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TIGHT ACCOMMODATIONS

    宿

  by Rodney E.J. Chang

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Kuniku Watanabe, a recognized master craftsman, represented the fifth generation to continue the legacy of his family’s infamous business. In his small Japanese town on the outskirts of Fukushima City, during the early morning of the day of the big earthquake, tidal wave, and disaster at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Kuniku was busy sanding down a long wooden cedar box.

渡边库尼是个公认的大师级手艺人,他传承着他的家族那门不怎么招人待见的生意。在这个福岛市外围的小镇里,在那天那场大地震、海啸导致福岛第一核电站灾难到来的那个清晨,库尼正忙着用砂纸磨一具长长的雪松木箱

 

 

This particular one is deserving of royalty, Kuniku proudly surmised.

这具特别的棺材应该被王室的人青睐,库尼自豪的琢磨着。

 

 

But whom am I kidding? he thought as he smirked. These days the royals want laminated resin composites with high tech manufactured decoration, not my traditional- but now considered old fashion, handcrafted wooden boxes. Japan is changing along with the rest of the world. Everything today is mass-produced, milled and assembled by robots! Everything today, including my industry, is produced by big factories. I belong in a former century!

      可我又在糊弄谁呀?他一边傻笑一边想。这年月的王室成员都要镀膜的树脂合成材料,还得带着高科技的装饰。这跟我传统,也就是他们说的守旧的手工木箱子大相径庭。日本和全世界一样都在发生变化。今天的所有东西都是量产型,由研磨机和机器人制造!今天的所有东西,包括我这门产业,都是由大工厂制造的。我这落伍的人还停留在上世纪呢!

 

 

       Even if everybody in town and the surrounding villages knew master craftsman Watanabe made the best custom coffins, there indeed was major competition to bury the dead. International chain outlets ruled the burial market in big cities. The fancy showroom of a company’s line of shiny resin-coated coffins under dramatic lighting was as impressive as a car dealership displaying its polished new vehicles. Plus, through mass production made possible due to automation, the slick coffins were much cheaper than Kuniku’s that were crafted by hand, one coffin at a time. And Fukushima City was close enough to his town to snatch away many of the bodies of family members that for centuries were from families that had been loyal to his family business.

      尽管是当地远近闻名的大师级匠人,渡边确实经受着殡仪业的巨大竞争。国际连锁网点主宰了大城市中的殡仪业。那些在展示室中闪亮的、带着树脂涂层棺材在戏剧性的灯光下,好像一辆卖车店向人们展示的抛光了光的新车一样。此外,自动化生产的技术使棺材的批量生产成为可能,那些华而不实的棺材比库尼手工制作的、一次一个的棺材便宜得多。他的家族在几个世纪内积累的忠诚回头客现在都被那相离不远的福岛市里的那些现代棺材门抢走了。

     

 

“But now price is more important than loyalty and loving craftsmanship,” he complained to any friend who would bother to listen, usually when they sat together in a Geisha house, drunken from too much sake wine. Many a times he went alone but sat with a geisha girl, obliged to sit and listen, even if disinterested in the drunkard’s gripe, for the yen.

可现在价钱才是硬道理,比忠心啊手艺人的爱呀什么的都重要,他向每个懒得听他废话的朋友抱怨道,大多数时候是当他们一起坐在艺妓屋里醉醺醺地喝清酒的时候。有好几次他一个人去艺妓屋,然后找个艺妓女孩,她就坐在那听他唠叨,尽管对这个醉鬼的抱怨丝毫不感兴趣,可是为了亮堂堂的日元也只有作罢。

 

 

       As the forty-two year-old bachelor worked, he took another drag from the cigarette that dangled from his mouth. His rice wine bottle awaited him when he was done for the day. Kuniku had a true passion for his craft, besides the booze. The expert really enjoyed the intricate woodwork required for quality coffin construction. He took pleasure in the art of inlaying natural polished stones and fragments of iridescent oyster shell as ornamentation in honor of the deceased. Such simple pleasures, plus his serious drinking and smoking, were enough to keep Kuniku satisfied with his dwindling means. The coffin builder had no choice but to make due with what he had.

