A-Yokai-A-Day: Hakoiri musume (page 5)

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Pages 4 and 5 are depicted below. The illustration shows Urashima Tarō and Orino flirting in an expensive, private, 2nd floor brothel room. Fishing gear, take-out noodles, a tobacco tray and sake decanter are scattered about the room. The brothel madame (an elderly catfish) is coming up the stairs with tea.

Urashima Tarō and Orino spent many hours together. They joked about whether they should commit lovers’ suicide or not, or whether he should cook her or boil her, and so on.

Urashima Tarō: “Do you really love me? You may be a fish, but don’t make a fool out of me.”

Orino: “If you doubt me that much, you can turn me into sashimi¹ and see my true heart. I prayed to Kinkō Sennin² that my love for you would be returned, and I even swore never to eat rakugan³ again. Even if my body were sliced into thin strips of sashimi and eaten with roasted sake, my heart is unchanging, like a fish boiled in miso soup. My heart is like water dammed up behind the Dragon Gate⁴; it wants to leap out like a dragon and fly to be by your side. As such, I feel like I could become a flying dragon. The love that comes from the underwater kingdom is as deep and profound as the bottom of the sea.”

  1. The text lays the puns on thick, playing with different types of carp-based dishes and the fact that koi (carp) and koi (romance) are homophones. Most of the jokes get lost in translation, sadly.
  2. Kinkō Sennin (Chinese: Qin Gao) was a wizard from ancient Chinese folklore who was able to ride on the back of a carp like it was a horse.
  3. Rakugan is a colorful sweet. In this case, she swore it off as a payment for the wish she made.
  4. An ancient Chinese myth says that a carp who is able to swim up a waterfall to the Dragon Gate at the top of the Yellow River would transform into a dragon.

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