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Time Noodles
Translated by xaky

When it comes to [Japanese] street vendors, each one of them has their own signature call. The bamboo pole vendor goes: “baaaaambooooo – bamboo poles, sa-ohhhhhhh-da-kei” drawing out a sound just as long as a bamboo pole, you see. Now, If the vendor went something like: “bamboo poles – poles” in a nervous voice, this just wouldn’t be good for business.
A street vendor’s call reflects the seasons. Goldfish vendors are a thing of summer, for example. “Gooooooldfishies – keeeeeeeeen-gyoh!” It just makes you think: “Ahhh, summer’s here.”
And then, as you know, the representative street vendor’s call in winter is that of the noodle vendor: “Nooooooooodles – oo-dohhhhhhhhhnn-ya!”

Kihachi: Hey Seiroku, that was fun!
Seiroku: Sure was, but I’d rather go somewhere I can get in for free…
Kihachi: Let’s go again sometime.
Seiroku: Wow, I’m hungry. You wanna get something to eat?
Kihachi: eah, let’s eat something. Let’s eat. I’m really starving!
Seiroku: You got money?
Kihachi: Do I have money? … Look what came out of my pocket: eight mon coins!
Seiroku: Eight mon coins? And what eight mon are those?
Kihachi: I dunno, just eight mon.
Seiroku: Kihachi, how old are you now? Don’t go messing around with eight mon in change. It’s shameful! Eight mon– just throw ‘em away over there!
Kihachi: Hey, don’t be so harsh! So, come on, how much do you have?
Seiroku: How much? Well, even with all that I have, money has its limits. But if you really must know, I’ll just check my pocket … See? Jingle jangle … and out comes seven mon.
Kihachi: Seven mon!? Seven mon, what’s that?
Seiroku: I dunno, just seven mon.
Kihachi: Seiroku, how old are you now?
Seiroku: That’s my line! What a sorry pair we are – only fifteen mon between the two of us. Oh well, that’s OK. Let’s go get some noodles.
Kihachi: Hey Seiroku, noodles are sixteen mon, you know. We can’t buy noodles with this!
Seiroku: It’s fine. For one mon, I’ll think of something.
Kihachi: We can only have one bowl.
Seirokuachi: There’s nothing I can do about that. I’ll eat first and then leave half for you.
Kihachi: Half a bowl each, is it?
Seiroku: Well, that’s the only way, right? Hey, we’re in luck! There’s a noodle vendor’s stall over there…
Noodle vendor!
Vendor 1: Hi. It’s cold out there, isn’t it?
Seiroku: I’ll have a big bowlful.
Vendor 1: Coming right up!
Seiroku: And make it quick, OK?
Vendor 1: Here you go…
Seiroku: Wow, it’s here already! So fast! You made my day. On a cold night like this, to have your noodles just as soon as you order them – that really makes you happy…

(Sssslurp! Sssslurp!)

Mmm, this is the stuff! With a broth made from real bonito fish shavings. Yep, when it comes to noodles, even if the quality of flour is not the best, it’s the broth that really counts.
(Sssslurpslurp! Gulp gulp!)

But here, the flour is excellent. And the noodles are cooked just firmly enough…you know what they say: noodles and women – neither one should be too tender! … If you pull me like that, the broth will spill over! I’ll let you have it when I’ve had half. I’ve barely begun and you’re already trying to pull me away. Cut it out, already!

(Slurp slurp slurp slurp! Gulp gulp! Slurpslurpslurp … munch munch … slurp ssslurp!)

Stop pulling like that! You see, the broth spilled over! I told you I’ll give it to you when I’ve finished half, didn’t I? Take a look – the vendor’s laughing at you! You’re embarassing me… Just wait a second!

(slurpslurpssssssslurp … slurpslurp … munch munch … sssslurp!)

Stop pulling! So, you want it that bad? Well then, go ahead! Come on, eat!
Kihachi: I will!! I’m perfectly entitled to it because eight mon of that bowl came from me! …What’s this, Seiroku? …Is this eight mon’s noodles?
Seiroku: Eight mon it is!
Kihachi: (Sniff) … There are only … Two noodles here …
Seiroku: Stop whining. Hurry up and eat!
Kihachi: I’ll whine all I want! This is really too much…Alright, here goes (slurp!) That’s it. I finished it already! … Only the broth is left over …

(gulp gulp gulp)

Oh no, that’s the end of it!
Seiroku: Don’t cry over spilled broth. Turn your bowl over. We don’t need seconds, thanks. We’ll come back tomorrow night maybe and have your noodles again. Thanks for the delicious meal. Let’s see what I owe you. It’s small change, so help me count it out, would you? OK, noodle vendor, here goes:

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight … Oh, what time is it now?
Vendor 1: Well, it’s nine.
Seiroku: Ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen. OK, goodbye.
Vendor 1: Thank you very much!
Kihachi: Hey Seiroku…Hold on a second, Seiroku. You lied, didn’t you? You said you only had seven mon when you actually had eight!
Seiroku: What? Don’t you get it? Think hard. You remember when I had counted the bill up to eight mon, I asked the noodle vendor “Oh, what time is it now?” Right? And then, since the noodle vendor said “Well, it’s nine,” I just counted on down after that with “ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen.”
Kihachi: Huh? How is that … you counted until eight and said “What time is it now?” Then the vendor said, “It’s nine,” so you went: “ten, eleven …”

Oh, the noodle vendor counted nine into the bill! Ha ha ha! That’s a good one. I’ll try it tomorrow!
Seiroku: No, no, you can’t. This one’s all about getting the timing just right. Can you do that?
Kihachi: What, are you saying there’s something you can do that I can’t? I’m going to do it tomorrow night!

