Isekai Izakaya [Nobu]
The Potato in Oden (Part2)
“Aa, oden, ne.”
“… do you know it, Nicolas?” is the question that, to the knowledgeable look Nicolas had, Hans asked.
“Nope, not at all.”
With that kind of exchange, before their eyes an over-sized soup dish was brought to them.
The garnishes are, large.
Rather than a soup dish, this is probably more along the lines of a stewed dish, is what Hans correctly guessed. The wind blowing outside has become cold, so this time he’s grateful for a stewed dish.
If you think about it, that name, Odin(oden), was the name of some god of some Northern tribe,1 so it might be that it’s a traditional dish from a cold region.
“Oden huh. This is egg, this is, potato, huh? Is there no wurst2 in it? If you add that into the stew too, it’s really good though.” When Hans said this, Taishou grinned widely.
“Sausage, huh. That’s certainly delicious. But, today there isn’t any. In exchange, this is added in.”
So saying, he put meat stabbed through with a skewer into Hans’ dish.
For Hans, aside from the name of the garnish, he can’t even guess what the ingredient used is. Without having any good idea of what it is, his impression is that it’s a very tender garnish.
The transparent soup’s gentle fragrance tickles the nostrils. This is, something he’s never smelled before.
“Sa, quickly eat it ze.”
At Nicolas’ urging, his fork wandered around.
Which one. Which one should he eat.
Should he start with the things he knows because he knows them, or should he start with the things he doesn’t know because he doesn’t know them …
Hans set his sights on a short, cylindrical-shaped garnish; the fork slowly pierced it.
Without hardly any resistance, the Fork was sucked in. It must have really absorbed the soup. The color of the soup has completely stained it.
Timidly, he held it in his mouth, and, being moved, crumbled it.
Hot. But, delicious.
“O, daikon (white radish), huh? The flavor’s really seeped in, hasn’t it?” said Taishou.
“huff, umu, huff, it’s delicious.”
And what is Daikon? Who knows. But, it’s delicious.
After working up a sweat in training, for a body that has been chilled, this warmth is, how to say it.
Before it reaches the stomach warms it like this, it goes and puts the body’s heart at ease.
The black-ish, floppy “Konnyaku”3 has a, surprisingly firm quality to it.
The skewer-stabbed “Gyuusuji”4 that seems like it would melt has a rich flavour.
The “Chikuwa”5 has really soaked in the soup.
“… potato, huh?”
This is completely an attitude like, no matter what kind of dish there’s no way it will taste good.
Whether boiled, backed, steamed, or fried, this is a flavor that Hans’ body has already been steeped in.
It’s been twenty-〇 years since he had been born. Ever since the day he had stopped sucking from his mother’s breast, every single day he’d continue to eat those lumps. Even now, being stewed in this somewhat delicious soup, he can’t imagine the taste changing.
“What, are you bad with potatoes?” Taisho peered into the suspicious Hans’ dish.
“No, I’ve just gotten so used to eating them it’s painful. It’s like my excitement for the oden is dying.”
“Fuun. Then, here, why don’t you try using it with this?”
So saying, he dabbed a sticky, yellow paste on the rim of Hans’ dish.
Hans knew it by smell. It’s mustard.
“Mustard? You mean, use mustard on the potato?”
“I guess you can call it mustard, karashi6. Ma, try eating it.”
Hans also knew mustard well.
A little spicy and sour flavouring, it’s used to hide the gamey stink of meat. To use it for potatoes, he hadn’t heard of it before, but it’s not like he can’t guess its taste.
With a dab that could feel like it wasn’t enough, Hans carried the potato dabbed in Karashi to his mouth.
“N, fuha? Nn?”
Spicy. A spiciness that irritated up through the nose. This is, this isn’t mustard.
And, the potato.
Hot and fluffy, as well as sweet and tasty … with the Karashi’s spiciness, it’s a match.
What, is this?
“Na, the potato too, it’s good right?”
Returning it with a nod, Hans once again bit into the potato.
Spicy. Delicious. Spicy. Delicious.
Like this, this isn’t a potato. This warm fluffiness, it’s something completely different.
Looking in the direction of Nicolas to share his excitement, Nicolas was niya niya, widely grinning while sipping something. It wasn’t a jug. It was a small, earthenware cup, it was.
“Nicolas, that, what is it?”
