Hakozume 3 – Okitsune-sama to Issho ni Hakozume
CV: Morikawa Toshiyuki
Oh? This is unusual.
What are you looking at? I’m over here.
I’m surprised to get a visitor to this small place. Have you lost your way?
Ah… A test of courage at a shrine, hmm?
There’s not much light outside the shrine grounds. It wasn’t long before you got really scared and ran to this small shrine without thinking. Isn’t that what happened?
That’s right. This is a small shrine. You thought it was a closet or something like that, didn’t you? Well, it’s quite old looking, so it’s understandable for you to make that mistake.
Me? Hmm… Who could I possibly be?
Just because I’m wearing a kimono, that doesn’t mean I’m priest. This place is my home though. Anyway, will you stay and talk with me for a while?
Hey. Stop that. You’ll tear the paper door if you keep doing that. They only get replaced once a year, so don’t be so rough with them.
Oh my. I’m surprised you’re acting like that when you were the one who came in here. You don’t have to be so cautious. That door won’t open unless the master of the shrine opens it.
It seems that you still don’t understand what this place is.
That’s right. It’s a shrine. You know what is worshipped here, don’t you?
Long ago, many people knew who I was. You’re wearing a yukata, which means you’ve come for the Inari Festival, haven’t you? It’s a festival for Inari, the god who is worshipped at this temple. There are lots of stalls in front of the temple, aren’t there? Long ago, worshippers would visit this small shrine too.
Now, everything happens at the main shrine and this small inner shrine is gradually being forgotten. Despite that, this is still a shrine to worship the fox who serves Inari-sama.
A fox’s curse? You think that’s why the door of the shrine is closed? You do say some interesting things. It’s quite rude of you to call it a curse though. I wouldn’t do anything like that.
That’s right. I’m the one who is worshipped here. I’m the fox. When I’ve been alone for a long time, I feel like talking to someone else. Think of this as fate and talk to me for a little while.
It seems that you don’t believe me. Look. No human has a tail, do they?
You think having one tail is surprising? Look carefully.
That’s right. I’ve got four tails.
You’re quite a distrustful child. Shall I show you my ears too?
Come a little closer. Look closely with your lovely eyes. From inside my hair…
Now do you believe me?
I haven’t got anything else to show you. You’d be surprised if I looked even more like my original form. This shrine doesn’t have enough room for my original form anyway.
You understand I’m not human now, don’t you?
Oh! You were scared earlier, but now you’re looking at me curiously?
I don’t mind. Touch me as much as you like.
I look like your pet dog?
That’s the first time someone has said that to me.
Yes, it’s very rude. But it’s interesting.
You aren’t scared, even though you know what I really am? Most humans respect me, but are afraid at the same time.
Of course not. I wouldn’t hurt a human. I wouldn’t even frighten them. But humans choose to be afraid. They fear those who live a long time and who have different abilities. I suppose you could call it awe. That’s probably why the people of the past built this shrine and worshipped me.
I wonder how long I’ve been here now. When you live for a long time, your memories of the past fade away. Although I don’t really remember, I think a few hundred years have passed since I came to this land. Before coming here, I went around wherever I wanted. On nights like this one, where a round and full moon rose into the sky, I would run through the endless fields at full speed. I felt the grass blown by the wind tickle my front legs and tail. I’d surprise humans too.
I told you that I haven’t scared any humans, didn’t I? Hmm? All I did was play small tricks on them. It was nothing special. I’d hide children’s shoes or show will o’wisps to people who passed in front of the shrine. I’d suddenly call out to them from behind or breathe in their ears like this while they were walking at night.
You’re right. That might be enough to scare some people. Humans are easily frightened, you see. They’d mistake a willow tree blown around by the wind for a ghost. They’ve got great imaginations. It’s quite interesting that they like to do things like tests of courage.
I see. Humans are interesting creatures. I became a messenger fox who makes contact with humans because I enjoy observing them. When you live for a long time you even forget about that kind of thing.
Ah, have you heard about it? The legend of the fox who came as a messenger of the god Inari. That legend is about me.
