Saturday, September 8, 2012

Cat Office (Kenji Miyazawa)

This is the original story by Kenji Miyazawa that Dowman Sayman parodied in this manga.

If you were wondering, yes, the random sex and devouring of cats was just Dowman's idea. The actual story is much more all-ages friendly than that.

Hit the [info] link to read!!



Cat Office

A Tale about a certain small Government Office

Kenji Miyazawa 
English translation by:

   Near one of the railway depots sits the sixth office of felines. Most of the cats
that go there do so to reference records of feline history and geography. The clerks
of office six all wear short, black satin uniforms, and are highly respected. When one of the
clerks would quit for whatever reason, all of the young cats would vie for the vacancy.
    However, the amount of clerks that worked in this office was limited to four.
Among all the applicants, only the one who was most skilled in writing and reading
would be selected. The manager of the office was Black-cat. He was late in his years, however, his eyes were as sharp as could be.
Under his authority were:

The head clerk: White-cat
The second clerk: Tabby-cat
The third clerk: Calico-cat
and the fourth clerk: Kettle-cat

    One was not born a kettle cat. This term simply referred to any type of cat
that tended to sleep inside an earthen stove, and thus was always covered in soot. A
kettle cat's nose and ears were usually completely black with soot, making them look
somewhat like a tanuki.
    And so, kettle cats were usually disliked by other cats. However, Black-cat
was the boss, and he had selected this kettle cat, who, no matter how smart he was,
really should never have been able to become a clerk, out of the forty-some
applications they had received.
    In the middle of the spacious office, manager Black-cat would sit at a table
covered in a bright red tablecloth, the head clerk, White-cat and the third clerk,
Calico-cat, were to his right. To his left sat the second clerk, Tabby-cat, and the fourth
clerk, Kettle-cat. All of them sat neatly in their seats. And speaking of feline history and
geography,  their dealings usually went something like this:
There was a sharp knock on the office door.
"Come in," said Black-cat. He stuck his hand in his pocket, and leaned back.
The four clerks looked down and busily poured over their note books.
A very wealthy-looking cat entered the room.
"How can we help you?" asked Black-cat.
"I should like to travel to Bering to eat some glacier mice, but where do you suppose
would be the best place to go?"
"Head clerk, tell us, where are the breeding grounds of the glacier mice?"
The head clerk opened a large blue note book, and then answered.
"Usutela Gomena, Novaskaiya, and Fusa river."
Black-cat relayed the answer to the wealthy cat.
"Usutela Gomena, Nova...what was it you said again?"
"Novaskaiya." said the head clerk and the rich cat at the same time.
"Yes, Novaskaiya. And what came after that?"
"Fusa river," said the wealthy cat and the head clerk, again at the same time. Black-cat
looked a little embarrassed.
"Oh yes, Fusa river. Yes, those would be good places."
"And is there anything I should know about the area before I take my trip?"
"Second clerk, what are the travel notes for the Bering area?"
The second clerk turned the page of his note book.
"It is no place for summer cats."
Then, for some reason, they all looked at Kettle-cat.
"Even winter cats should take care. There is a danger of being enticed by the horse
meat near Hakodate. Also, black cats should be sure to act as cat-like as possible at all
times, since there have been cases of being mistaken for a black fox and hunted."
"Yes, just as he said. You are not a black cat as I am, so you should not have to worry
too much. Just be sure to resist the temptation of the horse meat near Hakodate."
"I see. I wonder, is there anyone of note in Bering?"
"Third clerk, tell us the names of the influential felines in the Bering area."
"Yes, let's see, in Bering...there are two, Topskey and Genzoski."
"And what are Topskey and Genzoski noted for?"
"Fourth clerk, tell us about Topskey and Genzoski."
"Yes sir."
The fourth clerk, Kettle-cat, already had a finger on both Topskey's and Genzoski's
names in a large register. Both the manager and the wealthy cat were  impressed. The three other clerks, however, just looked sideways, mockingly, and smiled. Kettle-cat read aloud the note book as best he could.
"Chief Topskey is noted for his moral influence in the area, strong judgment, and his wisdom, although he is slow to speak. Genzoski is noted for his impressive wealth,
and he is slow to speak, though he is very wise."
"I see. Thank you."

