Posts Tagged ‘ Touhou ’

Bad Apple!! (8 Years Later Translation Sketch Version)

Bad Apple?

Bad Apple. (本当に誰得だよ?)

Things tend to look a bit different when you look at them eight years later.

Someone wanted me to re-translate this, and I’m not exactly sure what they were looking for, but this song looks a whole lot more sarcastic than I remember it being before.

If you’re really going to prod me to actually change and do something. Don’t expect it to be a positive change, you might just regret your decision.

Bad Apple!!
Bad Apple!! – 東方幻想郷
Lyric: Haruka
Vocal: Nomico

流れてく 時の中ででも 気だるさがほら グルグル廻って
私から 離れる心も 見えないわ そう知らない?

nagareteku toki no naka de demo kedarusa ga hora guru-guru mawatte
watashi kara hanareru kokoro mo mienai wa sou shiranai?

Even as time flows on the listlessness, don’t you see it spinning ’round and ’round?
I can’t even see my heart – it’s left me. Have you seen it anywhere?

自分から 動くこともなく 時の隙間に 流され続けて
知らないわ 周りのことなど 私は私 それだけ?

jibun’ kara ugoku koto mo naku toki no sukima ni nagasaretsudzukete
shiranai wa mawari no koto nado watashi wa watashi sore dake?

I don’t move or act on my own, but leave myself to be swept away into the crevices of time
I don’t know or care about what’s around me. I’m myself, that’s it. Is that all you have to say?

夢見てる? なにも見てない? 語るも無駄な 自分の言葉?
悲しむなんて 疲れるだけよ 何も感じず 過ごせばいいの

yume miteru? nani mo mitenai? kataru mo muda na jibun’ no kotoba?
kanashimu nan’te tsukareru dake yo nani mo kan’jizu sugoseba ii no

Am I dreaming, am I not? It’d be a waste of words to say. Even my own words?
Should I be sad? It’s a waste of energy. It’s better to feel nothing and float on

戸惑う言葉 与えられても 自分の心 ただ上の空
もし私から 動くのならば すべて変えるのなら 黒にする

tomadou kotoba ataeraretemo jibun’ no kokoro tada uwa no sora
moshi watashi kara ugoku no naraba subete kaeru no nara kuro ni suru

Even if you try to make me think, my heart’s not paying attention
If I were to actually do something, if I were to change everything, I’d paint it black

こんな自分に 未来はあるの? こんな世界に 私はいるの?
今切ないの? 今悲しいの? 自分の事も わからないまま

kon’na jibun’ ni mirai wa aru no? kon’na sekai ni watashi wa iru no?
ima setsunai no? ima kanashii no? jibun’ no koto mo wakaranai mama

Is there any future for me like this? Does this world even need me?
Is this pain? Is this sadness? I really have no idea how I feel

歩むことさえ 疲れるだけよ 人のことなど 知りもしないわ
こんな私も 変われるのなら もし変われるのなら 白になる?

ayumu koto sae tsukareru dake yo hito no koto nado shiri mo shinai wa
kon’na watashi mo kawareru no nara moshi kawareru no nara shiro ni naru?

Just walking is tiring to me. Do you really think I have the capacity to think of others?
Even if this me I am were capable of change, if I really could, would I then become white?

流れてく 時の中ででも 気だるさがほら グルグル廻って
私から 離れる心も 見えないわ そう知らない?

nagareteku toki no naka de demo kedarusa ga hora guru-guru mawatte
watashi kara hanareru kokoro mo mienai wa sou shiranai?

Even as time flows on the listlessness, don’t you see it spinning ’round and ’round?
I can’t even see my heart – it’s left me. Have you seen it anywhere?

自分から 動くこともなく 時の隙間に 流され続けて
知らないわ 周りのことなど 私は私 それだけ?

jibun’ kara ugoku koto mo naku toki no sukima ni nagasaretsudzukete
shiranai wa mawari no koto nado watashi wa watashi sore dake?

I don’t move or act on my own, but leave myself to be swept away into the crevices of time
I don’t know or care about what’s around me. I’m myself, that’s it. Is that all you have to say?

夢見てる? なにも見てない? 語るも無駄な 自分の言葉?
悲しむなんて 疲れるだけよ 何も感じず 過ごせばいいの

yume miteru? nani mo mitenai? kataru mo muda na jibun’ no kotoba?
kanashimu nan’te tsukareru dake yo nani mo kan’jizu sugoseba ii no

Am I dreaming, am I not? It’d be a waste of words to say. Even my own words?
Should I be sad? It’s a waste of energy. It’s better to feel nothing and float on

戸惑う言葉 与えられても 自分の心 ただ上の空
もし私から 動くのならば すべて変えるのなら 黒にする

tomadou kotoba ataeraretemo jibun’ no kokoro tada uwa no sora
moshi watashi kara ugoku no naraba subete kaeru no nara kuro ni suru

Even if you try to make me think, my heart’s not paying attention
If I were to actually do something, if I were to change everything, I’d paint it black

無駄な時間に 未来はあるの? こんな所に 私はいるの?
私のことを 言いたいならば 言葉にするのなら 「ろくでなし」

muda na jikan’ ni mirai wa aru no? kon’na tokoro ni watashi wa iru no?
watashi no koto wo iitai naraba kotoba ni suru no nara “roku de nashi”

Is there a future for time spent worthlessly? Can you really say I’m here, in this place?
If you want to talk about me, if you want to put me into words, I’m a ‘Bad Apple’

こんな所に 私はいるの? こんな時間に 私はいるの?
こんな私も 変われるのなら もし変われるのなら 白になる?

kon’na tokoro ni watashi wa iru no? kon’na jikan’ ni watashi wa iru no?
kon’na watashi mo kawareru no nara moshi kawareru no nara shiro ni naru?

Can you really say I’m here, in this place? Can you really say I’m here, in this time?
Even if this me I am were capable of change, if I really could, would I then become white?

今夢見てる? なにも見てない? 語るも無駄な 自分の言葉?
悲しむなんて 疲れるだけよ 何も感じず 過ごせばいいの

ima yume miteru? nani mo mitenai? kataru mo muda na jibun’ no kotoba?
kanashimu nan’te tsukareru dake yo nani mo kan’jizu sugoseba ii no

Am I dreaming, am I not? It’d be a waste of words to say. Even my own words?
Should I be sad? It’s a waste of energy. It’s better to feel nothing and float on

戸惑う言葉 与えられても 自分の心 ただ上の空
もし私から 動くのならば すべて変えるのなら 黒にする

tomadou kotoba ataeraretemo jibun’ no kokoro tada uwa no sora
moshi watashi kara ugoku no naraba subete kaeru no nara kuro ni suru

Even if you try to make me think, my heart’s not paying attention
If I were to actually do something, if I were to change everything, I’d paint it black

動くのならば 動くのならば すべて壊すの すべて壊すわ
悲しむならば 悲しむならば 私の心 白く変われる?

ugoku no naraba ugoku no naraba subete kowasu no subete kowasu wa
kanashimu naraba kanashimu naraba watashi no kokoro shiroku kawareru?

If I were to actually move, do something, I’d destroy everything, everything
If I were to be sad, if I were to be sad, then would my heart become white?

貴方の事も 私の事も 全ての事も まだ知らないの
重い目蓋を 開けたのならば すべて壊すのなら 黒になれ!!!

anata no koto mo watashi no koto mo subete no koto mo mada shiranai no
omoi mabuta wo aketa no naraba subete kowasu no nara kuro ni nare!!!

I don’t know you, I don’t know myself, nor do I know anything else
But if I am to open my heavy eyelids, if I am to destroy everything, I’ll paint it all black!

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curse upon me!

Kirisame Marisa (nokishita) (px-img-id-5610500)
^[Pixiv]

Suggested by: Univpark

Looking back over the PC-98 scripts for this reminded me what I liked about Marisa.

To understand this song, I think it’s important to keep the image of a game in mind, but to generalize that image.

