Totemo hontou ni owattano! (Clannad:Another Story translation)
In a child’s journal, this entry would begin along the lines of “I was meaning to write in here more often, but I’ve been so busy.” It amuses me how so many enterprises begin only to lose that initial inspiring luster when the first unexpected difficulty is chanced upon. Much like this work that is to be the primary subject of this post.
For some background, the following short story is from a collection of works published by Key in the book, “Clannad:Another Story.” My roommate bought the book at a convention about a year ago, and around then I slowly started translating the pieces within. This was my first real stab at translating things, and it’s been a project that was put off and on amidst many other personal endeavors, including other translations. The translation was done a long time ago, but editing (a lot of which had to be done) was a completely different story. It’s a sweet story, but I’d rather have the words speak for themselves, so without further ado…
Second Story: One Piece
Mid-June, a rainy Sunday.
It was still raining when we left the bookstore an hour later.
Kotomi and I are walking together along the wet path.
I am carrying her bag, full of books just bought.
“Surely, from today we enter the rainy season,” Kotomi happily says.
“As for the rainy season coming to be called ‘tsuyu’, that it comes from raindrop dew, ‘tsuyu’, is one explanation, and that it comes from the season when plums are broken into pieces, ‘konashite tsubureru’ is another explanation out there.”
Acknowledging her proud explanation, I match paces with Kotomi.
“Satsuki ame, kirisame, konuka ame, hisame, shigure, hakuu, shuuu, raiu, kiuu, shinotsuku ame, tenki ame…..” (1)
Lining up words like her favorite toys, Kotomi looks up into the raindrops.
“There is very a lot of rain.” (2)
Her childish hair ornaments shaking, it is a good feeling—in the same way as always, the two of us as usual.
I was still a little shy.
Kotomi was gazing into the show window when she suddenly raised her voice. On the store with closed shutters, an announcement says, “For all this time, thank you for your patronage.”
“The owner of this western clothes store gave up.”
I think the white, childish one piece dress in the show window was put up for display.
“Even this shopping district can’t stay the same forever.”
Kotomi nods softly to my passing words. It is a matured expression that sometimes rises from within her childlike purity.
I was recollecting. The holidays of May, our first date. Kotomi was wearing a black one-piece dress. At first, I didn’t think anything of it, only that it was most likely just an unexpected mature taste. Now that I think about it, that was…
Kotomi was peering into me with the face of a natural historian that has found a rare species.
“Tomoya-kun, thinking about something?”
“Well, something like that.”
“What were you thinking about?”
“I was just thinking, on holidays you always come wearing those clothes.”
“By ‘those clothes’…that black one-piece dress?”
When I nod my head, she turns her childlike eyes toward me.
“Tomoya-kun, do you not like black clothes?”
“No, that’s not what I meant…”
Lately, Kotomi has come to be able to express her feelings honestly; So I think, “That is why I want to walk with more and more forms of Kotomi.” For example, if she wore pure white clothing, I wonder what kind of feeling it would have.
“I understood the reason.”
When I turn around, the Fujibayashi sisters are there.
“Stop entering the conversation as if you’ve been there from the beginning all the time, Kyou.”
“We’ve been with you since the bookstore. It’s your fault that you didn’t notice.”
Giving a plausible reply, Kyou brushes up her hair.
Just now realizing the presence of her two close friends, Kotomi begins her usual greeting.
“Yeah, yeah. It’s hot until it rains, isn’t it~”
The one who speaks this way is the reckless and meddling older sister.
Although her older sister Kyou is her twin, Ryou is reserved and kind. Softly turning towards me, she communicates with her eyes, “Excuse us, as always.”
“So, how much do you have?”
Completely leaving her prior worries behind, Kyou approaches us like a trafficker of something illicit.
“What is it all of a sudden?”
“The clothes they used to sell here, it’s a present isn’t it, for Kotomi.”
“Why has it turned into that kind of conversation?”
“It’s fine, so show me. Come on!”
After being let go for this purpose, feeling forcibly seized, I reluctantly open my wallet and confirm its contents.
“…Hey you, do you have no life experience?”
I receive a sharp and unreasonable criticism.
“With that much money, you can’t REALLY say something like “you want to buy your girlfriend clothes, as a present”, can you… “
I don’t say a word.
“…Back off. Anyways, I would think that the reason I have no money is equally your fault, from that thing before.”
“As for that thing, for a while, just leave it to me…”
Coming close to me and lowering her voice, she smiled as if she meant it.
“In short, you were thinking , “If there isn’t much cloth, you can get by cheaply.”
“Look Kotomi, you can choose anything you like under 1650 yen ♪.”
Kyou chimes loudly.
The corner of the largest western accessory store in the shopping district.
“Hey Kyou, this is…”
Certainly, there, it is flooded with merchandise. If you choose a stylish boutique, the prices would be by far the most reasonable, and there’s bound to be variety as well.
It was crowded with female shoppers. More accurately, I was the only male customer there. On the wall, “Big early summer sale in the women’s underwear section” was written.
“Go on, go on. Choose with her.”
“Like I could!!!”
“There you go again, getting shy~”
I was completely in Kyou’s territory.