    For cats, this was a very convenient establishment. And yet, in just a half
year from now, this office would be gone. The reason being that the first three clerks hate Kettle-cat (as I am sure everyone has already noticed.) Especially Calico-cat, as he  would have liked nothing more than to do the work that Kettle-cat was assigned to. Kettle-cat tried very hard to get the othis three to like his, but nothing seemed to work.
    For instance, one afternoon, Tabby-cat, who sat beside him, had his lunch
box on top of his desk, and was about to begin eating. Suddenly, he fell to the urge to yawn. He stretched both of his arms high in to the air, and let out a big yawn.  Among cats, yawning in front of your superior was nothing rude, and even among humans, would perhaps only cause one's superior to frown, so the yawn itself wasn't anything to worry about. The problem was that Tabby-cat had pushed his legs up against his desk, causing it to slant. This sent his lunch sliding across his desk. In no time, it had fallen onto the floor right in front of the manager. The lunch box was made of aluminum, so it had dented but had not broken. Tabby-cat quickly cut off his yawn, and leaned over his desk to try and pick up his lunch. He stretched his arms out, trying to grab the lunch box, but it was just out of his reach. As he tried to get  hold of  it, he only ended nudging it this way and that.
"No, you'll never reach it." said manager Black-cat, chewing some bread and laughing.
Kettle-cat had also been just about to eat, having opened his lunch box, but after seeing what had happened, he quickly stood up, picked up the fallen lunch box, and tried to hand it to Tabby-cat. However, when he did this, Tabby-cat suddenly became very angry, and without taking the lunch box from Kettle-cat, placed his hands behind his back and yelled at his, shaking in anger.
"What are you doing!? Are going to tell me to eat this lunch, that's fallen on the floor!? Is that what you're trying to tell me to do!?"
"No, you were trying to pick it up, so I just picked it up for you."
"When was I trying to pick it up? I wasn't! It had fallen on the floor in front of the
manager, so I was just trying to sweep it under my desk."
"Oh? It's just that you were nudging it back and forth, so..."
"How rude! The only way to settle this is a duel..."
"Here now, here now!!" yelled the manager. He had intentionally interrupted to make sure this would not turn into a duel.
"Thise is no need to fight. I'm sure Kettle-cat was not trying to make you eat the fallen lunch. Also, I forgot to mention it this morning, but Tabby-cat, you are getting a ten coin salary raise."
Tabby-cat had been angry, but as he listened, his face went from being one of rage to one of delight. He smiled.
"I do apologize for raising my voice," he said, before glaring at Kettle-cat and sitting back at his desk.
Now I don't know about you, but I feel sorry for Kettle-cat.

    About five or six days later, a very similar thing took place. The reasons things like this often happened were because, first, cats are very lazy, and second, cats have very short front legs, that is, arms. This time it was in the morning, before work had started. A brush had fallen from  Calico-cat's desk and rolled across the floor. The best thing would have been to get up and retrieve the brush, however, the lazy cat did just as Tabby-cat had done before. He bent over his desk, stretched out his arms, and tried to reach the brush. Just like Tabby-cat, his arms did not reach. Calico was a very short
cat, and so he stretched further and further over his desk. Kettle-cat was going to help, but then hesitated as he remembered what had happened last time. he watched, blinking a few times, but then could not stand by any longer, and stood up. Right at that moment, Calico-cat stretched himself a little too far over his desk, and fell, hitting his head. The loud noise startled the manager, who then stood up and reached for the bottle of ammonia water behind him, to revive Calico-cat. However,
Calico-cat stood again right away, and then yelled at Kettle-cat.
"Kettle-cat! You made me fall!!"
This time, however, the manager quickly spoke to Calico-cat.
"No, Calico-cat, you are mistaken. Kettle-cat only stood to help you. he did nothing to you. Regardless, something as trivial as this does not deserve any further attention. Now, let's see, where was I. Oh yes, now where's Santontan's new address...Ah, here it is."
The manager returned to his work. Calico-cat could do nothing but return to his work as well, but every once in a while he'd look up and glare at Kettle-cat. This is how things usually went, much to Kettle-cat's dismay.

