Hey everyone, it’s been a little while as I ended up working on translating and editing the director’s cut and another unrelated movie and just generally got distracted, however, with library upgrade in progress and a bit more focus, I have another set of stories for you! On the second edition of Totally Lost Notes, we take a look at the nine stories that show up in episodes two to five. Hope you enjoy them!
First off is the stories that show up in episodes two and three.
Hachigorou was sleeping in his longhouse when, from the next room over, he heard the voice of Ogata Seijuurou chatting with a woman. Hachigorou made a small hole in the wall and peeked inside, doing so, he saw that Seijuurou was exchanging drinks with a woman. Hachigorou had figured, from what he’d seen of Seijuurou’s everyday life, that the man was not really big on women, so the next morning he went to go ask what was going on. When he did, Seijuurou said she was a spirit. He said on his way back from fishing at Mukojima, he found a weather-beaten skull and to help it pass on, he offered it some alcohol from his hand, in gratitude, the spirit had made him a visit.
Hearing this, Hachigorou borrowed a fishing rod and headed straight for Mukojima to cast his line. Under the belief that all the fishermen who were already there were fishing for bones, he called out「What bones do you think we’ll catch today? 」, the other fishermen had no idea how to react. Finally finding a place to fish, while dropping his line, he began to imagine what kind of female spirit might come to visit him and started to sing his own version of the classic「Saisai Time」 for the occasion, and continued to stir up the water without regard for any of the other fishers there. As he was reaching the end of his fishing episode, he hooked his own jaw, and upon doing so exclaimed 「Oh, looks like I’ve hooked something! 」, and pulled himself into the river.
「Praising a Child」
Hachigorou decided to visit a retired master’s residence to ask if they’d give him a cup of regular alcohol, straight out asking the retired master 「Give me some of that regular alcohol」. However, the retired master misheard this as 「Give me some of that Nada alcohol」. The retired master gave him advice that he needed to improve the way he asked, also teaching him how to flatter people he was asking. The retired master said that usually people would feel good after being told they looked younger, so after asking how old they were, he should say they look younger than they look and that they will feel flattered. The master also told him that if they had a baby with them, he should compliment its features and this will make the child’s parents feel flattered.
Hachigorou headed straight out and tried his new-found flattery skills on people walking down the street, as well as a clerk he was acquainted with, however, he didn’t have much luck. So, he headed to the house of his friend Take, who’d just had a child, hoping to praise his friend’s newborn and be treated to a drink.
However, though he’d planned to praise the newborn child, he mixed up the words the retired master had taught him and ended up making his friend angry instead. Using the ace up his sleeve, Hachigorou asked how old the child was, to which his friend replied 「This’d be his first year alive」, so Hachigorou responded 「His first year, I could have sworn he was younger」. His friend couldn’t help but ask how he could look younger than his first year, to which Hachigorou responded 「No matter how you look at it, his egg timer’d only be half done」.
「Time and Noodles」
One cold night, a man stopped by a noodle stand, and ordered some noodles. Chatting with the owner about life, the man complimented the owner to no end. The noodles, broth, bowl, fish cake, he would compliment each and every thing that caught his eye. When he’d finally finished his noodles, he counted out each coin one by one as he handed it over. When he’d counted eight coins, he asked the shopkeeper 「Would you happen to know what time it is?」, to which the shopkeeper replied「That’d be nine.」, the man then counted, ten, eleven, twelve …… Counting until he’d reached sixteen coins, and left in a flash. The man had managed to get away paying one less coin than he was supposed to.
The next day, a man who was sitting nearby who saw this trick decided to try it out, so he stopped by a different noodle stand. Just like the man from the night before, he tried to compliment every this and that, however it didn’t go so well. The noodles weren’t particularly evenly thick, the broth wasn’t very good, and the bowl was chipped. Once the man had finally finished eating, he knew it was time to put the trick to use and counted the coins as he handed them over. He counted six, seven, eight, and then asked 「Would you happen to know what time it is?」, to which the reply came 「That’d be four」, the man counted, five, six, seven …… When he finally left, he’d ended up paying more than he owed.