Notes:
Powerful “Kirisame Marisa” (Kanji for Marisa)
Accursed “Kirisame Marisa” (All Hiragana)

“That other” probably refers to another “self” but could refer to Reimu.

“To everyone deciding the nature of their plans”… The meaning of this stanza changes depending on what you take this to mean.
1) People deciding who they are going to be. (in a broad sense)
2) People deciding how they are going to “play” Marisa.
^Second line effect:
1) Worrying too much over both your own nature and the nature of your plans will result in wasted time/opportunities.
2) There are too many things to check on, bullet patterns and what not, so you can’t waste my game lives.
^Following stanza effect:
1) You can’t say any “truth” is immovable/certain without trial and error
2) You cannot say for certain a certain pattern will not change/move without some sacrifice.

^You can extend this to the setting and setup/planning of a game.

“beloved” – is written as “necessary condition”, and therefore is being treated as a power source, if you will.

The artwork shows one Marisa taking off the witch hat of a disintegrating other Marisa (?) which is not much more than an abnormal spine.

curse upon me!
恋色マジック|東方幻想郷
Vocal: めらみぽっぷ
Arrangement+Lyrics: RD-Sounds
Circle: 凋叶棕
Album: 音 -omoi-
Event: C92

思い返せばこんな人生
何も思い遺すことはない
だから、私は、私を棄てて、私を始めるって決めたんだ

omoikaeseba kon’na jin’sei
nani mo omoinokosu koto wa nai
dakara, watashi wa, watashi wo sutete, watashi wo hajimeru tte kimetan’da

When I look back over my life I think
If I were to end it now, I would regret nothing
Therefore, I have decided, to throw myself away, and begin myself anew.

運も不運もこぞって“そいつ”が持ちえたもので
それの多寡 嘆いてるよりも
新たな自分 始めるほうがいい筈だ

un’ mo fuun’ mo kozotte “soitsu” ga mochieta mono de
sore no taka nageiteru yori mo
arata na jibun’ hajimeru hou ga ii hazu da

Both fortune and misfortune were possible for “that other” as well
So rather than bemoaning my level of misfortune
I’m sure it would be better for me to start a new me!

何もかもが予定されて無い
その性質を決めるものたち
確かめるべきことの多さに、命を無駄遣いはできない

nani mo ka mo ga yotei saretenai
sono seishitsu wo kimeru mono tachi
tashikameru beki koto no oosa ni, inochi wo mudadzukai wa dekinai

Nothing at all is planned for me
To those deciding the nature of their plans
There are too many things to confirm, you can’t waste your lives away

実証検証それで確証
動かないのが 確かだとしようにもそれも
何かを捧げたものだけにしか見られない

jisshou ken’shou sore de kakushou
ugokanai no ga tashika da to shiyou ni mo sore mo
nanika wo sasageta mono dake ni shika mirarenai

Proof, verification and confirmation
In trying to assert that something will not move
Certainty is something only those who have sacrificed can see

この世界にひとりこうして生まれたのに
そのはじめから呪われてる――そう名付けられた!

kono sekai ni hitori koushite umareta no ni
sono hajime kara norowareteru – sou nadzukerareta!

Thus I was born alone into this world, yet
From the very beginning I was cursed – so I was named!

からっぽの存在だけ あとは何も無い
嗚呼――疎ましき「きりさめまりさ」
遍く世界に絶望し

karappo no son’zai dake ato wa nani mo nai
aa – utomashiki “kirisame marisa”
amaneku sekai ni zetsubou shi

An empty existence, I have nothing else
Ah – Accursed “Kirisame Marisa”
She despaired of everything in the world

――だから、呪えよ、呪え、全部呪ってやれ!
誰の呪いよりも強く。
一人の少女の世界を変える。

-dakara, noroe yo, noroe, zen’bu norotteyare!
dare no noroi yori mo tsuyoku.
hitori no shoujo no sekai wo kaeru.

-So curse me! Curse me! Lay all your curses upon me!
Stronger than any of your curses,
This single girl will change the world.

それが、はじめの魔法。

sore ga, hajime no mahou.

That is the magic to begin.

思い返せばこれまでけして
幸せに生きたわけじゃないが
だけど、誰かが、誰かを棄てる――そんな軽はずみなものじゃない

omoikaseba kore made keshite
shiawase ni ikita wake ja nai ga
dakedo, dareka ga, dareka wo suteru – son’na karuhazumi na mono ja nai

When I look back over my life I think
I have not lived very happily, and yet
For someone to throw away another’s life – That’s not to be taken lightly.

「だぜ」ってすまして「うふっ」って感じに笑ってみても
それだけじゃ何も変えられぬ
そもそも全てそのはじめから変えること

“daze” tte sumashite “ufu” tte kan’ji ni warattemitemo
sore dake ja nani mo kaerarenu
somo somo subete sono hajime kara kaeru koto

Whether I act tough about it or laugh it off
That’s not going to change anything
I’ve got to change everything all from the beginning

不思議なことに世界は広く
然るにこの手かくも小さく
だからその差を埋める力は何よりも強力なエネルギー

fushigi na koto ni sekai wa hiroku
shikaru ni kono te kakumo chiisaku
dakara sono sa wo umeru chikara wa nani yori mo kyouryoku na energy

The world is wider than you might think
Yet this hands of mine are so small
So what I need to make up the difference more than anything else is powerful energy!

重要なのは効率変換
必要あれば なんであって実現てみせる
使えるのならこの身体も使うべきで

juuyou nano wa kouritsuhen’kan’
hitsuyou areba nan’deatte kanaetemiseru
tsukaeru no nara kono karada mo tsukaubeki de

What is important is energy efficiency
I want something that can make anything I need come true
I’ll use anything, even my own body if I need to

恋という力 それに恋せよ私
なら「普通」の私を見てよ――さあ『必要条件』!

koi to iu chikara sore ni koi seyo watashi
nara “futsuu” no watashi wo miteyo – saa “itoshiki hito”

Fall in love with the power of love, Marisa!
Just you watch this “ordinary” me – Right? My “beloved”!

からっぽの存在だけ 何かで包んで
幸運の星 不幸の星
世界はお前を嫌っている

karappo no son’zai dake nanika de tsutsun’de
kouun’ no hoshi fukou no hoshi
sekai wa omae wo kiratteiru

Take an empty existence and wrap it in something else
Lucky stars and stars of misfortune
The world hates you

けれど、笑えよ、笑え、全部笑ってやれ!
誰の声も笑いとばせ。
己の全てを忘れた先に。

keredo, waraeyo, warae, zen’bu waratteyare!
dare no koe mo waraitobase.
onore no subete wo wasureta saki ni.

But still, laugh, laugh, laugh all you want!
Laugh everyone else’s voices away.
Once you’ve forgotten everything you are,

それが、続きの魔法。

sore ga, tsudzuki no mahou.

That is the magic to continue.

部屋の片隅で何かに怯えていたあの日々
抗えぬ理不尽に涙流したあの日々
その呪われた名前ごと忘れるんだ――消し去るんだ!

heya no katasumi de nanika ni obieteita ano hibi
aragaenu rifujin’ ni namida wo nagashita ano hibi
sono norowareta namae goto wasurerun’da – keshisarun’da!

Those days when I cowered afraid in the corner of my room
Those days I cried, unable to take how unfair everything was
I’ll forget, I’ll erase everything, including that accursed name!

からっぽの存在だけ はじまりはいつも
嗚呼――力強き「きりさめ魔理沙」
今日この場所に生まれた私は

karappo no son’zai dake hajimari wa itsumo
aa – chikaradzuyoki “kirisame marisa”
kyou kono basho ni umareta watashi wa

An empty existence, the beginning is always this way
Ah – Powerful “Kirisame Marisa”
So this is where I was born today

――呪えよ、呪え、全部呪ってやれ!
誰の呪いよりも強く。
一人の少女の世界を変える。

-noroe yo, noroe, zen’bu norotteyare!
dare no noroi yori mo tsuyoku
hitori no shoujo no sekai wo kaeru.

