Chapter 8 – The Watermill
Morning, once Eiji wakes up, he sees a pair of plump breasts.
That’s right, last night… – once he tried to remember, he immediately stopped.
Seeing that Tanya was still asleep put his heart at ease. Eiji, while careessing her hair, enjoyed its feeling.
Making a comb would be the right thing to do when having some free time- is what Eiji thought. The feeling from her hair was smoothly soft.
While Eiji was enjoying her hair for a moment, signs of something moving could be felt.
Their eyes met. Tanya’s big eyes were still sleepy, and seemed to be blaming Eiji’s prank for waking her.
– Good morning.
Sensing the bad atmosphere, Eiji slowly pulled back his hand.
Not looking at him, Tanya stood up and put on her clothes.
Without uttering a single word, she drank some water and stood before Eiji.
While her ears were flushed red, she bashfully fiddled with her fingers.
Her look was cute with her upturned eyes…
-Eiji-san…you were quite the pervert there. I didn’t imagine myself to gain such an experience.
It was the morning after Eiji, for the first, time thoroughly laid his hand on a woman. Being unable to deny that, he couldn’t find a pretext.
– Oh, I just remember that I’ve got to go pick up some morning vegetables.
Not being able to find a decent apology, Eiji dashed away with lightning speed.
While watering the field in the backyard, Eiji harvested some kale. He also thought about using some mushrooms he had dried in the shade for today’s meal.
While being unable to replace the bronze hoe just yet, Eiji used it to expand the field little by little.
Even if one were to continuously expend it for three months, no matter how hard the crust of the earth may be, the field would still be suitable for cultivation.
Eiji made compost using the fallen leaves he gathered in the forest.
When he happened to be in the forest, while transporting the exposed iron ore to the village, Eiji had to uncover the road, so that he could mark the route. At the same time, he gathered the fallen leaves.
– Oh, you again?
– Good morning Mike-san.
– So today it’s kale? I’ve got some potatoes.
It was their daily routine to exchange their field products.
– Seriously, every day you are doing something new, ain’t you? Removing the stones diligently like an idiot, or ripping out weeds, what do you intend to make, by mixing in that black soil?
– I’m trying to fertilize the soil.
-… As always, you say some hard-to-understand words.
– In other words, I’m improving the soil, so that vegetables grow better and more often.
– Is that so? Concerning that, wouldn’t you make an offering to the earth gods?
-Ah… well, that’s right.
– With that, once the gods are pleased, they’ll bless you… speaking of which, recently, the vegetables in your field grow quite well. How do you do that?
Mike who normally doesn’t take an interest in Eiji, showed a rare curiosity.
He stared at the meager amount of the remaining compost. The compost gave the feeling of a dried and scattered material.It had a bright black hue, and an extremely small amount of nutrient vital for all plants.
– I made it using fallen leaves as a basis, but if you have a surplus of straws, you can use that as well. Apart from that, you need fish or another animal’s bones, such as a pig’s or bull’s, which you crush and mix together. After that, you put the mixture into a gunny sack together with some water, and place it under the shadow of a tree in a windy place.
– I see, I see.
– In the middle of the process, you should turn it upside-down from time to time, and while stirring the content, it will become thinner and dryer. Once the dampness is gone, it will turn into a black-like soil.
Mike, who was listening Eiji’s explanation, gave a sign of admiration.
However, even if they may not know the principles of the process, as long as such person is told the manner of doing it, it’s enough.
And while it contributes to the soil improvement, it will make living more abundant.
– You’re saying things which are hard to understand for someone like me, however you seem to be quite smart. In exchange for telling me something nice, once I get a boar or a deer, I’ll share the best part of them with you.
– If it’s fine by you, please tell other people about this method. I’m sure they will listen to someone as trustworthy as you, rather than me.
– Is that so? Well, then leave it to me!
Eiji handed to the good-humored Mike some samples of the compost.
Even if it fails, at most, it will only give off a bad smell, but probably that would be fine.
In order to make his and Tanya’s life more pleasurable, he had to help with improving this village’s life as well.
Eiji could make tools; nevertheless, all he could do was to guide the food production.
What’s more, Eiji didn’t like to depend on only his own ability.
No matter how you would try, there’s not enough time to improve everything within your reach.
A blacksmith’s workplace is usually quite when not active.
There was no sound of an iron hammer, no sound of the wind generated by a pair of bellow, nor the sound of flame.
Eiji, using a thinly shaved and pointed charcoal, drew a picture on the print block. His fingers became more precise than before. A finely drawn picture was easy to understand.
That was a watermill.
The watermill has a rather old history. It is said to be invented back in first century B.C.
It seems like the first model of such was made sidelong, and the material used to build it was stone mortar.
