Curiosities of Lotus Asia/Chapter 14

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幻想郷に春を告げる桜は、香霖堂から見える風景を白く染めていった。
そんな中、霖之助を花見に誘う来客が連日彼のもとを訪れる。
見事に咲き誇りつづける桜、その魅力と魔力に浮かされたようにして――。
夏コミ発表予定の新作「東方花映塚 ~ Phantasmagoria of Flower View.」(詳細は、公式サイトにて公開中)の開発がアナウンスされるなど、絶好調の東方シリーズ連載。
新しい季節の節目を迎え、今年も幻想郷の住人たちから目が離せない!
The scenery as seen from Kourindo was painted white from the sakura that heralded the arrival of spring in Gensokyo. And during these times, visitors inviting Rinnosuke for a flower-viewing party came calling every day. Lost in delight amidst the charm and glamour of the splendidly blossoming cherry trees… The popular Touhou Project serialization, also serving to announce the expected release of the new game “Phantasmagoria of Flower View” at summer Comiket. The landmark event in the welcoming of the new season, the Gensokyo residents can’t take their eyes away from them this year either!
無々色の桜 Colorless Sakura
雪で (おお) われた幻想郷は、春が近づくにつれ徐々に色を取り戻していた。冬の白色は山の低い部分から消えていく。だがそれと入れ替える様に、山の低い部分から再び白色に染まっていく。春の白色、桜である。 As spring came closer, the snow-covered Gensokyo gradually regained its colors. Winter’s whiteness was fading from the lowest reaches of the mountains. But those low reaches were once again being colored white, as if replacing the snow. Spring’s whiteness, the cherry blossoms.
香霖堂の窓からも桜がよく見える。こんなに景色が良いので、わざわざ外に出て花見をしようと考えるなんて間違っているのだ。花見なんて店の中で十分じゃないか。騒がしいのも好きではないし、いつも会っている者同士で花見をしても嬉しくない。一人で静かに店の中から桜を見る。これ程優雅な、いや幽雅 (ゆうが) [1]な花見も無いじゃないか。花見に出掛ける人間とは、森の中だとか余り景色が良くない家に住んでいる哀れな人間が、妖の桜の魔力に操られてしまっている『目出度 (めでた) い』人間くらいである。 I have a good view of the cherry blossoms from Kourindo’s window, so if you think I would purposely go outside for a flower-viewing party, then you are mistaken. Isn’t it satisfactory to see the flowers from inside my own store? I don’t like noisy gatherings, and going to a flower-viewing party with people I see all the time is not that pleasant. I will quietly watch the cherry blossoms alone, from inside my store. I don’t think there is a more elegant – or rather, refined – way of watching flowers. The humans who go out for flower-viewing parties are those poor people that live in the forest or somewhere without a great view of the scenery; they seem more like the “naive” kind of humans, enticed by the magic of the cherry blossoms.
――カランカラン Knock, knock.
「さあ香霖、花見の季節だぜ。神社で毎日」 “C'mon Kourin, it’s flower viewin' season! There’s a party every day at the shrine!”
「魔理沙か。帽子に花びらが積もっているよ。払ってから来なさい」 “Oh, Marisa? There are flower petals all over your hat. Wipe them off before coming in.”
「ワザと載っけてきたんだがな」と言うと、魔理沙は外に出て帽子をぱたぱたと振った。 “But I left them there on purpose...” said Marisa as she went outside and shook her hat.
魔理沙の家が在る魔法の森には桜の様な気の利いた植物は無いし、そもそも森は常にまっとうな人間を (こば) むのだ。魔理沙が桜の花を見て浮かれるのも至極当然である。 Marisa’s house, in the Forest of Magic, doesn’t have any tasteful vegetation like cherry trees, and in fact the forest repelled honest people, so it was extremely obvious that Marisa was elated to see cherry blossoms.
「で、行かないのか? 花見」 “So, aren'tcha going? To the flower-viewing party, I mean.”
「花見か……。今日は別の用事が有るので遠慮しておくよ」 “A flower-viewing party, huh... I have other things to do today, so I shall pass.”
魔理沙に付いていったら相当騒がしい花見になるだろう。僕は騒がしいのは好きではない。 A flower-viewing party with Marisa would be a fairly noisy one, and I don’t like noise.