And with those words, this man set out as planned on the following day. Now, if he had chosen the same time to go, there would have been no problem. But since he was a little slow-witted, there he was walking around in broad daylight with coins jangling in his pocket, looking for a noodle vendor…

Kihachi: That was pretty neat. That was really something, last night … You count from one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, and then ask: “Noodle vendor, what time is it now?”…This is where you have to concentrate and listen well … when the noodle vendor says, “It’s nine,” then I’ve got it all taken care of. I’ll go ten, eleven, twelve … and go for the knock-out!

Noodle vendor, come out here!

Ah, there’s one, there’s one! That’s a noodle vendor’s stall, right over there. He he he … He doesn’t suspect a thing…Good for me…

Hey, noodle vendor!
Vendor 2: Yes, welcome!
Kihachi: I’ll have a big bowlful.
Vendor 2: OK, please wait. I’ll have it for you soon…
Kihachi: Right, and make it quick, OK?
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
That’s right, that’s right, that’s right.
Vendor 2: What is it that’s right?
Kihachi: Oh, just that on a cold night such as this…
Vendor 2: Today it was quite warm, wasn’t it?
Kihachi: Yes, ahem, it was cold last night … So, noodle vendor, on a not very cold night such as this, to have your noodles just as soon as you order them – now that’s a treat! …
………………………………………………………………………………
Not yet? It’s not ready yet? The water wasn’t boiling? Come on! …
………………………………………………………………………………
Not yet? Whatever it is, isn’t this taking just a bit too long now?

Ah, is it ready? Here it is … On a not very cold night such as this, when the noodle vendor makes you wait, that really makes you happy. Isn’t that right, noodle vendor? When you get a hot bowl of noodles … It’s a bit lukewarm, you know … Well, yes, that way you can eat them right away, so that’s the best way to serve them … right. …Say, noodle vendor – Ishida Sansei, isn’t that your name? Noodle vendor … you know what they say: when it comes to noodles, even if the quality of flour is not the best, it’s the broth that really counts. That’s right, made from real bonito fish shavings (slurp slurp) … Oo, that’s b-b-bitter! …Well, even if the broth is a bit bitter, you know what they say, noodle vendor – just as long as the noodles are … (slurp slurp slurp) they’re limp and soggy … and that’s good, very good, because I have a sensitive stomach, so it’s just what I need. Right, Mr. Noodle vendor? … I think I’m sick of this already…

Hey, stop pulling! … The broth will spill over.
Vendor 2: Huh? Wha…What is you talking about?
Kihachi: No, this is all about getting the timing right. If it’s not done the same way as last night, I can’t get the same timing, can I? Don’t you understand that?
Vendor 2: No, I don’t understand.
Kihachi: Why you … be quiet, noodle vendor. Just you watch! Fool…
(slurp slurp … munch munch)
Stop pulling! …The broth will spill…The vendor’s laughing at you.
Vendor 2: No, I’m not laughing… I’m rather feeling kind of helpless.
Kihachi: That’s enough, you fool! Don’t you understand that if I don’t do it exactly as it was last night, I can never get the timing right?

(ssssslurp! Slurpslurpslurp)

Stop pulling! So, you want it that bad? Well then, go ahead! Come on, eat! Come on, eat!
Vendor 2: Wh-what are you talking about?
Kihachi: Hey, Seiroku…is this eight mon’s noodles?
Vendor 2: Now sir, you’re free to say whatever you’d like, but all of my prices are fixed. Those noodles are sixteen mon.
Kihachi: Be quiet! A bowl of noodles is sixteen mon – I know that much! Just you watch! … (slurp!) There are only two noodles left.
Vendor 2: That’s because you ate the rest.
Kihachi: I know!! I’ll whine all I want! This is really too much…Alright, here goes (slurp!) That’s it, I finished it already! … Only the broth is left over … Do I have to finish this bitter broth? …

(gulp gulp gulp)

Oh no, that’s the end of it! Don’t cry, now. I’ll turn my bowl over.
Vendor 2: You’ve finally finished … I’m relieved….
Kihachi: Noodle vendor, I only have small change, so put out your hand and help me count it out, would you? OK, here we go …

He he he … too bad for him.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight … Oh, what time is it now?
Vendor 2: Well, it’s four.
Kihachi: Five, six, seven …
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