Adashino in fifty sentences.
insipid common sense
.01 - Snow
Sometimes he still pretends that the snowflakes are mushi, whispering things to him as they fall.
.02 - Child
Even though the boy is quiet and shrinks away from places in the forest where nothing is there but shadows, Adashino plays with him through the hot dry afternoon -- the peddler-woman's son will be gone by nightfall, anyway.
.03 - Brick
His father's father built houses and his father built houses and for a change of pace he himself rebuilds the people in the houses, is the way he likes to explain it, with a dismissive laugh, when anyone asks.
.04 - Judgment
The villagers are too pragmatic to assign blame where there can be none; Adashino closes the man's eyes with a steady hand and the world moves on.
.05 - Powder
When a particularly nosy neighbor stops by, for the umpteenth time, to inquire after the contents of the storehouse, Adashino pours her a cup of tea, the powder carefully ground from the same mortar he uses to grind herbs for purgatives, and smiles beatifically throughout the interrogation.
.06 - Grim
"I'm afraid you've lost the eye," Adashino says grimly, and is surprised when the white-haired stranger laughs despite the blood trickling from his scalp.
.07 - Trap
He heats the knife in the fire and says, Choose, and this is the part he likes the least: letting others make the decisions from which everything he does must follow.
.08 - Star
Shrill cicada voices and the damp sea-breeze rattling the paper screens and the stars nestled amongst the treetops -- yes, he knows peace.
.09 - Possession
Adashino tells his aunt that to have his own family is not only an impossible but also much too unreasonable idea, for if he were to have a wife and children, surely they would need a place to live, and the thought of moving his entire collection -- oh, no, no, out of the question, naturally.
.10 - Bandage
"I prefer my patients without tails," he says gruffly, but he lets the two children inside and bandages up their dog's paw, squinting through his monocle with what he hopes is the appropriate amount of gravity while he does so.
.11 - Pearl
While the other children are out at the docks, diving for oysters, Adashino copies characters out sulkily and laboriously, the black squiggles swimming meaninglessly across the paper.
.12 - Glass
He knew it would happen, but when he first fixes his eyeglass into place, he is somehow disappointed to find that the world still appears much the same.
.13 - Classified
There are a thousand excuses he has made up for the thousands of purchases he has made, and so he is mildly disappointed when no one ever asks -- he was quite proud of some of those stories.
.14 - Buttons
Sewing is easy when it only involves cloth, so Adashino works quickly, handing the mended shirt to Ginko without comment when he is finished.
.15 - Closet
He used to collect dead insects and store them in the folds of his sister's futon (otherwise, he reasoned, he'd forget where he put them -- which was hard to do when she was chasing him around the house to box his ears).
.16 - Ash
The fire from the next village spreads faster than he thought was possible; from his vantage point in the hills, he watches throughout the night, packing containers of unguents and salves into boxes, padding them with linen bandages.
.17 - Definition
"A /doctor/?" Ginko says, spraying tea over the table; when he doubles over choking a few moments later, Adashino tucks his hands into his sleeves, clearly too dignified for words, and pretends not to see.
.18 - Staircase
Upstairs, a world beyond the contours of the coastline; downstairs, a world he knows and which knows him.
.19 - Nail
"That's easily fixed," he says, giving the head of the nail one last tap.
.20 - Prey
It was his job to club the fish as they were flung silver and wet and already dying onto the floor of the boat, and although he tried he could never kill them in one efficient blow, the way his father could.
.21 - Backwards
"Next time," he is told, "do try to find out what the illness is before dosing your patient with every remedy you can think of."
.22 - Trouble
The sea glitters and the nets are empty; he can provide no cure for famine.
.23 - Little
Growing up is risky business, he decides, after vomiting up the last of the stolen sakÃ©.
.24 - Collar
Like the other children, Adashino owns a dog; however, his is strung on wire, and missing a number of things, namely everything but its bones.
.25 - Circle
The first item in his collection was a compass that always pointed east toward the ocean and sometimes scattered sand onto the floor, blue and white grains that would turn to tiny beads of liquid, leave behind a residue of sea salt.