「いつも暇そうにしている癖に。用事って何だ? 時間が掛かるのか?」 “But 'cha don't look that busy to me. Whaddaya got ta do? Will it take long?”
「ああ、別の花見があるんだ。静かな花見が」 “Yes, I have another flower-viewing party to attend. A quiet one.”
「そう、お通夜みたいな花見でもするんだな」と言うと、魔理沙は出ていった。 “Alright, go to your wake of a flower-viewing party.” said Marisa, as she left.
僕は静かな花見を再開した。一人で店の中から桜を見る花見は、この上ない贅沢を感じさせ、そのまま夜も () けていった。 I resumed my quiet event. Watching the cherry blossoms alone from the inside of my store was the biggest luxury I could ask for. And so it continued as night fell.
次の日もますます桜が見事になっていた。 The next day, the cherry blossoms were even more splendid.
昨日は一人で花見と称してぼうっと見ていただけだったので、今日はもう少し高尚 (こうしょう) な花見でもしようかと思う。高尚といえば、本を読む事である。 Since the previous day I had a flower-viewing party consisting only of absently-minded looking at flowers, today I thought of having a more refined one. And I can think of nothing more refined than reading a book.
僕の書庫には幻想郷の本だけではなく外の本も多い。だが、いずれにしても桜を取り扱った本は非常に多いのだ。同じ植物でも達磨草 (だるまそう) を取り扱った本は皆無 (かいむ) に等しいというのに。 My storage of books doesn't only have ones from Gensokyo, but also many from the outside. Still, I had quite a number of them about cherry blossoms, regardless of source. However, there wasn’t a single book about the Skunk Cabbage, even though it's a related species of plant.
それだけ、桜というのは日本人にとって特別な花ということだろう。昔から人間も妖怪も桜の色に狂わされる。ある者は桜の下で浮かれ騒ぎ、またある者は死について考え、感傷的になる。すべては (はる) かな過去を見てきた桜の仕業 (しわざ) なのだ。 Just from that, you could see that cherry blossoms were a special flower to the Japanese. Since a long time ago, both humans and youkai have been driven insane by the color of the cherry blossoms. Some people would become exuberant under them; others would think of death in a sentimental fashion. Even in the distant past, the effects of the cherry blossoms could be seen.
――カランカランカラン Knock, knock, knock.
「居ますでしょうか?」 “Is anyone here?”
「いらっしゃいませ」この間の半人前少女――妖夢の様だ。 “Welcome.” It was the half-human girl from a while ago… Youmu, I believe.
「あ、この間はどうもありがとうございました。お (かげ) さまで幽々子様にはちょっと怒られただけですみました」 “Ah, thank you very much for before. Thanks to you, Lady Yuyuko was only a little angry with me.” [2]
「それは良かったですね」 “That’s good to hear.”
ちょっとの度合いが判らないが、あの後、魔里沙に聞いた話だとこの娘は、幻想郷中のはぐれ幽霊を集めさせられたり、まだ見つかっていない死体を探させられたりした様だ。すると先日のアレはお仕置きの真っ最中だったのだろうか。 I don’t know to what extent, but from what I heard from Marisa later, this girl was made to gather all the stray ghosts in Gensokyo, and was still looking for unfound bodies. If so, then was she in the middle of that punishment when she first entered my store?
「と言っても僕は商品を売っただけですが……今日も捜し物を買いに?」 “But even if you say that, all I did was sell you an item... Are you looking for something to buy today as well?”
「いえ、今日は店の前を通りがかったので、お礼も兼ねて花見に誘おうかと思いまして」 “No, I was passing in front of your shop, and I thought of both giving you my thanks and inviting you to a flower-viewing party.”
通りがかったから、ってのを言わなければお礼としての格が上がると思うのだが……。それにしてもまた花見のお誘いか。 I think that if she hadn’t said that she was just passing by, the thanks would have a higher value… But anyway, seems it’s another party invitation.
「お嬢様の庭の桜は、ここの桜の何倍も見応えがあるのですよ。と言っても今日は神社でお花見ですけど」 “The cherry blossoms at my Lady’s garden are several times more impressive than the ones here. But even so, today’s flower-viewing party is actually at the shrine…”
「うーん。生憎 (あいにく) 今日は別の用事が有るんでねぇ」 “Hum... Unfortunately, I have other things to do today.”
