Curiosities of Lotus Asia/Chapter 03

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Curiosities of lotus asia 03 01.jpg
Curiosities of lotus asia 03 02.jpg
Marisa visited Kourindou carrying one of the beautiful crested ibises that had been increasing in number in Gensokyo lately. After catching it near Hakurei Shrine, Marisa was planning to cook it and eat it with Reimu. In the now lively Kourindou, the owner Rinnosuke was immersed in thought about the reason for the increase in the ibises...
Chapter 2 of an original story based on the Touhou series!
幻想の鳥 Illusionary Bird
「おい香霖! 何やってるんだ、今日は恒例の鍋の日だぜ」 “Hey, Kourin! What's up? Today's our routine hot pot day!”
 という騒がしい音と共に扉が開けられた。僕の中では、今日は恒例の動物愛護の日である。 She shouted as she threw open the door. As far as I'm concerned, today's Animal Protection Day.
「なんだ魔理沙か。来るなり鍋の日とはどういう意味だ?」 “Oh, it's you, Marisa? What's the meaning of coming here and claiming this to be a 'hot pot day'?”
 魔理沙は右手を挙げて見せたのだが、そこにはぐったりとした紅白の(かたまり)が……。 Marisa showed me what she had in her right hand, and there it was, a limp, red-and-white lump...
 幻想郷の人里から離れた魔法の森、その森のすぐ近くに僕の店「香霖堂」は在る。つまり人間の住む所と魔物のそれの中間の場所だ。この場所なら人間相手にも妖怪相手にも商売が出来るかと考えていたが、実際はどちらからも「客」が来る事は(ほとん)ど無かった。まぁ(にぎ)やかなのが来る事は有るのだが……。 Some way from the Human Village in Gensokyo is the Forest of Magic, and close by this forest is my shop, Kourindou. In other words, it's halfway between where the humans live and where the youkai are. I thought that I could do business with both humans and youkai in this location, but the truth is that I almost never have clients of either kind. Well, it gets lively at times, but...
「それは朱鷺(とき)じゃないか。どうしたんだ?」 “Isn't that a crested ibis? What happened?”
「ああ、神社でちょいと捕まえてな。霊夢は鍋の準備をするってんで遅れて来るぜ」 “Yeah, I caught it by the shrine. Reimu's preparin' stuff for the hot pot, so she'll be late.”
「何で勝手にうちで集合なんだよ?」 “And why did you decide to meet at my place? You never even asked.”
「何言ってるんだ、こいつは美味いんだぜ。見た目は悪いけど……」 “What are you talkin' about? This'll make a great meal! Sure, he looks a bit worse for the wear, but...”
 朱鷺、幻想郷で年々増えつつある鳥である。どこから湧いてくるのか多い時には空が鴇色(ときいろ)に染まる事も有る。だが、朱鷺の肉は美味だが見た目は良くない。鍋も……鴇色というか(しゅ)色に近い色に染まる。言い方は悪いが、吸血鬼が作った人間の鍋みたいに見えるのだ。 The crested ibis. More and more of these birds have been appearing in Gensokyo every year. Wherever they become roused, the sky would become dyed in their colors. Yet their meat tastes good, despite their shabby appearances. The hot pot too, would end up dyed in that ibis color, almost a scarlet red. Not a nice way to put it, but it'd look like a human hot pot made by a vampire.
「まぁいいけど、何で突然鍋だと……」 “Well, I guess it's fine, but why hot pot, all of a sudden?”
「決まってるだろ? 気温の低い日は鍋の日だ」 “Isn't it obvious? Cold days are all about hot pots.”
 まぁこの朱鷺はたまたま拾っただけ、さっきまで活きが良かったんだけどな、と言いながら魔理沙は勝手に台所に入って行った。 Marisa continued to chatter while barging into the kitchen. "Well, I just found 'im by chance, but he was pretty lively until a while ago."
