1 – 5 : Chapter 1 ALMOST PARADISE : Good bye, WADATSUMI / He and a little witch of Tokyo Bay

 “Pull the net!”

 The above girl, the leader of Tsukuda pirate, Kohada broke out the surface of the water with her fist and exposed her upper body into the air as if jumping out, loudly ordered at the same moment. Until just before that, this girl had been reading the movement of the fish herd, from on the bottom of the river.

 Now the dragnet fishing started. In the next instant, the rope unexpectedly pulled back him and the kids with powerful resistance, so to counter it, Ho’ori had to stand firm and regrip that tip more tightly in a rush. He sent all his power to own arms and hands, to legs, to feet, and the wet rope slipped and made squeak sounds in the inside of his palms.

 On land, in a squatting position, using muscles of their body fully, of course making faces red, all of the people pulling the rope were fighting with the big resistance by the torrents and the weight of the fish. When people compared leaders of pirates around this area, they usually concluded Kohada was the best, especially about reading the direction of a fish herd. And certainly, the evidence was here now. The harvest could be thought of as to become bigger than the estimate even just by this first pulling. Now the blood and the body of the kids were getting very excited by the weight of the net being filled up with anchovies. The senior children who had spread the net or had driven the fish into it on the river also joined the land team one after another after moored their bayak. Not only the kids. Even passerby adults joined them too, and everybody tightly held the rope, and,

 “Heave ho!”       

 The net was being pulled by all power of all people. In the afternoon of early summer, in strong sunlight and sparkling water splash, children’s shouts were echoing so louder cheerfully and highly. As the net was coming closer, under the water started glittering gradually, but that was not the reflection of the water itself. That was the light of a large number of anchovy scales reflecting the sunshine. By each, easily peeled off, falling down slowly, reflecting the daylight, sinking here and there, twinkling in bluish seven color brilliance in the water. They were showing a mysterious rainbow in the river.

 “Hey, sheriff!  you, pull more seriously!”

  A warning by a little boy who was pulling the rope with a red face and moaning brought back Ho’ori to the real, so,

  “Ok, I know, I know.”

  He started pulling again, and the rope was squeaking more and more at the inside of his palms.

  Finally, happy landing!!!

  But, even if saying so, it was just simple working by hanging the edges of the net on a handrail of the esplanade as if it looked like a huge tote bag, keeping to make the under-part soak of it in the water.

 “Show your fish bag!”

 Senior age girls scooped up anchovies from the big net with hand nets and roughly giving them to lower age children one after another. The tiny kids shouted with joy and made their big sisters pour the living anchovies into their nylon bags more and more, and in the end, put the bag into their cooling box by themselves like hiding the treasures. Almost all children living around here very love to fish also as existences appearing on recipes. It is natural. Certainly, the fish of ‘the river’ growing in the nonpolluted water was very delicious. For example, this anchovy suits for sashimi, sushi, deep-fried, especially in summer for ‘namerou’ or ‘hiya-jiru’, in winter as ‘tsumire-dango’ for many soup menus. It’s so easy to be cooked than other fish with thick bone, so it must be a nice souvenir for their parents too.

 Because in the mouth area of this river the peak of anchovy fishing is coming in spring and in fall, it might be considered as a rare situation that so many anchovies were being caught in enough mature state like now. But even if it was coming from outer of the season, the element which people practically seek is only whether good taste or not. And if it would be so, it was exactly a gift as a lucky miscalculation of nature.

 In the great demand, the fat anchovies in the big net were reducing their quantity in a few minutes. This nature gift was given even to walkers who had not joined the fishing. Because the children understand that for their comfortable fishing, they must get approval from the adults living in this area, they could share this fruit with smiles from their heart. Understandings and supports from neighbors will preserve their fishing place and culture. Or sometimes, a tiny piece of advice from older may bring the next big harvest to the kids. Stray cats also were gathering with keen eyes. Of course, they didn’t contribute to fishing at all. These thieves just robbed anchovies that had spilled onto the ground and had fresh lunch under the shadows of trees in a rush. Then they were looking for other fish again. But there were no kids who minded these thieves. Everyone was being attracted and concentrated on their fishing and the hot air on the river. This was the sight of the summer of Tsukuda island of now. They were exactly the new, the newest culture of this river.

 After people had left with their precious bags which had been filled up with fresh anchovies, the kids of the pirate started a short rest to warm their cooled bodies as preparing for the next fishing. As a habit, while warming wet bodies by the burning sunlight, they enjoyed tasting fresh prey as a snack.

