Chapter 14 – The Heart of Japan, Ofuro
Not being inferior to Eiji, Pietro was quite skillful as well.
The following day, Pietro, who endeavored in making the soap without making any grimace, produced a soap far better in smell than what he had done in the past two days.
When Eiji asked the reason behind it, the answer was opposite to his expectation, and couldn’t get any simpler.
At the time when Pietro boiled water and oil, being about to proceed with the purification, he put a little bit of soil and ash, making it much easier to separate the components.
This was something Eiji didn’t think of. He couldn’t expect that Pietro, who was a total novice about soap, would come across this idea.
Once he tried to inquire for more details, Eiji learned that it wasn’t just Pietro alone who discovered this, but it also was Jane who gave some assist to him.
Jane is the wife of a hunter, so she would be familiar with animal disassembling and leather processing. For her to naturally know of such techniques would be normal.
Because until now, there hadn’t been as many foreign matters removed, the number of fat that could be collected fell off. Nevertheless, this yielded great results.
Once the soap was completed, Eiji squeezed some of rotten citrus fruits and applied its smell on the soap.
He stuffed the soap with the aroma, which was only enough for a small pot, into a pot and placed the cover firmly on it.
He planned to give it as a present to Tanya.
Due to Eiji continuously burning the fat, you could notice Tanya’s mood getting worse.
Even though the smell coming from his body should be gone, he was still sleeping in a separate bed. Eiji felt like he was being ordered like a dog.
– Sorry for having you covered with that smell. Did you parents mention anything about it?
– They were surprised at first, and asked what that smell was.
– That would be expected…I guess
– But, master, when I told them that you invent new things, and that I’m helping master, they began rooting for you. There’s no doubt that master will make convenient things, or so it felt from them.
– Seems like I’ve got them to believe in me.
Normally, it would be hard for someone to trust an outsider – is what Eiji thought.
Because the lifestyle is different, no matter how much time passes, an adult won’t get used to someone else’s specific customs.
Eiji also heard rumors about people moving from cities to the countryside becoming ostracized, and not being able to get used to their surroundings.
He was prepared for this scenario, but…
– Back then we would be happy when the seeds we had sowed started to bud numerously, which made us think like it was the blessing coming from the earth god.
– Is that so…?
As expected, this would be perhaps the sole reason why people believed that more harvest crops, and more abundant life, was due to deity.
It’s more the reason for Eiji not to neglect his smithing.
Killing the livestock so as to gather the required fat could be only done in seasons like this. Therefore, Eiji thought that this was the only chance to do so.
– Pietro, I have a task which might bother you, but… go and bring me some dried fish.
– No, this is a part of my job as well.
– You’re still a child, so don’t be so reserved.
As Eiji gently brushed his head, Pietro felt as if being warded off by the ticklish sensation.
Still, was it because he could feel Eiji’s courtesy? Pietro bowed down and thanked him.
– Well then… thank you!!
– Once I make as much as I can, I’ll have you come back to the workshop and teach you some new skills. Till then, please have some faith in me.
– Yes, please treat me well.
Pietro started to tidy up. Using his body’s recoil, he skillfully raised up the heavy water jug filled with river water, and placed it in a pot
Even though he’s still a minor, he has quite the strength.
I’ll entrust you with the tidying up – said Eiji, as he went back to the workshop.
Using the resharpened and remade scythes and hoes, Eiji went to the field.
The field was reclaimed a bit, and the number of ridges increased.
Not much time passed since the start so you couldn’t expect much; however, little by little it began to accumulate.
The reclaimed land was exceptionally light, in comparison with a wasteland, and its texture was much tenderer.
It was probably thanks to the diligent use of the sieve (screen), crushing lumps of earth, and removing stones.
It’s a work that requires much patience, and there are no cutting corners.
Even if neither Eiji nor Mike were watching, you could understand that this village is full of people trying to progress with their work diligently.
Once Bernard noticed the silhouette of Eiji, he took off his straw-hat and smiled.
Unlike his sunburned skin, his teeth were exceptionally white.
Seeing that expression directly, Eiji felt like he was being dazzled by it.
– Long time no see, Eiji-san
– That’s true.
– The new tools which you made are fine, but there’s something we wanted to tell you.
– Naturally, is there anything that gives you a trouble?
– No, I planned to go quickly for seed sowing, but, haven’t you mentioned before that the sowing method was wrong?
– Oh, you mean when I told you not to sow from above. Is that it?
– That’s right, it’s that! I was surprised by that method! As expected, Eiji-san you’re a genius.
It was the story from yesterday.
Once Eiji heard from Giorgio and Bernard about their method of sowing seeds, he doubted his ears. It appeared that they were sowing it from the middle of the air.
What’s more, they neither cover it with earth, nor pour with water. Because of that, the chances of the buds growing are very slim.
It seemed that due to their forefathers passing down this method, they had no reason to doubt it.
You could consider it a classic example of a convincement and imprinting, which hindered any possibility of improvement.
– You ought to open a hole first, then plant the seeds inside. Once done, you cover it gently with soil. Lastly, you pour lots of water on top.
– Opening holes, one by one, is really troublesome, isn’t it? Not to mention watering. If it’s around this size, then I see no problem, but if it’s a much bigger field, it will require much more of effort.
– I’ll make the sowing tool, but I won’t make the required number in time. Hm, if there’s no means of drawing the water to field, it won’t do… will it?
– It doesn’t seem to ease our job, even a little.
– The more you do, the more crops it should yield. It’s not immediate, so let’s do our best for that to happen.
-….That’s right. Complaining won’t solve anything, will it?
Eiji smiled bitterly at Bernardo who seemed to be upset.
