TXT: Mega Hit: A strange story about Ayakashi contracts 45P // Visible under the Autumn Sky...
Title: Ten loony nights // Natsume's Book of Friends // Midorikawa Yuki2
Natsume: Hey, are we there yet?
Yokai: Just a little further, Natsume-sama. // I heard the bread store on the corner ahead is selling a new kind of bun.
Yokai: Will the golden bean jam be made of chestnuts or sweet potatoes? I was so excited to find out that I couldn't sleep last night!!
Natsume: .........I see.
Nyanko: We have to check it out, Natsume!!
Box: That day3
Box: I was dragged along by some yokai to a somewhat faraway town.
Natsume: Where are we? // If we don't go home soon, the sun...
SFX: thud thud
SFX: thud thud
SFX: thud // rustle
SFX: thud thud
SFX: thud thud thud4
SFX: thud thud
Box: For a moment I mistook them for humans, but // those are...
Yokai: Oh, a group of scarecrows.
Natsume: Sc-scarecrows? ...why are they...?
Nyanko: Looks like they are going to the mountain.
Yokai: So it appears.
Yokai: The harvest is in, // so they were relieved of their duties.
Box: Relieved from their duties......? // But, scarecrows
Yokai: (Ah, it's apple!)
Nyanko: (Oh!! That's what it is!!)
Box: aren't supposed to move at all.
Natsume: That night I had a dream...
Natsume: The road from today...
SFX: thud thud thud
Natsume: Why are they entering that mansion...?6
Natsume: A sickle!?
SFX: sudden // crash
Nyanko: why did we come here again?
SFX: trot trot
Natsume: I have this disquieting feeling, // and I hope that finding the mansion I dreamed of will clear it up... // and let's also buy another bun before we go home, sensei.
SFX: trot trot
Natsume: I'll buy you two.
Nyanko: Alright, let's do this.
Natsume: Sensei, that's it! // That gate...
SFX: creak // in droves // thud
Natsume: People...? No...
SFX: thud thud
SFX: thud thud thud thud
SFX: thud thud thud
SFX: thud thud thud
scarecrows: ...nights... // ...loon...
scarecrows: Ten... // loon // ...nights
SFX: shake shake
scarecrows: Te // n // Lo // on // nights
Natsume: They are saying something...
SFX: thud thud9
SFX: thud thud
Nyanko: Those are the same scarecrows as yesterday, what a creepy lot.
Natsume: They came from inside that mansion.
Nyanko: This looks promising, shall we follow those scarecrows?
Natsume: Not yet, let's first check if the residents are...
Natsume: Yipes! Hiiragi!! // (Ah,) ......so that means...10
Natori: Hey, Natsume.
Natori: We meet again in an unexpected place. What are you doing here?
Natsume: Ah, well, the scarecrows...
Natsume: ...with sickles...
Natori: Are you poking your nose in other people's affairs again?
Natsume: Not yet. // I'm not poking my nose into anything yet!
Natori: ...oh dear...
Natsume: But since you are here... that means you have some business in this mansion? // Do you happen to know if something is...?
Natori: ...I'm not supposed to tell outsiders.11
Natori: But if I'm not mistaken you have some information about this mansion. // How about an information exchange?
Natori: It appears that the owner of this mansion hasn't been able to sleep for days. // He can feel a strange presence inside the house.
Natori: As you can see, this place belonged to an once powerful Lord. // Well, he's also an old associate. I heard about the situation via a certain exorcist.
Natsume: A strange presence inside the house,... you say...?
Natori: So, what about you?
Natori: What did you see?12
Natori: I have never heard... of Ayakashi in the shape of scarecrows. Maybe it's a mountain kami or Tanuki fooling around...? // Did you notice anything else?
Natsume: That's right. // Now that you mention it, they were muttering something...
Natori: The scarecrows? ...what did they say?
Natsume: ............ // ...nights // ....ten
Natsume: loon // nights
Natsume: Ten // loon // nights
Natori: Ten loon nights?
Natsume: Yes, that's what I heard.
Natori: ...wasn't it ten moon nights ... maybe as in the tenth night of the lunar month?
Natsume: Hm, I heard there will be a harvest festival...13
Natori: ...no, hold on! // ...it's probably something else... I remember hearing it before.
Natsume: Something else...?
