Rose-Coloured Mist

    Takahara Yoko was, after all, Sawaki Shuichi's mistress. It has finally become a clear fact now.
        As Sawaki himself said, the real life of human existence is a vague and shadowy thing and so you wonder if it means that nothing becomes certain until death.

          I first met Yoko in Sawaki Shuichi's company about the middle of September the year before last. Yoko was wearing a light weight kimono with rushes dyed in white on the skirt.
            I met Sawaki and her at a small restaurant in Yanagibashi that had the first floor arranged with chairs in the present fashion. It was across a bridge from the Edo-style boating resort where people go fishing for gudgeon near the end of the year. Being the kind of place it was, at first I thought that Yoko was a geisha or something. It was because the shop was where people like leading sumo wrestlers go to drink.
              Sawaki introduced Takahara Yoko as the widow of a friend, and regarding my own circumstances he said to Yoko.
                "This is a painter who only paints nudes." I didn't paint nude women for pleasure, but I felt sure of the lines of a woman's nude body. Sawaki instantly remembered that fact and by introducing me that way he laid a smoke screen across my idle curiosity about Yoko. Sawaki had that kind of shrewd knack.
                  In late autumn several of us fishing companions planned to cross over on the ferry boat from Kurihama to Kanaya on the opposite shore and try fishing for sea bream at Kanaya and Takeoka.
                    I reached Kurihama by train, but Sawaki and Yoko and another group came to Kurihama by car. Sawaki rode in the car Yoko drove. The Takahara Yoko of that day was wearing a yellowish leather jacket over dark brown slacks. I couldn't tell who it was until she called out to me.
                      The car was put aboard the ferry boat and we were crossing over to the opposite shore. We lined up in chairs on the narrow deck and spent the time gazing at the big steamships going to foreign countries and back.
                        Sawaki brought out a short fishing pole he had newly bought and he lectured about the intricacies of the device. Yoko was the only woman present and, since it was the first meeting with her for most of the group, Sawaki seemed all the more compelled to pay extra attention.
                          There was a wind, but the sky was very clear and the sun-light was dazzling. Gulls flew about in groups and some even floated on the surface of the water right next to where the boat was running.
                            As we approached Kanaya the wind became stronger and when we stepped up on the pier the boatmen whom we had telephoned came up to us and said that no boats could ever go out in that wind.
                              Copper-coloured legs and copper-coloured arms and faces are beautiful. One of the boatmen was wearing a straw hat and he had made a headband around the crown of the hat with a hand towel but it looked as though he had wound tropical flowers around it.
                                We divided up into the two cars and headed for Takeoka. We thought that while we rested awhile at the inn in Takeoka, the boats too would return from Kanaya and in the evening we could probably fish in the vicinity.
                                  Yoko said that she outranked the tall Sawaki Shuichi in things like driving a car and golf, but that she had only gone fishing in the ocean two or three times and this was the first time for sea bream.
                                    When we reached the inn we spread out our gear and rods in a room at the rear and we each began to boast about our fishing poles.
                                      The Takeoka boats held two passengers and one to two boatmen. They were small boats that could not carry any more than that.
                                        The boatmen were Gennai, Shichibei, Kawashima and his son and Hisagoro and his son. Kawashima's son was still a youth who was just out of high school, but when it came to the elder Hisagoro he was a fisherman who had been fishing around that area for more than fifty years now.
                                          The journalist N. who was one of the group said,
                                            "Yoko, you'll never be able to catch any sea bream if you're with Sawaki. My services are much better so why don't you go out with me tomorrow?"
                                              The wind was from the south but the boats took an unexpected amount of time to come. Even so we went out on the sea for about an hour in the evening. However, as the fishermen said, the tide was bad and no one could catch anything at all. There weren't even any bites.
                                                We went to bed together in two rooms in the rear and in the main part of the inn and the next morning we got up at five o'clock and went by car to Katsuyama. The boats were supposed to have set out much earlier than we, but we had to wait more than an hour for them at Katsuyama.