Seeing her older sister’s crimes Fujibayashi whispers into my ear. (3)
“Originally, onee-chan and I were going to go shopping today…”
“I was thinking that it was probably something like that.”
I sigh deeply.
And Kotomi, by the way…
Like a scouting robot that has landed on an uncharted planet, Kotomi is scanning the area.
By some unknown force, she is drawn to the wagon displaying an array of clearly unsold items.
She timidly picks up a questionable item with “Ultra T-back” written on the tag.
She unfolds it in front of her eyes.
“…Just a string?”
“No, even if you ask me with such a puzzled face…”
At a loss, I whisper to Fujibayashi.
“I’m sorry, but can you help her choose for me? Leaving it to her is asking for trouble”
Quickly bowing her head, she heads over to the sales floor.
Sitting down in a chair by the wall, I decide to wait. The stares of the other customers hurt; I can’t raise my eyes. From the opposite side of the underwear forest, the sound of lively voices sometimes reaches me.
“If we want a set, the budget is a little tight, isn’t it. But buying just a bra is THAT…”
“…Something like this is cute, this black cat back-print”
“…The back is very black cat”
“Ah, this is cheap. This set with a push-up and shorts…but I guess the size is bad. It doesn’t suit your look does it.”
“Umm…It doesn’t suit me.”
“This one with the frills, I think it’s very cute…is that why, maybe it’s the polka dots here.”
“It is very frill and polka dot.”
“As for this girl who is trying to trick us with opinions that barely pass, it’s because we made her wear that string like thing from before isn’t it.”
“…Bully, very bully.”
Kotomi, quickly and extremely pushed to her limits by this sudden underwear searching quest. Really, it’s always this way.
Feeling heroically out of place, I continue to listen closely for something or another.
“…Kotomi-chan, where do you usually buy from?”
“There’s an underwear vendor in the neighborhood that I usually go to. The lady there always chooses for me…”
“You mean, you randomly go to the lingerie shop, and even leave it to the shop attendant for fitting!?”
“So that’s why you’ve been wearing one that mature.”
“Umm, well…is Kotomi-chan mature?”
“That’s well, eroero~”
Getting up from my chair, I uselessly fidget. Maybe the three of them went to the fitting room, around then I no longer heard their voices. If so, that would be unnecessary; I strain my ears to listen.
“Hey, you’re not a kid so hurry up and undress.”
“But, but, it’s very embarrassing.”
“Onee-chan, onee-chan, your voice will carry outside.”
“It’s fine so hurry up and come in Ryou, help me make her undress.”
“But, 3 people entering a fitting room is a little…”
“It’s better if both of us check, isn’t it? Hurry.”
“Geez…I knew it would end up like this.”
“Look Kotomi, don’t fidget, since I’m undoing the hook right now, ok~”
“…When I see them in person, they really are amazing.”
“It’s embarrassing, it’s embarrassing.”
“Don’t cover them up with your arms. It’s not good if you don’t check the size properly.”
“The one onee-chan brought seems a little too small.”
“…In any case mine are the smallest.”
“Again, that talk is embarrassing so …”
“It’s okay, it’s okay. If they become like this, they’ll grow to look like a cow’s.
Squish squish squish squish.
“~~~~!! ~~~~~!! ~~~~~~!!!!”
“…No, that’s just you letting too many wild ideas enter your head, as usual”
I insert a tsukkomi into the image created from the information gathered by my heart’s ear. Whatever the case, being here sucks in various ways. Really sucks.
“Let’s go somewhere else…”
Murmuring, I turn my face while remaining slouching
A resolute Kotomi was there.
Looking at me, who stood there petrified, she thinks about something.
“I don’t want you to look, pervert.”
Saying almost monotonously, she sways her body back and forth.
“…Did Kyou tell you to say that?”
A meekly nodding Kotomi. At her chest, some merchandise in a plastic bag is wrapped in her arms.
“So, with that, are we good?”
I ask desperately.
The thing that, while blushing, she softly presents to me is…
“Hey, this is…”
Without thinking, I become speechless. It was underwear so red that my eyes hurt.
“By covering the area under the navel with red cloth, you increase your body’s energy efficiency.”
“No, even if you proudly explain to me like that…”
“For lower back pain, sensitivity to cold, and menopausal disorders, it is extremely effective; It’s the most suitable gift for 60th birthdays and for long life.
“Hey, isn’t it most likely that you were just inspired by the sales message at that place?”
“It’s a cute embroidery from Sugamo.”
“No, I have no idea what makes it cute…”
“It’s very, very functional”
The two of us innocently getting shy in front of a cute piece of underwear; I, who was trying to capture that image in my head for just a moment, was an idiot. A very big idiot.
“Kotomi-chan, that is, umm, I…I get a feeling that this is a little too early for us…”
“That’s right, no matter how cheap it is, that’s going too extreme.”
The Fujibayashi sisters throw me a life boat. Kotomi seemed a little disappointed, but she returned the extreme, wholesome longevity underwear to its original location.
“Hey Kotomi, let’s go choose something else.”
“No, before you go, since you’re only going to go buy underwear right now, can you please think of something else?”