 If it is fresh, anchovy is a kind that is very suitable for sashimi on hand-cooking. Children removed scales carefully, opened from fish’s belly by tips of their fingers, took away its head and bones, the innards, the dark flesh blood, and washed with clean fresh water lightly, finally peeled off the silvery skin dexterously. Took away off the extra water by one softly shake, completed. The beautiful sashimi of anchovy was here. The fresh meat shined under the sunlight like remains of the rainbow.

 At first, Ho’ori didn’t receive fish, but finally, he was persuaded by the kids.

 “This is the fair pay to your work!”

  So, after lightly learning by only words about how to cook sashimi of anchovy, he also made it while observing the inside of children’s hands around him, then ate it. There was nothing he could do, except leaking a smile unintentionally. He smiled. He just smiled. Before eating, at a glance, it looked like a too delicate object in pale clear consisting of reddish part and blueish part.

 But after throwing it into the mouth, it was vivid. At first, a faint salty taste appeared. Then it refreshed all sense cells from the tongue to the nose and the throat. It was like that a breeze from the sea passed through the mouth and the brain. And then, the unexpected thick meat directly gave a sensual feeling to teeth, meanwhile never giving peculiar fishy smell to him at all. Because it was too fresh. And marvelous fat which had the wonderful taste was moderately but vividly insisting on its existence. It was not too much but not too little and giving a faint sweet feeling onto the tongue.

 Because they had been living in the salty water until just before, the flesh of the fish naturally kept the faint salty taste in itself. So, seasonings like shoyu were not essential, and even only by sashimi itself people could feel it was delicious and enjoy the taste enough. But the kids here had been bored about simply eating fish because fishing was done almost every day. So, the children had a habit to bring their favorite seasonings. For example, for anchovy-fishing, they tended to prepare such as wasabi-shoyu, bainiku(umeboshi)-shoyu, sho-ga(ginger)-shoyu. They lightly seasoned their sashimi with these sauces, then threw that into their mouth at once. And,

 “…This is great!”

 Saying so like growling, and they smiled every time. When eating anchovies as sashimi, the best popular sauce was sho-ga-zyo-yu (Soy sauce with ginger). At this time, Ho’ori received the sauce directly onto his palm from the children around him and used that to eat fish.

 In the next moment, Ho’ori couldn’t say any word. He too just growled.

 While eating the sashimi he was seeing upstream with nothing in mind. In his sight, the Eitai bridge and Sky tree tower was looking like burning whitely under the more burning sunlight. While working only the sense organs of smell and of taste to enjoy the trio being consisted of anchovy, natural saltiness, and the scent of ginger shoyu, he was feeling that the towns on the opposite river shore seemed a phantom of the other world which was boiling in the shimmer of summer air. 

 Certainly, it must be the sight of a different culture. In that world, the notoriety jam-packed commuting trains were running every day while soaking themselves with the madness, and the radiant heat between the valleys that were consisted of high-rises buildings completely covered with glass walls was grilling people. Moreover, the people who were walking through in a crowded place would be bumping each shoulder with each other, sometimes even intentionally. It could be only said that it was really different. The two worlds were different perfectly.

 Ho’ori didn’t forget still yet the scene that his former fellows were always bending their backs unnaturally for the excessively cooled temperature of the office. Beneath the air conditioners being made run overwork, they were sitting the chairs, were eating cold soba-noodles as lunch while bending their postures forward and desperately reading documents. Cold soba-noodles could be eaten very fast, so it is useful for such people. Probably, such fellows must know nothing about the place like here even now. About the real that the wonderful world being as their neighbor, about even this little fact, they might not be able even to imagine.

 When these memories appeared in the heart, he felt that he himself was being gratified. It was just a bit and was faint, but was certainly in him. And at the same time, every time, he felt an itching that was crawling inside of his heart. Every time, it started trying to pull out itself from the deep…,

 “Sheriff!”

 Someone suddenly called him from his rear in a cute high-pitched voice, so he looked back. Kohada, the captain of Tsukuda pirate, was approaching him with light steps, and,

 “Thank you for your cooperation!”

 Jokingly and cheerfully the girl saluted.

 “Hey, don’t use that name. It’s not correct. I’m always requesting you to stop it. Oh, not only you but please convey it also to your boys and girls thoroughly.”

 “But your true title is too complex to use carefreely! Mr. supervisor for river users which are not professional fishermen?”

