Return to Retrospective 53 minutes, Music CDs or Fiction by ZUN

1.Hiroshige No.36 ~ Neo Super-Express


Hiroshige(*1) runs for the east, which is two girls inside. It runs for the east, which makes no noise or no swing.


There were plenty of vacant box-shaped seats for up to four persons, so even if you two sat there, nobody
will sit with you. The opposite direction in the morning is extremely crowded by commuters, while this
direction for Tokyo is vacant. It was good for them.


A warm and mild spring sunshine came from the windows. This newest type of shinkansen features a
half-panoramic view in all the cars. The half-panoramic view is as if a test tube is running on the railway.
They're all windows except up and down, in other words, the walls of the shinkansen are almost the windows.
The left side of a blond-haired girl sitting against the running direction was a beautiful blue sea coast;
the right side was awesome plain with no buildings and pine wood.


It may be having passed for 25 minutes after leaving... In the far distance the Mount Fuji covered with clouds has shown up.
It looks sacred as if a wizard lives there.


Because of the effort of Mount Fuji Revival Association, Mt.Fuji has finally been nominated as a world
heritage(*2), while the one you see from Hiroshige looks much sacred.
One of the reason is that from the panoramic view of Hiroshige, you'll never see any high buildings,
power transmission lines or overhead wires.


Besides Mt.Fuji, even the sea coast on the left side is tremendously beautiful that isn't enough to be
nominated as a world heritage a dozen of times. So beautiful is Tokaido(*3).


Though to Mary, the blond-haired girl, what she saw the extremely beautiful Japanesque scenery through Boyu
Shinkansen Hiroshige was just a dull visual stimulation.

(*1) It was named after Utagawa Hiroshige; an artist in the 19th century.
(*2) Mt.Fuji hasn't been nominated as a World Natural Heritage Site yet. It's because the government of Japan doesn't recommend for these situations: "Developed too much", "Too many garbages are left behind", etc. Still, it fulfills the standard for nominating.
(*3) Tokaido was the major road in the Edo period. Starting at Nihombashi (日本橋), passing through 53 stations and Ending at Sanjo-ohashi (三条大橋) in Kyoto.

2.Blue Sea for 53 Minutes
"Hiroshige has large seats and runs very quickly, so it's convenient...
But to me, it's dull to see just a 'fake' scenery through Kaleido-screen(*4)."
"You say so, but it's more brighter than the subway in past days. It's because the picture on the tunnels.
Feels like we're on the ground, don't we?"
"I don't think Mt.Fuji on the ground is more beautiful than that in the underground, still I wanted to see the genuine one.
I wish I took on the former Tokaido Shinkansen(*5)."
"How luxurious. Nowadays, those who take on it are only people
in Tohoku region(*6), curious ones(*7) and celebrities.
I reckon you're as carefree as people in Tohoku."
"I'm a celebrity."

...It was before they were born that Boyu Tokaido had started an operation.


After the Jinki removal of the capital(*8), many people faced with the necessity of coming and going Tokyo
and Kyoto. Suddenly only the former Tokaido Shinkansen hadn't been enough to solve the situation, so the
government started developing a new Shinkansen as soon as they could.


After that, Boyu Shinkansen Hiroshige was born. It runs between Kyoto and Tokyo in 53 minutes. This
Shinkansen enabled the commuters to come and go between Kyoto and Tokyo, and it became the main traffic
infrastructure of Japan all of a sudden.


Also, what it made people amaze is that the Shinkansen runs straight without any curves under the ground.
From the first station to the last one, you cannot see any sky, sea, mountain, forest, the Sun or the Moon.

