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Links to Chapters

12 - 1
12 - 2
12 - 3
12 - 4

No cultural notes this chapter.

I'm starting on a translation glossary of names. I'll try not to miss any characters, but if any astute readers happen to notice that a character physically appears in a chapter and the chapter isn't tagged with their name let me know. I'm not counting non-Shiki unmoving or non-responsive corpses as "appearing," so for example the chapter where Ozaki examines Gotouda Fuki's body isn't tagged with her, but the portions where Kyouko is responsive (brain waves, blistering in the sunlight) are tagged for her. 

I'm also collecting mention-only characters and links to where they're mentioned.

Example: Gotouda Kyouko, daughter of Gotouda Kumi, never makes an appearance directly but is mentioned as existing in 3-2-4.
Example 2: an unnamed man from the Ebata family (none of whom ever appear directly) is mentioned in 1-1-4. Even if his first name isn't given, there is a family name to translate.

A lot of these one-time wonders are easy to miss. If you're rereading old chapters and come across someone you think I may have missed feel free to comment either in that chapter itself or on the family tree page or here with who the character is and where they're mentioned. A good sign I've missed them is that they're not listed on the Family Tree page; I've tried to scope ahead for characters not yet even mentioned (I don't think Hirosawa Takafumi's been mentioned yet but I know he works at the town hall at some point later), but I still find some and add them as I go. 
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Links to Chapters

11 - 1
11 - 2
11 - 3
11 - 4
11 - 5
11 - 6

Cultural Notes

11 - 3

 The Japanese Agricultural Cooperative (JA)
- The JA is, in short, a government agency that lobbies for Japanese farmers and promotes their interests in government affairs. Examples include imports and overseeing standards and regulations for almost all farming enterprises, including real estate, insurance, machinery, taxes, etc. 

 In the 1900s Japan underwent several major governmental and ideological shifts, with departments merging, being terminated or reformed. During World War II, the current JA was reformed from the ashes of previous institutions overseeing agricultural coops and Kous (Japanese RoSCAs) in order to regulate agriculture during food shortages. This was to prevent sales of food products on the black market during the period of shortage. After the war, JA policies were generally conservative and subsidies and taxes alike made it cheaper for many to grow their own food rather than purchase it. This lead to many continuing to be farmers even if only on weekends with another full time job. These small scale farmers would often sell their land and keep only a small farming lot for their individual household. Still farmers and involved in the JA, these families proceeds frequently remain in JA bank accounts, which are then reinvested and used by the JA.

During the timeframe of Shiki (1994), the JA is a part of the Japanese National Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, though as of 2002 it was reclassified as a Special Civilian Corporation.  During the time of Shiki, the JA had the authority to audit agricultural coops and to collect dues and fees from members of these coops. 

The JA bank functions much like any other bank system, with investments, savings and loans. As of 2012, the JA Bank was the second largest megabank in Japan, with ¥88 trillion.
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Links to Chapters


Culture Notes

9 - 6

Kanjo - charms or slips of paper written upon by a Buddhist monk and traditionally placed on the inside of the coffin lid. Sometimes in modern days they're rested on the body during the last viewing, as monks are not always the ones to prepare and place the body into the coffin any longer. Different sects have variations on how it's done, but the general elements on kanjo are the six kanji characters making up a familiar chant of "I believe in the Buddha" and the date of death, the age of when the person died, the dead's posthumous name, and often the mark of the monk who issued the kanjo. One reason for this charm is because it isn't considered good in Buddhism to worship a corpse, and yet when praying and focusing on the corpse during various funeral events it certainly seems worship is directed at it; the slip of paper marks not the corpse but the person who is going on to another realm of enlightenment, or alternately to make it clear that it's a prayer to a deity or Buddha instead. 
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Links to Chapters

Cultural Notes

8 - 4 

Onbe - A wand made up of a rod with two zig-zagged usually white paper streamers (called shide) used by Shinto priests or other religious professionals in blessings or purification rituals.  Example image from, appropriately enough, the Encyclopedia of Shinto
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 Links to Chapters


Cultural Notes

The ofuda note was put in the Notes for 3-4-4 as well, as ultimately the charms Ikumi sold were determined to need to be translated as ofuda rather than general charms, to differentiate and describe them as specific from the other supernatural objects described within the story in other chapters. Likewise, ofuda was put in the appropriate place in chapter 3-4-4 rather than just charm. 


