond the Occult Bell)


“Yeah, even though this cafe’s within the university grounds it’s relatively stylish and the food’s delicious. So, as you were saying, Renko, why is physics coming to an end?”


“Well, in a word it’s because the cost of observation is too great.”


“The same reason we can’t go on a tour of the moon, huh.”

  なっていくでしょ? すると究極まで行き着くと、宇宙最大のエネル

“When splitting small particles apart, the smaller the particle is, the more energy is required to split it. From a molecule to an atom, from an atom to a nucleus, from a nucleus to a quark… the smaller you get, the more you’ll need an endless supply of energy – right? – Eventually you’ll come to a point where you have a particle that even if you were to use the largest amount of energy that could possibly exist in the universe, you couldn’t split it. Even so, you couldn’t say that that particle is the smallest component in the world. Physics has already reached that world of the smallest minimums long ago and set its eyes on the next. But since it’s impossible to observe anything past this point, you’re just reaching into the realm of philosophy.”


“Ah, that new cake looks delicious! I guess the smallest components of this cake would be synthesized egg and synthesized strawberry.”

 エネルギーの限界量は10^19 GeVと言われている。このエネルギー量を
超えると時空に存在し得なくなるからである。ちなみにこの10^19 GeVは

It is said that the upper limit of energy is 10^19 GeV (10 quintillion giga-electron volts), because when you surpass this amount the energy is unable to exist dimensionally. This energy is called Planck energy, and is about 10^21 (1 septillion) times more than the energy generated from atomic energy.

 6.衛星カフェテラス (Satellite Cafe Terrace)
    Satellite Cafe


“You know, I wasn’t really asking for a physics discussion, and you just kept on talking on and on…”


“I’m sorry, I’m sorry. It’s my major after all. But really, this cake is delicious.”


“I so wanted to go on a moon tour too… I guess I should have known, it’s way too expensive.”


“Now that you mention it, apparently they’ve made a satellite cafe for customers journeying into space, apparently the coffee there in zero gravity is really something else.”


“Yeah, but it’s probably an indoor cafe right? I prefer open cafe terraces.”


When you expose coffee to a vacuum – just for an moment, due to the low pressure, it instantaneously boils, but as it does, it loses the heat to boil, so in the instant it boils, it freezes. This using this frozen-while-boiling coffee, “Satellite Ice Coffee” is one of the specials on their menu.

 7.G Free
    Zero Gravity


“Now that I think of it, doesn’t filtering coffee rely on gravity? Without gravity the whole drip method doesn’t work right? So how do they make coffee in zero gravity?”


“They’ve brought back the obsolete siphon system, since it uses water vapor pressure to draw the water back and forth through the filtering system instead of gravity.”


“Siphon huh..
Now that you mention it, I haven’t seen them except in the interior of some cafes, but I suppose that’s a filtering device that would work.. Though I heard that it lacks in flavor compared to drip coffee…”


“I heard they’re remaking them in zero gravity versions – after all convection won’t work without gravity – and apparently the coffee they make is rich in flavor.”


“Hmm.. Even if I don’t drink its coffee, it feels like I’m just opening my eyes to the idea of space. It’s making me excited.”


Humans released from gravity are building a new culture. But at the same time, it makes you realize how many various tools we use rely on gravity. From when its existence was proven at an early stage, gravity has troubled physicists to the very end; it only was just recently that gravity was finally grouped together with the other fundamental interactions.

 8.大空魔術 (Magic of the Skyward Heavens)
    Magical Astronomy


“Ah, space really is fascinating…”


“What are you doing sighing like that? Are you saying there’s nothing left that’s fascinating for you here on the ground?”


“It’s 16:31, I just saw the evening star… Well there really aren’t that many wonders left for me on the surface.”


“Well I guess when it’s someone like you, who can see all the workings of the world, it’s only natural for the nihilism in your heart to start showing on your face.”


“Like I was saying though, I’m really envious of your eyes. You’re always able to see strange worlds.. I really did want to see through the gaps in the barriers on the surface of the moon too..”


“If the tour were cheaper…”


Boundaries aren’t specific to the earth, so of course they would exist on the surface of the moon as well. The boundary on the moon’s surface separates a shining capital from the rest of the barren, lifeless satellite. As long as this barrier exists, even if you went to the moon, you wouldn’t be able to lay your hands on any of the rice cakes or medicine the moon rabbits were preparing. A moon rock is the most you could ever get.


“There must be a forgotten world hidden on the moon. One with a advanced culture, with a capital where the high classes live. Rabbits prepare the elixir of immortality, staring towards the three legged bird that nests in the sun, lamenting their bustling human visitors on their moon tour. But there’s no one other than you who can see that world.”


“You’re right. I’d like to go before we start seriously colonizing.”


“Well if it’s decided then we’ve got to make preparations, haven’t we?”