Natori: Very well, nearby lives some sort of acquaintance of mine. // He's a little eccentric, but very learned. Let's see what he thinks. // Will you come along, Natsume?
Natsume: Is that all right!?
Natori: Leaving you to fend for yourself will only give me worries now. // Won't you give me a hand?14
Box: Like that Natori and I // started to investigate the strange group of scarecrows.
Natori: He lives pretty deep in the forest, don't you think...?
Natsume: Yes, and something about this forest feels off. // Sensei,... Hiiragi, don't you feel anything?
Natori: ......I see, // it's because of the barriers. It's like the ones of Hakozaki-san. // In the past the Yorishima family's exorcism power rivaled that of the Matoba clan, however by now they closed business and retired deep into the forest.
Natori: Although they are still very powerful.15
XXX: Hey, exorcist!
XXX: How dare you enter another person's grounds without permission?
Natori: It's been a while, Yorishima-san.
Natsume: So that's Yorishima-san...?
Yorishima: I have no intention to talk to an exorcist. // Go home, Natori...16
Yorishima: Hm? Who did you bring with you...?
Natori: A friends. // He can see ayakashi.
Natsume: I'm Natsume. // ......what is this guy...?
Natsume: Something about him bothers me...
Nyanko: Hey, boy!
Nyanko: That's enough, show us your place. // Pour us guests some tea!
Yorishima: Natori, what is that!!? // What are you planning to do to me!?
Natsume: I'm sorry, that... he's my cat.
Yorishima: What!? A cat!?17
Natori: I'm very sorry for visiting today, you seem to be in ill humor.
Yorishima: That's because of you. // Drink your tea and leave.
Yorishima: You have... a strange air around you...
Yorishima: Somehow it's... is it because you're pretty strong...? // The round animal, is he your servant?
Natsume: No, he's a freeloader.
Nyanko: BODYGUARD! I'm Nyanko-sensei!!
Yorishima: So, well... he's quite powerful.
Yorishima: Ten loon nights...18
Yorishima: ...I see, if I'm not mistaken // "Ten Loony nights" is // a game that ayakashi play with humans. // It concludes itself within ten nights. // To obtain the house that caught its eye, the ayakashi in need of a residence will propose a game. When the family accepts, the game starts.
Yorishima: The rules are simple: for a period of ten days the ayakashi will visit the family once a day. // If the ayakashi manages to scare them off, the ayakashi wins the house.
Yorishima: If the family doesn't give in to fear and remains in the house, it's their win // and the ayakashi won't get to live in their house. // That's it.19
Natsume: A game between humans and ayakashi... // ...
Natsume: (AH!) ...so, the family of that place accepted the challenge?
Yorishima: Well, to start the game // all that's needed is for the person to answer with yes when the ayakashi calls their name.
Natori: A surprise attack by the ayakashi.20
Box: I guess that makes sense. // ...they can't tell it's an ayakashi.
Natsume: They accidently come in contact and before they know it they're tied together.
Natsume: Ah, can I ask you another question?
Natsume: Is there a scarecrow ayakashi? // Somehow... they didn't feel the same as the ayakashi I usually encounter in the forests and mountains.
Yorishima: They were probably created with forbidden arts.
Natsume: Forbidden arts...
Yorishima: Most humans make scarecrows without a second thought, // but sometimes powerful people who are unaware of their abilities // accidently create scarecrows that'll turn into ayakashi.
Yorishima: All the more because of these people are heavy with thoughts and appreciation towards the fields and crops.
Natsume: Forbidden arts that are used unknowingly...
Reiko: "Want to play a game?"
Natsume: that's also what Reiko-san did. // To her it was a whimsical game to kill time.
Box: And yet it's
Natsume: Because she had strange powers.
Natsume: she bound many beings.
Yorishima: It's basically a restricted soul. // They create a vessel to house a new soul. // However, humans were never meant to create new souls that way. // In truth, the scarecrows created in such a way22
Yorishima: have no place to go, so they hide up in the mountains // after they fulfill their duty to protect the crops from beasts and birds. // That group of scarecrows you saw was such a lot.
Natsume: ... // No place to go...
Yorishima: ...they were probably persuaded by an ayakashi to do this. // And Natori, you shouldn't involve children in your savage exorcism practices!
Natori: I know that.
