Title: 神様!仏様!きつね様! 花川戸姥が池の怪; Kami-sama! Hotoke-sama! Kitsune-sama! (Hanakawa-do Uba ga Ike no Kai); God! Buddha! Fox Deity! (The Mystery of the Old Woman of Hanakawa-do Pond)
Publisher: Kadokawa Beans
- Chapter 1 ~Cherry Blossoms Bloom in the Glory of Light-filled Spring~
- Chapter 2 ~There is Light in the Quiet Waves of the Blue Sea~
- Chapter 3 ~No One Knows Me Better than the Flowers~
- Chapter 4 ~Coming Back to the Village Even After the Flowers Have Scattered~
- Chapter 5 ~The Red Glow of the Sun that Turns the Sky into Dusk~
- Chapter 6 ~The Love that Vanishes Along with the Smoke of the Bonfire~
- Chapter 7 ~I Humbly Speak to the Inari God~
- Chapter 8 ~Even in the Imperial Court, Sight Blurred by Tears, I Think of My Now Desolate and Grassy Abode~
- Chapter 9 ~Even Though the Fragrance of the Flower No Longer Remains~
- Chapter 10 ~A Spring Banquet on a Misty Moonlit Spring Night~
- Chapter 11 ~Hanakawa-do, Where the Haze of Full-bloomed Cherry Blossoms Blend with the Clouds~
I would like to thank Amayan and Doropyan for helping me translate these chapter titles! The author took pieces of phrases from the good ol’ Genji Monogatari, so in addition to the archaic + flowery language, they’re also taken out of context (and we all know Japanese language is all about context). Hence, as you can probably tell already, this wouldn’t be possible without their kindness! If you run into them, please give them a very warm hug
❤ ❤ ❤
The book begins with an old story, long before Asakusa is known by that name.
Once, on a muddy plot of land, there lived an unsightly old woman and her beautiful daughter. When an exhausted traveler saw the light of their house, the only one at Asajigahara, from afar, he was relieved. The beautiful daughter invited him into their house, and the old woman welcomed him. However, at night, as he was sound asleep, the old woman dropped a giant rock on him and sang:
Aah, how interesting, how interesting. Aah, I can’t stop. I can’t stop. Tonight, I will drop another and there will be a body under that rock.
She looted money and goods off of his bloody corpse before ditching it into the pond, while her daughter could only watch her mother, who turned into a witch, with sadness in her eyes. But the next day, she still invited another traveler into their house. That traveler was their 999th victim. It is said that even now, you could still hear the old woman singing her song in Asajigahara.
~Cherry Blossoms Bloom in the Glory of Light-filled Spring~
Yukino has been dreaming of her late mother lately. In her dream, she asks her loving mother as to why she has white cat-like ears and tail. Her mother looks sad and tells her they can’t be together anymore because Yukino “finds out that she’s an Inari God messenger.” She turns into a white fox and ascends to Heaven as little Yukino cries and begs her not to go. Yukino then wakes up to find out that she has been crying in her sleep.
Today is the first day of the new semester, so she jumps out of bed and takes her bike to school. She ends up being late, though, and her homeroom teacher, Toyokawa-sensei catches her. Toyokawa-sensei is young, gentle, and popular. She secretly looks up to him, just as most of the girls in her school, so she is embarrassed for being caught by him. However, he just asks for her student handbook and lets her go without any severe punishment.
When she gets home, Yukino’s dad, Sumida Yukio of Mimeguri Shrine, asks her to attend the celebration ceremony of the new Hanakawa-do town council building in his place. He has something to do next Saturday, and he needs her to go because Tatsu, his best friend since childhood, is the town council’s chief.
Yukino agrees to go, especially because she can visit the kind traditional sweets shop owner, Granny Kiyoko, who lives in Hanakawa-do. Although they’re not related by blood, Kiyoko treats her like her own granddaughter and often compliments her black hair, telling her that she reminds her of her daughter. Unfortunately, Yukio says that apparently Kiyoko’s condition is deteriorating, which makes Yukino very worried. She thinks of Kiyoko as a family, and ever since her mother died when she was little, she now only has her dad and older sister, Koyuki, who is five years older and about to get married.
Yukio also tells her that Asakusa Shrine’s “Hikaru Genji” will be leading the ceremony. She has heard of rumors of how attractive the young priest is, but she has never seen him in person before, and she wonders how he gets his nickname. Thinking that he may look like a prince, Yukino looks forward to meeting him.
~There is Light in the Quiet Waves of the Blue Sea~
The next day, Yukino crosses the Sumida River through the Kototo Bridge to Asakusa in Hanakawa-do. In April, Hanakawa-do is surrounded by rows of full bloom cherry blossoms trees, which attract tons of flower-viewing tourists.
At the ceremony, Tatsu loudly introduces her to everyone as the Mimeguri Shrine’s priest, which flusters Yukino because everyone’s attention is directed at her. Not for long, though, because the famous “Hikaru Genji” of Asakusa Shrine soon enters the building to start the ceremony. The council members’ wives make a fuss of him, and Yukino finally understands why. He looks perfect in every possible way. His graceful movements and mesmerizing indigo-colored eyes leaves her in awe. They are both priests and around the same age, but she feels very different compared to him.
After the ceremony ends, Tatsu thanks her for coming and introduces “Hikaru Genji” to Yukino. His real name is actually Fujiwara Hikaru. Hikaru looks surprised for a second when he sees her, but he smiles and properly introduces himself to her politely. Tastu is about to tell him that Yukino is also a priest, but somebody calls for him, leaving the two of them alone.
Hikaru then asks Yukino if they could talk. He takes her to the Hanakawa-do Park and suddenly takes her into his embrace under a cherry blossom tree. Yukino is confused and surprised, but before she can process everything, Hikaru’s entire demeanor changes. His flawless manners and polite words are gone. He grabs her arms and rudely accuses her of being a yokai, one that has been causing troubles in the area lately. He also calls her “average,” which is unusual given the fact that most of her kind takes beautiful forms to lead humans astray.
Yukino tries to shake free of his grasp and explains that she’s very much human, and a priest at that, but Hikaru doesn’t believe her and casts a spell that prevents her from making a sound. In addition to his attempt to exorcise her, she doesn’t understand what the hell is going on, scared, and is unable to talk. Her frustration turns into tears… and that’s when Tatsu returns and asks why she’s crying. Hikaru slips on his “Hikaru Genji” mask and politely explains that Yukino is just so moved of his priestly work.
Tatsu eats up his lie, thinking that it’s natural because she’s also a priest. Hearing that she’s truly a priest of the Mimeguri Shrine, Hikaru mumbles about a white fox and looks as if he finally understands something. The legend says that a spiritual white fox acts as the Mimeguri Shrine’s guardian. Tatsu wonders if Hikaru is referring to the legend, but Hikaru smiles and brushes it off.
Tatsu actually comes looking for Hikaru to discuss something. He asks if they have heard of the rumor spreading around the area. He then lowers his voice to tell them of the terrifying rumor. As if to get a taste of Hanakawa-do Park, a cold spring breeze blows as he does so.