                                                  The wind was not as strong as the day before, but even at that white caps rose up. During the whole forenoon I brought up two medium-sized bream of about two pounds and caught some other bright red fish that resembled golden-eyed bream, what we called rock-fish and bottom-fish.
                                                    It seemed that the boat Yoko and Sawaki were riding in was fishing fairly well. When our boats passed on the sea I held up two fingers and signaled that I had brought up two bream. Yoko, who was wearing a hooded jacket over her leather jacket, held up one finger and Sawaki made a circle with his thumb and forefinger and let us know that he still hadn't any bream.

                                                      Takahara Yoko was about thirty or a little more in age. She was employed in the secretariat of a certain public welfare corporation. From before her marriage she was qualified to use her teacher's name in traditional dancing and she had continued dancing even after marriage. Her husband had been in the Ministry of Education, but after more than five years of married life he suddenly died. That deceased public official had been Sawaki's junior through middle school and university and had been close to Sawaki.
                                                        Ever since we had gone fishing for sea bream at Kanaya, we friends had in private called Yoko "Sawaki's woman", or "Sawaki's companion", but of course without the last ill-will. Even if it were by chance that kind of situation, those things were not said with any underlying intent to gossip about it. Indeed, if I try to express it, they were endearments for the relationship of adult companions.
                                                          It would be pitiful to say "Widow", and "Mrs." is cold. Besides, it is improper for recent acquaintances to say, "Yo", or "Yoko". I think probably we came to say "Sawaki's woman" with more or less a feeling of fun.
                                                            At the very beginning they were private phrases, as I just said, but from about the time we went fishing at Aburatsubo in Misaki after we went to Kanaya, people came right out and said things casually in front of Sawaki like,
                                                               "Here! Your woman's seat is over here!"
                                                                Then Sawaki, being Sawaki, would say, "Oh, never mind! . . . Well, I will then. Excuse me."
                                                                  And he would sit in the chair beside Yoko.
                                                                    At such times Yoko would simply laugh happily. There was never a time when she recoiled disagreeably or opposed our speaking in jest from the outset. Thanks to that, she was able to get along quite well with everyone while being the only woman among those slightly older fishing companions.
                                                                      We went to Aburatsubo because one of our companions was acquainted with the manager of a boatel (a boating hotel) there and had received an invitation to try out the new venture in the club system and at the same time to try the fishing nearby.
                                                                        The boatel building stood on a cliff overlooking a narrow bay. A zigzag road along the cliff went down to a boathouse near the water.
                                                                          When we arrived there, unfortunately a light rain was falling steadily and the many boats out on the bay, as though at the bottom of a deep spring dream, made not the slightest movement. Even the pines on the surrounding cliff with their different shapes of branches were perfectly still and the green of that pine forest seemed to sink into the eyes.
                                                                            The yachts on the bay, big ones and small ones, were all different in style and painted colours.
                                                                              The rain was letting up gradually and as soon as it seemed to have almost stopped, Sawaki and I asked for a ride in a motor­boat. We threaded through that cluster of yachts and headed outside the bay raising a great white spray as we ran around on the sea close to Jogashima.
                                                                                Then, finally, the rain really stopped and Sawaki and I came in just as our other companions were leaving together to go down to the boathouse. Sawaki and I folded cushions in two for pillows and stretched out alone on the mat floor of our room that had very wide windows.
                                                                                  "You know! It's terrible, isn't it? An illness!" Sawaki said. "It's my cousin. Eighteen years she was in bed with rheumatism. In the end, she developed cancer of the mouth and she died quite recently. But no matter how you look at it, it's cruel, you know . . . ", he began.

                                                                                    "I hear the great priest Dharma sat cross legged facing a wall in Zen contemplation for nine years and finally achieved enlightenment. But my cousin lay in her sick bed for exactly twice as long, eighteen years, and in the end suffered cancer. But, you know, she, too, finally achieved enlightenment," he laughed.
                                                                                      According to Sawaki's story, that lady as in such a disabled condition she had gotten into the bath only twice in eighteen years. For all that, in the end she had written farewell notes to each of her acquaintances. She had decided that it would be good to die in her beloved season of chrysanthemums, and, in just that way, autumn came and she died.