I see. People your grandmother’s age might remember it. But you didn’t seem to notice when you looked at me. The young children of the past would have realised though. The children of today don’t believe in things they don’t usually see, hmm? That’s quite sad.
Hmm, so you live in a different area? You only come to see your cousins sometimes, so it’s no wonder you’ve forgotten the legends. I was sure that you had grown up around here.
Apartment? That’s the first time I’ve heard of that area.
It’s not an area, but a building? As you can see, I’m stuck inside this shrine and no one comes to visit. I don’t know much about the outside world.
What do you do in that place?
You’re a high schooler? What kind of job is that?
A student? I see. So you attend school. Come to think of it, small children gathered around here in the past and listened to the stories of an intelligent man, with a bright look in their eyes. School must be quite fun for you too.
Oh? You think it’s boring?
Exams test your academic ability, don’t they? You can understand how good you are at remembering things. I don’t think there’s anything to hate about them. If you hate learning, then why are you at school? It’s such a waste.
You do more than just study at school? You play a wind instrument? I think I can understand that somewhat. You play as part of an orchestra, don’t you?
Ah, you were playing at the festival today as well. I felt happy just hearing it. The sound of the flute rose up and the drum resounded. Listen carefully. You can even hear it faintly inside this shrine.
You can’t hear it? Humans can’t hear as well as I do. Alright. Follow me. Place your face against the door and put your ear there. Hold your hand over here. If you do, you can concentrate on the sounds coming from the right.
Can you hear it? Hmm?
It tickles? Are your ears your weak spot?
Hmm… How about if I touch them with my tail like this?
I’m sorry. Don’t get so angry. I didn’t think you were so ticklish.
Ah, I’m sorry. I caught my finger in your hair. You had put it up nicely, but now it’s come loose.
Oh… You tied it up yourself? You did it well, it really suits your yukata.
No, it’s not that bad. It’s only this part that has come loose.
Show me the other side too. Ah, it’s alright. But your hairpin is about to come out. Stay still.
A hairpin in the shape of a flower? It looks beautiful. I’ve put it back now. It won’t fall off again.
Hmm? You don’t need to thank me.
Hmm? What was that sound just now?
A cell phone? A message?
I can wait as long as it takes, but I don’t understand what you mean by “reply”.
What’s that thing hanging from that piece of wood? It looks like a netsuke . Is it a child’s toy? It looks too small for that though.
So this was the bell I kept hearing? Is it a decoration?
Ah, I’m sorry. It’ll break if I pull too hard.
A strap? Hmm…
Alright. I’ll wait quietly.
That piece of wood looks really shiny. Why do you keep touching it here and there with your fingers?
Something is moving inside it!
Emoticon? What’s that?
Sorry. I couldn’t help wanting to see it up close because it’s so interesting.
What was that just now? It said it sent something!
Ah, I see. I don’t really understand, but it’s a thing you can use to communicate with other people, even if they aren’t nearby.
The friends you were doing the test of courage with, hmm? They asked you to come back, didn’t they?
That’s right. Everyone will be worried. I’ve got to let you go back.
Is that alright? I’m happy to be able to talk to you for a little longer…
Is it okay to lie and say you’re looking at the festival by yourself for a little longer? Won’t they be suspicious if you’re not with someone else?
It’s alright if you normally do that then… You go to karaoke…by yourself?
You know a lot of things that I don’t know. Shall we talk for a little longer then? I’m sorry this place is too small for having a relaxed conversation.
Hmm? What is it? Tell me if you’re bothered by something.
You’re hungry? I see. Well, you were doing a test of courage. There are lots of food stalls at the shrine, so you could have done the test after getting something to eat. Something I could give you to eat… How about a rice ball?
The priest gave me an especially big one because of the festival today. I’m not sure if these will taste good together, but there’s fried tofu too. I’m not particularly hungry. Eat as much as you like.
Does it taste good? I see you were quite hungry. Eat the fried tofu too. Don’t rush like that. You might choke.
People say that fried tofu is the fox’s favourite food. I don’t really like it though. I wish people would realise that foxes each have their own likes and dislikes. But it’s no good for an adult to have likes and dislikes. Please keep it a secret.
You ate it all up. Are you full now?