「そうですか。まぁ桜は逃げないのですが桜の花は逃げますので、咲いているうちにいつか花見に来て下さいね」 “Oh, is that so? Well, the cherry trees will not run away, but the blossoms will, so please come see them while they are still blossoming.”
妖夢を追い返し、彼女のお屋敷の桜の何分の一しか見応えの無いという桜を見ながら本を読んで、そのまま夜も () けていった。 I saw Youmu out, and turned to watch the cherry blossoms several times less impressive than the ones in her mansion while reading a book. And so it continued as night fell.
次の日も一段と桜が見事になっていた。 Again the following day, the cherry blossoms were even more splendid.
ちなみに昨日読んだ本とは、勿論 (もちろん) 桜が出てくる本である。これも回りくどい花見だ。何故 (なぜ) 桜の下で桜の本を読むのかというと、それは人生を楽しむ為である。人生の楽しみ方を知らない者ほど短絡 (たんらく) 的で感情的なものだ。桜を見て「わぁ綺麗!」だとか「こんなもん綺麗なだけじゃないか」だとか「桜の楽しみ方とは云々 (うんぬん) 」など知った様な口で語るのは、自らの愚かさを露呈 (ろてい) しているだけだ。何故なら自分の思いついた事をそのまま口にして満足しているという、非常に短絡的で幼稚な行為だからである。それしか言えないようでは人間も、式神や道具とさほど変わらない。 By the way, the book I was reading yesterday obviously mentioned cherry blossoms. That was also a roundabout way of viewing the flowers. As to why read a book about cherry blossoms while under them, this is just a way of enjoying life. People who don’t know how to enjoy life are the simplistic and emotional kind. When they see cherry blossoms they say things like “How pretty!” or “Aren’t they beautiful?” or then “There are many ways to enjoy the cherry blossoms.” like they know what they are saying, but are actually only exposing their foolishness. Being satisfied with speaking whatever is on your mind is such a simplistic and childish attitude, you see. Humans that only talk like that are not much different from shikigami or tools.
余所 (よそ) の桜とも過去に見てきた桜とも比べる事もなく、眼前の桜をただじっと感じていると次第 (しだい) に本当の花見が見えてくる。こうした回りくどさが、高尚さに必要な事なのだ。 When you just let yourself sense the blossoms in front of you, without comparing them to ones from another place or ones you saw in the past, you will gradually arrive at a true flower-viewing event. To attain a certain sophistication, one must be able to appreciate subtleties.
今日は、まだ出しっぱなしだったストーブを片付ける事にした。流石にこれを出したままでは春が実感出来ない。でも (いささ) か心許なく感じるのは、朝や夜はそれなりに冷えるからだろうか。 Today I moved the heater I had left out all this time into storage. Naturally, you couldn’t get a real spring feeling with it around. But I still felt a little uncertain. Maybe the mornings and evenings would still feel a little cold.
ストーブといえば昨日来た妖夢を思い出す。実はあの娘が言っていた見事な桜というのが少し気になっている。そもそも桜と幽霊とは繋がりが深く、幽霊が大量に居るというお嬢様の庭、そこに有るという桜と言ったら……それなりな因果を感じてしまう。 Thinking of the heater reminds me of Youmu coming here yesterday. The truth is that what she said about those magnificent cherry blossoms bothered me a little. For starters, the connection between cherry blossoms and ghosts is a deep one, so when you talk about the cherry blossoms in that lady’s garden full of ghosts… you can feel some cause and effect there.
幻想郷にも妖怪と化した植物も少なくはない。特に桜は人の死を誘い、多くの魔力を持っている。また桜ではないが、魔法の森もそういった危険な植物でいっぱいなのだ。木は、人間より、時には妖怪よりも (はる) かに長く生きている。幻想郷の歴史をすべて見てきているのは……幻想郷の木々たちだけなのだ。 There are a considerable number of plants that turn into youkai in Gensokyo. Especially the cherry trees that lure people to their deaths; those have a great magical power. And not only cherry trees, but all kinds of dangerous plants exist in the Forest of Magic. Trees live longer than humans, and occasionally even longer than youkai. The only ones who have seen all of Gensokyo's history… are none other than the trees in Gensokyo.
――カランカラン Knock, knock.
「いらっしゃいますか?」 “Is anybody there?”
「いらっしゃいませ」 “Welcome.”
「そりゃ店を開けてるから貴方はいらっしゃると思いますけど」 “The store was open, so I imagined you would be here, but...”