 She said so showing the playful eyes. When meeting her, Ho’ori always recalled a tiny shrimp living in the clear freshwater. On also now, the girl was tying her own short hair on the back of her head like a tip of a tail of a shrimp as usual, and giving off the lively hopping aura like a shrimp captured into a hand-net just now. This girl was 14 old, a second-grade student of junior high, but had a tiny body than average. However, she certainly had a great vitality which was five or ten times than other children. Every time cheerfully moving around, lively talking, and the shining atmosphere like wild fish eyes of her was always fascinating almost all people around her.

 Of course, generally, almost all girls living in the river area seemed more energetic than girls of the mainland. That could be known also from the many girls being here as much as boys. Every day the daughters of the river were freely moving on the huge open water area exposing their healthy youthful suntan skin to the sunlight with shouts of joy. But, despite being in them, it was not changed that Kohada was the impressive existence as special. She had enough charisma to lead many kids composed of pirate girls and brat boys to the success of big-scale fishing. After school, she came to the river shore almost every day. By leading children including from lower to same grades on many situations, by always paying attention to avoid any danger, by behaving like a very tolerance big sister, by riding a bayak or fishing together with the kids, by diving or swimming, by enjoying everything around her, she was stably keeping the position as the captain of Tsukuda pirate.

 Especially in lower grade kids, there were many kids wanting to join Tsukuda pirate to follow her. And because they actually did do so, also Kohada was understanding that she had to display herself as an ideal model for the kids. So, on the river shore, in almost all situation except times of swimming or diving,

 “All time, I always have to put on a floating vest. It’s so bulky, not freely, very uncomfortable…,”

 She often complained about her little duty. But, today,

 “Your vest looks new. Very cool.”

 At the moment Ho’ori said so, her eyes flashed proudly. She cheerfully nodded and,

 “Yeah, my grandma came home from Hawaii tour yesterday. This is a present from her!”

 “I see, let me see more…, I guess, the motif is US navy …SEAL model, isn’t it?”

 To under the vest, she was wearing a dark navy one-piece swimwear as usual. That was a specified model for swimming lessons of her school and had a very simple and modest design, and was the same model with other girls at all. But on the other hand, the unbalanced gap between the military look of the black vest and the simple swimwear was making the girl look like being more matured oddly than other girls, even though she had a small and slender body. Until now, it was general that the girls of the river choose life vests that had showy designs such as floral patterns with vivid colors, so this simple combination of black with navy-blue was really fresh even to Ho’ori. This style must come into fashion this summer.

 The girl giving off the tiny but brave seaman’s aura was being conspicuous extremely at the river shore, under the burning sunlight, as if a sunspot.

 “Cause you are so, I always trust you, sheriff!”

 Her charming little nose was being twitched with satisfaction.

 “But not SEAL. This is a coast guard model! I heard its attack team uses this model as equipment for a real mission. Of course, the original size was too big, so I have asked mam to adjust this for me. Even this size!”

 With a good smile, Kohada pushed out the no-sleeve edges with thumbs to emphasize off it. Then, straightened the back and stuck out the chest, very proudly saluted with the tip of fingers again. Ho’ori also smiled and nodded.

 “That really suits you, and to your sky blue bayak too.”

 “Yeah! Add to this, she gave me the new cap too. That also very matching with this vest. After this, I will let you see it, so please give me your impression…,”

 Just after she said so,

 “Ha!”

 Tsubasu who was standing by Kohada snorted. His tall, slender suntan body was healthily noticeable as same as Kohada. The boy had a face being resembled a seashore baboon a little. This animal is well known on the scene that they are staring at the ocean while sitting on the sandy shore of somewhere.

 “I too really want something new and nice. New bayak…, at least, a nice new vest!”

 He was wearing a vivid-floral-designed old vest, which his aunt had used, and moreover, his old half-pants had been faded by saltwater. The boy deeply sighed while looking down own wearing, then looked at his bayak floating on the surface of the river. Of course, that also was old and was introducing itself as a miserable victim of the driver’s cheap remodeling sense.

 “Your style also is not so bad…, maybe, it’s steampunk, …no, is the world’s end story style. …uh, surely that’s cool. I think so really.”

 Ho’ori often said so to him, but the boy had never shown a face assenting to that opinion.

 “About you, the habit of wasting money is the only reason why you can’t buy respectable dreams.”  

 Like retaliation for him, Kohada strongly snorted and powerfully pointed at his face. 

 “Cheap sweets, awful gag comic books, childish toys, video games as the brain-destroyer, …oh, a, n, d, digital pornos!!!”