      这个四十二岁的单身汉一边工作一边抽口嘴角斜叼着的香烟。他的米酒瓶子等着他工作归来。除了喝酒,库尼对他的手艺还是相当有热情的。这个行家确实喜欢这错综复杂的木工活,造棺材并不是一件简单的事。他喜欢镶嵌被天然打磨光滑的石头,也喜欢那用来纪念死者荣耀的彩虹牡蛎壳。这种简单的快乐连同库尼对烟酒的嗜好足以使他对过一天少一天的日子保持满意的态度。这个造棺材的匠人有没有选择生活的余地,只能维持着现状。

 

 

       Every woman that he had courted passed on him. No woman, nor her family whom she would have to get consent from, wanted a coffin maker as a husband. Watanabe’s physical appearance did not help matters. Now he was over forty, seriously balding across the top and forehead region, and what remain sprouting was now white on black. A bulging belly carried by a small man of short stature also didn’t help him with the women. The decades of long hours laboring over detail work under poor lighting conditions led to his poor vision and bad posture. He always squinted through his thick glasses as he worked, consequently developing facial wrinkles that made him appear older than his age. Breathing in all the sawdust over the years contributed to his chronic lung congestion. The bad working environment partnered with his four-packs-a-day nicotine habit to assault his respiratory condition. The old shop needed better ventilation not just for the dust that swirled about but also for the solvent aerosols that arose in the construction of containers for the dead. The toxic low-grade fumes were clandestinely gradually fixating his lung tissue. Kuniku erroneously contributed this source of lung deterioration also to his smoking. It was getting progressively more difficult to breathe. He promised himself to cut back – again, but also – again, in the New Year. He was hopelessly hooked on his smokes as well as his booze.

     每个他追求过的女人都离他而去。女人和她们的家人都无法接受他,因为没人想要找个棺材匠做丈夫。渡边的外貌也是歪瓜裂枣一般。现在他都四十多了,头秃得像个地中海,而仅存的那点头发又开始变白。他又矮又小,可却有个突出的大肚子,这更让他不得女人喜欢。几十年在微弱灯光下的细活磨坏了他的视力,也搞驼了他的背。干活时他眯着眼睛,带着瓶底厚的眼镜,脸上的皱纹让他看起来要比实际年龄更老。乱飞的锯末被他吸进体内,让他的肺部常年淤血。这恶劣的工作环境让他成了个一天要抽四包烟的烟囱,这让他的呼吸更加不畅了。他的老店铺需要更好的通风,而不应该让灰啊锯末啊这些雾霾在装死人的箱子里升起来,然后在屋子里乱飞。这些有毒的烟雾在不知不觉间让他的肺更加严重,这更加地让他难以呼吸了。库尼还以为是吸烟使他的肺变坏了。他觉得呼吸变得越来越困难了。他也曾发誓要戒烟,一次又一次地发誓,直到新年来临。他是个无药可救的烟鬼,也是个无法自拔的酒鬼。

 

 

Nobody else was in the shop at this time. The day started bright enough with a promising, red, rising sun. But by mid-morning, dark gray clouds blanketed the whole sky, adding a prevailing sense of gloom, even doom to village life. The cloud cover extinguished the early warmth of the sun, making the outside air frosty, even worse than the usual bone chilling weather for this time of late winter. He noticed people scurrying by on the streets.

这时铺子里没有别人。天随着升起来的红日亮起来,看起来是个好天。可到了上午,乌云带着阴霾的气氛布满了天空,好像要昭示着这个乡村的噩运。云层使太阳带来的那点热量消失殆尽,使室外的空气冷若冰霜,这甚至比深冬那寒冷的天气还要冷。他看见人们在街头疾走。

 

 

Must be a huge storm coming this way, thought the diminutive fellow with mole-like eyes and facial expression, due to a receded chin and small pointed nose.

