sinnesspiel: (I don't even like this character.)
Sinnesspiel ([personal profile] sinnesspiel) wrote2015-05-13 04:08 pm

Shiki Novel Translations 3.10.5


On October 17th, the first call of the day that came to the temple office was, on that day too, as expected, a death notice. Seishin had a bad feeling when he picked up the phone. Tamo Sadaichi's grave voice conveyed that Tamo Hiroya had passed away.

"This morning, he was getting worse and worse. We called an ambulance when he went into convulsions but he didn't make it to the hospital."

Is that so, Seishin back channelled to him before giving words of condolence.

"Thank you very kindly. However, it isn't as if our home alone could avoid misfortunes. Rather, we've been extraordinarily fortunate not to have had a death come to our family until now. Well, it's impossible not to think it would have been better if it weren't a high schooler like Hiroya but someone older like myself or Baa-san, but."

That restrained voice dug into Seishin. Even with the deaths continuing in the village, that didn't lessen the pain of loss in one's own family. However, that death was spreading through the village like a disease was already that distinctly unmistakable. Even while knowing that, Seishin did nothing. He stayed holed up in the temple, idly wasting his time. 

Tamo Hiroya was in his second year of high school, in eleventh grade. Having come and gone at Tamo's house many times, of course he knew him. Sadaichi and his wife Kiyo had brought him along with them often to help out at the temple too. He was a lively and polite young boy. That boy Hiroya was dead, he thought painfully, thinking that such a tragedy should not have happened. But there was the possibility that Hiroya would rise. Knowing the kind of byo Hiroya was, he couldn't help but think that it would be unforgivable to thrust him back into the grave a second time. 

Seishin covered his face in both hands. As he did, the phone rang again. When he picked up the receiver, it was Toshio. Toshio indifferently conveyed Tokujirou's death.  He didn't have any particular words of blame nor sarcasm. That only made him feel even more guilty. While all of this was happening, moment by moment the damage was spreading. Are you seeing all this while keeping your silence, he had the feeling Toshio was asking. 

"The phone rang just now didn't it?" Mitsuo peeked into the temple office. Seishin nodded.

"Sadaichi-san's place's Hiroya-kun and the Yasumori's Tokujirou-san seem to have died."

Is that right, Mitsuo mumbled, resignation in his voice, then shaking his head. "Junior Monk, what are we going to do in this case?"

"In this case?"

"The Mourning Crew. Tokujirou-san was the care manager, wasn't he? Since it's that very Tokujirou who's dead, normally it would pass on to Sadaichi-san. However, Sadaichi-san is also..."

Aa, Saishin mumbled. Since the Sadaichi household also had a misfortune, Sadaichi could not be the care manager. 

"And Maruyasu are relatives, aren't they?"

At Mitsuo's bewildered question, Seishin gave an equally bewildered nod. Going by ranking, after Sadaichi would be the sawmill's Yasumori Kazuya but the Maruyasu Sawmill were relatives of Tokujirou. They'd be performing the funeral. Likewise, the Tamo relatives couldn't take their place. This was, as far as Seishin could remember, the first time something like this had happened.

"I will try consulting with father. I have to tell him about what happened to Tokujirou-san as it is."

"That's right," Mitsuo said, discouraged. "No doubt it will depress him. After all, that gentle head monk had completely changed personalities in demanding to go pay him a sick visit."

Seishin nodded and with a heavy feeling turned to part. Calling out to his father in his sickbed, he reported on Tokujirou's death. Shinmei who was laid atop the bed with an open book turned to look at Seishin, and then murmured "I see," lowly. He didn't seem to be particularly shocked, nor to be mourning. As expected, his father had gone to Tokujirou to say his goodbye during that sick visit, he realized.

"And also, Sadaichi-san's place's Hiroya-kun. In this case, who would become responsible, I wonder?"

Shinmei looked to be in thought for a time and then, shortly after, said to consult with Takemura Gohei. Seishin nodded, and then, mentally tilting his head at his father's seeming disinterest, went on to consult with him further about the details. As he departed the room, he met with Miwako, her expression unusual.

"Seishin, Tokujirou-san has---"

Yes, Seishin nodded. 

"What ever could this be? And Tamo-san's place's grandson too, they've said?"


"What will you do?"

Asked that by Miwako, Seishin blinked.

"What will I do?"

With a pale face, Miwako ushered Seishin into a nearby room. "Will you go to the service? You can't not go?"

Seishin was bewildered. "What are you asking? Of course I must--"

"Even so, with as busy as it may be here lately, I wonder if you couldn't have a nearby temple substitute for you? I mean, Tsurumi-san's condition is also poor after all. There are only you and Ikebe-kun, and for two separate houses, there's no way to do it is there?"

