7 June, Masatomo Tamura

文字数 3,775文字

Rain Noodles


As the rainy season approaches, it becomes hot and humid almost every year.
  A muggy day calls for a bowl of cool ‘sōmen’—those delicately thin white noodles—an early treat before summer.
  And so, I went to the supermarket. Making sure to keep my distance from the other customers, all wearing face masks, I found my way to the noodle shelf.
  That was when I encountered something curious. Among the various brands of sōmen noodles, I found this:
  《 Rain Noodles》
  Strangely charmed and drawn to the attractive packaging with raindrops on the label, I took a packet in my hand. It looked just the same as any old sōmen. On the back, an address in Kamakura was indicated as the manufacturer.
  Well, I guess this will do, I said to myself.
  And without giving it much thought, I purchased the product.
  When I got home and threw those noodles into a pot of boiling water, something extraordinary happened: the noodles practically melted into the water and became invisible! Startled, I tried to scoop them out with long wooden chopsticks, and caught a few transparent noodles dangling between the sticks.
  Oh, they do look like rain somehow, I thought—thin trails of falling raindrops. What I held before my eyes appeared to me like trails of rain, cut out and gathered from the sky.
  All the while, the pot kept boiling, and the noodles were done. Right away, I dipped some in sauce and tried it.
  It was the very taste of ordinary sōmen. And yet, as I continued eating, I became aware of the scent of rain. At the same time, a vivid image emerged in my mind.
  It was an image of myself, standing on a cobbled road, under a drizzly rain.
  All around me were patches of blue; blue here, blue there.
  These were hydrangea in full bloom. I’ve visited this place before, I thought. It was Meigetsu-in Temple in Kamakura, famous for the beautiful hydrangea.
  I could see many visitors gazing dreamily at the bloom; a myriad of umbrellas, bobbing in the rain; the tip-tapping of raindrops; the wet stone steps; and beyond them, the temple gate, standing serene and silent—
  Then I realized I had only a few more strands of noodles left in my bowl. Outside, it had stopped raining.
  Suddenly, I noticed a certain change in my perception: every single object in the room seemed to be shining vividly, as if washed clean by the rain.
  And I understood, quite naturally, that the rain had cleared my vision, having washed away whatever was fogging it—
  After a moment of contemplation, I said to myself: Thinking of it that way, I might even look forward to the upcoming rainy season.
  Of course, I wouldn’t expect the prevailing disease to easily go away. But perhaps a good downpour of rain would wash away all the gloom that has clouded our lives. Couldn’t we at least be hopeful?
  I slurped up the last of the noodles and imagined what it would be like.
  I felt my heart blooming.
  The world after the rain would surely be more beautiful.


Translated by Kei Kamoshida/Arranged by TranNet KK

Masatomo Tamaru
Born in Ehime Prefecture, 1987. Graduated from Tokyo University’s Faculty of Engineering and School of Engineering. In addition to being the flag-bearer of “short short” literature in the modern-day, he is the chief judge for the Bocchan Literature Award. He also holds many creative literature seminars across the country. His works include

Umiiro

no

bin

(A bottle the color of the sea),

Otogi

kanpanī

(Fairyland company),

Matatabi

machi

wa

neko

biyori

(A town of silvervines is a perfect day for cats), among others. His media appearances include

Jōnetsu

tairiku

,

SWITCH

Intabyū

tatsujin-tachi

, among others.
Official Masatomo Tamaru Website: http://masatomotamaru.com/

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