-So curse me! Curse me! Lay all your curses upon me!
Stronger than any of your curses,
This single girl will change the world.

それが、はじめの魔法!

sore ga, hajime no mahou!

That is the magic to begin.

Spirited Away


^[Pixiv]

Renko.

Remember the fear of your youth, so that you do not let curiosity kill you later.

I am not saying this is directly related in any way, but the nature of this song reminds me of when I saw my ailing great grandfather whose mind had reverted to a childhood state. He would often get frightened and try to escape, and was numerous times shocked and confused when he ever noticed again how old he was, either by looking in a mirror or at his hands.

Notes:
It may be unclear, but in the beginning Renko is talking about stars in the sky, but as if they were people.

There’s a bit of weird word play in the stanzas that begin with “Ah”:

aa
fureru kaiki:
(ah, supernatural things which touch me)
Also sounds like (overflowing supernatural things)
→ Supernatural things, of which there are so many, they are touching me.

yoreru kaiki:
(ah, supernatural things which can be a cause) ← very strange structure.
Tie this in that while supernatural things are often blamed for things, they can’t really be the cause.
But here, they can be.
Also sounds like (supernatural things creeping forth)
→ Supernatural things, creeping forth, all of which can bring me harm.

amane. kaiki:
(supernatural things all around) ← amaneku is cut off to be amane. It’s not exactly clear why. Could be just a syllable thing or a play on it raining.

Spirited Away
ラストオカルティズム~現し世の秘術師
Vocal: nayuta
Arrangement+Lyrics: RD-Sounds
Circle: 凋叶棕
Album: 音 -omoi-
Event: C92

黒く切り取られる空
全て知らない顔をして
見知ったものを探しても
あまりにも余所余所しく

kuroku kiritorareru sora
subete shiranai kao wo shite
mishitta mono wo sagashitemo
amari ni mo yosoyososhiku

The sky, as if cut from black cloth
Looks down with a face I know not
Even as I search for those I know
All look back distant and cold

物言わぬそれら全てが
おまえは誰だと訊いてくる

monoiwanu sorera subete ga
omae wa dare da to kiitekuru

All of those voiceless beings
Bluntly inquire, “Who are you?”

冷たい雨に肩を濡らしても尚
暖めてくれるものなど居ない
心細さに任せたとて
声を枯らす甲斐も無く

tsumetai ame ni kata wo nurashitemo nao
atatametekureru mono nado inai
kokorobososa ni makaseta tote
koe wo karasu kai mo naku

Even as cold rain falls on my shoulders,
There is no one here to give me warmth
Even if I were to give in to my despair
Wailing myself hoarse would do me no good

嗚呼
触れる怪奇
因れる怪奇
――遍。怪奇の只中に――嗚呼。

aa
fureru kaiki
yoreru kaiki
-amane. kaiki no tadanaka ni – aa

Ah.
The occult which can be touched.
The occult which can be a cause.
-All, in a sea of the occult – Ah.

あれ哭く声が聞こえるか
お前を狙うものがいる
何も知らぬ幼子さえ
生まれ持つ本能の警句

are naku koe ga kikoeru ka
omae wo nerau mono ga iru
nani mo shiranu osanago sae
umaremotsu hon’nou no keiku

Can you hear those cries in the distance?
“Something out there is hunting you.”
So sounds the sirens of my instincts
Fears even an infant would respond to.

此処に居てはならぬとして
何処へ行けるというのだろう

koko ni ite wa naranu to shite
doko e ikeru to iu no darou

Even if I must not stay here
Where do you expect me to go?

膝を抱えてひとりこの暗がりに
背中を預けてもただ硬く
その音その光景の限り
何をも信じられない

hiza wo kakaete hitori kono kuragari ni
senaka wo adzuketemo tada kataku
sono oto sono koukei no kagiri
nani wo mo shin’jirarenai

I hug my knees alone in the darkness
Wherever I lean is hard and stiff
As long as I hear what I hear, see what I see
There is nothing that I can trust or believe in

何も出来ずただそれのあることを知るばかり
己取り囲む世界を

nani mo dekizu tada sore no aru koto wo shiru bakari
onore torikakomu sekai wo

Unable to do anything, I only know something is out there
Only know the world is closing in around me

眠れ。眠れ。眠れ。眠れば。
きっといつもの暖かい手の中――!

nemure. nemure. nemure. nemureba
kitto itsumo no atatakai te no naka – !

Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. If you do,
Surely, you will be back in those warm arms again – !

眠るな。眠るな。眠るな。眠れば。
きっと二度と目は覚めない――!

nemuru na. nemuru na. nemuru na. nemureba.
kitto nido to me wa samenai – !

Don’t sleep. Don’t sleep. Don’t sleep. If you do,
Surely, you will never wake again – !

帰られる!
目を瞑れば全て消え去ってそして何もかも

kaerareru!
me wo tsumureba subete kiesatte soshite nani kamo

You can go home!
If you just close your eyes, then everything will disappear and everything will be…

嗚呼 ならない!
目を瞑っても何も消えてくれなどしないのだから!!

aa naranai!
me wo tsumuttemo nani mo kietekure nado shinai no dakara!!

Ah, no it won’t!
Even if you close your eyes, nothing will disappear, nothing will go away!!

どこまでも。続くこの暗闇の中
意の芯まで凍るその恐怖
いづれすべて忘れようと
その魂に刻み込め

dokomademo. tsudzuku kono kurayami no naka
i no shin’ made kooru sono kyoufu
idzure subete wasureyou to
sono kokoro ni kizamikome

Inside this endless darkness
In fear, freezing your very core
Even if you one day forget everything
Engrave this fear into your heart

嗚呼
触れる怪奇
因れる怪奇
――遍。怪奇の中。

aa
fureru kaiki
yoreru kaiki
-amane. kaiki no naka.

Ah.
The occult which can be touched.
The occult which can be a cause.
-All, inside the occult.

いつか遠き日に
出会うとき
夜の暗さを。思い出せ――。

itsuka tooki hi ni
deau toki wa
yoru no kurasa wo. omoidase -.

One day in the distant future
When we meet again
Remember the darkness of the night – .

アリスのわすれもの // Alice no Wasuremono

Childhood personality, coming back to haunt, with each stage of aging (forgetfulness), leads to a multifaceted resurrection.

This song also ties into the same sort of themes as the final track (and the rest of the album).

Notes:
I had trouble getting the tone for “little girl explaining things to an young woman” sort of tone, but this is clearly meant to be PC-98 (little) Alice talking to modern Alice.

(A doll with) “my own will”.
^The words are the same but things are written differently in the booklet and also scratched out. “己” means “its own” but this very often is used to refer to oneself, the person who is talking, and I think this change suggests this different meaning. It also seems to make sense given that “playground” becomes “my playground” very soon after. Less than being anything really sinister, I think it’s just meant to tie in to the convergence that happens at the end.

The artwork for this song has muscle sinew like strings extending from PC-98 Alice’s hands to Alice’s arms, then from Alice’s hands to Shanghai and Hourai. However, all four seems to be equally connected to a black shadowy mass from behind, which looks like how the puppeteers of Japanese puppet theater would control their puppets.

I just love the way that final stanza sounds.

“Wonderland” was used for “Faraway Land” (literal), after playing with “Neverland” and some other words, which did not sound right. The word for “Wonderland” is not the traditional word for “Wonderland” used in the translation of the book, but “Wonderland” fit best. However, given the context, you could also assume it points to the “real world”/”Britain” etc. In this stanza “curious” is also used in that British sort of “how strange…” sort of meaning. This is the word that is normally paired with “Wonderland”, so curious Alice is also the Alice of Wonderland, who ends up there because she’s curious. See?

