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Friday, June 16, 2023

TanboHiro: Ch 1 - Ep 18


Chapter 1

Episode 18: Ochugen



"Geez here comes again......."


I grunted when I saw what the delivery guy handed me.


Not again. This is the third time I've received this.


"Jin-dono? What is that ......?"


Seram approaches me as I bring the package into the living room. She has been relaxing on the tatami mats.


"It's called Ochugen."


"What's Ochugen?"


"It's a kind of summer gift to express gratitude to those who have helped us. It arrives every year around this time."


"I see there is such a custom here. Isn't it a good thing?"


"There's nothing wrong with ochugen itself, but the problem is that everyone is always giving the standard gift."


Is it that thing again? If possible, I hope it would be something different.


I opened the package while hoping so, but my hope was shattered.


On the wooden box, "Hand-made soumen" is written neatly.


"It's soumen, after all..."


I hung my head down. Seram, who was standing next to me, curiously touched the box.




"You remember that udon you had at the food court? It's a thinner version of that."


"I see. The udon at that time was delicious. Although it differs from udon, isn't it nice to receive something similar?"


"Of course, I am happy for the gift. But this is the fourth one I've received."


I show her the three boxes of Soumen I keep on the shelf in the kitchen.


"...... how much is in one of those?"


"Even if we eat soumen thrice a day, it would take 5 to 6 days to finish a box of soumen. And we have four of them."


"...... Jin-dono, that's a lot."




I'm glad she understands my point.


"But why do people give so many soumens? What is the significance of giving soumen as an ochugen gift?"


"Because soumens are long and thin, it symbolizes the desire for a long-lasting and close relationship with people you can't meet regularly."


"Jin-dono is very knowledgeable."


"If you receive this many gifts yearly, it's natural to want to know their meanings."


"I am by no means a knowledgeable person. I'm just a guy who once investigated this annoying event because I was sick to death."


"But this year, with Seram here, we'll be able to finish them faster than usual."


Before Seram arrived, I had managed to eat this amount by myself or share it with others, but now that there's one more person in the house, we can consume them more quickly.


"Still, I'm a girl. I feel somewhat awkward being relied upon in that way."


When I looked at her as if I was looking at a reliable mercenary, Seram said with a displeased expression.



Don't say such a convenient thing since you eat more than me. But I am afraid she won't eat the soumen if I tell her that, so I keep my mouth shut.


"Hey, Jin, are you there? My hands are full, so open the door for me! "


Suddenly, a voice echoed from the front door.


"Isn't that Kaito-dono?"


"Wait, Seram! Don't open the door!"


I tried to stop her, but she didn't stop and opened the sliding door.


I tried to close the door hurriedly, but Kaito put his foot in to prevent me.


"Hehehe, you opened the door, didn't you?"




"Jin-dono, why are you so unhappy? Kaito-dono came all the way here to see you."


Seram didn't understand the situation. She tilted her head.


"He's not a guest. He is an assassin who comes here to kill us."


"An assassin!? Have you got a grudge against Jin-dono?"


"I have a grudge! Last year, Jin used the excuse that he couldn't eat all the soumen by himself and forced them on the Ohba family! But now Jin has a wife. He can't use the same excuse like previous years! So this year, you'll have to accept our share!"


Kaito leaves a box of soumen at my front door.


"I knew it. You're forcing me to take your soumen gifts."


"No, it's just sharing gifts."


"We are not the only ones who receive soumen as gifts. Everyone tends to receive the same amount of soumen and have a few left over, so this is the time of year when people start pushing soumen on each other."


"So that's what you meant by an assassin... Even though I didn't know it, for me to do such a......"


When Seram finally realized what was going on, she fell down.


We could have avoided the situation by using the answering machine, but it was too late once we let him into the house.


It's difficult to refuse it because I also forced Kaito to take my soumen last year.


"Since I have Seram this year, it should be fine."


Five boxes of soumens are now in my house, but it should be fine as long as I have Seram.


