[personal profile] snarp
And this will continue for the foreseeable future. However, Minekura's birthday was the 23rd, and for reasons that will become clear, I felt an obligation to share her post on the subject with the Anglophone world. Also, her pictures, and her font-size selections.

I was a lot looser with the translation than usual this time, as I felt that the tone of this particular post would not be well-served by my usual stilted attempts at technical fidelity. (But if I screwed up something important, tell me so I can fix it.)

For context, Kinoko-no-Yamas are an inexpensive sort of cookie-ish thing. They're hard and crunchy, and thus not something a person with an artificial jaw could easily eat.


Black Swan

On March 23rd, I turned thirty-seven (or something). I received a lot of good wishes on Twitter and on the cell phone site - thank you all. I'm a very lucky person. I'm doing my best to pay you back, bit by bit. I'm working on a thank-you picture for all the people who commented on the birthday project on Minekura.net, which will be ready in a few more days.

Anyway, I'd might as well treat this blog like a blog, and talk about my birthday!

Because the day fell during a lull in work, we decided to get together and have a party. I was excited. When we got started, the current youngster in the group (though she's been working with me since the beginning of Gaiden), Ringo-chan (not her real name), told me that she was going to make a cake.

We've experienced Ringo-chan's astonishing cooking skills many times in the past. For example, last Christmas, after informing us mundanely, "I'm going to make a chocolate house!", she proceeded to produce something resembling a set of chocolate ruins, a deep crevice torn violently through the center. Into this crevice, she had crammed three boxfulls of Kinoko-no-Yamas, which were held down by a chocolate Santa Claus to prevent them from escaping. It was hellish scene reminiscent of Auschwitz.

...Incidentally, I assume that she did not actually expect me to eat any of this, given the state of my jaw.

Ringo-chan said, "This time, I'll make a cake Sensei can eat, too!" Confident that our anxiety was misplaced, Ringo-chan set busily to her task, her head held high.

...Her idea was this: she would take take a sponge cake and cover it with whipped cream, to form the surface of a lake. Atop, she would place choux-creme swans, swimming gracefully across the water.

The piece's title would be "Swan Lake."

Alone in the kitchen labored Ringo-chan, as the rest of us were assembling the evening's nabe. There was apparently some problem with the choux-creme; yet she perservered, molding her raw materials into a masterpiece.

Finally, it was complete.

So I think this is Medusa's head? The lake turned into a head.

The eyes on the head are gummy bears, and the beak is two Pringles. The "swans" crowded together on the top give me more the feeling of a tangle of snakes, all standing erect in the moment before they strike at their prey.

Here, look at it from the side.

...It's just terrifying.

For all the work that Ringo-chan put into this object, I'm afraid that I was unable to come up with any words of praise for it. In the midst of our shrieks of laughter, the great artist Ringo-chan stood unperturbed.

Ringo: Isn't it cute?!

Takano: (pointing a finger) The appropriate adjective is "sinister"!

- You get the idea. I will say this for it, it makes quite an entrance.

When the electricity in the room began to die down a bit, the skull of this newly-severed head was pierced brutally with candles, and then placed before me. As you see:

Ringo: Happy birthday, Sensei!

Ahina: The, the head! The swans are on fire!

Takano: Sensei, quick! Blow them out!

Minekura: Are guys forgetting about my jaw!? I can't blow anything out!

Everyone: - oh, right!

Yeah, the whole thing caught fire. With a lot of shouting, we managed to put it out with a hand fan.

"Oh, god, the smell!"

"Open some doors or something!"

...It was delicious! I love blackened swan.

In the middle of the month, drowning in work, I found myself was exhausted in both body and spirit. I'd been drawing so much that I felt blank, and above all else - there was my jaw. This massive artificial plank thing in my mouth, horribly uncomfortable. The dryness and pain made it impossible to concentrate as the deadline approached; when it was at its most intense, I wanted to rip it out and throw it at someone.

Yet I need it to eat and I need to it talk and I need it to work, and I'll be dealing with it all my life... And I thinking these sorts of thoughts, and I wear myself down to a grim-eyed acceptance. I'm thinking them now.

But I borrowed everyone's strength, and the manuscript is out; and for the first time in ages, I find myself laughing out loud with my friends. I've been given a great gift.

Thank you, Ringo-chan. Thank you, black swan.

I won't forget you. I mean, you're pretty much unforgettable.
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The contents of this blog and all comments I make are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike License. I hope that name is long enough. I could add some stuff. It could also be a Bring Me A Sandwich License.

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