Posts Tagged ‘ ZUN ’

旧約酒場 ~ Dateless Bar “Old Adam” // Kyuuyaku Sakaba // Old Testament Bar

I needed to complete this a year ago, but better late than never, right?


燕石 “Enseki” (literally “Sparrow Stones) is a really rare word, but is a perfect fit for this CD. The word refers to the false jewels that can be found at 燕山 “Mt. Sparrow”. They look like precious stones but they are worthless, sort of like fool’s gold. So the word refers both to the fakes, and also the act of treasuring something as if it were rare, when it is really commonplace and worthless. In addition to this there was a series of rare books/journals written in the Edo period named 燕石十種 or “Ten Types of Enseki”, filled with strange tales and curiosities and customs. There were six series with ten parts each. I would say there’s a direct connection.

博物誌 “Hakubutsushi” is literally translated as “Document(/Magazine) of Broad Knowledge” (what it means is clearer if you understand that 博物館 Hakubutsukan is “museum”, and not limited to a museum that deals with history) but it is also the Japanese translated title of Pliny the Elder’s “Naturalis Historiæ” (Natural History), which was the first sort of encyclopedia ever compiled. A good modern corollary is a scientific journal, and I have translated it as such, but this is why the subtitle is called “Our Supernatural History”. Incidentally this “Natural History” included descriptions of things that were pretty much Western Youkai.

Maribel Hearn (マエリベリー・ハーン) is an approximation, where Merry’s first name has been posited as being closer in pronunciation to “my reverie” or a corruption of “mulberry”. Either way, it’s a play on words off of Yukari Yakumo. (紫八雲)

Chuunibyou (中二病) translates literally to “8th Grade Sickness”, and refers to delusions a kid of that age has about themselves and the world around them, and about how special they are. It is described better by ZUN in the afterward.

旧約酒場 ~ Dateless Bar “Old Adam”
 Kyuuyaku Sakaba
 Old Testament Bar


-They say there is a place where those who can see the other side gather.
A bar from which wafts that sleep inducing, particular smell of old-style liquor.
The Shanghai Alice Illusionary Orchestra brings you its ninth album, full of music with strong and peculiar tones.

“Bar “Old Adam””




said the bartender, without any feeling and without looking towards the door.


“You must be Dr. Latency. We’ve been waiting for you.”


A man with a beard in his forties or fifties raised his hand in response, without saying a word.
It was a response that could be taken either as an affirmation or negation, but the only kind of people who make those kind of vague gestures are ones who want others to take it as an affirmation.


The man sat at the bar and ordered a drink I had never heard of.


“Huh, who is that?”
“Who knows? Bet he’s one of those people that wants to stay anonymous,” Usami Renko answered.


Maribel Hearn (Merry)’s confusion was certainly justified.
After all, “Dr. Latency” is Merry’s pen name.

“Dark Side of Japan”
 Enseki Hakubutsushi ga Tsuretekita Yami
 The Darkness Brought on by “Dr. Latency’s Freak Report”


“Renko, did you really bring me all the way to this creepy place just to show me that old man? You said you wanted to show me something, right?”

“Oh, his coming is just a coincidence. But really, this place is perfect for our Sealing Club’s extracurricular activities.”

 蓮子の話によるとこのお店では、夜な夜な 特殊・・な人間達が集まっては独自の経験談を語ったり、意見交換をしたりしているのだという。

According to Renko, some rather… strange people gather here every night to talk about their personal experiences and exchange opinions.


Renko apparently heard about this place when she was selling the doujinshi they made, “Dr. Latency’s Freak Report”…


She said that among the patrons of the bar, their report was famous. Most everyone here had read it, and believed its contents were true. Which made sense, given the fact that everyone who came to this bar claimed they too had experienced the same sort of happenings described in the report.

Reverse Ideology


In this day and age, the kind of establishments that serve alcoholic beverages are split into two types: the normal sort of places which serve “modern” liqour, and those which serve “traditional” liqour.


Modern liquor refers to the kind which is most popularly consumed, and it is manufactured in such a way as to prevent drunkenness and hangovers. It is not particularly addictive, and it has relatively few side effects. Traditional liqour refers the kind that has been consumed historically, and is made using natural yeast. Despite containing a significant alcoholic content, it has no enzymes in it to help process the alcohol. If you drink it you will get drunk.


This place, “Bar Old Adam”, specializes exclusively in traditional liquor.


As the establishments which serve modern liquor don’t have any patrons who get drunk, they tend to be clean and hygenic. On the other hand, the establishments which serve primarily traditional liquor tend to be in old buildings, like classical bars, and there are more dirty ones than clean ones. The kind of patrons that frequent those places don’t seem to be the best sort either.


Yet at the same time, traditional liquor is more prized and more expensive than modern liquor.
In other words, in this instance, the values system has been turned on its head. Those that have money to spare are going out of their way to get drunk in dirty bars.

Outsider Cocktail

 「健康的? よーく考えてみてよ。

“This is pretty expensive.”
“Well it’s traditional liquor after all. But with this we can get a lot more drunk than with the cheap stuff we always drink.”
“I wonder if you can get drunk and still be healthy.”
“Healthy? Think about it for a minute. Be it alcohol content, fat, sodium, sugar, caffeine, gluten… Despite the fact that we take so much care to balance these things in our food for our health, the advancements in our medicine have gone so far people don’t really die anymore. It’s gotten to the point where people plan out how long they want to live, right? I can’t tell anymore whether our society is trying to keep people alive or kill them. The people who pay lots of money to drink traditional liquor are far more realistic, I say.”


Alcohol makes people talkative.
When people drink alcohol they always end up affirming themselves. This is one of alcohol’s side effects. It is because of this effect that alcohol has always pushed human society along behind the scenes.


The bartender brought two yellow cocktails to the pair’s table.
When they asked what it was, he replied that the drink was called “The Forbidden Cider”. He served the same drink to several other customers.

 「サイダー? ジュースなの?」

“Cider? Is this some kind of juice?”
“Cider is an alcoholic beverage made from apples. Given that this is being passed around, it looks like it’s about to begin.”

