All Rights Reserved
Copyright © 2011-2018 Eren Wiebe. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the author.
December 28th, Keiô 3, 1867
Sadayuki was walking back to the Shinsengumi headquarters when he looked at the sky and realized that the sun was setting. He paused momentarily as some snowflakes fell gently to the ground. He held out his hand and a snowflake landed in his palm before it quickly melted. He looked back at the sunset just as the sky had turned a beautiful tinge of dark pink.
He had wandered over to his favourite dango shop for dango and green tea before he practiced for a couple hours and called it a night. The sky had slowly started to get darker and was now tinged with dark orange and purple, the pink completely faded away.
He suddenly felt calm in that moment as he continued to watch the sun slowly set behind the hill. He continued walking back towards the headquarters occasionally glancing at the sky to see how far the sun had set; hoping that he wouldn’t miss the last peep of light before it completely disappeared behind the hill.
He quickened his pace, but before he could reach the headquarters, the cloth on his geta broke. Just as the last lingering light from the sun disappeared behind the hill, Sadayuki started falling towards the ground. He braced himself for the fall and suddenly felt dizzy. As he crashed to the ground, he closed his eyes and groaned at the pain he felt in his hands.
When he opened his eyes, he blinked a few times before he realized that the scenery in front of him had completely changed. He was sitting in front of some sort of building that was constructed in such a way that he had never seen before. He rubbed his eyes thinking that it was just his imagination; however, when he reopened his eyes he realized that it was not a dream. The weird building was still there.
A flash of light suddenly appeared above his head and Sadayuki jumped to his feet quickly. He looked up at the light that seemed to be attached to some type of pole, also made out of some weird material. Sadayuki squinted as he tried to get a better look at the light just as he heard some sort of purring sound coming from his left.
Sensing danger, he whipped out his sword and turned to face the sound. Some big rectangular thing came charging at him, it also had two bright objects in the front. It made a loud sound that sent a startled Sadayuki staggering backward out of its way so that it could pass. Sadayuki could only stare after it stupidly. He was unsure of what had just happened. He quickly placed his sword back in the sheath and blinked rapidly with confusion.
He heard footsteps coming towards him as he looked at the ground and noticed that it was not made out of dirt, but some black kind of stuff and it was very smooth. The footsteps stopped near him and he looked up at the person. It was a boy probably around the same age as Sadayuki’s twenty-two years and he was wearing some sort of western styled clothing. The boy looked at Sadayuki with surprise noting the blue haori, the hakama, and the swords.
“Shinsengumi?” The boy said. Sadayuki stood up tall and nodded his head.
“That’s right. Kindly direct me to the Shinsengumi headquarters.” Sadayuki politely requested.
“Excuse me?” The boy asked in confusion.
“Shinsengumi headquarters.” Sadayuki repeated.
“The Shinsengumi…” The boy shook his head in disbelief. “I don’t know what you are playing at, but they haven’t been around for many years.”
“Excuse me?” Sadayuki asked with surprise. This was impossible! How could the Shinsengumi not exist? He had just been walking back towards the headquarters when…suddenly it all came flooding back to Sadayuki and he realized that after he had tripped, he somehow ended up in this weird place.
“That is impossible. I am Ishii Sadayuki and I must speak with Hijikata Toshizo.” The boy’s eyes widened with surprise.
“Ishii…Sadayuki?!” He exclaimed. “But…you were born in 1846!” The boy said in disbelief.
“What is this ‘1846’?” Sadayuki was growing more confused by the minute and he wanted an explanation.
“Never mind that.” The boy almost laughed. “I almost forgot about the legend. Come with me!” The boy exclaimed.
Sadayuki followed the boy as he went towards the weird building that Sadayuki had been standing in front of. The boy allowed him to pass through a hard door and Sadayuki was amazed at the space in front of him. It was very western styled and there were some things, at least he was guessing, to sit on.
They took their shoes off and the boy led him through this open area with the things to sit on and took Sadayuki into another room. He flicked something on the wall and the room lit up, Sadayuki looked up at the ceiling and wondered what was causing the light. There was too much light for it to be a lantern.
“Sit.” The boy offered a chair, but Sadayuki chose to sit down on the floor. He adjusted his sword so that he was able to sit down properly. The boy sat on some sort of futon that was very high off the ground.
“You must tell me everything that happened!” The boy waited eagerly. However, Sadayuki did not begin as he was waiting for the boy to introduce himself. The boy suddenly realized what Sadayuki was waiting for.