 幻想郷は文字通り幻想の生き物が()む。いつの間にか外の世界の人間は、「幻想の生き物」とはただの「空想の生き物」の事と刷り込まされている。だがもちろん、幻想の生き物と空想の生き物はまったくの別物だ。空想の生き物とは、ただの妄想と復号失敗と勘違いの別名だ。それに対し、幻想の生き物とは幻想郷にしか居ない生き物の略である。言うまでも無く、僕も魔理沙も幻想の生き物である。 Gensokyo is, quite literally, a place where illusionary creatures dwell. At some point, the people in the outside world wrote off “illusionary creatures” as nothing more than “fantasy creatures”. But, of course, illusionary creatures and fantasy creatures are very different. A fantasy creature is just another name for a delusion, misinterpretation or misunderstanding. On the other hand, an illusionary creature is one that can only be found in Gensokyo. It goes without saying, then, that both Marisa and I are also illusionary creatures.
 しかし、なぜ朱鷺(とき)が急増したのかは僕にも判らない。まさか朱鷺も「幻想の鳥」となってしまったのだろうか。僕が知っていた頃の外の世界では考えられない事だが、まぁ、あれから時間が()ち過ぎた。限られた素材と古い記憶だけで外の世界をいくら想像しても、それはただの空想に過ぎないのだろう。想像を憑拠(ひょうきょ)にした想像はただの空想だ。想像とは、空想、妄想、予想、仮想、幻想、の順でランクが付けられている。 However, the reason behind the sudden proliferation of crested ibises is something I don't understand. Could it be that they have become “illusionary birds”? That would be unthinkable in the outside world I knew, but then again, too much time has elapsed since then. As much as I try to imagine the outside world from limited literature and old memories, it would amount to nothing more than imaginations. An imagination plagued by imaginations is no more than a fantasy. For imaginations, I rank them in the order of Fantasy, Delusion, Prediction, the Virtual, and Illusion.[1]
「お待たせー、魔理沙も居るわよね」 “Sorry for the wait! Marisa is here, too, right?”
「……待つも何も、突然やって来たんだからそんな余裕も無いじゃないか」 “...I wasn't waiting. How could I when you girls showed up so suddenly?”
「そりゃ、突然行ったんだから当然よ。けど、どんな時でも待っていればいいのよ。それがお店ってものでしょ?」 “Well, of course we came suddenly. But you should be waiting at all times. Isn't this a shop and everything?”
 魔理沙の予告通り霊夢がやって来た。手に色々な荷物を抱えているが、鍋の材料だろうか。 Reimu came just as Marisa said. She was carrying several bags with her. Ingredients for the hot pot, I guess.
「おう霊夢、待ってたぜ。早速鍋の準備だ」 “Hey, Reimu! Took ya long enough! Let's get this hot pot cookin'.”
 魔理沙は手を出し「ほら渡せ」、といった感じの仕草をしている。 Marisa had her arm outstretched, with a feeling of “C'mon, hand it over!” to it.
「持ってきたわよ。はい」 “I brought everything, yes.”
「あー? こりゃ赤味噌だ。誰が赤味噌なんか持ってこいって言ったんだよ」 “Huh? This is red miso. Who told you to bring red miso?”
「誰が言っても言わなくても、朱鷺汁は赤味噌に決まってるのよ」 “I didn't need to be told. Red miso is the obvious choice for ibis broth!”
「おいおい、ただでさえ赤い鍋なんだから白味噌にしろよ。赤汁に赤味噌か? お前はコミュニストか?」 “Hey, hey! The hot pot is already red enough, so we should make it with white miso. Putting red miso in red broth? Are ya some kind of Communist?"
「色で食べる訳じゃないの。最初から赤ければ朱鷺肉の赤も気にならないでしょ? それに白味噌じゃぁ……、源平合戦じゃない」 “It's not like you aren't going to eat because of the color. Since ibis meat is red to begin with, it shouldn't bother you, right? And why white miso? This isn't the Genpei War.”[2]
 二人とも色で食べている様にしか聞こえない。それにしても魔理沙は朱鷺を(つか)んでいるので、彼女が(りき)むと朱鷺も鳴く。まるで朱鷺が魔理沙に相槌(あいづち)を打っている様に見えておかしい。魔理沙もわざとやっているに違いない。 The two of them went on about food coloring, but I wasn't listening. Regardless, Marisa was holding the ibis, and every time she gave it a squeeze, the ibis would squawk. It was kind of weird, like the ibis was supporting her. I'm sure Marisa was doing that on purpose.
「とんこつに紅しょうがをのっけるだろ? 味噌ラーメンに乗せるか?」 "Don't red pickles go with tonkotsu? Wouldja put it in miso ramen?"