(*4) Like kaleidoscope, it shows various scenery.
(*5) Tokaido Shinkansen is connecting between Tokyo Station and Shin-Osaka Station, which sells best in all of Japanese railway companies.
(*6) The north-east part of Japan. To(東)means east and hoku(北)means north. By the way, are the people in Tohoku actually carefree? Some respects are right like Renko says, but another respects are wrong, I guess.
(*7) Original text says インド人 (Indian living in India), but I don't know the true meaning of it. So I expressed like above.
(*8) Jinki (神亀) originally means Japanese era name (724-728), and also the name of famous local sake in Saitama Prefecture (In this case, pronounced Shinkame). The author loves sake so much that he used this word, I suppose.

3.Taketori Flight ~ Lunatic Princess
東海道はも昔は53も宿場町があったというのに、今は53分で着いちゃうのよ? 昔より道のりも長いのに、
"It's nice to arrive in a moment, but aren't you bored with such a fake scenery, Renko?
I cannot be satisfied with the fake full moon floating up in the night sky, too.
In the past Tokaido had 53 stations(*9), while now, it only takes 53 minutes in spite of the longer way than that of the old days.
You have no way to call it a journey anymore."
"Though the time being in a train have become shorter, you can still call it a journey. The sightseeing in Tokyo is such fun.
There're plenty of historic-taste buildings in Shinjuku, Shibuya and so on which aren't in Kyoto.
You'd feel better if you thought you got time for visiting there."
"Ah, yes. You're right.
Oh dear, can I see the ancient rabbits making a medicine on the fake full moon?(*10)"
実は、ヒロシゲは最高速を出せば53分も掛からないらしいんだけど、わざわざ 53分になる様に調整したらしいよ?」
"Have you heard this story?
To tell the truth, Hiroshige would run less than 53 minutes with its maximum speed, yet they've expressly adjusted to run in 53 minutes sharp."
"One night per minute. With such a pace, I'd be weak getting old in three weeks. What a short journey it is..."


Renko Usami and Maribel Han (Mary) decided to make a trip to Tokyo where Renko's parents live during :the vacation of university.
It was just a trip for Mary to follow a Renko's visit for Higan(*11),
still she was looking forward to this trip so much.
It's because she's never been to Tokyo.


She was also looking forward to the scenery on the way to Tokyo, but unfortunately, all of Boyu Tokaido are the shinkansen that run under the ground.


In spite of it, the train presented them the sunlight from the windows like that on the ground
in the afternoon and displayed the beautiful Mt.Fuji and Pacific Ocean.


That's the ultimate feature of Boyu Tokaido that cost a fortune. The device is called Kaleido-screen.

(*9) It was called shukuba (宿場), which means ancient Japanese station for travellers and its horse. There were hotels, shops, parking lot for horses, etc.
(*10) Are moon rabbits making elixirs of immortality instead of rice cakes? Please refer to Imperishable Night.
(*11) The days for greeting one's ancestors held in two equinoxes. Higan (彼岸) literally means ahead of the coast, in other words, the world after death.

4.Higan Retour ~ Riverside View
"The Higan in Tokyo has some strange manners and customs. Did you know, Mary?"
「ええ? どういうの?」
"Eh? What kind?"
"There's not only a visit for a grave of one's family,
but a visit for the Netherworld after finding gaps around graves.
You know, ancestors come back from the Netherworld in Bon Festival.
To thank them, we go greeting in Higan.
"Is that so?
Oh my! I'm not ready at all. Why did you keep it a secret?"
"Because it's not true.
Still, let's go there, shall we?"


Boyu Tokaido has just been made in order to deliver the people in Tokyo to Kyoto.
So, there're two stations only.


They're called Bo-Tokyo Station and Yu-Kyoto Station(*12).
In other words, there're no other stops except the first and the last one.
36 minutes have already passed since they left Yu-Kyoto Station.


The scenery outside was just the thing what Utagawa Hiroshige maybe enjoyed.
It was beyond the words with the sky, the sea, Mt.Fuji and 53 stations.