“Story of Mythomiwa”
 Oomiwa Shinwaden
 The Myth of Oomiwa


-It happened a few years ago, when I went to Nara.
I was climbing Mt. Miwa, which is famous for being a spiritual power spot.
You see, as a lover of the occult, I had been to most of the famous spots before, when I realized one day that I hadn’t yet gone to Mt. Miwa.


Yes, I know that in recent years the prefecture has put restrictions on who can climb the mountain and when, but when they never make clear the reasons why, it only grabs your interest more, doesn’t it?


How did I get into the area when it was restricted?
Well you see, at the time I was having trouble at my job and with my family… I was kind of at the end of the rope so to speak and was willing to do anything, so I snuck in in the middle of the night.


When I did it was painfully clear why they were keeping people away from the mountain.


There were snakes, tons and tons of snakes, slithering all about….
They probably couldn’t do anything about it, because at Mt. Miwa snakes are treated as dieties.
With that many snakes I wonder what they’re all eating….
It wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that Nara is leading the country in life span control, now would it?

“Pandemoniac Planet”


-As the population declines and the remaining population centers in cities, I’m sure you know that many rural villages in the mountains have been abandoned.


However, did you know that while few in number, there are still some areas deep in the mountains that still have been able to maintain their villages? I make it my daily routine to go out and search for those villages.


This happened a few months ago, in that prefecture full of mountains. I found this really peculiar village.


Now the people that lived there hadn’t been living there for generations, you see. Apparently a group of outlaws had found this abandoned village and made it their home, but it really was very strange. They had this religion unlike any I had ever seen before. Throughout the day, whenever anyone had any free time, they would always turn towards one of many little shrines and pray.


What’s so strange about that, you ask?
Well you see, they weren’t praying to any sort of god or the Buddha, but this black thing that was housed in all of the little shrines…


It was hair. It was someone’s hair.
They were praying to hair. It was a hair cult. Gross, don’t you think?
I bet the founder of the religion had a balding problem, haha.

“Fantasy Guild”
 Kyuusekai no Bouken’ Sakaba
 Old World Adventurer’s Bar


“Hmm… So is this some sort of scary story tournament?”
“I guess you could call it that. I don’t know whether these stories are made up or not, but it seems like they all follow a format of them being ‘strange personal experiences’.”
“I suppose I shouldn’t be talking, but for all these adults to be coming to this bar like it’s there version of our Sealing Club is a little…”
“Hm? Your turn to talk about your experiences is going to come around too you know?”
“Come on, really? I guess I should have known…”


Merry knew that her own strange experiences were all real. However, she wasn’t able to believe any of the strange experiences described by the other people in the bar. She couldn’t imagine any of those stories were anything but lies made to deceive others.


At that point, Merry paused and wondered why Renko ever believed any of her stories.
“Maybe it’s because I’m just really good at telling stories,” she thought, blushing.


“-Well belief systems centered around both hair and snakes have been around since the beginning of time. Their resurgence must be connected to humans’ belief processes.”


It seemed that Renko believed almost everyones’ stories.

 Makai Chihou Toshi Esoteria
 Rural Makai City Esoteria


“Well then, let us have the newcomer share. Miss, do you have a strange experience to share, one like no one has ever heard before?”


“Um, yes. My name is Maribel. The story I am about to tell is something I have personally experienced, a unique and strange tale.”


The other people in the bar murmured to themselves. Was it because of the otherworldly aura that Merry gave off, or was it simply because they were surprised to see that the next person to tell their story was a young girl?


Merry talked about a number of her experiences.


She talked about how she peeked at another world from a graveyard.
She talked about how she got lost in the bamboo forest of another world.
She talked about how she saw space from a satellite overrun with plants


She talked about how she had been attacked by monsters in other worlds.
She talked about how the moment she was saved by someone she always woke up back in this world.


These tales, these adventures in other worlds were truly fitting for the occasion.
However, for some reason they did not seem to go over very well.


That reason was made clear by the man who had passed himself off as Dr. Latency.


“All of those stories are ones already published in ‘Dr. Latency’s Freak Report’. The rule here among us is that you only tell stories from your own experiences.”

“Lost Emotion”
 Boushitsu no Emotion


Merry looked at Renko.
Renko nodded.


“My apologies. She was just testing your knowledge. In order to participate in what is about to happen, we needed to make sure that you all knew the contents of that book. You see, we have come into the posesssion of a magic item that allows one to experience a part of that other world described in ‘Dr. Latency’s Freak Report’.”


Renko took out a hand mirror and passed it to Merry, who then showed it to everyone in the bar. Because of Merry’s power, that mirror reflected scenes from the other world.


There was maddening overgrowth.
There was a smoking mountain.
There was a long dilapidated shrine.


Everyone thought back to the scenes described in the “Dr. Latency’s Freak Report”.
Perhaps because the alcohol had magnified their emotions, tears ran down some of their faces.

“The horse thinks one thing, and he that saddles him another.”
 Futsukayoi no Doushouimu
 Strange Hungover Bedfellows


It was the day after that experience at the bar.
Despite being so worked up while I was drinking, for some reason I feel tired and a bit sick now. Is this what you call a hangover?


In the end, the climax of the evening was when Merry went around showing scenes from the other world.


However, it wasn’t as if Merry had gone around bragging about her abilities.
Most of the people at the bar thought the whole thing was some sort of trick, or that it was some kind of special mirror.


To everyone, what Merry was doing was taking other people’s experiences and using them as her own.


“So how did it go?”
“Well… about half of the stories were made up.”
“But still, I’m glad it went so well, that plan to touch everyone while you were showing them the mirror to see if they had really seen the other world before.”


Merry was impressed that Renko thought all of that up on the spot.
Renko really was very intelligent and could think on her toes.


“That story about the snakes and the one about the hair religion were real by the way.”
“Really? I did think those two stories were a bit too disorganized to be lies. It’s settled then!”
“What’s settled?”
“Isn’t it obvious? We’re going to go to Mt. Miwa! Get ready to go!”


Merry, who was still hungover from all of the traditional liquor the previous night, flatly refused.



Hello, it’s ZUN. I decided to continue the previous CD with another.


