October 2, 2011

Yoshiwara Hana Oboro [Chapter 2]

Originally posted @ tatsukida.pitas.com on September 30, 2011

Title: Groping in the Dark [<- Another idiom which also mean clueless. I guess the titles will be from idioms.] Clang. Clang. Hana hugs her pillow tight and thinks that it is too noisy. She remembers a man asking from what store she works as a yujo [woman of pleasure]. Hana exclaims what he is talking about. She remembers another man holding her and telling her that as a yujo, she shouldn’t be picky with her customers. Hana exclaims that isn’t right, she is just a female high schooler. Clang. Clang. “Stop while you are ahead..it’s noisy to death that I totally couldn’t get to sleep.” A man says, “Oh ya, at Yoshiwara, you cannot be like that.” Clang. Hana sits up and shouts so what Yoshiwara is, and don’t talk about such nonsense things. Holding a frying pan and ladle, an old man asks Hana if she’s asking what Yoshiwara is. Holding her pillow, Hana looks at him in surprise. The old man asks if she is finally awake. Hana asks her grandpa why he is there. Looking around, Hana finds herself in her own room. Her grandpa looks dark and says that she is asking why, but of course, it is to wake her up. “Or perhaps, you are not yet awake? *getting his frying pan and ladle ready* Want me to do it one more time?” Hana exclaims that she is awake. Remember seeing that Oirandouchuu [courtesan parade], and the leading courtesan telling her that she is blocking the road, Hana thinks, “So it turns out.. to be only a dream? *surprised* Is that so..it was like that.” Her grandpa laments that it is obviously Sunday, and yet, she is freeloading like that. “Don’t you have some kind of date?” Hana exclaims that he is too meddlesome. Proudly posing, her grandpa says that speaking of that, he has a date with Nichoume [二丁目]’s Mio-chan [美緒]. Hana gloomily thinks that he is like Master Roshi [DBZ]. Her grandpa tells her that is the situation so he’ll leave the store up to her. [The store’s name has the words 呉服. It isn’t complete but those words could mean, either as an old term for kimono or a term for dry goods.] Hana exclaims what she will do if a customer comes. Her grandpa tells her to just let the customer choose one. This makes Hana think that this isn’t reality. Preparing to go out of the room, her grandpa tells her to go down and eat together with him, since he is already hungry. Hana sits up and says, “Okay. Okay.” Then, she realizes that she cannot move. Her grandpa asks her what’s wrong, he’ll be going down first. Aghast, Hana tries to call out to her grandpa to wait. “Grandpa!!”

Then, she finds herself in a Japanese old style room. She seems puzzled. Then someone holds her nape and says, “What is it, Hana.. Could it be.. that you had a scary dream?” Hana is surprised to see Umenosuke lying below her and holding her to him. Hana ends up screaming which surprises Umenosuke. Backing away from him, Hana exclaims what’s going on. Umenosuke tells her that for her to scream like that, it’s not quite sexy. Holding her chin, he asks freaking out Hana if she doesn’t remember what happened. “Yesterday, after I bought all the girls in this store.. *Flashback = partying with the girls* You only drank one mouthful and you collapsed. *Flashback = Hana drank one small cup of sake. She got dizzy and fell over. ^^;* But, I brought you to this place’s..” Nervous Hana exclaims if he did anything to her. Umenosuke chuckles and says that fundamentally, he wants to.. “But, you were hugging on to me very tightly and just slept like that..” Aghast Hana thinks, “Tightly..” She remembers hugging her pillow tightly in her dream and felt that it is quite comfortable. Dejected, Hana realizes that it was just a dream, just when she thought she had already went back. Umenosuke asks what is it, could it be that because he didn’t do anything made her regret it that much. Moving her hands around, Hana looks at him and calls him an idiot, for that is impossible. Preparing to leave, she thinks that this kind of place isn’t extremely loathsome but she also cannot endure it. “If I don’t quickly find a way back..” She then bumps into a fully dressed courtesan. Hana recognizes her as the sick girl yesterday. Offering her hand, Hana apologizes and asks if she is alright. Akari says she is okay. At the door, Umenosuke asks isn’t she Akari, and is something up. Akari says that it is nothing, but because of the loud noise, she thought that something had happened. Natsuki arrives and calls out to ‘neesan/sister’ if she is there. While helping Akari up, Hana looks surprised that Natsuki looks angry at her. After suddenly slapping Hana, Natsuki exclaims for Hana not to get close to his sister Akari. Umenosuke looks surprised while Akari shouts at Natsuki. Holding her face, Hana is puzzled over it. While Akari tries to pacify her, Natsuki exclaims that Hana is wearing strange clothes, and even if she doesn’t know where she comes from, she is an ojousama who doesn’t know anything about the world. Then, some of the women are looking out of their room and wonder what’s going on. Later on, Akari formally bows down to Hana to apologize for Natsuki’s rude behavior. She introduces herself as Shiramatsu [白松] store’s Akari, and her shinzo [新造 = new prostitute that has not started working; attendant of an older prostitute], Natsuki Ganzan. [<-guesswork name from 菜津山].
