Recently I’ve been reading a few stories from the magazine “小説幻冬” (December 2016 edition), and I came across one that was particularly entertaining.
This story is told in monologue-style, and though little happens in terms of action, I really like how the main character’s personality is portrayed and could really empathize with her.
I couldn’t help but translate a few paragraphs, just to see if I could convey the same tone and feeling in English. I think it turned out pretty well, but let me know what you think.
Just to be clear this is an unofficial translation, in no way endorsed by the author or publisher.
I think it would be fun to translate the whole thing, but as this is from a published work I’ll refrain from that. But if you would like to read more let me know, and if enough people are interested who knows, we might get an official full translation someday.
“A Perfect Day For Miho Mugimoto” (麦本三歩は今日が好き)
By Yoru Sumino (住野よる)
When Miho Mugimoto isn’t asleep, she’s awake. This may seem like an obvious statement, but Miho isn’t awake because she wants to be. That’s why she would like to point out that being awake now is by no means desirable from her point of view. If you were to ask who she wants to point this out to, she would probably answer to someone who’ll compliment her for being awake. She was terribly perturbed above having to part ways with her warm comforter early in the morning once again to go to work. The honest truth is that she’d love to sleep until 10 am.
In her bedroom with curtains shut tight, Miho shut off the alarm which had been set for a few minutes early and fiddled with her cell phone from within her comforter. Email, Twitter, news on Natalie–having checked all of her usual web sites, it was about time to get moving, but her mind and body felt sluggish. She was quite healthy and in good spirits. It’s just that leaving bed was simply annoying. Just too much of a hassle. She only wished to stay with her soft comforter forever. Half-seriously pondering why she couldn’t just spend time with the things she loved, Miho rubbed her cheek against the comforter. Snuggle snuggle.
Things were great when she was in college. As long as she avoided picking any first period classes, in the morning she could wake up naturally, play around with her cell phone, and read any books within reach, all with time to spare. So what, you ask? Once she graduated and got a full time job, both her early schedule and the alarm’s ear-piercing sound returned, as if things had regressed back to her high school days. It made her feel like life ended at college, folding back upon itself.
But this was no time to mull over the past. The time to leave for work was fast approaching. Miho gathered all her strength and tore her body away from the seductive comforter. Not physically, but mentally. Focusing all of her attention, she visualized this with great effort. In fact, last night she had heard from a coworker that this morning would be terribly chilly, so she predicted waking up would be even more painful than usual. Therefore, she had a countermeasure in place to handle this. Miho had prepared her favorite steamed cheese bread for breakfast. It was an exchange of one of her favorite things for another – swapping her comforter for steamed cheese bread. This was her inexpensive, yet effective secret strategy for making it through the day.
1) The original title in English literally means “Miho Mugimoto likes today“, but I used some artistic license to make what I felt was a better title that reflected the mood of the story. By the way, the title makes more sense when you read the entire story.
2) “Natalie” referred to the story is a Japanese news site that focuses on popular culture (http://natalie.mu)