Storywise it continues where I left off in Dr. Latency’s Freak Report.
If you consider “Dr. Latency’s Freak Report” the outer surface, this one describes what lies beneath.
With that in mind, I decided to fill this CD with music that is hard to enjoy. What did you think?


The theme for this CD is “chuunibyou”.
“Chuunibyou” is a really convenient word to use, but it is not easy to really pin it down as a motif. I would say that in the process of transitioning from your pure self into an adult, you start to feel embarrassed of how you acted as a child, and this feeling is closely related to the drive behind “chuunibyou”.


When you start to mature, you differ from your past self, and in that process you also become different from others around you. The result is that for no real reason you start to think of yourself as special. If you consider that to be the case, then phrases such as “My sealed right hand~!” or “It whispers in my brain~!” don’t really have much to do with the true essense of “chuunibyou”.


“Chuunibyou”, at its core is the heat of life. It’s an explosion of imagination. It is a form of resistance by purity and creativity against the cold society we live in.


I’ve been wondering to myself lately, about how I’ll be able to hold on to my “chuunibyou” until I die. If I can manage that, then I’ll be able to enjoy alcohol for the rest of my life.

 上海アリス幻樂団 ZUN (ポケモンGOが_____)

Shanghai Alice Illusionary Orchestra ZUN (Pokémon GO is…)


燕石博物誌 ~ Dr. Latency’s Freak Report // Enseki Hakubutsushi // Journal of Fool’s Curiosities

So we have another Hifuu CD on our hands. It’s been four years since the last time I got to translate one of these. As usual with these stories, there are a lot of translation notes, but I’ve strove to make this translation an accessible and enjoyable one, so you can ignore the notes if you want to. I doubt that this is your first time reading one of these if you are here, but in the impossible case that that is true, please read all of the Hifuu stories, starting with Dolls in Psuedo Paradise (which isn’t really Hifuu, but should always be included as such). [link]



燕石 “Enseki” (literally “Sparrow Stones) is a really rare word, but is a perfect fit for this CD. The word refers to the false jewels that can be found at 燕山 “Mt. Sparrow”. They look like precious stones but they are worthless, sort of like fool’s gold. So the word refers both to the fakes, and also the act of treasuring something as if it were rare, when it is really commonplace and worthless. In addition to this there was a series of rare books/journals written in the Edo period named 燕石十種 or “Ten Types of Enseki”, filled with strange tales and curiosities and customs. There were six series with ten parts each. I would say there’s a direct connection.

博物誌 “Hakubutsushi” is literally translated as “Document(/Magazine) of Broad Knowledge” (what it means is clearer if you understand that 博物館 Hakubutsukan is “museum”, and not limited to a museum that deals with history) but it is also the Japanese translated title of Pliny the Elder’s “Naturalis Historiæ” (Natural History), which was the first sort of encyclopedia ever compiled. A good modern corollary is a scientific journal, and I have translated it as such, but this is why the subtitle is called “Our Supernatural History”. Incidentally this “Natural History” included descriptions of things that were pretty much Western Youkai.

(I think) 他愛も無い “Tawai mo Nai” is a phrase that is best understood as “of no concern to others”. Like you can get all excited about this silly thing, but those who aren’t involved could care less. So there’s a little more meaning than just “silly” in the title of the first track.

Maribel Hearn (マエリベリー・ハーン) is an approximation, where Merry’s first name has been posited as being closer in pronunciation to “my reverie” or a corruption of “mulberry”. Either way, it’s a play on words off of Yukari Yakumo. (紫八雲)

While most cases of “seeing the other world” are done only by Merry, Renko has shared in this experience on occasion, which is why in the translation of track 2 we have phrases like “they had seen”.

“Itako” are (usually blind) fortune tellers native to Tohoku (North Eastern Japan). There’s one in my town. “Necromancer” and “shaman” have been used as translations, but I thought it best to leave it.

In track 4, the “world where common sense does not apply” is reality on the quantum scale, where physics begins to unravel, the behavior of gravity becomes unclear, and interactions have to be explained with a different set of rules. Renko’s university major is (super) unified physics, which concerns the reconciliation of physics across the boundary where quantum effects overrule physics on a larger scale. So when Merry is poking fun at physicists, she’s also poking fun at Renko. Incidentally, Merry’s field of study is relative psychiatry.

As for “An Instant Transcends a Planck”, the word for “instant” used carries the meaning of 10^-15, equivalent to a “femto” in SI Metric Units. The word used is also associated with time, and so if we take one “instant” to be 10^-15 seconds, or a femto second, it is longer, or in otherwords transcends the Planck unit, a Planck second, which is 5.3 * 10^-44 seconds.

“Youkai” in track 5 remains untranslated because there is no all encompassing word in English that properly expresses it.

“Unstained See”[sic] is not a typo, even if it is probably supposed to be “Unstained Sea”.

永遠の三日天下 “King for a Day, Forever” can also be easily translated as “Eternal Short-Lived Reign”, literally, it is “Eternal Reign of Three Days”


I see track 1 as a reference to WWII, where both Germany and Japan produced better quality weaponry, (esp. in the beginning) but were both ultimately crushed by the powers that outstripped them in volume and speed of production.

I’m glad to see that e-books don’t make it into the future.

In the afterword, ZUN is criticizing the loud minority. In the past if people rose up with a voice of opposition, it meant there had to be a lot of people behind it. Now, because it’s so easy to be loud, people mistake a loud voice today as having the same amount of people behind it when that may not be true. In Merry and Renko’s world, things have progressed to the point where that has all balanced out, and “quality” is important above all else.

燕石博物誌 ~ Dr. Latency’s Freak Report
 Enseki Hakubutsushi
 Journal of Fool’s Curiosities

 1.他愛も無い二人の博物誌 (The Two’s Silly Journal of the (Super)Natural)
    [Tawai mo Nai Futari no Hakubutsushi]
    Our Supernatural History


“Alright! The journal is really coming along isn’t it?”

“All that’s left are the essays and narrative sections… Come to think of it, the only parts that aren’t making any progress are the parts that you’re in charge of, Merry.”

“So you found me out, huh?”

“Don’t look at me, you’re the one who brought it up.”