“If we want to see the capital of the moon, first we should probably study more on the subject… about the ancient moon forgotten from history long ago, about the shining capital of the moon from the stories, about the moon, the symbol of insanity… after all knowledge will help define the gaps in the boundary.”


“Well I was thinking more that first we should get part time jobs.. to save up money for the tour and all…”

 9.ネクロファンタジア (Necrofantasia)


The sun had set, and although it was already about time to eat dinner, the two finished their cake and finally left the cafeteria. At this university you could pay with your student ID card for all the shops within the grounds. Then you would pay your expenses every month along with your tuition. That lowered the cost of managing money and uncrowded the registers, so the students could shop more easily (because their parents were paying), and sales rose. Though thanks to that, there weren’t a few who found they accumulated more costs than they had bargained for.


“Apparently there’s an elixir on the moon that makes you ageless and immortal you know?”


“Ageless and immortal huh. Doesn’t seem like someone like you would need it Renko, right? Facing the end of physics and headed towards nothingness and all.”


“Who’s this nihilist you keep going on about? I’m full of life, excited about going into space, relaxing with the night..”


“So, if you were able to get the that elixir, would you use it?”


As world rapidly developed, every country gained some level of prosperity, but mankind just continued on to the next stage. The human population that had increased steadily since before the common era, now gently began to decrease. Capitalism, like Noah’s ark, economically expanded stratified society, and due to that all countries across the board showed a decrease in birthrates, but this was just the world moving on to capitalism’s last step, “population control”. Japan with its rapidly declining birthrates and therefore population, was able to successfully avoid the demerits of its population decrease, and with the efforts of the time’s chosen people, its national psychological state was able to return to prosperity.


“The elixir of life? Of course I’d use it. Do you know why in stories and such ageless immortality is portrayed as an emotionally painful thing? It was just a warning against everyone’s greed and rebellion against authority. But on the other hand, its mere existence has become a curse. Ageless immortality doesn’t mean that you don’t die, but rather that the boundary between life and death ceases to exist; it’s a state of neither living nor dying. Really, it’s just a realization of “necrophantasia”, a world that exists in the apparent world and in the world of the dead.”

10.向こう側の月 (The Dark Side of the Moon)
    Megalopolis of Moon


The two sat down on the edge of a pond with a water fountain set up by the university.


The moon had already shown its face, and in the lake another crater-less flat moon was floating.


The magician Merry saw it there.


The rabbit preparing medicine,


and a celestial maiden, clothed in shining robes


dancing elegantly in the sky.


In the moon reflected on the water, she saw behind the barrier.
Looking at that moon an idea popped into Merry’s head.


“Hey, Renko. If the moon tour is too expensive, then why don’t we think up another way to get to the moon?”



Just in case we haven’t met before, nice to meet you, this is ZUN.


Well really, compared to the greatness of the universe, I’m pretty small. No matter what failure I make it’s all trivial. Even in for a few years I can’t advance, continue education, get a job, compared to the greatness of the universe it’s all good and stuff. Even with the deadline coming up really soon and my stomach aching, all just keep working, humming along and…


No. Humans are desperate and frantic, deadline means “dead” “line”. My stomach…

 で、宇宙旅行、行きたいですよねぇ。行きたくない? いやいやそんな

So, I’d love to go on a journey into space. Wouldn’t you? Oh come on, you don’t need to lie like that. If you don’t want to head out into space, where else are you saying you want to go?


Actually it won’t be long till we have a moon tour for civilians (except apparently you don’t get to land). At any rate the estimated cost is a hundred million dollars (about 12 billion yen). Now I’m not Renko but,


“This moon tour is really too expensive isn’t it?”


Anyway with that price, I don’t see how it’s supposed to be “for the public”. Is this a Noah’s ark shown to us by capitalism? Are they planning on letting those left behind here on the ground drown in a flood of information? I wonder if an age will ever come when the vacation-less frantically hardworking illusionary people of the surface may easily travel to the moon.

             上海アリス幻楽団 ZUN(P◯3も方舟?)
             Shanghai Alice Illusionary Orchestra
                      ZUN (is the P◯3 an ark too?)

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*

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


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

    Blue Sea for 53 minutes


“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.”


“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.”


“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.”


“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.”


“No, I’m a celebrity.”


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


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.


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.


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


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.”


“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?”


“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…”


“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.”


“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.”


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.


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


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.


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


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


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


“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.”


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


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


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.


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.


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


“Ah, Just now…”


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


“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?”


“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.”


“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?”


“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?”


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.


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


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.


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


“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!”


“You sure do know a lot Renko.”


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


“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?”


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


“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?”


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


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.


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.


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


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


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


“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…”


“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.”


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


“Really? was it plagiarism? inspiration?”


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


“Oh wow…”


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


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.


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


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


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.

    Retrospective Kyoto


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


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


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


“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?”


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


“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?”


The ground spirits locked in the hardened asphalt had paid the due time for their sins, and so the streets of Tokyo were filled with cracks.


