After lunch, we traveled by car again until Kuro and I arrived at our destination, the sword museum.
[Unnn What's the matter, Kaito-kun]
[No, it's nothing.]
Several buildings lined up and a signboard that said Sword Village…… Arehh Has this place always been like this I thought this was just a small place with only a museum…… Did I remember it wrong
Hmmm, well, the last time I visited this place was when I just became a grade-schooler…… That was over a decade ago, so I guess it's not surprising that the place has been renovated. Of course, it's possible that I might have simply misremembered……
Anyway, it's good to know that there are more places to look around than I had expected.
There was a building that looked like a souvenir stand right in front of the parking lot, but we decided to check out the museum first, so we went through the wooden gate and headed in the direction of the museum.
Thereupon, I saw a directional signpost pointing to "Bizen Osafune Sword Museum" on the right and "Sword Master Imaizumi Toshimitsu Memorial Museum" on the left. Who is this Imaizumi Toshimitsu Is he a great person from this area
We could check out his memorial museum later, but first, we entered the sword museum. Entering the building, we bought two adult tickets at the ticket counter. Fortunately, the clerk didn't make any remarks regarding Kuro's appearance.
The tickets were designed to look like the saya of a katana, which as expected, looked like fine art.
(T/N: Saya is a katana's scabbard.)
From the pamphlet given at the entrance, it seems that this museum isn't just the Exhibition Room where they display katanas, as it also includes an area called "Sword World", where the process of katana-making is being introduced.
So that we could acquire basic knowledge, we headed to this Sword World first.
[Heehhh…… So this is how a katana is made huh.]
[Unnn, this is also the first time I've seen one being made in detail but…… it seems like you need lots of people expert on different things to make even the most basic katana.]
Swordsmiths (toushou) who forge the Japanese katana, the polisher (togishi) who refines the shape of the blade, the engravers (choukinshi) who carve patterns on the blade, the silversmiths (hakuginshi) who make the habaki, the metallic part encircling the base of the blade, the scabbardsmiths (sayashi) who make the saya, the metalsmiths (kinkoushi) who make the various metal fittings, the lacquer master (nurishi) who applies lacquer on the saya, the tsuba-makers (tsubakou) who make the tsuba (handguard), the string-maker (kumihimoshi) who makes the strings winded around the hilt, and braider (tsukamakishi) who wind those strings…… It seems that even just from what is written on this panel, so many people's hands go into the making of a Japanese katana.
[Arehh Speaking of which, if making a Japanese katana takes a group this much time and effort…… Who is it that made Neun-san's katana]
[Shalltear made it.]
[……Ah, I see……]
Well, Alice would certainly be able to make it all by herself but…… Well, that one is a complete exception, so putting her aside, making a katana is really difficult.
In the Sword World, there is also a mini-theater where you can learn how to make swords through videos. Watching it makes me feel a little more knowledgeable about Japanese katanas.
Thereupon, well, I found a well-prepared…… "Art of Katana : Craftsmanship Incoherent Game".
[……I guess I'll give it a try.]
[I'm not familiar with Japanese words, so I'll just watch. Good luck, Kaito-kun!]
The buttons I could see tells me that the questions they're giving are multiple-choice questions. Wait, arehh Is this an Art of Katana Quiz or a Craftsman game Ahh, there are two kinds of questions huh. So that Incoherent word written on it was just a typographical error, and this is a game about making katanas huh…… Then, let's start with the quiz first.
I know that my knowledge regarding this topic isn't that great when I plunged into this quiz, but Kuro is watching me, so I want to show her my cool side…… Now then, first question…… Fumufumu, tsubazeriai huh…… Fumu…… I see……
(T/N: Tsubazeriai : The act of warding off each other's sword with their tsuba in a duel)
I have no idea what the heck that is. Arehh Isn't this pretty difficult F- For the time being, it's a multiple-choice anyway, so let's choose randomly…… Oh, I luckily got the right answer.
Let's see…… What does this mean I have no clue what the answer to the second question is either…… So let's just click on a random button again……
The third question…… Ah, what was the answer for this one again Errr, I don't remember…… I- It's probably this one…… Alright, I guessed right.
Like that, after a few moments of fumbling around the quiz……
[Ohh! That's amazing, Kaito-kun! You got all the answers right!]
[……U- Unnn. E- E- E- Easy peasy.]
Thanks to my brilliant…… "luck"…… all the random answers I made were correct, and I ended up getting all the questions correctly…… I don't feel like I showed her my cool side at all. Well, Kuro looks like she's glad, so I guess all's well that ends well
After gaining some knowledge from the Sword World, we finally headed to the exhibition room.
[Uwaahh, how big~~]
[Amazing…… I guess this is an Odachi]
I was overwhelmed by the katana that was displayed at the entrance of the Exhibition room, which was bigger than I was. I wonder if anyone could really wield such a stupidly large sword Well, I'm sure that the little girl next to me can wield it with ease……
After looking at the Odachi for a while, I went into the Exhibition room where there were many Japanese katanas on display.
……To be honest, I can't really tell any difference between them. No, I think there are subtle differences in the patterns and appearance, so I could feel like they're slightly different, and there's even what looks like an explanation next to it…… Hmmm, it's still hard for me to tell the difference. The only thing I can think about, looking at all these katanas was that they're awesome.
If someone more knowledgeable regarding Japanese katanas were nearby, I could have asked them lots of things…… but neither Neun-san, the most promising candidate, nor Alice, who seemed to know a lot about Japanese katanas for some reason, was here.
Well, I don't really need to know the details of things to enjoy looking at them, so I guess it's alright.