In the same way that prices fall when supply of a product outpaces demand, when all of humanity is prosperous, the upper class ceases to exist.


Ever since it became common for information to be recorded electronically, it has become possible to access enormous amounts of information instantly. At the same time, the value of both speed and volume, properties which had from the beginning of time had been symbols of absolute authority, fell drastically.


What instead obtained an enormous increase in value, was the property of quality.

Especially affected by this change was unique information available only to particular individuals. It was this sort of information that was the subject of intense enthusiasm among the world’s connoisseurs of quality.

 2.凍り付いた永遠の都 (The Frozen Eternal Capital)
    [Kooritsuita Eien no Miyako]
    Unstained Dystopia


“Merry, aren’t you the one who said you wanted to publish a book together?”

“You’re right. But you know, writing is just really tiring.”

“There’s nothing fun about work that doesn’t require any effort, Merry. I can’t think of a dystopia more boring than a convenient world where everything goes your way.”


In this world, where the digitization of information has reached its peak, e-books do not exist. After all, the e-book was a product that was developed on the basis of, and at its core depends on its paper counterpart. Therefore, the book they are referring to is in fact a paper book.


At Maribel Hearn (Merry)’s suggestion, the two had decided to compile a record of the strange worlds they had seen into a book. This was because they both had realized that the worlds they had been witnessing were more than the product of dreams.

 3.Dr.レイテンシーの眠れなくなる瞳 (Dr. Latency’s Sleepless Eyes)
    [Dr. Latency no Nemurenakunaru Me]
    Dr. Latency’s Freak Report


Shrine maidens, itako, mediums, espers, economists….


Since times long past, there have been those who claim to be gifted with eyes that see what normally should be impossible to see. All of them have eventually come to be treated as frauds. The visions that Merry has seen have been even diagnosed as a delirium brought on by a viral infection.


However, after taking a moment to drink some alcohol and calm down, it makes you think.

If you were to deny the existence of things unseen, then what of the physics that deal with unobservable phenomenon? What of the astronomy that concerns objects out of our reach? Would not those too enter into the realm of delusion?

If you accept that those things listed above do in fact have an enormous influence on the workings of this world, then could you not suppose that what Merry sees is a truth that transcends fact?


In Usami Renko’s eyes, Merry was a steward of truth who would wake up the physicists who had resigned themselves to making wild and unfounded conclusions.


“If you can’t be bothered to write it yourself, why don’t you just dictate it to me? I’ll write everything down for you later.”

“You really are talented, aren’t you Renko?. That would be such a big help. Let’s get started then. So, the other day…”

 4.9月のパンプキン (September Pumpkin)
    [Kugatsu no Pumpkin]
    Parallel Communication


Is it possible for two people in the same place and time to have completely different observations?


Lately, Merry says she has been able to see several different worlds concurrently. According to her, everyone observes a slightly different world. and what is most interesting about this is that despite everyone observing a different world, communication between seperate people is still possible.


Merry began a strange tale.

It was about a strange world that was only observed by a select few.


It was about the strange happenings of a world of the infintesimally small, where the common sense of this world did not hold water. It was a strange world where particles flew across both space and spacetime.


“…When you say ‘a select few’, are you talking about physicists?”

“Correct! That’s the answer! I knew you could figure it out. However, I bet you didn’t know that within that world where common sense does not apply, there are strange life forms lurking about.”

 5.須臾はプランクを越えて (An Instant Transcends a Planck)
    [Syuyu wa Planck wo Koete]
    Very Very Short Time


According to Merry, if you define “this world” that we humans see as one that is delivered by and subject to the actions of photons, then there exists a countless amount of “other worlds”, which are in the same way controlled by the actions of other particles. Apparently, there are lifeforms that live in those “other worlds” as well.


“So these lifeforms, which cannot be seen but otherwise exist close by, which due to certain ‘disturbances’ can sometimes appear, well I think that they are youkai.”

“Youkai…. Well when you put it that way, this whole story starts to sound a bit funny.”

“Well, you could call them angels or demons or ghosts or unidentified mysterious animals or anything else really, but I think the word ‘youkai’ which describes things that cannot be seen, things that also have certainly existing phenomena associated with them, is the best fit for this sort of thing.”


It is a fact that the existence of youkai has been acknowledged by various sources since times long past.

However, as this world has come under the reign of science and philosophy which demand any theory posited leave open the possibility that it may be disproven, the subject of youkai eventually faded away.

 6.シュレディンガーの化猫 (Schrödinger’s Phantom Cat)
    [Schrödinger no Bakeneko]
    Schrödinger’s Black Cat


“Just when I was thinking to myself, ‘I wonder where all the youkai have disappeared to…’ I saw it, the world where youkai still reside.”

“Is what you’re referring to possibly a parallel brane-world…?”

“What the heck is that?”

“It’s one of the worlds that only physicists can see.”


There are several places in the world that whether for geographical reasons, geological reasons or pure coincidence – I don’t really know, but for whatever reason there are places that since times long past have been called holy sites, where it is supposedly easier to see other worlds. For example, shrines and the like certainly fall under that category of holy site.


Merry said she saw a cat at a shrine.

However, apparently this cat went unnoticed by all others present, and it seemed to move freely through any barrier that stood in its way.

Merry immediately realized that this was not a normal cat but a phantom cat, one that lurked in the gaps between quantum particles.


“That’s interesting. A cat that is impossible to observe through the actions of quantum particles…. Until it is observed you could say that it is both living and dead, just like Schrödinger’s cat.”

“Well you could say that, but I observed it, confirming that it was alive.”

 7.空中に沈む輝針城 (The Shining Needle Castle Sinking in Midair)
    [Kuuchuu ni Shizumu Kishinjou]
    Gravitino World


The “other world” that Merry referred to, was a strange world that not only contained lifeforms but also contained things that overthrew the preconceptions of this world.


“I also saw a castle floating in midair, and to top it all off, it was upside down.”

“If the structure of gravitons are different then their properties should be different as well. It is possible that what you saw lay on a parallel brane.”

“I got this strange sense of nostalgia when I saw it, you know? There’s just something wonderful about wooden castle keeps.”