「Golden Rice Cakes」
There was a priest named Sainen who lived in a longhouse and found himself confined to bed due to illness. His neighbour, Kinbee, was taking care of him when Sainen said 「I’d like to eat some sweet bean rice cakes」, so Kinbee went out and bought enough to feed him for a fair while. However, Sainen said he didn’t want to be watched while he was eating, so forced Kinbee to leave. Kinbee thought Sainen was acting a little strangely, so he peeked through a hole in the wall to check on Sainen. When he did, he saw Sainen had divided a large pile of coins, two parts gold coins and one part silver coins, and had begun wrapping the coins in the rice cakes and scoffing them down one after another. After Sainen had finished all the rice cakes, a look of agony washed over his face. Seeing this, Kinbee panicked and rushed to his aid, however Sainen had already stopped breathing.
After giving him a funeral, thinking he might be able to get his hands on Sainen’s money, Kinbee carried his corpse to the crematorium. Kinbee forced the man at the crematorium to cremate the body, and succeeded in retrieving the coins from the corpse.
Eventually, with these funds in his hands, Kinbee was able to open a rice cake shop. The shop experienced a fantastic reception and its rice cakes, 「Golden Rice Cakes」were known far and wide across the city.
A vacant house had just recently had a「Yawn Training Place」sign erected and had been turned into a somewhat strange location of practice. A man who loved to learn all kinds of things convinced his friend and they both decided to check it out.
The teacher at the training place began to share their knowledge, they said there are many different kinds of yawns, and among the yawns of the four seasons, that for a first timer, summer’s would be most suitable. The man who was interested in studying under the teacher began his practice right away.
The first part of the training involved watching the teacher’s demonstration of the yawn. It was the kind of yawn that would naturally slip out on a summer afternoon sitting on a boat, puffing on a pipe while chatting to the boatman. The man who’d just joined had watched in admiration, but when he tried himself, he couldn’t get it right. When he was chatting with the boatman, his nature as a native of the city got the better of him and he got too into his story, and just when it was time for him to yawn, he let out a sneeze.
The man’s friend who’d been sitting beside him watching him practice was completely bored and having had enough, said「Try putting yourself in my shoes, it’s so boring, utterly boring…… You’re not even getting anywhere」, letting out a yawn. Seeing this, the teacher said, 「The friend you’ve brought along is better at this than you」.
Tora was resting in his longhouse, when his friend, Jou, came around. It hadn’t been all that long since they last saw each other, but Jou had picked up a kind of dramatic recitation and was running a performance house with a teacher of that craft. Jou showed that he was doing quite well for himself by treating Tora to some eel, but he then started talking about his get-rich-quick scheme. He said he’d found himself a young lover, and would like to break off things with his wife. Jou began talking about what his plan was. First, Tora would make a move on her, then, as the two were about to get closer, Jou would burst in holding a carving knife, and that after the divorce, he’d sell off his ex-wife’s land and share half with Tora.
Onboard with the plan, Tora went straight to visit Jou’s house to put the moves on his wife, however, his wife rejected all his advances. Seeing it wasn’t going to turn out, he told her all the details of the plan, upon hearing this Jou’s wife was fed up with her husband and expressed her disgust. She came up with a scheme, promising to take Tora as her husband and take everything Jou had and drive him out.
Eventually, Tora and his new wife were exchanging drinks with each other when Jou once again returned, saying he’d come to return the carving knife. Tora, mistaking Jou as having come for revenge, threatened 「If you think you can, just give it a try」, however Jou simply replied 「I’m going to the fish shop to return the carving knife and was just cutting through here」.
「Farce with the Frog」
There was a large theatre which had decided to put on a play. They planned to perform a 「Tenjiku Tokubee」 play, 「Place of Covert Arts Inheritance」, which has a scene where a burglar, Tokubee, is taught by the spirit of Akamatsu Mitsusuke how to turn into a giant frog, however, the actor who was supposed to play the giant frog had chucked a sickie. With no other choice, the clerk asks an apprenticed boy, Sadakichi, to play the role and promises to pay him an allowance in return, unfortunately, next to go wrong was that the stage manager (the person in charge of quieting down a rowdy audience), Hankou, hadn’t come either.
