First is choro choro chuu pappa. Don’t remove the lid even if the baby cries.1
This is an oral tradition that all Japanese know. It is said that it appeared somewhere around the Edo period.
There are numerous variations of this, but most of them serve the same role as specific instructions regarding how to control the fire when cooking rice, which makes it sort of a phrase packed with life hack knowledge.
“But in my area, it was ‘Don’t remove the lid even if your parents die.’”
“More like, if your parents die, then it would seem likely that you’d just leave the lid untouched.”
“What kind of situation would it be if you’re like ‘oh wow, my parents died, so let me take off this lid first’.”
The ones gathered before a pot of rice that is being cooked is the agricultural girl Asuka-san and the short-tempered queen consort Asahi-san.
Apparently Ouhi-sama managed to escape from Ou-sama’s Absolute Kingship. However, she was in such a hurry that despite supposedly being incognito, she is still wearing a dress.
It brings to mind the question how on earth she managed to cross the international border in that getup. At the very least, no international problem has come up, which means that she probably did not punch out the border guards.
Most likely she managed to perform a perfect sneaking mission like a certain Snake.2
“To be honest, I was only thinking about harvesting the rice, and had completely forgotten to consider how to cook it.”
“I feel partly guilty for that as well. Despite living in the Dwarven Kingdom, I failed to ask the dwarves to make a pot for cooking rice in.”
In contrast to the girl group that’s gathered before the pot that the rice is cooking in, at a slight distance is the guy group composed of Juuzou-san and Onee that’s sitting down at a table.
…… Guy… group?
At first, Juuzou-san was taken back at Onee’s mannerisms, but as he has the past experience of almost falling in love with a girl with a splendid moustache, he got used to it quite quickly.
He’s become so used to it that when he returns to the Dwarven Kingdom he might immediately open a new door, but surely it’ll be fine.
Love burns all the hotter in the face of obstacles! (moustache)
“…… Have them make it? They can make it without blueprints and only going off of an amateur’s description?”
“Perfect reproduction would be impossible, but they would apply their own weird twist on it under the name of improvement and somehow make it work.”
The Japanese are famous for applying weird twists on inventions, but it seems that the dwarves won’t lose out on that compulsion.
Japanese and dwarves. That’s pretty much the representative ‘do not mix it’s dangerous’ combination (too late).3
“Juuzou-san, it’s still not done yet?”
“The cooking is almost done, but after that we still need to let it steam for a bit, so it’s still a while before we can eat it.”
Letting the rice steam is a crucial part of the cooking process, but actually the newer rice cookers do it automatically for you, so there’s no need to purposely wait a bit longer after the switch flips.
But if it doesn’t, then letting it steam is an extremely important step.
With that said, why on earth has my computer been correcting 「蒸らし (murashi; to steam)」as「村氏 (Mura-shi; somebody whose last name is Mura)」.
I don’t actually know any Mura-san.
“For starters, miso soup is a given. Then let’s all make onigiri together.”
“Oh my, that sounds wonderful. Since we’re at it, how about let’s invite everyone in the village to try it too?”
Onee expresses agreement with Juuzou-san’s suggestion.
It seems that an Onigiri Festival has been decided all of a sudden.
This might be a bit sudden, but the popular umeboshi (pickled plum) inside onigiris actually has two variations of shiso plum and konbu plum.
The red kind that everyone is well-acquainted with is of the shiso variety. The step of staining it red is something that began around the Edo period, so it’s actually a relatively recently added step.
Then again, the history of pickled plums itself stretches way back in history, with some saying that it was brought to Japan from China around 200BC.
Though Japan has built up its own unique culture, its origins in Chinese culture cannot be denied.
As expected of 3,000 years of history. Though recently, there are those who’ve been claiming that it’s 4,000 years, some even going so far as to claim that it’s been 5,000 years.
“Haah, having miso soup and then umeboshi. Juuzou-san is the best.”
“This much can be made by any household. Though the dwarves were terribly surprised at seeing me pickling plums in salt.”
This otherworld does have plums, but the main way of eating it is to pickle it in sugar and then eat it like a candy, so no one thought to pickle it in salt.
Due to that, Bara-san got quite worried about Juuzou-san’s head.
There’s a limit to how bad culture shock can get.
“Waah, to think that we get to enjoy not only rice, but also umeboshi. This is truly the combination to make rice go down endlessly.”
“It sure is. Eh, wait, who are you?”
Before anyone’s noticed it, there’s a black-haired teenage girl sitting beside Juuzou-san and drinking miso soup with one hand and holding an onigiri in the other.