“What? You mean that kind of castle? I imagined something more along the lines of Cinderella’s castle.”

“If I had to compare it to something, it was much more like the castle at Matsumoto.”


Merry seemed to be enjoying herself as she described what she had seen in this strange other world, but suddenly she shivered as if she had just remembered something.

Apparently, it wasn’t a very pleasant memory.

 8.禁忌の膜壁 (The Taboo Membrane)
    [Kinki no Makuheki]
    Another Membrane


According to the physicists that capable of seeing the unseen, this world is apparently constructed of and upon a thin membrane. There has also been talk that there are multiple such “branes” that exist alongside ours.


Is what Merry is seeing one of those other brane-worlds?


According to her, there is something that forms a boundary with very strongly rejects passage between this world and others. However, once you get the hang of it, it apparently really isn’t that difficult to pass through if you know what you’re doing.


“Is this thing that rejects passage as you say, the Sanzu River?”

“That’s probably what people who saw it in the past named it.”


I wonder if a brane is like a dyed cloth floating in the flow of a river.


Perhaps a pattern from one cloth could cross through the flow of the river and move to another cloth. If you were to put it simply, maybe that’s basically what Merry has been doing. Of course, it’s not as if what she is doing is really all that simple.


But what happens when the pattern from one piece of cloth transfers to another? Usually when that happens, it is not thought of as a pattern, but a stain.

 「え? どうしたのメリー。

“…if a foreign substance adulterates our world, we must exterminate it…”

“Huh? What’s wrong, Merry? You seem to be a bit out of it.”

“Oh, umm… What was I talking about again?”

“You were talking about what you saw in ‘that world’. The theme that we’re running with is that this journal is a compilation of all of the things that you’ve seen.”

 9.故郷の星が映る海 (The Sea in Which Our Home Planet is Reflected)
    [Kokyou no Hoshi ga Utsuru Umi]
    Unstained See


I saw a forest rich in diversity.

I saw a spiritual mountain standing proud and tall, which kept away those living things that like to lurk in lower grounds.

I saw a deep lake immersed in an occult mist.


There was a nature that was more than just beautiful.

All of these lay in unseen world, which hid within the gaps between quanta.


As for what happens when one goes to another brane-world, dominated by these particles with different properties, well…


…as Merry remembered, her face contorted in fear.

10.ピュアヒューリーズ ~ 心の在り処 (Pure Furies ~ Where the Heart is)
    [Pure Furies ~ Kokoro no Arika]
    Pure Furies


“So when they found me, the youkai that lived in that other world attacked me.”

“What, really? …Well actually I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. You do have a knack for getting attacked by creatures of all kinds.”

“I’m already used to it. I suppose they really can tell right away that I don’t belong. From my perspective the youkai appear unclear and wavering, so perhaps from their perspective I look something like a ghost.”


In the same way that shapeless quantum particles endlessly race to and fro across the vacuum of space, the youkai in that world flew through the sky and swarmed to attack her, Merry said.

  河童? 天狗?」

“What kind of youkai were there? Kappa? Tengu?”

“They were human shaped. But you know? In ‘that world’ form really has no meaning.”


Before Merry even had the time to wish that she and the youkai might be able to come to some sort of understanding, she woke from her dream.

11.永遠の三日天下 (King for a Day, Forever)
    [Eien no Mikkatenka]
    Everyday Affairs


“We don’t get this opportunity very often, so why don’t we turn the end of the story into an exciting battle or something?”

“Wasn’t this supposed to be more along the lines of a scientific journal?”

“I think a journal that reads like an adventure epic would be pretty well received. I mean, all of the literature we get out of the age of exploration is really just a bunch of adventure tales, right?”


“Well you’re the one writing it, so you can do what you want.”

“Alright, well with that direction in mind, let’s continue our little interview shall we, Merry? Or should I say, ‘Dr. Latency’?”

“Are you really going to stick with that pen name? It’s kind of embarrassing…”


“You’re an expert who sees worlds that lurk within the gaps of quantum particles. It’s a perfect fit! The name doesn’t suggest male or female, and it has both a western and eastern sort of ring to it.”


As the subject matter was what it was, they decided to keep the details of their authorship undisclosed. From any reader’s perspective the journal was sure to be perceived as having very strange content, but perhaps it would find a following among maniacs obsessed with outrageous books.


However, this story is one that really happened.



Hello, there. It’s ZUN. This is my first music CD in 4 years.


Lately advancements in artificial intelligence have been quite remarkable, don’t you think?

You have an AI that has won against a champion in the game of go, AI that have made art you would not have thought possible to have been made by anything other than human hands, and AI that have swept up awards in literature.


These are phenomena that have come to be as the value of technical knowledge and information has been on an ever continuing decline.


Not long ago, if I remember correctly, courses on how to paint or draw, how to write music or how to create a game were very popular, but now the skills which can be had by teaching these techniques to humans can just as easily be learned by artificial intelligence.


Lately, (and I don’t honestly believe this, just to say), I find myself talking about how this world has gotten ever more anxiety inducing.


One of those reasons for me bringing that up is that we live in a world where artists, actors and even ordinary people are just not allowed to make mistakes anymore. You look at the news or turn on the television and again and again you see businesses and corporations apologizing far more than is necessary.


How did it come to this point?

I think first part of the reason for this is that now absolutely anyone can stand up and disseminate information.


The second part of the reason is that while we live in a world overloaded with information, we still ascribe to all information an inordinate amount of value.


Once you take the plunge and throw away your faith in information, it may be possible for you to enjoy the doujinshi (?) that Renko and Merry have written together.

      上海アリス幻樂団 ZUN(楽しい事はGoogleで見つからない)
       Shanghai Alice Illusionary Orchestra ZUN
          (You cannot find truly enjoyable things with Google)

伊弉諾物質~Neo-Traditionalism of Japan. // Izanagi Busshitsu / Izanagi Object

I was beside myself when I heard ZUN was going to continue Renko and Merry’s story at Comic 1☆6, and here we are, not four months later with yet another ZUN CD!