Akari tells Hana that yesterday she helped her but that kind of thing happened so she is really sorry for that. Natsuki tells her that there is no need to apologize, and they should quickly leave the room. Umenosuke laughs at Hana for being fiercely hit. Hana angrily asks what’s funny when she totally doesn’t know why she is being hit. Natsuki got angry that Hana unexpectedly didn’t know. Natsuki grabs Hana’s collar and asks if there is something wrong with her head. “Because you acted rashly, do you know that oneesan almost died!? The one whom you flying kicked yesterday is this store’s owner. Our lives as yujo, are in the grasp of his hand. Perhaps, an ojousama like you do not know that in the punishment room, you will be flogged without leniency. And aside from that, let me tell you.. oneesan is quite sick and weak that she won’t last a whole night of torture. Then, you would suddenly say that you don’t know why!? Stop kidding around!!” Hana looks surprised then apologizes for she doesn’t know. When Natsuki is asking if she is apologizing, Hana says, “But, about the owner, punishment room-something, I totally do not understand that-- because those guys are truly detestful.. using force to make other people listen and do something. *Natsuki looks surprised* That kind of thing.. is absolutely not normal.” Natsuki is irked by that but she couldn’t reply back. She then says that it is nothing. Looking at Umenosuke who is smoking, she tells Hana that it thanks to Umenosuke-sama, so nothing happened. “So let me tell you, you better properly thank him. And you also immediately collapsed last night!!” Hana says, ya. Looking at Umenosuke, Hana mutters that last night and this morning.. Umenosuke smiles at her and tells her that it is alright, the store’s yujo-s have already thanked him. Thinking that he saved him again, aghast Hana says, is that so.. Umenosuke says that compared to that, the things that is going in the store is really amazing for fundamentally, wasn’t the landlord suppose to be the capital’s secluded businessman, and not to mention about the women, he heard that the level of the servants are quite high. Akari asks if he knows the past landlord. Umenosuke says no, he also has business at the capital so he heard that kind of rumors. Akari says is that so. She tells him that the past landlord was stricken with illness and had passed away. “Gonpachi [guesswork name from 權八], the current landlord, is fundamentally the assistant landlord’s manager.. Because of gambling the store’s money.. He expanded his interests and starts to manage the place more recklessly.” Umenosuke comments that the manager has become the landlord. Akari[/Umenosuke] says that it has come to past and the landlord’s own family has caught that kind of rumors. Umenosuke says, “So that -sama has also.. on the way to Edo, had fallen rock bottom and there were no news [about him].”
Then, they were interrupted by two men who apologize for disrupting them but about the payment for yesterday. Umenosuke says that if the money isn’t enough, he’ll go to the teahouse later on. [From what I’ve read in the internet, teahouses are usually fronts in transact business regarding the brothel.] The two men say okay. Standing up and going to them, Umenosuke smiles and says, “Speaking of that, tell the landlord, that for today, I will take everything for private use again.” While Hana is puzzled, the other two women are surprised by this. One of the two men freaks out and exclaims if he will take the ‘whole package’ again today. Umenosuke smiles and says ya, for staying there makes him feel free of worries. While one of the men quickly leaves while calling the landlord, Umenosuke says that he is going to take a bath. He tells the other man to accompany him to where the nearest public bath is. The other man says yes. Akari nervously calls Umenosuke’s name. He apologizes for talking about such gloomy things and booking the whole place today will be his atonement for it. “Also, Akari.. Even if you pretend that you are alright.. but your health haven’t recovered yet, right? *Akari and Natsuki look surprised* It would be better for you to properly rest in the room..” After he left, dumbfound Natsuki mutters that for atonement, he is going to book the whole place. “What kind of person is he..? Doing this for two straight days.. How much money does he plan to throw away..?” Hana asks what this so-called ‘booking the whole place’ is. “Is it very amazing..?” Aghast, Natsuki says that is why she said that..and in what place, is she an ojousama. Natsuki explains that ‘booking the whole place’ is just like yesterday, wherein he bought all of the yujo there. There is a scene of Umenosuke surrounded by women. “Because it is too expensive, so the ones who can do that, are only cabinet ministers, and a part of rich businessmen. *looks at Akari* Eh-- from what holy place did that person come from? Even if he said that he is doing business at the capital, but only known as ‘Umenosuke’, is that an alias..” Puzzled Hana repeats, alias.. Akari tells her that means, the name used while looking for happy time in Yoshiwara. Hana sweatdrops upon learning that ‘Umenosuke’ isn’t his real name. Natsuki says that speaking of the capital, she heard some unpleasant news regarding a guest who went to the former landlord’s hometown store in the capital. It seems that it is a landlord who is distressed because of money, and he had been demanding the former landlord’s hometown store to pay up some money. “And if he comes, the store’s yujo-s will come out to welcome him –something like that. I remember that he is called Takadou-sama [高道]”.