 “OK, OK! …It’s not! That was not porno, was just ordinary artistic photos…, wait, why do you know inside of my mobile device?”

 “Hey, listen, sheriff! He’s continuing to throw words like cold water against my new wonderful armor since we met today! Other boys, too! Only you praised me!”

 Saying so, she made a full turn by using her whole body like a compass with the right leg as a pin. The smooth suntanned skin of her legs being poked out was so fresh, healthy, youthful. Her buttock hidden in navy-blue cloth and was peeping from the edge of the black vest was small, but was solid with nothing waste, being filled up enough with soft muscle as same as a good size tiger prawn classified as finest quality. Healthily girl’s growth was being clearly proved also by the shy face of the boy.

 Observing Tsubasu looking away and pretending not to notice anything of her, Ho’ori thought that the boy must be growing up as a nice guy. Of course, the girl also would be a nice lady more than now too. The boy and the girl were the same age and they were friends from their infant age, Ho’ori had heard so.

 “Hey, could you say anything! Oh, you are being excited with me, aren’t you?”     

 “Shut up!!!”

 …like this, high-tension words exchanging was a natural phenomenon between them. It might be said as the very standard situation. The boy was absolutely helpless against the girl who was far smaller than him. This sour and sweet scene made Ho’ori grin unintentionally every time.

 What a lively and carefree world. What a wonderful age. The resumed river was the best stage for the kids here. The lively environment and fresh tide must be giving the boys and the girls a new view of the world as if the third big bang. That was the sight which the previous generations of them had lost for a long time. Using the dazzling river as a stage background, the silhouette of the little couple looked to be growing bigger and thicker endlessly, with burning passions. There was the river, this ‘the river’. Surely it might be little by little, but certainly and steadily, this world is making progress to better, more interesting, more exciting.

 “You two are living in the good era indeed…”

 Such ironic muttering against the kids was about to come out from Ho’ori’s mouth, but he stopped it. Because, even if the chance would come to him as same as that it had come to the children, whether he himself would be able to utilize that situation completely as same as the kids here could do, he couldn’t imagine it at all.

 “But it’s also a fact that I want some more stimulating plan for this summer vacation.”

 Tsubasu said so.

 “I’m getting bored now, a little.”

 “Bored? Bored with what?”

 Kohada was surprised a little and looked up at him with big eyes looking like hiding a thorn. It seemed that this girl was thoroughly enjoying this river shore life from the heart. And for this reason, maybe she couldn’t be satisfied by this opinion of her boyfriend, which was different from herself.

 “Of course, I enjoy this too, together with you…, but,”

 Tsubasu made an excuse to her in a flurry.

 “But, about this time in the next year, we must be busy preparing for scholastic tests to enter high school. Maybe this summer will be the last time as the period when we can get free to enjoy everything perfectly from the heart without uneasiness. So, I want to make this period better as possible as we can. For that, it must be better there is something fresh, stimulating. Am I saying something wrong?”

 “hmm…, I trust I will get satisfied only by enjoying with all mates normally, but, yes, your words also have some truth a bit…,”

 “Yes, you think so too, don’t you? I just want a special memory of this summer.”

 “Special memory? M, m, memory? Did you say so really? Oh, it’s exactly a cute word like you!”

 Kohada started laughing highly while holding her own belly. Tsubasu frowned at the girl and looked up Ho’ori.

 “How do you think, Sheriff?”

  “Because you two play on the river almost every day, I think it’s not strange you get bored sometimes.”

 Ho’ori stroked his own chin.

 “hmm…,”

 He watched at and compared the two kids, and,

 “I want to suggest you should go to an amusement park as a couple. I heard you have lots of money made by fishing, so…, oh, I recommend you Maihama. It’s not too near but not too far, so just fits for this purpose. In short, it seems you both are being in the stage of ennui and need some stimulus…,”

 Ho’ori merely intended to give a good opportunity for these youngers, but,

 “Are you serious?”

 “yuck!!!”

 At the same moment, the couple exaggeratedly denied each other.

  “It must be the best to search one hundred brown rats on this shore, rather than to watch a sweaty mouse costume in the dream kingdom together with him!” 

 “oh, it’s the greatest idea! Do you know? I heard Brown rat is becoming in danger of extinction in this area recently! Good luck!”

 “Sorry, sorry…, this is my fault.”

 Ho’ori apologized to them and regretted inserting the word ‘couple’ deliberately. After all, that magic word had been too early for them, who were not ripen as the pair.