I don’t need you to get me any food in return. I told you to eat as much as you like, you see. And if you go to buy some food, there’ll be less time for us to talk. Every thing you talk about and have is interesting to me.
Right. Could you show me that thing again? Your cell phone.
Can I touch it? I thought it was just a piece of wood, but it’s actually quite a mysterious thing. I’m surprised you can use it to communicate with other people who aren’t nearby.
You can read books on it too? Show me!
This is a story? So you normally read this kind of thing…
Have you got any others? Ah, this one’s got pictures.
Hmm… A comic? Just like the other story, this one is about love too. It seems like a story for adults. Is this alright for a child like you to read?
To me, you’re not that much different from a child who gets excited about being bought sweets from a festival stall. I think an adult is… Right…
They’re knowledgeable and have to be able to anything by themselves. They also have a tidy appearance. At the very least, they’d wear a yukata tidily.
Look. I can almost see your thigh. Now I can touch you all I want. If you show your leg carelessly like that, someone will end up touching you like that. If you don’t want that, fix it right away.
What is it? You can’t do it because the two sides won’t line up? I see you’re not used to wearing yukata. Don’t move around too much. The sash looks like it might fall off too.
So it’s difficult to do in this small shrine? There’s no other choice. You can change your position by kneeling, can’t you? I’ll fix it for you. Turn to face the door.
Look. You’re stepping on your clothes. You’re so clumsy! Hold onto my hand and turn around slowly.
That’s right. Move your knees slowly and make sure the yukata doesn’t come open.
Stop there. This sash has a lovely pattern. So this way of tying it is in fashion now? I remember that there are different ways of tying a sash based on region, time and status. Young girls are particularly interested in what’s fashionable.
I’m going to take off your sash now. It’s gotten so loose that retying it would be faster. Stay still.
I’m used to the dark. The moonlight coming through the paper door is enough for me. I can see well in the dark. I’ve taken the sash off now.
I hope I can tie it how it was before. Sorry, but I haven’t tied someone else’s sash before. I might not be able to do it that well, but please forgive me.
Raise your arm a little while holding onto the end of the sash. That’s right. I’m going to wind the obi round to the front.
Hmm? Did I touch your chest?
I’m not bothered by something unimportant like that.
I see. You’re right. I shouldn’t have said something like that to a young girl.
Oh my. Women have always been so strong-minded. I’m surprised you told me off. You really are an interesting girl. But don’t be too concerned about the size of your chest. It’ll change when you grow up.
Ah, I’m sorry. I didn’t think you’d be so happy. I wasn’t lying, but I honestly don’t know whether that will definitely happen.
I’m surprised you were able to poke me in the stomach immediately, when you can’t even put your own yukata properly!
I’m sorry. I should have thought carefully before saying something to cheer you up. Let me say it again. I don’t know what will happen in the future, but you should leave things to nature without worrying. It’ll be one thing that makes you who you are. Come on, don’t sulk about it forever. Let me finish.
I’ll take the long end and wind it round once. A second time.
I told you not to move, didn’t I? You really are ticklish. Stay still for a moment.
There’s quite a bit of the end left, but I’ll just make the tied part a little longer. I’ll tie it a bit tighter so it won’t come loose. It’s done.
Please put up with it being a little crooked. Japanese clothes really do look better when worn properly. Even though it’s just a yukata, it’s no good if you wear it untidily.
Let me see what you look like from the front. I’ll check that the two sides are in line with each other.
Yes, that’s good. The colour of this yukata goes well with your skin. Your wrist peeking out from the dark blue yukata. The pale colour of your wrist goes well with it.
That colour suits your dark eyes too. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen myself reflected in another person’s eyes. I’m glad I was able to change into a human quite well.
How do I look to you? Is my appearance strange?
I’m glad it isn’t. The last time I took the form of a human was a very long time ago. I worried that the way I transformed to surprise you when you came in was a little strange somehow.
The last time I took the form of a human was before I came to live in this shrine. I ran through the mountain paths in my original form. I ran onto a path which led to a main street. Because the weather was about to get worse, not many people were there that day. After a while, the rain began to pour down. I went to stand under the eaves of an old building, but someone was already there.