Yorishima: Natori, // you are starting to act more and more like that Matoba brat.23
Natsume: No, // Natori-san and Matoba-san aren't the same. // Matoba-san has his own way to handle things, // and so does Natori-san.
Natsume: I understand not everyone may agree with Natori-san's methods, but // somehow // if I had to help anyone... // I think Natori-san is an amazing person.
Yorishima: I'm sorry, // I didn't mean to offend your friend.
Natsume: No, I'm sorry. // I should thank you for all you've told us.
Natsume: (Excuse us!)
Natori: We'll be going then.
Yorishima: Leave and don't come back!
Natori: Yes, yes.
Yorishima: But... the air around that boy.
Yorishima: Something I know, // something I don't, // the air around him... // Is he possessed by something? ...is it something he holds...?
Natori: ...Yorishima-san, // have you ever heard of Reiko-san? Natsume Reiko?
Yorishima: ... // No.25
Natori: Then, // the "Book of Friends"?
Yorishima: ...what? // ...never heard of it. // What is it? What are you saying, Natori?
Natori: No, well, it's an important item. // I can't talk about it... // But please remember this, // if you ever hear of it, let me know.
Yorishima: I owe you nothing.
Natori: That's right.26
Nyanko: Well, that was unpleasant.
Natsume: Are you alright, sensei...? // I am... actually feeling a little calmer now. // What's this feeling...
Nyanko: What? You're too sweet.
Natsume: yes, yes.
Natori: Sorry for the wait, Natsume
Natori: We know the cause. // Shall we go?
XXX: Ah, Natori-san! It's nice to see you again.27
Box: Our client, the head of the Amazawa family, was a big-hearted person, who owns many fields in the area.
Amazawa: Recently, during my afternoon nap or at night // I've been having nightmares about strange people chasing me around the house. // I'm getting more and more afraid to stay in my house, that's why I called you. // ......but... I see, // scarecrow ayakashi... don't hear about that very often...
Natori: How many days has it been since this started?
Amazawa: Well,... // it started last Friday, so today is the 9th day.
Natsume: Ten Loony Nights a will last 10 ten days, just one more to go...
Natori: If you can bear with it for one more day, it'll all be over. // Just in case, we'll put up a barrier and prepare to exorcise them.28
Amazawa: It's old, but this place holds the memories and history of my family. // Please do what you have to protect it.
Box: With his permission, we stayed for the night, // and made our preparations as darkness fell.
Natsume: If tomorrow is the last day, we should be fine.
Natori: Yes, you've been a great help, Natsume.
Natsume: Are you being sarcastic? I haven't done a thing.
Natori: You have, Yorishima-san isn't always that talkative.
Natsume: He's a strange person. // There's fear and longing... // It's like talking to an ayakashi.
Natori: ......you're not too far off. // Despite his appearance, it seems he's actually pretty old.29
Natori: And he's rumored to be half-ayakashi...
Natsume: Eh... // A mixed race?
Natori: There are rumors, like his left arm was devoured by an ayakashi, but he grew it back by the next day. // Or the ayakashi turned into his left arm and possessed him...
Natori: When he is around people who meddle with ayakashi // his insecurities and cares // feel very small. // ......however,
Natori: no matter how small they are, // ...he has faced hardships,
Natori: and he definitely was scared sometimes.30
Natori: They probably know we've set up the snares. // While the game lasts, the ayakashi are guests. Don't expect too much of the barrier, but it should keep them in the garden.
SFX: thud thud31
Natsume: !! // They are here!?
Natori: It's only just after midnight!
SFX: hop hop hop
Natori: Natsume, check on Amazawa-san! // He's in the veranda room that looks out over the garden! Hiiragi is guarding him.
Natsume: Hiiragi, Amazawa-san!
Hiiragi: He's having a nightmare, but won't wake up. // I'll keep an eye on him, you go outside to help Natori, Natsume.
Natsume: Yes, I will!
Nyanko: Hm, // that's one!
Natsume: Thanks, sensei. There are probably ten ayakashi.34
Natsume: Nine to go!
XXX: caw // caw
Natsume: A crow...?
Scarecrow: caw // caw // caw
SFX: rustle rustle rustle
Natsume: This way. // You won't win unless you catch us!
Scarecrow: Caw // caw // caw
Natsume: That's two.
SFX: jump jump
SFX: thump thump
Nyanko: Ouch! // Ouch!