 “ahem, you need not apologize, sheriff. It’s not your mistake. Don’t mind!”

 Kohada said so while hesitating a little. Ho’ori smiled and,

 “You started regretting you missed the chance?”

 “No, no I don’t! It’s simply I cannot understand why you suggested such a thing! Hey Tsubasu, don’t you too?!”

 “Yeah!”

 “Hmm, …I too guess it’s maybe correct. I too think it’s not appropriate to advise you two to try to make the relationship deeper. From my job position or as a sensible adult.”

 “Relationship?”

 “I can’t find a good word, but…, for example, a sexual relation…,”

 “SEXUAL RELATION!!!”

 “No! Don’t misunderstand it. It’s just evidence of my poor vocabulary. Uh…, in other words, a relationship as friends with differ in gender…,”

 “Hey, sheriff, how do you think about this plan…,”

 Probably he tried to take the direction of talk to correct. Tsubasu roughly broke into the conversation and,

 “We will make special independent research as greater than daily homework. As a monument or model cases sending for lower grade kids.”

 “oh, that’s a good idea. I can feel a big possibility on what you said.”

 “I knew you say so. We think to run an extraordinary project. For example, … a plan to challenge the night river…,”

 “No. It’s never allowed.”

 The little captain who must have been frozen by the word “sexual” immediately changed the attitude and perfectly crushed that suggestion on the spot in just one word. Tsubasu showed his eyes opened wider in an exaggerated face and,

 “Why? This must be a very interesting theme!”

 “Ha! Do you think I don’t know you are being infected with DAGON NET? I have warned you many times, you forgot it? Oh, ok, I should do it again for my babe. Listen, don’t read such garbage!”

 She mentioned the name of the Internet site which was the best popular in children of the river while frowning as if she saw a bizarre taste foods eater. She was one of the anti-DAGON NET being minority on this river.

 “Just because you don’t like that, don’t disturb my knowing right!”

 “kno, kno, kno, knowing right! I’m very surprised to hear you hold such precious!”

 Kohada lightly laughed at his insistence like blowing off a slip of paper.

 “Listen to me, even if you really have that right, I must choose to trample the right rather than to see your miserable brain will melt more and more by reading their articles. They say ‘the river had returned!! It is the perfect prehistoric environment! Banzai, Banzai!!!’ Ha! It’s ridiculous, isn’t it? Yes, sure, this river is very beautiful. But it’s not the river of Eden. This is merely Sumida river, the big river, and ‘the river’ of now. But they never try to learn that fact. What could be prospected as a result of that? First, although this is the thing already happening now, such people who are tired of lives on land and dreaming about the Great Barrier Reef onto this river and knowing water currents only as a flush of toilets are forcing their phantom river onto this river. Of course, their illusion is based on other’s poor writings written without standing on the real river shore. Second, some idiot people being thankful for the beginning person’s shit will start remaking the rules to suit their selfish canon as the only truth leading to this ‘promised place’. Third, someone regarding this odd illusion as the common property will practice the faith in the real world…, hey, Tsubasu, have you ever thought about them? What do you think they will do finally?”

 “Well…, please teach me.”

 “They force it. Without a doubt, they force the cursed illusion on people in weaker positions. …and, basically, in the world, who are most weak?”

 Of course, kids. If we stop paying attention, it’s we that will be forced to gulp unnecessary troubles! The girl insisted so seriously and strongly, but,

 “Sorry, I don’t read, such…, serious articles.”

 The boy apologized with an embarrassed face and made her impassioned speech vain, so Kohada showed a look fed up.

 “oh, I forgot you are an idiot from another perspective. Lady Salamandroid or Somebody watching at us from Yodomi…, I know you are keeping enthusiasm onto them still now. You are exactly the ideal model of the occult nerd!”

However, the boy who was laughed at by her smiled, and on the contrary with an attitude treating her as a tiny girl,

 “Of course, I too know you are timid. But I guess you have to understand speaking ill about tastes of others is not wise behavior.”

 “I’m not timid! Ghost-mermaid, the drowned body laughing at us, these are far more childish. Someone found a trilobite? witnessed Neo-Nessie? Oh, come on, my body will get paralyzed by nonsense!”

 “Your data is very old-fashion. Now the latest news is the witch!”

 At that instant, Ho’ori felt his heart hopped bigger once. His eyebrows also were twitched. But Kohada and Tsubasu didn’t notice that. Smiling innocently the boy tried to continue talking in a carefree voice but the girl immediately showed a stern face and,

 “Hey! Don’t talk about such things carelessly!”

