Kino no Tabi:Volume11 Chapter4

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The Country With No Borders —Asylum—[edit]

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My name is Riku. I am a dog.

I have long, fluffy white fur. I always look like I’m smiling, but it does not necessarily mean that I am. I was just born that way.

Lord Shizu is my master. He is a young man who always wears a green sweater, lost his hometown in some complicated way, and is currently traveling via buggy.

Our companion is Tea. She is a quiet girl who is fond of hand grenades, lost her hometown in some complicated way, and has been with us for a while.


This was after we crossed over to a new continent and kind of ran from the first country we saw.

Having clearly lost our way in the woods, we ran into an old lady, possibly a hermit. We were fortunate to acquire directions to the road leading to the next nearest country.


Thanked by Lord Shizu, the old lady parceled to him a warning.

“That place has all sorts of little nations who have feuds over their territories. I couldn’t stand it, so I left.”

And this old lady, once an advisor to one of these nations, left us with this and returned to her dilapidated hut.


As the buggy ran through a path deep in the mountainous forests, we went over one peak and came to a mountain basin. The countries the old lady told us of were here.

Only it was quite different from what we heard. There were no little nations engaging in feudal warfare amongst each other with the walls smashed together, but rather one huge country.

“Did they integrate? If so, it might be a stably hospitable place.”

Lord Shizu, who had been seeking such a location for some time, said this gleefully from the driver’s seat. I, laying in the footspace of the passenger’s seat,

“…….”

And Tea, who was resting her chin on my head, descended the road together.


“Isn’t it wonderful?! This wonderful system is so much more wonderful than anything else in the world!”

A female guide so declared before many people.

And we look at the scene dumbfounded, without a word.

It was a huge dome, the size of an indoor baseball stadium, filled with thousands of people.

Young and old, man and woman, all sorts of people, sitting and sleeping and reading and changing clothes and listening to their radios in this wide space.

Each space allotted to one person was about the size of a bed. Close enough to hear the person next to you breathe.

We saw this before. It looked like an emergency evacuation in a certain country where people who lost their homes in an earthquake were put together. Exactly the same.

Lord Shizu asked what on earth was this, and the guide replied in a proud, shrill voice.

“This country was unified long ago under the hand of a great man. Before that were long years of agonizing war.”

We knew that.

“And when we integrated into one country, he who became our first leader said, ‘This kind of situation must never happen again.’ He pondered what to do.”

Well, we kind of got that, too.

“Then he received a revelation! That ‘country borders’ were the cause of all this! That countries loudly insist on their own leaders whom everyone else ignores, which then ends up with us fighting! Think about it. In this world, on this planet, there never was such a thing as a border! Boundary lines mustn’t exist!”

This is where things get new.

“And then! Our first leader decided never to have a ‘border.’ Basically, never permit anyone to ‘possess’ an area. Forbidden by the constitution!”

Lord Shizu screwed his brows together and asked the guide,

“Meaning…all the citizens live here, in this—”

“That’s right, Traveler! This is their home, where no one has their own piece of land. All beneath this giant dome. Many more like these were built here. Government plans currently indicate that in the future, the domes will be integrated so that everyone will live under one roof.”

“Even families? Even lovers?”

“Of course! Being this bunched together, there’s no way we can consider making any exceptions. Of course, we can always put them near. They should at least have that much freedom.”

“Then…how is privacy in this country?”

The guide puffed up at Lord Shizu’s question.

“Of course not! That itself, the very concept of ‘my land,’ is the fundamental cause of this foolish warfare! It’s because we conceptualized the idea that people insisted on it, tried to preserve it, expand it, and there you have your endless formula for war. So let’s just never have it in the first place. Everything here is open—the living space, the bathroom, and the toilet. Now there’s no way the fighting can ever happen again.”

“About that constitution…”

“Right! Amendments to it have been strictly banned, so there’s no chance of our regressing to that foolish past. Offenders and rebels alike are punished severely.”

This guide who could not contain her joy continued babbling to a clouded Shizu.

“You desire emigration, don’t you?! So how is our country?! Won’t you become one of our wonderful citizens?! We’ll welcome you!”

And once Lord Shizu bought the necessities, he crossed the country walls again at dusk.