やって来たのは、久しぶりの吸血鬼のお嬢様――レミリアとそのメイド――咲夜の組み合わせだった。 The ones who came were the ones from some time ago, the vampire lady – Remilia Scarlet, and her maid Sakuya.
「神社に誰も居なかったので、霊夢がこっちに来てないかなーと思って……」 “There wasn’t anybody at the shrine, so I thought Reimu might have come here...”
お嬢様の方はよく見ると桜色の服である。吸血鬼は人の血を吸い長く生きている。桜の木と根底にあるものは同じかも知れない。 If you look closely, the mistress’ dress is also cherry colored. Vampires live long by sucking human blood. They might be fundamentally the same as cherry trees.
「いや、ここのところ (しばら) く霊夢は見かけてないよ?」 “No, I haven’t seen Reimu here for a while.”
「今日は神社で勝手にお花見でもしようと思って来たのに、勝手に居ないんだから」桜色の吸血鬼が理不尽な文句を言った。 “Today I decided on a whim to have a flower-viewing party at the shrine, but then she decided on a whim not to be there!” The cherry-colored vampire had some unreasonable complaints.
「そうだ、貴方もお花見に行きません? 神社へ」 “That’s right! Won’t you come to the flower-viewing party at the shrine as well?”
「霊夢は居なくても良いのかい?」 “Is that OK, even if Reimu isn’t there?”
「霊夢が居なくても桜は咲いているわ」 “The cherry blossoms are blooming regardless.”
「それに神社は () けっぱらっているから、食べ物もお酒もありますよ」と笑顔のメイド。こんなメイドが居るんじゃあ、おちおち店も留守に出来ない。 “And also, since the shrine is wide open, there will be food and drinks available,” said the maid, smiling. With a maid like this around, I can’t carelessly leave the shop unattended.
「誘ってもらって嬉しいですが、まだ店が営業中ですので……。今日は遠慮させていただくよ」 “I am glad you invited me, but it’s still operating hours for the shop… So I guess I will have to decline.”
「霊夢を見かけたら神社に戻ってくるように伝えてくださいね」と言って二人は戻っていった。 “If you see Reimu, tell her to go back to the shrine if you please.” She said that, and then both of them left.
僕は、ストーブを片付けながら桜を見ていて、一日が終わってしまった。 I kept watching the cherry blossoms as I packed up the heater. And then the day ended.
次の日も際限なく桜が見事になっていた。 Again the next day, the cherry blossoms were endlessly splendid.
昨日は結局、探していた霊夢は見つかったのだろうか。 (もっと) も、霊夢が留守でも桜の下でどんちゃん騒ぎをしている姿が容易に想像できる。夜には霊夢も戻ってきて、勝手に盛り上がっていたみんなに憤慨 (ふんがい) している姿も思い浮かんだ。 Did they ever manage to find Reimu yesterday, after all? But then, even if Reimu wasn’t home, it’s easy to imagine them noisily carrying on under the cherry trees. And the image of Reimu’s indignation at coming back in the evening and finding everyone helping themselves to her property was also on my mind.
桜色の吸血鬼と紅白の巫女。巫女の紅と白を混ぜれば桜色になるのかも知れない。だがその違いは大きい。紅と白が混ざらずに居る事、すなわちそこには境界が生じているのである。日本では古来から、紅白は『目出度い』とされ、逆に目出度 (めでた) くない時は黒白を使われてきた。注目すべき事に、相反する二つの風習には共に白色が入っている。とすると、単純に紅が縁起 (えんぎ) が良く、黒が縁起が悪い、という風に見えるが、実際にはそんな事は無い。やはり白は必須なのだ。 The cherry-colored vampire and the red-and-white shrine maiden. If you mixed red and white, maybe you would get that cherry-pink color. But there is a big difference. The red and the white are not there to be mixed. In other words, there should be a boundary between them. Since ancient times in Japan, red and white have been used for joyous occasions, and conversely black and white are used for somber ones. It should be noted that for both, despite being on different ends, the color white is used. Putting it simply you might say the red color means a good omen, while the black means a bad omen. That's how it appears, but it’s actually not the case. The white is indeed indispensable.