                                                                                        "The characters were in ink and she had written them very well. I heard that she couldn't move her right hand and so she took the brush in her left hand and put it between the fingers of her right hand and wrote. She sent a note to me too sometime in the summer saying that she thought she would last until autumn. I had my wife go to see her and I heard it made her very happy. I just couldn't bring myself to go. . . Why couldn't I? Finally, I suppose, it was from laziness, but it wasn't only from laziness. There was also a selfish feeling. It was even from cowardice. But, really, it was because I still didn't know what kind of thing death was."
                                                                                          Sawaki was silent a while.
                                                                                            It made me feel strangely uneasy.
                                                                                              ". . . You know, it's because we just say words like, All things pass away, and go on repeating trivial lives with no time to consider death. I had a friend who told me that a fellow who doesn't consider death once a day is a fool. But, he said, a fellow who thinks about death three times a day is a bigger fool. I was still young and so his words were probably taking that fact into consideration. "That person died too, you know. . . ."
                                                                                                " . . ."
                                                                                                  ". . . My cousin lost her husband early and by the end of the war she was already in bed with rheumatism. Those were times when it was a matter of course for even a healthy man not to know how best to make a living. But she sent her oldest son's wife into the black market and, you know, she became more familiar with black market prices than most people, knowing how much this was and about how much that was.Fortunately, their house hadn't burned and so somehow they lived through those times selling their things in order to eat. That cousin's parents, my aunt and uncle lived in the house next door and she gave that family her second boy as an adopted son and found him a wife. When the father died she arranged the funeral and suddenly, night after, that adopted second son died.After that, my cousin just spent her days in bed watching over everything in the two houses where the grandchildren were living. My aunt, mother to that cousin, died about six months before my cousin. It was probably a natural death. It seems when she was just on the verge of dying she burst out saying she didn't like her own daughter­ in-law. She set out almost crawling through the garden to my cousin's house next door. She was gasping for breath in the kitchen and whining and asking them to let her die there. That aunt died at eighty-six, but up to the very end she behaved like a spoilt girl. He husband's death was seven or eight years before and that would mean she was seventy-eight or nine at the time. But it seems they still had family quarrels. Her quarrels seemed like those of a spoilt girl and I suppose that fact was, after all my aunt's virtue. What happened was, she died and all those things became obvious to everyone. No doubt it's because death strikes a black period to human existence and thrusts it before our eyes as a single, inevitable life.The upshot is that if I, for instance, am not shown human life in that way, I can't distinguish at all whether or not even my wife is a good person or a bad person. Still, you know, it's frightening to be shown the truth clearly. The upshot is that now I've come to think that I probably couldn't go to see my cousin for that reason."
                                                                                                    " . . ."
                                                                                                      " . . ." Really, that cousin was an exceptionally beautiful woman when she was young. She was sylphlike and from youth she was thought of as being very strong-minded. Although I call her cousin, she was much older than I. When I was twelve years old my father died and I expect at that time she had already been married for quite a while. I remember after my father's funeral at a funeral home in Aoyama, the women were in a waiting room adjusting their mussed mourning clothes before the farewell ceremony for friends. From childhood I've had both a strangely sensitive side to my nature and a particularly indifferent one. It was at that time when I first learned of the existence of that cousin. Not having any memory of a cousin before then, I wondered, ‘Who do you suppose that stranger is?’
                                                                                                        My uncle happened to say to me, 'Here! Here! This room is for women only. Men should get out.'
                                                                                                          Well, you too! You're a man! I, who was the chief mourner and in primary school, thought such an impertinent thing. It turned out that my uncle was that stranger's father."
                                                                                                            When he finished talking, the tall Sawaki pushed aside the cushion he was using for a pillow, stood up and went and slid the glass door wide open.
                                                                                                              Apparently the motorboat that everyone had gone out in was back inside the bay. The sound of it carried to my ears.