アリスのわすれもの
 Alice no Wasuremono
 What Alice Forgot
The Grimoire of Alice|東方怪奇談
Vocal: めらみぽっぷ
Arrangement+Lyrics: RD-Sounds
Circle: 凋叶棕
Album: 音 -omoi-
Event: C92

なにもこわがらないで
なにかをさがして
それがただしいことと
だれもがしっている

nani mo kowagaranai de
nani ka wo sagashite
sore ga tadashii koto to
daremo ga shitteiru

Don’t be frightened.
Searching for something,
Everyone knows that
Is a righteous endeavor.

なにかをしろうとして
なにかをくずして
それがただしいことと
だれもしらない・・・

nanika wo shirou to shite
nanika wo kuzushite
sore ga tadashii koto to
dare mo shiranai…

But destroying something
In the pursuit of knowledge
No one knows that
Is just as righteous…

わたしをこわがらないでね。
別に悪いことをしてはいないのに。
たとえば魚達の――血に群がるのはどうして?

watashi wo kowagaranaide ne.
betsu ni warui koto wo shite wa inai no ni.
tatoeba sakana-tachi no – chi ni muragaru no wa doushite?

Don’t be frightened of me, okay?
Why would you? I haven’t done anything wrong.
For instance, let me ask you – Why is it that fish gather around blood?

興味の全てを。
思いのまま望むままに満たして。
だって、あの猫だって――獲物で遊ぶじゃない?

kyoumi no subete wo.
omoi no mama nozomu mama ni mitashite.
datte, ano neko datte – emono de asobu janai?

Think of everything you are curious about.
Satisfy your curiosity, satisfy it any way you would like.
After all, look at that cat over there – Doesn’t it play with its prey?

日が昇り――日が沈むのは。
何かが育ち――朽ちるのは。
誰の仕掛けた謎かけよ?

hi ga nobori – hi ga shizumu no wa.
nani ka sodachi – kuchiru no wa.
dare no shikaketa nazokake yo?

What makes the sun rise – and the sun set?
What makes things grow – and then wither?
These are all puzzles someone has laid out for us!

ねえあなた
こんなに広い空の下
何もかもすべて知らずに

nee anata
kon’na ni hiroi sora no shita
nani mo ka mo subete shirazu ni

Here you are,
Under such a broad expanse of sky
And you know nothing at all.

遊び場を
聖なるままの保護の手に
置いていていいはずないでしょう!?

asobiba wo
sei naru mama no hogo no te ni
oiteite ii hazu nai deshou!?

How could anyone
Leave this playground in the hands
Of those who would keep it sacred!?

そうあなただって!
わたしとおなじで。このすべてを知りたいの。

sou anata datte!
watashi to onaji de. kono subete wo shiritai no.

But of course!
You’re the same as me. You want to know everything about this place.

だからあなたも!
わたしといっしょに。さあ、見つけ出してやりましょうね。

dakara anata mo!
watashi to issho ni. saa mitsukedashiteyarimashou ne.

So you!
Come with me, and we’ll find out everything together.

おもちゃ箱をひっくり返して。
そのすみずみまで、どこまでも。
鳥籠の鳥の羽を毟るよに
――遺されるものなにもかも、捕まえて。

omochabako wo hikkurikaeshite.
sono sumizumi made, doko made mo.
torikago no tori no hane wo mushiru yo ni
-nokosareru mono nani mo ka mo, tsukamaete.

We’ll turn over the box of toys.
We’ll search in each and every corner,
Like pulling out the feathers of a bird in its cage,
We’ll grasp everything – everything that is left behind.

はじまりのイロ おしまいのイロ
己の意志持つ人形
はじまりのクロ おしまいのシロ
”己の意志”

hajimari no iro oshimai no iro
onore no ishi motsu nin’gyou
hajimari no kuro oshimai no shiro
“onore no ishi motsu nin’gyou”

The colors of beginning and the colors of the end,
A doll with its own will.
The black of beginning and the white of the end,
(A doll with) “my own will”.

――かくして 七色の魔法。

-kakushite nanairo no mahou.

-Thus we have, a seven colored magic.

何かが動き――止まるまで。
時が始まり――終わるまで。
一つの秩序を解き明かす!

nanika ga ugoki – tomaru made.
toki ga hajimari – owaru made.
hitotsu no rule wo tokiakasu!

From when something moves – to when it stops.
From when time begins – to when it ends.
We will illuminate a single rule!

ねえあなた
あなたもきっとその心
高鳴って踊ってるでしょう?

nee anata
anata mo kitto sono kokoro
takanatte odotteru deshou?

What about you?
Isn’t your heart racing?
Isn’t it dancing like mine?

『幻想郷』は
わたしの遊び場なのだから
なんだって許されるでしょう!?

“kono basho” wa
watashi no asobiba nano dakara
nan’datte yurusareru deshou!?

This “fantasia” is
My playground, so whatever I do
Is all up to me, isn’t it!?

さあ、踊りましょう!
この糸にそって。ああ憧れの姿を。

saa, odorimashou!
kono ito ni sotte. aa akogare no sugata wo.

So let us dance!
Following along these strings, yes! Be who you dreamed to be!

さああなたこそ!
その糸を操って。そう、何度でも続けましょうね。

saa anata koso!
sono ito wo gutte. sou nan’do demo tsudzukemashou ne.

Yes, especially you!
Take up those strings. Yes, let us continue, again and again.

『アリス』という幻想は。
鏡を覗けばいるからね。
その全て、或いは忘れたってね
――新たな『わたし』を知りたいの、どこまでも!

“watashi” to iu gen’sou wa.
kagami wo nozokeba iru kara ne.
sono subete, arui wa wasuretatte ne
-arata na “aitsu” wo shiritai no, doko made mo!

“Alice”, the fantasy I am, will always
Be here, whenever you look in the mirror.
You may forget about all of this, about me
-But I want to know! The new “me”, the new “you”!

ゆめがまぼろし不思議のアリスは
鏡の国と彼方の国で鏡合わせの魔法のアリスと
小さくそっと微笑み交わす
ゆめかまぼろし魔法のアリスは
鏡の国と彼方の国で鏡合わせの不思議のアリスと
今日もきっと”遊び”続けている

yume ga maboroshi fushigi no alice wa
kagami no kuni to kanata no kuni de kagamiawase no mahou no alice to
chiisaku sotto hohoemikawasu
yume ka maboroshi mahou no alice wa
kagami no kuni to kanata no kuni de kagamiawase no fushigi no alice to
kyou mo kitto “asobi”tsudzuketeiru

Where dreams are fantasy, the curious Alice, with
The mirrored magical Alices of the Looking Glass and Wonderland
Together exchange secret smiles
Where dreams may be fantasy, the magical Alice, with
The mirrored curious Alices of the Looking Glass and Wonderland
Today surely, are still “playing”.

嘔吐、又。 // Automata


Suggested by: Tempest of Sorrow

When I first listened to this song, the theme that immediately blared into my mind was “overwork”.

Notes:
The title is a play on words.

Almost every part with ellipses is almost completely scratched out in the lyrics booklet so I can’t confirm the translation in those parts.

The middle part starts off on a poem attributed to Miyako no Yoshika. (The second line is supposedly Ibaraki Douji’s answer to the first line.)

きはれてはかぜしんりうのかみをくしけづり、こほりきえてはなみきうたいのひげをあらふ。
気霽れては風新柳の髪を梳り、氷消えては波旧苔の鬚を洗ふ。
気霽風梳新柳髪。氷消波洗旧苔鬚。
都良香

ki harete wa kaze shin’ryuu no kami wo kushikedzuri
koori kiete wa nami kyuutai no hige wo arau

When the sky clears, the wind combs the hair of the new willow trees.
When the ice clears, the waves wash the beards of the old moss.