She seems so at place that Juuzou-san is about to overlook it, but by all appearances she does not seem to be a member of the village, so he reflexively tsukkomi-ed.
“Ah, sorry about that. My name is Miina Wetterhahn. Back when I was in Japan, my name was Kazami Miina.”
“…… Are you a reincarnator?”
“Nope, a transmigrator. After I came over, I got picked up and looked after by the head of some merchant family. Then for some reason even his wife took a liking to me, so the two of them decided to official adopt me. Now we get along like a real family!”
“…… I, I see. Good for you.”
The one who’s suddenly appeared is the Miina-san who was unconsciously making a reverse harem a while ago because of Aphrodite-sama’s fault.
Miina-san’s nonchalant introduction of her own environment causes Juuzou-san to reply in a mix of worry and astonishment.
He thinks it a great thing that a couple who are basically the very personification of goodwill took in this airheaded girl. At the same time, he feels like complaining about how on earth did this airheaded girl made her way all the way over here by herself.
“Hou. Wetterhahn, you said? That family does business in our Galdeia as well.”
“Yes we do! Then I heard that there is rice in Keros, so I came to check it out, thinking that I really must somehow get it imported to Galdeia!”
Nodding at Ouhi-sama’s words, Miina-san holds up the onigiri and bowl of miso soup in her hands and talks passionately.
It seems that there’s been one more Japanese who turns aggressive when it comes to rice.
At this rate, even the wandering hero Masato-kun and the grandpa in the elf village might be ended (typo).4
“I understand your desire to get the rice trade going, but as a merchant, will it really turn a profit?”
“Fu fu fu. I have a plan regarding that. To be blunt, it’ll all hang on Juuzou-san!”
Miina-san’s self-assured smile gives Juuzou-san a very bad sense of foreboding.
This girl is not just an airheaded idiot. When airheaded and calculating go together in just the right proportion, it creates a natural airhead villain.
“In order to profit from trading rice, first we need to have people understand the value of rice. So then, for the residents of this world who are not familiar with rice, we simply need to spread the cooking method of rice together with the rice itself!”
“Ahh, so that’s where Juuzou-san comes into play.”
Catching onto what Miina-san is trying to say, a wicked smile appears on Ouhi-sama’s face as she glances at Juuzou-san.
It seems that the natural airhead villain has joined hands with the governing cheat.
Juuzou-san no longer has any chance of escape.
“The Dwarven Kingdom is the vital point of access for all trade throughout the continent. And Juuzou-san’s store, which is located in said Dwarven Kingdom, is becoming increasingly popular among those merchants in the know. So if he serves various kinds of rice dishes at his store, then that would serve as advertisement for rice. After that, the merchants will do everything by themselves.”
“I see. But in that case, to ensure that no one else steals this business, we need to sign an exclusive trading contract. Right now, when no one yet knows the value of rice, is the time to buy it cheap.”
“Ahaha~, if you drive it down too far then I’ll go broke~”
“Don’t worry. I know how far to take things~”
Ouhi-sama and Miina-san are smiling cheerfully while talking.
But for some reason, this scene that’s supposed to be heartwarming is causing cold sweat to run down Juuzou-san’s back.
“And so, Juuzou-san. By all means, entrust the import of rice entirely to our Wetterhahn Company……”
“I have to start thinking about import taxes, fufufu…… And also about reserving enough for my own consumption……”
Juuzou-san is frozen in place as the two gradually draw closer to him with smiles on their faces.
Onee has already retreated long ago, fully understanding how fearful women can be.
“I mean, I personally am glad that I’d get regular shipments of rice, but……”
Juuzou-san could not help but to think, ‘how did things become like this.’
Today, too, this otherworld is at peace.
1 Hajime choro choro chuu pappa. Aka-chan naitemo futa toruna. This is an oral tradition passed down through generations about how to cook rice in a furnace, before the spread of electronic rice cookers rendered it unnecessary. (J. ref)
2 Protagonist from the Metal Gear Solid series. It’s a stealth and shooting game. Lots of sneaking. It’s where the “you won’t be detected if you hide under a cardboard box” meme originated from.
3 Not sure if the reference is on purpose, but Mazeru na Kiken [混ぜるな危険] is the opening song of the anime Ushio to Tora.
4 Japanese has a lot of words that have the same pronunciation. Here, it is shuuketsu. The one used is 終結, which means “to end/to close.” It’s supposed to be 集結, which means “massing/gathering.” The author is implying that Masato and Isao might go crazy when it comes to rice too.