                                                                                                                I was still stretched out musing about the story of Sawaki's cousin as the shape of a single human life.
                                                                                                                  "Well, my woman is back. Why don't we go to the lobby?" Sawaki said.

                                                                                                                    Sometimes my blood pressure gets high. Although I say high, it is usually about a hundred and seventy or eighty and on occasion the low is about a hundred and twenty.
                                                                                                                      At first I worried even at a hundred and sixty or seventy, but however much you worry there's no end to it and so lately I have come to take it rather nonchalantly.
                                                                                                                        Among my fishing companions there are many who like sake. To their credit, while they are out fishing no one touches a drop, but on the way back they are apt to drink somewhere.
                                                                                                                          The shop in Yanagibashi where I had first met Yoko was one of those places. But there were some other such sociable shops like the ones that would cook the fish you had caught right away. Although we had a private rule that we should return straight home if possible, it didn't work, but in those cases we would say, That's the way it goes!
                                                                                                                            I am a rather sociable person and go anywhere bundled up in layers of heavy clothing lugging a fish basket and an ice chest that also serves to carry gear. It doesn't mean that it is good for the blood pressure, but at those times I think of an excuse like, Tobacco is worse than sake.
                                                                                                                              It was the time when I went out fishing for sillago at Funabashi.
                                                                                                                                It was a fairly long distance from the station to the fishing resort behind the community hall. That hadn't bothered me much, but when I set off as always lugging the ice chest and fish basket, oddly my right shoulder began to get stiff. It wasn't the first time that strange stiffness had occurred. I had already experienced it four or five times. Those times I had endured the stiffness for a while and then it became pain and spread out from my shoulder all through my chest and finally collected in the upper part of my stomach as though it were being sucked up from the solar plexus. In the end, the pain had suddenly gone and at the same time the stiffness in the shoulder had also disappeared completely without a trace.
                                                                                                                                  This time, too, I endured it and got as far as the boat. When I sat down quite still in the boat the pain followed the same course as always and suddenly disappeared.
                                                                                                                                    Still, somehow it didn't seem to be only stiffness and so I had my regular doctor examine me. The doctor didn't know either what it was, perhaps because at that time there was nothing particularly unusual. After that, when I was watching for it, I knew something was wrong when I walked carrying my easel, or hurried along carrying slightly heavy parcels. Especially when I hurried up the stairs at a train station that stiffness in my right shoulder would occur.
                                                                                                                                      Sawaki Shuichi possessed unexpected knowledge, perhaps because he was a specialist in theatrical criticism and had many opportunities to meet people. When I told him the story he advised,
                                                                                                                                        "Then you should go to the heart research institute in Aoyama."
                                                                                                                                          I had taken electro-cardiograms several times up to then, but as a result of going to Aoyama I was told for the first time that there was some abnormality. There was also an unprecedented rise in my blood pressure and on the daywhen I received my first examination it was two hundred and twenty at the highest and one hundred and twenty-six at the lowest.
                                                                                                                                            It had never been that high before and for the time being I decided to stop fishing and to keep away from liquor as much as possible.
                                                                                                                                              It might be so with everyone, but the first day I go to a hospital I seem to be particularly tense.
                                                                                                                                                When I went the second time after about a week, my blood pressure had dropped to a hundred and eighty. It was probably a result of the medicine too, but the third or fourth time it had come down to a hundred and sixty.
                                                                                                                                                  "Why do you suppose it was so high the first time? It was the first time it had been so high," I said. While the chief doctor was taking my pulse he said quietly,
                                                                                                                                                    "I suppose it was because that was the first time you came. Everybody's seems to be high the first day."
                                                                                                                                                      Still, it had been a little too high, and I don't remember that I was that tense, but when you realize that people are usually more wary than they think, it's amusing.
                                                                                                                                                        While I had been going back and forth to the hospital, my fishing companions had welcomed in the summer and gone off to the mountains here and there for trout. In recent years we haven't been able to catch any trout at all around Tokyo, and as a result we go far out.