It's still better compared to last year when I ate 3 boxes of soumen by myself.


"By the way, Seram-san, have you ever eaten soumen?"


"I've had udon but never had soumen."


"You've never had soumen!? Then let's make Nagashi Soumen for Seram-san!"


After hearing Seram's reply, Kaito suddenly makes such a suggestion.


"It's so sudden."


"Since it's summer, let's give Seram-san a taste of Japanese culture!"


"So, what is your real intention?"


"I want to make it!"


"Then do it yourself."


"Nah, it's just too lonely to make it alone, and the preparation is too troublesome."


I was suspicious when he started talking about soumen. It turned out that Kaito just wanted to make nagashi soumen.


"I don't know anything about Nagashi Soumen, but I'm interested in this tasteful food culture!""


Although Seram doesn't understand what Nagashi Soumen is, she seems interested in it.


"...... I don't mind if we do it, but do you have the tools?"


"I have some bamboo I used a while ago."


"So we can assemble it. Then bring them here."


"Right away!"


It is troublesome to cut and set up from scratch, but if we have the bamboo, it won't be that much trouble.


Soon after, Kaito returned by car and brought the bamboo into the garden.


"Jin-dono, what is this long green plant?"


"This is bamboo. You grab and eat the soumen as it flow down with cold water. "


"Oh, you pour the soumen in here? Just imagining it makes me excited!"


While Seram is staring at the bamboo with a curious expression, I have something on my mind.


"...... Hey, Kaito. Isn't this bamboo a little damaged?"


"When I pulled them out of the barn, I also thought so."


Some of the bamboo is damaged. I can pour the soumen over, but if you ask me if I want to eat the soumen that have been poured over these, I'll say no.


"Then we can’t have Nagashi Soumen?"


I look at the bamboo and frown, and Seram makes a sad face.


"No, not all of them are damaged, so if we remove the damaged parts, we can use them without any problem."


"Oh, then it won't be a problem, right?"


"But it's going to be a bit short."


"Short nagashi soumen is not real nagashi soumen!"


When Kaito hears it, he comments sarcastically.


It's Kaito's fault for not keeping the bamboo properly, but preserving bamboo in the summer is difficult.


Some of them can't be used at all.


"Oh, are you going to make Nagashi Soumen?"


As we were having this conversation, Shigeru-san appeared in the garden.


Since he was walking with his dog, they must have been on their way for a walk.


"We were about to make it, but then I noticed the bamboo was damaged and wondered what to do......"


"Bamboo? Why don't you take some from our bamboo grove if you need bamboo?"


"Eeh? You don't mind?"


"I don't mind. I would appreciate it if you could pick up a few of them  for me. We might do Nagashi Soumen in other places."


"I understand! I'll go get them."


"Thank you very much!"


When Kaito and I thanked him, Shigeru-san smiled and returned to his walk.


"Hm? What did you mean just now?"


Seram doesn't quite understand the situation and asks.


"Shigeru-san has some bamboo growing on his land, and we can freely take them. We can make Nagashi Soumen with it."


"He owns the land? Is Shigeru-dono actually a lord who rules the land?"


"No, he is not a lord. I mean, it's not unusual to own land around here.

I also own a mountain."


"My family also owns a mountain."


"What! Not only Jin-dono but even Kaito-dono?"


Seram looks extremely surprised when I tell her that I own a mountain.


Apparently, owning land and mountains is surprising to her.


"Is it really that surprising?"


"In my world, only the royal family owns the land, and even the privileged Nobles are merely borrowing land from the royal family."


I was curious, so I whispered to her and asked. Then Seram secretly told me.


Apparently, in Seram's world, only high-ranked individuals can own land.


Seram, who has lived in such a world, must be amazed that ordinary people can own land.



Translator note:

Umeebou is a parody of Umaibo.

Check my article about Umaibo.

Umaibo: The Crunchy Delight That Captivated Japan



Check my article about Ramune.

Pop, Sip, and Enjoy: Discovering the Irresistible Charm of Ramune Soda





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