Cultural Notes for 3-7-3: Sacred Objects )

Shouchuu (Type of liquor) )
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Links to Chapters


No cultural notes this chapter!

I've had some requests for a text file of the translations to date and while I can provide one up to chapter 4, to be frank I don't want to get a lot of hard files into circulation until I've had a good chance to edit and adjust any translations I'm not happy with. So I'll probably slap a file up next full chapter update since it's requested, but for now I want to work on getting through the book since I've kind of slacked. At this rate I'll still make the deadline I set for myself but it could go a lot faster.

I think I can focus better on editing once the whole meat of the work's done and I know everything I'll be coming up against. Also, talks of chapters that come on each new chapter give me a lot of insight into how things are seen, so I may want to go back and re-edit for the best translation possible, so the more time and more discussion the better--and the best way to pass that time is more chapters translated, since it also generates talk that makes me reconsider a translation choice.

Also, for those who missed it, there was a Christmas update with an Ozaki/Seishin doujinshi dated on 12/25/2014!
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Links to Chapters

Cultural Notes


Shinzan Shiki - The Mountain Passing Ceremony

Seishin could not yet fulfill all of the duties of the head monk. In practical matters, Seishin was the head monk but Seishin had yet no wife nor child. Far from it, they hadn't had the ceremony for his transfer to the position, so he had yet to truly inherit the temple.

The ceremony being referred to is one in which a new head monk takes over a temple. Shinzan means to pass over or cross a mountain and many temples have an honorary sangou prefix appended to their name (see notes from chapter 9-1 about posthumous names and Ingou). Much like an Ingou is the use of the character 'in' (院) for temple, certain temples themselves often have the name of the mountain it's nearest with the character 'san' (山) for mountain attached to their names. The Mountain Passing Ceremony is about the new head priest advancing onwards to the mountain. In many temples that don't have a mountainous prefix, the ceremony may just be called the nyuuin shiki or the entrance to the temple ceremony. 


Burying with blades

"But they're set with blades and juzu in hand. In both Nao-san and Shuuji-san's coffin, there were protective blades and juzu in with them. It's doubtful they have an effect."

In some Japanese funerals, the dead are set with juzu beads just as some Catholics may be buried holding rosaries. They may also be set with knives in order to ward off (or fight off) evil spirits. 


Kotatsu - A table with a heater beneath it and a futon or blanket over the top of it to keep the heat in. Often another table plank is placed over the blanket to serve as a hard table top for writing, eating, or whatever other typical uses one may have for a table. In the olden days it was often set over a charcoal pit though in the modern era an electric heater is generally attached to the table itself. It's cheaper than heating the entire home. A diagram of two types of kotatsu, new and old, from Wikimedia Commons. 

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 Links to Chapters
4 - 1
4 - 2
4 - 3
4 - 4
4 - 5
4 - 6

Cultural Notes


Ofuda - A piece of paper, cloth or plank of wood or metal with the name or symbol of a god and/or temple or shrine written on it. Said to be imbibed with a portion of a god or spirit (which can be divided indefinitely), they can be made with specialized blessings  in mind, such as for luck in studying, safety in traveling, fertility, healthy childbirth, etc. They're meant to be put in the family shrine or altar but can also be placed elsewhere; for example, it's common to have one in the kitchen to prevent house fires or also at doorways or on windows to keep evil from entering. It's customary to bring ofuda in to a temple to replace every year, to dispose of the old charm loaded with bad luck in a ritualistic and grateful manner rather than treating it like common trash. In a more cynical view, purchases of them are seen as a donation to the temple or shrine.

4 - 5
Chrysanthemums - Chrysanthemums are a popular flower in Japanese symbolism.  In particular, white ones are commonly used to decorate grave sites. They symbolize rejuvenation and happiness in the Japanese language of flowers. 

4 - 6
I translated Takatoshi as saying "No matter" in response to Tatsumi's saying "It's a shame, isn't it?" because the direct translation of his response (iie or "no") might carry some connotations it's not quite supposed to. Iie is used as no, but it's also used dismissively as if to say not to worry about it. To agree that it is a shame would be inviting further sympathy which wouldn't be inappropriate, but is not Takatoshi's intent for the scene. 