This translation goes through varying levels of strictness and has not undergone a final edit. I might run through it again in the next few days, but if there are any typos or really confusing parts mention them in the comments please so I can fix them (^o^;)

If anything, I’m sorry I couldn’t get this out sooner. Enjoy!

 (I will attempt to cut as many of these down as possible with edits)

I ignored the line breaks in the dialogue in my translation. The cost is a slight loss of dramatic effect, but it’s easier to manage.

You would normally read 伊弉諾物質 as Izanagi Busshitsu, however throughout the text it has “イザナギオブジェクト” as its reading, i.e. “Izanagi Object”.

“Cell phone coverage” – is more generalized as “electromagnetic waves”. Radio/Television/Satellite/Cellphone etc.

I translate 療養 as “treatment”, but it specifically refers to a sort of “going out into the country until you feel better” kind of treatment for those of a weak or sickly constitution. Given that it takes you away from the polluted air of the cities, it’s not a completely mindless sort of way to get better.

“Zen’kou-ji Temple” is redundant as the “ji” means temple, but I figured it would be less confusing this way.

“…in front of a statue of Yama” – Yama is the Sanskrit and Pali name for “En’ma” I have leaned towards Sanskrit and Pali terms over Japanese equivalents throughout the rest of the translation as well.

“the god that created the Japanese archipelago” – literally it is written as “birth”, but Izanagi is male, and created the islands with Izanami (female), so I used “created” instead of “birthed” to avoid confusion. Although I’ve read the myth before, I forget the details (it’s quite complicated and graphic).

I will not translate youkai. If you don’t know what they are yet, head on over to wikipedia.

“Ame-no-Sakahoko” literally means “Inverted Spear of the Heavens”. (Inverted just to sound cooler – more like “upside down”)

I chose to keep “Izanagi Object” capitalized as a single unit, rather than “Izanagi object”, mainly to keep it emphasized.

Now without further ado, I give you the 6th narrative addition to the Hifuu Club, Izanagi Object, Neo-Traditionalism of Japan!!

伊弉諾物質~Neo-Traditionalism of Japan.
 Izanagi Busshitsu
 Izanagi Object

01. 緑のサナトリウム (Green Sanatorium)
   [Midori no Sanatorium]
   Sanatorium in Mountain


 ”Was it boring?”

 ”Of course it was boring! I can’t believe they thought they had to quarantine me, and all the way out here in the mountains! You can’t even get cell phone coverage out here!”

 ”Quarantine…? I’m sure it wasn’t anything like… It was treatment, for your health you know…? Supposedly.”


 The cityscape was lined with a forest put up just for show, a result of environmentalism gone too far. There was no natural plantlife, just a jungle that looked like it came right out of a picture book.
 These days humans would create “nature”, and imagined they had complete control over it. It was only a matter of time before anything outside of this control would be denied outright. Now, there was a highly probable way to cure almost any illness. Things such as some hereditary disorders that just could not be cured were now considered not diseases but rather “traits”, and society had adjusted to this view.
 And thus, there was no sickness that could not be cured.


 Ever since Maribel Hearn (Merry) was wounded at the Torifune Ruins, she was affected by an unknown illness. At any rate it was determined that she was suffering delusions due to the effects of an extraterrestrial virus.
 Given that society tends to fear things it has no control over, Merry was quarantined in the name of “treatment” at the Shin’shuu Sanatorium. Now Usami Renko, having been notified that Merry had completely recovered, had come to pick her up.

 「ん? それってメリーにとってはいつもの事じゃあ……」

 ”They wouldn’t let anyone see me, and I don’t have any relatives in Japan to begin with.”
 ”At least it’s over now… But, what kind of sickness did you have anyway?”
 ”Well… I would get feverish and sleepwalk and have visions of other worlds and such.”
 ”Huh? But isn’t that just what’s normal for you?”

02. 牛に引かれて善光寺参り (Visit to the Zenkou Shrine, Led by Cattle)
   [Ushi ni Hikarete Zenkouji Mairi]
   Goslings Lead the Geese to Water.


 ”See how that pillar at the main temple is way out of alignment from the rest of the foundation?”
 ”So this is that ‘Earthquake Pillar’?”


 After Merry was discharged and while they were in the area, Renko and Merry decided to go sightseeing through Shin’shuu. Their first stop was at the Zen’kou-ji temple, where they planned on visiting Japan’s oldest image of the Buddha.
 There was nothing new about the main shopping street that ran through the shrine, packed as it was with visitors. As the world of souvenirs was bound by tradition, it was like time had been stopped there for over a hundred years.


 ”It’s supposedly one of the remaining after effects of the Zen’kou-ji Earthquake.”


 –The Zen’kou-ji Earthquake struck the northern districts of Shin’shuu in the fourth year of Kouka’s reign (1847).
 The Zen’kou-ji temple was famous for showing it’s hidden image of the Buddha only once every seven years, and during that time the temple would be flooded with people from all over the country. Since the Zen’kou-ji earthquake struck right in the middle of the ceremonial unveiling, the damages dealt by that powerful earthquake were catastrophic, and it is said that the dead numbered in the thousands.

 「地震で柱だけがずれたって言うの? そんな事あるのかしら」

 ”Are they trying to say that just this one pillar shifted in the earthquake? Is that even possible?”
 ”Well, the truth is that the pillar dried out and twisted that way over time. However, everyone decided that in order to convey the frightening power of earthquakes to later generations, they should call it the ‘Earthquake Pillar’, and now that has become its proper name.”


 But Merry had seen it, the landscape wrought by a frightening earthquake that would easily have twisted that pillar.

03. ハートフェルトファンシー
   Heartfelt Fancy

 「どうしたの? 何か顔色が良くないみたいだけど、

 ”Is anything wrong? You look a little pale.. are you still not feeling that well?”
 ”Ah? Oh.. No, it’s nothing like that at all. Actually, I feel spectacular…”


 Lately, Merry was not just seeing gaps in the boundaries of worlds, but seeing beyond them into the worlds themselves. And it wasn’t just in dreams anymore, there were cases where she actually went to the places she saw, and that was making her a little worried.