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.


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…


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

 9.ラクトガール ~ 少女密室
    Locked Girl


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




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


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


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


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


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.


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.


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


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


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


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


“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.”


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


“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.”


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


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


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.


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、

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)


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


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.


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


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



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

あとがき / Afterword


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


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.


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.


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?


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.


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.


Don’t you think so too?


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.


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)

夢違科学世紀 ~ Changeability of Strange Dream.

Renko and that other girl. You do learn about Merry quite a bit more in this episode though. ^_^

A circle is a club. I didn’t feel like changing it. o.o

Added a short paragraph that was missing to the end of part five. (2012/10/13)

夢違科学世紀 ~ Changeability of Strange Dream.
 Yume-tagae Kagaku Seiki ~ Changeability of Strange Dream.
 The Century of Science Mistaking Dreams ~ Changeability of a Strange Dream.

1.童祭 (Children’s Festival)
  Innocent Treasures


In order to counter dreams, the memories of a world in phantom morning mist,
The waking world sets upon a crumbling foundation of sand.
Histories of an ancient mystic world sprung from imagined dreams,
The waking light thrusts into sinking alleys.


(Day is breaking. In the middle of this phantom morning mist, day is breaking.
I was playing together with children in a land of fantasy.
All of the children were so happy. Everyone was laughing.)


Is it an illusion, or a tower built upon the sand?
Until day breaks, this dream – a butterfly’s dream.


(… I wonder when was the last time I saw a child laughing this much?
Then I listened to a strange song before, and there was a strange dance. Today must be a festival.
I thought that one day I too wanted to live in a country that had such children’s smiles.)


In order to counter dreams, the stark colors of a phantom scarlet mansion,
The waking world sets upon a bloodless foundation of stone.
Fairy tales of an ancient beautiful capitol, sprung from imagined dreams,
The waking light thrusts down degrading alleys.

2.華胥の夢 (Paradisiacal Dream)
  Paradisiacal Daydream


“So as I was saying, last night I had this sort of dream..”
“…Wait, you mean you want to talk about your dreams again?”
“Well, I called you over today to talk about dreams actually..”


 My name is Maribel Hearn. Here, in the middle of this dark street, I’m participating in an occult circle. It’s different from your ordinary occult circle; our circle doesn’t really do any “spiritual” activities, so we’re sort of considered a delinquent group, but… Well I call it a circle, but we are the only two members.


“Don’t you think telling other people your dreams is a bit inconveniencing?”


 That aside, the truth is that I have an amazing power. I’ve heard that since long ago people in my family have had spiritual perception, but well…
 I can see magical barriers, and all their boundaries all throughout the world. Our circle searches for gaps in those boundaries and tries leaping into other worlds. I guess you’d call it being spirited away?


 … It is prohibited though.
 But lately, I’ve been having dreams of various other worlds…


 ”Please!If I don’t tell you my dreams and get counseling from you, I feel that I’ll lose sight of which one of us is the real me!”

3.上海紅茶館 (Shanghai Black Tea House)
  Chinese Tea


Beyond a deep thicket of green, there was a bright red mansion.
All around the mansion was that same deep green, and the shining white of a lake……
What a wonderful view…
Even though it was that red, somehow it seemed to melt into the nature around it.
Somehow I felt the coloring had a sort of childish feel to it…… I loved it.


Should I go visit for a little while?
Would it be rude to just appear all of a sudden?
Even before that, would this mansion before me take me in?
… Wait? What am I flustering about? This is a dream.


…… Ah, it looks like they have some hired help.
I wonder if I should go ask her?
Something like, “I would like to see the master of this lovely mansion..”

4.ヴォヤージュ 1969 (Voyage 1969)
  1969, from Cape Canaveral


No matter where I go it all looks the same.
The sun’s already set and now I can’t hardly see my feet……


I had gotten that lost at night in a bamboo forest.
Every now and then far away I could hear a strange calling voice. Was it some animal, or…?
What should I do? This is bad.
If I stay lost in the bamboo forest like this, I wonder if I’ll end up starving to death?
Or maybe I’ll be eaten by a youkai? I have so many things left that I want to do though…


I wandered aimlessly, lost.
When I get hungry I’ll probably be alright if I eat bamboo shoots or something – I figured I’d be fine with a simple solution like that.
–After all, this is a dream.
But still, I realized then that I had no idea what a natural bamboo shoot was.
I had only seen those synthesized ones – I only knew what it tasted like.


At wits end I stared up at the sky.
It was filled with stars.
For the first time I grew envious of your eyes.
If it were you, you’d know immediately exactly where you were. You wouldn’t have gotten lost.


As soon as I’d thought that, I heard an creepy laugh right behind me!!