「カレーに福神漬けを付けるでしょ? 魔理沙はクリームシチューに福神漬けを付けるのかしら」 "And doesn't fukujinzuke go with in curry? But knowing you, you'd probably throw it in cream stew.”
「あの白色の中にある赤色には日本人の魂が宿ってるんだよ」 “Having somethin' red in the middle of somethin' white is the sign of a Japanese soul!”
「そんな紅白……私だけで十分よ。魔理沙のどこに日本人の魂があるってのよ。()()びって何だか判る?」 “I'm already red and white enough. And what part of you has a Japanese soul, Marisa? Do you even know what 'Wabi-sabi' is?”
「それは、霊夢の方が似合わない気もするぜ」 “I don't think ya know yerself, Reimu.”
「もちろん、私には判らないわ。」 “Of course I don't.”
「とにかく、そんなんじゃ私は鍋は作れんな」 “Anyway, we're not makin' a hot pot like that.”
「あんたが鍋にするって言い出したんでしょ? 朱鷺は生では食べられないわ」 “Wasn't it you who came up with the hot pot idea? We can't eat this ibis raw.”
「そういう問題か? まぁいい、とりあえず(さば)くだけ捌いておくか。」 “So is that how it is? Alright then, let's just divide it now.”
(さば)くの?」 “Decide it?”[3]
「ああ、それもいいかも知れないな。ちょっとやるか?」 “Yeah, that'll work, too. Wanna go?”
 結局、一切僕には相談もせず二人は決闘で決着を付ける事にした様だ(勝手に僕の店に来たくせに)。ルールは一対一のスペルカードルール、霊夢が勝てばそのまま鍋に、魔理沙が勝てば白味噌を取りに行かせるつもりらしい。別に白味噌ならうちにもあるのだが、楽しんでるみたいなので放っておこう。さらに言えば、僕は朱鷺の一番美味しい調理法も知っているのだが……。 In the end, it seems like they decided to settle the matter in a shooting duel, without so much as asking for my advice (even though they came to my shop uninvited). The rules were: 1-on-1 with Spellcard Rules. If Reimu won, the hot pot would be done her way; if Marisa won, she'd apparently make her go buy white miso. Never mind that I had white miso in my place, they seemed to be enjoying themselves, so I just let them be. Speaking of which, I actually know the tastiest way to cook a crested ibis...
「魔理沙、いつも言ってる事だが―」 “Marisa, what do I always tell you?”
「闘うなら外でやってくれ。だろ?」 “If you're gonna fight, then go outside, right?”
「そんな事より霖之助さん、魔理沙の代わりに捌いておいてね」 “More importantly, could you divide the bird up for Marisa, Mr. Rinnosuke?”
 既に二人の目的はすり替わっている。結果がどうであれ、僕が勝手に調理しても喜んで食べるだろう。もしかしたら、最初からこういうシナリオを用意してるんじゃないかと思えるくらい、いつものパターンだ。二人はどうでも良い事を決闘で決着を付けるのが多い。しかも最近は飛び道具で闘う事が多く、大変(まぶ)しい、目に優しくない。 Their objectives seem to have changed already. Whatever the result is, I guess they'll happily eat it however I cook it. I could go as far as to think they arranged this scenario from the beginning, since it always follows the same pattern. Those two are frequently dueling to decide the most insignificant things. On top of that, they've been using attacks with lots of projectiles. It's extremely bright, and hard on the eyes.
 二人の決闘はいつも対照的である。一生懸命な魔理沙に対し霊夢は、わざとか性分(しょうぶん)呑気(のんき)な闘い方をする。勝負は大体霊夢の方に()が有るのだが、魔理沙も負けてはいない。ただ、技と力で攻める魔理沙と空気の様な霊夢。ぬかに釘というか……。どうにも、霊夢が見ている物は僕たちとは違う世界の物の様な気がしてならない。そのくらい、(つか)み所が無いのだ。 Their duels are always a study in contrast. Against the gung-ho Marisa, Reimu – either on purpose or naturally – fights in a more laid-back style. The duels mostly go Reimu's way, but Marisa doesn't always lose. It's just that Marisa attacks with all her skill and might against Reimu, who looks just like she was made of air; it's like trying to pound a nail into dust. In any way, when looking at Reimu, she gives off a feeling that she is not quite from our own world. Anything more than that is something one cannot quite grasp.