We departed from that “space” to the outside world.


In the deep forest, we await the close of the day.

One of the things Lord Shizu bought in that country was a little tent. It was one of the things postponed since the last country we visited did not have the kind we desired.

Lord Shizu speaks to Tea, who watched him wordlessly as he set up somewhat farther away from his own tent.

“This is yours. From now on, you sleep here.”

“…”

Tea’s eyes protested, but Lord Shizu did not yield.

So Tea yanked out all of the stakes, carried the tent to Lord Shizu’s, set it down, and restaked it.

“’ight.”

Bidding Lord Shizu good night, she disappeared into her tent.

“Good night, Tea.”

Lord Shizu did likewise into the neighboring one.

A forest where the cries of an owl rung low.

The last sight I saw before closing my eyes was the two tents, shoulder-to-shoulder in friendly fashion.





The Very Hard-to-Find Afterword

—Preface—


So here’s another afterword.

Hello again from the author Keiichi Sigsawa who likes to mix myth and truth together.

Here the afterword starts again, which would normally look like more of the story. This time, in contrast to an easy-to-find afterword, I wrote and put this in a really hard place to find.

“Not…ANOTHER…afterWORD…”

You might say, but,

“You can’t choose when to have your afterwords!”

So with two of these, just relax and read on.

And also, there actually isn’t a third one.

Really.

Trust me.


So, I’ve given credit where credit was due in the “easy” one, so how about back-story on the production of this work? I think maybe writing about a matter only the author would know of in the form of an afterword will do.

There are no spoilers about the book here.

While there are none, it’s perfectly fine to read the rest of the book and then come back here, too.

Then it makes this a real afterword. Even though the English subtitle says “preface.”


About the main title.[edit]

It was around the time I wrote up the manuscript application. “Kino’s Travels” was too simple, and I once thought, Maybe it sounds kinda dull.

I like its simplicity now, but at the time I really racked my brains.

“!”

Then the title I came up with was:

“Kinou no Kino no Tabi (Kino’s Travels of Yesterday)”

…….

No, I think the one right now was the correct choice…

In the end, I kept it simple and stuck the English “the Beautiful World” to the end.

I feel like applauding myself back then for thinking, “I shouldn’t do this.”


Everything related to misprints[edit]

Misprints—that is, misspellings even the author did not intend—happen on occasion.

I do check and proofread again and again, and best case scenario, that shouldn’t produce anything, but something appears since this is done by humans.

Right, right, like in the previous volume, Kino X…

In the good or bad but nevertheless very, very long “Country with its Prima Donna,” there is a boy named Elias.

I took the name from a character in the Vietnam War film “Platoon,” but when I wrote the story, I was extremely concerned with not making it the super-famous Aeris from Final Fantasy VII, the only RPG I’ve ever finished by myself.

But, mistakes do occur when one brandishes a pen. I fix the “Aeris” the moment I type it, I fix it again, and I check and check after the writing’s complete and the book comes out, but—

I’m sorry.

(Maybe I should’ve stuck with “Bob”… But Bob’s not really a character, and “Burns” is a surname.)

As a side note, misprints are sent to the editor before reprint, but other authors—self included—don’t read the books word for word after it’s been printed. Since I’ve read it plenty of times during revision.

So the first places to notice these things are BBS and blogs. That’s what they’re there for.


Everything related to typos[edit]

Other than misprints, there are also typos.

Forget about whether in Japanese such a word exists; it’s when you hit the wrong key.

Really, you feel that this word shouldn’t have ended that way, but then you end up putting the wrong suffix on it a lot of the time.

But sometimes, that wrong letter inspires some brilliant, sparkling idea, and consequently, I keep it.

So in the end, it’s alright. Hooray.

Even now, some things I don’t recognize as errors get out in the world.

Some tricks of the angels get in there. A little.


It’s not heavenly thinking up of character names. But it’s fun.[edit]

There aren’t very many sub characters with names.

In order to not set one up, I purposely use “resident,” “bearded man,” and “entry guard,” and go on writing without it looking awkward.

Therefore, important, named sub characters who do appear from time to time enjoy themselves and run into conflicts and think of twisted things—they have a certain aura about them. When I go look names up, it can get quite interesting. (Those types of dictionaries really come in handy.)