At the entrance, Gonpachi and his men nervously welcome Takadou, a young good-looking man with long light-colored hair. Gonpachi tells him that he came from afar so quickly go inside. While Gonpachi is telling his men to quickly call of the people in the store out, Takadou sternly tells him that isn’t necessary since he hates yujo-s. Gonpachi and his assistant freeze over that comment. The assistant nervously whispers to Gonpachi as to what’s up with that guy. Gonpachi tells him to calm down, that person is Takadou, and at that age, he is already the boss of the previous landlord’s store in the capital. He says that it will be alright if they propose an idea to the one in charge. “And lately, in Yoshiwara, there is that impressive Umenosuke. I don’t know from where that upstart [newly rich] came from, and he is regularly patronizing our store. If Takadou-sama can bring out some money, then this peaceful deteriorated store will also be happy..” Takadou interrupts by saying up to when does he plan to make him stand there. Gonpachi apologizes and tells him that they go to that side. Watching them from the balcony, Natsuki comments that is quite intimidating. Akari looks surprised and mutters, “Takadou-sama..?” Hana is puzzled by Akari’s reaction. Akari quickly turns to Hana and tells her to follow her. She says that while everyone’s attention is towards Takadou, she can go out of this place. Natsuki protests for her not to be like that because if this will be discovered... Akari says but, Hana wasn’t bought into Yoshiwara, and if it is so, she would have a tegata [promissory note; kanji is literally written as ‘hand shape/print]. Clueless Hana points to her hand and asks, “Tegata?” Irritated Natsuki exclaims that is the handwritten seal [thumb impression on the promissory note?] in order to pass through the gate. “Even this important thing, you do not know? Then, how did you get into Yoshiwara!?” [<- most courtesans are in debt which is how the landlords control them from leaving. So if Hana doesn’t have that note, she ought to be able to get out of the gate.] Hana mutters, how she came in.. She thinks that she doesn’t even know that herself, and it is likely caused by the pendant. Akari tells Hana that if there is a place where she can go, it would be better to leave. To Akari’s surprise and Natsuki’s irritation, Hana tells them to go with her for they also ought to not want to stay in that kind of place. Akari laughs and tells her that cannot be, for they don’t have any place to go back to. “Whether it is to live or to grow old in, it will be in Yoshiwara. Even if we leave this place, there is also no place to go to.”
Sitting by the street, Hana sighs and thinks that even if it is a good thing that Akari and others helped her escape, but would it be really alright. “Even if Miss Akari said, ‘Please do not worry’, but what if the landlord finds out about this? *shakes head* No, no, I shouldn’t think of that again. This way, I can also freely look for my mother’s memento. *notices someone* And the problem right now is-- In the end, it is still this outfit.” Hana quickly tries to run away from a man who exclaims that he found her, and because that kind an outfit stands out, it is easy to find her. Hana wonders if it would have been better if she took the landlord’s offer to buy her some clothes. Flashback: Hana looking surprised at Gonpachi who is holding an abacus. He told her that the outfit costs 30 ryo [old japan coin], and if she doesn’t have any money, he can quickly give it to her if she works in that place. End flashback. While the man is shouting for her to wait, Hana looks dark and tells herself that is not right, she cannot trust that landlord. “But, what to do, this is the same as yesterday--” The man manages to grab her wrist and exclaims that he caught her. “I won’t let you get away again.” Hana looks aghast for the man stinks of alcohol. Hana shouts for him to stop, and get away, far from her. The man says that even if she says that she hates him, but slowly, she would come to like him. Hana is angry in disbelief over that remark. Then, Umenosuke puts his arm around Hana and says, almost, let go of her. The man is shock as he mutters that a dripping wet ‘good guy’ has appeared. A note says that Umenosuke had just taken a bath. Umenosuke tells the man that compared to him, he [the man] should know about shame and just quickly scram. The man curses and runs off. Afterwards, while the two are holding some wooden buckets and walking together, Umenosuke asks Hana if Akari and others were the one who helped her to escape. Hana says yes, though she is a bit worried about them. Hana becomes aghast when Umenosuke tells her that if it was exposed, those two will be beaten. Seeing her expression, he tells her, “Of course, that will happen. By the way, you said that your mother’s memento was dropped here, are you sure that it is in this district?” Hana says that she doesn’t know for she had already looked for it many times already. Holding his nape, Umenosuke says that this is really.. Hana apologizes to him for he has always been helping her. “And just now, I want to thank you..” Umenosuke sighs and says that it is nothing, for any good person would do that. “And you were looking for it as if your life depended on it. It ought to be because she is a good mother.” Umenosuke is puzzled by Hana’s startled reaction. Hana sheepishly tells him that actually, she doesn’t know about her mother. “When I was still a baby, I was abandoned. The grandpa who found me was the one who brought me up. At that time, I’m holding a decorative flower hairpin.”
