an English translation of the novel

Page 197-198

When a minoshiro can’t escape from a tiger crab, it will drop its feelers as bait, hoping that the tiger crab will let go of them to eat the feelers. There’s an interesting phenomenon that occurs here that isn’t seen in other animals: bargaining. How many feelers the minoshiro is willing to drop is a function between its physical fitness and how hungry the tiger crab is.

In the case that negotiations turn sour, the minoshiro will start attacking with its quills. The tiger crab can forcibly overpower the minoshiro, but if a quill slips between the gaps in its shell in the process, there’s a good chance it will die.

This rational behavior is surprising for two species that aren’t particularly intelligent. But for the tiger crab, releasing the minoshiro after it drops its feelers is probably just common sense.


Let’s get back to summer camp.

The next morning, we set about making breakfast and rice balls for lunch with our mess kits. Then we took down the tents, filled in the holes from the poles, covered up the traces of our campfire, packed everything back into the canoes and set off.

We traveled down the river through the morning mist, using both our paddles and our canti. On our left we could hear frequent bird calls, the high, stretched-out cry of the meadow bunting.

The sky was overcast ever since we woke up, which was a shame, but breathing in the fresh morning air drove away any sleepiness I had.

This part of the river was a lot wider than where we were yesterday. The right riverbank was a haze in the distance and often completely obscured by mist.

I thought back to geography class in Harmony School, when we learned about the transition between the Kasumiga inlet and the Tone river.

Two thousand years ago, Kasumiga Inlet was a huge inland sea called Katori Ocean that connected the present day Tone River to the ocean. At that time, the Tone River flowed much farther west into Tokyo bay.


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