5.科学世紀の少年少女 (Boy and Girl of the Century of Science)
  21th Century Boy and Girl


“This is a biscuit I received at that scarlet mansion, and here’s a natural bamboo shoot I picked up in the bamboo forest.”
“Huh? I thought you said this was a dream? Merry?”
 The one that was listening to me tell my dreams is named Usami Renko. She’s the other member of our circle of only two. Most of our circle’s activities come from her ideas. When Renko looks at the sky she can tell where she is and what time it is at the moment. It’s creepy.


By the way, Renko calls me Merry. Apparently for the people of this country my name is fairly difficult to pronounce. I wonder if I’m going to end up forgetting my real name?


“It was a dream. Haven’t you been listening to me?”
“……So if it was a dream, why did those things in your dream materialize here in reality?”
“Like I was saying, that’s why I’ve come to talk to you.”


 I’ve started to lose sight of what is real and what is a dream. When I dream, it almost always ends with me being chased by youkai. I guess you would call it a nightmare… but well, you know…
Still, before I know it I’m holding the things that I’d found in my dream, so I started to wonder if what I’m doing right now isn’t a dream……


“You know Merry, That’s not a bamboo ‘shoot’ anymore. It’s already grown so much that it’s too hard to be edible.”
But, if I could somehow change this nightmare into a good dream, it would be far better than this reality…
“You see, when natural bamboo shoots are most delicious, they hide under the ground to protect themselves.”

6.永夜の報い (Retribution for an Endless Night)
  Imperishable Night


I ran as hard as I could. Even though it was in a dream.
I couldn’t really figure out why, but I knew that that laughing voice I had just heard wasn’t human.
Instinct told me, “Run!”


But the bamboo forest was strangely inclined and it threw off my sense of balance.
I tried to running straight ahead, but where did I really go?


I felt that I had run a long way, but all I saw again and again were places I’d already been to.
Does this bamboo forest continue on forever? Or am I just running around in circles?
…… Whichever the case it’s still the same.


Renko’s sort of “from an objective point of view the truth can be found” way of thinking is antiquated you know.


The truth is found in a subjective view.
If all I see are the places I’ve already been to, then within these the true place lies.


So, that’s why I’m running.
After all, a dream isn’t an antonym of reality.
According to common sense nowadays it’s a synonym.
Even if I am in a dream, I should run away from things that could be dangerous. That is truth.


Going along with that line of thought, I’m majoring in relative psychiatry.
By the way, Renko’s majoring in super unified physics. Lately there’s been that string theory research… I wonder if that’s going along well?

7.夜が降りてくる (The Night Comes Falling)
  Evening Star


But it’s strange…
There are many people like you with an antiquated way of thinking that consider dreams and reality to be exact opposites, but if you look a lot farther into the past, people didn’t distinguish any difference between dreams and reality.


Nowadays, we do differentiate between them, but consider them both the same.
The reality of reality and the reality of dreams, the real me and the dream me, both exist.


Is the nighttime butterfly me? Is the daytime human me?
Common sense today says both are.


I felt like I had run far far away, but I didn’t feel tired at all.
Was it because I had moved as if I were flying in the sky? Did I become a butterfly or something?


But I had found the goal line of my sprint….


–I stopped running.
Just ahead in the bamboo, there was something giving off a deep red light.
The light was an ominous color, not something you’d find in reality.
Putting it into words you’d understand…
Perhaps it was closest to the glow given off by a rubidium flame?


I know it doesn’t exist, but it wasn’t the shining bamboo from that one story.
Still being cautious about what might be behind me, I looked over in the direction of that light.

8.人形裁判 ~ 人の形弄びし少女
   (Dolls’ Judgement ~ The Girl Who Played With People’s Shapes)
  Doll Master


Ah, what had I set my eyes upon!
Even though we live in an age where you can see extinct mountain wolves and kappa in 3DCG…
I hadn’t seen any creature like it before.

……いや、兎だったのかな? 眼が赤かったし。

It was bigger than a mountain wolf, and was black like a rat. Only its eyes were red.
…Wait, was it a rabbit? Its eyes were red after all…
But it’s look was strange…
There were two eyes on it’s face like this… just like your eyes are.
Well like all humans’ are…


The size of its face was about the same as a humans too.
So it had a human’s face? Well now that I think of it did. It had a human face – definitely
A large rat with a human face… Do you know any sort of creature like that?


–At that time the large rat let out a creepy voice that I recognized.
So this rat was the one who was chasing after me!
But this time it wasn’t looking at me. It was looking in the direction of that deep red light.


It wasn’t that big rat’s eyes that was making everything glow red!
The creepy rat was actually afraid of the reddish light.
I then turned towards the light…

9.夢と現の境界 (The Boundary Between Dreams and Reality)
  Wake up Mysterious Girl


“So anyway, This is a piece of paper that fell after the big rat and that girl disappeared.”
“Hey, are you sure this was a dream?”


 The true form of the red light the big rat was facing was this incredible girl. She was glowing scarlet. Why? Well at first glance it looked as if she was entirely engulfed in flame.