一定要来大暴风雨了,这个矮子眯着眼想道,他缩着的下巴和尖尖的鼻子让他看起来像个鼹鼠。

 

 

Earlier, to help preserve the interior’s warmth, Kuniku had shut all the windows. He worked by the light of his hanging shop lamp. What daylight that succeeded in penetrating inside was of little value in illuminating his in-progress works of art. So he considered each and every one of his completed coffins.

早些时候库尼为了室内保温而关了窗子。他在铺子内吊灯的光照下干活。照进屋子的、映亮他的手艺的日光少的可怜。他琢磨着他那一个个完成的棺材。

 

 

       I put all my love into my constructions, he introspected. So, even if others don’t appreciate it, I know I am making true works of art. Even if they are coffins. Those who are fortunate to occupy my treasures will forever be in accommodations with style as well as class. Maybe the dead can even feel the love that I put into my work; maybe this is some sort of solace for all my efforts. I add my humble respect and lovely farewell to each and every person that goes into the next world within my creations. A robot in a factory, that mindless machine that merely assembles burial boxes, cannot do that!

     我在手艺中倾注了我的爱心,他自醒道。所以即使别人不欣赏它,我还是知道我的作品是真正的艺术。尽管它们只是棺材。那些有幸得到我的宝贝的人们将永远地住在这有品位又有型的住所里。也许死人也能感受到我倾注的爱心;也许这是我所有努力的慰藉。我把谦卑的尊敬和爱意的永别献给在我的创造中进入另一个世界的人们。一个工厂中的机器人还有那些没有心的机器只能草草地组装埋死人的箱子罢了,它们做不到我所做的!

 

 

Kuniku felt the ground tremble. He took a moment off from his sanding and looked towards one of the wall’s windows. Its glass plane was rattling, threatening to crack at any moment. It looked dark and perilous outside, even if it was still daytime. He watched the cherry blossom tree outside his window, stripped naked of leaves and flowers, shudder violently as it was whipsawed by torrent gusts.

库尼感到地面在颤抖。他停止磨砂,然后望向墙上的窗户。窗户的玻璃在吱吱作响,好像随时都可能碎掉。外面看起来又黑又吓人,尽管外面还是白天。他看着窗外那因飓风瑟瑟发抖的樱花树,它掉光了叶子和花。

 

 

What an appropriate day to die, he contemplated as he grinned, a cigarette dangling from a corner of his mouth. Maybe it’s a sign from nature that my business will be picking up soon. So blow as hard as you wish, my temperamental friend. We are both servants of Death.

今日不下地狱又在何时,他一边微笑一边沉思,嘴角照例挂着香烟。些许这是大自然要我生意变火的征兆。尽管吹吧,越大越好,我倔强的朋友。我们都是死神的仆人。

 

 

Suddenly, deafening sirens muted the blowing winds, making them no longer audible within his workshop. The harsh shrills pierced Kuniku’s sensitive ears, accustomed to the peaceful silence that characterized his workspace.

突然间,他在铺子里听到那震耳欲聋的警报声,大得盖过了风声。尖锐的声音刺穿他在这寂静的铺子中工作而变得敏锐的耳朵。

 

 

     What could this mean? Is this more than a bad storm approaching us?” the coffin maker questioned. He went to the cooking area at a room corner and, after wiping off the sawdust that accumulated on top of it, turned on his old portable radio. A public announcement was on, blaring over every radio station. Kuniku only heard (in Japanese) “...seek shelter immediately, major earthquake is now…” before the radio shut down, along with all the lights in the aged building. Suddenly, it was almost as dark as night in the shop.