"Yes, that is why I will discuss it with them, as we have no choice but to ask one to move things back a day, that is also what Father has said."

"That would be rude to the deceased. Please have someone in from a neighboring temple. That would be more sensible for everyone."

Seishin tilted his head and looked at Miwako. Miwako looked away nervously. 

"It isn't as if I'm saying this because I don't want you to go. ......Of course I know that you must go. But." 

Seishin stared with penetrating coldness at Miwako as she cut herself off and turned away covering her face. "But......  It's finally come to the point where there is nobody left at the contractor's. Tamo-san's place has finally had a funeral. I know that Tokujirou-san and Sadaichi-san have taken care of us. I know that. But, if you don't get a little more rest,"


"There still has not been the ceremony to officially transfer you to the position as head of the temple," Miwako cried. "If you fall here, what will happen to the parishioners? If the worst happens, if the head of this temple and the head priest pass on, I'll..."

Seishin felt something unnecessarily bitter in his mouth. 

"......I'm being careful enough."

"But there are rumors of an epidemic too!"

"It is fine. I really am being careful enough. I know where I stand. I know where you stand as well. So please do not worry."

Comforting Miwako who collapsed into tears, Seishin went straight back to the temple office. That heavy bitterness lurked in his chest, and having no place of refuge from it was painful. 

He couldn't blame Miwako. Seishin had no siblings. Seishin couldn't imagine how much shame Miwako must have bore until he was born. Even now Shinmei had yet to be relieved of his obligation as the head priest, Seishin had no wife, and it must have been shameful not to have a successor yet. The head priest's wife was expected to support the temple from within the family. With Shinmei falling ill, with Seishin being as he was, it wasn't hard to imagine that Miwako harbored feelings of not carrying out that duty of hers well enough. 

Miwako bore the same burden of expectations as himself, and while the expectation itself was by no means pressuring him, he did have the desire to meet that expectation, and aware that he could not, those unspoken expectations could warp into an unspoken menace at any moment, Seishin knew that well. 

But---said a part of him that was disappointed in Miwako. When before a spectacle as terrible as this, was that all that she could talk of, was that all that she could think of, he couldn't help thinking. He understood that thinking such was unreasonable towards Miwako. But even while knowing that, there was a part of him he was aware of, wanting to say is that the kind of person you are.

He knew. Seishin was not Miwako. Miwako didn't know the real circumstances. She could only imagine, but she had no way to confirm or deny whatever she imagined. That was how isolated people were from each other. He understood Miwako's position but he thought, is this really the time for that? But it was arrogant to think that. It wasn't the time to think that. But he was at his wits end unable to avoid thinking it. In other words, Seishin had an understanding towards Miwako but that was indeed not enough.

(Even so......)

Seishin understood that he couldn't control it. Why could someone like him understand others?

Seishin himself didn't know why he chose death. That wasn't all, he couldn't understand why his stumbling blocks were not like anyone else's. He didn't know why it was that while he could not forgive actions they could not help taking, and yet he harbored deep affections for Miwako and Toshio.

(In terms of people, the one who I'm most lost about may be myself.)

And then his cognizances of other people, their reflection would warp in his heart. Something lurked and warped his heart, something he couldn't control, something whose true form he should not have been able to grasp. So of course neither Toshio nor Miwako could understand it. That isolated feeling of not being understood had him angered at even himself, he thought. 

(I'm sure probably.... that he's the same.)

He still didn't

know why he killed his little brother. That wasn't all he didn't understand. Why was his little brother following him, the reason to that he also didn't know. 

The reason he couldn't understand that was, ultimately, because he hadn't understood his brother while he had been alive, there was no doubt. In truth, he couldn't remember his little brother very clearly as anything but a Shiki.

(My reality is nothing more than overlapping, crammed cognizances reflected in a warped mirror......)

When Seishin thought of "Miwako," the unconscious expectation of "wanting him to be like this" was cast over the reflection of "Miwako." When Seishin imagined Miwako, 

When he turned back to look at his little brother,

the Miwako he called to mind was only the illusion to which he put the name "Miwako" and nothing more, wasn't it?

he first tried to remember the form he had hidden beneath hemp robes. Beneath them should have been his corpse desecrated by mercilessly, violently inflected wounds but strangely he couldn't remember what his unchanged form should have looked like.

It was possible that Seishin had never so much as once seen Miwako herself. 

Or perhaps. he turned his eyes away from his little brother's husk, he had never once looked at him straight on.

His little brother who had become a Shiki had no wounds. He was just blue and faded, he was more like a ghost than a dead body that had risen up but he was clearly corporeal material, he didn't look like the phantoms of the evil spirits that dwelt in the wilderness. 

