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Wealth and comfort seem to suit our mermaid well. Here she is looking as cool and composed as ever. She has suiters lining up the door for her, but she is loyal to her husband. It’s a good thing she doesn’t mind being licked; or at least that the rewards outweigh the inconvenience.
Thanks to his mermaid wife, Heiji’s fortunes grew, and he became very wealthy. The young men from Heiji’s neighborhood all became jealous of his amazing wife. They flocked to his house and tried to lure her away with lewd remarks. However, the mermaid was a virtuous fish¹ and she coldly ignored their advances, flipping them off with her tail fin.
Young man: “Hey, you wanna go to Mushashiya² with me tomorrow? But you’ll have to be careful not to get caught looking like that.”
Mermaid: “Sorry, I don’t go out on devotional days³.”
- This a play on words, turning the Japanese term for a virtuous woman (teijo) into virtuous fish (teigyo).
- Musashiya was a restaurant famous for its carp dishes. It was in an area full of teahouses and hotels, so it was also a popular spot to meet for secret affairs. The mermaid has to be extra careful because she’s half carp, and might get cooked up by accident.
- The devotional days she refers to are fixed Buddhist memorial days, such as the anniversary of a family member’s death, in which you’re supposed to refrain from eating meat and spend the day in prayer. In a mermaid’s case, going to a carp restaurant would be like eating her own ancestors.