Revision: (The source of second half of the middle part has been identified)
流れいづる 方だに見えぬ 涙川 おきひむ時や 底は知られむ
nagareidzuru kata dani mienu namidagawa okihimu toki ya

A river of tears flows out from where cannot be seen
When its pools dry up, then will the depths be known
(Rough translation)

嘔吐、又。
 Automata
 Automata: I Vomit, Again.
リジッドパラダイス|東方神霊廟
Vocal: nayuta
Arrangement and Lyrics: RD-Sounds
Circle: 凋叶棕
Album: 音 -omoi-
Event: C92

意志のない身体を引き摺って
そのたびに、又。何かが崩れ落ちる

ishi no nai karada wo hikizutte
sono tabi ni, mata. nanika ga kuzureochiru

I drag my body, with no will, free or otherwise
With each pull, yet again. Something of me crumbles away.

与えられたその命令が尽きれば
そのたびに、又。ただの塵芥へと帰す

ataerareta sono code ga tsukireba
sono tabi ni, mata. tada no jin’kai e to kisu

Once the command codes given me expire
With each lull, yet again. I revert to a pile of garbage.

それに意味など宿らない
己を誰と知ることさえ

sore ni imi nado yadoranai
onore wo dare to shiru koto sae

In this state I have no meaning
I cannot perceive even who I am

けして止まぬ乾きを遺して
微かな執着
それが故にその身体を突き動かすのか

keshite yamanu kawaki wo nokoshite
kasuka na shuuchaku
sore ga yue ni sono karada wo tsukiugokasu no ka

What is left is an unrelenting thirst
A faint sense of attachment
Is it that which prods this body of mine on?

そうして、又。
なにも産み出さぬはずの器官
それが筈が 己の何かを繋ぎとめて

soushite, mata.
nani mo umidasanu hazu no nodo
sore ga hazu ga onore no nanika wo tsunagitomete

And so, yet again.
My throat, from which nothing should be produced
Somehow still, stitches together a remaining fragment of my self.

不明確な命令の途切れる度、又。
その幾度となく
――立ち尽くす。立ち尽くす。立ち尽くす。立ち尽くす。

fumeikaku na code no togireru tabi, mata.
sono ikudo to naku
-tachitsukusu. tachitsukusu. tachitsukusu. tachitsukusu.

Each time those indistinct command codes expire, yet again.
Each of those countless times…
―I freeze in my tracks. I freeze in my tracks. I freeze in my tracks. I freeze in my tracks.

き…はれては…
かぜ…しん…りゅうの…
はれて… くし…
け…づる…
なが…れいづる…
かただに…み…えぬ…
おきひ…むと…きや
そこは…しられむ

ki harete wa
kaze shin’ryuu no
harete kushi
-i -i kedzuru
nagareidzuru
kata dani mienu
okihimu toki ya
soko soko wa shiraremu

When… the sky clears…
The wind… in the willows…
Clears… combs…
Combs through its…
It flows… out… from…
Where… I can’t… even see…
When it dries up…
The depths the depths will be known…

バラバラの信号の寄せ集め
そのすべて、又。何をも企図さえ出来ずに

barabara no signal no yoseatsume
sono subete, mata. nani wo mo kito sae dekizu ni

I gather together scattered signals
With all of them, yet again. I cannot construct any aim

それが如何して何かを求めるよう
そのすべて、又。ある種の指向性

sore ga doushite nanika wo motomeru you
sono subete, mata. aru shu no shikousei

Then why, does it feel like there is something I seek?
With everything, yet again. I feel a form of direction

無秩序に重ねる言葉
けして戻りはしない記憶

muchitsujo ni kasaneru kotoba
keshite modori wa shinai kioku

My words layer upon inconsistencies
My memories will never again return

最後のその一息までとて
それは永遠に
喪われた何かを取り戻そうとして

saigo no sono hitoiki made tote
sore wa eien’ ni
ushinawareta nanika wo torimodosou to shite

Until when I take my final breath
That is, for all eternity
I try to take back what from within me has died

そうして、又。
けして埋まらない欠落を
埋めんが為 それに適うべき手段なら

soushite, mata.
keshite umaranai ketsuraku wo
umen’ ga tame sore ni kanaubeki shudan’ nara

And so, yet again.
To fill in deficiences which will never be filled
If it is for that purpose then by all means, by any method available, I’ll…

不明瞭な兆候の感じる度、又。
その幾度となく
――喰らい尽くす。喰らい尽くす。喰らい尽くす。喰らい尽くす。

fumeiryou na sign no kan’jiru tabi, mata.
sono ikudo to naku
-kuraitsukusu. kuraitsukusu. kuraitsukusu. kuraitsukusu.

Each time I sense those unclear possibilities, yet again.
Each of those countless times…
―I devour them. I devour them. I devour them. I devour them.

おまえは…だれ…わたしは?わたしは…だれ…わたしは?
わたしを…かえ…わたしを…わたしを…かえ…わたしを…

omae wa dare watashi wa watashi wa dare watashi wa
watashi wo kae watashi wo watashi wo kae watashi wo

Who are you? I am… Who am I? I am…
Keep me… Me… Command me… Me…

そうして、又。
意志なき哀れ自動死体
繰り返すは 己に耐え切れぬ暴食を

soushite, mata.
ishi naki aware automata
kurikaesu wa onore ni taekirenu boushoku wo

And so, yet again.
An aimless and pitiful corpse automata
Over which repeats an unbearable, unsatiable gluttony.

不完全な体流の過ぎたる度、又。
その幾度となく
嘔吐き戻す。嘔吐き戻す。嘔吐き戻す。嘔吐き戻す。

fukan’zen’ na kurou no sugitaru tabi, mata.
sono ikudo to naku
hakimodosu. hakimodosu. hakimodosu. hakimodosu.

Which each incomplete struggle, incomplete digestion, yet again.
Each of those countless times.
I vomit. I vomit. I vomit. I vomit.

唄片の人魚 // Utakata no Ningyo

[Image Source]

I finally got my C92 order in and listened to 音/憶.

Notes:
Utakata, written as “song fragments” in the title is also the word for “foam” and is used as a noun-adjective for transience. The translation of the title is so long because I threw all of those elements in there but you could also simply translate it as: “Transient Mermaid”.

In sections of the lyrics booklet some of the lyrics are faded out to represent the song being lost.

The word for stone (translated as pebble) is the same as that for “intention” or “will”.

唄片の人魚
 Utakata no Ningyo
 Mermaid of Transient Foam and Song Fragments
ミストレイク|東方輝針城
秘境のマーメイド|東方輝針城
Vocal: めらみぽっぷ
Arrangement and Lyrics: RD-Sounds
Circle: 凋叶棕
Album: 音 -omoi-
Event: C92

だれ も しらない その こえ
よどみの ふち そばに ひとり とおく を みつめてる

dare mo shiranai sono koe
yodomi no fuchi soba ni hitori tooku wo mitsumeteru

Her voice is one no one knows
Alone, beside a murky abyss, she stares into its depths

くち ひらけば るる るら ら を
ひびく ひびく さざめく よう
なみの した から ゆらり

kuchi hirakeba ruru rura ra wo
hibiku hibiku sazameku you
nami no shita kara yurari

When she opens her mouth, she sings lulu lula la…
Her voice echoing resounding reverberating
Back and forth beneath the waves

そのすべてを
だれもしらぬのは
どれひとつとてにどとないうた

sono subete wo
dare mo shiranu no wa
dore hitotsu tote nido to nai uta

What she sings
What not a soul knows are
Songs all sung once and never again

然れども。
もとよりその唄達。
誰に聞かせる為で無く。
誰一匹としてそれ知らぬ語り部。

shikaredomo.
moto yori sono uta-tachi.
dare ni kikaseru tame de naku.
dare hitori to shite sore shiranu kataribe.

However,
None of those songs were
Ever meant for any other to hear.
That, not one being who tells of her songs knew.

嗚呼。
小さく身体揺れ。
不可視の弦爪弾くよに。
幾多の唄を尽き果てることさえ無く。

aa.
chiisaku karada yure.
fukashi no gen’ tsumabiku yo ni.
ikuta no uta wo tsukihateru koto sae naku.

Ah…
her body quivers,
Like an invisible plucked string,
Never exhausting her endless store of songs.