It was just that he remembered his own actions. In the clarity of twilight,  he attacked his little brother in the fields. He had a hoe in hand. Driven by an impulse with no reason he attacked, and afterwards he was terrified at his action, and he added to the destruction as if to completely exterminate his brother and with that to bury his own act. 

That might have been exactly what it was he thought. To tell the truth, he didn't have any memory of the exact moment. As if swept up in a fever, his awareness was narrowed, splendidly colored over with a destructive hue, and then all he remembered was the sad and gloomy feedback-sensation that came countless times. 

Even his little brother's blood smeared corpse left only a vague impression on his memories. Rust red specks of blood spread out over the surrounding grass. That alone he could remember with strange clarity. He remembered the feel and the weight of his little brother's remains as he dragged them into the bushes, that leaving the bushes behind him seemed to lack a certain sense of reality, all of it was so vague and unclear that if he tried to remember his little brother and the highs and lows beneath the hemp cloth, what came to mind was a statue vision of him as he turned in surprise to face his brother when realizing he'd been struck with a weapon.

Many times did he try to draw out that statue and see the details, to look into his turning little brother's face, to see malice towards himself, to see a grudge that would drive him to revenge, or possibly even lamenting his own fate, he looked for that as well as he surveyed him but he couldn't see any of those things. Just like the Shiki, his eyes were unfeeling, colorless empty hollows, just eyes opened in shock, thinking of nothing but turning to face him. And at the same time strangely in that moment he remembered his own face warped by overwhelming, murderous intent and madness as if he remembered himself reflected in those eyes more clearly than his little brother's face.


He asked the man with furrowed brows but of course the man could not think of anything. It seemed as if that mouth were open to scream something, but the voice that screamed was not within his memory. In truth, he didn't remember if he himself had screamed.  He just had his mouth open as if screaming, and instead of screaming he may have swung his weapon. 

(Reality is not a single definite thing for anybody......)

People were somber beings.

They were in the darkness of unilluminating ignorance from which they could not escape. 


(Anonymous) 2015-05-14 10:11 am (UTC)(link)
Well, Seishin, even if you happen to hate what some people do, you are still allowed to love them. It's perfectly human. I understand his black and white views on 'if you love someone then you have to be on their side no matter what and yield to them, and if you hate their actions then you're also supposed to hate them as they are and remove yourself from that relationship at once' though.

One can also dislike others and still agree with what they do, if they think what they do is right.

Also, it's possible that we can just swap
I've also noticed that the isolation theme parallels that of Yamairi as what Natsuno had analyzed beforehand. It's not only that Seishin is isolated, but he also actually isolates himself. He knows that there's no way people can understand him, and he (rather naturally) resents people for it, but he cannot just blame people for it, actually. I'd say that part of the blame also lies in him, because he doesn't make a bigger attempt to reach out to people. To show them what he wants. The saddest part is that he is actually aware of this, I think. He resents himself for not being able to communicate with people and give them chance to understand himself, but he also resents people for not magically understanding him. I'm probably also being harsh here because I understand that he thinks there's no way ever, but the thing is, I think he doesn't give people chance and only judges them based on what he only partially knows about them.

That also brings about another problem -- not only does Seishin isolate himself, he also isolates other people. What he knows about people is probably only their (supposedly kinda negative) view/expectation of him and probably not really what they are like and how they are able to come to that conclusion. It's not that he doesn't want to understand people, but his sense of self/self preservation meddles with that, I think. Everyone has their subjective sense on how people are supposed to be like that meets their satisfaction. That's why reality is not singular. And... yes, one cannot hope to satisfy everyone. Such thing is impossible. To be completely objective and neglecting self is impossible.

And it's possible that we could swap Miwako with Toshio here and it'd still read correctly.

Re: 8D

(Anonymous) 2015-05-17 12:53 am (UTC)(link)
8D -- I now wonder if we'll have Seishin directly ruminating on his understanding of Toshio in the novel. The same goes to Toshio about Seishin -- what he gets so far is glimpses, and he's indeed curious to some extent about his friend but has never seemed to put much thought into it. Well, he's not very introspective by nature and acting on things holds more importance than ruminating on them for him so that's probably why, but it'd be nice if we could have Toshio wondering about Seishin too.

...That said, I'm also wondering if the sentence "He harbored deep affections for Miwako and Toshio" could mean that he really doesn't see Toshio as beyond that of a family (that it's similar kind of affection to what he has for Miwako). He places Miwako and Toshio in the same sentence after all.

