Archive for November, 2011


Akutagawa Ryunosuke – Tiger Stories (Tora no Hanashi)

November 27, 2011

One December night, a father held his five-year-old son together in their living room.

Son: Dad, tell me a story!
Dad: What kind of story?
Son: Any kind. I know, tell me a story about a tiger.
Dad: A tiger? I don’t know about that.
Son: Please? I want a tiger story.
Dad: A tiger story… Alright, I’ll give you one. A long time ago, a Korean soldier, a bugle boy, was dead-drunk and passed out snoring on a mountain road. Just then his face got wet, and wondering what it was, he opened his eyes. At some point a tiger had shown up and was wiping his face with his wet tail.
Son: Why?
Dad: Well, because the bugle boy was drunk, the tiger thought it would get rid of the stink of wine so he could eat him.
Son: And then?
Dad: And then, gathering up his courage, the soldier shoved his bugle into the tiger’s rear. The tiger was hurt and surprised and ran away down, down to the village.
Son: He didn’t die?
Dad: He did, when he reached the middle of the town, he fell over and died because of his wound. But the bugle, still stuck in his rear, kept right on trumpeting.
Son: (Laughing) What about the soldier?
Dad: The soldier was praised lavishly as a tiger-hunter and got a huge reward… Okay, the end.
Son: No! One more.
Dad: Okay, but not a tiger story.
Son: No, I want another.
Dad: There aren’t that many tiger stories. Um, let’s see here… Oh, okay, I know one. Once, there was a Korean hunter, and when he went up to the mountains to hunt, he spied a lone tiger walking along at the bottom of a ravine.
Son: A big tiger?
Dad: Yeah, a big one. Thinking it was good prey, he loaded a bullet into his rifle.
Son: He shot him?
Dad: Well, right when he was about to, the tiger suddenly shrunk back, and jumped at a big rock behind itself. But it couldn’t quite reach the top, unfortunately, and tumbled back down to the ground.
Son: What then?
Dad: The tiger went back to where it was and tried again to jump up on the rock.
Son: Did it do it this time?
Dad: No, it fell again. Feeling ashamed, its long tail drooping, it went off somewhere.
Son: So the tiger wasn’t shot?
Dad: Yep, he thought it was a little human of the tiger to act like that, so feeling sorry for it, he let it go.
Son: That story was boring. Tell me another tiger story.
Dad: Another? How about a cat story? One that wears boots.
Son: No, tell me another tiger story.
Dad: Oh well. Alright, there was once a big tiger. And it had three tiger cubs. Every day when the sun set, the tiger would play with its three cubs. Then at night, it would go into a cave with them and sleep. Hey, don’t go to sleep yet.
Son: (Sleepily) I’m not.
Dad: One autumn evening, the tiger was hit with a hunter’s arrow, and returned just barely escaping death. The three cubs, unaware, jumped on the tiger. Just as always, the tiger jumped and danced around and played with the cubs. And just as always, they went into their cave and went to sleep together. But when they looked at dawn, the tiger had crawled in between the three cubs and was dead. The cubs were all surprised, and… Hey, are you awake?
Son: (Fallen asleep. No answer.)
Father: Hey, is someone there? He’s asleep now.
A far-off response could be heard: “Yes, I’m here.”

(December, Taisho 14)


Akutagawa Ryunosuke – Frogs (Kaeru)

November 27, 2011

Found a few stories while researching Akutagawa that weren’t translated and were pretty neat. Here’s one.


Akutagawa Ryunosuke

Next to where I threw myself down for a nap, there was an old pond, in which there were many frogs.

Around the pond was covered in reeds and cattails. Beyond them was a line of white willow, branches rustled often by the wind. And beyond that was the silent summer sky, in which numerous thin, glass-like clouds were shining. All of them were reflected with a far-off beauty, moreso than in reality, in the water of the pond.

Inside the pond, frogs were ribbiting and croaking on and on without a single days’ rest. I listened for a bit, but all I could hear was ribbit, croak. However, they were actually having a fierce debate. It was not just in Aesop’s time that frogs could speak, you see.

A frog, on a leaf of a reed in the pond, spoke with the manner of a college professor.