      这是怎么了,难道还有比暴风雨更坏的东西要来吗?这个棺材匠问道。他走到屋子一角的厨房,拂去桌上积累的锯末,然后打开了他的老旧的便携式收银机。所有的电台都在播报一条紧急公告,库尼只听到(日语的)“……立即寻找掩体,大地震就要……”然后收银机就没声了,和这个上了年纪的屋子里的灯光一起都停止了工作。刹那间铺子里暗得和黑夜一样。

 

 

As he quickly made his way on the vibrating ground to fetch a flashlight from his storage wall cabinet, the floorboards abruptly shook violently, knocking Kuniku clear off his feet. Falling face first, his chin hit the wooden planks hard. The force knocked him out cold for a minute or two.

他在颤抖的地面上快速走到储藏室那里,并拿了一个手电筒,剧烈抖动的地板把库尼撂倒在地。他摔了个狗啃屎,下巴狠狠地撞到了地板。这股力量让他晕了一小会儿。

 

 

He was lying on the floor when he regained consciousness. When he came to his senses, Kuniku spotted his eyeglasses dithering on the unstable flooring, now with one lens missing. He didn’t bother putting them back on in its damaged condition. Kuniku noticed that his lower lip was starting to swell, the upper front teeth felt loose, and he could taste blood in his mouth. He touched the wounded area with his fingers. Instant sharp pain took center stage over the dull but constant throbbing sensation. He wiped away some dripping blood and spat out more that was pooling in his mouth. But Kuniku realized that he had more serious concerns to focus his attention on.

他恢复了意识,发现自己躺在地上。他发现眼镜在不平稳的地上抖动着,其中一片镜片已经不知所踪。库尼没管那摔坏的眼镜,他发现下唇开始发肿,并且上牙也松动了,嘴里也有血的味道。他摩挲着受伤的手指,尖锐的痛感向他袭来。他抹去嘴角的血,然后又吐出了一些。但是库尼发现有比这更严重的问题。

 

 

      The whole house now shuddered, trembling as if it was afraid to soon be squashed like a little cockroach by some evil force that was about to pounce upon it.

      现在整个房子都在颤抖,就好一只即将被某个邪恶力量拍扁的、担惊受怕的小蟑螂一样。

 

 

Kuniku himself started to shiver in fear as he witnessed his hanging lamp swinging wildly as if it was possessed. The light’s gyrations were accompanied by the dreadful clamor of his precious collection of raku plates crashing into smithereens on the floor. One by one, cherished tools mounted on the wall gave way to also strike the floor.

库尼看到他吊灯发疯似地摆来摆去并吓得发抖。回旋的灯光伴着他那真贵的乐烧盘子落地摔碎的声音。一个接一个地,那些挂在墙上的珍贵器皿掉到地上摔个粉碎。

 

 

It’s the Big One, he reckoned with alarm. It’s always been just talk but now here it is! he concluded, even yet with a degree of disbelief of the reality that “this is it.”

这次是动真格的了,他辨认出了警报声。以前一直都是狼来了,可这次是真来了!他想,尽管他还是有点怀疑这次大地震是不是真的不是狼来了。

 

 

Bouncing about on the ground, it dawned on him that,

从地上弹起后,一个思绪笼罩着他,

 

 

This must be how the end of the world feels!

这大概就是世界末日的感觉罢!

 

 

Almost simultaneously all the windows’ glass blew out. It was like a bomb blast, with glass shards being hurled all over the place. With survival instincts still in tact, he was quick enough to shield his face from flying razor sharp fragments. His arms and legs stung, however. He looked at his limbs and saw multiple bleeding cuts. He sacrificed some time to pick off small pieces of glass that were impaled in his exposed limbs. It hurt badly as he yanked each out, but he had no choice if he wanted to use his legs to attempt an escape from the roof that was threatening to collapse.