Natori: Thou, art no more than soil. // Thou art plain soil that cannot protect. // I won't excuse thee who steps on others. // Perish! // Thou art unwanted.
Natsume: That's nine... // one more.
Natori: Urihime, Sasago, // is he inside?
XXX: I can't find him.
Natsume: Sensei, can you smell it?
Nyanko: It's a straw doll! Of course not!38
Natsume: One more.
Natsume: Where? // Where...
Amazawa: Uu...... // .........
Natsume: He woke up! // Amazawa-san, are you all right...?
Amazawa: ... // ............39
Natsume: Ah, // No, Amazawa-san! It's not over yet. // We're still looking for the last one!
Amazawa: ... // ...I'm sorry, scarecrow ayakashi they say. // It must be hard to not have a home.40
Amazawa: I'm sorry, but this place is important to me. // I won't let you have it.
Natsume: The broom...
SFX: thud thud
SFX: thud thud
Box: And that's // how the scarecrows left.42
Box: The strange game between humans and ayakashi had ended.
Nyanko: Hey, you sure we should let them go? // They may challenge another human to a fight.
Natori: They lost. // Once they've lost, they can't try again until they have fulfilled their obligations again. // Besides, they are only puppets. // Doing this took an outrageous amount of energy, soon they won't be able to do much anymore.
Natsume: A product of forbidden arts, // that was accidently used. // Some sort of mischief...43
Natsume: Those scarecrows...
Amazawa: Thank you very much.
Natori: No, the most important thing // ...is that we learned where the scarecrows came from. // In your dreams you were chased by a scary lot. So that broom by the gate was...
Amazawa: I've lived a long live and I've seen strange things. // ...I wonder why they took a liking to my place.
Amazawa: My wife passed away, // and my children started out in life. // Hehe, this house has always been sustained by the fields. // Soon the crops those scarecrows protected will hit the market. 44
Amazawa: To thank them, // if possible, please set those scarecrows free, Mr Exorcist.
Natori: ...I will do my best.
Natsume: Is something like that possible, Natori-san?
Natori: Who knows.
Natori: I told you before, it's harder to annul or release than eradicate.
Natsume: That's right.45
Natori: ...I'll discover it someday... // A way to release you from the Book of Friends.
Nyanko: Hey, Natsume! Aren't you forgetting something!?
Natsume: Eh? // .................. ah!
Nyanko: Don't "ah" me!
Nyanko: We can't go home until I get my buns!Translator Note:
In this chapter, Natori and Natsume have a hard time finding out what the scarecrows are saying. In the original Japanese it's written in hiragana: とおかんや (tookan'ya), as obviously, Natsume won't be able to hear kanji. Natori speculates it could be written as: 十日夜. Only later in the chapter, Yorishima explains it should be read as: 十完夜. But of course all of this didn't translate very easily to English, because English doesn't have different character sets like that. So I had to come up with something else.
十日夜 (Tookan'ya/Tookaya) [lit. Tenth night] refers to the harvest festival that takes place on the 10th night of the 10th lunar month. It's celebrated from North Kanto region to the South Tohoku region. It's the day people thank the agricultural kami （田の神）for their help in securing a good harvest and send them off to the mountains. In Nagano prefecture there appears to be a custom where the scarecrows are worshiped as gods. At the end of the harvest they are taken from the fields and placed in the garden. They are given straw hats to wear, a broom or rake and rice cakes to accompany them on their way to heaven or on their road to become a full-fledged mountain kami.
The harvest festival seems loosely related to 十五夜 (Juugoya), also know as 月見 (Tsukimi), a festival on the 15th night of the 8th lunar month to honor the Autumn moon. (The 15th night is always a full moon) And 十三夜 (Juusan'ya) on the 13th night of the 9th lunar month, to celebrate the waxing moon. You can find similar festivals all over Asia (Mid-Autumn festival).
十完夜 (Tookan'ya) [lit. Completes at the tenth night] I translated it as "Ten Loony Nights". Loony doesn't just mean mad or silly, it's also an abbreviation of Lunatic. Lunatic originates from the Latin word Luna (moon) and the old belief that the changes of the moon could cause insanity. Although it's far from its literal meaning "Ten Loony Nights" seemed the perfect choice, because it conveys the mad game of the ayakashi, but also allowed me to create a link to the lunar calendar-related harvest festival that caused confusion in the original Japanese.