 Then there was that time at the Torifune Ruins, just a few days before. It might have been just a dream to Renko, but it was real for Merry. After all, she was the only one who was wounded.
 The real reason she was put in the sanatorium was probably because it was determined she had some kind of psychological anamoly. Of course that wasn’t the case, but society just isn’t receptive to strange persons.
 Therefore, Merry must keep her ability secret, as some element of the occult.


 ”Merry, I know that you have some kind of mysterious power, but I also know that that power is somehow related to shrines and temples.”
 ”Yeah, that’s one of the reasons we came here, but are you sure you’re feeling alright?”
 ”I already told you, I’m fine. It’s just… maybe I feel -too- fine. Like I’m able to see more than I should.”
 ”More than you should? Like what?”
 ”Like Hell.”

04. 六十年目の東方裁判 (Judgement of the East on the Sixtieth Year)
   [Rokujuunenme no Touhou Saiban]
   Fate of Sixty Years


 ”Uwah… This really is just a little…”
 ”It’s got a really ‘funny’ face doesn’t it?”


 Renko and Merry were standing in front of a statue of Yama. Its face was depicted bright red and in anger, but to them the statue just looked like a random old drunk.


 ”Hey Merry. Back to what we were talking about before. Does Hell really exist?”
 ”Well… It’s said that Hell exists forty thousand ‘yojana’ underground.”


 ”And ‘yojana’ is a measure of distance?”
 ”Yes, It’s a unit of length used in ancient India where one yojana is about seven kilometers. So forty thousand yojana would be about two hundred eighty thousand kilometers. The diameter of the earth is just a little over twelve thousand kilometers so the distance goes through the earth.”


 ”At two hundred eighty thousand kilometers, that puts the moon closer than Hell, even if you start by going through the earth. In other words, I guess that means it doens’t exist.”
 ”Well… I wouldn’t be quite so sure about that…”


 What lies forty thousand yojana underground is the bottom of Hell. Actually, Hell is about thirty nine thousand yojana high. That means that Hell’s ceiling is far closer, just a thousand yojana from the surface. Converting to metric puts that at about seven thousand kilometers underground. In other words, close to the center of the earth.


 Merry didn’t know that much about the inside of the earth, but if she were to believe that Hell really exists, the anxiety that surely one day she would find herself there crossed her mind. After all, Merry was carrying with her something that made her feel that way. Merry continued the conversation, trying to conceal her anxiety.

 「え? 極楽は雲の上にあるんじゃなくて?」

 ”Still, that puts it a lot closer than paradise.”
 ”Huh? Wasn’t paradise supposed to be somewhere above the clouds?”


 ”Amitabha, who lives in paradise,’s height is 6×10^125 yojana you know? Saying just above the clouds isn’t even…”
 ”Umm… If that’s the case, Amitabha’s height is far greater than the scope of the universe, at least according to the Big Bang Theory. That’s some ridiculous inflation.”

05. アガルタの風
   [Agharta no Kaze]
   Agharta Wind


 ”So I guess compared to Hell, paradise is a lot larger, and a lot farther away.”
 ”At the same time, Hell is a lot closer, and a lot more realistic.”


 ”Since ancient times, as long as there have been humans, there have existed ‘hells on earth’. It may be that people imagined paradise to be far greater than their hells as a way to quell their fears.
 Yet, the real hell lurking under the earth still remains in silence.


 Merry didn’t tell Renko, but when she was undergoing “treatment” in the sanatorium, she experienced a strange world that lay far beneath the surface, in the depths of the earth.
 There was that entrance to a cave, filled with the frightening stench of death. It reminded her of Yomotsu-Hirasaka as it was described in the Kojiki. Merry was still carrying the strange rock fragment that she found while she was there. For some reason when she held it, several landscapes crossed her mind, appearing and then vanishing just as quickly.
 Merry intuition told her that some secret lay beneath the earth, and that it was somehow connected with with origins of this country – some incredible secret.


 ”Merry, what’s wrong? You’re drifting off again.”
 ”Hey Renko, did anything happen while I was in the sanatorium?”

06. イザナギオブジェクト
   Izanagi Object

 「え? 何か、ねぇ」

 ”Huh? Anything? Uh…”
 ”In particular, anything that has to do with the depths of the earth.”
 ”Um… Oh yeah, now that I think of it you were completely cut off from all outside information weren’t you? Ok, Ok. Iremember pretty much everything that went on in the news in the last month. Something that has to do with the depths of the earth… Well there was that. If you’re alright with some false news…”
 ”Let’s hear it.”
 ”At one of the methane hydrate drilling sites in the Sea of Japan, some ore of a strange composition was found… Those involved said that it was a relic of the Izanagi Plate that was thought to have completely disappeared some twenty five million years ago, and there was an uproar about it for a while, but it seems that some of the information was fabricated. The rock fragment they found had to be man-made, no matter how you looked at it. Once that appeared to be the case, the entire scientific community lost interest.”


 The Izanagi Plate was the ancient tectonic plate which gave rise to the Japanese archipelago when it ran into the Pacific side of the Eurasian Plate. Twenty five million years ago it was completely submerged under the Eurasian continent and disappeared. Its name comes from the god that was said to have created the Japanese archipelago.

 「遥か地底から人工物? それって本当?」

 ”Something man-made, deep under the earth’s surface? Is that true?”
 ”Well… I’m not so sure about that. There was that one case of that scientist who claimed that some manufactured stone “artifact” was a relic from seven hundred thousand years ago, but twenty five million years ago? That seems like a tough argument to make.”
 ”In other words, it’s actually almost certain that it’s -not- a fake.”


 Merry looked as if she had made up her mind.

07. 妖怪裏参道 (The Youkai’s Backroad to the Shrine)
   [Youkai Urasandou]
   Enigma Street

  今日のメリー、何か変よ? 急に不安がったり、急に自信持ったり」
  な、何言ってるの? やっぱりおかしくなちゃった?」

 ”That’s great news! That man-made object is real!!”
 ”Huh? Merry, aren’t you a little off today? Before, you suddenly you look worried, and then now suddenly you’re full of confidence…”
 ”The truth is, I’ve got one of those fragments of the Izanagi Plate!”
 ”Huh? W-What are you talking about? Are you sure you’re alright? There isn’t something wrong?”