Sadakichi was sent off to try and get Hankou to return to the theatre, but what the owner had said had apparently got on his nerves and he had become adamant that he wouldn’t be coming to the shop again. So, the clerk told the boy that Hankou had a one-sided love with a girl known as li’l Mii, so he could say that she complimented him on being a stage manager and would come to watch, and saying that would trick him into coming. When Hankou heard those words, he was completely on board, and bought an extravagant loincloth from a pawnshop, and headed to a public bathhouse. Sadakichi hurried him from his bath, and in his hurry, Hankou had forgotten his loincloth and headed to the stage. Wanting to show off his fantastic loincloth, he lifted the lower part of his formalwear as he continued to play the role of the stage manager, as time went on, more and more of the audience noticed and began to cheer. When the scene where the giant frog to shows up finally came, Sadakichi wouldn’t take to the stage. The clerk raised his voice and said 「The large frog won’t come out. He thinks that large brown snake over there might go after him」.
The following stories first make their appearance in Episodes four and five.
Kuma was a boatman on the Sanya Canal who was so greedy he had become known by the name 「The Avaricious Kuma」. One blizzardy night, a vagabond warrior who was bringing a young lady in tow made his way to the boathouse, and requested a small sheltered boat which could take him all the way to Fukagawa. The owner of the boathouse was very reluctant, however, upon hearing 「I’ll even splurge some drinking money (a tip) 」Kuma volunteered to take a boat out.
In the middle of rowing the boat, Kuma shouted out to the warrior, rocked the boat and by whatever means he could think of, tried to demand the tip early from the warrior. Eventually, he thought the warrior was going to respond, but he came to explain that he had planned to kill the woman and steal the great sum of money she had in her possession. Kuma knew that if he declined, he would be killed to ensure his silence, so he reluctantly agreed to help the warrior out.
However, Kuma thought due to the warrior’s behaviour aboard the boat that he might not be able to swim. He tricked the warrior into hopping off the boat onto a sandbar, at which point Kuma began frantically rowing away with all his might, leaving the warrior stranded on the sandbar. Without pause, he returned the young lady to her home, the head of the house was terribly grateful, and gave him two money bags of fifty coins each, together giving him a parcel of one hundred coins. Kuma was so overjoyed that he squeezed his money bags tight, just as he did, he felt an excruciating pain and jumped awake. All that had just happened to him was but a dream, and it seemed Kuma had simply squeezed his own “money bags” tight.
「Shinagawa Lover’s Suicide」
A lady of the night in the Shinagawa red light district, Osome, was once her shop’s poster head (most popular escort). However, unable to struggle against the tides of time, she gradually had fewer and fewer customers. As she hit the worst of her decline, she hadn’t been able to gather enough money to take part in the change of clothes (the seasonal change of clothing). She thought that since it was so bad that she felt frustrated that the other ladies would look down on her, she’d be better off dying, however, she thought if she was going to die anyway, it would look a lot better if it was a lovers’ suicide, so Osome talked to one of her regular customers, Kinzou, and convinced him to join her in her plan.
When it came for the two to jump and carry out the lovers’ suicide, Kinzou became hesitant and said that he couldn’t swim, so, reluctantly, Osome pushed him from the jetty. As she was about to follow him, a clerk from her shop came running and stopped her, letting her know 「We were able to raise the money for your change of clothes」. So, with Osome alone not jumping into the sea, they returned to their establishment.
Shinagawa’s sea is a bay, so not remotely dead, Kinzou headed straight to his boss’ place. At his boss’ place, there was a gamble going on, so upon hearing Kinzou knocking on the door, everyone mistook it for a police raid and were sent into a great panic. That is, except for Denbee, who alone appeared to sit completely composed, however, when asked he said「I was so scared I couldn’t get up」.
[This is actually only the first half of this story, and almost all tellings of this story only cover this much, I don’t remember if the second season has anything on it, but if I get to the end of that material and they don’t, I’ll come back and share the Wikipedia run-through, which is usually a bit less refined, but keeps it a bit shorter than some other tellings. The punch line is great, so even if it doesn’t come up in the show, I want to share it at some point.]
I was hoping to get the first season’s material translated this break, but unfortunately I’ve got a lot of things to do before the semester starts, so might not end up with the chance. Though, if the first week ends up being a piece of cake, I might be able to get to the last thirteen then, if not, it’ll probably be in about four or five months time. As always, feel free to ask any questions, leave any comments, etc.
You can find the previous nine episodes’ stories here,
You can find the next thirteen episodes’ stories in the future.
Thank you so much for these posts about the rakugo stories!! Looking forward to the next one 🙂