    Kettle-cat, not wanting to be different, had tried sleeping under a window like a normal cat. But during the night, the cold became too much for him, and so he ended up going back inside the earthen cooking range. The reason he was so susceptible to the cold was because he had thin skin. The reason he had thin skin was because he was born in the middle of summer. Kettle-cat's round eyes became full of tears, thinking everything really was all his fault, and there was nothing he could do about it. But the manager was always nice to him, and all of his friends were so proud to know that  he worked at the prestigious office. No matter how hard things became, he would never quit. As he cried, he clenched his paw, and vowed this to himself.
    However, soon even the manager was of no help to Kettle-cat, for cats may seem clever, but they are also very foolish. One day, Kettle-cat caught a cold, and his legs swelled up so much he could not even walk. He ended up having to take the day off. There are no words to describe how much agony he was in. Tears streamed down his face. he looked out at the yellow sunlight from the small shed he was in, and cried all day.
    Meanwhile, this is what was going on at the office:
"Dear me, Kettle-cat is not here yet. He is late." said the manager. White-cat spoke
"He must have gone to the ocean side to play."
"No, I bet he was invited to a banquet somewhere." said Tabby-cat.
"Was there a banquet today?" asked the manager, in surprise. Surely there could not
have been a banquet that he was not invited to.
"He said something about the opening ceremonies of a school in the north."
"Did he...?" The manager fell silent and began to think.
"There is a reason Kettle-cat is invited to so many places. He keeps telling everyone
he is going to become the office manager, and so everyone is trying to get on his
good side," interjected Tabby-cat.
"Is this true!?" yelled Black-cat in outrage.
"It is. Ask around for yourself," lied Calico-cat.
"This is inexcusable. And here I looked after him. I have much to think about."
And then the office dropped into silence.

    The next day came. Kettle-cat could finally walk again. Relieved, he woke up early in the morning. The wind was strong that day, but he arrived at the office. When he did, however, he found the register of names he held in such high regard was not on his desk as it always had been, but instead had been split up amongst the three other desks.
"Ahh, yesterday must have been very busy." Kettle cat said to himself in a dry voice,
while his  heart for some reason had begun racing.
Kchk. The door opened behind his, and Calico-cat came in.
"Good morning." Kettle-cat greeted him, but Calico-cat said nothing, sat down, and began pouring over his note books in a very busy manner. Kchk, Tabby-cat then entered the office. Kettle-cat greeted him.
"Good morning." But Tabby-cat did not look at him.
"Good morning." said Calico-cat.
"Good morning. The wind is strong today, isn’t it?" replied Tabby-cat, before diving into
his own notebooks. Kchk, White-cat arrived.
"Good morning." Tabby-cat and Calico-cat greeted him at the same time.
"Oh, good morning. The wind is really blowing today," said White-cat, before turning to
his work. This time Kettle-cat couldn't manage to say anything, and simply bowed in
silence. White-cat acted as if he didn't know him. Kchk.
"My goodness, that's some wind out there," said the manager, as he too entered the
"Good morning." All three of the cats stood up and bowed. Kettle-cat still stood
awkwardly, looked down, and bowed.
"It must be a storm." Black-cat spoke, without looking at Kettle-cat, and then began to
"Let's see, we must continue where we left off yesterday, looking up the Anmoniak siblings. Second clerk, out of the  Anmoniak siblings, who went to the south pole?"
The work of the office had been set into motion. Kettle-cat stayed silent. He didn't have the name register. he wanted to say so, but he couldn't bring hisself to speak up.
"Pan, and Polaris." Tabby-cat answered.
"Good. Now tell me about Pan and Polaris," said Black-cat.
Ahh, that's my job, thought Kettle-cat. Where is my register?
"Pan and Polaris, on their return expedition to the south pole, died in the Yap islands. They were buried at sea."
The head clerk, White-cat, was reading from Kettle-cat's register. Kettle-cat couldn't help it anymore, and hung his head in despair. They went about their work. Every once in a while, one of them would steal a quick glance at Kettle-cat, but none of them said a single word.
Then, it was afternoon. Kettle-cat didn't eat the lunch he had brought with him. He just had his paw on his knee, and continued to hang his head. One hour later, Kettle-cat began to cry. For three hours he cried, stopped, and then cried some more.
Even so, everyone in the office completely ignored him, and continued working.
Though the cats did not notice it, it was about this time that the golden face of a lion
could be seen outside the window behind the manager. Suspicious, he watched for a
while, and then knocked on the door and entered. The cats were scared out of their
wits. They fumbled about the office aimlessly. Kettle-cat stopped crying, and was the
only one who stood up straight. Then the lion spoke in a booming voice.
"What are all of you doing? We do not need history and geography in a manner such as
this. All of you, stop this. Yes, I'm shutting this office down."
And so, the office was closed.

I half agree with the lion.