“Ah, sorry! I’m Ishii Yuuto. I am a descendant of yours.”
“Then, I will tell you what happened.” Sadayuki thought about what Yuuto had just said. “EH?!!” He exclaimed with disbelief.
“I will explain later, just tell me what happened.”
“Well then. I went to the dango shop and on my way back to headquarters I stopped to watch the sun set. After a while, I started to head back. My geta cloth broke, I tripped and somehow…”
“Well, now I will tell you my story. When I was little, my dad used to tell me a story that he said he heard from his dad. I guess they passed this story generation to generation, but the story is that one of our ancestors somehow time slipped to present day, which is 2017 by the Gregorian calendar. I don’t know what happened to our ancestor, if he was able to go back to Edo or not.” The boy slid off his bed and knelt on the floor in front of Sadayuki.
“We didn’t know which ancestor time slipped either, but now this all makes sense. I thought my dad was just telling me some crazy story, but…I think he was right.”
“I don’t understand. You say I am in the year 2017? But I was in the 3rd year of Keiô, how is this possible?”
“You time slipped. Somehow, you managed to slip through time and you are now in the future. Edo is called Tokyo now. Advancement in technologies, medicine, and so much more has happened since!”
There was a knock on the door. “Yuuto-kun? I’m coming in.” The soft voice said from behind the door.
The door opened and a foreign girl stood in the doorway wearing western clothing and if he remembered right, they were called pants… Sadayuki was in shock. Why was there a foreign girl here? Why was a female wearing men’s clothing?! Not to mention her hair was short and left down. It was dark and a little past her chin.
She closed the door behind her before she noticed Sadayuki. Their eyes met and he noticed that her eyes were bright green and they were wide with surprise.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t know you had company.” She apologized in Japanese. How was it possible that a foreigner could speak Japanese as though it were her native language? Her pronunciation was very good and she was very polite. She had just been about to exit the room when Yuuto stopped her.
“It’s ok! You don’t have to leave. I want you to meet my friend.” Yuuto held his hand out towards Sadayuki to introduce him.
“I am Ishii Yu-“ but before Sadayuki could finish introducing himself by his other name, Yuuto cut him off.
“Ah! Genjiro! But you can call him Yuki!” Yuuto exclaimed frantically.
Sadayuki looked at Yuuto with surprise. Why had he cut him off? Why had Yuuto used his nickname instead?
“Why do you have a Japanese name?” He questioned.
“My real name is Elena, but when I came to Japan I picked a Japanese name because I thought it would be easier for everyone.” She answered. “Ah, well I don’t want to interrupt any further. I will go make you some tea.” She excused herself, exited out of the room, and shut the door behind her.
“Why didn’t you tell her about me?” Sadayuki questioned with surprise.
“Well…it’s not the right time yet…”
“And who is she?” Sadayuki questioned further.
“She is my friend from university. She is an exchange student from Canada, she learned Japanese for about a year before she came here, but don’t tell her who you are yet because-” Before he could finish, there was a knock on the door again. It opened and Mizuki carried a tray with two cups of tea on it.
Sadayuki thought about what he had just learned about her. She was going to university? That meant that a woman was getting an education! He could hardly believe what he had heard.
He watched as Mizuki set the tray down on a desk and placed a cup in front of Sadayuki on the kotatsu table. She then placed a cup in front of Yuuto before Sadayuki and Mizuki’s eyes met again.
Now that she was closer to him, he realized that her eyes were very big and surprisingly easy to read. He could tell that she was interested in his clothing.
“Shinsengumi, right?” She asked, continuing to speak Japanese. Sadayuki nodded his head, but did not say anything since he did not know what else to say.
“Speaking of Shinsengumi, I finally watched Ryoma Den. I really liked the way Fukuyama Masaharu portrayed Sakamoto Ryoma. It’s exactly the way I imagined him.”
“You know of him?” Sadayuki asked with surprise. He had heard of him before he joined the Shinsengumi and he was even lucky enough to meet him once, by accident. Although the Shinsengumi chased after him from time to time, Yuki actually respected the man’s vision for Japan’s future.
“Of course. He’s my favorite historical figure.”
“Historical figure?” Sadayuki asked quietly enough that she didn’t hear him.
“I’ll leave you two alone again, it was nice meeting you.” Mizuki had been about to leave when Yuuto stopped her again.