きっと きっと この ことば
むね に とどめて おく の でしょう

kitto kitto kono kotoba
mune ni todomete oku no deshou

Surely, surely, if you would hear her words
They would be ingrained in your chest

けれど けれど ひとたび
もれいでた その ことば たちは

keredo keredo hitotabi
moreideta sono kotoba-tachi wa

However, however, those words
Once leaked out to the surface would become

 あわ と なって
あわ と なって
  あわ と なって

awa to natte
awa to natte
awa to natte

As foam
As foam
As foam

ちいさな て に おさまる ほど
ちいさ な いし が たどりつく こてい に ふりつもる

chiisa na te ni osamaru hodo
chiisa na ishi ga tadoritsuku kotei ni furitsumoru

Small pebbles one could hold with small hands
Collect as they fall, journeying to the bottom of the lake

それは なみだ の かけら たち
だれか が ながした なみだ が
ものがたり と なって

sore wa namida no kakera tachi
dare ka ga nagashita namida ga
monogatari to natte

Those are fragments of tears
Tears someone let flow which
Become stories

そのどれもが
ただしいものでなく
あるいはすべていつわりのうた

sono dore mo ga
tadashii mono de naku
arui wa subete itsuwari no uta

But not one of those
Could be called the truth
Instead all are tall tale songs

然れども。
誰かが聞いていよう。
その唄の中の一つを。
名前の無い娘の命を落とすまで。

shikaredomo.
dare ka ga kiiteiyou.
sono uta no naka no hitotsu wo.
namae no nai musume no inochi wo otosu made.

However,
May someone listen to one,
One out of those many songs.
Before that nameless maiden’s life is ended.

嗚呼。
その手が拾い上げたは。
鈍くも小さな輝き。
そっと口付けたのは愛おしむかの様に。

aa.
sono te ga hiroiageta wa.
nibuku mo chiisa na kagayaki.
sotto kuchidzuketa no wa itooshimu ka no you ni.

Ah…
Scooped up in one’s hands,
Was a small and dull sparkle,
Which they kissed lovingly.

きっと きっと この こ には
つらい ひびが あった の でしょう

kitto kitto kono ko ni wa
tsurai hibi ga atta no deshou

Surely, surely, this child
Has lived through harsh times

けれど けれど もう もはや
その くるしみ も みず の なか

keredo keredo mou mohaya
sono kurushimi mo mizu no naka

However, however at this very moment
Now, that pain is gone, into the water, becoming

 あわ と なって
あわ と なって
  あわ と なって

awa to natte
awa to natte
awa to natte

As foam
As foam
As foam

然れども。
誰にもわからぬ名に。
はじめから意味など無い。
ならばその唄を以って、その名とするだろう。

shikaredomo.
dare ni mo wakaranu na ni.
hajime kara imi nado nai.
naraba sono uta wo motte, sono na to suru darou.

However,
Never has there been meaning
In a name no one knows.
Then from her song, surely she would be named.

嗚呼。
誰が聞いただろうか。
それが歌姫の名前を。
けれどその唄さえも二度とは唄われぬ。

aa.
dare ga kiita darou ka.
sore ga utahime no namae wo.
keredo sono uta sae mo nido to wa utawarenu.

Ah…
Who was it that heard,
Heard that was the name of the songstress?
However, even that song would never be sung by her again.

きっと きいと その なまえ
だれか が よんだ こと でしょう

kitto kiito sono namae
dareka ga yon’da koto deshou

Surely, surely someone once
Called out that name of hers.

けれど けれど その なまえ
みずうみ へ と きえた とき に

keredo keredo sono namae
mizuumi e to kieta toki ni

However, however, by the time
That name had disappeared into the lake, it would be

 あわ と なって
あわ と なって
  あわ と なって

awa to natte
awa to natte
awa to natte

As foam
As foam
As foam

Comedic Mechanism: Parade of the Jane Does (56/291)

I reserve the right to remove this translation without warning.

I’d like to thank the people who have donated so far. I appreciate it, and it is because your support that I keep working on this translation. Thanks again.

Mostly plot building and foreshadowing in this block, but I still hope you enjoy it.

If you catch some grammatical mistakes, please tell me. I will fix them.

Progress:
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This an experiment.

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Translation Notes:
I have absolutely no knowledge of French, so I base my translations of those sections on both existing translations (when it’s (in)famous text) and the Japanese translations of the French text given in the book. (I’m not using automated tools or anything.)

Comedic Mechanism: Parade of the Jane Does

[5]

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: A Night of Unpleasant Rain – 7
Chapter 2: March of the Saints – 95
Chapter 3: An Unbearable Existence in Suffering – 191
Chapter 4: An Emptiness Devoid of Color Contrast – 257

[15/291]
[35/291]

[36]

Maribel Hearn had a boyfriend. He was a year older and they took a seminar together.

Merry ran her fingers along his naked chest as he slept, listening to him breathe as she lay beside him in bed.

It had been months since the last time they had sex, Merry thought absentmindedly. It wasn’t as if they loved each other any less… at least that was how Merry reasoned with herself about it. There was no way for her to see inside her boyfriend’s thoughts and she knew that, but all the same. Their relationship felt like a loosely tied thread slowly coming apart under its own weight. Merry couldn’t really put her finger on the circumstances, but inside of her the meaning and value of having sex felt as if it was slowly being filed away. Looking back now, Merry thought, even the last time they had sex she had felt some sort of distance between them… though she wasn’t sure.

Merry continued to think about this as she traced her boyfriend’s chest, which was by no means muscular, but not twelve minutes went by before she was tired of both.

What happened that day at noon. The thing with the human library. Renko.

Merry tried to remember. She tried to tie everything together, but her efforts were fruitless.

[37]

Merry closed her eyes and looked on at the darkness that remained, watched as it rolled around behind her eyelids. She waited, but the curtain of slumber would not fall for her, not one bit. She couldn’t sleep. Instead she felt her pupils constrict, and her eyes attempt to focus.

Lately this was getting to be more an more of a problem.

Merry shut her eyes more tightly and readjusted herself, wrapping her arms around one of her boyfriend’s. His arm was thin. His biceps probably weren’t any bigger than hers.

Moments later, without really thinking about it, Merry had reached for her portable terminal device. Rolling over to one side, she started it up, and bluish white light from its diodes faintly filled the room.

Merry opened up her address book and flicked through its contents. There were the names of her classmates, of her parents, the names of people from high school she still kept in touch with… and the name of her one and only friend.

“I’m connected with all of these people, so why is it that she is the only one I can call my friend?”

I used to have more, she thought. There were more, in the past, when I was in elementary school, middle school, high school… Out of all of the people Merry had contact with, there was only a small percentage that actually had the contact information of. Out of that smaller number, there was an even smaller percentage of those that she saw on a daily basis, and…

Merry closed her eyes.

[38]

Merry brought her terminal to her chest and rolled onto her back. Behind her eyelids, she watched the burned afterimage in her eyes swirl about. She watched as outlines were drawn, and she watched as they frayed apart. She watched them connect, swell and disperse like a surging tide, come apart and together again. As her eyes moved, the movements slowly became more disjointed. There was no rule or sense to it that Merry could find. Normally she wouldn’t give any thought to it, but on these sleepless nights it bothered her. She opened and closed her eyes, as if she were blinking in slow motion, but she could not call sleep to her as time wasted away.

Merry turned her terminal screen back on. Not three minutes had gone by.

Merry slipped out of bed and put on a shirt and some track pants before walking to the window. The apartment had an eleven tatami mat layout, about 18 square meters, and its outward facing wall was entirely made of panelled glass.

Merry pulled back the curtain and stepped barefoot out unto a small veranda. While the night that lay across the sky was a night somewhere between spring and summer, it was enough for her to feel a chill across the soles of her feet as she walked onto the veranda’s rough concrete surface. A 2 am breeze brushed lightly against her cheek.