While I think that reading into it to say he doesn't necessarily think it's a good thing to rise is a valid reading, if it were translated as just "no" that reading would become very heavy handed and unavoidable one in English, where it is not necessarily so in Japanese. 
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Links to Chapters
Chapter 3 - 1
Chapter 3 - 2
Chapter 3 - 3
Chapter 3 - 4
Chapter 3 - 5
Chapter 3 - 6
Chapter 3 - 7

Cultural Notes:

3 - 2

Rokuyou - The Six Days of the Week

While Japan operates under the solar Gregorian Calendar, in the Meiji Restoration the Rokuyou or six day lunisolar calendar was popularized for astrological purposes. The six days go in the order given below, with the first of the Gregorian calendar month corresponding with the day in a cycle. For example, the first day of the first month of the year, January, will always be the first day in the list below (Senshou), the first day in the second month of February will always be the second (Tomobiki), the first day of the sixth month, June, will always be the sixth day (Shakkou). Then it starts over again with the first day of July always being the first (Senshou) again, with the first day of December again being the sixth (Shakkou). 

In 3-3-2, Matsuo Seiji states to Seishin that despite the next day being Tomobiki, they would like to hold Motohashi Tsuruko's funeral as quickly as possible regardless. According to the Rokuyou calendar, there are auspicious and inauspicious times to undertake certain tasks. This system isn't terribly prevalent in modern day Japan, but it does have some influence for more superstitious sorts. Most calendars will not denote these details, though which one each date falls on can be calculated without.  

Senshou - Preceding Victory - Good luck in the morning, bad luck in the afternoon l. A good day for beginnings, in the morning.

Tomobiki - Pulling Along a Friend - Lucky in the morning and night, unlucky from noon to dusk. According to some it means calamity and misfortune bring friends (more misery) and according to some, it's the second luckiest aside from Taian. Particularly bad for funerals, implying the friend will be pulled into death.

Senbu - Preceding Loss - Bad luck in the morning, good luck after noon. A day to avoid hasty judgments. 

Butsumetsu - Buddha Perishes - Overall bad luck, unpopular for weddings or business launches. Sometimes appropriate for funerals.

Taian - Great Ease - A lucky day, popular for many undertakings such as weddings and mergers. 

Shakkou - Red Opening - Unlucky except for between 11AM and 1PM. Considered worse luck than even Butsumetsu. The red indicates a need to be especially careful of fire or blood drawing injuries. 

3 - 5
Honzen - The Honzen is the central feature of a family altar, usually a statue of the Buddha but sometimes also a scroll or painting. Ozaki bringing it out of his family altar to Setsuko's bedside would be considered sacrilege to more traditional folk. 


3 - 6
"I'll be getting into the bath when I get back so leave the water in for me." - Japanese baths tend to leave water in them more like a simmering hot tub for relaxation than the western baths refilled and drained between each. The bath is kept warm and full until the entire household has finished bathing.  There's usually a small, quick showering area for rinsing off dirt and actually cleaning one's self before getting into the bath.

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Chapter Links

Chapter 2 - 1
Chapter 2 - 2
Chapter 2 - 3
Chapter 2 - 4
Chapter 2- 5
Chapter 2 - 6


Cultural Notes

2 - 6
Vampire vs. Vampir - The Japanese word for vampire, kyuuketsuki (吸血鬼), is literally written, in order: sucking, blood, and oni. Just as the modern view of a vampire has changed as the folklore has spread in English and other languages, the creatures referred to as this in Japanese are also different from the original Slavic folklore. The Japanese do also at times use the loan word vampire (バンパイア, vanpaia), though the use of that particular pronunciation has yet to come up.  Seishin has opted to differentiate between vampire (kyuuketsuki) and the Slavic original by using the Slavic word vanpiiru (ヴァンピール), written in translation as vampir in italics to denote it as an unusual foreign word. If the use of the term vampire as a loan word (vanpaia) should arise, it will be written as vampyre without italics given that particular word is a common use loan word. 

