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Symposium of Post-mysticism: Bunbunmaru Newspaper 5

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Symposium Kogasa

第百二十一季 睦月の二

Season 121 (2006), 2nd of Mutsuki (January)

使い古した道具の未来は?

What Is the Future Of The Worn Out Tool?

妖怪ベビーシッターは見た

A youkai babysitter saw it

最近、雨も降っていないのに傘をさした妖怪が人間の里をさまよっているという。この正体は何とベビーシッターだ。

Recently, a youkai carrying an umbrella, even when it's not raining, has been seen wandering around the Human Village. Its identity is, interestingly enough, a babysitter.

頼まれてもないのに、東に泣いている子供が居れば、威かしてあやし、西に笑っている子供が居れば威かして泣かすという。それを仕掛けているのは多々良小傘さん(唐傘お化け)である。

On its own accord, if there are crying children in the east it startles and comforts them, if there are laughing children in the west it startles and makes them cry. The individual responsible for this is Kogasa Tatara (Karakasa obake).

何故この様な仕事を始めたのだろう。その事について彼女はこう語る。

Why did she take up this sort of job? She spoke on the matter.

「知らないの? 傘で空を飛ぶのはベビーシッターの仕事なんだってさ」

"What, you don't know? It's the job of a babysitter to fly through the sky using an umbrella."

唐傘お化けとは付喪神の一種で、長年使われた傘が放置された結果、妖怪化したものである。かなり古典的な妖怪であり、どちらかというと人間を困らせる妖怪なのだが、それがベビーシッターとどう結びつくのだろうか。

A karakasa obake is a type of Tsukumogami, an umbrella neglected for many years, finally turning into a youkai. A fairly classic youkai, how to put it, one that works to trouble humans. Though I do wonder how that's at all connected to babysitting?

「よく判らないけど外の世界では、ベビーシッターは傘で空を飛ぶらしいよ。それにならって私もこの商売を始めてみたの。子供なら威かすの簡単だしねー」

"I don't really understand completely, but in the human world babysitters fly through the sky using an umbrella[1]. When I learned of this I decided to take up that occupation. I mean, children are pretty easy to startle."

彼女の話を簡単には信用できなかったので、他の情報筋から話を聞いた。それによると、傘で空を飛ぶベビーシッターは実在するらしいが、魔法が使えるような一部のプロフェッショナルだけの話だそうである。私はてっきり『こうもり(子守り)傘』という言葉遊びだと勘違いしたが……。

I didn't have much faith in her story, so I decided to look for other sources. According to them, a babysitter that flies through the sky using an umbrella does exist, but they are a small minority of magic-using professionals. I totally mistook it for a play on words of "Koumori (komori) umbrella"[2]....

「傘として使って貰えないのなら、自分から役に立つ道具になりたいの。私は人を驚かすことぐらいしか出来ないけど……、人間が何を欲しているか予想して、道具の方から人間に合わしていきたいの。それが新しい付喪神の姿だと思っているわ」

"Nobody wants to use me as an umbrella, so I'd like to turn myself into a more useful tool. All I can do is scare people though... I try to imagine what humans desire, then try to match a tool that humans would utilize for the purpose. This is what I believe to be the new form of a Tsukumogami."

子供を威かして回る姿はベビーシッターと言うより、残念ながらただの変質者にしか見えなかった。現に人間の親の間では手配書まで作られているようである。付喪神の存在意義を見いだせるかどうか、その挑戦はまだ始まったばかりだ。

Someone that goes around startling children is not much of a babysitter and, I'm afraid to say, can only be seen as a simple weirdo. In fact, among the human parents wanted posters are currently being made. Whether or not she will discover the true meaning of existence for a Tsukumogami is a quest that has just begun.

(射命丸 文)

(Aya Shameimaru)

Notes

  • According to the date of the article, Kogasa was acting like this before the events of Mountain of Faith, so assumedly Kogasa gave up on this idea at some point between the writing of this article and the events of Undefined Fantastic Object.

References

1. ^  This is likely a reference to P. L. Travers' popular character Mary Poppins. She is a magical nanny who is well known for making entrances by flying in on an umbrella.
2. ^  This is making a reference to the similarity of 蝙蝠傘 (Koumorikasa or western umbrella) and 子守り傘(Komorikasa or babysitter umbrella).

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