About fifty years ago, regulations were put into place to protect the night sky. After 8 pm, artificial lighting was limited by lux, and so the city streets Merry looked down upon revealed themselves as small variations of the color of a thick coffee brew. Merry watched as the streets of West Kyoto slept, and she thought they resembled the library. She was reminded of the words that human library, that self-proclaimed witch had spoke to her.

[39]

“Books are caskets…
“In a way, you could say that a library is a city…

The rectangularly structured city streets, with their low rectangular buildings, in each of them were people. In each of them are people, separately. But under the curtain of night, everyone was the same, everyone in their boxes.

However they laughed, however they cried today, all of that existance was now buried, and to Merry that made her feel terribly alone.

Merry rested her arms on the veranda railing and looked down at the terminal in her hands. There was a single droplet on the liquid crystal display, and it twisted and warped the light coming off of the screen. It took Merry a while to realize that she was crying. Once she realized she was crying, her tears turned to sobs, which turned to wails gushing out from her uncontrollably. She couldn’t understand why she was crying, but she knew that she was sad. It felt as if there was a mass of leaden wool in her chest, stopping up her heart, and this feeling ran rampant through her. The night filled her with sadness.

Merry balled up and continued to cry, softly.

[40]

By the time Merry came to, wiping her tears on her sleeve, she had completely lost track of time. After wiping her tear stained terminal screen, she turned it back on, went straight to her address book and selected the name of her friend.

Would she answer? Merry sniffled and brought the terminal to her ear. After a few rings…

“Merry?”

“Good evening, Renko.”

“Don’t you think it’s a little late for ‘good evening’?”

“You’re right. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t worry about it. I couldn’t sleep either.”

“What makes you think I couldn’t sleep?”

“Isn’t it normal to think that when you get a call at this time of night?”

“Well isn’t that something? You, talking about what’s normal.”

“Well statistically speaking, the median status of someone who calls at this time of night with the voice of someone who has clearly been crying is that of insomnia, as several studies on this subject confirm.”

[41]

“Where do you find this kind of information?” Merry replied, a slight smile forming on her lips. Above all else Merry felt comfort in these words, which showed her friend understood the state she was in.

“What, you don’t know? There was a paper published about it at the 2034, uh, Human Engineering something something Conference.”

“You’re making that up, aren’t you?”

“No, no. It’s just that it’s late and so I need a buffer to trace back over my memories properly… probably.”

“You need to qualify that with ‘probably’, even though you’re talking about yourself?”

“What we know least about is ourselves. Talking about the animals we call ‘humans’ as a whole I mean.”

“I agree.”

“Well isn’t that unusual, coming from you?”

“…”

“So, what’s the matter then?”

“Well… I’m just a little emotionally unstable right now, I think.”

“I see. Well, I guess that’s often the case with sleepless nights.”

“I guess so…”

[42]

“Are you having trouble with your boyfriend?”

“…We’re not having sex.”

“Come again?”

“I mean, it’s been months now since the last time we did it.”

“So does this mean you’re ‘sexless’?”

“I… think so. Probably…”

“You don’t like it?”

“I don’t think it’s that, it’s just…”

“Just?”

“It’s just that I feel like my body and soul are separated when we do it.”

“There you go again, being all abstract…”

Merry could hear what sounded like a snicker on the other side of the line.

“Ever since I’ve been able to see these strange things, I feel like my sense of reality has bottomed out.”

“Some kind of change is to be expected. After all, for humans, sight influences us more than any of our other senses.

“You think it’s as simple as that?”

“Absolutely. It is also true that I haven’t ever heard of a case where that has had a direct effect on one’s physical sense of touch though.”

[43]

“You and me both.”

“So that’s the reason you chose to rely on your friend in the middle of the night?”

“I’m not ‘relying’ on you, it’s just…”

“Just?”

“I just wanted to believe that there was someone out there watching me.”

“……What kind of nonsense is this now?”

The tone of Renko’s voice had changed slightly from before. Was there a trace of… anger?

“Renko?”

“Yeah?”

“Nevermind, it’s nothing. But I wonder, what should I do?”

“About what?”

“My boyfriend.”

“Well I think your boyfriend is partly to blame. He’s got this beauty lying next to him every night and doesn’t lay a finger on her? He must be out of his mind.”

“Is that supposed to be a compliment?”

“Just trying to make you feel better.”

“Well, thanks.”

[44]

“…So you don’t like doing it?”

“That’s not… I don’t think that’s it. Like I said before, I just don’t feel like I’m myself. When we do it, it’s… I feel like something’s off, something’s not right.”

“You think it’s a problem with your sexual sensitivity?”

“Maybe? But I don’t think that’s quite right either.”

“So you feel pleasure, but it isn’t leading to any emotional satisfaction?”

“That might be the reason. When we do it, it’s like my spirit is

“It’s like… my soul is separated from my body, like a ghost. It’s not as if I can see anything, but… No, that’s not right. I can see. I can see my boyfriend. I can see the room. I can see everything properly, but it’s as if I’m observing everything from the outside.”

“Sounds serious.”

“You aren’t taking me seriously, are you?”

“Of course I am.”

“Well… if you say so.”

Silence found its way into their dialogue. Unlike before, Merry felt as if she was being left behind. It wasn’t as if she could say so though. She was afraid that if she did, something between them might end.

“Why don’t you try something new for a change?” said Renko, breaking the silence.

[45]

“Something new? I’m not trying any of that weird fetishistic stuff.”

“That’s not what I mean. Like, what if you try sleeping with someone else?”

“You’re saying that’s not fetishistic? No, I don’t want to do anything like that.”

“Are you sure? The basic idea is that by breaking down the status quo, you might be able to find something new.”

“But still, I don’t want to have sex with another man.”

“Who said anything about another man?”

“Huh?”

“I mean, you could do it with a woman.”

Merry gasped slightly before answering.

“Renko, you… always come up with the craziest ideas, don’t you?”

“Is it really that crazy though? To be honest, in this day and age… the idea that sex is an act only to be shared between those of opposite sexes, I think, is the one that’s more behind the times.”

Merry knew same sex marriage had been legalized nationally a number of years ago, and she understood why Renko would bring up, “this day and age” to argue her point. The nation had already come to a conclusion on its solution for declining birthrates. Instead of continuing to pressure the population to have more children, which had not yielded results, the government had changed direction. If there was not going to be enough children, all they had to do was make sure their nation could survive indefinitely without them.

[46]

The nation was aging. Everyone agreed. After reaching a certain level of development, it was impossible to continue an endless series of economic booms. Just like people, just like other animals, a nation will age.

All that was left was to wait for a slow descent unto death. With that in mind, everyone had accepted death, and focusing only on how to die in the least painful way possible. Every nation on earth had come to the same conclusion. Rather than material sufficiency, emotional and psychological satisfaction was more important.

There was no need or pressure to get married to someone of the opposite sex, to have children. To do that, “for the sake of our future” was laughable. There was no need to engage in romance. If you could die together with someone you truly loved and cared for, that was enough. Renko’s words truly were a product of the present age. However…

“I… guess you’re right. But still, I wouldn’t want to have sex with some random stranger.”

“So you’d be fine with someone you knew?”

“Better than someone I didn’t.”

“How about having sex with me?”

[47]

Merry gulped, completely taken off guard.

“R-Ren… ko?”

“……I was kidding.”

“T-That wasn’t funny, okay? You almost gave me a heart attack.”

“Why?”

“The thought of having… of having sex with you is just… I’ve never thought of anything like that before.”

“That makes sense I guess… Well, I mean, it just sort of came out. I wasn’t really thinking.”

“That’s not something you say without thinking.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.”

“Please do… But, come to think of it, I feel a little better now. Maybe because of your bad joke?”

“Behold the wonders of Ms. Usami’s Shock Treatment! Pretty effective, don’t you think?”

“I’m afraid of the side-effects.”

“What kind?”

“I’m not telling you.”

“As the founder of this treatment I’d like to pin down its various effects and virtues.”