“Yuki is visiting from Mie prefecture so he will be staying for a while.”
“I can prepare the spare bed in the other room.” Mizuki offered.
“Excuse me?” Mizuki looked at Sadayuki with her bright eyes. Sadayuki was not used to looking at colored eyes, so every time their eyes met he felt surprised.
“Will I be sleeping on something like this?” He pointed towards the bed behind him.
“Hai?” Mizuki was confused.
“Ah…he’s used to sleeping on a futon.” Yuuto answered for him. Mizuki suddenly understood why he was asking.
“I can find the futon. I think your mom put one in the closet.” With that, Mizuki headed out the door leaving Yuuto alone with Sadayuki, now going by Yuki.
“I always wondered…what do you think of foreigners?” Yuuto questioned.
“From the foreigners I have met and heard of, some are very rude. They don’t understand Japanese customs or language at all.” Yuki replied.
“Well, I think you will be surprised by Mizuki-san. She surprises many Japanese because she tries so hard to learn the language and the customs. She’s always aware of etiquette when she goes to shrines, restaurants and all that. She also knows a lot about Japanese history and learns on her own time.” Yuuto paused thoughtfully.
“My mom has been teaching her how to cook Japanese food and she really loves dango. If you ask her what she wants to see the most since she came to Japan she will tell you that she really wants to see sakura.”
Yuki was taken aback by all this information. It seemed that Yuuto and Mizuki were very close and Yuki couldn’t help but wonder if Yuuto had feelings other than friendship towards Mizuki, although he could tell that Mizuki remained slightly at a distance from Yuuto.
“You two sound very close.” Yuki observed.
“She’s a very good friend. We met a year ago through a website-” Yuuto stopped and realized that Yuki wouldn’t understand so he tried a different approach.
“We wrote to each other for a year before she decided to move to Japan for university. My parents let her stay with us and they really like her because she is so polite and helpful.”
They remained silent for a while, Yuuto with a thoughtful look on his face and Yuki studying Yuuto.
“You should tell her how you feel.” Yuki finally said, noting the way Yuuto looked as he spoke about Mizuki.
“No, I can’t.” There was silence again while Yuuto continued to think. He was the one to break the silence.
“Anyway, it’s getting really late now. Tomorrow is Saturday so we can go find you some clothes. We only wear kimono and yukata on special occasions like festivals or weddings now.”
Yuuto led Yuki towards the spare room, which was down the hall from his room. Yuki noticed an open door and as they passed, he spotted Mizuki sitting on the floor at the kotatsu table writing something in a book. Yuki’s realized that his room was right next to Mizuki’s.
Yuki saw that the futon was already laid out for him and he knew that Mizuki had prepared the room for him. Yuuto made sure that Yuki had everything he needed before he exited the room and went back into his own room to sleep.
Being the gentleman that Yuki was, he went towards Mizuki’s room.
“Shitsureishimasu.” He excused himself as he stood at the door. Mizuki stopped writing and looked up at him with surprise. She had seemed to be very involved with whatever it was she had been writing.
“Thank you for preparing my room.” Yuki bowed at her for her hospitality.
“It was my pleasure. Since you are next to my room, please let me know if you need anything.” Yuki nodded his head, excused himself, and headed back into his room and shut the door behind him.
He followed Yuuto’s earlier example and flicked the thing on the wall in the opposite direction and there was suddenly no more light. He was tired, but being in such a different world now, he didn’t feel comfortable sleeping on the futon. Instead, he pulled out his swords and laid the wakizashi beside him. He propped himself up against the wall and rested his katana against his legs with the hilt resting on his right shoulder and his left arm resting against the sheath. He closed his eyes and eventually fell asleep.
 Traditional Japanese sandal.
 Kun is an honorific suffix normally used between friends.
 San is an honorific suffix that is normally used with people that are strangers/acquaintances.
 In Japan, people introduce themselves with their last names first then their first names.
 A special police force that was originally created by the Bakufu/Shogun (military government).
 In this case, roughly translates to “excuse me?”
 A delicious snack made from rice flour. Usually three rice balls on a skewer colored white, green, and pink.
 Cherry blossoms. Tiny pink flowers that bloom in the spring for a short period of time.
 A small Japanese table covered with a futon or heavy blanket. The table top sits on top and it is used mostly in winter because of the heat source found underneath the table.
All Rights Reserved
Copyright © 2011-2017 Eren Wiebe. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the author.