ならば白とは何を指しているか、と考える。まず、白は色として認識されていないのだ。何故なら、如何 (いか) なる色にも変化する事が出来る唯一の色だからである。数字でいえばゼロに当たるだろう。一方、紅は人間の血の色であり、生命の象徴でもある。それは人間が最初に感じる生命の色であり、すなわち原初の色なのだ。これは存在そのものと考えても良い。 In that case, what does the white indicate, you might think. Firstly, it is not recognized as a color proper. Why? It’s because it can turn into any other color, which makes it an unique type of color. If you were to give it a number, it would be "zero". On the other hand, red is the color of human blood, so it also symbolizes life. It’s the color of a human’s first perception of life, a color of genesis. You could think of it as existence itself.
つまり、紅と白の間には存在と無の差がある。紅白の境界が『目出度 (めでた) い』のはそのためだ。交互に紅白の色を使いその境界を強調するのは、その境界線が物事の始まりを意味していて、だからこそ昔の人は縁起が良いと考えたのだ。 So basically, red and white symbolize the distinction between existence and nothingness. That’s why the red-white boundary means “joyous”. By using red and white mutually, this border is emphasized, and the borderline represents the beginning of all things. That’s why the ancient people thought of it as a good omen.
では、黒白はどうだろう。白が色として認識されていないのと同時に、黒も色として認識されていなかった。黒はただの闇であり、闇の中ではどんな色も黒になる。そこから生み出されるものは何も無い。白がゼロならば黒は虚と言う事だ。ゼロと虚である以上、黒白の境界は何も実体、つまり生命を生み出さない。紅白と黒白の違いはまさに、この世とあの世の違いと類似し、紅白が生を象徴とするように、黒白が死を意味するようになったとしても何も不思議な事ではないのだろう。 So, what about black and white? Just as white is not recognized as a color, black is not either. Black is simply darkness, and in the darkness all colors turn black. Nothing can be born from there. If white is zero, then black is a void [imaginary] number. Besides them being zero and void, nothing concrete can come from the border of black and white. Basically, life can’t be born from it. The difference between red-white and black-white is analogous to the difference between this world and the next. So there’s nothing mysterious about the fact that red and white symbolizes life, while black and white means death.
では、桜の色は何故 (なぜ) 人間を惑わせ、多くの者を () き付けるのだろうか? So, why does the color of cherry blossom bewilder humans, and charm a great many people?
――カラン Knock.
「……桜が白くなっているわ」 “...The cherry blossoms are certainly white.”
「いらっしゃ……」 “Welco...”
扉が開いた音がしたのに、何故か店の入り口には誰も居なかった。 There was the sound of the door opening, but why wasn’t anyone at the entrance?
「明日のお花見は楽しみね」 “I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s flower-viewing party.”
!! ……いつの間に店の中に」 “!! ...When did you enter my store!?”
店の奥から現れたのは八雲紫だった。僕はこの少女がちょっと苦手である。何を考えているのか判らない上に、どこか見透かされている気がしてならないからだ。近くに居られると、非常に居心地が悪い。 The one who suddenly appeared in my store was Yukari Yakumo. I am not really comfortable around this girl. Not only can I not understand how she thinks, but I feel as she can see right through me. Whenever she is close by, I feel terribly uncomfortable.
「それにしても、ここの所 (みんな) は毎日お花見をしているみたいだけど、休憩は必要無いのかい?」 “And besides, everyone around here seems to be having parties everyday. Shouldn’t you take a rest?”
「いいえ、明日が初めてですわ。お花見は」 “Oh no, tomorrow will be the first flower-viewing party.”
「そう……君は神社に行ったりしていなかったのか」 ”I see... So you haven’t been to the shrine?”
霊夢の周りの者達は (そろ) って馬鹿騒ぎしているイメージがあった為、ちょっと意外な気がした。 I had this image of everyone around Reimu being loud fools, so I was a little surprised.
「いいえ? 毎日神社に居ましたわ。でも、明日が初めてのお花見です。本当の桜が咲くのも、明日が初めてですわ」 “Why, no. I have been at the shrine every day. But tomorrow will be the first flower-viewing party. It’s tomorrow that the true cherry blossoms will bloom.”
言っている事がよく判らなかったが、今日は花見ではないらしい。僕はと言うと、花見に誘われたら今日は行っても良いかなと思っていた所だったので、少々肩すかしを食らった気分だった。仕様がない。今日もお茶でも飲みながら一人花見をするとしよう。 I didn’t really understand what she was saying, but it seemed today wasn’t going to be a flower-viewing day. I was thinking that if I got invited to another party today, I might as well go, but I feel I escaped from that. I guess today I’ll view the flowers by myself some more while I drink tea.