[personal profile] mgnsh83 2015-05-14 02:20 pm (UTC)(link)
Can't say much here except that this piece of writing/thought coincides a lot with another bout of clear insight into Seishin that the animanga could have done with. They say authors draw a lot of their writing from what/who they know (and to a point, by my experience, there's some, although not a whole, truth to this), and Miwako being juxtaposed to his mental image of the little brother makes sense, in a way. I can also echo what 8D said in his not really giving people a chance; I imagine he feels rejected by them already even if they've never said anything to him, so in his mind, it becomes a case of 'why bother, if they're likely to prejudge me anyway?'


(Anonymous) 2015-05-16 12:16 am (UTC)(link)
That, and I think it's also because he's honestly afraid that people will not accept/hate him if they come to know his real self.

I remember a certain scene where Seishin is reminiscing about the time when a family in Sotoba first converted into another religion. Shinmei was judging them hard, and Seishin was hurt but otherwise stayed silent -- I think it's not merely that he felt sympathy toward them, but because (I think more especially) it's because he felt like he could relate to them. He felt hurt, he was mad, but he stayed silent because if he dared voicing his opinion he could be found out, and it was clear that his father wouldn't take it too well. He would be rejected. And to be rejected by people who are close especially hurts.

Re: 8D

[personal profile] mgnsh83 2015-05-16 02:27 am (UTC)(link)
I hadn't thought about that angle, but it is an interesting one that I could easily see happening with him. It's interesting to consider that Toshio likely had a glimmering idea of what/who Seishin's true self was by the end of things, and yet, didn't hate him. Maybe part of him kind of knew all along that Seishin wasn't who he sometimes pretended to be.

Re: 8D

(Anonymous) 2015-05-16 11:14 am (UTC)(link)
8D -- I still think Shinmei did judge the Ohtsukas, at least if he isn't now he was in the past. Chapter 2.4.4 mentions Seishin feeling dispirited at his father, and if Shinmei wasn't the least bit judgmental it then makes no sense to me. I think the sentence "he didn't particularly find fault with them" refers to Seishin and not Shinmei. (Though the last sentence of that paragraph is confusing to me) Besides, a few paragraphs above mentioning about Takayuki's father, Kichigorou who entered the new religion because he followed his wife in doing that, and then Shinmei attempted many times to pursue them (which I take as 'preventing them from doing it') which resulted in Kichigorou not getting along well with the temple people.

@mgnsh83 I think if there's anyone from Sotoba who's most likely to accept/not hating Seishin even after learning about his real self, it'll be Toshio. He doesn't even come to hate Seishin even when the man switches side, so I think he'll take the other things well. I guess it makes me a bit sad because if Seishin ever, ever decided to share more about his real self he could actually do it with Toshio, but he didn't -- though I think it's also because Toshio is especially close to him that he's even more cautious about this. He'd probably think that their relationship could be ruined. Toshio doesn't mind who Seishin is, only that when he thinks what Seishin does could potentially harm others that he confronts him (which is the same when it comes to Seishin confronting Toshio).

Re: 8D

(Anonymous) 2015-05-17 03:04 am (UTC)(link)
8D -- I actually take Shinmei's bitterness as mainly caused by being confined to bed, in pain and losing freedom, having to rely to people around him. I don't think he's initially much burdened the way Seishin is, though not that he's much overjoyed by it either -- he's just like a son who inherited family business without much opinion about it, doing things just for the fact that that's how things are done for generations. After he became ill and paralyzed though, he came to realize the side of parishioners he didn't particularly like -- that is,the side that doesn't care much about how his real condition actually is and cares more about him as a central figure in Sotoba. To quote Seishin: "Is that all you think about?" This is probably because after he fell ill and confined to bed, he no longer actually feels like the Shinmei he used to be; the healthy, capable Shinmei, the Shinmei who was loved by the villagers and who he was comfortable being. The illness changed him, and he's bitter that people still expect him to be the Shinmei he'll never be able to be. The real, changing Shinmei is overlooked and people only see him for the shadow he used to be. That probably also serves as a reminder that he'll never be free and returns to his old, much better self.

As to why Seishin concludes that Shinmei might also be burdened the way he is, that's probably because it's the mindset he understands the most, so it'll logically come first into his mind.

That's in my opinion though, and I don't particularly pay attention to Shinmei so I perhaps missed something.

Re: 8D

[personal profile] mgnsh83 2015-05-17 12:25 am (UTC)(link)
Yes, I could certainly see Seishin holding back quite a bit after his self-revelation when it comes to speaking to Toshio about it, if he ever chose to. Toshio always struck me as someone who didn't care what others did, especially since he's no role model in some ways himself, as long as no one came to harm because of another's actions. Yet, he does what he does to his wife, which could classify as harm. I'm supposing he had to measure some morals there and decided dirtying his hands was worth it for the greater good; it's potentially needless harm he'd have more of an issue with in that potential scenario.