Umenosuke comments that she would still highly regard something, from her mother who had abandoned her. Hana explains that it is because she remembers a bit about her mother, though it is probably a dream. It is a crying woman looking down and repeatedly saying ‘I’m sorry’. Hana says that the woman was saying that while crying. “And that sound, no matter what, I couldn’t forget it. So, grandpa, he, made mother’s memento into a pendant so that anytime I can bring it with me. If my mother is still alive, I would tell her that I can understand [her]. My name is also because of the flower ornament, so I’m called ‘Hana’ [= flower in Japanese]. It’s actually quite random.. *embarrassed* And afterwards, grandpa did properly think about that name again.” Umenosuke laughs and says, indeed. He then says that it is already getting dark so what are her plans. Hana seems puzzled so he asked her if there is any place where she can go. “From Yoshiwara, if there is a place that you can go to, then, it is also possible.. but once you step out of the gate, won’t it be difficult for you to come back and look for the ornament?” Hana thinks that this isn’t reassuring but because of the high walls, she totally cannot get to see outside of Yoshiwara. She looks at the gate and wonders if she gets out of Yoshiwara, will she be able to go back home. Turning to leave, Umenosuke tells her to wait while he goes to handle some formalities. Hana looks out the gate then falls on her knees for outside Yoshiwara, there are no buildings or cars, only an Edo period town. Umenosuke calls out her name since she looks stunned. Hana asks what is she to do, in the end, this is reality. Back at the store, Gonpachi is shouting to departing Takadou to wait and reconsider for even if it is the former landlord opened the store, but right now, he is already dead so he [Gonpachi] doesn’t have an obligation to give him money. Takadou just says that he’ll be leaving for now. Then, Umenosuke, together with Hana, comes in the store. Umenosuke looks at Takadou and apologizes [for almost hitting him]. While Takadou glances at Umenosuke, Gonpachi welcomes Umenosuke back then asks why Hana came from outside, and didn’t he tell her that she cannot just go out on her own will. Umenosuke tells him that strolling around isn’t bad at all. As Umenosuke and Hana left, Takadou calls out to Gonpachi and says that he changed his mind, so would he let him discuss it again in detail. Walking at the hallway of the store, Hana sighs for in the end, she came back. She wonders where the bathroom..no latrine is. “Even if I no longer need to worry whether Miss Akari and Natsuki will be flogged or not, but afterwards, what am I to do.. What if I still cannot find the pendant..? If it is always like this, wherein I cannot go back--..” Then, she passes by a room to hear someone asking if he still didn’t hear him, does he want him to repeat it again. The other man says, no, no, but that is actually.. Hana peeks in the room to see Gonpachi and Takadou talking. Takadou says that there is only one condition from his side. “If you want money, then kill off that guy called Umenosuke.” Hana looks surprised by this.
I’m still unable to make out what the story will be about. It turns out that ‘buying the girls’ meant he is only going to pay for the night, not their freedom. ^^; It seems that Umenosuke is curious about that place’s history that it makes me wonder if he is a relative of the past owner or he is some sort of detective. It is really suspicious for him to ‘book the whole place’ again for another night just because he is a super nice guy. There should be some sort of motive for that. From Akari’s reaction, I think she knows Takadou personally but what is his connection with Umenosuke that he wants him dead. Probably from what Umenosuke is doing, he seems to be trouble for Takadou’s business. Well, it would be if Umenosuke is indeed the past owner’s relative. I’m quite surprised that Hana turns out to be abandoned. It makes me wonder of the possibility that her mother is actually from the past because that hairpin isn’t usually found in modern Japan and it is unlikely for someone to specially leave it to one’s baby. I mean, it could be some other thing. Maybe the pendant/hairpin reacts when the owner is in danger. Still, it isn’t explained yet if it is a one way trip or not, and does it vanish after being used once or a couple of times. I think this is a good chapter with a little bit about Hana, Umenosuke, and more info about the life in Yoshiwara. Since Hana overheard that conversation, I hope that it will be Hana’s turn soon to be the one who’ll help Umenosuke for he is always the one helping someone. Also, it is quite good that Hana didn’t fall for the trap of the owner to give her clothes in exchange of working there. Lastly, even if the author has been giving us nice scenes of Umenosuke ‘flirting’ with Hana, I think it would have been nice to see what it looked like for her to hug him tightly as if he is a pillow. =P Scans by 不良漢化.

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