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Chapter Links

Chapter 1 - 1
Chapter 1 - 2
Chapter 1 - 3
Chapter 1 - 4

No cultural notes again.
Do you guys want medical notes, or is it explained clearly enough in the text?

Here's a list of what's up and coming besides more translations:

Name translation post
Character map update, with per-book statuses.
Proofreads. They're finished up through Book 1, Chapter 3 right now. 
Summaries will come after each proof reading.

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Chapter Links

Chapter 10 - 1
Chapter 10 - 2
Chapter 10 - 3
Chapter 10 - 4
Chapter 10 - 5
Chapter 10 - 6
Chapter 10 - 7

Cultural Notes

Chapter 10 - 7 
Onigiri - A popular Japanese food item made of white rice clumped into a ball or triangular shape around a fish or other savory or sweet fillings, wrapped with a strip of seaweed. Image from Wikimedia Commons. 
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Chapter Links

Chapter 9 - 1
Chapter 9 - 2
Chapter 9 - 3
Chapter 9 - 4
Chapter 9 - 5
Chapter 9 - 6
Chapter 9 - 7

Anything anyone's curious about, wants me to expand on, linguistic/translation questions, etc.?

We're probably going to have quite a few of these no-note chapters coming up as we've had enough funerals and death to have touched on most things by now.
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Chapter Links

Chapter 8 - 1
Chapter 8 - 2
Chapter 8 - 3
Chapter 8 - 4
Chapter 8 - 5

Culture Notes:

8 - 4 

Kagura - A Shinto festival of spiritual dance. The goddess Ame-no-Uzume danced around naked to make an uproar with the other gods to lure the sun goddess Ameterasu out of a cave she had cloistered herself into after a fight with her brother. Specific ritualized dances were performed by miko, or shrine priestesses, said to be descendants of Ame-no-Uzume. Many folk variations formed in different regions. In some, people believe or pretend they're possessed by the gods who come to join in the festivities and dancing. It frequently takes on many elements of street performances including story telling, costumes, acrobats, etc. 
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 Chapter Links

Chapter 7 - 1
Chapter 7 - 2
Chapter 7 - 3
Chapter 7 - 4
Chapter 7 - 5
Chapter 7 - 6

Culture/Translation notes:

Chapter 7 - 2

The temperature was still a far throw from being called cool but the skies seemed higher...

In the summer in Japan, there is the high atmospheric pressure from the Pacific Ocean and in fall there's the one from the continent. There's less moisture in the one from the continent than the one born of the ocean, so the sky's blue seems deeper and the sky seems clearer. When there isn't as much water vapor and the rising currents are weak, the summer's cumulonimbus clouds give way to more cirrus clouds, which are wispy, feather like, cirrocumulus which are grainy and made from ice crystals, and the thicker, chunky massed altocumulus clouds. These are clouds situated higher than the typical summer cumulonimbus clouds, further differentiating the seasonal look of the sky. 

Class duty - In Japan, chores for tending to the classroom maintenance and cleaning or helping the teacher with things like delivering attendance sheets or making print-outs are handled on a rotation basis, usually weekly. 
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Chapter Links

Chapter 6 - 1
Chapter 6 - 2
Chapter 6 - 3
Chapter 6 - 4
Chapter 6 - 5

Chapter 6 - 2

Sakaimatsu - The nickname for the Matsuo family who live in Monzen at the border of Kami-Sotoba. Sakai (境) means border, Matsu (松) is short for Matsuo (松尾), a last name common enough there are likely multiple families with the last name in any given area.

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Chapter Links

Chapter 5 - 1
Chapter 5 - 2
Chapter 5 - 3
Chapter 5 - 4
Chapter 5 - 5
Chapter 5 - 6

We have no cultural notes again this chapter, and discussions in the comment sections had turned towards inconsistent verb tense in the translations of Ono's other work, Ghost Hunt. In English narrative fiction, short of certain situations which we'll detail, this is seen as an unprofessional error. It's excusable and common enough in conversational English. In Japanese, it's the historical present that is not as common in conversation, usually replaced with the infinitive, but tense switching does occur very frequently in narrative text. For the very long run down on why I'm translating Shiki in standard consistent past tense narration, consider this monster of an essay. It has an excerpt from chapter 5 -6 keeping the original Japanese tenses.


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January 2016

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