The End of Winter 冬の終わりに

A short piece full of distinctly Japanese dark humour.

By Dendero Three
Translated by Hamish Smith

The End of Winter

In a single kotatsu in a room in a cheap apartment was a father and son, facing one another. They had both crawled into the kotatsu and had both arms snugly inside.

“Dad, it’s cold.”
“It’s not that cold.”
“It is cold.”
“Ok, just try and remember how cold it is in the middle of winter. And now winter is drawing to a close. So comparatively speaking, it’s not that cold.”
“I’m not talking comparatives. It’s cold right now.”
“Well then think about this. We live in Kanto. It’s warm here compared to Hokkaido.”
“I heard that people in Hokkaido blast their heating systems so much that they hang around their houses in nothing but t-shirts.”
“Central heating systems are bad for the environment. I’m trying to save the world by not using them.”
“I wish you’d try to save me first.”
“Boy, I can’t just go and give you everything you want.”
“I can’t remember you ever giving me anything at all.”
“You’ll understand when you’re older.”
“Oh, not that again.”
“Look, at any rate, winter is almost over. Do you know what that means?”
“It means that … winter is almost over?”
“You know, you really are chello-minded.”
“You mean ‘shallow-minded’?”
“Well I wouldn’t go that far. But either way, the end of winter means the start of spring.”
“Spring!”
“Right! Spring!”
“So that means I don’t have to worry about passing away from hypothermia in the middle of the night?”
“That’s right!”
“We won’t have to wander around apartment stores just to keep warm?”
“Yep!”
“And we won’t have to steal old newspapers from the recycling bin to use as insulation?”
“You bet!”
“We won’t have to drink cups of boiling water just to warm up?”
“Nope!”
“I won’t have to cuddle up to you all the time.”
“Not any more!”
“We won’t have to cry at the convenience store when we smell the hot food any more?”
“Nope!”
“And we won’t have to stop and check all vending machines to see if someone has forgotten their change?”
“Now son, let’s not get carried away.”
“Wha-?”
“Well, at any rate, all our problems will be over once spring comes to town.”
“Really? I hope spring comes early.”
“What do you want to do once spring is here?”
“Gee dad, how about we play catch?”
“Oh ho ho ho. Now son, I don’t have a ball let alone a glove.”
“Oh. Well how about jump rope?”
“Oh ho ho ho. Now son, if I had some rope I would have hung myself by now. Probably the only reason I’m still alive.”

Just then the both the light in the room and the kotatsu went out at the same time.

“Dad, did you pay the power bill?”
“Oh ho ho ho. Looks like you’d better get yourself a job.
“You always say that.”

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English translation © 2015 Hamish Smith. All rights reserved.

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