于此同时,只听哗的一声,窗户的玻璃全碎了。就像被炸弹炸碎一样,所有的玻璃碎片都呼啸着飞向各处。藉由生存的本能,他来得及护住他的脸,防止被那些飞来的锋利碎片割伤。可他的胳膊和腿都被玻璃割伤了。他看到四肢上出现了好几处血口子。他花了点时间从四肢上拔出了一些小玻璃片,每拔一片都有钻心的疼痛传来,可是为了用这双老腿来跑路他也顾不得那么多了,因为房顶随时都有塌下来的可能。

 

 

A  philosophical  consideration  occurred  to Kuniku; he could not help reflecting upon it.

Is this how the famous Watanabe coffin-making tradition ends? In calamity, now itself buried by a restless Mother Nature? After over four hundred years of dedication and tradition, and this is how it all ends?

       库尼脑中突然闪现了一个挺有哲理的想法;在这紧急关头,他却忍不住想道。这就是大名鼎鼎渡边棺材店终结的时刻吗?难道不安的大自然母亲要亲手将它埋葬吗?四百年的老字号啊,难道就要这样结束吗?

 

 

Now the old workplace was really rumbling. Some of the floorboards were starting to splinter, a crack opened up at one corner of the foundation. Mud oozed in from the opening. Stenchy ground water started seeping in. Above, the roof was now violently shaking.

现在这个老铺子开始剧烈地颠簸。一些地板开始破碎,地基上出现了一个裂口。泥巴从裂口中涌出来。恶臭的地下水也开始渗进。而上面呢,房顶已经开始剧烈地抖动了。

 

 

No more time for philosophizing! But if I can just get to my cigarettes and my sake bottle...

没时间想这些大道理了!要是让我带上香烟和清酒瓶子该多好啊……

 

 

Kuniku’s carnal desires were cut short by a loud ripping sound from above. He looked out a window and gaped at a sheet of corrugated metal roofing as it plunged to the ground. Then, just as quickly, it was snatched by turbulent updraft, took flight like a magic carpet, then disappeared out of sight. It was all so surreal. Kuniku peered above the window and saw the tumultuous sky, exposed at the section where the roofing had been stripped away. A strong gust rushed in through the breach, flinging unsecured objects and furnishings about. Kuniku managed to dodge a small stool, then a hammer that came spiraling towards him.

库尼的烟酒欲被头上裂开的巨响打破了。他目瞪口呆地从窗户看到一块曲折的金属屋顶坠到地上。随后便被抖动的地面踢得上下翻腾,活像一张阿拉伯魔法飞毯,然后便消失在他的视野中。一切都是如此虚幻。库尼凝视着窗户的上面,透过那已经缺了一块的屋顶,他看到了喧嚣的天空,一阵强风从屋顶的漏洞吹进来,吹动不牢靠的物品和家具。 库尼躲开一个小凳子,然后又躲过一个转着圈朝他飞来的锤子。

 

 

At this point, the coffin maker feared for his very life. It was time to immediately find refuge inside, with the roof’s collapse eminent. The dwelling had no cellar.

这时这个棺材匠觉得他的小命已经岌岌可危了。房顶的塌陷意味着他应该马上找一个避难所。而这座房子却没有地下室。

 

Not a good place to escape an earthquake, he surmised. But I cannot run outside with all the dangerous debris flying about.

这不是个躲避地震的最佳地点,他琢磨道。可我要是跑到外面呢,那些乱飞的碎片可是会要了我的老命的。

 

 

Even as he frantically tried to think what to do to have a chance to survive the worst, the alcoholic found himself glancing across the room at the sake bottle, now rolling back and forth on the floor, surprisingly still intact. It tempted him to risk scrambling there to retrieve it.

他发疯地想着如何才能躲过这场灾难,这个酒鬼却开始盯着屋子那端在地上滚来滚去的清酒瓶子看了,那瓶子居然还没碎。它让他有了跌跌撞撞地走到那去把它捡起来的冲动。

 

 

If only I could get one last drink, – plus a cigarette!

让我再喝上最后一口吧,再抽上一支烟就更好了!