「今日は桜の白さを確認しに来ただけですわ。それでは今日も神社に向かいます。神社の (あか) い桜の下に……。そうそう。関係無いですが、紅白の旗がお目出度いのは正八幡 (しょうはちまん) が源流だって、知ってました? 普通忘れますよね、そんな昔の事」 “Today I just came to confirm the cherry blossoms’ whiteness. Now, I’ll be going to the shrine again. Under the shrine’s crimson cherry blossoms… Ah, that’s right. It’s unrelated, but did you know that the origin of red and white banners as an auspicious symbol is from True Hachiman?[3] Most people have forgotten about it. It's such an old thing.”
そう言うと紫は、返答も待たずに入り口から出て行ってしまった。僕は、彼女の会話の展開が予想出来なくて、いつもまともに聞き取れない。会話というのは、相手が次に言う事を予想出来るからどんな速い速度でも成り立つのだと思う。予想出来ない言葉は念仏の様なものだ。 With that, she left through the front door without waiting for an answer. I can’t follow her line of conversation, so I can never fully understand it. I believe that, in a conversation, you are supposed to be able to expect what your partner is going to say, so that no matter how fast it goes it can follow a logical course. Unexpected words sound the same as Buddhist prayers.
僕はお茶を () れながら桜を見た。言われてみれば余所 (よそ) の桜に比べるとうちの桜は白いようだ。桜の種類だけに起因するものではないだろう。何故ならそもそも去年まではこんなに白くはなかったからだ。ともかく明日は花見に参加しよう。誘ってくれたらの話だが……。 I had some tea and watched the cherry blossoms. If I were to say it, I’d say that these cherry blossoms are whiter that those from other places. And maybe this wasn’t only due to the variety of cherry tree. I don’t know why, but up until last year, they weren’t so white in the first place. But by any means, I will participate in the flower-viewing party tomorrow. If I get invited, that is...
次の日、昨日までのが嘘みたいな満開だった。白い波は店を押しつぶすかの様に (ふく) れあがり、もはや店の窓の外には桜しか存在しないかの様に見えた。 The next day, they were in such full bloom that made the previous days’ blossoms seem like fakes. There were such swelling white waves that it looked as though they were going to drown the shop. It already seemed as if nothing but cherry blossoms existed outside the shop’s windows.
そうか、元来桜はここまで咲く事が出来るのか。自然はいつも予想を超えてくる。所詮 (しょせん) 、予想なんて幻想の足元にも及ばないという事なのだろう。 That’s right, could it be the cherry blossoms originally couldn’t bloom that much? Nature is always surpassing expectations. After all, weren’t things like expectations unnecessary for fantasy?
というか、冷静に考えてみると、少し咲きすぎじゃないのか? 桜の花というのは、春風が吹かなくてもそんなに長持ちはしないものだ。 (はかな) いはずのものがここまで出しゃばってくると、逆に不安を感じてしまう。この桜は本当に散るのだろうか……。 But anyway, if you think about it calmly, aren’t they blossoming a little too much? Cherry flowers shouldn’t last this long even when there’s no wind blowing. For something that is supposed to be fleeting to be lasting for so long, it actually makes me feel anxious. Are these cherry blossoms really going to fall...
――カランカラッ Knock, knock.
「居るかしら?」 “Are you there?”
「いらっしゃ……ああ、霊夢か」 “Welco... Ahh, Reimu?”
神社で連日花見をやっている筈の霊夢が来た。霊夢は準備と片付けで四六時中忙しそうだから、魔理沙辺りがうちに来るかと思っていたが。 Reimu, who should have been at her shrine watching the flowers every day, came here. Reimu seemed busy around the clock with preparations and clean-ups, so I was rather expecting Marisa to show up here.
「最近、お花見ばっかりでねぇ。ほぼ毎日誰かが家に来るのよ」 “Lately, it seems there’s always flower-viewing parties going on. Almost every day someone comes to my house.”
「それだけ、神社の桜が見事って事なんだろう?」 “Isn’t that because the cherry blossoms at the shrine are splendid ones?”
「そうねぇ……」珍しく、何か歯切れの悪いものを感じた。流石 (さすが) の霊夢も連日花見で、疲れているのかも知れない。 “I guess...” Strangely, I felt a certain awkwardness from her. Obviously, even Reimu might be feeling tired from day after day of parties.