「あぶないわね! 魔理沙、当たったらどうするのよ。まったくもう……」 “Hey, that's dangerous! What if it had hit me, Marisa!? Geez...”
「ああもう、何で当たらないんだよ!」 “Aw, c'mon! Why didn't it hit?”
「魔理沙の弾は勝手に避けていくわ。親切ね!」 “Your bullets swerve to avoid me on their own. How nice of them!”
「まっすぐだぜ……」 “They're flyin' straight...”
 二人の声が聞こえてきたので様子を見てみた。霊夢は時折テレポート(零時間移動)している様に見える。弾もあらぬ方向から誘導で飛んでいる。割とずるい。 Since I could hear their voices, I went to see how things were going. Reimu looked like she would practically teleport at times. And her bullets would fly guided in impossible directions. It was kind of unfair.
 さて、この朱鷺(とき)は丸々としていて美味しそうである。こんな朱鷺は見た事が無い。そういえば魔理沙が気になる事を言っていたな……。 Well then, this nice, round ibis looks really tasty; I've never seen one like it before. Speaking of which, Marisa said something that bothered me...
「お待たせ~、さくっと決着を付けてきたわ」 “Sorry for the wait, we've just made a decision.”
「ああ、いつでも待たされているよ。鍋はもう作っておいた、予定通り赤味噌だ」 “Yes, you always make me wait like this. I already made the hot pot. With red miso, as expected.”
「むー、鍋がもう出来てるじゃないか。香霖、もし私が勝っていたらどうするつもりだったんだよ」 “Grrr... You already prepared the hot pot? What would ya do if I had won, Kourin?”
「朱鷺を一番美味い調理法で食べさせていたさ」 “I would have had you eat an ibis cooked in the tastiest way.”
 博麗神社は幻想郷の(はず)れにある。外れといっても場所的にというだけではない。外の世界と幻想郷の境目(さかいめ)に在るのだ。そのため、博麗神社は完全な「幻想の場所」ではない。魔理沙は朱鷺を「神社で捕まえた」と言っていた。もしかしたらこの朱鷺も外の世界の物かもしれない。まだ朱鷺も幻想の鳥ではなさそうで、僕は少し安心した。 The Hakurei Shrine is located in the edge of Gensokyo. And by edge, that doesn't mean only in the physical sense. There is the border between the outside world and Gensokyo. Because of that, the Hakurei Shrine is not an entirely “illusionary place”. And Marisa said she caught the ibis by the Shrine. It may be that this ibis is indeed from the outside world. So it would seem that crested ibises are not Illusionary Birds yet. I feel somewhat relieved.


  1. The word "virtual" is a word often used when it comes to computers (examples: virtualization (仮想化), virtual machine (仮想機械), etc.). In this case, perhaps they have become conscious of the idea of "virtual reality." Since many Touhou Project works have been offered as computer software, perhaps it might have also been saying that the Gensokyo is of a higher rank than virtual reality.
  2. Gempei War (源平合戦) was between two of the most dominant samurai clans: Genji ("源氏, Minamoto clan) and Heishi ("平氏, Taira clan). The symbolic colors of Genji and Taira, white and red, respectively, were prominent parts of their flag designs. When a certain Prince (Prince Ooama) won the war to reign as Emperor, he chose red to adorn his flags. (For reference, his opponent Prince Ootomo's color was gold.) It is believed that he chose red to borrow upon a traditional Chinese idea; red is the color of the ruler. This selection would continue, and the members of Taira clan were climbing into the higher ranks of aristocracy despite being samurai, who were seen as subcontracted groups of warriors by the aristocrats in those days. On the other hand, Minamoto clan feared that they would claim everything for themselves. They chose white to represent them, as it had deep religious connotations as the symbolic color of Hachiman Bosatsu. This combination of red and white can be seen in many places in Japanese history and culture. Many people insist as a folk legend that the present flag of Japan is the union of these two confrontational colors.
  3. The word play in Japanese works off the similar pronunciation of 捌く (to cut flesh sabaku) and "裁く (to judge in court sabaku)".
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