December 24, 2017

December 24, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — theresaurus @ 12:10 pm

Sam and Christmas cake:

Osamu Dazai’s “Merry Christmas”:

“‘Jinba-san!’ I called through the closed door. I was sure I heard a reply. Then a shadow moved across the glass.
‘Ha! She home!’ The girl stood bolt upright, all the color went out of her face, and she twisted her lips in a grotesque way. Then, suddenly, she burst into tears. Her mother had been killed during the air raids on Hiroshima, she told me. She also said that, in the delirium of her death throes, her mother had called out my name.

“Her mother had always loved broiled eel. We ducked under the curtains of an eel stall. We stood at the counter. There were other customers, a gentleman sitting on the far side of the stall, drinking.
‘Large servings? Or small ones?’
‘Small ones. Three of them.’
‘Yes, sir!’ the young stallkeeper said in a hearty growl. … As he vigorously fanned the coals in his clay stove I said, ‘Put them on three separate plates.’
‘Yes, sir! And the third person? Coming afterwards?’
‘There are three of us now,’ I said without smiling.
‘There’s this person, and me, and standing between us there’s a beautiful woman with a worried look on her face. Don’t you see her?’ I smiled a bit now.

“Three plates of eel were set out before us. We left the one in the middle alone, and began eating from the other two. Soon three brimming cups of sake arrived.

“As I silently drained four or five cups in a row, the gentleman on the other side began boisterously joking with the stallkeeper. … He just kept rattling off his utterly unfunny jokes and I found myself feeling more disgust than ever with the hopeless lack of any concept of what constitutes a sense of humor that you witness whenever Japanese are drinking. However raucously the gentleman and the stallkeeper laughed, I didn’t so much as crack a smile, but merely continued drinking and absently eying the year-end crowds that bustled past the stall. The gentleman turned to see what I was looking at. After watching the flow of people for a while, he suddenly shouted ‘Ha-ro-o! Me-ri-i ku-ri-su-ma-su!’ at an American soldier who was walking down the street. For some reason I burst out laughing this time.”

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