“Enough already! Good night,” said Merry, hanging up before Renko could respond.

[48]

Immediately afterward, Merry looked up, sensing someone there. It was her boyfriend.

“Did something happen?” He asked.

“No, nothing. I just couldn’t sleep.”

“I see.”

The lights were already on in the room. Had she really been that concentrated on her call with Renko to notice? Because of the yellow tinted back light, Merry couldn’t see her boyfriend’s face. It was indiscernible in the shadows. Neither could she really make out what emotions might lie behind the vague tone of his voice.

“You’ll catch a cold like that.”

“…Right.”

Feeling that she was being pressured to, Merry went back inside.

On the glass table next to their bed, there were two steaming mugs. They must have just been poured. Merry sat down on the floor by the table and took one of the mugs in her hand. It was filled with a yellowish white liquid. When she brought it to her lips, she could smell the sweet scents of honey and milk. She took a sip and felt the hot milk flow down into her stomach, the heat from it spreading throughout her body.

[49]

“Hey, Mary.”

“Mary”, of course, referred to Merry. That was the way her boyfriend called her name. Not only her boyfriend, but everyone in her classes referred to her the same way. It was the more common, normal, shortening of her name.

“What is it?”

“Do you mind if I turn on the TV?”

“Go right ahead. …You don’t normally ask though. Is there a reason why?”

“Not really, I mean. I dunno.”

“I just thought you might be bothered by the noise,” her boyfriend muttered as he reached for the remote.

As electricity flowed through the television screen, it lit up with a color bar code. According to the clock hanging on the wall, it was three o’clock in the morning. It hadn’t felt as if Merry had spent a long time talking, but it seems that she had been out on the veranda for quite some time.

Flicking through a couple of channels with scheduled programming, Merry’s boyfriend left the television on a news program.

“News at this hour?” Merry thought, but she realized that she never really watched TV this late, and it might not be strange at all.

[50]

There were channels upon channels available nowadays, a far cry from the past, when only a dozen or so channels was the norm. So it wasn’t all that unusual to have dedicated news stations which ran the news all day long, even at this hour. Due to the nature of the programs, the station sets did not have be changed more than a handful of times, and the station itself didn’t require a lot of funds to keep running. Cost effective, Merry thought, as she stared at the female newscaster with her perfect makeup reading off news items in a detached and disinterested manner.

“At 5 o’clock, yesterday evening, an explosion occurred in a district of West Kyoto. Immediately before the incident, a suggestive video message was uploaded to a public video site by the suspected culprit, with the handle name ‘ICQ’. Police are investigating a possible connection between this incident and a series of similar explosions. This most recent explosion occurred on the grounds of *** Park, where…”

This wasn’t Merry’s first time hearing the news. On her way back from classes in the afternoon, just as Merry was thinking that the grounds were a lot busier than usual, she heard people talking about an explosion that had happened near campus. When this series of explosions first started happening, everyone was making a big deal out of the incidents, but now they were so common that they didn’t feel quite as real anymore. Of course, everyone was still cautious, a little bit on edge. There was no telling when you might be caught up in one of the incidents yourself.

However, given that Merry didn’t know anyone, or knew anyone who knew anyone caught up in any of the explosions, she had to admit she felt a strange sense of safety. Even if another explosion occurred, she was sure that she herself would be alright.

Merry stared absentmindedly at the screen, as she continued to drink her hot milk.

ICQ.

[51]

Merry didn’t know what it meant. No one knew who was behind the incidents, or what their motive was. It was always an empty flower shop, an empty cafeteria, an empty merry-go-round in an empty theme park, an empty something. The culprit always picked a place where there were no people present, and the explosions were all on a small scale. Otherwise, no one knew what linked the places together. They seemed almost random. However, before every single incident, there was always a message from the culprit uploaded to a video site. The police still had not pinpointed the source of the uploads. Merry thought it strange that the police hadn’t been able to do that, but she wasn’t really familiar with the methods behind such a search.

“Hey,” Merry said hardly above a whisper.

“Hmm?”

“I wonder what this person is trying to accomplish.”

“Well… have you seen any of the videos the culprit has uploaded before, Mary?”

“I haven’t. By the time the news outlets report on the incident the videos have always been deleted.”

“If that’s the case, I’ve got one of them saved on my terminal. Would you like to watch it?”

“…When did you get your hands on that?”

“I ran across it by chance. If you can call it that. I’m not the one who downloaded it.”

[52]

“By which you mean…?”

“I got it from one of my friends. It’s the video that was uploaded before the third explosion, if I remember correctly,” Merry’s boyfriend said as he stood up to get his tablet from where he had left it on the table.

After turning it on and scrolling his fingers across the surface a few times he stopped.

“Here it is,” he said, holding the screen out in front of Merry.

The video playback program had already been started and Merry found herself looking at a pitch black screen, as a melody she had never heard before began to play.

“What is this music?”

“It’s ‘Parade’.”

“Parade?”

“It’s the name of an old ballet, this is the music used in that ballet. The composer… was it Satie? Yes, it was Erik Satie.”

[53]

A strange and lively sort of music sounded from the tablet’s speakers. Then, shown on the screen was a single picture. A picture of the Mona Lisa with a white frame. On the white part of the frame was written, “L.H.O.Q.Q”, and that was it. That picture, and the music continued for a few minutes. Then, the visual changed. A circular plane was rotating. It was something Merry felt she had seen before. Something burned in the back of her brain. That. In the restricted section of the library it seemed as if… but wait, no. It wasn’t that. Merry felt a burning sensation deep within her brain. In her throat she felt as if there were masses of cotton with thorns stuck in her throat. Merry tried to wash the feeling away she drank the rest of her hot milk in three large gulps. That spinning circular plane. On it was a spiral. A spiral dancing, spinning in such a way that it disrupted her depth perception. As it spun, words appeared on the screen. A place and time, and the letters ICQ, and the words, “Si je te donne un sou, me donneras-tu une paire de ciseaux?”.

“If I give you a penny will you give me a pair of scissors?” Merry’s boyfriend muttered.

[54]

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“Who knows… I can’t help but think they wrote it without any particular meaning in mind.”

“Huh.”

The video ended after four minutes and thirty three seconds, leaving the words, “Se il vous plait arreter de Vexations (We have a duty to stop the vexations)” at the very end.

“I wonder what it all means,” Merry wondered aloud.

“Who knows? It doesn’t seem like they’re doing it for kicks, nor with any political motivation. The police don’t seem to have any idea either.”

“I bet…”

“But…”

“Hmm?”

“But you know, I kind of get the feeling I understand.”

“Understand what?”

“What the culprit is thinking.”

“What do you mean?”

Merry’s boyfriend took a sip of hot milk and let out a sigh.

“I can’t say for sure, but I’d bet they’ve just grown tired of the world.”

[55]

“Where did that come from?”

“I mean, doesn’t everyone feel that way at some point or another?”

In response to that question, Merry thought to herself, “No, not everyone.”

“I bet they just want to run away.”

“From what?”

“You see that, I don’t know… Everyone, I think everyone wants to run away from some thing or another. I think that’s what they’re trying to say. After all, they’re calling themselves ‘I seek you’…”

“I seek you?”

“I-C-Q. It’s a play on ‘I seek you’.”

Merry hadn’t realized the meaning until then.

“I hear that there used to be a communication application with the same name a long time ago.”

“So that’s what it meant.”

“Of course, I still have no idea why they’re calling themselves that.”

“Well if you did, that would be scary, wouldn’t it?”

“Why is that?”

[56]

“After all, the only one who knows that is the culprit, right?”

“Hmm… I suppose you have a point.”

“Now don’t tell me that you’re the one behind all of these explosions.”

“Of course not. I’d never go to all that trouble. It seems like a huge hassle.”

“A… hassle?”

“Yeah.”

As Merry looked at the slight grin on her boyfriend’s face, she thought, for the very first time… that she probably, really did not love him anymore.

***