She had probably been asked to do an urgent errand. A girl was standing under the eaves, hoping to shelter from the rain. I wasn’t sure about going in, but I didn’t want my precious tail to get wet. I disguised myself as a human and stood beside the girl.
The rain stopped after half an hour, but the girl and I stayed there for a little while longer. Our only connection was having stood next to each other then, but we became friends after talking to one another.
The girl was an honest and gentle person. She was innocent enough to blush just because I teased her a little. From then on, I began to visit her hometown often. I liked her smile, which resembled a blooming flower. I wanted to see her all the time.
But I wonder why we were noticed. It’s hard to keep a secret forever. There was a rumour that I wasn’t human. I told the girl who I really was. Because I wanted her to know everything.
Then I told the girl that I wanted us to live together, and she felt the same way. I was so happy that I shouted out with joy when I returned home that night. That was the last time I saw her. She didn’t come to the place where we planned to meet and run away together.
It was no surprise. The girl was kind and innocent. She couldn’t abandon the parents who had raised her, in order to live with a strange creature. A little while later I heard a rumour that she married a man from a far away village.
I knew that chasing after her would be no good. Because we were different creatures. Humans are scared of things that aren’t human and try to avoid them. It’s only natural.
Why do you look as if you’re about to cry? This happened a very long time ago. I had completely forgotten about it until recently.
You really are a strange girl. But you’re very kind.
Come on. Don’t wipe away your tears with your yukata. It’s a shame to use that beautiful kimono for that. Look. I’ll wipe them away with my sleeve.
Those tears were for me, weren’t they? I should be the one who wipes them away. Look up. Your cheeks will get wet.
Your eyes will too.
Yes, that’s better.
 Netsuke – A miniature sculpture that was worn hanging on the sash of a kimono and was used as a container for a person’s belongings.
Could I ask you something? If you don’t mind, can I touch you for a little while? When I was warning you about your clothes earlier and tied your sash, the human warmth I felt brought back some memories. I suppose that there were some things I wanted to remember because I haven’t seen any humans for a while. The smooth sensation of a person’s body and the feeling of touching their cheeks.
I’m not sure what you were thinking, but I don’t feel that way about you. Don’t worry.
Hmm? You’re not happy about that either? Girls are so troublesome these days.
Is that alright?
Your cheeks are very warm. Your forehead. Your neck. Your hands.
Oh? Your nails are quite smooth. I didn’t notice that earlier. They’re shining in the light coming through the paper door.
Nail polish? A kind of makeup for nails? You look like you’re at the age where you there’s no need to be interested in makeup yet.
Your parents said that too? I suppose they would.
But you did your nails…and you have a little makeup on your face too. There’s a faint smell of face powder too. You put on makeup that wouldn’t be noticed.
The festival only happens once a year. Of course you’d want to dress up. I think that’s very cute. And…
No, I’m sorry. I couldn’t help looking at you. I wonder why. Maybe because the moon has risen, I can see you better than before. I thought you were a pretty girl when I looked at you again, because of that yukata and the subtle makeup you’re wearing.
You still seem a little immature, but in a few years, I’m sure you’ll have the beauty of an adult. I’m not just saying it this time. I’ve observed countless people and my judgement is certain. I’m sure you’ll be a beautiful woman in the future. I’m certain of it.
I won’t get to see you like that though. You’re human. When you go outside, back to your daily life, we won’t meet again.
Hmm? There’s something small and dark on the floor…
No, I’m sure of it. There it is! I wonder what kind of insect it is. It’s down by your feet.
Hey! Don’t jump up all of a sudden! Your yukata will come loose again. Stop pulling on my kimono too!
Alright, alright. You can hold onto me, but just calm down. You’re not scared when we’re close together like this, are you?
That’s right. Good girl.
Do you hate insects?
You were bitten by one when you were younger? It must have hurt, because longicorn beetles have quite strong jaws. So what insect has come inside my shrine?
Ah, you don’t have to look. Just keep your head close to my chest.
I wonder where it disappeared to. It’s not on the floor. It’s not on the ceiling either.
Hmm? The paper door behind you.