(*12) Boyu (卯酉) was named after Bo and Yu. Bo(卯)stands for hare and Yu(酉)is cock.
The two words are also used for mentioning direction until the Edo period; Bo equals east and Yu is west. To express the Edo taste, the station names aren't Higashi(East)-Tokyo or Nishi(West)-Kyoto.
Besides, the location of them is supposed to be Nihombashi (Chuo Ward, Tokyo) and Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto (Sanjo-ohashi is here).
By the way, present Tokyo Station is at Marunouchi (Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo); Kyoto Station is at Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto).

5.Legend of Aokigahara (Forbidden Forest)


"Ah, I..."
「どうしたの? メリー、急に怖い顔をして――」
"What's the matter, Mary? You look scary."
蓮子は感じない? ここら辺の空間は少し他と感じが違うわよ。
"I felt kinda sick.
And don't you, Renko? The space we're now is a bit different from the others.
In addition to this, I can see a gap of a border... Is it the bug of screen-controlling program?"
"Ah, perhaps we're under the sacred mountain.
The atmosphere is different and so is even the dimension.
You're so sensitive you may be nervous a little."
でも、富士山って火山でしょう? そんな地下にトンネルなんて掘って大丈夫なのかなぁ」
"I got it. We're under Mt.Fuji.
That's why I felt sick. They say there's an entrance to the Netherworld under the Fuji since ancient times.
Still, Mt.Fuji is a volcano, isn't it? I wonder if it's safe to tunnel here."
"How nervous you are. Drink and stop thinking badly.
When Mt.Fuji is nominated as a world heritage, it's concluded to be an extinct volcano from a dormant one. Did it remind you?"


Boyu Tokaido was just designed to connect between Tokyo and Kyoto, while the government
avoided blasphemy for digging the underground below the sacred mountain Fuji.


Boyu Tokaido makes a detour through the underground of a sea of trees.


But there're a lot of bad legends in the sea of trees, so it may have an effect on the diagram
of shinkansen and the number of passengers for just running underneath it.


The govenment thought so, and didn't announce officially.

(*13) Aokigahara is a forest near Mt.Fuji. Its length is about 2-3 km. It has such a beautiful scenery and is a good place for suicide. The reason Mary began sick is because she felt the souls of suicides, maybe.

6.White Flag of Usa Shrine (Most Famous Hero)
"Ha-ha, the morning sake tastes good.
You know what? This shinkansen was originally designated to stop at not only Kyoto and Tokyo but Kamakura(*14)."
"You know everything, Renko."
"I know everything, indeed.
I heard they wanted to connect the three capitals and name Keito-Shinkansen."
"It seems like a warm shinkansen(*15). Wait, Kamakura isn't a capital, is it?
And Kamakura is very close to Tokyo for the middle city between Kyoto and Tokyo."
"That's why the project has been Okura-iri (suspended)."
蓮子は誰かに嘘情報吹き込まれたんじゃないの? 八幡様が好きな誰かに」
"The idea was so ridiculous.
Have you been fooled by anybody like Hachiman-sama lover (*16)?"
"By the way, which kind of Okura do you know about Okura-iri(*17)?"


Speaking of Fuji, Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji Katsushika Hokusai(*18) created is well-known, still he didn't get
satisfaction with many pictures of Mt.Fuji he drew. You can tell this because he actually drew forty-six pictures(*19).


After that, a young Utagawa Hiroshige, who lived about half times as Hokusai, published Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido and won the popularity; Hokusai also published Hundred Views of Mount Fuji in spite of having created Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji before.
Hokusai was fascinated with Mt.Fuji so much.


Though, Hiroshige was also fascinated with it.

(*14) Indeed Kamakura was the most important city in Kamakura period, but as Mary said later, the capital in those days was still Kyoto.
(*15) Mary thought Keito as not 繋都 (capital-connecting) but 毛糸 (wool). They're pronounced the same.
(*16) Hachiman is a god of war, having been respected so much in Kamakura.
(*17) Okura-iri (お蔵入り) literally means putting into a warehouse, though in fact, it doesn't indicate any warehouse. It came from the term of Kabuki, which is used when the stage was cancelled. Performers would feel relaxed (raku; 楽), and later it turned into kura (蔵).
(*18) Katsushika Hokusai is an artist in Edo period, who was 37 year older than Hiroshige.
(*19) Hokusai drew another 10 pictures of Mt.Fuji later; They're called Urafuji (裏富士) , which means Another Mt.Fuji.