 Well that’s not really the correct way to describe her. Rather, the fire was coming from within, and furthermore two blazes of deep crimson slanted upward out of her body, as if she were a bird with its wings outspread….


 Anyway, compared to the big rat with a face, this girl was on a completely different level of ominous. This girl had only to raise her hand for the big rat to run away in fear.

 結局、その女の子は何者だったの? その後どうなったの?」
 大鼠を追っ払って貰ったのにどうして隠れてたの、だって? まぁ……」

 ”Like-I-was-saying! Dreams and reality are the same! Haven’t you been listening at all?!
  From my perspective meeting here with you now might really be a dream…”
 ”Ok, Ok, I’m here to listen to your dreams, you know? Calm down, already – Merry.”
  So in the end, just what was that girl? What happened next?”
 ”I don’t know. After that, the big rat ran away… and the girl disappeared too.
  Then I hid myself from both the big rat and the girl for a long, long time.
  She did chase away the rat for me, so why did I hide from her too? Well…”


 I saw her eyes perfectly, they were a deep red, never failing, far surpassing that of the rat’s–
 ”She wasn’t human…”

10.幻想機械 (Illusionary Factory)
   Phantom Factory


 In the end, just telling me all her dreams, Merry left satisfied.
 Looking down at the few things Merry had given me, I organized my thoughts. Merry said that dreams and reality are the same, but there’s no way that could be true. Even if that’s what the current relative psychiatric school of thought states, at its worst it only concerns dreams versus reality within the field of psychiatry. When things from dreams start materializing in reality, we’ve got a problem. It breaks the law of conservation of mass – and what about entropy?
 I was certain that while Merry didn’t realize it, she had flown beyond a world boundary. But she believed that it was only a dream. Now, that world beyond must be extremely close to her… Merry’s ability to see boundaries couldn’t have transformed into an ability to control…? No, that’s impossible – that can’t be it. I wonder if it’s because she’s been too engaged in our circle’s activities recently…
 At this rate, she could be eaten by one of the youkai in her dreams – or spirited away. Merry’s thoughts have been wandering across various worlds, so if she’s in another world and realizes that it’s not a dream, she might not be able to come back. She’ll probably end up thinking that this world is the dream. She doesn’t know, but she’s actually in an incredibly dangerous situation.


  As for counseling measures, I can think of two things I can do.


  I could throw away these things she’s given me and force her to believe completely that her dreams were just that – dreams, or illusions.
  If I did that, she would probably lose the ability to realistically travel to the dream world. Dreams and reality are, and should be, separate things after all.


  The other thing I could do…


  I could, rather than convincing her it was a dream, force her to understand that she actually was in another world, and wake her from her dreams.
  If I did that, she wouldn’t die in that dream world without knowing the truth…
  But… if I did that, she might not be able to return to this world.


  Which is better for her? Which is the right answer from my perspective?
  …It has to be that one.

11.幽玄の槭樹 (Mystic Maple Tree)
   Eternal Dream

「惜しいって何? というか、今日は何の用かしら?」

“God Renko, you’re always late!”
“Merry, I’m only three minutes and fifteen seconds late – just barely missed it.”
“Huh? Well whatever – What’s it for today?”
“Circle activities of course. We’ve got the whole team together after all!”
“That’s only the two of us you know – So have you found another entrance?”


There was only one answer. Merry’s dream world.
Beautiful, natural, an just a bit mysterious.


A Shinto shrine far from civilization,
Children frolicking,
Deep green and white sparkling lakes,
A scarlet mansion and tea time under the shade of trees,
A bamboo so wide as to make you lost and natural bamboo shoots,
A creature with a human face, and
That ominous bird of flame――


It’s unfair for only Merry to get to see all that!!!


“Of course – If there’s an entrance to that other world, we’ll be able to find it.
After all, I’ve got a lead.”
“Lead? Aren’t those just the things from my dream? Renko?”
“Like I was saying, we’re going to search for your dream world.
Merry, do you know why the children of this country don’t look happy?”




“It’s because of academics like you,
that they’ve come to see dreams and reality as the same thing.
They fall into the trap of thinking dreams are simply images shown at the back of your brain, nothing more than a scientific phenomenon.
You know, other than that subjective view, there’s an objective view that you can believe in. An absolute truth.
A subjective view holds the truth? What you’re saying is a contradiction. That theory is wrong.
Proof of that is that you, giving up your subjective view, dream.
Dreams and reality are different. Because of that, you can work to make dreams into reality.
That’s how those children could smile.
 Come on, wake up.
 We’re changing your dream into reality.
 We’re going to bring that dream world into reality!”




 Nice to meet you (probably), this is ZUN. I’ve formed a band of only a Shinto priests! Of course that’s a lie. I’m just scraping by, working at the Hakurei Shrine.


 This time around I’ve made a CD of music with a sort of strange basis… Wait this is the third one. Wow, I’ve made a lot of creepy CDs haven’t I? Alright everyone, let’s cross our fingers and say “go away!”