                                                                                                                                                          I had heard the story that they had gone to the Shinano River and to the Hinokinai River in Akita Prefecture. I thought it was an unlikely tale that Takahara Yoko had a trout pole upwards of twenty-four feet, but they said she had had a twenty-five or twenty-six foot pole made, which is short for a trout pole, and she had gone with all of them to Kakunodate. At first, when I had just begun to go to the hospital, I was very conscientious and wherever I went I tried not to forget the emergency medicine the doctor had given me for sudden attacks, but when nearly six months had passed, I gradually came to long for my earlier way of life again. Moreover, the autumn season was ahead of me and I had to do some paintings to send out for exhibition and couldn't only follow the doctor's advice all the time.
                                                                                                                                                            I secluded myself in my studio and painted nudes for the exhibition paintings. When they were finished, I wanted more than ever to go fishing somewhere.
                                                                                                                                                              As soon as we got into October, I went by bus once on the sly to Kanazawa Hakkei for scorpion fish.
                                                                                                                                                                In November I was invited by Sawaki Shuichi to go to Lake Onuma in the Akagi Mountains to fish for smelt and at the same time to see the red maple leaves.

                                                                                                                                                                  I had tried going out once for scorpion fish without saying anything to any of my companions, but at that time I had still not been confident of my physical condition and I hadn't enjoyed it.
                                                                                                                                                                    I remember that I went to Akagi on several occasions about the time when I had just finished middle school in the old educational system. I don't know why I went to Akagi so many times, but, after all, it was probably because I didn't know very many other places.
                                                                                                                                                                      There was a man living in the Onuma vicinity of Akagi who painted while he managed an inn and I felt a kind of longing for that existence. However, I still had not thought of becoming a painter. When I went to Akagi the first time, I climbed up with friends who attended the same middle school. We carried the heavy tent of those days and we pitched it on the sand beach near Kotorigashima on the opposite shore from the inn.
                                                                                                                                                                        I remember we were kept in by the rain for three or four days and when we were thoroughly fed up with camp life, we left the tent where it was and returned to the inn. The second time, if I remember correctly, I set out with my uncle whose age was not too different from mine. I gazed all day at the Kurobi and Choshichiro peaks around the outer crater that were visible from the window of the inn and I imagined how grand it would be if I could walk from peak to peak all around that outer rim of mountains.
                                                                                                                                                                          Since there were those memories, I wanted to see the later changes in the scenery and I decided to accept Sawaki's invitation.
                                                                                                                                                                            The party consisted of Sawaki, Yoko, the journalist N and myself. Since we planned to go in Yoko's car, there naturally was a limit on the number of people.
                                                                                                                                                                              On the appointed day we gathered at N.'s house and set off at ten o'clock in the morning. Until we left Tokyo the streets were crowded with cars and so N. drove for Yoko.
                                                                                                                                                                                We followed the Watarase River gorge from Kiryu to Akagi. I thought it was still a little early in the season for smelt and already too late for autumn leaves, but the road along the gorge was magnificent in brilliant maple foliage.
                                                                                                                                                                                  When we came to Mizunuma at the base of Akagi, persimmon trees covered with fruit were visible everywhere. The countless fruit shone orange and delighted the Tokyo-born Yoko.
                                                                                                                                                                                    From Mizunuma we saw Akagi directly in front, and beside the road that climbed straight up there were bus stops that read, 1st Torii, 2nd Torii, and it made me remember the road from long ago.
                                                                                                                                                                                      When we passed the front of the Rihei Tea Room there was a cable car station just beyond. N. left the car at Rihei's.
                                                                                                                                                                                        The cable car took only six minutes to reach the summit.
                                                                                                                                                                                          As one would naturally expect, from the summit the whole mountain was a scene of naked trees, and a corner of the lake shining bright blue peered from a rift in that broad scene of naked trees.
                                                                                                                                                                                            The bus was waiting there and we took it to the front of the inn. There was a road that I had climbed on all fours up those peaks of long ago that the cable car passes. The road that followed a stream down from the summit as far as the inn was one of the most beautiful scenes on Akagi. But by bus the beauty didn't hold my eyes now and even if I tried walking the road there would probably not be the same deep feelings as long ago.