 She strongly pushed the boy with a hand.

 “Why? oh, maybe you mind that rumor? In truth, the witch is…,”

 “Stop it! I only say to activate rumors isn’t right. Whether the rumor is correct or not is not related!”

 “But, any way, it’s really cool, isn’t it? The solitude rebellionist…no, revoltanian?”

 “…I must give you only this advice. You shouldn’t use the words what you don’t know well.”

 The girl made the tip of her nose up and,

 “In any case, ‘No’ means only ‘No’. Let’s back to our first theme. ‘No’ is ‘no’. ‘Don’t’ is ‘don’t’. Avoiding the night river is the most important rule for us. Even if by your request, it must not be broken out.”

 “But, listen, Kajime is saying to want to try that. Can you say the same words, even if he will be stolen by…, for example, by FINS?”

 “If really that time comes, we will find other ways without him.”

 Kohada declared with a resolute attitude. Her voice tone sounded as frozen and was different from just before at all. And she suddenly asked Tsubasu.

 “If you will discover something interesting in the night river, can you really make the research close only by recording that?”

 “what? …yes, I can do so.”

 “It’s a lie.”

 Her nose was twitched again, but soon after, the girl smiled kindly.

 “I know you are not such a person. Discovering the first thing is the beginning of trying to seek the next. The first will seek the second, the second will seek the third, the third will…, oh, at that time, suddenly, you will notice that you are standing in the middle of a heavy stream. And if you notice that fact even once, you can’t go forward anymore, of course also back. Soon afterward, you must be going to be washed away with low tide. As a result, …goodbye my love.”

 The girl waved a hand jokingly, but Tsubasu remained silent with a serious face. So the girl also brought back a serious tone, and,

 “As the leader, I can’t expose any member to danger. It’s including you and Kajime, and of course myself too.”

 “…But it’s not that I’m proposing to dive directly into the night river. For example, we can let Kajime make submarine drones…,”

 “Don’t. Absolutely, don’t. If you will do that, I must break off my relationship with you, and will never talk with you after that. I can promise and guarantee only about that to you.”

  “…Hey, sheriff!”

 After thinking for a short time Tsubasu asked.

 “What do you think about this leader? I feel she is despotic a little, isn’t she?”

 “Wha, What? Hey, you!!”

 “She is right.”

 Ho’ori soothed the angry girl and smiled at the boy.

 “I think Kohada is observing very well about which to ride on a wave or to wait for the next wave. You should thank for that she is your leader.”

 “This is the reason I like sheriff!”

 Kohada proudly stuck out her chest and showed twitching the tip of her nose against her boyfriend. Seeing such her look filled up with confidence and responsibility, Ho’ori unintentionally grinned. As long as this girl leads it, Tsukuda pirate would be able to keep itself healthy. Even though that she was a just young teen girl, Ho’ori couldn’t help paying his respect for the talent being as a leader of this girl. Especially she had a keen sense against seeds of troubles and didn’t hesitate to show it. Troubles? Yes.

 As mentioned by the girl, it could not be said yet that the river of now was enough for being called a perfect paradise or a non-cruck utopia. Because the recleaned river and young bayak riders were creating new problems.

 Though bayak was the fruit of the most up-to-date technology, the price of commonplace type was being fixed almost as twice as an ordinary land bicycle used in daily city life. Because the inventor had purely wished his children to become closer to people’s daily lives, and because that concept was being inherited also after bayaks had spread to the whole world.

 But, if the inventor and each maker had set the price higher than it which kids could easily reach for, the situations may have been more peaceful and calmer than now. Very naturally, there had been no reason that the children who got these interesting toys could keep modest behavior. In addition to that, on their front of the sight, the wonderful water surface was spreading endlessly. They had already known that there are the rivers that had almost taken back prehistorical beauty.

 Especially on ‘the river’, because people’s lives were so closer to the water than other rivers, the number of such kids were lager than in other areas. The newest machine and the revived prehistoric environment had naturally and strongly invited kids to itself. And that call of duty gave birth to the kids who do not only normal water play, do play as fishermen.