 Renko looked on as Merry was getting all excited about something.
 She kept on muttering things like “Izanagi was real…” on and on. It was as if Merry was going off somewhere all by herself and Renko started to feel lonely.


 Come to think of it, recently it felt as if Merry’s abilities were getting stronger. At first, they had enough fun just with the chance at a glimpse of strange new worlds, but now they were bringing things back from those worlds, as if it were nothing.


 In those strange worlds they had sometimes encountered beings like youkai. To Renko those were just figments of her imagination, but to Merry, they were real.


 Renko couldn’t help thinking that Merry was on the same level as those youkai.

08. アンノウンX
   [Unknown X]
   Unfound Adventure


 ”Hey Merry, that rock you said you had with you…”
 ”Here you go.”


 Merry held out a small rock. Its shape was something like a fishing hook and something like a key. It was hard to describe, but it was clearly man-made.


 ”This is what I found at the Izanagi Plate. It’s an Izanagi Object.”
 ”Hmm… How can you say for sure?”


 ”I can see it. The shape of Japan as it was made by Izanagi, twenty five million years ago.”
 ”You really are acting a lot weirder than usual today, Merry.”
 ”Say what ever you want, right now I feel amazing. I keep on seeing these new images, again and again.”


 Since Merry came back from the sanitorium, it looked as if her senses had sharpened to a whole new level.
 While Renko felt a bit jealous, she hoped that somehow she too could see what Merry saw.


 ”Come on, show them to me too!”

09. 日本中の不思議を集めて (Collect All the Curiosities of Japan)
   [Nihonjuu no Fushigi wo Atsumete]
   Mysterious Island


 When was it that people stopped accepting mysterious things?


 When will o’ wisps appeared, people once thought they were the regretful spirits of the dead, or fires which foxes used to deceive humans.


 In those thoughts was a deep sense of imagination.


 Even as science advances, the power of imagination does not grow any less important. The better half of science is still based on imagination. In order to explain those will o’ wisps, we imagined that perhaps those they were natural combustions of phosphorus gas, perhaps they were plasma, perhaps they were some sort of hallucination caused by the inner workings of the brain.


 However, as this society built on information advances, the power of imagination has been all but extinguished.
 In this age where information is equally available to anyone, there is no room left for imagination.
 ”On the true nature of will o’ wisps, in the vast sea of information given to us, there surely will be an answer. If there isn’t, then the whole thing must be some kind of mistake we should disregard.”


 People have taken great pleasure in finding the answers to great mysteries, and have denied the mysteries that have no answer.
 That is why they all have vanished from this country.
 Now, all of Japan is but a graveyard for the gods.

 「メリー! この場所、見た事があるよ!」

 ”Merry! I’ve seen this place before!!”

10. 素敵な墓場で暮らしましょ
   [Suteki na Hakaba de Kurashimasho]
   Neo-Traditionalism of Japan


 ”That spear that’s stuck in the ground, that’s the Ame-no-Sakahoko of Takachiho! That’s the spear that Izanagi-no-Mikoto and Izanami-no-Mikoto were said to have wrought the ground with!”


 Merry had put her hand over Renko’s eyes. By doing so, although it was a bit unstable, Merry was able to share her vision with Renko.

 「え? この世界に実在するの?」

 ”Huh? That exists in our world?”
 ”It’s sticking of out the peak of a mountain in Takachiho. Even though it’s really strange, no one’s properly researched it.”


 All of Merry’s anxiety was gone. The land under the earth that she had seen wasn’t Hell. What she had seen were images of the world of the gods, a place that actually existed.


 ”Then that must mean that Ame-no-Sakahoko is real too. I think it’ll made out of the same rock as this Izanagi Object. We’ll have to check it out!”
 ”That sounds wonderful. Let’s go in celebration of your fantastic recovery. If the Ame-no-Sakahoko is real, then… there might be another Izanagi Object close by!”


 Their imagination knew no bounds.


 ”After we rest a bit we should go to Togakure. Supposedly that’s where Tedjikaraono-Mikoto burst through the gate of the celestial cave, Ama-no-Iwato!”


 ”Isn’t Ama-no-Iwato part of Takachiho’s…”


 ”Exactly! I’m sure that Ama-no-Iwato’s an Izanagi Object! Now that that’s that, let’s go to Togakure!”


 ”This is really exciting isn’t it! I think that Izanagi Objects are sleeping all throughout Japan, it’s just that no one’s paid them any attention. Only people that have realized them for what they are can see the landscape as it appeared in the time of the gods. This is wonderful! Let’s go out and find them all!”


 So they started off, taking in the graveyard of the gods as factual history.
 It was what the members of the Sealing Club, those who accepted inexplicable mysteries, could see… a different Japan.



 How do you do, it’s ZUN. It hasn’t been that long has it?
 I’m actually from Shin’shuu, and have been to the Zen’kou-ji temple in Nagano several times.


 There is a pitch black passageway inside of the temple where it’s so dark you must find your way through hand and foot, and it is used in a certain set of monks’ trials.


 ”Pitch black? But if there are many people that come as tourists aren’t there emergency exit lights there for safety reasons?”


 No, no. It really is pitch black in there. If an incident happened in that passageway there would be absolutely no eyewitnesses.
 The whole point is that if in the middle of the dark passage you can grip the lock of paradise, it’s “mission clear”.


 That’s the way it usually is, but there was one time when there were lights on inside of it.
 I think it was during one of those once in seven years ceremonial unveilings. It was terribly crowded, so they must have done it out of safety concerns. It was really disappointing to me at the time, like I’d lost some of my innocence.


 But looking back now it really was a valuable experience to me.
 After all, I still remember clearly what the lock to paradise looks like, and that’s not something you see everyday.


 Ah, that really has nothing to do with the music CD does it?
 This story was just one of those adventures the two members of the Sealing Club often have.

              上海アリス幻樂団 ZUN(戸隠そばを食べたい)
     Shanghai Alice Illusionary Orchestra ZUN (Wants to Eat Togakure Soba)

^I was tempted to make this first image, but I figured I’d continue with tradition – it’d be weird to have a non Merry and Renko image at the top.

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)

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)