.26 - Hands
Most of the fisherman are missing fingers, their palms crossed with deep red welts; Adashino looks at his own hands and wonders at the difference between skill and luck.
.27 - Freedom
But at times he is envious of Ginko for reasons that have nothing to do with mushi.
.28 - Last
Two days later the snows come, and they will have no contact with another village until spring: but on clear nights Adashino can see the lights from a nearby island, faint and golden, though he does not remember that anyone has ever lived there.
.29 - Scab
He built his house above the treetops to try and capture some of what he felt when he was younger -- those times when his knees were skinned and scabbed from climbing trees, the taller the better, where the very highest branch held him with an exhilarating uncertainty, and he thought he could see the entire world if he could just go a little higher...
.30 - Crown
He is eight before he realizes that the sharp pieces of ivory that wash up on the beach are shark's teeth and not, as his grandmother says, knives from the sea-people; somehow, he feels let down by this realization, although he has never believed much in her stories (who needs fairytales when there are mushi, anyhow).
.31 - Time
Why spend his time on creatures that he cannot truly understand, nor hope to, no matter how much knowledge he gains (ah, say the voices from the graves, why indeed)?
.32 - Rice
"If each page that you have read on mushi today were a grain of rice in your bowl, you would never again have to fear going hungry," his father says, and he knows this is meant as a rebuke, despite the smile.
.33 - Worn
Funny, but he didn't remember the haori being in quite this condition --
.34 - Paint
There are sketches scattered all across his upstairs storeroom, feathery brushstrokes in ink of all shades, of all the mushi he has ever read about, though he has never seen a single one.
.35 - Ache
He finds Io standing waist-deep in the ocean, and does not answer when she turns to him and says, "I miss the water."
.36 - Cherry
Spring descends in stages, slow and subtle, so that Adashino does not quite mark it in his mind until Ginko steps through his door, looking disgruntled and brushing off the numerous pink petals that cling to hair and skin before saying, "I think you've got another mushi problem."
.37 - Library
There is a hidden shelf that contains his favorite scrolls (he has enough of an ego to be smug about his own work).
.38 - Win
"I don't cheat at cards, but I do," he says, polishing his monocle smugly, "have no qualms about using your own tactics against you, Ginko."
.39 - Loss
The boy rumored to have the left hand of a god writes a politely puzzled note that says he apologizes for being forward, but that Ginko-san requested this, and if Adashino-sensei would be so kind as to accept -- Adashino growls only a little when he sees the drawing; it is, after all, a very good likeness of an inkstone.
.40 - Fold
Part of it is knowing when there is nothing more to be done, which is not to say that it is the same as giving up; he supposes this applies to all disciplines, but it is not a lesson that comes easily for him.
.41 - Music
He hums, tunelessly, as he sweeps leaves from the deck.
.42 - Bell
After he tosses the coins into the slatted box, he claps twice, slowly, the noise just as hollow as the rattle of metal against wood, the echoes of the bell.
.43 - Sleep
Adashino rarely dreams, but when he does, everything is in disorienting shades of green.
.44 - Contact
He is alone when he wakes.
.45 - Electricity
There are few people that share his interest in mushi, but considering his enthusiasm on the topic, perhaps that is just as well.
.46 - Milk
He spends the better part of an hour trying to fish his monocle from the bottom of a tub of tofu.
.47 - Wild
He usually manages not to stumble over the word 'study' when talking about the year that he went to the city to, as far as anyone knows, learn more about his trade.
.48 - Expectation
"It will taste even worse than last time; that's how you know you're getting better," Adashino says, reassuring, and exchanges a worried look with the boy's mother.
.49 - Mechanism
A memory, but not a reason: Putting his ear against the coverlet, he can hear the rattle of his mother's lungs, like the wheel of a cart coming loose along a bumpy road, and since he is still only a boy he is startled to find that one day there is not even that.
.50 - Finale
And yes he is sorry and yes he has always known he can collect and organize without ever being able to control, but that is not the point, has never been.
27 March 2006