Opening of Dazai Osamu’s “A Snowy Night’s Tale”

Hello all! This is just a little bit I translated a while ago and never posted. I’ll be working on the rest to post sometime soon I hope. The narrator of this story is an endearing young girl who narrates this little tale in a loose conversational style that I find really interesting to translate. I hope you also enjoy reading it. And before I forget, here’s a link to the Aozora bunko digital edition you can read for free if you know some Japanese. Cheers!

苦栗鼠

A Snowy Night’s Tale (Fragment)

That day it was snowing since morning, you know. The monpe¹ I had started making for my cousin Otsuru-chan was long ready, so I decided to drop by my aunt’s house in Nakano to deliver it and got two dried squids as gifts while I was there. By the time I got back to Kichijoji station it was already dark and the snow fall was over a foot. And even so the snow was still gently falling! I felt rather giddy, and since I was wearing my long boots I purposely chose a path with deep snow to walk through. It wasn’t until I got as far as the post office near my house that I noticed the newspaper-wrapped squid I had been carrying under my arm was gone. I know I’m rather carefree and can be absent-minded sometimes, but I hardly ever drop things like this. And yet, that night I was so excited romping around in the snow as I walked home—that must be why I dropped the squid. I felt so dejected. Now I know it’s unseemly to be so disappointed about losing some dried squid, and I should really feel embarrassed, but I was planning to give that squid to my big sister. You see, she’s going to have a baby this summer. They say you get really hungry when you’re pregnant. You have to eat two portions for the baby, right? Now, my sister is very different than me: she’s well-groomed, until recently she ate like a canary, and she’s never once snacked between meals. But these days she gets hungry, and, though she says it’s embarrassing, she gets sudden cravings for very strange foods. The other day when my sister and I were cleaning up after dinner, she said in a small voice, “Ah, there’s a bitter taste in my mouth. I’d like to suck on some dried squid or something like that,” then let out a sigh. I hadn’t forgotten about that time, so that day when I got the dried squid from my aunt in Nakano I was looking forward to surprising my sister with it secretly. But then I went and dropped it and that’s why I was so depressed.

Notes:

Monpe are women’s work pants.

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