Oh. It was just a speck of dirt. I made you worried, didn’t I? Sorry about that.
Ah, it’s in that corner. You don’t have to be so tense. Have a look. It’s a cricket. It won’t bite you. You’re not afraid, are you?
The cricket’s cry sounds lovely.
Oh dear. It’s gone. I suppose it found a gap in the floor. That’s too bad, I would have liked to have listened for a little longer.
Hmm? Your shoe? It probably got thrown somewhere because you were struggling so much.
Ah, it was behind me. There’s a decoration on its strap. Even wooden sandals are becoming stylish now. There’s some dirt on it.
It’s alright now. Come on, show me your foot. Hold onto my shoulder if it’s difficult to do that. Stay still. Now I can’t even get hold of the strap.
All I did was touch the top of your foot. I wonder what might happen if I touched the other side.
Telling me not to tickle you only makes me want to do it even more.
Ah. It’s no good holding onto both my hands. You forgot about my tail, didn’t you? I’ve got more than one. Two, three, four. Your voice is really cute when you laugh.
What about your neck? Your ears?
Hey! You don’t need to tickle me too! It’s a hundred years too soon for that! No matter where you touch me, it doesn’t bother me.
It’s true. See, I’m fine.
Don’t tickle my ears! That’s my only weak spot! My goodness! I’m surprised you noticed.
Your pet dog is the same? I told you not to compare me to a dog! Here’s your punishment.
Alright. I understand. I won’t do it again. I couldn’t help tricking you because your face looks so cute and innocent when you laugh. Forgive me. I’ve got to give your shoe back. Show me your foot.
Hmm? It doesn’t tickle anymore, does it? Why are you so restless?
You’ve got an itch? Where? Show me.
Your ankle is red and a little swollen. You got bitten by a mosquito, didn’t you? It probably happened on your way here. Don’t scratch it. You shouldn’t do anything that might scar your beautiful legs.
You can’t help it? I’ll heal it especially for you then. Sit down on the floor. Put your legs in front. Raise the leg that itches a little.
Hey! Don’t struggle. I’ve got the ability to heal injuries and pain. I’ll put my lips there and take the pain away.
Well? It doesn’t itch anymore, does it? Have you got an itch or injury anywhere else? I’ll heal any other ones too.
I’m only doing it to show you I’m thankful you’re talking to me. You don’t have to be shy. I’ll look for them myself if you don’t tell me. Look. An insect has bitten you on your wrist too.
They’ve started to heal now, but I can see signs that there was a rash on your cheek and forehead.
Your ear… Did you get cut by a leaf? There’s a scratch on the edge. Let me take a closer look. Just a little more.
Your body feels warmer. Your ears are bright red. I can even feel the warmth in my lips.
Now they’re all better. There’s not one scratch left. I healed everything I could see.
Hmm? This kind of thing is easy. Should I check the places I can’t see too?
Your lower neck. Your upper arm. Your back. Your hips. There might also be scratches or insect bites in places that are covered by clothing. I’m going to look at them all. Don’t worry. I’ll put your yukata back on afterwards.
I won’t go any further than this. I don’t want you to end up hating me. It may have been a chance meeting, but now we’re talking together like this. I’d like us to enjoy our time together. Then you’ll stay in my mind after you’ve gone back to your normal life. You’ll always be smiling in my memories, won’t you? I’ll be able to enjoy the long hours from now on.
Ah. Can you hear it? There’s a sound which makes the air tremble. Fireworks are being let off from the top of the mountain. The fireworks look beautiful when you see them through the paper doors. They look good when you see them up close, but this is fun too. Doesn’t seeing the paper doors coloured like this feel like an illusion?
Come here. Lean against me. Let’s look at them together for a while.
I wonder if I’ve enjoyed the fireworks like this with someone else before.
The salesperson in charge of the stall. The child who won a goldfish from the goldfish scooping game. The young people strolling along the path. They all look up at the flowers blooming in the night sky. This is one thing that has never changed. But I feel as if I haven’t enjoyed these fireworks with anyone else.
With that woman? No, not even once. We might have had the opportunity if we lived together though.