“Aa, what this is, is Atsukan dayo. With oden, it matches well.”
“Atsukan? Taisho, give me one of the same!
“Right-o, one order of atsukan(hot sake) ne.”
Happy about something, the edges of his mouth cheerfully loosened while Taisho prepared the hot sake.
The faint alcohol smell isn’t like an ale or wine, and isn’t like iodine.
“Right, ‘nks for waitin’”
It was brought out with that saying, a pottery container with a long neck, and a very, very small, fired pottery cup.
Hans carefully poured the contents, which were warmed to about body temperature, in order not to spill.
An incomparable scent floated from the completely clear alcohol; it reminded him of that mythical Nectar.
First, one mouthful.
Kyu-, when he poured it into his mouth, the inside of his head went fuzzy as the intoxication spread.
This is, a really hard drink.
No, it’s different. Unlike a hard drink, it didn’t have that stabbing bite.
Hot, and yet, a transparent, powerful strength. Its taste can be called a quiet strength as it flows through the throat. What is this deliciousness?
Dipping the potato in Karashi, he carried it to his mouth.
And with that, pouring Atsukan in …
A yet unnamed symphony spread out inside his mouth.
A happiness that can’t just be explained with words, there it was.
Before he noticed it, the dish of Oden was consumed, and the additional Atsukan and Toriaezu Nama were drained dry.
There’s a pleasant feeling of drunkenness and weightlessness.
Never before had there been such a happy dinner.
“Your bill is one-fourth of a silver.”7
Handing over half of a silver to the waitress, Hans had a sudden thought.
Really, with this much drinking and eating, is just one-fourth of a silver ok?
“This, isn’t this a little too cheap?”
When Hans said this, the waitress gave a small smile. She has dimples, how charming.
“With Dear Customer’s face so fully satisfied, there is no need to pay anymore.”
While wandering here and there, in no rush on the way back to the barracks, Hans let out a sigh.
Seeing that, Nicolas grinned widely.
“Why did you just sigh, did something just ‘hit’ you?”
“Shut up. It’s got nothing to do with you.”
Hans’ face turned red; was it just because he was drunk, or else could it be…
Like the potato in oden, a round moon floats in the sky.
- oden/odin – oden sounds a little like Odin from Norse mythology … I think that’s what the author’s getting at.
- written as sausage (well, actually written as stuffed intestines, but you know), read as “wurst”, German for sausage.
- konnyaku – konjac, a gelatin-like substance made of a … tuber-like part of the konjac plant. (It’s not a bulb or tuber, though it’s often called a yam). It’s squishy, but firm enough to break cleanly. It’s kind of flavourless or very lightly flavoured, and liked more for its texture than taste. Because it won’t soften or melt (much) when stewed, it’s often used in stews or soups to have an ingredient with a firmer consistency to chew. That being said, it doesn’t soak up the flavors as thoroughly as other ingredients either. Well, the noodle-like versions (shirataki) do though, especially oil. Hm…
- gyuusuji – beef tendon
- chikuwa – a thin, tube-like garnish. It’s made of fish that has been ground into a paste called surimi, seasoned, and then shaped into the tube.
- karashi – It is a mustard, at least it’s a paste made with the seeds of a variety of mustard plant, like mustards. But it is quite spicy.
- In case it’s not clear, she’s saying “you owe 1 (coin/currency) that’s worth 1/4 of a silver coin.”
<t/n: hmm… it’s a little difficult because Nicolas and Hans will say things in katakana, and Taisho and the girl will say things with the writeups that they actually are. From now on, I will put in the actual meanings of things in parentheses when the kanji is used, to emphasize that there are clueless parroting of words too. I don’t think capitalizing vs not capitalizing is enough.
And to top it off, you apparently have to know some random german along with the english/japanese for this story. orz
That being said, it’s a pleasure to translate Cicada’s work, since it gives off the impression that this is someone who is used to writing literature. I don’t have to dance around in my mental thesaurus to find the best-matching words while trying to keep the rough/meandering impressions the author uses (seriously, it can get really fatiguing to translate OVRMMO when the MC goes into ossan rambling mode, or Vending Machine when the MC just starts spazzing out). Instead, Cicada sets the mood almost purely through how the sentences are setup. (And that’s why I leave the comma splices in :3)
When/if I do more chapters, they’ll come in pairs, btw. The author has each ‘arc’ as a pair of 2 chapters.>