 Anyway, this time I’ve selected from quite a broad range of previous works, though they are mostly shooting game themes at heart – enough to tire you out. The CD’s full of songs that you can’t just listen to one at a time… By the way, you shouldn’t listen to these one at a time you know? Anyway I’ve assigned a different sort of meaning/story to them here. In the games they have the stories from the games… it’s a sort of world balance.


 The first song “Children’s Festival” was my entrance theme from a talk event a few days ago. I’ve written a lot of various character themes, but making a theme for myself was really difficult – and embarrassing.
 I actually made lyrics for it, but the comments for it sort of are lyrical. It’s a song of travelling back and forth through dreams and reality, and which in the end was the truth.

が、科学が進化すると天然の筍が食べられなくなるのでしょうか? 可哀想に。

 Anyway, I’m a bit worried about where those two from the Sealing Club ended up…
 Yes, yes, Merry and Renko from in this work made a mysterious circle called the Sealing Club, and do this and that sort of occult activities. I haven’t written anything specific about it, but as science advances, will we become unable to eat natural bamboo shoots? How depressing…


 But then you might be able to have crested ibis miso soup. Synthetically.


 Thinking of that, I’m filled with dreams of what the future might bring.


 Since the outside is somewhat dangerous and you can’t really play to your heart’s content, you have to imagine the emotions of other people beyond the internet (this is difficult even for adults), and there aren’t any adults who will correct your mistakes, but will sometimes scold you or worse. The net nowadays is too harsh for children, and I don’t think they’re raised to be able to hang out with adults.


Still, while the hearts of children are growing narrower and narrower in this country, perhaps there will come a day when children play out in the streets filled with smiles. Synthetically.

上海アリス幻樂団 ZUN(筍好き)

Shanghai Alice Illusionary Orchestra ZUN (A lover of bamboo shoots)

蓬莱人形 ~ Dolls in Psuedo Paradise.

^ (Alice’s Hourai has nothing to do with the story, but this picture of her fit the “Neither Human nor Youkai” subject’s description absolutely perfectly, so I ran with it).

This is a brilliant masterpiece when you put it together. Can you find the killer? I love music, it can never fully be explained. Just like this.

The first block of text is from the C62 Version and the second block of text is from the edition after that. The exception is the text-heavy track “Reincarnation” of which the part after “interlude” is still part of the C62 Version.

If you haven’t listened to Hourai Dolls before, I really suggest you do.
I recommend all of the tracks, “二色蓮花蝶 ~ Red and White” and “桜花之恋塚 ~ Japanese Flower” and “Circus Reverie” are some of my favorites, but “明治十七年の上海アリス” (Meiji 17 Shanghai Alice), “Reincarnation”, and 永遠の巫女 (Eternal Shrine Maiden) and a few others from the PC-98 era have very noticable changes from their first appearances, and I feel are much richer.

ZUN really is a brilliant composer, though I figure most people who don’t have a flavor for that “game music from a lost age” as ZUN puts it wouldn’t recognize it until the great explosion of arrange groups take and transform the originals through different genres and even more transformations.

By the way, if you have the cover (of the “press version”) that shows the culprit (of the C62 story).

I feel that I haven’t really yet edited it to the point where it feels fully English, but in not doing so I feel I’ve kept some of the original structure instead. I don’t know yet whether I’m ok with that, so I may re-edit it in the future, but here it is for now. ^_^

蓬莱人形 ~ Dolls in Psuedo Paradise.
 Hourai Ningyou ~ Dolls in Psuedo Paradise
 Hourai Dolls ~ Dolls in Pseudo Paradise

C62 Story // Press Version Story


We – the honest village, were originally a group of just eight.
We had all decided together to move into the eastern mountains and pass the time for two years. Everyday was an honest tedium.
One day, one of our number found a small hole in the curve of a peach tree. Yes, it was from then on that we stumbled into paradise.
Then and there, I quit being human.

   Hourai Densetsu
   The Legend of Hourai


I, the most curious of our group, hurried ahead first and set my sights deep into the forest. There I was stopped by a mysterious clown. For whatever reason it happily held out to me the jeweled branch of Hourai. When I reached out to take it, in that very instant my head was separated from my body. I couldn’t move, and I couldn’t ever see my friends again.
And then there were seven honest ones left.


The elixir of immortality couldn’t be found even by the servants of the emperor Qin Shi Huang…
…But I wonder if you could find the jeweled branch of Hourai.

2.二色蓮花蝶 ~ Red and White
   Nishoku Renkachou
   Bichromatic Lotus Butterfly ~ Red and White


In the morning, I saw a red and white shrine maiden dancing on the surface of a pond. The earliest riser of our group, I was fascinated by her ruthless and radical dance for quite some time. Eventually it began to rain, and when I came to my senses, the shrine maiden had vanished.