7.Reach for the Moon, Immortal Smoke (Elixir of Life)


After all, the Japanese have chosen Utagawa Hiroshige.
Boyu Shinkansen Hiroshige continues to run for the east. Is it near Kamakura now?

"Renko, the Mt.Fuji displayed in the screen of tunnel is a bit too dynamic, isn't it?"
"Umm... I cannot explain very well because I've never stared at the genuine one, but I guess they both are same.
There're few artifacts around the mountain, so maybe it looks like this."
"To me, this Fuji looks like the one Hokusai drew than that of Hiroshige.
Its scale is also a process through an automatic video re-targeting.
It makes much of an impact than a reality."
"Mary, do you know that Hiroshige also opposed Hokusai and created the thirty-six views of Mt.Fuji?"
「あら、パクリ? インスパイア?」
"Huh? Is it an imitation or an inspiration?"
"The name is Thirty-six Views of Mt.Fuji, which were published after Hokusai died."
"Oh, dear."


The scenery with few buildings through the Kaleido-screen showed the sacred
and dynamic Mt.Fuji.


The genuine Mt.Fuji became purer with the effort of Mount Fuji Revival Association. Though, climbers for Mt.Fuji became fewer; Perhaps it's because they were thrilled by the true and dynamic scenery of Mt.Fuji or they hated the strict low of Revival Association. Because of them, the business of sightseeing was damaged so much. How ironic.


The reason the Japanese have chosen Hiroshige is because they couldn't understand the talent of Hokusai. They
radically hated his insanity.


But, if this shinkansen weren't Hiroshige but Hokusai, what kind of pictures
would the kaleido-screen show?


The shinkansen would provide the insane illusion for 36 minutes that took you to your destination faster than the current one.

8.Retrospective Kyoto
"We'll soon arrive at Tokyo.
What a dull journey..."
"You're right, still it's a good thing not to be tired before the arrival."
"We've got the time for sightseeing of Tokyo, so it's OK.
Where will you show me?"
"Don't be so eager.
First, coming to my home, finishing the visit of my family's grave for Higan and leaving our belongings, then go for sightseeing, OK?"
「あれ? 冥界参りに行くんだっけ?」
"Wait. We gonna go visit the Netherworld, aren't we?"
"Tokyo is the spiritual city like Kyoto, so we'll be able to have a great time.
Because I'm with you, Mary."


Since the sin of earth elements trapped in the asphalt has been prescribed, there're a lot of cracks all around the road of Tokyo.


One of the ringway has become a grassy plain and been covered with strange flowers that has stem, red petal and no leaves.
The old-fashioned vehicle called car has decreased with the decrease of population. They even didn't think inconvenient by
seeing the state of the road.


Tokyo is an unique city where flashy young people make their own rules.
Like the town where Machi-yakko, Hatamoto-yakko and Hiseshi(*20) rave...


Tokyo is about to regain its past state.

(*20) Machi-yakko (町奴) is a hero for ordinary people; Hatamoto-yakko (旗本奴) is Shogunate officer; Hikeshi (火消し) is firefighter. They were seen in Edo era.

9.Locked Girl ~ Girl's Secret Room
"Unlike Kyoto, Tokyo is so rural there're many good old things."
"For example?"
"Amusement parks that has a feeling of confinement in a narrow high building and very large shopping malls."
"How good. The unrefined entertainment still exists there."
"On the other hand, that of Kyoto is too refined to relax.
What you call it an entertainment is just like a new-styled tea ceremony(*21)."
"Well, I love it.
Especially the room like a secret one."


Amusement parks for foods had been popular in the past Tokyo.
It had no intellectual tastes: Many stores with its popularity of cuisine from all over the nation that
gathered in one place... That's all. Even so, it was very popular in Tokyo.