 The local governments called them ‘semi-pro’ or ‘users’ regardless of their age. On the other hand, the children of the river united in each area and were introducing themselves as ‘pirates’. This name might correctly show their tendency. On this vast and rich stage, it was very natural that they were not satisfied with just riding bayaks. By using the situation that professional fishermen’s jobs were hardly done because the river had been rebuilt mainly as a transportation network, they captured seasonal gift from the river diligently and were making big profits by directly selling this high-tastes organic seafood to fish shops and high-class restaurants around here with which they had cultivated connections by themselves. They were the children living on the border between humans and the river. For all seasons, they ran around all over the water world kicking waves by riding bayaks as if people of equestrian tribes. Single fishing was an ordinary daily work for the kids, moreover often they planned and did even big-scale group fishing as you know. Basically, each pirate was a mixed group with boys and girls living for each area from elementary age to junior-high-school age. For example, in the jurisdiction area of Ho’ori’s office, there were some pirates such as ‘Tsukuda’, ‘Tsukishima’, ‘Kachidoki’, ‘Harumi’.

 Of course, the existence of them itself was not bad. Some experts were saying that it was really thrilling and big pleasure watching that the kids became familiar with great nature in the middle of the city made of the latest technology. Such wises also said that the river of now remind them of that ancient human was living with the deepest satisfaction while receiving nature blessings. But such a viewpoint from a cultural anthropologic perspective was only an example from a fixed one aspect.

 The most important aspect was the troubles being made by such kids. In the beginning, somebody would have given the children here the knowledge that the fish would make a good profit. The person might have carelessly told so to the kids because in old days people had certainly done it so. But in old days, highly fishing technology and bayaks had not been.

 Now the kids had them. Who can ignore the chance that they can easily get money by purely enjoying play? As a result, in conformity with the spirits of capitalism the wars had been intensified. Every time, almost all troubles between pirates rooted on the assignment of fishing place.

 Such time, Ho’ori often felt that someone must educate these children about satisfaction and about that they were playing in one of the best fishing areas of this world.

 Wild fusses as if being in the pre-historical ages were certainly there. And it was joyful enough and wonderful party time for the kids. But it was also true that many pirates did not stop trying to expand territory violently showing off their youthful energy, behind these funny local cultures. Plunder, strategy, counterintelligence, ordinary territorial fights, almost all troubles happening in EEZs of the whole world were being recreated here as naive miniatures but wildly.

 Ho’ori was a river ranger of Tsukuda branch of the New Water Section of the Fishing Government Department of the National Fisheries Agency and his basic work was supervising all users of ‘the river’ and improving usage environment on the river. But from this spring when he arrived at this river, his jobs seemed as if being limited to only watching and leading or advising and scolding ‘the pirates’ in almost all situations.

 Now, he was spending almost all his working time coaching the kids. He had never intended to devote himself to such work. That was showing the perfectly different direction from the first motive of beginning this job. He had been hoping that he would contribute to the solution of many problems about food resource supplying of this country at the center section of the government.

 But now, the dream had been too far.

 He was feeling that he was forcibly made involve in the education of the children while using the river as the school. That was completely different from what he had wanted to do in old days. In fact, to control pirates not to give troubles to other river users had been already become almost all of his job.

 When he had been a student of the university, he had been majoring in marine biology mainly with field works, so didn’t feel difficulty about outside working even now, but peacefully controlling the naughty kid’s wars was a really hard job in almost all scenes.

 In addition to that, though there were certainly many adults understanding the fishing plays of the kids as a new local culture, but not a few people who had opposite opinions also were there. They were criticizing the danger of playing on close to the water or handling lots of money as profits of fishing and selling. Moreover, other people regarded ‘utilization of the river’ itself as a serious problem. They insisted that the children were occupying the river which must be a public asset, and were strongly claiming that the residents should forbid fishing play of the kids. Furthermore, they were suggesting even to ban all playing of the kids on the river in the future. Such adults never try to throw away prejudices against the kids especially against the pirates. For example, about a series of recent accidents that ‘Kamitsuse-Ishi (a stone of the upstream shallow)’ which are religious keystones being set on the bottom of the river from ancient age had been intentionally knocked down by someone one after another, some adults were openly suspecting the pirates. Without any evidence, they were denouncing the kids as existences near criminals. Unfortunately, such people believed that children must be the existence acting with no hesitation basing on evil wills. Even though they too had been kids somewhen earlier.

 Yes, there was no doubt that the pirates were frequently displaying noisy fusses on the surface of the river with no consideration around them. Probably it would seem even a kind of threatening especially from the view of old people. Sometimes they were being too noticeable in bad meaning.

 Ho’ori was forced to notice the fact many times because he was one of the closest adults to the kids. And certainly, it was also true that situation in which even he became wanting to shout in a rage often happened.

