19 June, Yūri Eda

文字数 3,705文字

Tree Nymph Butterflies are Worth a Thousand Bells

An emergency declaration was issued, lifted, then a Tokyo alert was issued, and lifted. I was in the woods during this recent period from spring to summer.
  I mean an island. I was on a desert island.
  I did everything from catching fish, trapping insects, building a small house, engineering, and river construction, to textile design. And I became involved in island development.
  In a game.
  Some of you have probably heard of it in the news. It’s called





. As I was starting to explain, the objective is to create your very own ideal island. It’s part of a game series, but this was my first time playing it. Though I had initially imagined living peacefully with humanized animals, it turned out to be a game that kept me on my toes—a mortgage when I bought a house, ups and downs over price fluctuations when I made investments—not in stocks, but turnips.
  Announcements were being made back home on the latest numbers of deaths and infections, and here I was, heaving an ax on an island.
  Medical workers were fighting to save lives in brutal conditions, and here I was, catching tree nymph butterflies by the dozen. As these butterflies sell at high prices, I made it a rule to catch them whenever I saw them, swinging my butterfly net like this:


  Had I taken an online English course during this period instead of enjoying living on the island, I think my skills would have improved considerably.
  Had I exercised my abdominal muscles to a workout video, I think I might have ended up having a wonderfully ripped six-pack.
  But no, I was playing a game. I sometimes asked myself during that time what the hell I thought I was doing. Maybe it was because I felt guilty. I thought about the delivery people I often saw who I was sure by the tone of their voice wore weak smiles on their faces as they told me how tough things were, and the news reports on mass infections at welfare facilities. Yet I continued to play



. Oh, and I did a little work, too.
  This game has been a global hit, selling more than 13 million units in six weeks since launch. It was the perfect game to play in cities where lockdowns are now in place, never mind that earlier request for people to stay home. Maybe people want to laugh and call it an escape from reality, but we


being told to stay home, and it isn’t very healthy for the mind to be thinking about COVID-19 around the clock.
  That is why a lot of people have been playing games. And I’m one of them.
  We live in a three-bedroom, two-story place that has a cypress wood bathtub. Raccoons have been dropping by promoting sales, asking us if we might be interested in building a basement.
  I saw something on BBC news about a woman who had set up an altar in the game she was playing, paying her respects to her late grandfather there because the stay-at-home restrictions had prevented her from going out to his gravesite. A reporter from BBC was visiting her, running around as merry as could be.
  Of course, all that was happening on the island that she had created.

Translated by Eriko Sugita/Arranged by TranNet KK

Yūri Eda
Born in Tokyo. Made her literary debut in 2000 with




(Summer salt). Her works include the Kyūtei shinkan monogatari (Tale of the court priest) series, the Yōkian yawa (Night stories from Yōkian tea room), and









(This spring, I look for you long after you died), among others. She has written many BL novels under the pen-name Yūri Eda (written with different characters) .




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