Kyou ponders deeply. “I’ve had enough fun today” was written on her face.
“What do you want, Kotomi? You don’t need to mind us, just tell us clearly.”
The three of us watching, she thinks for a while.
“Except for that black one piece, nothing might suit me.”
“That’s not true.”
“That isn’t true.”
The Fujibayashi sisters declared at the same time. Their perfect harmony impresses me; they surely are twins.
With what seemed like a worried, embarrassed face, Kotomi looks at her two friends.
And then, she softly turns to me.
“I want to try a white one piece like the one at that store.”
A little quietly, but clearly said.
“There, there, good girl, good girl~.”
Putting on the face of a mother too young, Kyou pats Kotomi’s head.
“But, as for that dress, all those stores are going away…”
“To make matters worse, our budget is at the lowest level, isn’t it.”
As Kyou and I submerse ourselves into thought, Fujibayashi cuts in.
“If that’s the case…umm, if it’s okay with Kotomi-chan, you see…”
The four of us were walking through the evening shopping district.
The rain continues to fall without change.
Kotomi is holding a new bag to her chest.
A paper bag from the western accessory store from before.
The contents—pure white cotton cloth, sewing thread, and a one piece pattern for beginners.
“If you just buy the materials, it’s really cheap, isn’t it…”
Kyou says admiringly.
“Even then, we barely made our budget.”
“It’s a good thing they gave us just enough discount,”
Fujibayashi replies while smiling.
“As for sewing western clothing, I have always wanted to try it before.”
Kotomi smiles happily.
“Everyone, thank you so much.”
Her eyes are sparkling from her curiosity for new things. That’s why I also become happy.
“But, first is making it like the pattern. If you try to work quickly all of a sudden, you will be able to witness a failure.”
“Un. First is following the pattern.”
Warned by Kyou, she nods obediently.
“But even then, there are many difficulties lying ahead…”
Fujibayashi asks to me in a lowered voice.
“Umm…I wonder if the sewing machine at Kotomi’s house still works.”
“I’m going to go check and see. Though if it’s stuck, there’s nothing I can really do but put in some oil.”
“No…I think that if you’re the one working on it, it can surely be fixed.”
I somehow become embarrassed by Fujibayashi’s words.
“If that’s what we’re deciding, it would be bad if we don’t go buy some tea cakes, wouldn’t it.”
“…As I thought, you guys are coming too.”
“Isn’t that obvious? Right, Kotomi?”
“Un. I will make the tea.”
The footpath broke.
Each of us opening our umbrellas, we step forward into the rain.
I envision the day when Kotomi’s dress is finished.
It might be a sunny summer day.
Kotomi, wrapped in the pure white one piece, is waiting for everyone.
(1)Here, Kotomi is listing words containing 雨, the character for rain, when written–usually pronounced “ame” and sometimes “u”. To see this, the line in Japanese looks like ｢五月雨、霧雨、小糠雨、氷雨、時雨、白雨、驟雨、雷雨、喜雨、篠突く雨、天気雨……｣, and it roughly translates to “Early summer rain, light rain, fine rain, chilly rain, late autumn rain, rain shower, sudden shower, thunderstorm, friendly shower, driving rain, sun shower…”
As you can see, it’s a little bit harder to express Kotomi’s vocabulary, as well as the underlying relationship between the words when translating it into English.
(2)This is an example of what can be best described as a speech impediment. Kotomi has a tendency to stick “totemo,” a word for very, in places where it is awkward or unnecessary, in this case “totemo takusan.” Another common pattern is “totemo totemo.” It is very, very cute, and a real shame not to notice, hence the note.
Another speech tendency I will note here is Kotomi’s overuse of the “no” ending in her sentences. Grammatically it suggests that the statement is a more detailed explanation, and is more feminine sounding than the plain form “no da”.
(3)Fujibayashi in this story refers to Ryou. It contrasts the difference in the level of intimacy that Okazaki has between the two sisters.
I find it hard to believe that I would ever have been able to finish this. There are a few things that could be done. Better editing, for one, but also the inclusion of illustrations from the book that are all lovely. A fun thing to note is that Kotomi actually appears in a white one piece at the end of her arc in the television series as a reference to this story.
What I love about this story is how Kotomi’s character is developed through the narration of an everyday event that leads to a not so everyday conclusion. Particularly where Kotomi says “Except for that black one piece, nothing might suit me.” It is an instance of childish resignation that reflects on her own personal problems and defects.
Which is why her opening up to Okazaki is such a significant event. The story started with the idea of slowly seeing more and more forms of Kotomi, and that “even the shopping district must change.” The subsequent declaration of her desires marks an emergence from the childish comfort zone that Kotomi forced herself into. It is only fitting that this desire to witness change is realized in the conclusion, and is of course what readers of these supplementary side stories want to see along with the trademark antics.
Not really much more to say about the story without being unreasonably long. More of them will probably be slowly added as I finish editing and translating, and I will likely post a draft of one of my translations so that those interested could see the process I go through, which my be useful to those with some Japanese knowledge that wants to try their own hand at this. Hopefully it won’t be another 7 months until that next post.