[……I had thought of this when I saw Neun wielding it, but Japanese swords are beautiful, aren't they]
[Yes, it's polished like a mirror, so it looks beautiful.]
[Unnn, the way the light shines on its blade shows how skillfully made it is. I could clearly see the hamon from this distance.]
(T/N: Hamon is that wavy line on the cutting edge of the katana.)
[I wonder if this is Choji Hamon It's a little hard to see because of the kesho-togi though…… Moreover, even the fine details on the nakago looked amazing.]
(T/N: Choji Hamon is a pattern that looks like cloves lined up together. Kesho-togi is a style of katana design where they would make a white pattern alongside the hamon. Nakago is that part of the blade that goes into the handle)
[K- Kuro…… -san]
Arehh What does this mean Why the heck does it look like Kuro knows more about this than I do! She's saying technical sounding terms one after another, you know!
What's going on What in the world is Kuro saying……
[Unnn What's the matter]
[N- No, I'm just wondering how you know about it so much.]
[Ahh, you see, there's that area with lots of books in that room we were in earlier, right]
[Y- Yeah, there really was a place that looked like a reference room……]
[I "memorized all the books" there!]
When I heard Kuro's words with a smile, I was utterly astounded. You memorized all those books When did you do that Ah, speaking of which, Kuro was acting strangely just now, picking up a book before putting it back on the shelf…… There's no way that she read all of it at that time, right S- Seriously, her specs are just unbelievably high.
[……Speaking of which, you've been doing it so naturally that I didn't even notice…… Kuro, were you even able to read Japanese]
[Ehh Ahh, I see……. Kaito-kun was so used to the Translation Magic that you may not have noticed, but I've been "speaking Japanese" ever since we came here.]
I somehow managed to restrain myself from shouting in surprise. Even if there is no one else in the room at the moment, we are in an Exhibition Room…… a place where one shouldn't raise their voice loudly.
E- Even so…… Kuro had been speaking in Japanese Well, I didn't notice at all. She was speaking so fluently that I didn't notice any difference from the Japanese I usually hear through Translation Magic.
[The Translation Magic Shiro and Earth God give to people doesn't work on me. Kaito-kun may be able to hear me, but other people wouldn't understand what I was saying…… That's why I learned how to speak your language. Pronunciation is still a bit difficult for me though, so it's not perfect yet.]
[I- I didn't notice at all……]
[You think so Do you think I'm speaking well before]
[U- Unnn. You won't look out of place from other people with the way you speak.]
[Really I'm glad then~~]
Good gracious, she's really quite outrageous. Well, for Kuro, who can memorize the contents of large amounts of books in an instant, I guess studying Japanese is easy…… I kind of feel like she will have memorized all the major languages on Earth by the time we go back home.
Even though I was astonished by Kuro's shocking statement, it wasn't any particular inconvenience, so we continued our tour.
On the second floor of the museum, there was a display of very recently made by a swordsmith called "Setouchi Toukoukai", and I was impressed by how exquisite the swords here look.
(T/N: I'm not sure if this is a sword made by a person named Setouchi Toukoukai, or a sword made by someone from Setouchi Swordsmith Association (Toukoukai). I can't find a group like that from google though, so I guessed that it was a name.)
There weren't only katanas here in the second floor Exhibition room, as there were also spears and naginatas, and thanks to Kuro's knowledge, I was able to understand what I was looking at.
After that, we left the museum and went to the "Bizen Osafune Sword Workshop", where we could see where the katanas were actually made.
I heard that you can even experience a little bit of the world at the forge where Japanese katanas were made. Unfortunately though, most of the craftsmen were already resting, so we couldn't see them at work.
However, the workshop was a sight to behold, with tools that I had never seen before. There was also an explanatory panel about the work here, which combined with Kuro's explanation, allowed me to clearly understand the work that they were doing.
It kind of feels like there were a lot of autographs on display in the workshop though…… Are they the autographs of swordsmiths here
After that, we dropped by the "Sword Master Imaizumi Toshimitsu Memorial Museum". It was a memorial to a master swordsmith, and the tools he used to create his works were displayed.
Although there are some minor differences, it's basically similar to the one in the workshop we just visited, and in that sense, his techniques have been passed down as well…… How should I say this…… I felt like I'm looking at a piece of history here.
At the end of our tour, we stopped by the "Fureai Bussan-kan" and picked up some knives…… with some strange kumihimo used in it, which were made with the same manufacturing method used for Japanese katanas.
They also had the souvenirs of Okayama, and a scissor designed like a Japanese katana looked interesting.
As a memento of our visit, Kuro and I decided to buy one Japanese katana's tsuba each to take home with us…… before our tour in the Sword Village came to an end.
Click to open image >>
(T/N: Its something that looks like this. The design on it is different though.)
On the way home, I had a conversation with Kuro using my freshly-learned sword knowledge, and I realized that I had enjoyed myself more than I had imagined. I'm really glad we came here today.
If a chance comes, I would like to come visit again……
Serious-senpai : [The craftsmen who make Japanese katanas are all working seriously…… which means they are working with serious expressions on their face. This means that the Swordsmiths are Serious smiths, and by extension, Japanese katanas are Serious katanas…… and Sword museums are Serious museums!]
: [That's not how it works…… Rather than something like that.]
Serious-senpai : [Something like what!]
: [The fifth chapter of the 4-koma manga is now available at Phantaporta. This time, w- w- what a surprise! It's the character everyone has been waiting for, one of the most popular characters in the novel!!!]
Serious-senpai : [Totally not tooting your own horn.]
Serious-senpai : [Eh Why did you bring out your knife Ah, no, I'm lying! is talking about someone totally unrelated to her! Ah, sto…… Higgyaaaaaahhh!]
T/N: 82/271 10-