You’re right. Even though I’ve lived a long time, there are still some things I can experience for the first time. I’m happy to experience one of those with you.
Ah, the sanshakudama which signals the end of the festival has been let off. Now the shrine grounds will be filled with an orange light. It’s an especially large firework.
It’s really bright. Thanks to that, I can clearly remember your face.
Now the festival is over. You have to return to where you live. I’m glad I met you. I thought I would play a little trick on you and chase you out immediately when you came in, but you seemed so bright to me, that I felt comfortable and I couldn’t help letting you stay.
It’s really late now. Thank you for talking to me. Go on, return to the outside world.
We might meet again. But this night will probably be the one and only time. I said this was fate, but fate takes many forms. Spending a lifetime together. Meeting and parting, time and time again. An encounter that only happens once. I’m sure you’ll think that this was a dream when you return to your daily life.
But that doesn’t matter. You’ve been able to dream for one night and I’ve been given a small memory of something. That’s enough. I can’t take you back home, but I’ll give you a will-o-wisp instead. There’s nothing to be afraid of. Go home without worrying. Thank you.
Take care going home. It’s been a long time since I’ve had so much fun.
You won’t let this become like a dream, hmm?
As you were leaving, you said something that made me happy. But the memory of this night will fade as you go about your daily life. Because we live in different worlds.
It looks like this snow will settle pretty well. There should be some impressive icicles under the eaves of this shrine.
Hmm? It’s unusual for someone to visit in this weather.
You really are a curious girl.
Yes, you really didn’t let our meeting become like a dream.
Me? I… No, I actually wanted it to be more than a memory. Somewhere in my heart, I was waiting for the day you’d come.
You must be cold standing there in the snow. Come here, underneath the eaves of the shrine. It’s gotten quite cold. It seems that our fate means more than just meeting once. Thank you for coming to see me. I’m happy.
Thanks for listening to Hakozume CD: Okitsune-sama to Issho ni Hakozume. I’m Morikawa Toshiyuki, the voice actor for Okitsune-sama. This CD was recorded using the dummy head mic, so I was moving around like this while recording. I enjoyed doing it. I had the freedom of moving around while recording, though the setting of the CD was inside a small shrine. It felt strange to do this recording, but it was a lot of fun too. Ah, sorry about that.
Have you experienced a situation which made your heart beat faster?
Well… When I was younger it was things like going on dates or holding hands. That was quite a long time ago though.
Some time ago, I got stuck in an elevator. I was alone in that elevator with a woman. This took place while I was attending an event. The elevator was a service elevator used for carrying objects, which was at the back of the event hall. It was quite a simple elevator, the lattice gate closed with a clanging noise and the elevator started going up. The door was just a gate, and you could easily see outside of the elevator.
The female staff member and I were going to the top of the event hall, which had seven or eight floors. The elevator was only lit by a single light, and it travelled up the building in darkness. That old elevator was about the size of 1.5 tatami . I remember it being a very small elevator.
So why did that situation make my heart beat faster? The elevator stopped part of the way up. I think it was on the third floor. That elevator was made to travel from the first floor directly to the top, and so there was no way to get out. I remember my heart beating faster after I had been in the elevator for a little while. It wasn’t because of the female staff member. I don’t really like small and dark spaces, so I remember my heart beating faster while I was hoping the elevator would reach the top quickly.
There was a button which would connect you to the management office in the building. A man soon answered and said “Yes, what is it?” I replied to him “The elevator stopped moving!” The man told me to open the door wide.
Isn’t that scary? It was pitch black! Then he said the elevator would start moving again if the door was closed tightly. So the door hadn’t been closed properly. I was able to get to the seventh floor safely once I had closed the door. That situation made my heart beat faster, but it wasn’t exciting at all!
I recommend that everyone says calm and quiet if they get stuck in an elevator. Try not to work up too much of a sweat. I think most of the people listening to this will be women. Well, men should be careful about what they do in that type of situation. It seems that I’ve run out of time. Is that right? I think I’ve said quite a lot.
This was Morikawa Toshiyuki, the voice actor for Okitsune-sama. I hope you’ll enjoy this very much! Goodbye!
 One tatami mat measures around 88cm by 1.76m.