“For what purpose does water exist? It is here for us frogs to swim. For what purpose do bugs exist? They exist for us frogs to eat.”

“Hurray, hurray”, the frogs in the pond shouted. The surface of the pond with the reflected sky and grass was brimming with frogs. Their voices of approval were, of course, no small thing. Right at that time, a snake, who was sleeping at the base of one of the white willows, was awakened by the annoying ribbiting and croaking. Then, it raised its head, turned its gaze towards the pond, and flitted its tongue sleepily.

“For what purpose does the earth exist? It is there to grow grass. So, for what purpose does the grass exist? It is there to give shade to us frogs. Thus, is not the entire world here for us frogs?”

“Hurray, hurray.”

The snake, hearing the shouts of approval a second time, snapped its body suddenly like a whip. And then, crawling its way through the reeds, its black eyes glistening, it spied carefully on the scene in the pond.

The frog on the reed leaf, just as before, lectured with his big mouth.

“For what purpose does the sky exist? It exists to hoist the sun. For what purpose does the sun exist? It exists to dry the backs of us frogs. Thus, is not the entire world here for us frogs? The water, the grass, the bugs, the earth, the sky and the sun, all already exist for us frogs. There is no longer room for any objection to the reality that all of creation itself exists for us frogs. As I explain this fact to you gentlefrogs, I wish to encourage you to give thanks from your heart to the god that created this universe for the sake of us. The holy lord God be praised.”

The frog turned his head upwards and one eye rolled around in its socket. He again opened his big mouth and said thus.

“Praise be to His name…”

Before his words could be finished, the snake’s head shot forth as if to hit him, and snatched up the chief frog in his mouth in an instant.

“Ribbit, oh no!”
“Croak, oh no!”
“Oh no, ribbit croak.”

As the frogs in the pond were crying out in surprise, the snake, still carrying the frog in his mouth, went off to hide in the reeds. The commotion that occured after had likely not been seen in this pond since the dawn of the world. I myself heard a young frog say this while crying:

“The water, the grass, the bugs and earth, the sky and sun, are all here for the sake of us frogs. So what of snakes? Are snakes here for us, too?”

“Indeed. Snakes exist for the sake of us frogs. If we are not eaten by snakes, then the number of frogs would undoubtedly increase. If that happens, the pond – our world will indeed shrink. So, snakes come to eat us frogs. We must think of the eaten ones as sacrifices offered for our many blessings. Yes! Snakes exist for us frogs as well. All things in this world without exception exist for us frogs. Praise be to the Lord God.”

This is the response I heard from the elderly-sounding frogs.

(September, Taisho 6)


Update??? Change of direction – Hundred Stories Dawon

November 20, 2011

Couple matters to discuss, like lack of updates.

First matter of business is I don’t believe anything has gotten anywhere on the manga front. I said I would resume Date over Christmas break, so there’s that.

Origins is getting an anime or something, but I don’t think any more chapters are ready to release. I’ll think more on that when I have time.

Second, finishing up degree, life, blah blah blah.

Third, mostly cuz I’m too lazy to make a new wordpress account, this is gonna change from a manga scanlation blog into my generic translation blog.

That’s right. I’m *that* self-righteous now. Quiver before my e-intellect.

Here’s a disclaimer for the stuff I’m putting up from now on.

First of the translations I’ve worked on lately is actually from an anonymous author publishing her(?) stories on the internet. Her pen name is Tokino Tabibito (and all that that implies).

What caught my interest is that her latest effort is to write a Hyakumonogatari – a traditional form of ghost story where, according to legend, once you finish the 100th ghost story, a real ghost will come out.

Hyakumonogatari is just ‘hundred stories’, and ‘dawon’ is simply how I romanize her title (the full title she gives is 百物語だぉん(´;ω;`)ガクブル!短編集MAX).

She isn’t done yet, but I finished translating the ones I found interesting from the first 25 ‘candles’ (chapters) and decided it’s a good enough chunk to put online.

I also started translating Legend of the Legendary Heroes light novel. I’ll probably be done with the first chapter tomorrow.

Hundred Stories Dawon