                                                                                                                                                                                              A large building done in rustic style had been built for an inn in the same place as before. A ski slope for the winter season seemed to be on the side of the mountain directly behind and within a forest of oaks that was a tangle of bare branches the wheels of a lift echoed monotonously.
                                                                                                                                                                                                "Somehow you seem to remember only the old days. Live in the present! We have to seize the present, you know; especially us. . . ." Sawaki said laughing loudly.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  "No, that's too callous. By that, if we don't catch any smelt what does it get us?" The journalist N. took Sawaki's words and teased him. He clapped me on the shoulder as if to get my agreement.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    To use an exaggeration, I felt overwhelmed then, not from sentimentality, by the impersonality of time's moments. That feeling became a clear, distinct thing and over­ whelmed me all the more when, after taking a rest at the inn, we went up by the lift and ropeway gondola to Mt. Jizo in back and saw the strange microwave building at a corner of the peaks around the outer crater.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      It was odd going to the top of Mt. Jizo in no time at all, a distance that had previously taken half a day, and to go up as we were in everyday clothes. At a corner of that barren mountain's ridge, the huge, pure white dome and the straight line of the equally while metal tower joined like some solid geometric figure―That strange micro­wave building seemed to compel a deep silence all around.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        When Yoko and Sawaki spied that strange building, they shouted for joy and taking each other's hand, they advanced in that direction along the ridge. N. and I gazed after the two figures of Yoko and Sawaki moving away from us into the distance. Then, suddenly, the thought came to me that the two of them approaching that impersonal building would surely be visited with the vengeance of time's moments.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          "It's cold, isn't it? Really!"
                                                                                                                                                                                                            I voiced my thoughts with those words and with my shoulder warding off the wind blowing up from the broad foothills south­west of Akagi, I turned back to the rope way shack.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              It was the next morning when we went out in motorboats on Lake Onuma in order to fish for smelt, and at that it was nearly nine o'clock.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                On the day we arrived at Akagi it was already two o'clock when we reached the summit and there was no spare time for doing any fishing.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We had planned to get up as early as possible the next morning and go out on the lake, but, as it happened, it was decided that Sawaki and Yoko would sleep together in a separate room and they didn't get up right away. Besides that, preparations for breakfast were late and when we did go to the boathouse at the edge of the lake the result was that the person in charge still hadn't come.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "Wouldn't it be better to stop right here for today? What do you think?" I said with a bitter smile.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A thick mist flowed down endlessly from the summit around the base of the ash­coloured Koma Peak and in the mist Lake Onuma was smoky-white.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "Still, let's go out anyway. If it's cold, we'll come right back." Yoko stated her definite opinion like an outspoken girl.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We decided to make a bonfire at the lake's edge nearby and wait until the person in charge of the boathouse came up the mountain. We were able to gather dead braches and roots of trees for the fire without too much trouble.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Finally, when the youth who was in charge showed up, N. and I had him teach us how to use the motor and we got into a boat first.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Our boat put out from the dock and when it had gone for a bit we heard a sound deep in the thick mist like the motor starting on Sawaki's and Yoko's boat.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We had been told that it was good fishing at the far end of the lake which was almost in a straight line ahead a little to the left of the dock, and so we headed in that direction following the shore in the interest of safety. Disregarding our boat, Sawaki and Yoko seemed to have taken a direct course. We could hear the sound of their boat deep in the mist more toward the center of the lake.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We stopped the motor just short of the lake's end and tried fishing in that vicinity for nearly two hours, but we didn't even get what seemed like a bite. Only N. caught two or three of those small smelt. Sawaki and Yoko were fishing nearby and when we called over to see how they were doing, Yoko, wearing the hood on her packet, waved her hand broadly back and forth indicating that they hadn't caught a thing.