If one were to be discourage by this much, then even doing collaborative works won’t be enough to complete land reclamation.
However, it didn’t bother Eiji.
Night, the flambeau (torch), which rarely had been used, was lighted, illuminating through the darkness.
Looking at the sky, it was as always, full of stars.
And down at the bottom, there was large amount of hot water.
The vapor was floating in the sky. It was an ofuro made from bricks and tiles. The bath was wide by itself, and used for collaborative purposes.
– Aaah, this feels good. How many months has it been, I wonder…?
Without thinking ahead, Eiji gave out the voice. He could feel the warmth and the pleasant feeling coming from his insides.
What Eiji thought to make, since he had been picked up by Tanya, was a Japanese bathroom.
Even though there was a simple facility, similar to that of a water sewer, there were no bathrooms.
Still, there are bath practices, so there was no need to worry of getting dirty; nevertheless, it was certainly not the same as a bath. – is what he thought.
Ofuro are not just used for cleaning the dirt, it also soothes one’s heart from tiredness and stagnation.
I order to make this bathroom, different procedures had to be taken.
First, so as to strengthen his position as a villager, Eiji had to fulfill his duty.
Once his true skills were acknowledged, he could ask, little by little, for some administrative help.
And with that he was able to carry out his wishes, while still making contributions to the village.
Bathing custom too was one of those.
Eiji had Fernando to help in its construction, despite him being busy.
However, there was no roof and no walls, so it could be considered as something similar to a rotenbu
Eiji had plans of adding them to the bathroom, but it wasn’t clear how much time it would take.
Regarding the use, it would be the best to make it into an public bathroom, otherwise it would require many people to scoop and heat water.
– Tanya-san, doesn’t it feel good?
– Yes, it feels like all the energy is running out of my body.
– Once your body warms up, use the soap to wash yourself, ok?
While submerging his body to his shoulders, he looked at his wife’s silhouette.
Eiji wasn’t able to clearly see her naked body, as it was dark; however, he could it see it illuminated by torchlights.
Recently, due to her rich diet, Tanya gained some mass.
It seemed like she became even more feminine.
Eiji followed her with his eyes, starting from her wet, long hair touching the water, through her nape, till her gently-sloping collarbone.
Before his eyes could reach her big breasts, Tanya hid them using her hands.
Her face was red from embarrassment.
– Please don’t stare at me that much.
– It’s because you’re beautiful.
– I’m not going to fall for your flattery.
– These are my true feelings.
– Ain’t you just intending to look at me, while saying that?
– It’s not that I want to just look.
Because they’re husband and wife, Eiji wanted to touch a little.
Were it not for being married, he probably wouldn’t stare at her.
….However, that beautiful woman is his wife.
Eiji is more of a type who thinks it is fine to do what he wants.
Thinking that way, he couldn’t help but feel happy.
He wanted to know more, as well as let her know about many different things.
As Eiji moved inside the bathroom, he turned toward her back, and entwined her limbs with his hands.
– Because it’s your first time using soap, I’ll teach you how to use it.
– I don’t need it. Isn’t it the thing which you have recently made? Doesn’t it stink?
– That’s all right. I considered that and made something better.
After he showed her a small bottle with the soap inside, he opened the lid.
Tanya’s face became radiant, as she smelled the floating fragrance, which surpassed her expectations.
She leaned her head forward and took a peek inside the bottle. Her nostrils twitched once they smelled the aroma.
Her face became spellbound.
– ….It smells good.
– Doesn’t it? I squeezed the fruit called Tapuche.
– You did it because you were concerned about me saying that it stinks?
– Just a bit.
– …Thank you. Eiji-san, you really are incredible. Not only do you make convenient stuff, but also you try to improve once there’s a problem arising.
– Well then, stand up. Let’s test it quickly.
– Ah, wait.
As he made her half-forcefully sit on the chair, Eiji took the gel-form soap and rubbed them, to make bubbles. Comparing with the one which he once used for chemistry purposes, this produced much less foam; however, it was still enough.
Using his hands covered with foam, Eiji made his hands crawl on Tanya’s whole body, under the pretext of teaching her it’s application.
– It’s slimy and feels kinda strange…
– It feels good, doesn’t it?
– yes, but… it feels ticklish. Ah!
– And it’s so easy to remove the dirt.
– It’s true. wow, to think that you could make this using that fat…
Seeing how Tanya admires the soap made him really pleased.
Eiji finished cleaning her back.
From the back, which was a hard place to reach by yourself, Eiji moved his hands toward Tanya’s waist and her armpit. But once he did so, she raised her voice.
– Where are you touching…ah, I, I knew it, Eiji is a pervert after all!
– Look, you have to wash your whole body to make it clean, don’t you?
– T-the way you use your hands is lewd…ah!
Being reprimanded by his wife, Eiji felt fun while washing each other.
After that, Tanya became sullen, but whenever both of them entered bathroom together, she couldn’t deny her true emotions.
– Eiji-san, it seems like the peddler arrived last night. Do you intend to see him?
– The peddler, you say?
A peddler usually comes several times to a village.
The reason why Eiji couldn’t meet one till now was because he was occupied with examining blacksmithing works, and being busy with guiding the field works. Therefore, he had no occasion.
Because working in this village was self-sufficient for him, if asked whether there’s something that he wants to buy, Eiji wouldn’t bother with that. On contrary, he had something which he wanted to sell. That was soap.
It would be nice to exchange them for some pieces of cloth, since winter was soon arriving.
Due to him taking that matter lightly, Eiji didn’t bother to brood any deeper about the significance of peddlers. This, however, made him regret later.
Translator and reference notes:
: Japanese type of bath. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Furo
: Open air baths. These type of baths are usually present in hot springs (onsen). Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onsen