 あら、あの娘… 人間でも妖怪でもないみたい

It looks like another strange person’s found their way in again.
I should do something before they make it to the shrine…
Ah, that girl… it doesn’t seem like she is either human or youkai…

3.桜花之恋塚 ~ Japanese Flower
   Ouka no Koidzuka ~ Japanese Flower
   Lovely Mound of Cherry Blossoms ~ Japanese Flower


The rain knew no end. A shrine maiden, her body drenched, was disappearing as if she were melting into the rain. While I was captivated by the shrine maiden, the rain became a frightful storm, and I, the most beautiful of our group, was captured by a clown. Then the clown vanished into the storm, and I was unable to return to our group.
And then there were six honest ones left.


I wonder if even now under that cherry tree * is sleeping.
Those crimson flower petals year after year are growing lighter.
There probably isn’t anything left under the ground anymore.

   Meiji 17 (1884) Shanghai Alice


At night, we six held an exotic party. I, the youngest of our group could not yet drink alcohol or smoke opium, so I was extremely bored. Alone I crept away from the event, but in the pitch darkness I was captured by an ominous clown. My head was easily taken. I was never again able to be bored.
And then there were five honest ones left.


The opium smoke hovered like a cloud, and passed into that place in the town. I live in a land concession. The people wearing colorful clothes and dancing the waltz, their magic won’t reach me here.

   Touhou Kaikidan
   Eastern Fantastic Tale


I ran until I was out of breath. I, the most cowardly of our group, had grown afraid of this paradise. I had thought as much, but no matter how far I ran, I couldn’t find the way back. Already the one I loved had disappeared, and whether or not she was alive there was nothing I could do – at length and in despair I strung a rope over a thick branch and tied it around my neck.
…For some reason, I’m conscious. Was the rope too brittle?…
I, the most cowardly of our group, was reborn. Having nothing left to lose, I decided to pretend to be human just once more.


“Youkai? Nowadays that’s just nonsense.”
But I know: If the youkai let humans think that, then they can live in peace.
Youkai are far more peaceful and realistic than humans.

   Enigmatic Doll


When I woke up, the five of us were in the dark. According to one of us, we were belaid by a strange clown. The other four were constructing infantile escape plans. I, the most wise of our group, saw that it would be fine to just wait it out, but in the end, I never said it aloud.
The four’s plan was carried out according to plan, and against my calculations suceeded, but I was never able to escape from the darkness.
While I was killing time in endless darkness, I felt a presence right behind me, but I just let things go as they would. I felt something hot on my back.

 っちゃうのよ? あの目は本物の目よ。

Ah, this doll, I really want to throw it away.
After all, those blue eyes. Sometimes a black crow comes and takes them away in its mouth. Those eyes are real. I know, because I’m always putting in new ones.

   Circus Reverie


We were able to make our brilliant escape. We felt like geniuses, and went back to the place we were staying at in paradise.
No one had any doubts about the other.
We were all honest. We were all great friends…


So, up next is the bird-man!
This man called “bird-man” exists only far in the south country, and even there is rare, a child born from a bird of paradise. His parents died long ago, and so was a poor lonely child. But we saved him from that! Aren’t we great?

   Ningyou no Mori
   Forest of Dolls


Paradise prepared us a perfect building to live in. This ancient western mansion deep in the forest has always let us stay in. It always has a great store of food, but now we do with half.
Since when was our honest number halved?


The rain won’t stop.
Since I’ve wandered into this house, I haven’t seen the sun once. I wonder how many days have passed?
The doll began to talk to me.
I twisted the doll’s head off. It looked as if the rain had stopped.

9.Witch of Love Potion

それが惚れ薬−Love Potion−入りだったとは…

We always have tea in the afternoon, and the bitter coffee I always have today tasted a bit sweet.
Was this the one with the love potion in it?…
I, the most mature of our group, in love with a beautiful clown, happily fell asleep.
And then there were three honest ones left.


Of course not. I’m not an idiot.
I was just laughed at for telling my friend.
That the shop over there was selling a love potion.
So without telling anyone, I broke the piggy bank.


いたんだ。一体どっちの仕業だろう? 暗闇の中恐怖に顔

I saw that one of my friends was clearly killed with poison. There’s no way it could have been suicide. I was the one who chose everyone’s coffee according to their tastes and carried it to their rooms. I didn’t tell the other two of his death. I, the most wary of out group, didn’t eat anything besides the food I prepared myself. I desperately stayed awake until the other two were sound asleep. We had gone into separate rooms and locked the doors. Yes, I suspected one of the two.
Somewhere near by I heard the sound of a something being nailed into a tree. Which of them is behind this? In the darkness my face twisted in fear. Matched in time with the sounds, my hands and legs began to hurt. It felt as if 15 centimeter nails were being knocked into them. I considered whether I should consult a medium, and then I realized the obvious.
Of course, I’m being nailed into a tree and can’t move. Which of them is doing it?
Then I felt the final nail against my brow.
Then just as I predicted I saw a face.
Before I had time to yell out, the light went completely out.