 

 

       But he knew he had no time to waste crawling for the bottle as now the roofing joints were failing from the vibrating forces which made them rock, rattle, and roll. He could see more exposed open sky between the increasing cracks of the quivering roof joints. His tools were rolling and bouncing all over the floor.

   可是他知道已经没有时间去捡那个瓶子了,因为屋顶已经开始崩坏,强烈的震感使它的裂口越来越大,碎片向四处滚去,更大片的天空从屋顶的裂口进入他的视野中。他的工具到处滚着,在地上跳来跳去。

 

 

It came to him in a flash. And just in the nick of time.

一个想法猛然地闪现,就在那一瞬之间。

 

 

Kuniku darted towards the closest coffin. It didn’t matter which one. They were all so sturdily built - of much better durability than any factory constructed one.

库尼跑向离他最近的棺材,不管哪个都是结结实实地制造的——要比工厂那些量产型结实多了。

 

 

He laid himself in a mahogany coffin and closed the lid just as time ran out. A split second later, the whole roof came crashing down. It was one violent thud after another upon his sheltered space. It seemed like his coffin was under personal attack, as if some demonic force wanted to get to him.

他躺到一个桃花心木棺材里,然后及时地盖上了盖子。就在半秒钟后,整个屋顶塌陷了。屋顶猛烈地拍在了他的屋子里。那屋顶就好像直直地对着他的棺材来的,好像有个恶魔般的力量要把他置之死地。

 

The deafening commotion outside his coffin lasted for about ten minutes. Kuniku’s adrenaline was completely drained. He shook violently within the confines, unable to control his shocked nervous system. He thought about how badly he needed that drink or a smoke.

棺材外震耳欲聋的动荡持续了大概十分钟。库尼的肾上腺素达到了顶点。他在棺材的框框里剧烈地颤抖着,无法让他的受惊的神经系统保持镇静。他此时非常需要点酒或者一支烟。

 

 

Finally the blows upon his barrier ceased. There were the sounds of straggling objects dropping to the ground. At last, stillness was once more upon him; the ground had stopped shaking.

最后,外面的巨响终于消停了。外面传来物体零零落落地落地声。最终的最终,寂静终于降临了;大地终于停止了震动。

 

 

It was pitch black inside. Was it over? Did he survive the earthquake? Why was it now so deathly quiet?

棺材内漆黑一片。结束了吗?他活过这场地震了吗?为什么却死一般的寂静呢?

 

 

It was becoming difficult to breathe in there. And hot from his body’s heat. He was sweating profusely. He started to feel trapped.

棺材里的呼吸变得越来越困难了,他的体热也无法散去。他开始大汗淋漓,并感觉自己被困住了。

 

 

Kuniku hadn’t designed the coffin with ventilation for breathing. Why would he have? He built resting places for the dead, not the living.

库尼并没有在棺材上设计通风系统。因为他并不需要这么做啊,这是造给死人的安息地,并不是活人的游乐场。

 

 

Now that it had been quiet and still for a while, Kuniku felt assured that the danger outside had passed. The coffin maker readied himself to push up on the lid. He knew it had a tight, perfected fit. As a master craftsman he took pride in the precision work.

现在外面又安静又稳定,库尼感觉外面的危险好像已经过去了。这个棺材匠准备推棺材盖。他知道棺材盖造得严丝合缝。一个大师级的手艺人以做好如此的细活为荣。

 

 

       Kuniku procrastinated on the attempt, fearful to test what might be his new ominous situation. But now, out of the necessity to breathe, Kuniku extended his arms in the black void until his hands touched the underside of the coffin’s lid. He spent a moment to muster up the necessary courage. The coffin maker knew how well he had crafted the lid to fit the box; and he realized it had a huge load of debris on top of it.