「今日は店の裏を借りるわよ」 “Today I’m borrowing the back of your shop.”
「店の裏? 借りるっていったい?」 “The back of the shop? And what do you mean by borrowing?”
「それはもう、お花見に決まってんじゃないの。今日は店の裏でお花見をやるわ」 “To watch the flowers, of course. That's where I'll be doing my viewing today.”
ああやっぱり、連日花見でも疲れる訳が無いか。 Ahh, of course. So she wasn’t tired from continuously watching the flowers after all.
「みんな言ってたの。香霖堂の裏の桜がもうすぐ咲きそうだって。だから見に来たんだけど、もうちょうど良い状態になっているじゃないの」 “Everybody told me about it. The cherry blossoms at the Kourindou were about to fully bloom. So I came to see them, and it seems they are already perfect.”
昨日までの桜では彼女らにとっては『まだ咲いていない』状態だったのか。僕だけが満開だと思って一人花見をしていたという訳か。もしかしたら、最近とみに来客が多かったのも、店の裏の桜の状態を確認する為だったのかも知れない。 So, as far as these girls were concerned, the cherry blossoms up until yesterday “still hadn’t blossomed”? Does that mean I was the only one who thought they were in full bloom and kept having lone flower-viewing parties? So maybe all the recent visitors were here to check on the state of the cherry blossoms at the back of the store?
「余り騒がしいのは好きじゃないんだがな……もう他のみんなも呼んでいるのかい?」 “I don’t really like noisiness, but… did you call everyone else already?”
「いえ、桜の様子を見に来ただけで、誰も呼んでいないわ。でも、 (しばら) くすれば (みんな) 自然とここに集まってくると思う」 “No, I didn’t call anyone, since I was only coming to give the cherry blossoms a look. But I think that they will naturally gather here in a little while.”
何故 (なぜ) だい?」 “And why is that?”
「そういうもんだもん」 “Because that's how it is.”
それが霊夢の自然なのか。霊夢にとっては、自分の居る場所に人が寄ってくる事が当たり前であり、当たり前だからこそ強い関心を持たない様に見えるのだろう。 Was that natural for Reimu? As far as she was concerned, it was obvious for people to come to where she was, and since it was obvious, she didn’t concern herself too much about it.
「霊夢が言うんだからもうすぐこの店は騒がしくなってしまうんだろうな。今日は店をたたむとするか、恐らく商売になるまい」 “If you say that, then I suppose this shop will soon get really noisy. Maybe I should close up for today. I don’t think I’m going to be doing any business.”
「あら、いつも開店休業じゃないの」 “Really? I thought you never did any business.”
「お客じゃない人間はよく来るんだけどね」 “That’s because the people who visit the most are not customers.”
「この店には欲しい物が置いてないだけよ」 “No, it’s because there’s nothing in this store that anyone wants to buy!”
店の裏の白い桜。白は無色であると同時にあらゆる色の基底 (きてい) になる。虹の七色も根底にある色は白だ。その白い桜に、原初の色である紅を加えて紅白になると、後は様々な色を呼び込むだろう。花が自ら白くなっていったのも、満開と同時に紅色の霊夢が来るのも偶然ではない。すべてはこの妖怪じみた桜の仕業だったのだ。そして霊夢が来る事によって人が集まり始めるだろう。誰も気が付かないうちに桜の魔力で操られているのである。 The white cherry blossoms at the back of the shop. White is the lack of color, and at the same time, the basis for all colors. The seven colors of the rainbow are all based on the color white. If you combine it with red, the color of genesis, to form red and white, all kinds of different colors might be called forth. The fact that the flowers became white and blossomed fully at the same time that the red-and-white Reimu came is not a coincidence. This is all the doing of those ghastly cherry blossoms. And then when Reimu comes, people start to gather. And so, while no one notices, they are being manipulated by these blossoms.
桜の花は、人を (まど) わして自らの下に集める事だけを考えて咲いている。何十年も何百年もの間、集めることだけを考えていたら、例え植物とはいえ不思議な力を持つ様になるだろう。店の裏の桜は、自らを白くする事によって人目を惹き、霊夢の紅を呼ぶ事で、紅白どころか虹の七色を手に入れようと考えたのだ。 The cherry flowers bloom thinking only of luring people to come gather under them. If you think just of all the gathering, across dozens and hundreds of years, then it seems they have a mysterious magical power, despite only being plants. The cherry blossoms at the back of the store made themselves white to better attract people’s eyes. And so they called Reimu’s redness, and thought of obtaining all the seven colors of the rainbow through that red-and-whiteness.