– interlude


You were way too much of a coward.
Don’t you realize that being honest only sets yourself up to meet a cruel fate?
Did this escape from the world paralyze your old sharp senses?
Don’t you yearn for the bustling town, for riches and happiness?
I, in the past was a thief with the rest, and I just wanted to re-live my life.
Having finished the job, I began preparations for breakfast, and waited for night to lift.


In the first place, a western mansion standing in a forest with no roads leading to it is strange. The girl that lives there rarely comes to the village. However, lately I’ve seen what looks like her daughter. Why do I say her daughter?
Well, she looks exactly like that girl when she was a child…

   U.N. Owen wa Kanojo na no ka?
   U.N. Owen was Her?


Barely hanging on to consciousness, I, the earliest riser, was already at death’s door. There was something in this morning’s ham and eggs. How stupid of me, to not know anything even though we’ve come down to two. It was all *s fault, when * went mad I should have killed *.
But whatever I might do, it’s just too late.
I felt that I saw a shrine maiden, was this just an hallucination of mine?
Even so, was the color of her hair really that blonde?
In exchange for my life, I wished that I could see this hallucination just a little while longer. It seemed that wish was only granted to one before me.


You really have no imagination. It was as if you wanted to fall into the trap. If the culprit was one with the imaginative power of U.N. Owen, they’d have your neck on a rope before breakfast.

   Eien no Miko
   Eternal Shrine Maiden



I, the one who had been reborn, yesterday after dinner was assaulted by an intense sleepiness. My head hurt like it was going to split in two. I can’t remember anything that happened last night, just that it felt like I was watching a long dream. If only I didn’t have to watch the reality facing me now…
Just what is this? One poisoned by coffee, one nailed to a tree, and another beheaded….
I whispered the last having prepared a chair and a rope. The last one killed had to have been the one poisoned by the coffee.
So, just what is the meaning of this?
It’s probably that.
There was something put into my food last night.
But what does that matter? Now I’m all alone.
This time I tied a strong rope to the ceiling, and kicked a tall chair.
This time for sure, my body won’t ever hit the ground again.
And then the honest group was none


Today nothing happened.
Tomorrow I have nothing planned.
No one comes here, humans or gods.
Youkai? Ah, well they come every day.

   Sora Tobu Miko no Fushigi na Mainichi
   The Strange Everyday of a Sky Flying Shrine Maiden




The shrine maiden of paradise spent the summer in an unchanging peace.
On one of those summer days, the shrine maiden wrote this in her diary.

August Xth
About all that happened today was that I met a beautiful blonde haired girl walking out from the direction of the ruins of the western style mansion in the forest. I felt like i had seen that girl somewhere before, but I didn’t waste my thoughts on such a trivial thing. In jest, that girl stuck out her tongue and quickly bowed with a great smile on her face and went off in the direction of the exit to paradise. What a strange girl.
Now that I think of it. That girl was the only female in that group of honest eight. But what does that matter.
Ah… today’s another boring day.

In this paradise “Gensoukyou” the number of humans dropped by eight, and seven corpses were safely carried off by youkai. Gensoukyou has lost the honest group for all eternity. Well, it’s just a numerical shift.
That’s not important news.


Lately, the number of people that’ll say thoughtless things such as “that’s magic” or “that’s a youkai’s doing” are increasing. How depressing.

C62 Composer’s Greeting




I’m sure this is the first time, so nice to meet you, this is ZUN. I’ve been composing for a long time, but just now thoughtlessly have put out a music CD. The contents are really sort of against the times, retro love as it were. It’s especially not the sort of stylish, dance-game type of music, but is a perfect match for the people that love the straight game music from long ago (a small few of you I’m sure). Also, it’s also girly-tastic so for people with that sort of hobby, I’d like you to listen as well.

From here on out, I’d like to continue composing eastern and western antique original melodies.

By the way, it’s possible that while listening to this CD for some reason you can’t feel at ease.
That’s because when people (or other things) depart from the road, they can’t fully safe.
Hourai Dolls is probably an unhealing CD. With all the hanging and all…

 2002.8.11 ZUN(正直村の隠し子、最も高所恐怖症な僕)
    Illegitimate Child of the Honest Village, the Most Acrophobic of Them All.

Press Ver. Composer’s Greeting


Nice to meet you if this indeed is the first time – this is ZUN. This CD is the press version of the one released at C62.
The tracks themselves are all ones I made a long time ago, so listening to them now is a bit embarassing. Most of them are arranges of tracks I used in my own shooting games.
If you would recognize of the feel of the long gone by arcade era’s game music listening to this, it would make me happy.


Also, to those people throwing away Japan and flying off overseas, I would like you to listen too.

(Shanghai Alice Illusionary Orchestra)
            Music Composer / Arranger ZUN

Translated by Kafka Fuura