Although, the aforementioned “Prima Donna” has names like “Yuan,” “Cain,” and “Lob” that I personally came up with.

Huh? The protagonist-like Master and her partner’s names haven’t come up yet?

Come to think of it, oh, yeah.

Actually, it’s just that her name hasn’t come up yet; I’ve got a name for her (no surname yet, though). It’s been around since she first appeared in Kino II. I just didn’t put it out yet. Whether I will commit it to paper or not is a mystery.

On the other hand, her partner’s name is…uh…well…

Note: Sigsawa does not hate him. Just so you know.


The Persuader’s “name” never comes up.[edit]

While on one hand, a Persuader—that is, a firearm—in short, a gun—may have a clearly designated model, I won’t name it. (This is the same case with the “Allison” and “Lilia and Treis” series, neither of which take place on Earth.)

There I can describe the gun’s features easily, and if the people understand what I’m writing, all the better.

If I were to be detailed about the guns, the editor would issue the command to cut it, so I have to be careful not to go overboard. Must suppress, must suppress. But that reaction ended up making “School Kino” something else entirely.

Basically, I put in whatever gun I just happen to like.

Whenever I have a toy gun or air gun in hand, I pose and wave it around and shoot ‘em at all dangerous persons in the room. Please do not do this at home.

A thirty-something-old man going into an empty, lit room with a toy gun in hand,

“Whew…all clear.”

And saying that so seriously is something to wonder.

So, one exception to this choice was Volume IX’s “Killing Country,” where Master has a Luger P08 on her hip. This one, I remembered from a handshake session someplace, where someone said to me, “Please put it in!” so I put it in.

So, yeah, that happens. It’s happened, but don’t expect it to happen again, sorry.

Even if someone were to yell,

“Harquebus!”

I wouldn’t know what to do.

And from time to time, I’ll also put in a custom gun, so you guys who like spotting all the firearms in stories, watch out for that.


And Persuaders are really “Pers.”[edit]

When I type in word-processing software, long words or phrases that appear frequently enough get added to the dictionary in a shorter form, which is quite convenient. On my PC, I just need to type in “Pers,” hit the right-menu key, and then choose the word from the list.

1. Persuader

2. Persuader (Note: Firearm)

3. Hand Persuader (Note: Persuader is a firearm; in this case, a pistol.)

Very handy. Very, very handy.

But if I get all used to it, then in normal conversation, it would go like,

“You know, Kino’s Pers is—”

So gotta be careful.

Even if Sigsawa uses unintelligible words, please kindly watch over him.


So, what does Kino travel with?[edit]

When I first wrote up “Kino’s Travels,” which came out of my own natural fondness for traveling,

“Should I make a list of Kino’s supplies…?”

I’ve often thought about that.

If I do make detailed notes about what she carries, where she straps it, and the like, it would probably make writing easier for me.

But then I gave it up.

If you were to ask me why—

It’s because I’m the sort of human who “can’t decrease one’s luggage.”

When I go traveling, I say, “I’ll probably need this, maybe that too, I’ll probably feel uneasy without this one,” and before I know it, I’ve amassed all sorts of things, and it gets heavy.

And when I come back, I’ve not used any of those things, or else I happily bought some souvenir from wherever I went. That always happens.

Every time, I swear to myself to simplify my luggage, but it just happens again…

So, the day I ever come up with a complete list of Kino’s travel items is—

The day she doesn’t have to lug everything on Hermes.


About fan works.[edit]

Might be a surprise, but I welcome the idea of my works being the basis of fan works.

It expresses the gratitude of the people who like it so much and it also has that sense of energy exerted in “putting out their own work.”

Even if it were a parody of heretofore unprecedented proportions (though I’ve done a similar thing with “School Kino,” so to speak…) or an 18+ work that would flood the ground with one’s nosebleed, it’s all the same.

Only, I try best as I can not to read them.

The reason being, I fear the one in ten thousand—no, ten million—will prompt me to take the story line for myself.

Nevertheless, good luck, everyone.

There will be a time when that imagination and creativity will come in handy.

And so this afterword shall end abruptly here.

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