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "I can't stand this cold. We should come out some other time," N. said, and we decided right away to head back to the inn.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      We were careful to let the other boat know that we were heading back. Sawaki signalled that he understood by taking off his black ski cap and waving it round over his head like a boy. That was the last time N. and I saw Sawaki.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        We tied up the boat at the dock and went right up to the inn. I took my sketch-book, bundled up again against the cold and went alone down toward the lake's edge once more.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I walked from behind a shrine through an oak woods in front of the lake. Within that oak woods there were white birch, yellow birch, the small red fruit which was all that remained of the wild rose, and also the small red fruit of the barberry. The road was covered over with big, gold-coloured leaves from the oaks and when I walked they set up a rich rustling sound.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            At times I would stop and stand on the road making one or two sketches. The lake was completely covered with thick mist and probably from the condition of the sunlight shining through, that ash-white mist shone faintly blue in places and then appeared radiant in rose-colour. It was more eerie than beautiful to me.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The sound of a boat came through the mist. I thought perhaps Sawaki and Yoko had also given up the smelt and were returning to the inn.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A little while later I saw a man from the inn come running in a daze along the road by the lake's edge calling my name.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I heard it all from that man.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The moment Yoko started the boat's motor, Sawaki, for some reason, stood up unsteadily and when the boat rocket violently he lost his balance and fell into the lake. The boat was running in a circle and Yoko tried to grab Sawaki when he came up to the surface twice and she couldn't catch hold of him.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      " . . . The search-party boats are just going out now. Oh, please hurry! His wife. . . ." He said wife for Yoko. "She keeps saying that she killed her husband. She looks like she's out of her mind and we can't do anything with her. . . ."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The more the man from the inn carried on with his frenzied rush of words, the more I felt that time was passing with terrible slowness.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I noticed that I was not the least upset.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            If I inform his Tokyo residence right away, Sawaki Shuichi's wife will probably reach the lakeside by night at the latest. I yet haven't had even once a real exchange of greetings with Sawaki's wife and I expect it will be a difficult situation. Looking at it from life in general, the man Sawaki probably wasn't a particularly unfortunate man, nor does he probably fall into the class of fortunate men. . . .
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Such things came to my mind.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The broad lake covered with rose-coloured mist was coming alive echoing with the sound of motors from many boats.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Translated by Warren Carisle

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  (Work Posted)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Bara-iro-no Kiri (Rose-Coloured Mist) first appeared in Gunzo magazine in March, 1963. Protagonist enjoys fishing with fishing friends, including a painting artist friend Mr. Sawaki Shuichi and a young beautiful widow Takahara Yoko in various fishing spots. However, the protagonist cannot comprehend their relationship. Sawaki and Yoko are always together enjoying fishing anywhere they go, but he wonders how intimate the married Sawaki and Yoko are. One day, they go to Lake Onuma for surf melts fishing. Sawaki and Yoko goes out to the lake by boat in deep mist. Sawaki falls into water. Yoko frantically yells, “I killed my husband.” From her words, their relationship becomes clear to all. The protagonist realizes that human existence grows sesured only after death. This is a short story depicting wonders of lives, using companionship of a man and woman in a psychological touch. “Bara-iro-no Kiri” (Rose-Coloured Mist) was translated into English and published by The Japan P.E.N. Club in February, 1966. (From The Japan P.E.N. News No.17 1966)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    MARUOKA Akira
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    MARUOKA Akira

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Novelist. June 29, 1907 – August 24, 1968. Born in Tokyo, he graduated from Keio University, majoring in French literature. He was raised in a good family where his parents were both poets being disciple to famed poet Ochiai Naofumi. While he was a student at Keio University, he started to publish short stories and novellas at the recommendation of Minakami Takitaro for Mita Bungaku (University Literary Magazine) or Bungei Shunjuu magazine. He was recognized as a writer of psychological style, establishing an original literary world of his own based upon a wide cultural knowledge crossing East and West and well-honed senses. In 1951, he received an acclaim publishing Nise Kirisuto (False Christ) using Hara Tamiki as model with whom he befriended. Since his parents owned a business of publishing books of Yokyoku (Noh songs) he was well-versed in Noh theatricals, authoring Noh related books.

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