      库尼没有马上开始尝试,他恐怕陷入了新的困境。出于呼吸的需要,库尼在黑暗的虚无中伸出他的双手,摸着棺材盖的里面。他气运丹田,聚集了一股勇气。这个棺材匠知道他盖子是造得严丝合缝的;他也意识到了外面有块巨大的碎片压在棺材上。

 

 

Kuniku held his breath, and then with a samurai yell to elicit courage and aggression, pushed up hard upon the cover.

库尼屏住呼吸,然后像个武士一样大喝一声,尽显勇气和威武,向上推了棺材盖。

 

 

To his horror, the lid didn’t budge! Not a fraction of an inch, not even a millimeter. He was enclosed within a constructed masterpiece that melded form and function.

可怕的是,盖子动都没动!连丝毫的距离都没有移动,哪怕是一毫米。他被这个大师级的作品困住了,棺材和盖子已经融合在一起了。

 

 

He desperately tried again. No movement. There were too much fallen objects on top of the box, including splintered beams from the roof.

他绝望地又试了一次。还是一动不动。除了屋顶的碎片,棺材顶上压了太多的东西了。

 

 

Repeatedly he pushed in desperation, but always to no avail. He was panting now. Oxygen as well as his energy was diminishing. His lungs ached from the exertion as well as the ever-decreasing supply of oxygen, and of course, from the already compromised tissue condition.

他在绝望中一次又一次地尝试,可终究没有成功。他现在气喘吁吁。氧气和他的体力一样消耗殆尽。他的肺因为缺氧而开始疼痛,他的病情更是让这缺氧的情况雪上加霜。

 

 

Kuniku pushed upwards once more, accompanied with a holler. Not this time like that of a samurai warrior, but instead with a cry for help - that nobody could hear.

库尼怨念地又向上推了一次。这次再也没有了武士般的气魄,而更像是是无人能听见的绝望的哭泣。

 

 

Poor Kuniku knew it was hopeless to try and punch, elbow, or kick out a side. He had applied all the family secrets to build his boxes as indestructible as possible. And he even constructed them without the use of any nails!

可怜的库尼知道再推也是徒劳,不管是用手,用胳膊肘还是用脚踢。他用尽了家传的秘籍来把这个棺材造得铜头铁臂。而这棺材甚至连一颗钉子都没用到!

 

Kuniku’s former satisfaction of knowing that his coffins would still be intact, long after his competitors’ had long fallen apart in their burial grounds, now paradoxically turned to regret.

他竞争对手的棺材在长眠地下都崩离坏裂,只有他才造得出永垂不朽的棺材。可是,库尼之前对于棺材保持完好的满意已经变成了悔恨。

 

 

But his terror eventually gave way to pride that his box had survived everything that the mighty earthquake could throw at it. That his constructed enclosure had spared him from the quake itself was some sort of moral victory. He felt satisfaction from the realization that the quake had demolished everything in his shop and the building itself, but had failed to do the same to his well-built coffin.

他的恐惧感渐渐被他的自豪感掩盖了,因为他造得出连大地震都无法摧毁的棺材。他虽然被棺材关住了,可是这是一次士气上的伟大胜利。他对这场连他的铺子都能夷为平地的地震却无法摧毁他的做工优良的棺材十分满意。

 

 

Slowly his remorse for his predicament gave way to acceptance of his fate. Kuniku managed a faint smile as he weakened and drifted towards unconsciousness, suffocating from the dwindling oxygen within. His final thoughts included the comprehension that he had built a worthy vessel to take him to the next life. Kuniku didn’t care anymore that he would never leave his creation. If he had known, he would have chosen, for himself, the top of the line that was in stock in the shop. The one that he was in was “plain vanilla,” without any ornamental embellishments. But there had been no time to get into one adorned with more glitz.

