Japanese Tale #36 – Waiting for Spring

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Once upon a time, there was a village nestled deep in the heart of the snow country. It was a faraway land, far from the mellow life of the capital. Enshrouded in white during long Winter months, its people were known to be hard to the task, stubborn and resilient.

Surrounded by heavy snow, villagers only get out from time to time, wearing massive coats and boots made of straw to fend off sharp blizzards. Most days, they kept to their homes, tending to daily tasks. They weaved and sew clothes, sculpted and sharpened tools, tended their animals and waited. Waited again and again.

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Japanese tale #35 – The swarm of Suzuka pass

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Once upon a time, there was a famous road which wound across Japan. Through paddy fields and soft hills, dark forests and mighty peaks, people walked all day long from station to station, travelling from the great Edo to charming Kyoto.

One of those post towns was a dreaded stop which stood near a steep pass named Suzuka. High in the mountains, the area was nothing but barren rocks and gloomy trees. And it was renowned at miles around for it hid a bandit’s den.

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Japanese tale #34 – The Ogre’s Bridge

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Once upon a time, there was a village which stood near a big, flowing river.

Treacherous waters ran fast, whirlpools ready to catch imprudent people reckless enough to try swimming across.

The villagers had to walk miles and miles to ford and reach the other bank.

Many times, they had tried to build a bridge. Yet the river kept running wild and, at the first storm, burst untamed. Every bridges had been destroyed by the sheer rage of water.

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Japanese tale #33 – The path of the cat

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Once upon a time, there was a young samurai who studied at a famous swordsmanship school. The institution, old and venerable, was renowned for all the great fighters it had trained throughout the years.

The boy, Kenichi, was a promising student, humble, patient and diligent. Everyday, he rose before dawn and worked hard, hoping that one day he would too mastered the art of the sword.

Under heavy rain or in smothering heat, he practiced and practiced, refining his moves and sharpening his mind to clear perfection. Lire la suite

Japanese tale #32 – The spinner and the tanuki

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Once upon a time, there was a woodcutters couple who spent all the good season up high in the mountains.

The lumberjack worked hard all day long, cutting trees and burning wood to make charcoal. And his wife sat dutifully in front of her spinning wheel, her nimble fingers coiling fine glossy threads.

Everyday, after her man had left for the woods, a tanuki came sniffing around the camp. Searching for food, the beast lazed around, rummaging through the woodcutters’ belongings.

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Japanese Tale #31 – A grumpy kitten

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Once upon a time, there was a prosperous merchant who held a grocery store in old Edo. Hundred and hundred of sacks and crates were stocked from floor to ceiling. The place was always crowded with customers, with many lively clerks running errands everywhere around.

The man had a beautiful calico cat he pampered, sure his good fortune was directly linked to his furry friend lucky aura. He would say to patrons:

– Isn’t she the loveliest cat around? Look how beautiful she is! Come, come pet her, she’s so sweet and soft! Oh and have you seen, I have just received…

On the scene went on and on.

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Japanese tale #30 – The bell of Mugen

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Once upon a time, there was a little town called Mugen where stood a famous temple. It was an old respectable institution and its monks were proud… but also haughty and arrogant.

One day, it came to their ears that a faraway shrine had just blessed a new beautiful bell. One monk raged:

– Our temple is the best for miles around. How could we let a second class shrine outshine us? We should have the greatest bell!

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Japanese Tale #29 – The feathered cloak

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Once upon a time, deep in the heart of Japan, there was a small village which stood near a huge lake. In such a remote area, of dark forests and treacherous rocks, the quiet lake was a true blessing.

Calm, clear water spread as far as the eye could see. This serene world, made of greys and blues, was only disrupted by the smooth glide of waterbirds and the rippling rings of fishes.

The small village was a fishermen community. All got up long before dawn, laying out nets and creels. And just at the break of day, silent barques slid effortlessly on the lake, ready for catch.

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Japanese tale #27 – A paper bride

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Once upon a time, in a poor household of old Edo, lived an old woman and her grandson.

The young man was lazy and relied a lot on his grandmother. He never helped at home and spent all his days drinking and wagering at local gambling den.

The old lady was out and about all day, preparing meals or doing laundry for rich people. Leaving home at dawn, she always came back very late and weary.

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