Tokyo had toshokukai(*22), which was the competition for big eaters with the possibility of death by overeating.
Thinking this, it's certain that it's popular in the present Tokyo (Just the time you live, not for Mary and Renko).


The cities of Tokyo are genuine successors of Edo period.


The closer to Tokyo that Mary has only seen in a book and is beyond the times,
the more excited she was.

(*21) Probably it means the arranged version of tea ceremony, but I'm not sure the details about it.
(*22) Toshokukai (闘食会) literally means Battle of Eating Competition.

10.Gensokyo Millennium ~ History of the Moon
"The Fuji is getting smaller. That means we're near Tokyo."
"After listening to your talk, I became more excited about Tokyo."
"Because of my talk, indeed.
Still, I cannot deny Tokyo is the mentally immature city."
"You'd better act like a fool once in a while."
"They've ignored the gaps of the boundary in Tokyo;
The study of spirits has been carried out for over one thousand years in Kyoto."
"Look, here's the credits.
They even insist their rights of the scenery displayed here."


The characters were displayed on the scenery out of windows.
It meant the end of the picture aired for 53 minutes.


Originally, sceneries don't belong to anybody. In other words, This picture is
based on the Tokaido, which Hiroshige probably saw.


Even so, human beings insist the scenery is theirs. The developers' name of the three-dimensional picture
continued to show and vanish, which all of the passengers thought it was the true scenery.

風景の真ん中に『Designed by Utagawa Hiroshige』と言う文章が浮かんだのを最後に、

The world lost its light when the final sentence Designed by Utagawa Hiroshige was shown up
in the middle of the scenery.

11.The Purest Sky and Sea


Even the high dynamic range imaging,

and the extremely Japanesque scenery,
are not better than the true color of the sky.


Nowadays, nobody would think an old-fashioned idea like this.

The scene of dream stimulates people better than that of reality.
Because you can never separate the dream from the reality; Also the human from butterfly(*23).
It's the common sense in these days that the two elements can never be separated.


Needless to say, the dream is the essence of human.

Though my body has vanished with flowers,
My heart is about to fly with fragrance.


They left Bo-Tokyo Station to enjoy their casual talk more on the ground, which has lasted for 53 minutes under the ground.

(*23) This respect came from the story Zhuangzi Dreamed He Was a Butterfly "莊周夢蝶"(Written by Zhuangzi "莊子", the philosopher in China who lived about 4th century BCE). He became a butterfly when he had a dream. Later he woke up, he is still a human, though he wasn't certain which shape is the true for him.



I try to say "Nice to meet you." I'm ZUN.


This Boyu Tokaido ~ Retrospective 53 minutes has neither processes nor punchlines. It's the story somebody
secretly heard the two girls talking, who belong to Sealing Club. In a way, it's happy ending.


It's just the story about their talk and somebody's opinion in its heart.
The opinion is a narration. Really?
They're a bit smarter than the ordinary young. Smart girls are cool.


The theme of this story is same as my previous work Changeability of Strange Dream. It's about the dream and reality.
Please imagine the dream in advance of that of nowadays. You can listen to (read) this CD in relaxation
more than that of CoSD, right?


Anime and game are always criticized when bizarre crimes happen. What intellectual people say is
"Separate the dream from reality." or "Everybody do so." But I believe it's impossible,
in other words, nobody can separate them.


I heard a genius hits upon an idea in his (her) dream. The heart can leave its body and go out of the reality. The knowledge
and experience in the dream will never go to waste. The difference between the dream and reality is like that of
software and hardware. You have no way to use separately.


That is true, isn't it?


Otherwise, music would never affect anybody.
The dream about music is to express the music that seems to exist...


As far as I create music, I want to do the activity recognizing the impossibility
of separation between the dream and reality.

上海アリス幻樂団 ZUN (旅に出たい)

Team Shanghai Alice ZUN (Longing for a journey)

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