赤い絨毯: I Don’t Know, and I Don’t Remember

The reality of dreams and imaginations: everything is upside down, and words float in the air.

Two actors are at center stage at a comfortable distance, talking simultaneously or alternately. The recorded voice
is heard clearly, but in a quality that is not from this world.

Japanese Recorded Voice English
My grandmother says that Tokyo
was a big city with many small
wooden houses. When the B-29
arrived from the East, everything
burned. Not missing a single spot,
it was like a red carpet thrown
from the sky.
When Ken-san from the third
block noticed the attack, the siren
was screaming at its fullest. He
carried his elderly neighbor to the
riverside, but she did not make
it. She burned away. So Ken-san
jumped into the river and silently
watched the sky turn red.
Hana-san from the fifth block
had two babies to take care of. So
she stayed in her house with the
father’s photograph and slept in
silence. She probably did not even
feel the heat of the flames; the
father protected their souls.
In the morning, everything was
gone, some people were left and
some empty ashes remained. But
that was a long time ago
昔々あるところに、大きな大きな街が
ありました。木でできた小さな家が建
ち並び、小さな人々が大勢でつつま
しく暮らしておりました。ある日の事で
す。東の空からこの街に大きな赤い
絨毯が降ってきました。この魔法の絨
毯に触れると、小さな人々は明るく燃
え上がり、夜空の星に変わりました。
三丁目の健さんが絨毯を見つけた
頃には、街中で大きな音が鳴ってお
りました。健さんはお隣のおばあちゃ
んを背中に担いで、川の岸辺まで行
きました。「きれいだな。」とおばあち
ゃんが呟くと、たちまち鳳凰が現れ、
健さんの背中を飛び立って行きまし
た。健さんは川に飛び込み、絨毯が
空を覆い尽くすのを静かに眺めまし
た。
五丁目の華さんは小さな家の小さな
布団で二人の子供を抱きかかえてお
りました。赤ちゃんが泣き止まないの
で、華さんは大事にとっておいた飴
を箪笥から出し、お父さんの古い写
真と一緒にそっと胸元にしまいまし
た。「もうすぐね。」と優しく囁くと、赤
ちゃんはすっと眠りに落ちました。す
ると小さな家の屋根が明るくはじけ、
赤い夜空が広がりました。黒い鳥が
低く飛び、飴玉を沢山落としていきま
した。いつの間にか華さんの体はふ
わっと軽くなり赤い空に吸い込まれて
いきました。下を覗くと、赤い絨毯が
街を覆い尽くし、キラキラと輝いてお
りました。
大きな大きな街の小さな人々は赤い
絨毯で隠れ、見えなくなってしまいま
した。夜が明けると、大きな大きな街
はどこかになくなってしまい、ほんの
何人かの小さな人々と抜け殻の燃え
かすが残りましたとさ。
Home to many small military
industries, Tokyo was the key to
ending the war. All targets were
struck from the Eastern side of
the city: the carpet-bombing of
Tokyo.
The belated siren warned citizens
just in time for some to run to the
river. But many perished as they
tried to escape. Up to 100,000
deaths estimated. The wooden
houses caught fire too easily; 16
square miles were burnt to ashes.
Some did not have the strength to
escape. 1700 tons of bombs were
dropped in one night, some places
experiencing heat up to 1800
degrees. By the end of the war,
so many men were taken to the
battlefields, women had to run the
family.

0

*(More) Direct Translation of the Recorded Voice:
Once upon a time, there was a big city. Small wooden houses stood in a row, and many small people lived their small
lives together. One day, a big red carpet fell onto the city from the Eastern sky. When the small people touched this magical
carpet, they blazed up into bright flames, and became stars in the night sky.
When Ken from Block 3 found the carpet, the city was surrounded by a loud sound. Ken carried the grandmother, who
lived next door, on his back and went to the riverbank. “It’s beautiful,” muttered the grandmother, and suddenly, a phoenix
appeared, and flew away from Ken’s back. Ken jumped into the river, and silently watched the carpet cover the sky.
Hannah from Block 5 was on a small futon mattress in a small house, holding two children in her arms. The baby did
not stop crying, so Hannah took out the candy she had been saving from the cupboard and softly held it against her chest
together with the old photograph of the father. “A little later,” whispered Hannah, and the baby swiftly fell asleep. Suddenly, the
roof of the small house popped in brightness, and the red night sky spread in front of her. Black birds flew low, and dropped
many candies. Without noticing, Hannah’s body became lighter and floated up into the red sky. When she glanced below, the red
carpet was shining over the whole city.
The small people in the big city were hidden by the red carpet, and became invisible. When the dawn came, the big city
was gone, and a few small people and the cinders of the empty shells remained.

土井すみれ (Sumire Doi)

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