It also had a strong connection to blacksmithing. The orthodox methods of iron manufacturing were later replaced by the blast furnaces which were capable of mass production, and that was thanks to the advancement of wind transferring techniques with the use of powerful watermills.
Despite that, for Eiji, who is striking the iron alone, this much of a production force isn’t needed. Rather than that, he thought about using a water mill for a power hammer and and automatic grinding machine.
In blacksmithing, aizuchi are indispensable people.
Performing small adjustment, deciding on a shape, and striking and reinforcing weak spots are the task done by sente otozuchi. On the other hand, powerful stretching of iron, melting varieties of iron and attaching them is the job of the aizuchi’s and nakazuchi, oozuchi.
Eiji’s surrounding mostly consisted of small objects, nevertheless, once he gets a power hammer, he will be able to operate, like with a long Nata.
The automatic grinding machine is based on the same conception; however, just making a blade edged tool won’t be enough. Similarly, the whetstone is important as well. There are different types of them, among which are: ara-to, naka-to, shiage-to.
Whetstones such as ara-to, binsui-type, kaisei-type, nagura-type, hosonagura-type, uchigumori-type, are used for sharpening katanas. Furthermore, there are ones used for increasing aesthetic of the blades, in a procedure called tsuya
Especially the first stage of using arato-seki, depending on the degree of hitting, it is an unrealistically hard labor.
Originally, this process should be performed while applying labor division system.
Eiji’s body, during this short period, received a great impact.
Due to the work which requires constant changes of temperature every day, he lost weight and his cheeks became thinner. His right hand became thicker, but, he could still feel the dull pain, running from his neck to his hand. Especially, his hand’s wrist was in pain, plagued with tendinitis. Both of his elbows got burned due to the sparks which kept scattering during the forging process.
Even if it was only able to ease one’s burden just a little bit, a water mill was indispensable.
– Well, even though I said “let’s make it”, I still do not know how helpful the watermill will turn out. I just dare to have new ideas continually pop out one after another, still, I believe that you were quite a skilled engineer back then.
– Is that so?
The only thing Eiji could do was answer casually to Fernando who was dumbfounded.
– I heard that you have lost your memories, it wouldn’t be quite surprising if you were born on the other side of the sea. It’s said that every development takes place there. Even the building construction techniques in this village were received from the other side of the sea. We were digging hole to that extent
– My bad, my bad. I suddenly remembered things, but guess this would be the proof of that. What’s more, I’m sorry, but I know nothing about the other side, apart from stories.
– Is that so?
– Isn’t this place near mountains? Even if you go outside, it won’t amount to much. It’s not that far.
– Still, I have work to do.
– Speaking of which, what do I get in exchange?
– It seems that the transport using a handcart through that route from the village is quite popular, and rumor has it that girls here are used to transporting heavy items. How much of the construction materials would you be able to make?
Their eyes met, as both their faces were brimming with sarcastic smiles.
Fernando didn’t make a single movement. He was probably confirming himself to be in a far superior position. He could understand that Eiji’s production deadline was close. In the end, it was Eiji who yielded.
– How about nails (fastener)?
– What do you intend to do with them?
– Eh, isn’t that fine. However many they are, it won’t cause any problem. I’ll entrust you with the making of around two hundred something of them, together with the watermill.
– I’ll do that fast. Once the two hundred something of nails are made, I expect that next time it will be you who makes the items I require first.
– Well, even if that tribe chief was told to wait three months for the nails, I don’t think it would convince her. Well, let’s strike a deal.
For the time being, I’ll prioritize making you that saw – is what Eiji promised.
Translator and reference notes:
: Aizuchi is a term commonly used to describe polite noises in a conversation, to indicate one’s understanding, like “yeah” or “Uh”; however, it didn’t match in this context. Less commonly, it can be used for people, meaning, blacksmith’s assistant. There are generally 3 types of them, i.e otozuchi (junior asistant), nakazuchi(middle asistant), and otozuchi (senior asistant), all of whom do tasks which range in difficulty. Sente is just another name for aizuchi. I managed to find a photo, though it’s small: http://img03.ti-da.net/usr/katsujuku8317061/2007-10-03-05.jpg
 Ara-to, Naka-to, and Shiage-to are 3 categories of Japanese whetstone, formally recognized, which varies in number of grits (in other words, each is used for a specific purpose). Why formally? Because, besides them, there seem to be hundreds of other whetstones known only to local people, just like the ones the author has given.(I almost dropped dead trying to make more research on that). For more info: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/nashst.html
: Probably, meaning that they were doing nothing but following others.
: Ok, this might be little bit confusing. Hinting and implying is a part of Japanese culture, and not only that, but also their language. It’s assumed that the speaker should understand one’s intention through small gestures and expressions. In this case Eiji’s yielding is the same as “ok, I’ll do you the favor later, but for now can you make me fasteners?”. But many of you might think “dafuq, how did it switch the topic”.