       他渐渐停止了对所处困境的悔恨,而开始接受他的命运。库尼勉强地笑着,由于缺氧,他变得又虚又弱,渐渐地开始失去意识了。他最终的想法是,他建造了一个配得上他的容器来带着他进入另一个世界。库尼再也不用担心与他的杰作分开了。如果他能够选择的话,他一定会选择店里最好的棺材。他躺在的是一口白米饭般的棺材,没有任何端庄的镶嵌。可惜他当时没有时间来选择更华丽的棺材。

      

       Kuniku’s last thought was hallucinatory. He saw himself dead, hands folded together across his chest, perfectly at peace, lying in an opulent vessel fit for an Egyptian pharaoh, as it sailed in a sea of the Dead, ablaze by a red sunset.

       库尼最后的思绪开始变得充满幻觉。他看见自己的死亡,双手交叠着放在胸前,处于完美的和平之中,躺在一口丰饶华丽的棺材中,就如同埃及法老们用的那样。他在红日炙热的映照下向死亡之海航行着。

 

 

 

A few days later, a rescue crew had arrived to search this particular village of the quake-stricken prefecture, recessed enough from the sea so that the tidal wave that inundated Fukushima did not reach it. After digging through depths of rubble, the workers discovered, and then unearthed the coffins. Amazingly, the entire inventory was not destroyed. Oh, there were nicks and dents, but all were intact.

几天之后,一个救援队来到这个村子地震后的残垣断壁中搜索。由于远离大海,所以淹没福岛的海啸没能将魔爪伸向这个村子。在瓦砾中深挖很久之后,那些工人们发现了那些被掩埋的棺材。令人惊奇的是,所有的棺材都安然无恙。当然了,一些凹陷和刮痕还是难免的,可是大部分都是完好无损的。

 

 

One of the rescue workers said to another, “This is a great find. Nobody alive here at this place but these coffins are just what we need with so many bodies to bury.”

一个救援人员对他的同事说,这真是个伟大的发现,这里没人居住,可是这些棺材让人看起来好像有好多死人需要被埋葬一样。

 

 

The other commented, “How well these are constructed … everything else in this place is crushed to splinters!”

他的同事说道,这做工是多么好啊……你看房子里其他的东西都被地震搞了个粉碎。

 

 

Another masked volunteer nodded in agreement.

另一个带着面具的志愿者点头表示同意。

 

 

“Although so many objects fell upon these coffins too - in fact the whole house itself, the boxes are still whole.”

尽管房里的东西连同整个房子都塌在了棺材上,可这些盒子却仍然完整。

 

 

“So they are readily available for their urgent need for this disaster,” replied the other.

所以这些棺材正好能为这次灾难造成的恶果所用,另一个补充道。

 

 

“Not many, but every one counts.”

虽然不多,不过个个都能派上用场。

 

 

Another rescuer added, “It is like these are God sent.”

另一个救援者说,就像神送来的一样。

 

 

       Then they came upon the coffin in which Kuniku was contained. The men realized it was heavier than the others when they dug to retrieve it and carry it out. So they opened it.

      然后,他们发现了包裹着库尼的那口棺材。他们意识到这台棺材要重一点,所以他们打开了他。

 

 

They were in awe when they looked inside. The rescuers found a body resting peacefully within, with its arms folded and displaying a face that, although in the process of decomposition, had a recognizable smile that suggested it was at peaceful rest.

他们肃穆地看着棺材里面。这群救援者发现了一具安息中的身体,他的胳膊交叠着,脸部虽然略有腐烂,可是还是能看到他那死前安详的微笑,

 

 

A day later, Kuniku was buried along with many other victims of the earthquake in a mass grave. There were too many for all to have a separate coffin. The less fortunate and unidentified was merely wrapped in ceremonial cloth.

第二天,库尼和其他地震的遇难者一样被埋在了公墓里。这里人多棺少。那些不幸的和未被辨认的尸体仅仅被殡仪服简单地裹一下就被下葬了。

 

 

But Kuniku went down into the trench in comfort and style, entombed within his own custom work of art.

而库尼呢,他和他工艺品般的棺材一起下葬,舒服而体面地躺在墓地中。

 

 

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