Omen'ya

愚かなことを言わないでください。私はぜんぜんお仮面が被ることありません。

私は助けたい人です。このお仮面を持って、町を巡る旅行して、それぞれのお仮面の相手に探していきます。小額の手数料もあります。

出身では、子供が「顔屋」と呼びました。「顔屋、顔屋!午後にはビッグレイスで、兎をちょっっっと貸してくださ〜い?」もちろんぜんぜん貸しませんでした。子供は自分の努力に習うし遊ぶし成長するのが最善です。

私はぜんぜんお仮面が被ることありません。

離れなければならなかったそうです。お仮面たちは安全ではありません。知っていました。村の皆さんは知っていました。でも不幸のお仮面は盗まれるのではありませんでした。こちらが借りられました。

お仮面は医者でした。村に住んでいる人の娘は病気になって、誰も何のがわかりませんでした。そして私に助けを求めました。医者のお仮面があるのが知っていて、危ないそうだと構いませんでした。お仮面はあちらのためではないと私が分かりました。本当に精神が傷つけられるかもしれませんでした。

実は「住んでいた人」ではありません。友達でした。拒めませんでした。それで、子が生きています。友達はいない。

私はぜんぜんお仮面が被ることありません。

最近は「しあわせのお面屋」と呼びます。でも、「しあわせなお面屋」ではないで、お仮面も私も幸せではありません。笑顔はしなければいけないで、それもお面です。

私はぜんぜんお仮面が被ることありません。

それでも聞こえています。


Don’t say foolish things. I have never put on a Mask.

I am a person who wants to help. I carry these Masks and travel around the towns, searching for each one’s companion. There is also a small fee.

In my hometown, children called me “Kaoya” (“face seller”). “Kaoya, kaoya! This afternoon is the big race; pleeease let me borrow the rabbit for a bit!” Of course I never lent it to them. Children should learn, play, grow by their own efforts.

I have never put on a Mask.

You know I had to leave. The Masks are not safe. I knew it. Everyone in the village knew it. But the misfortunate Mask was not stolen. I rented it out.

The Mask was a doctor. The daughter of someone living in the village had fallen ill, and nobody knew what it was. So they asked me for help. They knew I had a doctor’s Mask, and didn’t care about the danger. I knew the Mask was not meant for them. It would probably really damage their mind.

Actually, it wasn’t “someone living in the village”. It was my friend. I couldn’t refuse. So, the child lives. My friend does not.

I have never put on a Mask.

These days I’m called the “Happiness Mask Salesman”. But it’s not “happy mask salesman”; neither the Masks nor I am happy. I have to smile, and that is also a mask.

I have never put on a Mask.

Despite that I can hear them.


Whew! That took quite a while to write, even with (or perhaps because of) heavy use of the OS X Japanese-English dictionary and Google Translate. Like “Seiyū” of two years ago, I wrote this in Japanese first and then translated it “back” to English. There are definitely some things left out of the English version; the most deliberate and “clever” of these is the Salesman referring to the masks as「お仮面」and even at one point「お仮面たち」, which is essentially ascribing them some kind of personhood. That just doesn’t come through in English; the best I could do is capitalize “Mask”.

Please forgive my lousy Japanese. It’s been years since I’ve studied or practiced properly. (This sort of thing is an exercise to see what I still remember.)

This isn’t the first time I’ve taken a character from a Zelda game and written a story for them. The last two (“Mask of Lies” and “Letters”) were inspired by a fanmade orchestral album, Theophany’s Time’s End, but this one actually came from reading the 2014 Campbellian Anthology, a tremendous collection of science fiction from new writers.1 Specifically, last night I read Marina J. Lostetter’s “Master Belladino’s Mask”, which doesn’t mention “Majora” anywhere but nonetheless feels like she’s at least played the game.

Right! This character is normally known as the “Happy Mask Salesman”, from the game The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. Somewhat to my surprise Majora’s Mask and its world have really grown on me. I guess it’s not that surprising after all my interactions with it…

  • It’s the first Zelda game I ever played (at a friend’s house, before my family owned any game consoles).

  • It has a pretty good soundtrack, which I got for subscribing to Nintendo Power.

  • The aforementioned Time’s End is my favorite game music orchestration/remix album. I believe it’d be a good album even if you haven’t played the game.

  • The well-executed “Ben Drownedcreepypasta.

  • It’s a parallel universe and includes time travel, i.e. sci-fi tropes I (usually) enjoy.

  • Later discussions about the themes: it’s a game where no one treats Link as a hero, where you get ahead by helping people out, where everything resets after three days.

…but actually as a game it’s a somewhat frustrating play: everything resets after three days. (Which is one of the reasons I haven’t gone back and replayed it.)

Note: In English this character is normally known as the “Happy Mask Salesman”, not “Happiness Mask Salesman”. I tried to find out what the Japanese equivalent was, and apparently it’s「しあわせのお面屋」, but most places just say「お面屋」, omitting the “happy” part (to the point where I’m not even sure if it’s canon). I chose to use “Happiness Mask Salesman” in the translation to make the distinction a little more obvious, but really that whole section came out of noticing that the character sells “Happy Masks”, i.e. no one ever said he’s happy. Even though he’s almost always seen smiling.

Part of NaCreSoMo 2016.

  1. Not everything in here is good. In fact, there have been more than a few where I thought “this isn’t just a story I don’t like; this is actually poor writing.” But the Campbell Award is about new authors and some less-than-stellar work is bound to come out of that, and there have also been several I quite respected and enjoyed. ↩︎

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