この桜の策略に気が付いているのは恐らく僕だけである。こうやって人間を操るうちに段々と妖怪と化していくのだろう。人間に害をなすような魔力を持ってしまったら、人の手に負えない代物になる。店の裏の桜も、いつの間にかそんな智慧 (ちえ) を持つようになっていたということだ。 I am probably the only one who noticed their scheme. This way, by manipulating humans, they may be gradually turning into youkai. If they end up acquiring power enough to hurt humans, they will become more than what humans could handle. Just when had the trees at the back of my store become so devious?
……だがまぁ、それも良いだろう。桜を見て騒ぎたくなるのも、死にたくなるのも、集まりたくなるのも、至極自然な事なのだ。何しろ桜は、紅と白を (あわ) せ持つので色の誕生を意味し、色の誕生は正の誕生である。まさに季節の始まりなんだから、本当は桜が咲いたときを正月にするべきなのだ。流石にそれは無理かも知れないが、せめて僕だけでも正月気分で居るとしよう。桜の魔力に操られるのも悪くない。 ...Oh, well, whatever. Wanting to boisterously watch the cherry blossoms, wanting to die, wanting to gather… it’s all quite natural. At any rate, the sakura having both red and white means the birth of colors, and that’s a good kind of birth. It’s the birth of a new season, so the blooming of the cherry blossoms should really be the start of the New Year. Obviously this is impossible, but at least I am in a New Year's mood. Being manipulated by the cherry blossoms’s magic isn't so bad.
「どうしたの? 何かお目出度 (めでた) い顔をしてるわよ」 “What's the matter? Why that happy face?”
「そりゃ正月だから『目出度い』さ」 “Well, it's New Year, you know, so you've got to be happy.”
随分 (ずいぶん) と遅い正月ね」 “It’s kind of late for the New Year.”
「ちなみに紅白が目出度い理由を知っているかい?」 “By the way, do you know the reason why the red and white is for joyous occasions?”
「そんなの……巫女だからに決まってんじゃないの」 “Of course... it's since she is a shrine maiden, isn’t it?” [4]
窓の外に、桜の白の中に黒いのが混じって、こちらに近づいて来るのが見えた。 Outside the window, I could see some black mixed with the cherry blossoms’ white coming this way.
けれども僕には、何故かこの黒は縁起の悪い物には見えなかった。 But for some reason, I couldn’t see this black as a bad omen.


Notes[edit]

  • There are Three Fairies of Light in the cherry blossom on the first illustration. This is the effect of advertising the start of a new series "Eastern and Little Nature Deity" (the first of the trilogy) — the chapter zero of "Three Fairies" was published in CompAce vol.1 on March 26th, 2005, this chapter of "Curiosities of Lotus Asia" was in Magazine Elfics vol.4 on April 26th, and the chapter 1 of "Three Fairies" in Comptiq vol.2 on June 25th.
  • Marisa in Phantasmagoria of Flower View mentions the cherry blossom in this chapter.
^ This 幽雅 ("elegant" yuuga) is ZUN's original spelling. Normally it is spellt as 優雅 ("elegant" yuuga). Probably ZUN associated the elegance with ghost.
^ If you don't understand what Youmu says about, read the previous chapter.
^ According to the explanation made by Sanjin Akashi (明石散人), who is a favorite writer for ZUN, the pair of fortunate coloring Red and White is rooted from Emperor Oujin — there is a legend that when he was sucessfully born from Empress Jinguu, his mother and his predecessor, numerous clothes (, "hata") fell from the sky as if they celebrated the mother and baby. From then the colors are preferred for celebrating the happiness and fortune. Emperor Oujin is sometimes called "True Hachiman" from the event; 八幡 (lit. "Eight/Many Clothes" Hachiman).
^ This is a word play; Rinnosuke said "red and white" (紅白, kouhaku) for "the pair of two colors 'red and white'" literally, while Reimu meant if for "the person related to the pair of red and white in particular", i.e. "Reimu herself". There are several scenes that Reimu is called Red and White.


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