 (I had never wanted to be a teacher or a sitter!)

 In the needless troubles repeatedly happening, it was also not rare for him to want to quit this job. Now it had become few, but during the first period when he working as a newly appointed ranger, the situations that the motivation for the job did not spring out at all also were often. At such time, he had disgusted even at to go to the river. 

 “But…,”

 In these months, he had come to have a faintly antipathy-like feeling against the adults insisting on the strong limitation against the play of the kids. Of course, it did not mean that he tried to justify the children. The noisy world on the river shore did not have any room to get justified at all, because the excessive-lively fuss based on the too youthful fever of the kids like primitive festivals were clearly. But at the same time, he was feeling also that this may be exactly the real state of what kids should be in.

 After all, it could be said as a merely natural phenomenon. Who could say that children who need more life force must not seek and welcome an environment being filled up with a vivid life force? The chaos and the noise were only a by-product made by the growth of children. If we paid attention only to visible results, invisible results might get distortion. Nowadays, on land, kids tend to be being forced to live quietly by elders. Then, hereafter, if they would get banned to make a fuss on the surface of the water too, the place to be opened to the children would be only in the water.

 When being caught by adults insisting on eliminating the kids from the river, was receiving their complaints about children’s behavior, Ho’ori often felt wanting oppositely to ask them.

 “Does it mean you are saying that the kids should sink into the river?” or,

 “Why do you want so excessive peace and silence? When did here become a public cemetery?”

 Of course, though he never asked about these questions practically, often wanted to do so seriously. It is a strange attitude to reject a base of prosperity even though they are fervently desiring prosperity like in the old days. If not to welcome slowly decaying, on the history of the earth life and of human, this situation of the river of now should be said as the very ideal state, isn’t it?

 Yes, it would be sure that the children here are evidence of the progress of this world. Now, we were about to succeed in perfectly rebuilding the world, though it was noisy.

 “Sheriff!”

 He brought back himself by the voice of the girl with a little tension.

 “Maybe, your true job time!”

 At that time, he noticed many kids oddly gathering at some distance from him. On the wooden platform being prepared on the promenade for mooring of bayaks or small boats, they seemed to start watering a seed of a fuss. Kohada had already begun to run facing the crowd almost at the same time when she shouted to Ho’ori, so he too followed her in hurry.

 Lately, the new family named ‘Fins’ was trying to expand its territory on the river. It was being said that this group which was bunded of outlaws from each pirate was acting in ignoring agreements and territories which had been concluded between each pirate for conserving natural resources and mutual profits. And naturally, as a result, they often caused troubles with the pirates. Some people were guessing that their true purpose was there. In short, they were thinking that Fins was trying to destroy existing systems by making fuss more violently. They had never directly acted as such agents at the front of Ho’ori until now, but he too had often heard about their dirty trick.

 This day too, because a big scale fishing like this dragnetting was considered to have a possibility to attract these gangsters, Kohada had made Ho’ori’s office know their fishing plan in advance. Of course, Ho’ori could not make himself stand on only one side, but at the same time, he was thinking that he needed to warn Fins at least once about their bad behavior. But in this case, on the contrary to the expectation, when reached the crowd, he found out it was not ‘Fins’.

 “Hi, Sheriff!”

 A little boy, one of the crowds firstly found Ho’ori and walked up to him while greeting with a high voice. Then, the crowd itself was approaching Ho’ori with a very smooth motion like a crowd of wharf roaches crawling on rock-shore.

 “Hey, I’m not sheriff, I’m a supervisor.”

 When Ho’ori showed his palms and saying the usual boring word, the kids obediently stopped their feet and closed their mouths. But,

 “So…, what’s the reason for this fuss?”

 Making his question a starting pistol, the kids began chattering again in disorder like baby birds in their nest.

 “Disturbing our fishing!”

 “We are preparing for diving and shrimp hunting, but she is disturbing us for no reason!”

 Many index fingers pointed at the one point on the shore, and the person who was standing at the place slowly turned her eyes to the children and Ho’ori.

 “… it’s you.”

 Against him, who had chosen that word after a while,

 “It’s me.”

 The girl, who dressed in the black diveskins, calmly replied so.

 Suddenly, inside of Ho’ori’s mind, a lot of white bellies appeared and shined. The large herd of stingrays swimming by swirling in the bright night river. She was in the middle of them and staring at him with keen but calm eyes.

Ⓒ2016 Takagi Tokio

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